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ISSUE 1 MAY 2014

An independent magazine aimed at bringing the works of the young and talented to the whole world. Believing in ideas, thoughts and concepts, Garde Magazine follows the principle of simplicity and honesty.


Cleo Tse

Natasha Chan

Creators Claudia Chan

Julen Hernandez

Nicolas Marchiaro

Uriel Calderon

Benjamin Riise

Benji Engee Winnie Yoe

Contributors Sage Basilio John Yip Hilary Lung

Editorial We christen this magazine as our first issue of many more to come. Garde Magazine symbolises more than just a magazine. First of all, it represents our wish to promote talents who seek platforms to get their creations known to the world. Secondly, it enables us to watch as creativity blooms in the most popular ways. And thirdly, it is exciting collaborative and ongoing work between different artists that we have been learning a lot from. We have been (and are still) trying very hard to set up various social networks in order to cater to all our readers who use different types of media for their creations. In this issue, we have fine art from Benji (HK/ USA), poetry from Benjamin (Denmark), interactive designs from Winnie (HK/USA), music from Uriel (Australia), videos from Julen (Basque Country), architecture from Nicolas (UK) and bespoke tailoring from Claudia (HK/UK).

Our campaign “I CREATE” enables creators to reveal their creations and present the essence of their works. This gives creators a chance to promote themselves and also provides readers with the opportunity to freely interpret works in their own way. We will show you who exactly these creators are so you can get to know them and their amazing work. Each creator has their own individual style in creating and living which we trust you’ll appreciate. Garde Magazine is not just ours; it combines the efforts of all our creators and contributors. Thank you all very much. We genuinely hope you’ll enjoy this issue and that you’ll keep on wanting more! And as always, we wish to see more of you artistic ones out there, so keep us posted!

Cleo & Natasha

CONTENT Julen Hernandez // Videography I act as myself in my videos

Claudia Chan // Bespoke Tailoring It’s all about the individual

Benjamin Riise // Linguistics The guy who is ‘out there’

Uriel Calderon // Music You-For-Real?

Nicolas Marchiaro // Architecture Snap away

Benji Engee // Fine Art Freedom. Happiness. Fairness. Morality. Integrity.

Winnie Yoe // UI/UX Design The guy who is ‘out there’

Julen Hernandez // Videography

I am myself in my videos

It’s common for those who post videos online to have doubts about what their audience will think of it. Similar to a new profile picture you change on Facebook, the thoughts of “Will people like it? Will I be judged?” can easily plague one’s mind. Yet for Julen, who currently has 27.6K followers on his Spanish YouTube channel, such doubts are pointless. “If we do not enjoy, no one will enjoy,” says Julen. Born and raised in the Basque country, Julen has adopted the typical traits of being upbeat, energetic, optimistic and good looking (if I may say so myself). While he is a journalism student, he also goes by the online identity of dedicated YouTuber: HolaJulen. Go team Julen! Julen is drawn to the artistic side of his hobby and “the beautiful things of sharing videos on the Internet.” This is probably one of the reasons why he’s gained quite the popular fan base:

about a topic they’re discussing, which makes anyone who can’t understand the language eager to share in on the joke. Their videos are about everything: professional look-alike short films, prank calls, making fun of sex, discussions of the unimaginable, such as zombies and the apocalypse …you name it and they probably have it. “I love sharing hobbies with people who have similar interests. That’s why I have my friends in my videos, although the videos are about everything and nothing at the same time,” he said. Julen said he has two masks. One is the HolaJulen on YouTube which he uses to interact with audiences and publish videos, while the other is Julen Hernandez for expressing his experiences and feelings during any trips he embarks on.

“A guy who had surgery in hospital watched all my videos to kill time.”

“For the Julen Hernandez one, I don’t really publish them and build an audience, but for HolaJulen, I would like to get in touch with people who are watching,” he said.

“I received an email from a boy in the South of Spain who thought he was not brave enough and never wanted to travel alone. He decided to apply for an international programme because he said I made him feel confident.”

