Editor In-Chief & Creative Director
Rebecca Moore Managing Editor
Bianca Spada Contributing Creative Director
Art & Culture
Simone La Rose
Katre Laan, Francesco Leto, Rebecca Norris
Jade Douse, Gabrielle Stival, Vicki Carr
Head creative designer
Carolyn Jones, Maya Littman, Gemma Lewis
My name is Arsida Smajli, Im originally from Albania I’m a fashion graduate from Ravensbourne Collge. While there I specialised in womenswear. After I finished my collection Italian Vogue picked it up where it got featured in their Emerging Designers. My work also featured in Volt and also showcased in Showcase London exhibition. I also love to illustrate whether is my friends, family or any random objects. I find inspiration in everyday things, and beings. Working with Idol allowed me to expand my knowledge. At the moment I’m creating a series of illustrations for a fashion designer and I'm also currently working on my new fashion collection.
Javier Garrido Gómez
Javier was born in 1984 in El Puerto Santa María, Cádiz, southern Spain. He completed his undergraduate studies in his home town, before moving on to the university of Seville where he graduated in Adverstising and Public Relations in 2007. Javier moved to London in early 2010 and created his own brand for his freelance projects, cincoperlas.com. Among other works he illustrated the book "Sam and Jam space explorers" that was published in February 2011 when he joined the IDOL Magazine team where he is heading the graphic department.
Jane Tranter, Eleni Cashell Jenny Hellstrom Fer Decartaya
Was born in Cartaya (SPAIN), stylist by nature, he studied fashion designer in Seville but his dream has always been stylist, so he went to Barcelona for study and he worked as assitent with Manu Araujo…he lerned everything about fashion with him. and in one year, he started to work alone. currently he lives in London and he is working in IDOL MAGAZINE…his next destination is New York…
Special thanks to Colors Republic Ltd.
Reproduction of any part of this publication is strictly prohibited without prior permission from the publishers including all logos, titles and graphic elements. All rights reserved Copyright 2011 by IDOL LTD.
Jenny Hellstrom, swedish London-based makeup artist with 6 years in the business, started working with Idol in may 2010 and creates makeup looks for the magazine on a monthly basis. Loves; the creativity, the pubs and themild weather condition in London.
22 year old self taught fashion photographer. Lives and works in London.
I am Elne - I am a portrait photographer. At this very right moment I live and create in London, although quite often I fi nd myself sitting on a plane or train and getting somewhere thousands of miles away. Besides my passion for traveling, I have the deepest love for my work which is photography, this makes me feel the lucky one ;)
The Future Belongs To The Fearless Emily Mergaert
Born in Sweden and raised in Canada, Emily displayed a creative mind and passion for the art of makeup. After completing an education in Fashion, Emily continued to pursue makeup artistry focusing on Fashion, Beauty, Print & Commercial work. The strength of Emily’s style comes not only with her technical skill and use of colour but also through her ability to adapt to any client’s vision. Emily has since moved to London where she is pursuing makeup artistry and working on cutting edge projects including Idol Magazine.
Jeff Hahn is a London-based photographer originally from Hong Kong. At 21, he has shot editorials for various local and international magazines such as Kee, Post Magazine, WestEast Magazine and Peninsula Magazine, as well as online platforms such as Vice Style and East Village Boys. For this issue, Jeff shot Cow Boys and Indians.
Freelance photographer, Magazine Editor and General Nuisance...since dropping out of university, Elliott has tried different methods to stay out the gutter. Elliott regularly shoots for Disorder, Blend, Fiasco and Idol magazines.
Join the circus, write a novel. Become a dancer, a singer, a designer, a filmmaker, a politician or an activist. Don’t fear the worst but be driven for the best. Nobody gets anywhere by not moving forward and the only way anything can be achieved is by pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. The future as it always has, belongs to the fearless. There is no future if boundaries remain untouched and ideas unchallenged. Ideas and morals have developed over time as people have defied critics and challenged what they know, IDOL celebrates those people that challenge the consensus and lead us to something new.
Its not about ignoring fears of rejection or criticism, but its about not letting it hold you back, if everybody stopped themselves from potential failure then nothing would be achieved, nothing would be challenged, fashion wouldn’t evolve, music wouldn’t excite and film wouldn’t inspire. Fear is an important part in motivation, the prospect of creating something that inspires and excites people should be enough to overcome any reservations that you might fail.
Amar started his career as model when he was 17. A few years later he decided to study P h o t o g r a p h y . H e u s e d modelling as a stepping stone to learn techniques and make contacts in the industry. Amar went on to assist a variety of fashion photographers, and worked on shoots for clients such as Vogue and Elle. His client list now includes Jaeger, ASOS and Purple PR.
IDOL looks to boundary-pushers in everything from fashion and extreme sports to music and art. In our first issue, we look at inspirational and fascinating talents, both established and aspiring.
Rebecca Moore Editor-In-Chief
THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE FEARLESS
Latex Dress-Elliot Joseph Rentz Leather Harness- Elliot Joseph Rentz
Leather Jacket: Bobby Abley Trousers: Topshop Trunks: 2xist
Jumpsuit- Asger Juel Larsen @ Blow PR Necklace- Stylists own
Mesh Head Piece & Dress by Pam Hogg @ Snow PR
Head piece- Pam Hogg Dress- E.G by Emma Griﬃths Tulles- American Apparel and Beyond Retro
Black Taﬀetta Mac- E.G by Emma Griﬃths Tuelles- America Apparel and Beyond Retro Suspender Belt-Beyond Retro Fox Tail Boxer Cuﬀ- Bitching Junkfood
Leather Jacket-‐ customized by Ben Kyle Tank top and necklace-‐ Stylists own
Dress- Falguni & Shane Peacock CuďŹ€- Felder Felder @ Goodley
Bra Top- Anthony Vaccarello @ Browns Wings- Two Weeks
Top- TopShop Skirt- American Apparel Body Piece- Pam Hogg Shoes- TopShop Unique
Leather Zip Up- Qasimi Homme @ Blow PR White Sweater- Topman
Knit tank- James long Leather shorts- KTZ Leather boots- Underground Ring- Stylists own
Photography by Elliot Morgan Creative Director Rebecca Moore Styling by Jessica Duﬃn and Ryan Davis MUA Xabier Celaya Assistants: Gabrielle Stival, Vicki Carr, Heather Shears Models: Chloe @ Nevs, Russel @ Elite
You have been described as inventive and original, do you think fashion is as radical as it was when you started designing? I don't really check out what’s going on so I'm not fully equipped to comment. I just know that when I started there seemed to be a lot more openness to true creative output. Maybe things are a little more stifled now, there may be something or someone at the helm of this fashion thing not open to adventurous minds, but the true ones wont be directed by anyone and will shine through eventually. Where do you get your influence from when designing? A muddle of chaos in my mind. What era do you think fashion was at its best? I can answer that question more in terms of music, I'm not really knowledgeable in fashion.
What do you think of fashion now, are there any young designers that are exciting you? I think I'll have to sit down one day and check them all out. I never read magazines or have much to do with fashion in that sense, but I get asked so many times so maybe I should explore fashion with the same intensity I do music and be able to give you an answer.
Musician, artist, fashion designer and all round legend, Pam Hogg has been a notable force in fashion since the eighties, shooting to fame with her fearless and outrageous designs. Working between music and fashion, with little drive for fame and wealth, Pam has been motivated by her desire to create and inspire. Declared ‘the catalyst behind alternative London’ at the forefront of eighties fashion, her studded leather and PVC creations shocked the fashion masses and made her internationally renowned. Self taught and without rules, Pam played with fashion, boldly and audaciously mixing sportswear with S&M to form provocative, costume-like pieces. However unsatisfied by fashion, she constantly turned to her passion for music, sharing the stage with The Pogues and Debbie Harry. Never one for limits, she applied her talents to directing fashion films for art exhibitions, script and song writing, before an almighty return to the catwalk in 2009 with Hogg-Couture. Pam is unapologetic and unfazed by criticism, determined to follow through her ideas as a passion rather than an economic vehicle. Demonstrating that you have to be fearless if you want to make an impression, push yourself and gain respect. IDOL speaks to the renowned and respected designer and rock star about her about her inspirations, radical fashion and how to make it in the industry. You have had a long and varied career, with fashion design and music have you got any stand out moments that you are really proud of? Pride is a complex word… I don't feel proud but I feel
What are your next plans? My next show. What advice would you give to young designers trying to get into the fashion industry, do you think it’s more difficult or easier than when you started?
satisfied that I’ve done my utmost to keep my integrity intact in industries where they can chew up creatives and knock them off course.
Only get into it if you mean it for real. It’s too hard if you're not prepared to work your arse off. Your favourite city? And why? To live it has to be London, because its the most vibrant city in the world but I'd like to get back to New York again sometime for a couple of months as it's good to have a change of view. Who would play you in the film of your life? Oh… difficult question… someone like Juliette Lewis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange rolled into one. What is your biggest fear? Fear. The most fearless person that you know? Why? …Will have to think about this one, my phone keeps going off and knocking my concentration… What was the scariest moment in your life? Waiting to hear if my mother was going to live or die. Who is your idol? I don't have any, but there are many people I respect and admire.
Have you had any knockbacks and moments of doubt that made you question what you were doing? I've had setbacks for sure but my determination has just made me stronger. Where do you go to when you need to feel inspired? I'm always inspired. It's a break and luxury to read a book these days, but then a good book will inspire me too, it's never ending. It's like watching crashing waves, the intensity of the vision is a source that can set in motion inspiration of some kind.
Interview by Bianca Spada Design and illustration by Javier Garrido Pictures courtesy of Chris Moore @ Catwalwing.com (S/S 2011 Collection)
Standing tall, slender, blonde and shiny - she grabs wolf whistles from admiring builders as she struts down the street. Spotted on the front row and featured in everything from iD to Vogue Italia. Pandemonia is not a new IT girl or rock star offspring-turn-model. Covered head to toe in latex, she is a living, breathing; walking, talking piece of post-modern art. Perplexed and fascinated, IDOL asks who is Pandemonia? Photography by Elliot Morgan
For those who may not know, who is Pandemonia? Pandemonia is a post pop artist. She is that 7 feet tall slim, shiny, blonde” that has been at all the best events over the last year. She always has the most striking looks and gets constantly photographed. What do you wish to achieve through Pandemonia? To reach as many people as possible. I see myself as a story, a work in progress. News items need a story. It’s not enough to have a strong image you need the narrative to go with it. The best way to reach people is to be the story. I am a story with legs. What was the inspiration behind this? Watching perfect lives on the screen. Chasing “The Big Other”, the unobtainable. Why did you choose to display your artwork in this way? I present myself as a celebrity, after all is not celebrity the currency all the world over? To me it makes sense to cut out the middle-man and show my work directly to the public. It’s the interaction between myself and the public that becomes interesting. My photographs look good because I am all image. I am a product. My product is an idea, you can get it in an instant. I think I look best when I’m photographed
in the media. What better way is there to comment on celebrity than to be in the very same publications they are in. Last weeks Alex Reid fiasco in the tabloids is a good example. I hope Katie Price didn’t suddenly go blonde on my account. They blew the story totally out of proportion. Your name appears to be derived from the word pandemonium, what was the meaning behind the choice? Pandemonium means chaos. Out of chaos comes creativity. Besides you should see the pandemonium I create amongst the photographers when I turn up. You make all your clothes yourself – how many outfits do you have? Yes I make everything myself, I call them “Art creations”. They are more than “clothes” they are “political expressions”. They are symbols of lifestyle and aspiration. My appearance points to the manufactured ideal. How many do I have? Not nearly enough! How do you feel you have you been received by the general public, industry and the media? Amazement, bemusement it’s all the same to me. I do get photographed a lot by the public. They are
fascinated by what I am doing. The fashion industry has been giving me front row tickets to London Fashion week and various private parties. Acne gave me tickets to their London Fashion Week show at Kensington Palace. I guess someone there likes me. Over the last year I have been gaining more media attention. One magazine said “Pandemonia - A Messiah sent to earth by Andy Warhol” That’s a good media endorsement. What is your perception on women and how they are portrayed in the media and society? That’s a complicated subject. It depends where and who they are being portrayed by. Generally women are shown from a man’s point of view. A lot of adverts encourage insecurities simply to shift more products. If you ruled the world what would it be like? It would be “Plastic Fantastic!” Of course. If you were to hold a dinner party would be your 12 guests? Salvador Dali, just because. Paris Hilton as I haven’t met her yet. Tracey Emin for some art. Vivienne Westwood for fashion tips. Andy Warhol - it would be the only way I’d get to speak to him. Mae West for entertainment. J Joplin, Robert Crumb - he likes cartoons. Banksy - so curious to know who he is. Muhammad Ali - I already have is autograph. Cruella De Vil - don’t you all just love villains. What’s the one thing you would never leave home without? A decent pair of shoes! IDOL sees you as modern art- how do you define yourself? I’m just an artist doing my thing. My works is actually quite traditional. I am exploring the meanings of things that drive our lives. What is the future of Pandemonia? Next year I am doing a sculpture show. It is going to be a continuation of my ideas, a blend of commercialism, fashion and art. I am actively looking for a sponsorship. I am taking it to the next level.
What message would Pandemonia ultimately like to leave the world? Someone who explored the meaning of things. Questions “who are we?” “Who are you?” To be able to get people to think about who they are and what motivates them would be a good legacy. Who is your IDOL? Oh Paris Hilton! Of course! Just a flick of her hair creates a tornado on the other side of the world. Now that’s what I call the Butterfly effect. If only Edward Lorenz could have witnessed that.
Black knitted jersey PAUL&JOE, shoulder pin GUESS, tights BEYOND RETRO, necklace and ring ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, shoes TOPSHOP
Dress ELL & CEE, underwear AMBR SAKAI, jean bag (money belt) GUESS, bracelletes and ring ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, jean jacket ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, boots DUNE
Right: T-shirt GUESS, underwear ?多, blazer BEYOND RETRO, pistol necklace SPANNER & NINGUT, necklace and ring ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, brazalet ?多,shoes MAGNANNI
Left: Bow tie AMMERICAN APPAREL, alter gloves H&M, shoes URSULA MASCARO
Jumpsuit ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, black leather jacket URBANOUTFITERS, beize leather jacket in shoulder GUESS, ring ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, bracelets 多?, boots DKNY
Jacket PARRASTOO DEHGHANIAN, black underwear LASCIVIOUS, black trousers AMBER SAKAI, ring SPANNER & WINGNUT, earring FLEATHERS BY LINDA SMITH, shoes PRING
PHOTOGRAPHER: Amarpaul Kalirai STYLIST: Fer Decartaya MAKE-UP ARTIST: Rocio Cordero HAIR STYLIST: Noriko Takayama using Bumble ans Bimble MODEL: Diana @ Elite Models
Massive congratulations on becoming the BBC sound of 2011, and for your Brit award – how does this all this success feel so early on in your career? It is surreal. You spend years preparing for it and when it finally happens you go “errr! This is really hard!” But it’s been really fun to have the support that I’ve had from everybody. I like a bit of pressure, me. I like the expectation and people going is she as good live? I have to work hard, but the success is only something you can dream for as an artist. There are a lot of people that try and try and try and never get where they want to be, and I’m flying to where I want to go so quick. I’m just trying to enjoy it all. How have you taken all the media attention? Pretty cool. I’ve never really been a fan of people knowing who I am, in a weird way. I wish I could do what I do without the fame, or the people knowing my face when I go out down the street. But it’s all been really positive which is nice because I know it can be the opposite. I think I’ve just got to take it in my stride and it comes along with the game, as they say. What part of your success to date has been the highlight? Probably winning the Brit award you know? It was one of those things that I have been chasing since I was a kid, always saying I want a Brit award. Ever since that award (the BRIT critic’s choice award that Jessie was awarded in December)
has become available, I was like “I wanna win that!” So to win it before I’ve even released anything has given me the belief in myself that dreams can come true. I would say your music is pretty diverse with contrasting sounds in “Do It Like A Dude” and “Price Tag”. For any IDOL readers that haven’t heard you, how would you describe you sound? I always describe it as emotional therapeutic pop music. It doesn’t have any limits or boundaries. I think people forget that pop music means popular, and isn’t just bubblegum or singing about being in a club. I really want my music to have substance and to have a global appeal. I want the whole world to be able to love and share it. My album bleeds into rock, into pop, into RnB, into reggae, it’s really diverse. How did the label take that, because normally they want a very definitive sound for their artists? That’s why its taken me five years. I wasn’t gonna stand down, or back off from what I wanted to do. I could never box myself or pigeon-hole myself to one sound. I look up to artists like Prince, Beyonce, D-Train, and Rihanna – look at Rihanna from ‘Pon de replay’ to now, totally different but all her songs are amazing so people just don’t care. If it’s good music, it’s good music. It’s meant I’ve had a lot more pressure because trying to do that on your first album isn’t very easy. The online thing helped me so much to really help me get an honest reaction from people. There have been songs where
I’ve been like, ok I don’t think people are really feeling this as much as this song. But I’m a risk taker. I don’t get up every day and put on the same clothes and listen to the same album on repeat, and eat the same food. Everyone wants a little bit of a difference, and that’s what I stand for. I get bored otherwise. I think it’s important to have an album that you can put on when you’re feeling sad, happy, when you want to go out – it gives you a little bit of everything. You are releasing the album here and over in the States simultaneously – what made you decide to take that step? We’re doing a global release. There will be slightly different tracks on the different albums, which will mean people can get more songs, which I think is even better. Your persona in the “Do It Like A Dude” video is a hard and powerful character – is that the real you? Not at all! That is the Jessie J that is taking the mickey out of herself. I was laughing at myself every time the camera turned off! It’s really weird that people think I’m that character in real life, when I’m the least scary person you’ll ever meet in your life. Why did you choose to be like that in the video then? Because I can. I act as well as I sing. I think it’s important to be diverse. I think if you want to be an artist you have to be able to create art. I don’t want to roll around in the grass – maybe I will one day, but it’s my first video so I wanted to do something that is going to get people talking. I think that if I’d just done your average love song on a piano, walking around a hill in America, no one would have paid any attention. I want to be controversial without being offensive. I want to be a UK pop icon. That video made people go, who the hell is this girl, whether they loved it or hated it. Do you have a lot of creative control then? Yes. Everything – videos, styling, makeup. I mean I have a makeup artist for videos and photo-shoots and that’s it. I style myself every day, do my hair and makeup. “Dare Jessie J” was my idea. I’m creating my own website called ‘Be true to who you are’, a massive online campaign to make people feel like they belong. I don’t want to be a dummy, I don’t want to be a clothes horse. I want young people to know that if you put your mind to it you can do whatever you want and I want to be a role model and I think that if I had someone dressing me, writing my songs, having all the creative input then what am I doing – I’m cashing in at the end of the day and going to all the parties, and that’s not really what I’m about. I think that is so admirable, and also what IDOL is really about… Yeah it’s not easy. I’ve been doing this for seven years now and I’ve been signed for six years. People say “oh she’s only been around for five minutes”, but it’s like, get to know before you judge. It’s important for young people to know that I don’t
take myself too seriously. As soon they see the ‘Price tag’ video they’ll understand that the ‘Do it like a dude’ video was me just taking the piss out of myself! So as someone who has followed your career from the offset, I’d say the launch of your solo career has been a long time coming. I know you’ve had some serious health issues, and Gut records obviously bust as well, so have there been times when you thought about packing it all in? Yeah there have been times. Not because I don’t believe in myself, but because I wasn’t happy. One thing that my mum and dad have always raised me on is however much you love what you do sometimes it doesn’t make you happy, and there was very much a point in my life where everyone I was surrounded by was trying to take things from me instead of helping me get to where I needed to be. When you’re young and naïve and you don’t know much about the industry, people steal money from you, and this and that, it’s not easy. It shouldn’t be easy and I never want it to be easy, but obviously at the time it’s like, my life’s awful! I can’t do this! But I soldiered through it and I said, you know what, (and my mum and dad can quote this, my sister, friends) I only carried on for my fans. At some points I was like, I’m not doing this for the record label, I’m not doing this for myself, I’m doing it for my fans. I’m doing it for the young people that need me. That’s what kept me going. That was your turning point? It was a realisation that when I get messages on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, saying, “I was going to take my life last week and then I heard who you are”. You can’t at 22 years old read something like that and walk away from this. It’s not fair and not just. Obviously I have to think about myself too, I’ve had a few points where I’ve felt so fed up of proving myself, and having to explain myself and argue about what songs I’m going to do, and I don’t want to wear a bikini so it’s difficult a lot of the time. People don’t see behind the scenes. But I soldiered through and I’m glad I did because it just shows that hard work and determination can get you where you need to be. Do you have a fashion icon? Rihanna. Everything she puts on I’m like, I want that! I’m getting better with my fashion knowledge. I’m very honest and open about the fact that I’ve never studied it, I’ve never really been that interested in it. I love fashion but I’ve never had the time to sit and learn about it all. I’m getting there now – I’ve got the designers that I love. I love Moschino, Roberto Cavalli, Vivienne Westwood, my Louboutins. I’m loving Topshop and your high street shops too. Is it true that you are writing Britney’s next single? No it’s not true. I never said it. I met the guy that said that I said it, and I was like “why did you lie!” and he was like “you kind of said it” – no I didn’t! I was sent the beat, and was told to put a top-line melody on it, and that beat may be Britney’s
I want to be controvesial without being offensive. I want to be a UK pop icon.
next single, but not what I wrote to it. I haven’t written anything or put forward any ideas. If it does happen, wonderful, if it doesn’t I’ll just write another hit for myself. I’m not putting pressure on myself. I’ve got Britney fans hating me down on twitter! So I’ve got a nice journalist to thank for that. At least now I know where he’s from… !! I’m sure you get sick of being asked this but how did you get the opportunity to write “Party In The USA”, and get that in Miley Cyrus’ hands? I literally had just signed to my record label after feeling like my world had collapsed and no one had wanted to sign me in the UK. I flew to the US to do some writing, and did a few showcases, and got spotted by every label that existed in the US. I spent about four weeks meeting Clive Davis, and LA Reid (industry legends). I decided to sign to Republic. I flew back again (this was about two years ago). I passed my driving test, which was very important! And I decided to make some changes to my career and really go for it. I got a new lawyer, a new manager and I flew to the US on the 6th January. I literally stayed out in Hollywood for three months. They threw me into the writing for the album. Obviously, I’d been writing the album for years – songs like Mama knows best – they’d all been kept from seven years ago. But I went into the studio with loads of people, and one day I went in with Dr Luke and Claude Kelly and we wrote ‘Party in the USA’ and it was about me, and about my journey coming to America, and about being nervous and having the pressure on my shoulders, and creating a party in the USA. The label heard it and thought that this could be a single, but they just didn’t think it was edgy enough for me. Dr Luke knew Miley was looking for a single, it was sent to her and she completely loved it. She recorded it and I flew home. I’ve never met her. And within 3 weeks it went to number one. And in six countries.
You’ve spent a lot of time in the USA – which music scene do you prefer?
where I can have what I want on there. I’m really happy with this first album. I think it really reflects me.
UK. The UK always feel like they’re fighting to be noticed in the US scene. There are bits of each that I love though. I love the UK scene for its rawness, honesty and griminess. But I love that the Americans are very polished. Every time I get on a plane I feel like I’m taking the whole of Britain with me – I’m like, come on guys, we can do this! I’m looking forward to conquering America as a female UK artist.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?
And you’ve got some big fans there already. I read that Justin Timberlake said you have the best voice in the world right now… Yeah, pressure! How would you feel if he said that to you! He was lovely. We spent 2 weeks in the studio and did loads of tracks together. He gave me some great advice. He’s been around in the game for years and for someone like him to take the time out to really mentor me for a few weeks and be so nice about me, it was an honour. There have been a lot of people in the US who have really taken the time out, like Kelly Rowland came to my gig and talked to me afterwards. It’s just lovely – it makes me want to succeed even more for the UK. I also read a few days ago that Tinchy Stryder said in an interview that he’d like to collab with you… Oh God… I think Tinchy’s really cool. We’re on the same label so you never know (sounds unlikely, somehow!) I was just in the studio yesterday with Devlin, he’s from Essex too so we were like yeeeaaah. And he’s put a nice little surprise on one of the tracks that’s gonna be on the radio very soon.
What is your next single?
So I guess you have all these tracks, with all these amazing artists and producers – are you trying to narrow them down now for the album?
Price Tag. I’ve just been sent the video – I’m very excited. It’s so different! There’s a line in the video, “low blows and videos hos” – and the ho in the video is me. It just shows people I was taking the mickey in the “Do it like a dude” video and I don’t grab my crotch that often in real life!
Yeah I mean I wrote 600 tracks for the album, and the album is going to be 12. (600???) – Yeah, I’ve been writing it for 7 years so I should have written a few! Some of them were crappy, but some I’m kinda gutted that they haven’t made it. However there will be a time when I can bring out a CD
I’d love to have a number one album. I’d love to start a charity. I really want to open youth centres across the UK. Take my campaign ‘Be true to who you are’ around schools and work places, make it a bigger campaign than it is now. I want to be working with Prince, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ellie Goulding, Tinie Tempah. I want to be making great music, but ultimately I want to be happy. I want my life not to be all over the tabloids, that’s not the chick I want to be. How do you feel about the perception that you are so clean-living? Because I don’t drink and I don’t smoke – it is frustrating. Yes, I did have a minor stroke 4 years ago and I do have a heart condition, but it doesn’t affect me every day and can we talk about my music now. I think it’s important for people to know that I’ve had a struggle. However, there are people worse off than me, without legs and fighting cancer. I do get bored of talking about my health. I feel like people have to feel like they have a story about me. It’s all they got right now. But I do need my sleep, and could never physically smoke or take drugs, but I will have a drink sometimes, the odd glass of mulled wine or Pimms. When I read that, I found it inspirational at the same
I love the UK scene for its rawness, honesty and griminess.
Young people don’t have to smoke or get drunk every night. You’re a good role model. The only thing that worries me is that I’ve never said that I’ll never drink, so I’m scared that if I have a glass of wine and got snapped, it will say “Jessie J said she’d never drink”. All my friends that know me know that if I have a shandy I’ll be in bed because I’ll be so drunk! It’s just how I am. I have to go on stage pure – I can’t be intoxicated with a spliff, or a double G&T. I come from a family of people who are just happy being them. You can be cool by just being you. Finally, as we are IDOL magazine we have to ask who are your IDOL’s? My mum and dad. My family are my best friends. My mum and dad are two of the most amazing people in the world. Dad’s a social worker and has dedicated his life to saving other people’s. Those are the footsteps I want to follow on with my music. And my mum is the most caring person you’ll ever meet. They’ve been married 30 years, have set such a good example. They’re totally in love with each other, they go on dates, they are so positive and they live life to the fullest. So inspirational. My musical idol was Whitney. She made me want to sing. But now I aspire to Beyonce. There’s nothing she can’t do.
Words by Holly Rubenstein Photography Elne
In 1979 in a small, crowded club on a Tuesday night in London's Covent Garden, the 80s arrived. Outlandish clothing and jewellery adorned fashion and art's best and brightest at the beginning of a kind of underground renaissance. The political climate was bleak. Britain was in an economical slump and relying on Thatcher's Conservative government to help fi ll the deficit. Graduate jobs were at an all time low and youth culture was fighting back against the austerity of the time. In London, Britain's young people turned to the fl amboyance of Ziggy Stardust that was alive and well in the Bowie themed Blitz club. The club night was the brainchild of Steve Strange and Rusty Egan, two like-minded visionaries who met on the King's road just at the end of Punk. They took a midweek slot running local nightclub, Billy's, which eventually moved to its famous slot at the Blitz. The club's guest list, had there been one, would have read like an 80s who's who. Regulars included Siouxie Sioux, Perri Lister, DJ Princess Julia and Carl Teper. The cloakroom was progenitor of quintessential 80s icons Boy George and Marilyn. Avantgarde was the order of the day and both men and women drapede themselves in frills with heavily kohled eyes. Synth and bass heavy dance music dominated the decks at the Blitz and a string of New Wave artists followed suit. Spandau Ballet, founded from within the club's ranks, took synthpop out of the clique and brought it into the charts, for the masses. Strange and Egan later found their own chart success, forming New Wave band, Visage, with Midge Ure. The Blitz also attracted established musicians such as Madonna and Bowie himself. His video for Ashes to Ashes was filmed in the club and featured some of its most prominent faces.
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The fashion industry mirrored the movement and labels synonymous with the Blitz Kids displaced Vivian Westwood's punk staple, SEX as the frontrunner in London fashion. BOY London was probably the best known brand with its bold logo emblazoned onto tank tops and t-shirts. It became part of the distinctive uniform of the typical Blitz Kid. It wasn't long before the newspapers took the coveted image of the Blitz and ran with it. In an effort to pin down the unique identity of the club that was seeping into the main stream, they eventually coined the name the New Romantics. This stereotype became one of the buzz words of the 80s, associated with Adam Ant and Duran Duran. The ultra-cool Blitz Kids were virtually forgotten. Tuesday nights at the Blitz lasted only a year. By the time 1980 arrived Visage had taken off and outgrown the club scene. The Blitz's characters were swept up into the music and fashion industries; many of them are at the forefront of their fields today. The 80s have always been a decade to provoke nostalgia and cheesy club nights. Now it seems like the essence of the 80s is back. Blitz inspired club nights run by Rusty Egan are doing the rounds in Soho and BOY has collaborated with Urban Outfitters to produce a line of T-shirts. Protesters gather in the streets are we are once again being sold the ideals of entrepreneurship to take the sting out of public sector cuts. However 80s nights seem like a step backwards, into the overdone, maybe we should be looking to the clubs of Dalston or Brighton for outlandish inspiration, to act as a sartorial antidote to bankers, sensibility and the Big Society. Words by Rebecca Norris Illustration by Arsida Smajli
Hailing from Minnesota, the formidable twins and design duo Coco and Breezy are slowly gathering pace in the fashion world. Since breaking out from the Midwest to New York City less than two years ago, the sisters have swiftly gathered a horde of high profile fans, all lining up to get a piece of their eyewear. IDOL speaks to the talented twosome about their challenges, achievements and dream client. You girls are originally from Minnesota, what was it like growing up there? Growing up in Minnesota, we were never really accepted. We always had a different style, and were very much into fashion. Minnesota is a very pretty place to live, but there is no fashion, and people are very small-minded there, when it comes to being different. We felt that we couldn’t live our dream in MN, and NYC was for us. We always stood out, and kept to ourselves Have you both always been into fashion or was one initially keener than the other? For the most part, we have both always been into fashion. I would have to say Coco was a little into fashion earlier then Breezy. But we both came together, and have the same love and passion for fashion. Where did the idea of designing sunglasses come from? Coming from Minnesota, a non-fashion state, we always got stared and laughed at. We started creating our own eyewear, because we were always into sunglasses, art and blocking ourselves from the world. What prompted you to move to New York? We came to NYC for our 19th birthday, and that was the time we were just creating our eyewear for Dezirae, shootme@Deziraeb.com
Go Getter Duo
ourselves.Since people from our hometown are late with fashion, they never understood them. So when we came to NYC, it just confirmed that this was the place we needed to be. Everyone loved our eyewear, and wondering where they could get it. So we saw that this could work, since it was so new to the market. After our trip to NYC, we went back home and quit our retail jobs, sold our car, and told our parents we wanted to move. They said, “Girls, go for it.” So we came to NYC, with hardly anything but a new product and faith. Working so closely do you ever have creative differences and if so how are these resolved? For the most part, we are a perfect balance. One of us will start a project, and the other will finish it. We both have different traits that we are better at, so it equals out. What’s the biggest challenge you have had to overcome so far in your career? I think everyday is a challenge. Being consistent is also a challenge. I guess just being in NYC, and being able to survive working for ourselves. We have no family here, so we have no choice but to work extra hard. It’s definitely a blessing that we started our business at 19, and we are now 20 and have been working for ourselves since we started the eyewear.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement so far? Oh man, we have achieved a lot of things we had always dreamed of! There are none any bigger than the others. Having our product sold in stores worldwide. It’s also crazy seeing different singers and actors I grew up being fans of, are now fans of our work and they wear our eyewear. We also got to be part of “Born Designers” which was a project that took place in Courchevel, France. It felt amazing to be part of the same project as the successful designers. We also did a co-branding with French designer “Vuarnet,” for the born designer festival. We ‘Coco & Breezy-ed’ one of their helmets. There have been a lot of achievements that I can’t even list. But we don’t let that stop us from wanting to work harder for even more. Who would you say would be your dream client? I can see Katy Perry wearing our new collection “Wearable Art.” Which consist of amazing accessories. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to create their own fashion label or collection? I would say to make sure you have a lot of passion and love for what it is you want to do. Creating your own fashion line or collection does take a lot of work. With passion and love you will do what ever it takes to get what you want and to live your dreams. Creating a collection or brand takes more then just designing. Make sure you run it like a real business. Anyone can create anything; it’s really about branding and marketing. So with that being said, go for your dreams! Who are your IDOLs? Or anyone that has inspired you? Honestly, I would have to say that we inspire each other. We give each other motivation everyday, which is amazing. Also, our mom and dad inspire us with their support. Our friends are a huge inspiration as well, we are all young and motivated. All our friends are all doing their thing, and it’s amazing that we are all working for our dreams, and living our dreams all together.
Tom wears: Top, Stylistâ€™s own Leggings by Lucinda Ailes Shoes by Topman Becca wears: Dress by Ashish at Browns Focus Shoes by New Look
Photography: Amar Daved Creative Direction and Styling: Ben Schofield Hair and Make-Up: Emily Mergaert Styling Assistant: Tom Mehrtens Models: Becca Dudley @ Nevs and Thomas T @ MandP
Tom wears: Jacket by Beyond Retro Shorts over Shorts both by American Apparel Shoes by New Look Becca wears: Top by Beyond Retro Skirt by Beyond Retro Socks by American Apparel Shoes by New Look
Tom wears: Shirts both by Topman Shorts worn underneath by JW Anderson for Topman Trousers by Topman Shoes by New Look Becca wears: Shirt and skirts by American Apparel Shoes by New Look
Tom wears: Vest by JW Anderson for Topman under Net Vest by American Apparel Shorts by Topman Becca wears: Top by Topshop Shorts by Topshop
Tom wears: Jumpsuit by Lucinda Ailes Shirt by AAA at Topman Shorts by Topman
Tom wears: Shirt by Topman Shorts by Lucinda Ailes Becca wears: Top by Beyond Retro Skirt by Ashish at Browns Focus Shoes by New Look
Tom wears Top Stylistâ€™s own Leggings by Lucinda Ailes Shoes by Topman
Tom wears: Shirt by Beyond Retro Shorts by Beyond Retro Shoes by New Look Becca wears: Top by Topshop Unique Jeans by Beyond Retro Shoes by New Look
Photography by Elliot Morganâ€‹ Hair and Makeup by Alexis Day Model: Rebecca Kinder @ Profile
Jeffrey Design Interview
Architect turned fashion designer, Jeffrey Michael moved to London from Canada, established the design firm Jeffrey Michael Designs and promptly began creating costume pieces for everyone from Groove Armada to U2, for stage, advertising and television. Taking heavy influence from his five years of training as an architect, Jeffrey uses unusual materials and lighting in his designs, focusing on the idea of â€œorganic futurismâ€? he uses light to sculpt the body in each piece. Pounding through the constraints of traditional fashion design and determined to showcase his work with bigger and more challenging projects lined up this year. IDOL has a chat to the fascinating and ambitious Jeffrey Michael.
Are you planning to ever showcase your collection on a catwalk?
How did you get into fashion design? I moved into fashion through an amazing series of events related to my moving into London. The city sort of has a gravity to pull out the sort of personal expression that you have nurtured if you are a creative person. I studied Architecture and got my degree, and then came to London to develop my own theories on architecture, light, and the human body. What I’m doing now is in essence my thesis of architecture. A relationship between created spaces, and the understanding of the human body in space.
I have thought about this question a lot over the last few months as I realize that this is the way that many of my idols made the leap from small design houses to international brands. Previously, I had kept the idea that my clientele seek out one of a kind, exclusive pieces for their stage performances, or magazine covers, so that they would want something only exclusive to them, unseen by other eyes. Therefore having something like a catwalk in itself would be a new dynamic challenge for me as a designer in creating a way that would allow for those same clients to feel like their piece would be uniquely made for them. I have been thinking of the idea of doing a very exclusive presentation with theatricality and interaction as compared to a classic catwalk. My pieces deal with over the top lighting, and material layering, and need to be seen at both far away and very close up to see all the detail put into them, so for that reason I would love audience and photographers to have close access like in a presentation setting. It also has to do with funding, and organization. It is much easier to organize single pieces with great specificity rather than many pieces, models, spaces and spectators.
How does your experience as an Architect influence your designs? I am completely influenced by the process I was taught in my Architectural classes. I focused my studies on reclaiming old materials and buildings and revitalizing them through light, and expressive analysis of history and process. I was also very inspired by nature and integrating the natural flora and fauna on each of my building sites into the finished product. All of these things have continued into my fashion explorations, including using natural organic layered materials, and creating cladding systems for the human body that wouldn’t be typical of a fashion designer. When I first began I completely shunned fabric as a designing tool, but am slowly warming up to it as I realize I can do many things with new and diverse living and organic fabrics that mimic nature.
What has been your biggest obstacle so far? To be very honest, I feel like the fashion and design world have really opened up their arms to me and really embraced my out of the box thinking. I’m not sure if they just aren’t sure how to label me, so feel like its ok for me to just experience and create in my own way, or if they love things enough to be satisfied just watching, but I have had such amazing response from both clients and magazines alike. I am a very passionate person and I love my clients and reviewers to get as excited as I am about each project because they are all apart of my process. I never had a chance to become bored with a project so it always seems fresh each time a new client comes onboard with JMD. If anything, I would say that I am trying to achieve so many things simultaneously because of wanting to push ahead with my own skills, so as with most designers I’m sure it is their own inner dialogue that can get too full.
What is the inspiration behind your pieces? I am very much inspired by lighting and how it relates to space and the body. When I create a piece I am thinking of how a woman can be unique and beautiful, highlighting all of her best features through shapes, light, and colour palette. I look to nature for patterns and layering devices, such as wheat, leaves, fish scales, bird feathers, etc. These natural processes have emerged over thousands of years of evolution and are so intricate and beautiful when looked at very closely, and I think this is a very exciting place to look as a fashion technology integration process.
model credited as Dudley O'Shaughressy @ Next Models.
What has been your biggest achievement so far? For me, the biggest 'aha' moment was seeing my paper dress on the cover of Random Magazine last year on Diana Vickers. I came up with the idea on the spot at a party chatting with the editors of the magazine as a sort of 'well if you gave me the chance I would do this and this'. When they said yes immediately I was a bit thrown aback, but regained composure, took a moment, and explained how I would make the piece out the previous issue of magazine to create a magazine cover on the cover, on the cover girl. Great save, and they loved it, and I created the dress in the next few weeks before I shipped off to New York City for my summer projects. It truly was cry worthy seeing it on magazine stands. I am a very emotional person and I think when I first saw it I shouted to the man at the counter to look, and he just sort of rolled his eyes and kept wiping off his counter. For me it marked a new era where saying that I want to design for celebrity clients, and actually doing it moved into existence. Who is your dream client? This is so easy for me. I live and breathe it to make it happen faster each day (Iâ€™m sure to the annoyance of all my friends, family, colleagues, and even pets!) - Beyonce. Hands down. To me she has mastered her thoughts, and actions, and has created around her, a complete world of fantasy and music. Her vision touches every part of her shows, and marketing, and her whole family is involved in the process making sure it all plays out for the publicâ€™s entertainment. I love her music, and respect her business sense, and of course I think she is amazingly talented. I have to say though; it is a very close tie between her and Lady Gaga, who is another person who has pushed through the industry telling her she didn't fit in after many years. I think people like her are a dream because they inspire me to keep going in my strange ways of costume and fashion creation, even though they don't fit the typical type A fashion designer.