Ideas for making videos come from anything and anywhere. The best time for Julen’s ideas to blossom and bloom is during bedtime. “When I’m about to sleep, the ideas come. I need to have my phone next to me to record everything right at the moment.”

There are lots more similar messages he’s received. It is these that push him to continue producing videos for viewers.

Yikes! Hope you still manage to get enough Zzz’s with that wild, nocturnal imagination. No comprendo

But why V-I-D-E-O-S As a journalist, the most traditional way to express opinions or spread information is through fingers and keyboard. Although Julen enjoys using various platforms to convey messages, he says, “my videos reach more audiences than the ones I reach through my writing or radio shows.”

If Julen’s videos had an English translation rather than having them all habla-ing español, it’s very likely he’d reach even MORE people around the world. Sadly, his response to this was, “I would like to make it in English, but I am not confident in the language even though I like it.”

If this doesn’t tell you about the age we’re living in, what does?

He wishes his international friends could understand his videos too. “I am shy. I’m also in my last year of my degree so I don’t have time,” he added.

His videos consist of himself and his friends. While recording, they constantly erupt with laughter


Well, okay, just don’t forget that we will be wait-

Getting in touch with Claudia is no easy task. She enjoys solitude.

“Surely buying something that would last for years is wiser than something that lasts for one or two seasons!”

As you can imagine, someone who is Facebook-less and Smartphone-less, is not exactly what you’d call “reachable.” Yet the more I think about it, the more respect I have for someone being so anti-technology-and-social-media-obsessed, which, in a nutshell, is basically most of the young generation today.

As for inspiration, Claudia says everyday people and observing her surroundings play a fundamental role in her success. Everything from classic literature to paintings and even live music gives her ideas.

Claudia is perhaps cleverer than us all. I mean, what better way to concentrate on things/people that are most important to us than to abandon the tools that are attached to useless and irrelevant things? They tend to occupy most of our time too.

Designing creations Claudia believes in a balanced harmony between humans and ambience. She loves to make timeless clothes that echo body shape as well as the environment. Her ultimate goal is expressed in a motto: “we cannot design feelings, but we can create a good product experience.”

Living old school can be refreshing. But don’t worry, Claudia is not completely cut off, she still checks her emails. Her refusal to use such devices simply adds to her mystery. Her expertise Claudia’s talent lies in bespoke tailoring, a “craft of making clothes that coordinates to one’s anatomical structure.” It’s basically clothes that fit you and nobody else. This is pretty awesome as it not only makes you feel special; it also makes it extra difficult for someone to steal. Her fascination with anatomy came about as she was studying figurative painting in Italy. This led her to a BA in Bespoke Tailoring at the London College of Fashion. She loves to put herself to the test. “The more I studied and worked in the field, the more I realised how challenging it is to create clothing that fits and suits someone well.” Her latest project is Skagen Kollektion. With the “vicious cycle of buy-and-chuck fashion,” Claudia believes consumers will start to realise the importance of bespoke tailoring and the industry will start to gain the recognition it deserves.

Her design process for Skagen Kollektion involved researching deeply into the theme and mapping out her ideas in order to come up with a single concept. She then sourced her models and started rough sketching designs for individual models. She toiled them on a stand to create mock designs and then spent most of her time and effort on the fitting. It’s far from easy Claudia has faced a number of difficulties in the industry. One of them is wondering whether there will be a market for her creations as she is currently focusing on menswear. “I have to grasp quite a bit of information about the consumer’s behaviour first.” Yet what is most important to her is the passion that keeps her going. “It’s important to have a lot of patience too,” she added. Future aspirations Claudia dreams of pursuing a career as a cutter and hopes to start an apprenticeship in this area after she graduates. But first, she plans to take a break and travel to Africa, the Middle East and perhaps Latin America for inspiration on her next project. We can’t wait to see what she’ll bring to the table!

Claudia Chan // Bespoke Tailoring

It’s all about the individual

Claudia Chan - Skagen Kollektion

Benjamin Riise // Linguistics

The guy who is ‘out there’ By Cleo Tse

Benjamin Riise - The Story of Linguistic Calibration

I have only met Benjamin in real life once.

is a cool and funny guy!”