Who would you most like to collaborate with? At the moment I have actually just finished collaborating with one of my favourite London designers Ada Zanditon on a UK wide concert piece for Groove Armada, and have in the next month collaborations to work with another idol of mine on a very exciting top-secret project. Because of this I have to now reconsider and move into a realm of new potential collaborations. I can see myself very easily working on a piece with Gareth Pugh, and then as my clientele increases and diversifies, I would love to create a piece with Marc Jacobs. He is not only one sexy man, but a creative genius who modernized an entire luxury brand single handedly. That is talent. What is next for JMD? I feel like this year is going to realize a lot of my aspirations. This year I want to surround myself with truly amazing creative people that inspire me to be a better person in all my design aspects. I would like to bring onboard and collaborate with talented filmmakers, and new artists in the worlds of music and acting. I want to push into really exciting integrated technologies for fashion that bring lighting and textile to a new level never seen before. Couture, living, breathing, organic lighting pieces. I have massive ambition and I hope that because of this I can bring some of my ideas forward and play them out into the international music scene. I Look forward to some very big names wearing JMD this year, and am stoked to see more and more leading ladies and gents wearing one of a kind JMDâ€™s.
model Parker @ Nevs
Having moved from South Africa to Canada at 18, Mariel Clayton had never thought she would end up as an artist, having flirted with it in school but swiftly moving on to hopes of being a journalist, she somehow found herself working as a travel agent. Still working as a travel agent just outside Toronto, Mariel doesn’t just spend her time off lying in front of the TV, but creating and photographing incredible…if not slightly disturbing scenes of Barbie and Ken. Usually involving Barbie murdering Ken in the goriest and most sadistic manner possible, whilst still sporting her perfectly coiffed locks. Mariel says she can’t explain how her mind works, but however it does, IDOL loves it. We speak to the travel agent and part-time doll photographer about her aversion to Barbie, her inspirations and how she sets the scene. You have taken her out of the usual polished context and created a totally different look on her. But why Barbie? Why not her friend Cindy or any other pretty popular doll? Because Barbie is the most widely recognised Doll Icon in the world, there is no other girls’ toy that is as iconic as Barbie, she has the most impact. Did you have a Barbie as a child? What sort of dolls or toys did you play with? I had a lot of toys as a child, I was a spoiled brat and yes, Barbie was included but I was more into puzz-
les, and Lego. I loved to construct things. My best time playing with Barbie was in making her 'house' etc, setting up the kitchen, living room and all that, I never got around to playing with the doll once the 'scene' was set, I got bored and packed everything away. Where did you get the Barbie, Ken and their house, all the furnishings and china for your photography purposes? I make all of the 'rooms' myself, they're usually pieces of Bristol board, and a look for unusual pieces of scrapbooking or wrapping paper to put up on the walls to give everything an ambiance. I have a few pieces of Barbie furniture which I've spray painted white to be more versatile. For the most part though, all of the miniatures and props are made by a Japanese company called 'Re-Ment' and I also have pieces from a company called 'Megahouse' but they no longer make minis anymore. The dolls I just buy from my local toy store, except for one, my Japanese Barbie which I had to order from eBay. When did the “dislike” against Barbie started to emerge? Probably once I hit adolescence and started to realise more the effect that image had on social interaction, and how aesthetics plays such a huge role in the way people engage with you. For me and my brothers we were given a rather genderneutral upbringing in that if I wanted a 'boys toy' I got it, or if they wanted a 'girls toy' they go it so I never really got into the 'little girl' ideal of princesses and pink. Once I got older I began to feel that there is was much emphasis placed on 'being girly and pretty and girly and perfect, rather than on being a person, and it does seem to me that Barbie is a part of that, in that she is given as a toy for children to emulate. Almost every girl gets a Barbie as a child, do you think all young girls want to be Barbies or rather stand out from the crowd? I think there is a bit of a shift away from Barbie as a toy. She is still always popular of course, but I think more now as a collectors item rather than a role model. I applaud Mattel for making more racially authentic (if not body-type authentic) versions of the Barbie doll, but I still wish they would give her more character. I think it's this lack of real depth that is driving girls away from Barbie at a younger age (when I was growing up, I still had friends who
who at 12 were playing with Barbies, whereas now, kids outgrow them after about 8 or 9 years old at the most) and on to other toys that are 'different', and maybe a little darker. I think there's hardly any attention paid to standing out from a crowd now as ever, you are only popular if you conform to the latest 'different' fad. The only people who truly stand out are the ones who are not slavish followers of the latest 'it' thing. What are we on now is it still vampires? Barbie has always been a glamorous woman. What is your emphasis on turning her into an evil psychopath? Because it's so totally opposite to what she is. Who would suspect the shining blonde icon of stereotypical female perfection to be a sadistic murderess? Isn't that how it is with real life socio / psychopaths you can never tell what is lurking there from what the outside shows. I like the juxtaposition of the good and the evil, and the glamour and perfect coiffure that runs through both. What inspires you come up with the idea/background for each photography? It's hard to say, sometimes it may be a phrase, or a pun. Sometimes I am inspired even by the paper backgrounds that I buy, or the miniatures themselves. A lot of the time I see a miniature piece and I think of how I could use it in a picture and I will construct a scene from there. Some days I just wake up with an idea in my head. You mentioned that your fi rst photograph of â€œBarbie was committing suicide in the tub, after Ken had dumped her for another manâ€?. Is a reality check? I think so, we're no longer on the cusp of this social change where homosexuality is still taboo and 'underground' it's fairly mainstream, and for the most part (at least in Canada) happily accepted as normal, so the old stereotypical relationship dilemmas are still there, but with different players now! Your photography has references to iconic masterpieces in the history of Art (e.i. Jacques-Louis David - Death of Marat) and the Japanese culture. Any specific reason to choose those artists or Japan? I'm a very big fan of both art and Japan. For the 'Death of Marat' that was an homage to that painting on my part, it has always been one of my favourites, and I wanted the challenge of recreating it, hopefully with the same impact and artistry that the original has. I really love Japan as a country,
especially the less travelled side of it, it is the most complex place I have ever been to, and yet still so culturally and spiritually rich. Plus I think there is also an emphasis on tradition that I appreciate. It is just one of my favourite places to be and I like to try and recreate the feeling that I get when I'm there.
The first 'dolls' she killed were other Barbies
How did the idea of bad barbies started? It started with the first Barbie suicide picture, after that I started doing more pictures with 'interesting' things happening to Barbie, like her walking in on Ken with another man in the tub, purging in the bathroom etc. The first 'dolls' she killed were other Barbies - it wasn't until quite far into the series that she started to kill Ken. A lot of my friends really got a kick out of those pictures, and I thought they were really funny too so I kept on making them. What message do you would like to leave the world through your work? That nothing and no one are what they seem, there is always something hidden in the details. In most of your work, Barbie is a killer / sociopath, however in the Danbo series she becomes the victim. Any specific reason why the roles have changed? Because it's funny. If I had a series where Ken was constantly killing Barbie, way too much would be read into it along the lines of domestic abuse and the simple humour of what I would be doing would be lost. With the Danbo ones, it's funnier with Danbo killing Barbie, because it's more nonsensical so it becomes about the joke, and not about the subject matter.
Why is DANBO made out of boxes from Amazon Japan? The original Danbo cartoon character was just a pretend 'robot' made out of boxes. The company that manufactures the Danbo, Revoltech, did a special collaboration with Amazon Japan to put their logo on the boxes, there may be more to it than that, I'm just paraphrasing here. But the Amazon ones are more collectible, and I prefer them to the blank ones. How do people react to your work? It's a mixture of reactions for the most part it's very positive, a lot of people 'get' the joke and see what I'm trying to do so they respond very well. The negative comments, usually I can understand their reactions and talk to them about it which is great, and that's what I like to do, see reactions and create a dialogue. For the few people who have attacked me personally, well, them I usually don't bother with because when people behave that way then you generally can't change their minds.
I chose Barbie because is the most widely recognised Doll Icon in the world and she has the most impact
What can we expect from you next? I have no idea, I don't really think that far ahead! My brain will just click over onto the next thing randomly. My latest 'theme' though is to do a series of 'Album Covers' using Beatles Lyrics, these won't be gory in any way it's more about expression and emotion in the lyrics.
Who is your IDOL? Carl Giles, an English Cartoonist. He specialised in one-panel layouts and absolutely filled them with detail. That's something I try to keep in mind when I'm creating piece, that it's not just about the main 'gag' it's about all the details that make up a picture. He had a subtlety and wit in his work that is just masterful, and an extremely intelligent approach to contemporary societal issues and yet he never lost the humour. Each 'cartoon' is a piece of art, he was superb. Pictures courtesy of Mariel Clayton See Marielâ€™s work here: www.thephotographymarielclayton.com
I Still Want To Drown Whenever You Leave
Photography Elliot Morgan MUA Xabier Celaya Stylist Rebecca Moore Assistants Gabbi Stival, Jade Douse Model Kate C @ M and P
This page: Printed swimsuit Matthew Williamson @ Relative PR Opposite page: Rose print bikini by Red or Dead @ Chase PR Chinti and Parker dress worn as headscarf @ Goodley PR Watch stylists own
This page: Black and white Aztec Swimsuit by Gold by Giles, Stylists own Storm watch @ Chase PR Opposite page: Pink Matthew Williamson Swimsuit @ Relative PR Storm bracelet @ Chase PR
This page: Swimsuit, Stylists own Opposite page: Bikini by Tatjana Anika @ Goodley PR Shoes by Red or Dead @ Chase PR
Photography by The Lovers
Theophilus London is a genre-transcending rapper, songwriter and producer, from Brooklyn, New York. Having released critically acclaimed mixtapes including the muchhyped ‘This Charming Mixtape’ and ‘I Want You’, Theophilus has gained increasing notoriety on both sides of the Atlantic. He has collaborated with names such as Mark Ronson, Simian Mobile Disco, Lightspeed Champion and Ellie Goulding.
For IDOL readers who aren’t totally familiar with you, how would you best describe your sound?
My sound is definitely raw. At the end of the day I definitely call it pop music because I’m a songwriter of popular music and I want to write popular songs. My music is genreblending, and I think the type of music I’m making is a pretty new concept.
Where else do you get inspiration for writing your songs?
From different things: from hanging out with friends, being at parties, travelling all around the world. This last EP I wrote was about my travels all around the world, different situations I’ve been in, love in a positive way, love in a negative way - a lot of things inspire me.
How do you feel your music connects to young people today? They can dance to it, move to it, and I’m young so they can connect to it. Is there a typical Theophilus fan?
It’s definitely all ages. When I was in Germany there were fans who were like fifty, sixty years old. All ages, all the time.
I noticed that you seem to have substantial creative control over your work. How important is that to you?
Very important. I wouldn’t exist if I didn’t brand myself, if I didn’t make it on my own. I wouldn’t exist if I didn’t come from me, you know? It’s also about having the time to use your creative mind and growing every day with it.
How long have you been working on your music career full time? For the last four years every day. I quit school because
I love performing and I always wanted to be a performer. How do you think growing up in New York influenced your music?
Very much so. Because of the artists here in the city, like Biggie, Jay-Z, and growing up in Brooklyn really inspired me. I think your surroundings should inspire you naturally because it’s all you know. When I get to travel, a lot of things inspire me.
On your travels which places have you enjoyed visiting most? I’ve been to so many places but my top 3 would be Stockholm, France and Germany.
IDOL is also a very fashion-oriented mag. Would you say you were fashion conscious?
Yes. People like to associate me with fashion because I’m tall and skinny and maybe clothes look good on me. It’s about making the right choices of what you wanna wear, and I’m satisfied with the choices I’ve been making fashion-wise.
Do you have any favourite designers?
Not really. I wear Levis jeans a lot. The thing I look for in clothes is the fit. I get all my clothes tailored to my body.
Tell us about your up coming EP?
Lovers’ Holiday is already out in the UK and US. It is 5 songs and was written abroad in Stockholm, and LA. It features Solange Knowles. It’s about love, lust and money.
How does it feel to have a record out there on iTunes that people are buying?
Feels good. Feels good to give back to my support system and to deliver something to everyone’s ipods. We debuted at 20 on the iTunes charts.
What are your plans for next year?
I have a full length album coming out in three months, recorded around the same time I recorded the EP. I can’t really give the title yet but the record was finished being mixed today, and is being mastered next week, so you should have the album soon. The EP was a taster of what is to come, but the album is going to be more aggressive and straight to the point. I’ll be singing on it too.
Can you tell our readers about Chauffeur? (A trio of Sam Sparro, Mark Ronson and Theophilus)
It is a thing that started with Mark Ronson because of the Gucci shoe he was making. We wrote two songs and performed in Japan, London and New York. For now, we’ve stopped making music because everybody got busy and started working on their own private albums. I think we’ll be doing some more songs together, but what we did was special and we just want to leave it at being special for now.
In our interviews we always ask what advice would you give to somebody embarking on a career in the music industry? Have a good team behind you. Trust the people behind you and you don’t want any yes men. But it starts with you first – in your basement, your bedroom, your home, your studio, figure out what you wanna do first, don’t skip any steps and people will start to see something significant, the harder you work. Everything will start unravelling from there.
Finally, as we’re from IDOL magazine we want to know, who are YOUR idols?
Definitely Michael Jackson, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Arthur Russell, Prince, Rick James and Biggie Smalls.
How did you guys come together?
We were all the in the studio working on our albums. And Mark said, I want to start a fictional group up, it’s called Chauffeur, and we just made a song in 3 hours and started performing it the next week.
Which music scene do you prefer US or UK?
The UK music scene is amazing. It is always emerging. The US music scene is kind of stale, redundant, the same people over and over again on the radio. The UK gives people a chance to come up with something new and fresh.
Theophilus’ EP Lovers Holiday is currently available on iTunes, and his debut album will be available later this year.
RINTALA EGGERTSSON Scandinavian architecture duo, Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson are renowned for their unusual and witty creations. After teaming up in 2007 for a collaborative project, Sami and Dagur established their architecture office, Rintala Eggertsson in 2008. Together they have formed some of the most original and surreal creations in modern architecture. From residential buildings to converted boat spas in the middle of the sea, Sami and Dagur work with their surroundings and embrace nature, predominantly using natural materials and being cunning and economic with space. They are continuing to push the boundaries of modern architecture and design, training young architects and planning more projects carrying their approach for simple, natural and harmonious living. IDOL talks to daring visionaries, Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson, about their work, fears and the future of architecture. interview next page
RINTAL A EGGERTSSON
How would you describe your work in 3 words? Intuitive-specific-teamwork. Where do you get your inspiration? From nature (nature includes man and his culture) and everyday life. How did you meet and how did you decide to start a business together? We studied together in Helsinki, and met later in life again in Oslo. It was a good moment to join forces and attitudes. How do think the houses would be in the future? Smaller, lighter, cleverer and quicker. Instrumental yet harmonious, simple in form yet complex in meaning. Sculpture or architecture? Or are they the same thing at the end of the day? All that man does is his language and tools to express his need and his place in the universe.
RINTAL A EGERRTSSON
In your work you seem very concerned about using ecological materials, does this affect your designs? We are using wood as much as possible as it is the only self-growing construction material that can be structure, surface, isolation and detail, even decoration. It is also easiest and most pleasant to work with.
Houses in the future will be smaller, lighter, cleverer and quicker What project do you feel more related to and why? And less related? We relate to all our projects with the same interest. It is up to others to say which ones were more successful than others. Besides, once a project is ready and standing, it has its own life and will, we meanwhile continue to new projects. Like Gahlil Gibran said about children, one could say about oneâ€™s works; Your projects are not your projects, but arrows that come from your bow. Who is the person you have learned from the most? Juhani Pallasmaa, professor, architect and theoretician.
Do you have any advice for young architects/sculptors? Do not measure value of your ideas in money, nor your work input in hours. Real quality abhors these measurements. What would be your ultimate creation? Politics, philosophy or religion that would work in practice.
Do not measure value of your ideas in money, nor your work input in hours What message do you want to leave to the world through your designs? I would just like to maybe raise a question of Western Civilization; if this is the best we can do with our fi ne educations and unforeseen richness. We need an alternative philosophy, as free capitalism has a suicidal undertone. What is your biggest fear as both a man and an architect? As a father and an architect I only hope and work for a better future, and fear for a worse one.
We need an alternative philosophy, as free capitalism has a suicidal undertone Who are your IDOLs? People who are not afraid to take a high personal risk to realise a seemingly impossible idealist dream where less and less needs to suffer (including all nature) and more and more have no longer a need to profit (over what their real needs are). Interview by Bianca Spada. Pictures courtesy of the Rintala Eggertsson Check out Rintala Eggertssonâ€™s work at www.rintalaeggertsson.com
neckpiece CEZANNE AGATHA shorts MONDAY
trousers AM GOLHAR belts vintage turban made by stylist
neckpiece CEZANNE AGATHA shorts MONDAY
neckpiece ELEANOR AMOROSO trousers JAMES LONG belts vintage turban by stylist
trousers AM GOLHAR chain top ASOS turban by stylist
cuffs with fringing ELEANOR AMOROSO trousers vintage turban by stylist belts vintage
shorts MONDAY belt vintage turban by stylist
trousers AM GOLHAR belts vintage turban made by stylist
neckpiece CEZANNE AGATHA
JULIAN ASSANGE: THE FEARLESS ‘TRUTHBRINGER’? Words by Francesco Leto / Illustration by Arsida Smajli
WikiLeaks is a non-profit media organisation, which dominated the headlines at the end of 2010. It is known for publishing highly classified documents and ‘material of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of their sources anonymous’. The site has brought to light stories about government corruption, white collar crimes, censorship, torture, human rights violations and any other suppressed and censored injustices. Much ink has been spilled over WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange and a great deal has been done to silence his organisation. Amazon has stopped hosting WikiLeaks’ website and MasterCard, PayPal and Visa Europe have stopped processing payments for the organisation. Assange himself is facing hundreds of death threats as well as pressure from the U.S. and other countries. Assange has charged himself with bringing the truth to the world by publishing sensitive information without fear of retribution. He has profoundly changed the rules of media information, international diplomacy and national secrecy. His ‘brainchild’, WikiLeaks, is a real game-changer for data journalism. The website allows readers to directly access official information without having to traverse newspaper censors or government vetoes. This could be the dawn of a new type of journalism, known as ‘scientific journalism’.
WikiLeaks, is a real gamechanger for data journalism By bringing important news and information to the general public, WikiLeaks has rewritten history and has promoted freedom of speech, combining ‘high-end security technologies with journalism and ethical principles’. It is publishing more classified documents than the rest of the world’s media combined. As a teenager Assange taught himself the trade secrets of computer and communication systems. With that hacker mindset, soon he became one of the most accomplished computer experts in Australia. Since his beginnings he has dedicated his life to using Internet technologies in new ways to reveal uncomfortable truths and to promote
freedom of speech in media publishing. He is a man on a mission: His ultimate aim is to destroy the ‘ecosystem of corruption’ – as Assange himself has christened the net of crooked relations between governments, corporations and diplomacy. Before founding Wikilealks in 2007, Assange had already outlined his vision of transparency and open forms of governance on his blog IQ.org: ‘Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love’. Driven by his courage, Assange formed WikiLeaks together with a group of like-minded journalists, activists and computer experts in 2007. The website has never revealed any of its sources in order to guarantee the security of the publishing organization itself and its whistleblowers. By preserving its sources’ anonymity, WikiLeaks encourages the posting of top-secret material on its server. As Assange explained in a recent interview, ‘if you demonstrate that an individual can leak something and go on to live a good life, it is tremendously incentivizing to people’.
Is it really Assange who is facing trial or is it Freedom of information itself? A mass of original documents has come under WikiLeaks’ scrutiny. Among many other things, it has shed light on the illegal activities of wellknown international banks (i.e. Barclays), political tactics regarding climate change, the U.S. Army’s misbehaviour in Guantanamo Bay as well as high profile businessmen's involvement in political and ecological scandals. Between July and October 2010, WikiLeaks released the ‘Iraq War Diary’ and 'Afghanistan War Diary'. After releasing hundreds of thousands of unfiltered U.S. intelligence and military field reports, which provide information about civilian casualties, violence and torture perpetrated by U.S, both the website and Assange were suddenly catapulted to global fame. It has been reported that this was the largest intelligence leak in American history.