It was a chilly February night in Denmark. As you can imagine, winter in Northern Europe tends to make you freeze all over, so people had to wear lots of layers in order to prevent turning into large, stationary icicles. Brrrrr.

Think about it. Would you ask people to take a photo of you posing as you are climbing naked and print it out in black-and-white, cut it out and stick it in the common room where everyone can see your bare bottom?

When I was still living in the student accommodations back then, an unknown guy came into our common room dressed in an attention-grabbing blue, thick jumpsuit. As he fashionably entered in such grace and style, a broad smile slowly spread across his face with each corner of his mouth surrounded by the tiny hairs of his stylish moustache-goatee. He held a kendama in his hand.

Obviously, he’s got some guts.


And obviously he is quite the interesting charac-

I am fond of cool and funny people because they usually think differently. During his first real-life appearance, I definitely thought he was more than just “cool” and “funny.”

“This is Benjamin.” He was so introduced.

Even though I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting him once, he was not a complete stranger to me. I kind of knew who this was without the formal introduction, for he is always present in the common room floor in the form of a little printout. This intriguing printout consists of the back of a fully naked man, climbing onto a kitchen shelf (where he was placed to look like he was hiking up). When I looked at the printout for the first time, with great curiosity, I was told, “Oh that’s Benjamin! He

I have been told that Benjamin studies linguistics and has a lot of interesting thoughts. Although I didn’t get a chance to have an in-depth conversation with him face-to-face to discuss these marvellous thoughts, I still got a chance to talk to him. If you are looking for something that he has concretely created, please kindly move to another article, because what Benjamin has created is not something concrete, but a style and an attitude.

Benjamin does create, but they’re not those very

Benjamin Riise - Human and Zebra

Benjamin Riise - 4 flies = 4 things (cake, coffee, wine and palindromes)

‘sophisticated’ creations. It’s more about the feeling he gets from the creations. For instance, recently he has been into whiteboard doodling. He said the strong contrast of colours on the board and the power to destroy (erase in one wipe) satisfied him a lot. Another activity Benjamin has been doing is a bit more old-fashioned and could be dated back to the year of 1984. This is the art of Poetry Slamming! He writes poems about high-flying and abstract notions. Later on, he puts his writing in a much more practical context: about his daily life issues such as work, hosting ‘couchsurfers’ and hitchhiking. From Benjamin, I can understand that everything is about the feeling you get from something. The practicalities don’t seem very important to him because he focuses on how his creations can be conveyed and

how people perceive it. It is not about how he is going to interpret others’ works but also how others interpret his work. Having stayed in Valencia for half a year, Benjamin learned a golden rule from fellow artists: dedication to creations is the inevitable part of an artist’s life – he quoted an example from his friend, Alejandra, whom he met there. Benjamin has given us some of his creations to showcase. Although they are not all of them, I am sure that he is a very hardworking creator, at least for his own sake. And why shouldn’t he be? He is the guy with his own lifestyle and he lives out there. Or if he lived a few decades ago, he could be really famous by now…

Benjamin Riise -

The Fine Art of Haggling A poem about how difficult African bargaining is (written on a ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam on Dec 2012)

‘My friend, my friend, welcome brother! Take a look at my shop While I strip you of the shillings you’ve got’ Those are the words that resound in your mind, Send a shiver down your spine as you make an entry Into yet another haggling-frenzy. The fine art of bargaining requires patience and skill So shut down all emotion And focus on the stupid wooden giraffe you’ve chosen and not the shopkeeper’s itchy hands ‘cause they’re definitely not up for grabs. But it’s too late, once you’re inside the lion’s den You’re just a helpless soon-to-be headless hen With a plume of gold ready to be stripped and sold. ‘Take a look friend, some ebony, nice, What about some worthless paper mice? Good price, overprice, try these rings! They don’t fit but I’ll sing while you pay So what’s the delay?’ Once you settle on an item the fun is just startin’ – Charging 10.000 shillings for a bloody carving, That’s worse than stealing! But you get the feeling the shopowner’s not kidding Sitting with a broad grin and hopeful eyes – But this fella is in for a surprise! 5.000, that’s my final offer, No more dough is coming from my coffer, End of story, seal the deal before things get gory.

But we are not nearly finished: ‘look at the artwork, worth at least 9.000 on a good day – Think of what I have to pay, a family of eight and My daughter’s weight in cows for the in-laws, So don’t you think it’s fair That you pay a bit of the share?’ You try to control your rising frustration Cursing this man on behalf of the whole nation But get a grip, don’t let this ruin your trip – I’ll give you 6.000 that’s it, Enough for an extra bowl of rice And now I’m really being nice. The owner doesn’t look satisfied – ‘We need to find a price that makes us both happy’ Wait a moment, you mean a price that makes you rich But there must be a glitch somewhere ‘cause Now he’s telling me 8.000 shilling I’m so close to start killing with my Masai hammer! But damn I still need a deal from this man, So 7.000 it is plus an extended hand. My own hand pumps the air on the way out, Clutching a silly curio no doubt worth much less Than my haggling skills allow, But who cares ‘cause your price is never right And next time might prove double the time and trouble, So drop the hassle, grab your knife And carve your own goddamn giraffe.

Benjamin Riise -

Welcome To My Couch a guide showing how to scare off your guests (written in Mijas,Spain in April ‘13)

WELCOME TO MY COUCH – Too soft to sit, too short to sleep And now you think I’m a creep Based on the dangling zebrahead, But don’t worry it’s already dead – At least until I put it on And you wish you’d chosen a different holiday home. WELCOME TO MY HOME – Where are you from, how do you do? Do feel at home, put up your legs, How would like your eggs? (damn! Those ARE nice legs!) It’s always the same introductory lines I’m fine, you’re fine, oh you’ve brought wine? How thoughtful, you’ve now advanced from the floor to the couch, watch out – OUCH! – For leftovers from last week’s lodgers; A needle here, a gold tooth there, That’s what happens when you live alone with room to spare. WELCOME TO MY COUCH! How long are you in town, what are your plans? My plans are already out of my hands As soon as the first Friday beer goes down the drain It’s ON-ON until the pain in my head the morning after, so you’re welcome to join the recurring disaster two aching heads is double the fun so if you’re not on the run

why not extend your stay another day or three. WELCOME TO MY COUCH! By now you’ve realized It isn’t all that wise Choosing the first host you get In this Russian roulette Of vacation accommodation. But I tell you, it’s not always pure luck with the people you meet, Whether it be smelly feet, dirty sheets Or someone who thinks you’re just a piece of meat! But not to worry, the worst thing here is my bad habit of stuffing too many people in the same closet – oh sorry, I mean bed – But that’s maybe just as bad. At least it’s not like the story of the three Mexicans, finally finished with their telenovelan photoshoot, still waiting for them to drop by With a sombrero and a ‘que pasa güey’ But that’s still pretty far way, So I’ll suffice with the usual Taco Nacho-drill And letting my current surfer pay the bill. NOW GET OFF MY COUCH! I exclaim as I watch the weekly Chinese run away screaming So I’ll have to keep dreaming, hoping the next couchie is up for spooning and heavy snoring Cause sleeping alone is just too damn boring.

Nicolas Marchiaro // Architecture


In his latest photography project entitled “Photography Unfolded”, Nicolas Marchiaro doesn’t simply capture a moment. What he does, is something better. He sets out to represent concatenated situations through still-life photographs. The slightly distorted images unfold a new space/time dimension where the passing of time becomes both tangible and visible. The architecture student in his third year at Central Saint Martins in London talks to Garde Magazine about his designs and his disinterest in concrete buildings. What is your belief in architecture? I don’t believe in architecture. It performs or gets performed at its best. Why did you start with architecture? I have never been interested in buildings as something concrete. To me, they are more like containers of something grand or bigger. I like to think that I am engaged with a critical spatial practice. Interior or exterior are residua of an explosion (or implosion) of energy. We can’t think of just an interior architecture, it’s too limited. If I were to like it, it would be for its at least apparent, holism. What do you think about when you design?