After the leak, the U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal case against WikiLeaks and Assange. The reasons were grounded on considerations of public order and international security. After exposing classified information, Assange could have damaged international diplomatic relations and caused security risks. The ‘cyber war’ on secrecy was officially declared. Since then, Assange has continued to fearlessly campaign for the truth and to fight against the cowardice of mainstream information and against the corruption of politicians, corporations and the established media. In 2010 Assange was nominated for ‘Person of the Year’ by Time Magazine, which described him as a ‘new kind of whistleblower: one made for the digital age’. Currently being the most wanted man in the world, the WikiLeaks founder has been celebrated as a freedom fighter, fearless truth campaigner, modern crusader, cyber warrior, digital messiah and prophet around the world. Overnight, this Che Guevara of information and rebel hacker was transformed into a global idol. When the WikiLeaks releases exploded into public view last year the name of its founder became one of the most googled along with those of Lady Gaga, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama and Marilyn Monroe. Assange has captured the attention of governments, corporations, industries and ordinary people. He has become the focus of a global debate on transparency and security. Currently, Assange is facing legal challenges in the form of alleged sexual charges in Sweden. Some view this to be merely a smear campaign. The WikiLeaks founder is now fighting against extradition to Sweden in the English courts. In Sweden, he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape, sexual assault and sexual molestation, made by two women in August 2010. So far Assange has not been charged. During his extradition hearing, Assange referred to the allegations against him as a ‘black box’ which will prove to be empty. Brita Sundberg Weitman, a retired senior Swedish judge, has told the hearing that Assange faces a ‘man-hater’ prosecutor. The Swedish chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny reportedly ‘has a rather biased view against men’. It seems that the extradition request is a kind of ‘political stunt’. According to Assange’s legal team, the alleged sexual charges are not even criminal acts under UK law. Assange’s lawyers further argued that their client is only wanted for ques-
tioning in Sweden rather than for prosecution, while ‘it is a well-established principle of extradition law … that mere suspicion should not found a request for extradition’. Behind this ‘abuse of process’, Assange’s lawyers fear that, if extradited, he is likely to be taken, against his will, to the United States, detained at Guantanamo Bay and executed for spying. For many it is not a coincidence that these charges were made at the very time that WikiLeaks was publishing highly controversial documents about the unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given these circumstances the allegations do strike one as an act of intimidation, grounded on political motivations rather than legal considerations. Is it really Assange who is facing trial or is it Freedom of information itself? For many, the war on government secrecy has just begun. Julian Assange is demanding transparency from corporations, economic institutions and political organisations. His mandate is to bring the truth to the world and offer an eye-opening look into the secret machinations of governments. Whether his battle against corruption is won or lost, Assange has sparked a global revolution. The growing movement of transparency campaigners shows that a new model of participatory democracy has been established. By giving people the possibility of an unfiltered scrutiny of sensitive information, WikiLeaks promotes a higher collective conscience which calls for a better society. It is time to open the archives. It is time to open the eyes too. ‘Oh! Wretched mortals open your eyes,” as Leonardo da Vinci once advised.
Wim Delvoye Wim Delvoye, the Belgian bulldozer and maverick of the art world has garnered attention around the globe for his contentious and precarious take on art, with much of his work focused on both the beauty and ugliness of the body, declared ‘the master of the in between’ for his witty, irascible and inherently contradictory work. Using an unusual mix of themes as a basis for his work, from the Catholic Church to the body and it’s functions, Delvoye has created pieces that both disgust and fascinate. His masterwork Cloaca literally produces shit, replicating the digestive system it turns food to waste showing the human body as a mechanical masterpiece, reigniting the age old debate of ‘what is art?’ His sexually explicit X ray images produced in place of stain glass for gothic windows had heads reeling, merging sexual imagery into a religious context is not just a shock tactic but a genuine exploration of life. Art Farm where he tattooed pigs has been declared both grotesque and mesmerizing and is another stand out work to have secured Wim's notoriety and status within art today. An indifference and disregard of criticism has allowed him to be truly fearless and risky in his execution of art, unfazed by naysayers and haters. IDOL chats to the absurd and brilliant Wim Delvoye.
How did you start creating art? Yes, I always wanted to draw and make sculptures, even when I was a child and I was unaware of the concept of being an artist, I imagined myself doing something with animation movies or comics or book illustrations What is art for you? Art is what people see as art. I personally don't care if what I make is art or not, I leave it up to others to classify what I make. You have been tattooing pigs in the Art Farm for years now, how did you come up with such an idea? I liked the idea of things growing and what pigs mainly do is growing. What’s the main purpose behind it? If I think of the purpose of art I get depressed.
Your relation with your pieces of art (the pigs), we heard they are pretty spoiled. Do you have any other countries in mind to expand the Art Farm Pigs? No, they are not spoiled any more… Sadly we also stopped in China, we just keep the last pigs alive in the farm it is already two years that we don't tattoo anymore.
Fearless people, all the fearless people You are known for your sometimescontroversial pieces when you release a new piece of art are you scared of the critique? No, I am never scared I am unaware of it and most of the time I feel indifferent about what other people think of me.
What is Wim Delvoye scared of? He doesn't want to die, that's for sure and I wouldn't jump with a parachute, I guess I am scared of extreme heights. Touch wood it will never happen, but if your place is on fi re and you had to leave immediately what 3 things would you take with you and why? A few old masters, oil on canvas from the Seventeenth Century because I couldn't make them. Who do you consider fearless? Mr. Assange, the CEO of WikiLeaks.
What can we expect from you in the next years, any project in mind? Larger pieces, inhabitable pieces, pieces that are more expensive and more costly to produce, more fearless pieces. Where do you get your inspiration from for all these projects? I read the newspaper and I inform myself about everything except for sports. I read a lot of books and I don't look at contemporary art, instead I read comics and I watch movies.
What/who would you like to be in your next life? Who do you think you were in last life? My own clone.
I personally don't care if what I make is art or not, I leave it up to others to classify what I make One of your most famous pieces is the x-rays of people having sex in real hospitals, how did you manage to do that? Were the staff in the hospital aware of what was going on? Yes, of course. Nobody took offense after they understood it was a contemporary art project. That is whatâ€™s so great about Belgium: as long as you call it 'art' people are helpful and open about it.
If I think of the purpose of art I get depressed In Gothic works you intelligently mix religion and sex/pornography, was this the initial idea? Just looking for the soul. Who are your IDOLs? Fearless people, all the fearless people.
Picture courtesy of Wim Delvoye Interview by Bianca Spada
Nathalie wears Cardigan, Tim Ryan @ Browns. Necklace, Browns. Skirt, American Apparel. Diana wears Poncho, Beyond Retro. Skirt, Mint Vintage. Head piece, Stylistâ€™s own. Arm piece, Culietta @ Bloody Gray
Cream Boots, Beyond Retro. White Dress, Minte Vintage. Bracelets, Stylistâ€™s own
This page: Pink Bra, Stylist’s own. Waist Coat, New Look. Skirt, American Apparel. Shoes, Georgina Goodman. Head Piece, Culietta @ Bloody Gray. Necklace, Stylist’s own. Earring, Stylist’s own. Opposite page: Nathalie wears Dress and Belts, Mint Vintage. Boots, Beyond Retro. Diana wears Poncho, Mint Vintage. Head piece, Escapade. Necklace, Stylist’s own. Shoes, Beyond Retro. Bow & Arrow, Stylist’s own. Bracelet, Bloody Gray.
This page: Nathalie wears Poncho, Rokit. Shorts, Stylistâ€™s own. Boots, Beyond Retro. Neck Piece, Ashish @ Browns. Diana wears Poncho, Rokit. Necklace, Escapade. Shoes, Georgina Goodman Opposite page: Diana wears Jacket, Yuko
Nathalie wears Poncho, Mint Vintage. Leather shorts, Beyond Retro. Necklace, Two Weeks @ Bloody Gray. Hat, Mint Vintage. Diana wears Shirt, Mint Vintage. Skirt, American Apparel. Boots, Beyond Retro. Necklace, Colietta @ Bloody Gray.
Head piece and necklace, Two Weeks @ Bloody Gray. Dress and skirt, American Apparel
Photography Jeff Hahn Hair & Make up Jenny Hellstrom Styling & Creative Direction Jessica Duffin Models Nathalie Q @ MandP Models and Diana B @ Profile Models
You modelled for 10 years, did you enjoy it? Yeah, I travelled a lot, got a lot of contacts and met a lot of interesting people. I didn’t have any big campaigns but I worked all over the world and had agents all over the world. The best one I had was for a commercial where I got to go for a week holiday in South Africa, and I’ve been in shows for people like Paul Smith and Issey Miyake. You met Martin in 1997 but you only decided to collaborate 7 years later, why was that? Me and Martin met on the dance floor in a club in Sweden, he’s my ex-boyfriend, we almost broke up at the same time the company started. Back then we were not loaded, it was stupid for us to pay two separate rents, and whatever money we made we put into the company so it just ended up that we lived together for another few years. How did Jimmie Martin start? The business started when me and Martin moved out of our flat in Russell Hill, we had done a couple of pieces for ourselves and we were moving one of our chairs into the van and this guy came running down the street asking where did you buy the chair. It was a chair with a chandelier on and he had just opened up a chandelier shop. He asked us if we had any more pieces, so we made some more. I had decided to stop modelling and then I was scouted again by a very big agency that I couldn’t say no. Next to the model agency was a hair salon, they saw one of our pieces asked us to put our pieces in their shop, and then one
Jimmie Martin Jimmie Karlsson is one of the founders and the creative director of luxury furniture company Jimmie Martin. He isn’t your average Scandinavian designer, going to art school for a year until being scouted as a model he made the move from Sweden to London and found himself constantly travelling around the world. After ten years in the business he focused on his true passion – design. After a series of chance encounters, Jimmie and his business partner Martin have managed to create a thriving company in the swanky surrounding of Kensington. With their decadent sausage dog chairs, graffiti dressing tables and wallpaper they’ve been awarded design accolades, celebrity clients and praise across the design world. IDOL has a chat to Jimmie about inspirations, collaborations and copycats.
day I had a phone call from the design decoration awards telling us to apply, at that time me and Martin had no money. We barely afford to get on the bus and both of us smoked so it was pretty bad, so when we were asked to go to this award ceremony the entrance fee was about £120 each, and when you can’t afford a couple of pounds it seemed crazy. But we managed to find the money so we entered and became shortlisted in both categories – Furniture Design and Best New Designer in the UK. We ended up we winning Best New designers and that’s when everything basically started. How did you do your first chair? The very first chair I think I bought in a chair shop in Archway, I took it on the bus, I bought it for £2 and just painted it because a friend of mine wanted me to start painting again so he made me go and buy canvases. I was also working at The Sanderson Hotel, it was a cool hotel and I guess I was kind of inspired by that. Would you say quite a lot of it’s down to luck then? Totally, what if I hadn’t taken the chair out when the guy was walking down the street. But I also think “what comes around goes around” if you know what I mean. Does anyone in the world do the same sort of thing as you? I was inspired by Philippe Starck while I was working at The Sanderson Hotel, but I think I take it a step further.
So is it all second-hand? No it’s a mixture, in the beginning everything we bought was from auction houses, but it takes a long time to go to all the different auction houses and source things, so we work with old things as well as new reproductions.
Me and Martin met on the dance floor You’ve done collaborations with a lot of people. Yeah it’s great we get a lot of people who want to do collaborations but we can’t do it with everybody because we want to get something out of it as well. We’ve worked with Kylie and Jamie Oliver for charity, and I had a phone call today to work with a champagne label. What’s your design aesthetic? I don’t like things to be perfect. We use unexpected styles, for instance when we started a lot of people don’t agree with using graffiti on furniture, now it’s everywhere! When I go to Paris and Milan for design fairs I see other people doing these things and I even see some companies trying to copy us.
Well imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Yeah, and of course I’m flattered. The lucky thing is that we were one of the first companies to do the old style furniture and changing the look of them, so we got a lot of press and that helped us to make a name for ourselves, so anyone else that was doing something similar will be compared to us straight away. Where do you go to when you need to feel inspired? Nowhere, I just get inspired, I’m not looking to be inspired. My inspiration might come from the weirdest places, I just never know. I think the nice thing is when you’re working there are no rules. Who’s been your favourite collaboration? It’s different; certain people are cooler to work with. I loved doing the thing with Kylie for the Terrence Higgins Trust. Then we did this thing for Pete Townsend from The Who, where they gave us his last ever smashed guitar and they wanted us to make a table out of it. That was really interesting because it was a different kind of project. Have you had any moments of self-doubt or knockbacks while you’ve been creating your business? Both me and Martin are self taught and there is a long way to go with creating a company because you learn everyday. I’m pretty proud, I think if you have a passion and you have an interest and some kind of talent - that will help. But, of course it’s tough. What can we expect from you in the next year? We’re about to launch a really cool range of floor lamps. I’m really, really excited about it, they’ll be one off pieces, very fashion, very rock ‘n’ roll, very arty. Then we’re launching a range of cushions, with some old and new designs on. We also have collaboration in Milan in April and in the opening up of a store in New York, and it will be the first store in the states to have our stock. We are also going to push a lot on interior design. What city do you think is the most exciting in terms of design? London, without a doubt. I think, being Swedish, Stockholm is one of the trendiest cities in the world because they’re so into design it’s ridiculous, but more in the minimalistic style. I used to love New York but I think London overtook New York a good ten years ago. Paris and Milan can’t compete either, London is a place for everybody, you can be anyone, you can do whatever you want.
If you weren’t a furniture designer what would you be doing? (Long pause) Oh gosh I don’t know. Well probably an artist since I was studying art and I was really into it. I used to wrap my neck in loads and loads of scarves and wear really weird things, walking around being very arty...
My business started by accident…not by accident, by coincidence! Managing you own company, are you scared of anything? No, because I always believe you should do what you love doing! I’ve been lucky enough to build up a company which has a great name, so I think it should something bad happen to my company…touch wood…I have a great history so I’m sure I could move on. Of course there are some times when I would like to not have worry about running a business and just do the job and get a nice big fat pay check, but it’s been so interesting to build up a business from scratch.
London is, without a doubt, the most exciting city for interior design What’s your favourite piece that you have created, your masterpiece? I’m proud of quite a few of the pieces. I love my sausage dog chairs, they’re fun but classic as well old ladies love them and really cool people love them. When you have major celebrities contacting you it’s really fun. Who is your IDOL? I respect Philippe Starck, because he’s very talented, a lot of people are bored of him but I like the fact that he’s constantly breaking some rules, he’s very similar to us in the way we think, he’s designing products, interior design, architecture. Interview by Emma Hurwitz Picture courtesy of Jimmie Martin
Never shy of causing a stir in everything from fi lm to architecture, Spanish fashion designers are slowly emerging from the ranks. Breaking through the confines with exciting and original collections. During the fashion weeks of Barcelona and Madrid. Anna Figuera Delgado and Macarena Ramos Buil, the design duo behind El Delgado Buil, have blown a breath of fresh air into Spanish fashion, mixing textures and patterns to create vibrant collections every time they show. Gori De Palma who focuses predominantly on a hard-edged, punk style in his designs, continues to emerge as a notable force, with live bands performing at his catwalk shows, De Palma adds live and excitement to the traditional fashion show. Despite only starting his business little more than a year ago, Juan Antonio Avalos, is fast becoming the hot ticket at Barcelona Fashion Week, noting everything from Lords of Dogtown and medieval knights as an inspiration for his designs, Juan has already won awards and a wave of price for his patterned creations. With the amount of design talent coming out of the Spanish cities, its about time that the fash pack pay it more attention.
Dial +34 to SPAIN
Juan Antonio Avalos You might not instantly recognise his name, but you’ll certainly recognise the brands he’s worked with, which currently include Nike, Superga and Converse. This Spanish designer is one of the most accomplished designers around, and he’s set to get bigger this year. Juan Antonio Avalos has worked with some of the best fashionistas, and his previous work is certainly unique. His Spring/Summer collection mixes the unusual worlds of medieval knights and surfers together, which although sounds bizarre, was pure genius on his part and gave him recognition that he deserved. He’s still very early on in his career and currently only has three of his collections available, but he’s destined to be one of the designer to watch out, so IDOL grabbed him for a chat about his inspirations and ask him why fashion was the industry for him. How would you describe your style when designing? Eclectic and chaotic.
interviews by Bianca Spada Illustrations and design by Javier Garrido Pictures provided by the artists
How did you start in the fashion industry? Officially when I was 19 years old and I started studying fashion at FDmoda in Barcelona. But fashion has alwaybeen in my life; at home, through magazines and books from my sister, and the little sewing shopthat my mother has. Not until I started my fashion degree did I imagine myself working in fashion. It was not my dream as a kid, but it happened and I am very happy about it. continues next page
In your opinion, what qualities do designers need to have? Depends on which designer you are, in other words, what fabrics and concepts you have in mind. In my case, a young designer trying to launch his own fi rm with limited financial resources; contacts, patience, strength to overcome every difficulty, push boundaries, not worrying too much about what people say, a basic knowledge about how to run a business, especially be willing to put 100% of yourself in and work hard, lots of that. As well as knowledge of design, pattern, etc.
You've been named one of the best emerging designers in Spain, what advice would you give to other young designers? To launch a signature is very difficult and requires great sacrifice, it takes time. Everything that I have achieved has been through a lot of hard work. Also, you must be willing to sacrifice a lot.
started looking for connections. I love to mix concepts and lately I have been thinking a lot about warriors from different times in history. The SS11 collection was formed from the union of medieval knights and Z-boys. Z-boys were the Californian surfers who began to skate in pools. I worked on this concept and my collection is the outcome.
It’s not easy to create a brand that’s not just "another fashion label”
You established your own label one and a half years ago (JAA) and it became one of the most highly acclaimed brands in 080 Barcelona Fashion Week, what was that experience like for you? It has been very hard. It’s not easy to create a brand that’s not just "another fashion label", especially when the outcome is something quite innovative in a country that is quite conservative. But every day we struggle to find ways to make it work.
Your last collection was inspired by surfers and gentlemen of the Middle Ages, how are these two concepts related to each other? I imagined a medieval knight in the middle of the beach drinking a Margarita and I
What other passions have a part of the design? Cooking, painting, gardening and creating objects that have nothing to do with fashion. I also am living with an obsession to learn how to play a musical instrument, but I still have to find the right one.
Have you been through self-doubt? There are always those kinds of moments. I’ve always had them and always will, but you must be willing to overcome them. You also won the award "Dissenyador Emergent" (emerging designer) and "Your Style, Your Studio" L'Oréal Paris Award, you have achieved so much in so little time. I was overwhelmed, I felt enthusiasm and gratitude to those who thought I was perfect for that prize. I am proud and happy for the achievements, but now I try to look ahead. You cannot succeed if you are stuck in the past, and that is why I try to continuously seek new challenges.
Eclectic and chaotic Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I do not know. Normally I try not to make plans beyond 2 years. Today there are only a few things that will ensure stability.
You have collaborated with big brands such as Superga, Converse and Nike, how
was your experience working with them? Collaborating with fi rms always teaches you a lot, and helps you to grow and learn as a designer and a creator. It is always a great experience. Are you afraid of criticisms? Like everything in life, we must be brave and be confident in ourselves because if you live caring too much about what others say or think it will destroy you. What is your greatest fear? Living my life feeling that I am not doing what I like. Why did you choose Barcelona to study and establish your brand? It a simple reason, it is because I am from Barcelona. Also, this city is great to study fashion and introduce yourself in this world. In 2008 I lived in Paris and in 2009 I established my label thanks to a project of the Catalan government that helped me the project Juan Antonio Avalos come true. Are you happy with the response that your designs received? At the moment we are very pleased by the response received by the public. The hardest thing is how you position yourself in the market, but we have a good feeling about it and hope that gradually we find our place. How to assimilate the criticism? Always have to have a goal and know your place. What message would you like to leave the world? I never really thought much about leaving a legacy or a message to the world. I try to do what I like, enjoy my life and live intensely. Something that few people know about you? Lately I've been obsessed to create a garden in the courtyard of the study. I keep looking at plants to decorate the space. Who is your idol? Michael Jordan. Since I was a kid I always looked up to him. He is exceptional.