There’s no set agenda. At this moment, I am interested in the limitations of thinking through space or the spatial implications of cultural phenomena and the idea of politics through everyday life, or more specifically, soft change. What inspires you? The dream of creating something that is worth experiencing. The idea that betterment can be very simple or easy to attain, but without being naïve. What is common in your design? Is there something that you persist to have in your works? An uncertain clarity and/or a degree of complexity. The idea of spatial practice as a medium, as a way to learn about life. What do you think is the most important element in architecture? To forget about it. What is up next for you? I like the idea of synergy, or the idea of designing a process. Maybe a framework that provides a vantage point. Any last word for our readers? I wonder what the readers are going to make out of this. I am not a commodity.

“My first year project was an analysis of the undercover sexual landscape of central London, where the function of the telephone boxes had a pivotal role. It was this space for the private use (paying to make calls by individuals), situated in highly concurred thoroughfares that caught my attention. Like wholes in a rotten fabric, they were entrances to a whole network of prostitution services, and a community that sustained them. A room for anonymity, the telephone cabin had its own life and stories.�

Nicolas Marchiaro - Japanese Love Hotel

Scene 1, 2 and 3

Flying shirt

Collapsing ceiling

“Another project I realized during my second year was an exploration of the way we recall memories, and how we redefine them with the passage of time. The models presented a set of narratives trough symbols imprinted on their walls. The stories were taken from Andrei Tarkovky’s film The Mirror, and invited the viewer to explore the spatiality of the confronted objects. Due to their material fragility, they were referencing the passage of time, while encouraging a creative response from the viewer, activating their imagination and collected memories. This project was created in collaboration with Johan Mumm, Iben Enevoldsen and Mads Bjerg.”

Pepper’s ghost

Nicolas Marchiaro, Johan Mumm, Iben Enevoldsen and Mads Bjerg - Future Memories

Nicolas Marchiaro - Photography Unfolded “These series of photographs try to set motion to what is always been conceived as the freezing effect of photography. Instead of capturing a moment, they try to unfold a series of concatenated situations involved in perceptual time. These motions not only try to challenge the idea of frozen time, but also the times contained within these representations, as it might be in the ornamentation of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, or in the horizontal experience of passing a tunnel not only as a physical structure but as social, economic or political construct.”

Uriel Calderon // Music

You-For-Real? By Hilary Lung

Meet UFORIEL, the man who is mad about music. (And very real).

track, just listen!’’ Guy: “Oh! I get it. That’s deep.”

I’m from the port town of Puerto Cabazas along the Caribbean coast in Nicaragua, Central America. My parents moved to Australia to avoid the infamous Contra War, so I actually grew up down under.

I love dancing, music, poetry, drama and hip hop. I entered rap battles at nightclubs at the age of 17 and now I’m part of the current number #3 ranked boy crew in the world SKB! Yeah! I started working in nightclubs as a male podium dancer (I stress, NOT a stripper… imagine that HA) before I started club hosting. I’ve also hosted an array of events from YouTube conventions (VIDinc) to political rallies such as shark cull protesting. Yeah, I get around…

Well, that’s how I would let it go…

Me and My Music I officially started my music career last year. To me, music has the ability to connect, convey and rise above a lot of complex social and inner personal issues that a lot of the time, we avoid addressing. There are a lot of great artists that inspire me, although the strongest ones at the moment would be Childish Gambino, Nas, Flying lotus, Toro y Moi and Daft Punk.

There are so many things I love so it’s somewhat of a challenge to define “me.” But I guess if I were to be identified by people it would be something like this conversation:

I have particular affection for indie music. I completely fall for how pure and unspoiled the expression and freedom indie music has sonically. My fear for music is allowing ego to take the main stage. No one wants to turn into a Kanye West in the sense that his ego overshadows his amazing work. Losing inspiration or mojo is another fear, but I have amazing people in my life that believe in me and keep me grounded. So thanks to the love I get that makes my fears subside.