Although you were born in Mallorca, you have established your brand in Barcelona; what has Barcelona got that the rest of the European fashion capitals don’t have? Needless to say, if it happens in Paris, London or Milan it does not exist is one of the biggest problems. To take part in any of these Fashion Weeks requires a lot of effort, an exorbitant investment, and team work. At the moment, I am happy to have my own showrooms each season and catwalk at Barcelona Fashion Week. I feel very comfortable surrounded by my team, friends and people who continuously support us.
Born in Mallorca, Gori De Palma offers a unique take on black and all it represents. Choosing to debut his collection away from the more commonly known fashion capitals of the world, Gori De Palma proves himself to be obsessed with creating a collection which is both provocative and rebellious. With a little help from his three “best friends” (petrol, sex and Jack Daniel’s); De Palma has emerged as a unique talent in the fashion world. Collaborating with the likes of Swarovski, Vans and American Apparel, De Palma has brought his edginess to the mainstream, and with his latest collection “Rat Scabies” proving he is still the cutting edge talent he came in as, De Palma is definitely one to watch in 2011.
Who is Gori De Palma? Gori de Palma is a synonym of freedom, transgression and everything that differs from the purely conventional. Your collections revolve around black colour, is there any specific reason for this? For me it is a challenge to analyse the infinite connotations of that colour. Black represents negativity, dangerous experiences, and also conveys the sense of authority and seriousness that I look for in my designs. Furthermore, it symbolises a sense of rebellion and domination. I think black is more than a colour, for me it’s a mood, I would even dare to say it is a lifestyle.
We heard you love to party, what are your favourite places in Barcelona? Magic, Nevermind, The Other Place, Bar Coyote; anywhere surrounded by friends, rock & roll and a bottle of Jack Daniel's is my favourite place.
Gori de Palma is a synonym of freedom, transgression and everything that differs from the purely conventional What are your main influences when creating a collection? I am inspired by the aesthetic of ultimate values that transcend the piece in its physical sense. I like the sexuality, eroticism and sensuality that the female shape and body conveys. Again, the black colour inspires me in all its ranges, and undoubtedly some musical movements are a constant source of inspiration in my ideas about fashion, new wave, punk. continues next page
You have worked with major brands like Swarovski, Vans and American Apparel; have these opportunities contributed to your design ideas? Working with Swarovski has been one of my greatest opportunities I have had; being able to develop a product with all the means at my own disposal and without budget constraints allowed me to create bags and suitcases I feel truly proud of. Working with these brands also allowed me to showcase my work internationally and achieve a more commercial vision for my designs. How many tattoos do you have? I have 12 tattoos, and they all mean something; a lover, heartbreak, family, drugs, etc. Perhaps the most significant tattoo was my first tattoo, I got it when I was 21 and it is a pair of wings across my back. It was when I was working as a restorer of vintage cars. I had a Mini Cooper and I was driving on the highway at 160 km/h, I went off the road and fell in a ditch after rolling down for what seemed forever. I broke most of my ribs and after 12 months in hospital totally immobilised, then more hospitals, and rehabilitation I realised the accident had brought me a second chance in life. And that's what the angel wings represent; a sort of resurrection.
Do you have any vices? Petrol, Sex and Jack Daniel's. I also love old cars and bikes, now I have a Guzzi from 7196 and a Morini 3½ Sport, fully restored by me. In my spare time, I keep restoring things, it is one of my biggest hobbies and you should never forget your origins.
I have 12 tattoos and they all mean something You have also collaborated with singers as a costume consultant; do you think fashion and music are somehow related? Music is inevitably a very important part in our lives. Music is constantly around us and it becomes a source of inspiration. Movements in music, such as rock and punk rock complement my vision of fashion perfectly. What is the best advice you have been given? Alber Elbaz, head designer of LANVIN, once said: "You are worth as much as your next collection". The past has passed; it has been shown and sold. That's why I like this advice; you need to keep in mind that the most important thing is always what is to come. You are a big fan of Nick Cave, which other singers inspire you? I love everything about Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen. I think I'm a bit conservative with regard to music, I don’t usually listen to anything from after the '90s. I like American rock in the early 70's, bands like Iggy Pop & The Stooges, and MC5; and I also love American Punk. What is your biggest dream? To own a large house with a pool and a garage, a good woman, a cool job, a big bank account, the fridge always full and good health. Not necessarily in that order. I can’t ask for more. Where do see yourself in 5 years? In Hawaii enjoying life. What are the 3 things that you can live without? Petrol, Sex and Jack Daniel's. What / who would you be in your next life? I prefer to just enjoy this life, just in case. Where do you get your inspiration from? Petrol, Sex and Jack Daniel's. Credits: Gori's portrait by Quentin de Briey. The rest of the collection pictures by Cristian di Stefano.
El Delgado Buil Creating a successful fashion brand is hard, but making an award-winning label within six years is an accomplishment, and that is exactly what designers Anna Figuera Delgado and Macarena Ramos have done with their label, El Delgado Buil. Mixing a range of fabrics in their collections, and using bright colours to create some truly unique work, it’s no surprise they are a success amongst their peers and have their work selling in Spain, France, Denmark and Sweden. As well as having a show in Madrid’s renowned Fashion Week, they have also won not one, but two L’Oreal awards for emerging designers as well as the Grand Prix de Marie Claire. With their new collection already exciting fashion fans, IDOL thought it was about time we talked to the designers behind the brand, and find out what makes them so successful. continues next page
Is Spain a good place to study fashion and start a clothing label? Yes, although any place is good. The most important thing in fashion is how far you are willing to go for your business and your goals rather than your location.
Your collections are always full of colour and mix of different fabrics and materials. What has inspired your latest collection Spring/Summer 2011? The Chateau Marmont, it’s a hotel in Los Angeles. Some friends of ours stayed there last year and we fell in love with it. For years it has been a haven for Hollywood stars and other celebrities. You can breathe some decadent luxury that we love there. Much of the latest film from Sofia Coppola, called Somewhere, is shot there too.
Did you have many difficulties when you started your brand six years ago? When we started El Delgado Buil, our problems were lack of recognition. Now the problems are different, and more brainy and complex.
What has been your greatest achievement in your life so far? We’ve had many achievements. But at a professional level, it’s seeing how well we’ve managed to position the company in just six years.
We have always had great confidence in our product because we love what we do. That is why we believe our collections will be successful.
The most important thing in fashion is how far you are willing to go for your business
How did you start working in the fashion industry? We studied in the same school; we became friends and began working together.
Where does the name of your brand, El Delgado Buil, come from? They are the surnames of the two of us. Anna Figuera Delgado and Macarena Ramos Buil.
What is your biggest fear as a fashion designer? For us, the biggest fear is paying more attention to our intuition than to the business strategy. Have you had any moment of doubt about what you were doing? No, we have great confidence in what we do.
If you could be someone else for one day, who would you be? We can’t complain. We like who we are. What things are indispensable in your handbags? Mobile phones. You graduated in 2004 and since then you’ve created your brand, shown it in Madrid Fashion Week, won the L'Oreal award twice for emerging designers and the Grand Prix of the magazine Marie Claire . What you believe has been the key to your success? We worked hard. We believed in our brand six months after leaving school. Our key to success has been being entrepreneurs that always look forward and looking forward to every day with our project. Do you have advice for new designers who are trying to set up their own brand? Be very diligent, conscientious and in particular, be passionate about what you do. What are the plans for El Delgado Buil for the next 5 years? Continue growing and strengthening the label. Do you have any IDOLs? We admire many people but we have no idols.
For IDOL readers who aren’t totally familiar with Lulu and The Lampshades; how would you best describe your sound? Luisa: It’s always changing and evolving. We all have different influences that come in to it. We like to use things that are not obvious instruments to get a more interesting sound. Heloise: We like to play around with lots of influences, one being folk, and try to get new sounds that are not electronic. We prefer using natural instruments and experiment with new sounds. We like to find a rhythm and it evolves around that, for example we have a biscuit tin we like to experiment with to develop our sound. Your music is often described as being a vast array of instruments collectively playing together, would you consider this to be a true representation of you as a band? Dan: Yes I would say that is true, we do a lot of swapping around with our instruments. Luisa: I think its fine to do so when rehearsing but when it’s time to play on stage things can get a little tricky.
With the release of their debut EP recently and with plenty more tricks up their sleeves it is evident that Lulu And The Lampshades have a lot to say for themselves. They have toured with the ever so amazing Peggy Sue and have played for the infamous ‘Bandstand Busking’ but this time it’s all down to them. IDOL caught up with them just before their gig to launch The Cold Water EP, discussing the likes of an A to Z tour, practicing in a toilet and their undying love for elderly relatives.
Photography: Wade Fletcher
Is there a time when there are too many sounds going around that it can stop your creativeness, can it be a little to crazy at times? Gemma: I think it evolves even more; we can start on one instrument and finish on another. Dan: It keeps it more interesting as well. Someone will come up with a different idea and we will decide what will go well with it rather than having a set up. Gemma: There is no set up of the notes; it’s more like how are the notes played. It’s really important to compose yourself. You think a lot more about what each person is doing. I’m not a natural bass player, I’m a guitarist, so playing the bass for me is quite interesting because I don’t know how to play it as well, I feel you can be more creative. Heloise: We all interpret how to play one instrument differently and always come up with something new. We all come from different backgrounds and all play each instrument differently, which is quite interesting. Where does the name Lulu and The Lampshades come from? Luisa: It’s kind of pre us being a band in a way. We were named by a friend as we needed a name for a show that we were going to do. I past the task to her whilst she was bored at work, and she came up with the name Lulu and the Lampshades. What was one of the hardest things you had to overcome when breaking into the music industry? Dan: We had to carry a lot more instruments around than we used to. At one point we had a little trailer on the back of our bikes. Gemma: We can also afford a taxi now. This was hard after you have had a few drinks. Heloise: I don’t think we have broken the industry yet. I think we have yet too. It’s not a breaking in; it’s more of a wee soling in.
What advice would you give to young, aspiring musicians that want to break into the industry? Luisa: Play a lot. We never really thought lets get into the music industry; it’s more like a happy journey. Gemma: If you’re not having fun. Stop and just enjoy yourself. Dan: Get out now and do it, don’t think about it too much. Heloise: Enjoy yourself; let me know you’re enjoying yourself. Why did you start making music? Heloise: It’s always been a passion for all of us ever since we were kids. Gemma: I wanted to be cool. I’ve never been cool and always wanted to be. Where do you get inspiration for writing your songs? Luisa: Everything, it’s different for each person. I think it could be a musical influence or something you have listened to. Heloise: Or a vibe. Not necessarily that particular song but the mood of it that can inspire something within you. Do you all write together? Luisa: More so now, yes we do. Dan: We tend to bring an idea to the group and develop it with everyone else. We all listen to a vast range of music and we are always introducing each other to new sounds, which is always good. Heloise has a wide selection of African vinyl which is always influential. What is the story behind your new EP? Luisa: It’s a collection of four songs. They feel quite old songs now as we wrote them last year. They seemed like a good selection to put out. We have a lot of new stuff that we are excited about which we will be playing on tour. Dan: Most of the set is new. It will be the first time we play at least half of the songs. Heloise: The songs still feel really familiar to us as we have been practicing and writing for ages. Luisa: That is very important for us, because we have been together for quite a long time. It’s important to practice, write and work things out together as much as we can, though it does vary each week. Dan: When we first started out I don’t think we used to practice together; we used to only do gigs. Luisa: We just play and work stuff out. Gemma: We used to practice in the toilet. What has been your biggest achievement to date? Heloise: We really enjoyed playing in
Amsterdam at Cafe Paradiso. Gemma: I would agree we really mingled in with the crowd. The music industry can be very much cut-throat, has there ever been a time when you wanted to give up? Luisa: No I don’t think that’s how we really go about it, we really enjoy playing together. We didn’t form a band and think ‘let’s break in to the music industry’. Gemma: We like music too much really, in the end it’s whatever other annoying things come up, like you have to go along way or something weird happens. But it never really bothers me as long as we are playing music. Heloise: It’s definitely the best way to be because then you are grateful for what you get. What are your thoughts on how digital music is affecting the industry, do you like the fact that it is a lot more versatile, or would you rather go back to basics, with good, old CD’s and vinyl? Luisa: I find it hard to keep up if I’m honest. Dan: It’s an interesting sort of area at the moment; there is a lot of copy writing. Heloise: I think for a consumer having free music is amazing but then when you are actually making the music you do want to survive by doing it. Gemma: It would be nice to get paid for doing it. Luisa: It’s just different, there’s more in performance and live gigs now than to selling records. Dan: I don’t think that CD’s were ever that good anyway. The prosthetic of vinyl has always been better, but at the same time iTunes is great to search a song and buy it. Heloise: I like to have the music in front of me, it’s nicer. To what extent would you say the digital world has aided your progress? For example have online magazines and social networking sites helped to develop your fan base? All: Yes! Gemma: I don’t know if we know our fan base through the digital world. We tend to know them more through our live gigs. But I think things like YouTube have definitely helped. Dan: It lets you be accessible to audiences that you wouldn’t get to otherwise such as people in France, but also you can market your online gigs though Facebook. It makes things a lot easier and helps our promotion. Gemma: But also people can find you
by accident, which is quite interesting, the idea that you can be stumbled upon us randomly. That wouldn’t have happened if you were in a CD shop that was charging £8 per CD. Just by looking on our MySpace you get a better feeling of who we are. How do you think the music scene is developing in London in the last year? Dan: I’m not sure scenes really exist do they? We play with the band ‘Man like Me’ a lot but we are completely different. It’s kind of a scene because you know each other. Lusia: I never particularly felt part of any scene; I think it’s easy to be part of a ‘cool’ scene. Gemma: You can be part of one creatively in a way can’t you?
What do you most enjoy about being on tour? All: Road trip play list. Dan: Willy Nelson is defiantly on there. Gemma, Lee Hazelwood is another. Lusia: Just playing outside of London is fun; we are doing everywhere starting with a B; Bournemouth, Brighton and Bristol. I’d like to say we were doing an alphabet tour but sadly it just happened that way. IDOL is also a very fashion-oriented magazine would you say you were fashion conscious? Gemma: Yes, I work in a charity shop, the Salvation Army in Catford so I get the best access to try on clothes first hand. I always get great items. Luisa: Gemma always dress’s us. Heloise: We try and dress down
in funny outfits but Gemma often says no. Gemma: Heloise is very good at being creative with her clothes. She is always making garments. We all have a pair of her African trousers. She is always coming up with different ones and is always making dresses. Heliose, how long have you been making clothes? Heliose: Since I was little. When I was at school I used to take people’s trousers home and change the pockets or turn them in to flares. How does it feel to be the only boy? Dan: I’m not sure really, I’ve been in bands with all boys before and both boys and girls. I don’t really think about it too much. And finally, who are your Idols?
Luisa: I have two, the first is Dervla Murphy. She is a woman who cycled from Ireland to India in the 70’s. The other is a lady called Hope Forne and musical mistress Billy Holiday. Heliose: Probably my Gran, she is the craziest lady, she is always happy and always has an amazing story to tell. She is always traveling around and meeting interesting people. Dan: I might as well as have Heloise Gran as well. David Lynch and Lee Hazelwood are both quite cool guys. Gemma: Heloise Gran is my third Idol; I like different traits in people. I work with a lot of interesting people that inspire me.
Interview by Katre Laan Design by Javier Garrido
You might not recognize D*Face’s name, but you’d certainly recognize his work. As a graffiti and skateboarding artist, he’s also briefly ventured into the world of celebrity, designing an album cover for American sing star Christina Aguilera. Starting out doing street art graphics using stickers, D*Face has gone on to create a name for himself both for his work on the street and in galleries across the world, gaining the respect of fans, his peers, and even Banksy. But he’s more than just street art, he’s also owned and curated his own art gallery. The Outside Institute focused on street art and gave artists a chance to show their work, whether they were successful or just starting out. His first solo exhibition in 2006 entitled Death&Glory at the Stolenspace gallery (which was the Outside Institute renamed) sold out, and he’s since had hit after hit with his work. His latest project in LA is called Going Nowhere Fast, his new solo show which is due to be shown in April this year. Although he appears to be fairly secretive about his new project, it’s about time IDOL has a quick chat. What does D*FACE represent? What my work is about is what I’m about. The origins of my work are purely self-indulgent; a means of escape from the daily grind. It started when I was a child, bored at school, really interested in drawing and skateboarding and not the academic subjects I was informed were 'most important'. My mum bought me the books 'Subway Art' and 'Spraycan Art'... She had no idea of the context and illegal aspect to this work and how they would act as my catalyst. The books were eyecandy to a visually starving kid and one subculture led me to another – skateboarding. You first got into graffiti then skateboard and later on into creating skateboard graphics, how has the purpose of your work changed overtime? I got into graffiti because I saw it on the tracksides and travels around London, i got into skateboarding because I was getting Thrasher mag from the older kids at school. I never connected the two till much later, the two lived harmoniously alongside comics, cartoons and punk music in my head.
How did you get involved in street art scene? There were a few other stickers going up around London and slowly I got to meet with those artists, The London Police, Obey, Faile, Toasters, Solo One... I don't think any of us thought there was a scene as such, it was just a group of like minds doing this thing using different mediums to make a statement/expression. What does graffiti mean to you? In its purest term, it’s mark making in a public space. But what I actually feel it’s come to stand for is writing your 'name' illegally in the public domain. Your work artwork reflects irony, death and some references to the recession in the US and UK. How do the political, economic and social situations influence your work? I don't try to make my work overtly political, but it's certainly influenced by what’s going on around me. My works always been, and still remains today, a way of getting people to question their environment and what surrounds them. You described your fi rst experience working behind a desk as "mind-numbingly boring". How did this influence you as a graffiti artist? I was lucky enough to have a creative job, but it was far from what I'd hoped or worked hard to achieve and it became monotonous and mundane. So I started to look for a form of self-expression, a release from what I was doing every day, something devoid of any brief, client of curator.
It’s come to stand for is writing your 'name' illegally in the public domain Her Royal Hideous character, a skeleton version of the Queen and other images of cultural icons are unique features of your artwork. What do they symbolize for you? It's really about updating these culturally significant icons, I want people to question their understanding and perception of that icon, what they stood for, represented then and what they've become to represent now. Take Che for example, someone that fought against America, commodity and commercialization, in essence global homogenization; his image has now become a commodity, a badge to represent 'rebellion', you can buy it on t-shirts, mugs, beach towels, you know that I’m sure is the exact opposite of what he would have
wanted. So I’m resurrecting these icons, bringing them back from the dead, to haunt the present. I want people to be shocked and then to question the idea. The Queen was a simpler idea, I had already 'updated' the Queen and literally defaced her, poking her tongue out and rocking a par of D*Dog wings, so poking fun at the establishment. To mark her 80th birthday, I thought I'd visualize what everyone else was thinking... how long has she got left in her. Your project of re-imaging English £20 and £10 pound notes and the Queens portraits has gained a lot of attention. What kind of response did it have? Those were fun, I remember when I was sat at my studio desk and I'd just been paid for a painting in cash, I had this wedge of £20's and thought to myself I wonder how many times each note is seen by the public in the average 'banknotes' lifetime... So I started doodling and working out ways to print onto the notes, I only worked on the 'face side' of the note so that when I came to spend the note, I would pass it over face side down, so as not to raise any questions... it was simple and fun... so I did 100's... I'll be honest I was a little overwhelmed by the response, it was in fact this idea that brought me a call from Banksy. The last 10 years have faced a boom in street art. If in the early years the main purpose of graffiti was resistance, then currently it might seem that many amateurs are simply decorating cities? I'm not sure the purpose of graffiti is resistance, early cave paintings, and for example those marks made in the Lascaux Caves, aren't records of resistance, they're storytelling. At the end of the day there are no rules, so work in the public domain can flex and morph to the individual’s voice, statement, message or visual identity. The 70-80's spray can art explosion was mostly a way for those individuals to brighten up the city with their artwork and that alone is a political statement. So I don't think the purpose has changed at all, it's the individual use of graffiti that changes. You are the founder of East London´s Stolen Space gallery. How has it served its purpose? How important do you think it is to document the urban art scene? I set up and opened StolenSpace purely as I felt that the artists that I was meeting on my travels deserved a dedicated place to show their work, somewhere that represented artists from the heart, from a like mind. We show amazingly talented art-
ists, both known names and unknown artists and we've been fortunate enough to have been able to support artists and to see artists that we have shown who were relatively unknown go onto become established artists in their own genre. The gallery is testament to the artists involved and the small team, Eve, Beth, Word to Mother, Jason Z and those that have trusted in our judgment and brought work from us.want people to be shocked and then to question the idea. The Queen was a simpler idea, I had already 'updated' the Queen and literally defaced her, poking her tongue out and rocking a par of D*Dog wings, so poking fun at the establishment. To mark her 80th birthday, I thought I'd visualize what everyone else was thinking... how long has she got left in her. In 2010 you designed the Bionic album cover for Christina Aguilera. Describe your vision for this project. How much freedom did you have in hand? Guilty as charged! Sorry about that! Christina and her now ex-husband Jordan Bratman have been collectors of my work for some time; Jordan particularly is really into the scene and has a good eye and subsequently a good collection of art. They became friends, I'd speak and see Jordan regularly and I count him as a friend. A few years back they asked me if I'd create the artwork for her then upcoming new album, you know I was flattered and kind of worried, I'd long said I'd only put my name to something I was into, be it a brand or a band... and it's fairly obvious that I wasn't into her music, you know I grew up listing to punk music and they knew me well enough to know that... so I sort of kept quiet and thought they'd probably change their mind. Roll on a patch of time and they ask me again, so I say that so long as I get to do my thing without compromise and I get to create a piece of artwork I'm proud of, then I’d do it as a favor, as a friend. Your artwork illustrates many commodities, including EASTPAK pack bags, T-Shirts, REAL skateboards. What do you look out for in new challenges? I've turned down a bunch of companies, big names, who have asked to work with me. It's simply a case of why they want to work with me, what am I going to bring to them? If I think they get what I'm doing and that I can bring something to them that they wouldn't or couldn't and vice versa, and I can push what they're doing and subsequently what I'm doing, then cool.