Girl says: “Hey it’s that happy expressive guy, Uforiel!” Guy: “You for real? Where?” Girl: “yes I’m for real... no he’s for real... Argh look! He’s on the

I hope my music can take on a narrative role and be a social commentary. I want my music to be consciously thought out tunes that have longevity so listen-

ers can discover something new every time. My future plan for indie music promotion is humbly sharing it with the hope to connect with others that feel the same. That and working with my good brother Felipe Cea in making our own record label. We are currently building our contacts and networks. It’s a fun hard working time for me, but it’s worth all the sweat and late nights. Duofox is ready to go! My compadre and I Felipe Cea (known as LIF) have known each other for 10 years. One day he approached me to feature in a band he produced sounds for called Ragaveda. We both worked on that particular track together and since then we’ve been in orbit making music together as Duofox. We got our name while recording our first mix tape on the road during late night travelling to the studio which passes along a park reserve. As we drove we saw two foxes cross the road several times. We thought it couldn’t have been just mere coincidence, so we took it as a sign for us to name ourselves Duofox.

Our music is synth pop, hip hop, funk and dabbles of rock and sonic horizon music. It’s quite the blend. My favorite track that brings all positive good vibes has to be Amore Mia as it’s funky and loving and really triggers smiles. My main inspiration comes from my therapy in dealing with the current state of the world and addressing my inner turmoil as well with the hope that my expressions help others to relate and find comfort that they are not alone. Speaking of the future… I’ve been weathering so many personal storms to get back to the core that has given me so much empowerment. For a while before I got serious in the studio, there was a lot of drama in my life and I found myself losing direction. Getting back to music gave me the outlet needed to reignite my creative flame and desire for expressing who I really am. So keep your eyes and ears open for more news about me. I’m about to finish the next Duofox mix tape. Exciting times ahead!!!

Benji Engee // Fine Art

Freedom. Happiness. Fairness. Morality. Integrity. By Sage Basilio

Coming up with the right word to describe the works of Benji Engee is extremely challenging. His sculptures and paintings are intrinsically refined, but can give off all kinds of vibes. Benji Engee was born and raised in Hong Kong and has been working and living in Los Angeles, yet his artistic mind is of another world entirely. “I’m a very nosy artist,” Engee admits. “Poking at people’s secrets and asking questions that [make people uncomfortable]. But fundamentally it is my love for people and the world that compels me to propose a better world and visualize all these scenarios that create a better future for all.” Seeing himself as a “social critic”, Benji Engee is an artist of his own. With a very humble yet convicting vision of reality, Engee is able to express more than just color and patterns through his work. “My bodies of work at large are visual materializations of ideas and arguments that pertain to our existence as humans and a component of a larger nature,” he says. Despite having grown up participating in a wide range of activities including practicing Chinese calligraphy, swimming, and being a cub scout, Engee said art always held a special place in his heart. He’s got it down for us: “The more thought out a work is, the more it speaks.” Hash-tag words of wisdom.

“I guess I have a problem with the word inspiration, it sort of implies that if I’m not inspired, I’m bland and other thoughts don’t count,” Engee says. “Every small bit counts. They’re very important.”

Engee’s very liberating yet rational personality is brought to light when it comes to discovering himself and his work. “New ideas inform the old ones,” he says. “…sometimes it’s easy to venture from one idea to the next, and eventually all over the place, [but it’s] fascinating when at the end of the day, after all the exploration and research, you really hit home and arrive at the starting idea. [Personally], I see it more as contemplation and