What do you take into account when illustrating your work in different parts of the world? Does it change depending on the locationcountry? I'm wary of using words that don't translate, literally and metaphorically, I tend to stick to simple character works or imagery that works globally, specifically famous icons. Is there a city-country, you have not had a chance to go but are still eager to go? I've been lucky, no privileged, to travel a large part of the world with my work, doing what I love and subsequently I've got to meet some amazing locals. I get to a level in that city as a local would in a way you can't as a tourist... Iâ€™ve been to places I'd never imagined; the arctic circle, Australia, most of Europe, Hong Kong, Ecuador... but I'd love to visit Mexico, Brazil, Cuba and Tokyo still eludes me. What is your favorite favorite piece so far? Oh, you know I don't like most things I create, I tend to go through stages where I really like the idea, then as I'm executing it I hate it, then when I go back to it or see it a few days, weeks, years later I can judge it more fairly. What message would you like to leave the world with your street art? Look, don't just see. What is your biggest fear as an artist? Blindness. What can we expect from you next? Going nowhere fast... What is the most fearless thing you have ever done? Helping deliver my second child, anyone who has been down the 'business end' of a birth knows how that can straight change a man right there on the spot. Who do you look up to, as your IDOL? I'm a good 6'2" so I don't look up to many people let alone idolize... but Iâ€™ve always been a huge fan of Steve McQueen, I respect anyone who is a testament to the power of doing it yourself, especially against adversity.
Australia is often considered one of the most beautiful places in the world, inhabited by beautiful people, where the sun is always shining. But it was on her return trip from the Aussie outback, that Australian artist Vexta saw that street art was booming, and she wanted to get involved. Since then, this artist has accomplished a lot, and her work is miles away from being drab and dull. Using the natural world around her to inspire her, this artist uses bright colours and the best accessory in the world; feathers. Using her art to bring fellow artists together, rather than hogging her talent to herself, Vexta also teaches it to others, and is now a curator. IDOL has managed to sit him down and grab a chat with her before she runs off on tour again. After years in the scene, how has your role as a graffiti artist changed over the time? I think my role has changed mostly because it’s expanded. Now my creative world includes things like curating and teaching workshops as well as making art and street art. I make art because I love it. I think I would die if I couldn’t make art. What does graffiti mean to you? In one word, freedom. It gives you the freedom to tear it all down and start again, the freedom to make everything around us better. The freedom to think, feel and behave in any way that we want to. The last 10 years have faced a boom in street art. If in the early years the main purpose of graffiti was resistance, then currently it might seem that many amateurs are simply decorating cities… I think that’s true in lots of ways, but decorating the streets when you don’t have permission is also a political act, and by doing it illegally you are making a statement. I think it is important to make people feel ownership over our cities but I also think that the political roots of graffiti can be lost in the desire to make the city pretty. Why did you get involved in street art scene? I didn’t even realize it was a “scene” when I started painting on the streets, I just saw a lot of stencils and street art appearing on the streets of Melbourne after returning from a trip traveling across the Australian outback and South East Asia. I was really aware of my environment from traveling so the art just jumped out at me. From there I met
other street artists and we started doing shows and going out painting together. I guess the scene to me means freedom, community, friends, family, travel and provocative art. You work of art is evocative and profound. What role do features such as feathers and fluorescent colours depict in the society? Thank you! That is such a beautiful compliment. The fl uorescent colours are representative of the colours that nature uses to signify danger, as in the natural world animals and plants that are dangerous often have bright clashing colours. The feathers are symbols of the animal world and our connection to it. This is about the desire or need to become closer to the natural world or perhaps less “human”, more instinctual, less cerebral and the conflicts that can cause.
I think I would die if I couldn’t make art How has your style in graffiti, pop art mixed with politics, developed over time? I think my style has evolved as I have evolved as an artist. I really feel like I grew up as an artist on the street. I never went to art school, everything I do and make I have taught myself to do. At the start, my work was quite simplistic, small in scale and often very political. I feel like my work has gotten deeper and more complex both in form and content over the last few years, and greater in size too. You have painted murals in Europe, SouthAmerica and Australia. How do you choose your locations? I love travelling and I love painting so I try to combine both as much as I can. You are also a curator and have been involved in many films. How important do you think it is to document the graffiti scene? I think it is important to document street art because it is ephemeral by its nature. I just don’t do much documenting myself. The projects I have curated have often been about bringing communities of artists’ together, enabling people to exchange ideas and make new things together. What do think about street art as modern urban art form exhibited in white cube galleries? Through it began on the streets there are a lot of amazing artists who deserve to have their work shown in galleries as well. I think the current trend
of street art being shown in galleries has opened up a new dialogue around illegal art and a respect for artworks made outside of the high art world. What is your favourite piece so far? My favourite is usually whatever I am making at the time. At the moment it is a painting of a skull crying geometric neon tears. What message would you like to leave the world with your graffiti? That we can be free to do, think and act however we want to; that the only thing stopping us is ourselves. What is your biggest fear? I have terrible vertigo with heights. I am constantly trying to overcome it by climbing up on tall things like buildings, but nothing seems to work! As a visual artist my biggest fear is going blind. Tell us about your tours, what is the purpose behind them? The purpose is to travel, learn about the world and their different cultures & communities, to be inspired and to feel the freedom that comes with travelling. What can we expect from you next? I am planning on traveling quite a bit this year. I’m planning some big new street pieces and a few exhibitions, plus some other collaborative projects and some workshops in remote places.
I try not to put people on pedestals because they often end up falling off What is the most fearless thing you have ever done? That’s hard to say, most likely getting on a 35 hour plane ride to Colombia to meet people I didn’t know and where I don’t speak the language, so that I could paint on the beautiful walls of their city. I definitely had a few moments, thinking: ‘what the hell am I doing?’ Of course it turned out to be one of my favourite trips ever. Who do you look up to, as your IDOL? I don’t have many idols. I try not to put people on pedestals because they often end up falling off. But I definitely have the up-most respect for creative people who I admire: Hunter S Thompson, Dennis Hooper, David Bowie, J G Ballard and Bjork.
BToy. Hailing from Barcelona, BTOY are a duo made up of Andrea Michaelsson and Ilia Mayer who have both been decorating the Catalan streets for years with their unique artistic fl air. With their penchant for historical female fi gures and vintage images of women, their work has garnered much admiration and praise, leading to exhibitions where they have been able to showcase their work to art critics and fans alike. Driven by a desire to create work which reflects and comments upon social decline, the passage of time, nostalgia, and childhood amongst other themes, BTOY create street art which is feminine, beautiful and thought provoking. IDOL asked the duo what’s behind their work and what’s in store for the future of BTOY. After years in the scene, how has your role as a graffiti artist changed over the time? Do you do it because you want to or because you feel obligated? I really do it because I want to; although it is true that in certain cities, such as Barcelona, the antigraffiti paint put on the walls are a deterrent, so at time I’m not so enthusiastic about it. What does graffiti mean to you? It is illegal, so in many ways it makes me feel free Why did you get involved in the street art scene? What does it mean to you? I got involved in the street art scene out of curiosity; I walked down streets and thought about how much they needed some colour. When I painted illegally on the street for the first time it gave me great satisfaction; the adrenaline rush I felt, the overall sense of freedom, it was immense. You are widely known for your vibrant stencilled paintings of iconic and elegant women. What role do you think your signature portraits play in society? Does it symbolise anything for you? The iconic vintage women symbolise the decline; women who were stars, but not anymore, I think our society is in decline. Can you tell IDOL a bit about your techniques? I use a lot of stencilling, screen printing, posters, and collage
How much would you say history has influenced your artwork? Social reportage has greatly influences me, as have classic films, and punk, jazz and electronic music. Also artists like Banksy, Warhol, Villeglé, Klee, Basquiat, Ballard, and Lem. My influences are probably too vast to name. Your work has pop art tone to it, can you tell IDOL a bit about the message your portraits convey? Well the exhibition I am preparing at Traffic Gallery, Bergamo, probably summarises my ‘message’. The exhibition is called "Circus Iconic", hopefully it will make people reflect on the passage of time, and the difficult adjustment of moving to a stable society. The exhibition also addresses the disappointment of childhood dreams, and a world of illusion. The is also a play on different times and places, within what is ultimately the same show, much like the idea of what runs in front of and behind the mask at one time. My work is characterised by inter-textual references, and is heavily loaded with nostalgic portraits which are swayed by forceful brushstrokes and colour.
It is illegal, so in many ways it makes me feel free Within the urban art scene it is popular with artists to collaborate with commercial industries such as advertising and interior design. What is BTOY’s point of view on this subject? Interior design, graphic design, or customers are not my speciality, I do not think I fi t into what is classed as commercial; for me graffiti is about feelings. What can everyone expect from you next? I am preparing a new exhibition at the Traffic Gallery, Bergamo, and the opening will be on the 3rd February. Then I will try to paint the streets, according to what the city allows, and most importantly I will enjoy life. How do you choose your locations? What do you look out for? I want to integrate my work into each location, so I try to understand and convey a sense of duality between subject and space.
You have travelled to many countries and cities around the world, what do you take into account when creating your work in different places How do you do your research? Normally I look around and see what areas are like, what places have certain abandonment, things like that, and then I try to integrate my work in the place. What is your favourite piece so far? Usually I think it's the last work I've done. Is there a city/country, you have not had a chance to go but are still eager to go to? A few countries, the world is full of countries and places which are unknown to me. What message would you like to leave the world with your graffiti? That I conveyed something in my own way. What is your biggest fear? I think I have several fears; loneliness, chronic illness, or not being able to provide for myself as an artist. What is the most fearless thing you have ever done? Lived life my way. Who is your IDOL? My mother.
Born in Milan, Bo130 studied at the Liceo Artistico before travelling to London to study at Central St Martins College. Developing a passion for graffiti following a trip to America, Bo130 has gone onto be such a success he now helps contribute to the creation of the graffiti artist’s lifeblood. A keen collaborator, Bo130 talks to IDOL about street art, its commerciality, and his motivations. After years in the scene, do you feel your role as a graffiti artist has changed? For me, I started creating graffiti art as a passion, and it has lasted and got stronger through the years because it is still a passion for me, a passion which has also become 100% my everyday life. I do it because nothing makes me feel better! What does graffiti mean to you? No constraint.
In the last 10 years there has been a boom in street art. If in the early years the main purpose of graffiti was resistance, then currently it might seem that many amateurs are simply decorating cities? I don't think it was only resistance back then, just as I don't think it’s simply decoration today. There is so much more to it than that. Graffiti is everywhere, people see it every day. It has become part of popular culture for generations of kids. There are so many artists around the world, so many talented kids, so many different styles, messages, issues and reasons. There have been so many new opportunities thanks to technology. Today graffiti is undoubtedly the most vibrant art movement around.
Graffiti has become 100% my everyday life There are a lot of books and websites about it but still there is a lot of confusion and in general all this exploitation/hype for graffiti makes things worse. To me Graffiti is a spontaneous expression of life and freedom of expression should be encouraged!
Why did you get involved in street art scene? What does it mean to you? I got involved for the love of it! It was in 1985, after a holiday in the United States with my parents. I remember loving those strange scribbles on the walls. Then the book “Spray Can Art” explained the "meaning" of those scribbles and a whole new world opened up in front of me. Describe your means of expression? A cross-platform; Digi-analog, Annunakian-Tribalism!
I fear what people are capable of doing today What inspires your art? I take inspiration and imagery from urban lifestyles, black music, different cultures, food, sex, comics, alien stories, and I remix it with my own thoughts and visions ending up in a multilayered lysergic juxtaposition of colors and shapes almost like a comic strip gone bananas! Within the mix I try to keep the essence of graffiti, which since ’85 has been a major influence in my life
When it comes to collaborating, to what extent do your techniques and styles vary compared with your individual pieces? When you're working with other people trust and respect are the basic rules; then you need to be flexible and the way you work needs to adapt to the others and vice versa. In these situations you exchange "information" and that’s the best way to grow up. No ego tripping allowed! Many artists, including yourself, designed remarkable head drops for Super Ego Editions 2009. What encouraged you to take part in this opportunity? With Super Ego it's been the first step into the 3rd dimension, ceramic is a very appealing material to use and to be able to work side by side with the old Italian master ceramists it’s been a great experience. For the future I am hoping to experiment with more diverse materials, like bronze, porcelain, fiberglass etc. How do you choose your locations? For me, it doesn't have to be illegal at all costs; I
donâ€™t need that kind of adrenaline rush anymore more. Now I get an adrenaline rush about other aspects of my work. If it is illegal, I try to hit those places that are blatantly bad so people don't get mad about it; plus, I don't have to watch my back all the time. You have traveled to many countries and cities around the world, what do you take into account when illustrating your work in different areas? Respect is the fi rst thing! Respecting the people and their customs, connecting with the locals, listening to them and learning the unwritten rules of the place. What is your favorite piece so far? Itâ€™s a work in progress, I don't have a real favourite one, every piece has a story. With regard to paintings, I keep a couple of favourite pieces from each show for my personal archive and each piece has different aspects that I like or hate. Is there a city/country, you have not had a chance to go but are still eager to visit? I'm looking forward to going to Japan.
When you're working with other people trust and respect are the basic rules; No ego tripping allowed What do think about street art as modern urban art form exhibited in white cube galleries? I think it depends upon which gallery and things can be good but right now there is too much hype and speculation and not everything you see is quality; today, kids fight for gallery space instead of city walls. They want to go from sketch to gallery straight away, and some galleries allow that to happen, thatâ€™s bad! Don't believe the hype! What message would you like to leave the world with your graffiti? Hidden messages in my work vary through time; I just hope to be able to visually please people looking at my works and to give them some kind of a different visual experience. What is your biggest fear as a person? And as an artist? I fear what people are capable of doing today, especially for money! Money is the root of all evil! As an artist, I fear losing the passion of what I'm doing; I'm really careful not to let it happen!
When it comes to collaborating, to what extent What can we expect from you next? Bad boys move in silence! What is the most fearless thing you have ever done? Eaten extra hot jerk lobster at Boston Bay, Jamaica! Fayah! Who do you look up to, as your IDOL? No Heroes, no idols; I have many inspirational figures, including George Lucas for making Star Wars, and Dennis Hopper, just to name a few. Oh, and my father.
Blek the Rat. Known as the godfather of stencil graffiti art, Blek le Rat has influenced countless street artists including the infamous Banksy. Hailing from Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, Blek le Rat began his work in 1981 after studying painting and architecture. His work is driven by social consciousness and a desire to bring art to the people, a motivation which saw him present a solo exhibition in 2006 at Londonâ€™s Leonard Street Gallery. IDOL chatted to this icon of street art to discover the person behind the graffiti, his artistic perspective, and what part the Surrealist movement played in his evolution as an artist. Can you tell IDOL a bit about your work, your ethos and your inspiration? I have been a graffiti artist for thirty years; they call me the godfather of stencil graffiti, but my life is pretty normal. I have a family, a house and I do everyday things like eating pizzas and watching TV. Did you train in art? If not, how were you initiated into it? Yes, I have been an art student in Paris in the 70's; I studied etching, painting, and lithography at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts de Paris from 1971 to 1976 and then I studied architecture in Paris. I was initiated into the art world through an aunt who was an actress and who was involved with the Surrealistic movement and in particular with Dali, Man Ray and Max Ernst. My aunt introduced me to art very early on, showing me some exhibitions in Parisian galleries in the sixties. I remember the first time of my life I was impressed with a painting; it was Dali's painting Lenine. How did you originally become involved in the street art movement? I saw street art for the first time during a journey that I made to NYC in 1971. I realised that this kind of expression was totally different to any kind of expression that Iâ€™d seen before. I have to admit that at the first glance I did not understand exactly what
was happening in the streets and subways of NYC; I knew that something was happening but I couldn’t explain why some people were making art in such a weird way and then writing their names in the subways and on walls of the city. It was very strange behaviour for someone who has never seen such a thing in Paris before. It took me ten years to digest what I saw and to make it myself. What makes you different from other 'Street' artists? I don't know if I am different from the other artist but I know that I am true and honest with myself and the others. My art always reflects what I am feeling at the moment and is not driven to flatter my supposed audience to be loved by them. As a street artist, what is different about your voice and your perspective from more traditional forms of art? Modern and traditional art is boring; my art is fresh, new, true, democratic, and honest. How has France and its political endeavours shaped your career? France did not do anything in terms of my career; in general France does not have any interest in street art and I am still considered a little rebel rather than an artist. I live in France, I like France because it is my country, but culture in France is totally manipulated by some people who are in power. I have to say that Great Britain, the USA, and Australia shaped my career, not France.
Modern and traditional art is boring; my art is fresh, new, true, democratic, and honest. How has the stencil art medium changed since you started in the 80s? I think stencil art in 2011 belongs to the history of art and its major changes since the 80's. At that time it was considered as a political and social statement made on the walls of Paris, now it is accepted as an expression of art belonging to our natural environment, and even if some people continue to receive this art as an aggression, many young people all over the world are very receptive to it. Do you feel like a forefather to the youths of street art today, or does their commercial success derail the avant-garde and ultimately rebellious original purpose of street art?
I do think their commercial success has derailed the origins of street art slight, and it is very sad, but on the other hand I think that this kind of development is normal in every movement, be it art, music or politics. People who start a movement at the beginning have something raw to say to the world and then the regeneration starts, and many people try to regenerate ideas and styles. It has always been like that and I don't know why the graffiti movement would be any different in its development. What message do you want to tell the world? Art is a pleasure like music, cinema, and literature; everybody can have access to this pleasure.
now it is accepted as an expression of art belonging to our natural environment What is the biggest sacrifice you have made for your art? I never did make any sacrifices; I spent all my life focused on street art. I could’ve been an architect but I didn’t have the desire to have to make that kind of sacrifice; it was my life, that's it. Do you have a favourite quote? “Religions keep poor people murdering the rich” – Napoleon Who is your Idol? Sorry but I don't have any idol to idolise.
Germany is a city of history and culture, but one artist is using his home of Berlin as a way of expressing himself using his talent in streetart. Evol is reshaping the face of architecture, transforming conventional containers and cardboard by creating miniature buildings which any passerby would be convinced are real. Using simple stencils, he creates life-like graffiti while promoting his own message to the world. He’s so good that he has previously won an award at the 2010 Slick Art Fair in Paris, winning the Arte Prize, showing people just what he was capable of. But he’s more than just a graffiti artist using his surroundings, he has also had his work exhibited in galleries, travelled around the world sho wing off his streetart, and has even transformed an empty building into a swanky hotel. Idol chats to him about his work, his message, and his next project, which sadly he’s very secretive about. After years in the scene, how has your role as a street artist changed over the time? Do you do it because you want to or because you feel obligated? I don’t respond well to obligations. I like what I am doing, otherwise what I’m doing has no merit, so I would have to find something else I like to do instead. What does graffiti mean to you? It’s something in between the most meaningless acts of brainless vandalism and some of the best moments in my life. Last 10 years have faced a boom in street art. If in the early years the main purpose of graffiti was resistance, then currently it might seem that many amateurs are simply decorating cities? How do you feel about it? Would you say the purpose of graffiti has changed? Somehow I doubt that resistance is, or has been, the main impetus. Isn't it more a reaction to a lack of attention? I also disagree with amateurs as a general attitude, but I agree that there's a lot of decoration going on. However, I think that, basically, this so-called scene has been broadened and expanded, which of course includes a bigger variety of good and bad or nice or radical. The more it expands, the more diverse it becomes. Every culture will create a counter-culture
Why did you get involved in street art scene? What does it mean to you? I don't know really, it just happened. If you're interested in what's happening in the streets, the paths just cross. It means a lot to me and I’ve met some of my best friends doing it. But I’ve also met a lot of people with interesting ideas putting their seeds into common ground. You are known for your pasted photorealistic miniature architectural surfaces. What role does your signature feature such as nostalgic GDR (The German Democratic Republic) building depict in the society? Does it signify anything for you? Right now most of my work revolves around the area I know best, my neighbourhood in Berlin, and around these familiar buildings where ordinary people live. The facades that I depict are somehow the face of this society. In the case of the Plattenbauten Works, for me those are a symbol of an attempted utopia that quite often turns into a dysfunctional nightmare. I leave them in the streets as miniature reminders of this failed system, a reflection of society’s fl aws, which are often negated for being an unattractive truth. Tell us about your techniques. Most of the time, I work with stencils these days, because they're relatively easy to produce, fast to use, and- in my case- give me the added benefit of the joy of repetition. When I started with the Plattenbauten buildings, I sprayed them on transparent paper that I affixed to the electrical boxes, as I'm not too keen on legal conflicts. Though this means a lot more preproduction and it doesn't last very long. So any intention has its preferable solutions, and sometimes you have to work with different methods to achieve the best result possible, whatever means necessary. These days I wouldn’t care as much about legal repercussions, so I prefer to spray directly onto objects, since it simply lasts longer. How much has history influenced your artwork? It’s not so much the history, but more the contemporary that influences my work. Although in Berlin, history is still so embedded in current life that the two are mutually inclusive. How do you distinguish the art you create between streets and galleries? They are two totally different things. Even though the same topics interest me, my work on the street is site-specific. When creating art on the street, you’re putting your work in a surrounding that your
“audience” is familiar with, but wouldn’t expect to have function as an arts space. The downside is that you’re excluded from the reactions. The only feedback you get is when learning whether a piece has been destroyed, removed or added to as a mark of appreciation. And you are very limited in materials that you can use. You are especially limited with time. Time is what I have when I work on a piece for a gallery. Then I can use a different language because I am liberated from the limitations on the street, and because I know that my audience is already primed and focused; this enables me to direct attention to different things. The commissioned works you did with Puma and Adidas reflect similarities with Russian graphic design. Project Steiger also has strong graphic features similar to photomontages. How much propaganda do you involve in your work? Those works were not commissions, but rather my private comments on branding madness. This was probably started under the influence of Naomi Klein’s book, "no logo" and the absurd power of brands in public life. For example, the most ridiculous peak I found was in the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, where the main sponsor refused to admit people into the stadium who were wearing the competitors’ brands too visibly. You can't negate that there has been some very well made propaganda, and they can have the power of mass-attraction. I really don't like propaganda, mainly for what’s behind it. You have a specific way of presenting your art. How do you choose your locations? What do you look out for? I like to work site-specific and I like to use what I already find and add something in a rather subtle way. Even subtle interventions can completely change the meaning of a space. I am more the quiet guy. How would a phrase ‘medium is a message’ (Marshall McLuhan) illustrate your artwork? I would say that every message needs a medium. As I am not good with words for a message, I take much more care in choosing the medium. What do think about street art as modern urban art form exhibited in white cube galleries? As I’ve said above: it's a contradiction that street art would be exhibited in a gallery. But it’s not a contradiction in this field, there are a lot of incredibly talented people who exhibit in galleries.
Describe your experience while creating the design for a corridor at the Flamingo Beach Lotel at 2007. What kind of challenges did you face? I just added the structure and tried to keep all the evidence of what had been there before. It’s really the same as what I do in all my work. Plus, I had the added capacity to use electricity, which allowed me to further develop the transitory space within a flat. The hotel was a nice idea, taking an abandoned apartment building and turning it into a completely self-financed artist hotel. But unfortunately, with no outside funding, the hotel closed before it even really opened. Still, this experience ultimately led to my installation “Flamingo Beach, Later,” a 1:1 replica of the corridor, so that was a positive outcome. What is your favourite piece so far? I'm not trying to favour any of my work, but maybe ”Rauhe Schale” because it so obviously plays with the material. Or “Caspar-David-Friedrich-Stadt” because it’s a good example that shows through a minor addition, the experience of an entire place can change. Is there a city/country, you have not had a chance to go but are still eager to go? Yes, most of them. What do you take into account when illustrating your work in different parts of the world? How do you do your research? What I do is somehow a reflection or a reaction to my surroundings. So, ideally I would spend enough time there to play with what I find. What message would you like to leave the world with your street art form? Learn to watch carefully/closely. What is your biggest fear? Stupidity, ignorance and selfishness. What can we expect from you next? I'm working on it. Stay tuned. What is the most fearless thing you have ever done? I still haven’t done it yet. Who do you look up to, as your IDOL? I don’t idolize, I appreciate. Some people I appreciate right now are: Akay and Adams, Brad Downey, Homer, Kripoe, OX, and Martin Kippenberger… though the list is so long, these are just a few…
Claudio Ethos is a street artist from Brazil that isn’t afraid to show how much he loves his country. Hailing from Sao Paolo, he not only openly talks about how much he loved living there, but uses his surroundings and the feelings and thoughts he gets from being there to inspire his art, both on the street and in the galleries. But rather than using loud colours to get the attention of art lovers, Ethos mainly uses black and white, letting his images do all the talking, rather than letting bright pinks and yellows distract from his original message. Ethos has had several solo exhibitions worldwide, he’s come a long way since his beginnings at home. IDOL talks to Ethos about his art, his message, and how much Brazil means to him.
What does graffiti mean to you? The word graffiti is related to the 80's hip hop culture and trains but nowadays this word is much wider after the street art boom. Personally it means my way of life and what opened my mind to art's universe. After years in the scene, how has your role as a graffiti artist changed over the time? I think that things are so much different nowadays. There is a mainstream and a professional level that has been built on over the last ten years. But I keep doing my work with pleasure and intuition. How did you get involved in street art scene? In the suburbs of Sao Paulo, since the 90's, it is very common to meet groups (crews) of young people united around the pixacao movement (a kind of Brazilian calligraphy). At that time I got involved in the street's culture of graffiti and hip hop. In the beginning I painted in a traditional calligraphy style, but after 2000 I began to develop my own particular style.
How have your origins influenced your work? All my work I own to my origins and it was always very remarkable during my artistic development. Sao Paulo gives me the tools for building my self-knowledge. I can’t imagine myself born in another country, otherwise it was not going to be me. I believe that we are almost totally a result of our culture. Last 10 years have faced a boom in street art. If in the early years the main purpose of graffiti was resistance, then currently it might seem that many amateurs are simply decorating cities. Would you say the purpose of graffiti has changed? Unfortunately, after street art got into commercial and big companies’ economics interests, a lot of people went to the streets for painting. Those people didn’t care about or didn’t even know about the real purpose and history of cultural resistance, maybe it was due to a natural process of the inclusion of new culture in the market. I believe that, today, the point of view of graffiti is different and there are a lot of sources. Although I believe that there are a lot of interesting things being built too.
You have participated in many urban art festivals, such as Spina Festival Art and Culture Dozza, FAME Festival and the Stroke Art Fair. How important is it for you, as an artist, to take part in worldwide street art festivals? I think that travelling around is always a good experience to help you get to know different artist and philosophies, and it gives you a wider perception about the contemporary productions. When you get participating in big festivals such as Fame and Stroke, it gives you a credit in the artistic community. You work is known for its juxtaposed fine looking surrealism features. What role do your signature characters symbolize? My work is a collection of different impressions that I have got from different places and dimensions. I don’t work with any linear logic and I believe my characters can create different ways of readings. Certainly, some works have social content, but sometimes it can be just a perception or feelings gutted in a specific situation that is indirectly related to the collective social theme.
How do you choose your locations to paint? Sao Paulo is very rich in wall textures; there are lots of building marked by time, where the lack of paint or treatment gives space to biologic action and the natural formation of textures. This is very interesting because it is impossible to achieve this with painting or artificial methods. But there are no rules; it depends on the situation and the place where I am. I never stop being surprised by different spots in different cities. How have your techniques changed over time? We never stop learning when you are talking about techniques. Nowadays I feel much more free to explore different kinds of techniques. What has influenced your artwork the most over the years? The life at the cities, the meetings that happen, cultural movements, music, people, women, other artists and new experiences. What kind of challenges has your artwork faced within society since you got involved in street art? When you start an activity that breaks your civilian
state of rights, many interesting things start to happen. You realize the real borders of liberty. Paint as an illegal artist and the city shows how fragile this idea of freedom is in this democratic society. My biggest challenges are related to facing different places, with different judgments and different mentalities. What do you take into account when illustrating your work in different parts of the world? Painting on the streets gives you a big interaction experience, this is very important and causes big consequences on the work's results. I try to keep my mind open to get the most of information around me. I try to get lot of information about the country before I get there, but itâ€™s always going to be a Brazilian point of view about that place.
We are almost totally a result of our culture Is there a city/country, you have not had a chance to go but are still eager to go? I have already visited some big cities around the
world, and I really appreciated them. In Europe, I am anxious to get to know London and Stockholm.
In Graffiti, there are no rules How do you select the art you create between streets and galleries? There are two different kinds of work. Inside galleries itâ€™s more conceptual work, on the streets it is an action and intervention work. What do think about street art as a modern urban art form exhibited in white cube galleries? For me itâ€™s a transitional process still, that keeps counting on lots of deals and errors. What is your favorite piece so far? My favorite so far is a piece in Amsterdam, because I had to do it under very low temperatures, which was a big challenge for a Brazilian guy. What message would you like to leave the world with your graffiti? That is still unknown for me. But today, I would say Live and Experiment.
What are you scared of? What scares me is ignorance (including my own ignorance). But as an artist nothing scares me.
When you start an illegal activity like graffiti, many interesting things start to happen to you What is the most fearless thing you have ever done for your art? Painting at high places. What is the most fearless thing you have ever done for your art? Painting at high places. Who do you look up to, as your IDOL? Naturally, I had to kill some of my idols during my knowledge process. I admire lot of people, sometimes just for one day or one situation. Depending on how I feel I look up for references.
Jesse Hazelip. When you think of graffiti what do you think of? How about powerful images, buffalo’s and herons and a talented artist trying to convey messages about war and social issues in his own artistic vocabulary? Weren’t expecting that were you? Meet Jesse Hazelip, he’s a street artist that wants to show people a different way of protesting, using the surroundings around you to create some truly unique artwork. And he hasn’t gone unnoticed, he’s making a name for himself, which can only mean one thing, it’s time Idol had a sit down, and a nice chat with Jesse about street art, not learning from our mistakes, and rather sweetly, his son. After years in the scene, how has your role as a street artist changed over the time? My medium has changed throughout the years; I started the traditional way with markers and aerosol paint. Though I still use these mediums for vandalism I have adopted the use of posters and wheatpaste to pursue my political agenda. These mediums definitely chose me, and I feel that the act of vandalism is a sort of duty to express pressing concerns that are being ignored in popular media. It can be a poor man’s advertising campaign. Why did you get involved in street art scene? What does it mean to you? I discovered graffiti around 1990 while riding the train to visit my mother. The walls along the tracks in LA are grilled with graffiti and I instantly fell in love. While I was living in San Francisco I attended numerous protests against the looming war, and that in turn ended up fueling my need to voice my protest through vandalism. I adopted silkscreen and poster making into my vandal vocabulary. What does graffiti mean to you? First I should state what I mean when I speak of graffiti. Throughout the years I think the term has lost some meaning. Graffiti to me is an illegal act of vandalism with markers and or paint. Legal walls aren't graffiti in my eyes, they are murals. Graffiti is the voice of the downtrodden and hope-
less, the desperate grasp for attention by those overlooked in our ever expanding population. I feel that the urge to vandalize come primarily from the poor and the ignored. Your work has a strong propaganda features to it. How much has history influenced your artwork? Some slogans are taken directly from actual WWII bomber planes. I use WWII imagery because I feel that should have been the fi nal war fought by humans. The amount of destruction and death on all sides of that war should have been a turning point in our evolution as a species. Since then we have only escalated the amount of energy put towards weapon development, while we have abandoned other routes which would better serve us developmentally.
You are widely known for your use of iconic American buffalos and herons juxtaposed with tools of death. Do they symbolize anything for you? The buffalo are iconic in America and yet we nearly annihilated them early in the occupation by the settlers. I use them as another lesson in American history and hope that the imagery reaches out beyond the confines of the art world. The Heron are striking creatures, and I feel that behaviorally they mirror the United States. They are solitary in nature, mainly because they hate sharing food. The last 10 years have faced a boom in street art. You are recognized for your skill and innovation. In the early years the main purpose of graffiti was resistance, then currently it might seem that many amateurs are simply decorat-
ing cities. Would you say the purpose of graffiti has changed? Graffiti will always evolve, and I revel in watching the trends and innovations throughout the world. I feel that the urge to do graffiti will always come from the same place, but only on the illegal level. It takes a certain type of crazy to commit to vandalism, it's completely insane to put your life and freedom at risk for absolutely no fi nancial gain, and that's why I love it. It's true anarchism and there is no stopping it. How do you feel studying art has shaped your inner artistic side? I gained discipline that I desperately needed, and a sense of humbleness. I was surrounded by amazing artists whom I respect and being around them motivated me to push myself further.
What philosophy do you live by? It's not about the money; it's about saving the world The artwork you create represents different things, including social and worldly situations. What kind of response or changes within society have you faced since you got involved in street art? I am deeply scared about how things are headed in the US. Our country is in deep dividing without much hope for resolve. At this point I am convinced that a civil war is in the making. I hope that I might reach some minds with my efforts.
Legal walls aren't graffiti in my eyes, they are murals One of the messages of your artwork â€˜to move on...â€™ has it gained its purpose? Unfortunately we seem to be unable to learn from our mistakes, so my message is nowhere close to seeing the light. I strongly encourage all people to fight for change, and to demand action and take action. Watching from the sidelines isn't half as fun as running with the bulls. You also work as a commercial illustrator. When it comes to a new project, what do you look out for? I look for an art director with vision and trust. I mainly turn down commercial jobs because of the lack of those things. What is your favorite piece so far? A piece titled "Time'll Tell" which was the first of the series with the Buffalo and Heron. I had found some old shipping crates that eventually became the "canvas". That piece was a turning point in my work.
Graffiti is the voice of the downtrodden and hopeless What is the most fearless thing you have ever done? Having a child is the craziest and most fearless thing I have ever done, far trumping the nights of drunken graffiti, guns and drugs of my early career. What scares you in everyday life? Sarah Palin, Fox News, Sarah Palin.
What can we expect from you next? I am going to put the Buffalo and Heron to rest after this show, and only revisit them in another military conflict when it arises (probably North Korea or Iran or both). Hopefully I won't have to go back to them. I'm starting an entirely new series, but you'll have to keep your eyes to the streets.
Graffiti is s true anarchism and there is no stopping Who do you look up to, as your IDOL? My son has taught me that we all start out as clean slates with infinite potential. With that knowledge I realize that we are all equally important, and I see beauty in everyone. This might sound contrived, but you haven't met my son yet.
CPG TATTOO Curtis Small is the stuntman, model, clothing designer and creator of tattoo group CPG. From designing chest pieces for himself and his friends, he slowly started getting a following. Using the body as a canvas for art and story telling. IDOL meets Curtis and fellow CPG members Nathan Morgan and Jack ‘Jackie 2 Cocks’ Dudman to find out what drives them to dedicate their bodies to art.
When did you decide to get your first tattoo and why? I got my 1st tattoo was when I was 18. I used to have a poster of Jodeci on my wall and Dalvin one of the group members had a black panther on his arm so I got a miniature version on the top of my leg so my mum couldn’t see it.
Which is the most sentimental? My kids’ names.
Do you see your body as a canvas?
Yes I do. Over the 12 years I’ve been getting inked I’ve learnt that tattooing isn’t just about going into the shop and picking a design off the wall, its an expression of yourself. So why not express yourself through great art?
What has been your biggest career achievement so far?
Working on 007 Casino Royale as a stuntman.
Have you thought about the prospect of permanent body art going out of fashion and what will you do if or when it does? I don’t think that tattoos will ever go out of fashion because it has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to become more popular.
What is your biggest fear? Not seeing my kids grow up.
When did you get your first tattoo and what was the inspiration behind it? My 18th birthday, I wanted one from about 16 and I was pissed when I didn't even get asked for ID! A treble clef on my wrist, off the wall, my least inspired one, I just wanted some ink.
Has having tattoos effected your occupation in any way positively/negatively?
Not really as I don't work anywhere where appearance is an issue. If anything it stops me from getting into a job I fucking hate.
What do your family/friends think about your body art?
When I got my first one I hid my wrist for about a week, but it doesn't bother them, some really love it and ask me about getting tattoos all the time, I don't think they even notice when I get new ones anymore. When I tattooed my neck no one said anything for about a fucking month.
Have you thought about the prospect of permanent body art going out of fashion and what will you do if/when it does?
Tattooing is more of a culture than just body art. You've just gotta make sure your getting the tattoo for yourself and not following a trend. Tattoos seem to be getting more popular recently and there more socially accepted, but with that people are rushing into getting shit tattoos that don't mean anything, or not doing the right research before hand. To be honest if tattoos went out of fashion I’d be happy as shit…
What are your goals for the future? Got a thousand…
What is your biggest fear? Have you got any plans to overcome this? Dying, but fuck it what you gonna do?!
Where did you get the name Jackie 2 Cocks?
My name is Jack, I have a cock & I have a cock tattooed on my leg. Hence.
What made you get into tattooing?
I have had a great passion for art from a young age since I left school and I had no channel to focus my passion ‘til tattooing.
What is the strangest request for a tattoo you’ve had?
A man wanted 2 life-sized bananas on either bum cheek.
Is there anyone you would like to work with? Why?
I would love to work with Allan J. Larsen also known as Uncle Allan from Secret Lair of Uncle A because I’m heavily inspired by his artwork.
Have you thought about the prospect of permanent body art going out of fashion? What will you do if it does?
I have no interest whether they go out of fashion. I do it purely for my clients and myself and if it did go out of fashion I would have dedicated clients.
What is your biggest fear? Plans to overcome this?
My biggest fear is zombies conquering the world. To overcome this fear I have a zombie survival kit under my bed, I would command a boat and make my way to the Isle of Wight where I will settle.
Jack Challoner is already a legend in the motorcycle trials world. Taking to motorcycle trials from a young age of four, when most children would be finger painting, Jack has achieved what some people would only dream, and he’s still only 19. He’s already won the Junior World Championships and is getting ready to move up to a senior level already. He’s accomplished a lot in a short period of time, so IDOL talks to him about his adrenaline, his favourite trials, getting in trouble with the police and his plans for the future. What attracted you the most about motorcycle trials and when did you first discover them?
Ever since I was young, I used to go with my dad to all the local trials which he rode, until I eventually got my own Yamaha TY80 trials bike when I was seven, then I started to ride those trials myself and that’s when it all started.