hypothesizing possibilities, rather than seeking inspiration.” Unlike many other artists, Engee has sophistication with the way he express himself in his art that rules over the typecast artists-are-emotional-people-thatlisten-to-sad-songs-and-paint-sad-pictures phenomena. “There are always some ideas, arguments, conflicts and discomfort that my work puts forth,” Engee says. “I’m not very good at expressing my emotions, to be honest. I just let things sit until they hit me.” His works have a somewhat medieval touch and his art speaks of a talent that could belong somewhere in the Renaissance period. His sculptures are almost majestic-looking and could only have been done with very polished finger work. “I started out doing oil paintings, but now I’m more interested in clay,” Engee says. “It is the flexibility and endless possibilities with clay that really fascinates me.” “For [the longest time], I believed in Truth as one and only Truth,” Engee says. “So there are a lot of things that I don’t particularly like and I would criticize. But now I tend to approach it from [a different] angle, towards creating a version of the world that I feel satisfied with, rather than bashing the old one. So the world that surrounds me…There is a myriad of ways to live it, and you want to have all of the good stuff around you. Well…I mean if you can, why not?” “It’s important to know what you love,” Engee states, “…but not in the way that people say what you love defines who you are—well that too—but a lot of times we, as cosmopolitan 21st century human beings, spend so much time on things that we don’t actually need, want or care about. We just do it because that’s what everybody else is doing.”

“Knowing what you love is equivalent to knowing the force that drives your life… It never fails to point you to the right direction.”

Captures a serene underwater world in which two men demonstrate their love for each other. It is ironic how they could not proudly show their affection in public just because they are afraid of how other people would react, and yet heterosexual and homosexual love are not in any form different. Inspired by an LGBT movement in the United World College community worldwide to fight for the rights of the newborn child of my homosexual teacher, as the child has been deprived rights that other children of teaching staffs enjoy.

Benji Engee - Love not Lust: Same Love 30 inches X 24 inches oil on canvas.

From Birth Certificate to Credit Card, Social Security, and ultimately Death Certificate, we are assigned with numbers by which an individual is distinguished from another. In modern society, one is a hoarder of numbers; the nature of such accumulation and acquisition, however, is not voluntary. Therefore, as one is identified by one’s numeric bundle, a society can be represented by its very own Social Matrix. Upon the numeric personal identity, both a constituent and derivative of Social Matrix, the cyanotype adds a representation that is the nomadic disposition of the artist. Born and raised in Hong Kong, currently residing in Los Angeles, planning to engage in organic farming in Brazil and Spain, the artist is a self-identified nomad. He considers neither a city nor a country Home; Nature is home to a nomad.

Benji Engee - Symbolic Self Portrait: Amongst the Social Matrix 15cm X 22.5cm etching and cyanotype on paper. 2013.

The Making of dots is a politically-charged gesture: with the intent of making every dot as round as equal as possible – in an egalitarian, liberal society, individuals are believed to be equal. However, even with such intention in mind, it produces a result rather contrary to its aim – some dots so large that other dots would disappear in their presence and become invisible; and no two dots are identical. It mirrors the condition in present day society, “a society of Equality”. Individuals, some have a larger presence, in fact never pertain equality – power, voice, representation, opportunity. The making of society is done rather individualistically. Each dot is crafted separately but the random operation engenders some dots to grow larger, even engulfing others. The making of a plane of perfect dots requires a careful rendering of small dots, with in mind the notion of respect and sympathy so as to obtain a result in which each individual dot possesses a significant personal space for expansion. The Black—negative space – in fact signifies morality. If individuals lack morality, society is at war and individuals are constantly violating each other. The result is rather catastrophic, no negative space will last and a giant white blob will contain the entire social landscape. Individualism is lost. However, one may contend that individualism is not lost because the dos reside within the giant dot – the state structure; and the subjugation of other dots is an inevitable condition necessary for the unification of dots, hence making them equal in nature. If we follow such logic, we may also conclude that negative space is not lost, but rather, like the white dots, is contained by the giant white dot therefore morality holds place within a larger society. But what if one larger white dot tries to engulf another dot? Are they at war? Are their negative spaces at war? Are the little white dots equal in nature if they reside within different larger dots?

Benji Engee - Making of Dots: On Human Political Condition 10cm X 15cm monotype on german etching paper. 2013.

Winnie Yoe // UI/UX Design

Making our life easier with art By Sage Basilio

Winnie Yoe - Wearable Shelter/Armor “An assignment to create an appendage/apparatus piece, this work can be seen as an iteration of My Shelter. The piece is composed of hand-shaved, carved cedar wooden frame and found branches. Wooden joints are carved at the shoulder part of the frame for flexibility so that it could be easily worn. Frame is designed specifically to my body size. The piece could be considered as having an exterior and interior: where it touches my body is smooth while other parts are either carved or jointed with branches.�

The User Experience Design has become such a big part of our lives and most of us don’t even know it yet. Its full capabilities probably surpass anything we humans can ever comprehend. We certainly don’t give this phenomenal design enough credit—and we really should, because frankly when it comes right down to it, UI/UX design pretty much makes all our lives so much easier. So how does an artist come about on a very technical aspect of design? “Art and design are always physically around us, you can’t really miss them,” Winnie Yoe says. “I think I have always [had] an appreciation for art and design. When I was completing my International Baccalaureate diploma, I dropped Economics for Fine Art. It was probably the best decision I have made.” Winnie found a fascination in design when she took her first design-thinking class during her freshman year at Dartmouth University. “It introduced me to a very different problem-solving approach,” Winnie says. “It led me to my current job at the Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation Lab. I really enjoy my work and love working in a creative, collaborative environment.” What does it take to be an official User Experience Designer? While the primary goal is to make the interaction between a computer and its user fundamentally easier, the Designer needs to go through a whole heck load of nuts to get there, like: executing interaction design and visual design as a part of a multi-disciplinary team, consulting with clients, researching interaction design trends, researching technology trends, and have damn good knowledge on software and Web applications that are emerging in the scene everyday! “It really depends on the project and the audience,” Winnie says about the conceptual principles in her design. “In general, I appreciate user-centric designs that are clean and intuitive. I also believe in design for change…I think design could bring a huge positive impact.”

Where does your inspiration hail from? “I am influenced by anti-art concepts. I make small-scale work usually because I do not agree with the replacement of content with form. Much of my work is interactive because I want to break down the authority of the artists in Art.” Because a lot of Winnie’s work possesses a somewhat ephemeral quality, it is important to recognize the extensive groundwork user-experience designers go through on a daily basis. “My design [is often] collaborative so a lot of times it is about compromising and also just discussing what works better. You have a lot of grand ideas but sometimes you can’t execute all of them—[albeit] practical reasons or [simply lack of resources]. So often you have to think of what the most important feature is of the design and you focus and try to do that well. Then if it is possible, refine the other parts.”

“I don’t think I have a systematic approach to how I do it. I think a lot of times when I have an idea, I get my hands dirty and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t.”

With artists like Winnie, it never really is books, music or paintings or whatnot that get them going. “Interpersonal relationships [and] specific incidents,” she says. “I also love to embrace chance and elements of surprises.” And like many other fellow successful artists, she has her own sense of humor: “My friends at the lab I work at joke about starting a company on a yacht island, so maybe that is where my future career will head.” As for her next projects, Winnie aspires to start on an artist book that deals with biased and offensive incidents that she herself experienced in school. “I think there are many ways for social activism,” she says. “And I chose to channel my anger and frustration into my art, creating something that is not necessarily in your face, but something that is powerful, reflective and hopefully, smart.”

“ ‘In modern art, however, the role of the tiny was usually narrowly and often negatively, framed. For much of this century, expressive power in art was correlated with impressive size’ - Curator Ralph Rugoff (At the Threshold of the Visible: Miniscule and Small-Scale Art 1964-1996) Scale is an important concern in my artistic practice. Unless for a specific reason, my art is humble in scale in opposition to the conventaional artistic standard that “big and masculine = great”, or as art historian and critic Babara Rose concludes, “the replacement of content by scale”. The piece is a response to a peer assignment, in which a classmate gave me the prompt to make something as big as my size. In the performance, I asked the same classmate who gave me the prompt to put the cage on me and I stayed inside the cage until someone decided to release me.”

Garde Magazine #1  

The very first issue of Garde Magazine brings you seven creators around the world. Garde Magazine aims at revealing ideas, thoughts and conc...