You started riding a motorcycle at the age of four. Did that help you with your achievements or do you feel you missed out in your childhood?
The best advice/quote you live for?
I think in any sport the younger you start the better, and this is definitely the case with trials. As soon as I got my first bike, all I wanted to do was go out riding. I don't feel like I missed out on my childhood at all; in-fact riding motorbikes is what made my childhood.
Johnboy's famous words; "Your own line, your own gear, hero or zero"
Tell us the craziest thing you have done so far.
I've ridden the outdoor world championships for three years in the Youth and Junior classes so I have experience there. But for 2011 I'm moving up to the senior class and also riding the Indoor X-Trial World Championships which is a massive step up for me. I'm now riding alongside the world’s best riders and everything, especially the sections are much bigger. Both the indoor and outdoor elements will be hard, and come with different challenges which I am ready to embrace.
Well riding motorbikes we're often trying some pretty crazy stuff in practice, one highlight was when I went street riding for a video. We soon got a bollocking from the coppers.
At age 19 you have become Junior World Champion. How does it make you feel to be awarded at such a young age? Winning the Junior World Championship this year was the highlight of my career so far. I won the Youth World Championship in 2008 which was awesome but winning the next, more challenging level just a year later has made me realise that trials could be my lifetime career.
This year, you're riding both the indoor and outdoor championships. Which one do you find more challenging?
Motocycle Trials is a fearless sport Would you say adrenaline has
boosted your ambitions?
Adrenaline is everything really; it's why I ride such an extreme sport. There is no better feeling when you have lined up a massive step and get through the section with a clean. This year, I have been riding much bigger and much harder sections and the adrenaline is what is driving me to go even bigger and better
Where do you like to escape for breaks/ holidays?
Well seen as I am away most of the year, it's kinda like I am on Holiday when I come back to my home town, Halifax, haha. Other than that, I love getting the snowboard out and riding some sick lines.
3 things you can’t live without?
The main thing I couldn't live without has got to be my bike, without that my life would be so different. I should also say my mobile phone as it's how I keep in contact
with my family and friends while I am away, and finally a good home-cooked Sunday roast dinner.
Tell us something you have always wanted to try out but were afraid.
Never really being afraid to give something ago, having seen the footage from the Relentless boardmasters event I would like to go surfing next year
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? In the perfect world I would be multiple world champion, that is definitely the ultimate goal, if not I'll be selling firewood around Halifax.
Who is your IDOL?
I'll have to say Dougie Lampkin, he is 12-times world champion and also from Yorkshire. I have watched him ride for as long as I remember and he is a massive inspiration.
Jeb Corliss – BASE Jumper
evolve into something new. I want to understand myself. I feel these things help me discover parts of my self that would otherwise be hidden from me.
Tell us about your most exhilarating experience in base jumping so far.
The most exhilarating experience was the day I realized I was a BASE jumper. There are these points in life, these times where you transition from wanting to be something to actually being it. The day I realized I was a base jumper and there was nothing that was ever going to stand in the way of my dreams, not even the fear of death. It was a feeling of power that I cannot express with words. It changed me forever.
Is there anything you are scared of?
I am scared of everything that scares you. I am not a super human. Over time with enormous amounts of training I have just learned how to control my fear. Any person can do it, they just have to have the desire to do so.
The son of a Malibu Multi-millionaires, professional BASE jumper Jeb Corliss has become infamous for leaping from some of the highest buildings in the world, from the Eiffel Tower to the Petronas tower, his daredevil ways resulted in an arrest when he attempted the Empire State Building, undeterred Jeb continues to stretch himself, exploring ways to challenge fear and fulfill his desire to push boundaries. With no plans to slow down, Jeb is embracing and living by his passion for the extreme. IDOL speaks to this intriguing character about why he was drawn to the danger of extreme sports and what he plans to tackle next. You are a BASE jumper, skydiver, and wingsuit flyer, what is your favorite and why?
I am really into wing-suit proximity flying right now. It is the cutting edge of the sport and there are so many new and exciting things to be done with it. I love how challenging it is and how precise a person needs to be in order to do it.
How did you get into extreme sports?
I have always had a fascination with fear. Since I
was a very small child I have been trying to figure out why certain things make me feel certain ways. This desire to understand fear drew me to seek out things that were dangerous. It was a natural progression to then start participating in sports that are a little more on the extreme side.
You have jumped from some of the most iconic buildings in the world (Paris' Eiffel Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) how did you managed to avoid all the security?
The Petronas tower was done for the building. I was actually hired to come there and jump it. So the security actually walked me right to the exit point and controlled the crowds so I would have a place to land. The Eiffel tower was the only jump that I actually had to worry about security. But honestly, it was easy to get through them. When you have the element of surprise on your side it really isn't that hard. Security is not looking for people trying to jump off buildings with parachutes. They have other larger and more important things to look for. So slipping though is not a problem. Plus base jumping is actually not illegal in most places so security has no real reason to look for it anyway. Until it becomes a problem they really don't care.
How do you overcome the challenges in extreme sport? Training, that is how you overcome most challenges in life.
What is your approach to life?
I think the single most important thing in any person’s life is finding passion. It doesn't matter what that passion is for. It's different for everyone. For some it is singing, for some it is dancing, for some it is family. For me it is turning dreams into realities. Once a person finds their passion then I feel that a person must do everything in their power to live that passion. They must be willing to give 110% of themselves to it. They must be willing to die for it.
Base jumping is recognized as a dangerous sport. You are notoriously known for your fearless jumps, either off the famous sites or other extreme locations. What drives you to experience the feeling of adrenaline?
I do not do these things only for the adrenaline rush. I do what I do because it helps me live dreams I have had since I was a small child - the dream of flyingI also like to push the boundaries of what humans believe possible. I want to try and
Currently, the world's tallest structure is the 828 m (2,717 ft) tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, would you BASE jump it? Yes, definitely.
What is your next mission? I am going to fly a wing-suit through a mountain in China. We found an amazing cave that runs through the side of a mountain. I will jump from a helicopter and enter the cave on one side of the mountain and then fly underground ‘til I come out of the mountain on the other side. What can’t you live without? Air, food and water.
If sky has no limits then what are your limits? I am only limited by my own imagination.
If you weren’t an extreme athlete what would you be doing?
I would probably be in the military working in special ops.
Who is you IDOL?
I idolize any person out there in the world trying to turn their dreams into reality. I idolize people with passion.
Jenna Downing Jenna is an incredibly talented inline skater and is currently a member of Team Extreme. Not only is she the 2008 Women’s Inline Street LG World Champion, but she has also won the title of the Female British Inline Champion ten times, and was the second girl to ever have done a 900 degree spin. Recognise her? You just might as she’s a busy girl when she’s not skating. She’s worked on CITV's Ministry of Mayhem , featured in a MTV music video, been in a Kellogg's advert and is even a character in the X-Box and Playstation 2 video game 'Rolling'. Jenna is an inspiration for girls everywhere, a confident skater who knows what she wants and goes for it, even if she gets injured along the way. Not content with her successes on her skates, she’s working hard on a range of projects with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Youth Sports Trust and Sport England, competing in competitions and still finds time to coach future sports superstars, and all before her 23rd birthday! Meet the skating superstar that is Jenna Downing You’ve accomplished a lot of things and you’re only 22, how does that make you feel?
Thank you. It makes me feel really really good. I’ve always been very ambitious and wanted to achieve the most out of life but I would have never ever said from a young girl I would have achieved everything I’ve done by the age of 22. I always believe there is something else you can go on to achieve however and you have to keep pushing yourself and bettering yourself all the time.
How did you start it?
My mum got me a pair of skates when I was seven and instantly I really enjoyed the sport and felt comfortable on skates. So one day I went to a roller disco and met some brothers (the Jagger brothers) who told me about a skate park that they owned and they asked me to go…I did
and I just loved it! Trying the ramps, falling over, getting back up and trying again, it just gave me a brilliant buzz. If it wasn’t for meeting those brothers, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They became like my own brothers and taught me tricks and pushed me to get as good as the boys because I was the only girl at the skate park at the time. You were a bright student since a young age at school, especially in the arts and sports.
Recently you graduated from Law, what made you study Law?
Having an education has always been really important to me because even though I’ve always done sport my whole life, I know that I can’t do it forever. So having an education to fall back on in case I get injured or in case I stop doing this sport has always been my priority. So I went to school, I went to sixth form, and I went to university. Throughout sixth form I studied Law and I really enjoyed it so I thought why not carry it on with a Law degree, it’s a good, broad degree to have, so I did it at University. It was definitely challenging! Especially when trying to juggle it with my sport.
Watching “Puberty ‘The Method’” video you were already good at nine years old, and you can already see the strong enthusiasm towards skating. How did you film the video?
The Jagger brothers who owned the skatepark were also champion skaters and they really supported me. They owned a clothing company called ‘Puberty’ and they decided to sponsor me and put me on the team. Shortly after they made
a video and each member of the team got a section - my section was shared with a good friend of mine, Jenny Logue. I was only nine at the time so it was a great experience.
What happened to your knee?
I was competing this year and one of my last tricks was a back flip, which was a transfer from one ramp into another. I had lots of adrenaline and ended up going too high and over rotated too fast and dislocated my knee, tearing my ACL and MCL cruciate ligaments. At first I didn’t think I needed surgery but if I wanted to skate again then surgery was imperative, so I had the operation in August which took part of my hamstring muscle away and created a new ligament for my knee. I’m just going through the rehab process now, and doing lots of physiotherapy. It’s very tough, both physically and mentally, but I have to do it in order to skate again and get back to that same standard.
To what extent did the skating lifestyle affect you as you were growing up? Because I have skated from such a young age I feel as though rollerblading has without a
doubt shaped my life and the person that I am today. I feel incredibly fortunate that I got into such a fantastic sport, which is not only a sport but a community and a lifestyle. Yes it was hard balancing this with school and socializing but I have no regrets putting skating first as it’s provided me with my career, great friends and unforgettable experiences. Without rollerblading I know that my life would be completely different.
You started skating 15 years ago, what was the competition like back then, taking into consideration that more girls are taking up skating now?
I think the competitions when I first started skating, for the first seven years or so, were a lot bigger. We were skating in big arenas around the world, there were some huge events and competitions going on and participation levels were much higher than what they are now. In the last eight years or so it’s really dropped in popularity which is a shame, and as a result there’s not so many competitions going on anymore. So please girls and guys get out your inline skates and head down to your local skatepark and have a
go! Having said that, the standard of rollerblading is higher than ever and it’s just insane some of the tricks people are doing these days. I know that it will come back stronger and we will have our time again.
Your mum Jayne has said, Jenna learned all her tricks on her own sessions at skate parks. This is a well-known thinking in skateboarding with do it yourself? How do you feel about doing it yourself?
Well we don’t have coaches in our sport or anything like that and that’s one of the great things about our sport, just being able to go skating with your friends and learn from each other. With that comes freedom of expression, just letting go and being yourself. There’s no better feeling than going skating after a hard day and releasing all your stresses in that session! More and more these days however coaching clinics are being held to teach people skills and tricks and these are great for people who prefer to be taught by someone, rather than learn their own tricks. I suppose it depends upon learning styles what you prefer.
There’s a lot of freedom then?
There is a lot of freedom and that’s what attracts people to it because you are in charge of your own learning. It’s down to you to motivate yourself. But it can be tough trying to constantly better yourself; I see the other girls out there improving all the time and that’s what pushes me to improve.
Do you come up with your own tricks? Or do you watch videos of other people?
You can learn by watching others, asking others, watching videos, reading magazines, or you can just learn tricks yourself. It all depends on how you prefer to learn. Me, I prefer to watch someone do a trick and then try it myself and learn from my own mistakes.
Have you ever broken anything?
Yeah, I’ve broke my collar bone twice, which isn’t too bad really considering how long I’ve been skating! (touch wood!)
What is your next challenge?
My aim now is to expose rollerblading to a wider audience, tell people about the sport, and just encourage more people to get involved. It’s an amazing sport and the level of rollerblading is the highest it’s ever been, therefore it would be
great if our sport got the recognition it deserves! I also can’t wait to get back on my skates and push myself to get back to the level I was at before my injury, as I know that will be a challenge.
Currently you’re working closely with Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust on various projects working with young people. How would you reflect your experience volunteering and working with young children?
Yes I do a lot of work with a range of organisations including the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Sport England and now, the Youth Sport Trust as I really enjoy working with young people. I do a lot of programmes working as an athlete mentor, to motivate and encourage young people to be the best they can be in sport or in life, and achieve their potential.
Do you talk to a lot of people, like public speaking? Yeah I do all kinds of things now, like today I was at a conference and I had to speak about my sport and my work with the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust and how important it is for young people to volunteer in their communities and the
difference it can make. It’s quite scary because I’m just an athlete and I’m not really trained in public speaking, but it’s great because I’m gaining so much confidence in that area now. Anything that scares me a little bit is good because I believe that to improve you need to be scared and thrown out of your comfort zone.
To what extent do you see yourself as a trainer in the near future?
To be honest I’m not sure at all what I’m going to do in the future. Right now I really enjoy working with young people through the different mentoring programmes I work on and it’s really rewarding because you see people grow in front of your eyes and if you’ve helped that happen, it’s just a brilliant feeling. I don’t do so much coaching in skating now, I do more mentoring, so more personal development work working mainly with young people who might be struggling, for whatever reason, with any aspect of their life. So I just hope to continue with this and see where it takes me. Who knows?
You’re also involved in many on-going activities and campaigns, what is your secret for handling the pressure?
I think it’s important to just keep focused on your goal, what you want to achieve, and to not let any negativity pull you down. Surrounding yourself with really positive people is important, people who are going to support and motivate you to achieve your goals, I think that’s key. It can be tough at times, but you’ve always got to focus on the positive. Just don’t listen to anyone that’s going to bring you down or hold you back and you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
Have you ever been through self-doubt? Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s been tough for me to get where I am today. I’ve come from a single parent family in a deprived area, I never thought I was going to achieve anything of any significance really in life but my mum has supported me a lot and I’m very grateful for everything she does for me. I guess I’ve always been very self-motivated as well and I’ve always wanted to achieve, whether it be in sport, at school or anything else in my life, so I’ve always pushed myself that step further.
How do you divide the thin line between sport, work and your free time?
At the minute I have no free time, and I’m not even skating at the minute! I’m just trying to keep as busy as possible because I have to, if I don’t keep busy then I’ll start thinking about my knee and I’ll get upset because I can’t skate. It’s almost like I don’t know what to do with myself right now, if I sit for too long and don’t do anything I go crazy. So I’m doing lots of sport/ mentoring programmes which is really keeping me busy, and I love doing them so it’s great. I am looking forward to a break at Christmas though!
Can you walk properly now?
Yeah I can walk fine now, I’m even running, I just can’t do any sports which involve sharp twists or turns.
When do you think you can go back and put your skates on?
Hopefully in March I can start doing sport again which I’m really excited about!
That’ll almost be a year?
Yeah it will be. And it’ll take me even longer to practice and get back to the same standard I was at before. I’m determined to come back stronger than ever to make up for the time I’ve had out!
How would you describe a regular working day?
I don’t have a regular working day, I really don’t. I’ve been all over the country this week working on different programmes, and when I’m skating I’m always travelling, going all over the world skating in competitions, doing shows, etc. Every day is different and that’s why I love my job, nothing is ever the same.
Do you think there should be anyone we should be watching out for?
Andy Gilbert from Liverpool is an amazing skater and you can guarantee that he will place top 3 in every competition that he enters. He is really consistent.
Do you think there is an age where you can start skating? Do you think someone aged 22-23 could reach a professional level?
I think you can start skating at any age, both girls and guys. But I would say the earlier you start the better really because I think it’s important to get into sport from a young age. I’m happy I got involved when I was seven because it provided me with focus and experience. But I think anyone can start skating at any age as long as you’re having fun and enjoying it, that’s the main thing. If you push yourself and you want to be a professional then you can, you just have to work hard and put your mind to it.
If you hadn’t discovered skating what would you be doing?
I have no idea. Maybe I would have become a lawyer, although I don’t think so actually because I’m too active. I like doing TV work, maybe I would have done more TV work, I’ve always enjoyed doing that.
What’s your ultimate goal?
Now my ultimate goal is for my sport to become more recognised, more mainstream, maybe even
become an Olympic sport one day! I’d love to see that happen just because the profile of the sport would boom, everyone would know about it because there would be thousands of young people across the country participating in my sport. I’d love for it to become part of PE lessons as school; I’d just love everyone to know about my sport.
What do you think it means to be fearless?
Fearless to me means pushing yourself and crossing those boundaries that you hold for yourself even when you are scared.
What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
Hmm I’m not sure. Probably one of the scariest things was when I first performed the 900 spin. It was at a big competition and all the guys were doing crazy tricks and I knew that if I was going to place anywhere I had to do something big. No one had ever seen a girl do a 900 in this country before so I knew it would get me a lot of points if I landed it. I was so scared though because I didn’t know what was going to happen as I’d never tried it before. I didn’t end up landing it but I got really close and everyone started going crazy. It gave me an amazing feeling. I finally ended up landing it at another competition a few months later.
good as her one day.” Now she is a good friend and I regularly compete with her. Also, Jenny Logue. Jenny is like a big sister to me, and my best friend. I used to compete with her a lot and she’d take me round to all these competitions when I was too young to travel by myself or when my mum couldn’t afford to take me, so Jenny would look after me. Unfortunately, Jenny moved to Australia when I was 16 but she’s still a role model to me, I really admire her for being the person that she is. And finally, of course my mum. For being the hard-working, determined lady that she is, for being a mum and a dad to me, and for always being there for me no matter what.
Anything to add?
I’d like to say a big thank you to all of my sponsors for their support over the years: Razors Skates, Ground Control, Locoskates.com, Black Flys eyewear, Rocket Dog shoes, Nutcase helmets, Wellwoman, and BPL (health and fitness).
Who do you know that is fearless?
Fabiola da Silva. She is a girl skater from Brazil and she skates the big halfpipe ramp. She does some really crazy tricks on this ramp which I wouldn’t dare do! I think Fabiola has a lot of guts and I really look upto her for this.
Who are your idols?
Fabiola da Silva because she was the first girl I ever saw skate, and I saw her skating the big half pipe in a competition I went to in Holland and I just thought “wow, she’s amazing, I want to be as
For more information visit my website at HYPERLINK "http://www.jennadowning.com" www.jennadowning. com where you can find out more information on how to get involved in inline skating. Thanks IDOL!
Hailed as a truly dedicated skydiver, Claire “Sparky” Scott has been jumping out of planes for 18 years. Driven by the desire to compete professionally in such a thrill-seeking sport, Claire has earned great respect in the field of skydiving, receiving numerous awards and breaking a world record along the way. IDOL chats to Claire Scott to discover what drives her to be one of the highest achieving female formation skydivers in the world. Did you ever think you would end up doing this?
No, not at all! As a kid I was really interested in horses and used to compete at a local level every weekend. I actually wanted to be a professional show jumper when I grew up. But then I went to University and so horses had to take a back seat. It was then in my second year at University that I got into skydiving. You could say though, that I was very competitive as a child with my horse riding, and it was the same with skydiving.
Skydiving is pretty dangerous sport; you even got your famous nickname through one of your lucky accidents, where do you get the drive that encourages you to go further?
I am very competitively driven. All my goals in skydiving are centred upon achieving a result or specific standard at a competition i.e. winning the British Nationals, winning the World Championships, gaining the highest ever average score etc, etc.
What is the most challenging part about skydiving?
There are a number of challenges which vary depending on the type of skydiving you do, the reasons why you do it, and the stage you are at in your skydiving career. For me, as a competitor, the challenges I was faced with were being physically fit enough to hang on to the outside of a plane; to be able to do 15 - 30 skydives per day, and to be able to perform the physical moves in the air. There are also mental challenges like performance anxiety, in terms of being able to remember the formations on each skydive, to perform at one’s best whilst under the immense pressure of competition.
CLAIRE “SPARKY” SCOTT You have done over 5, 500 jumps, have received a couple of Royal Aero Club Awards, and have competed in 5 world championship as well as having done things that most of people would die before trying, but what is your biggest fear?
Most definitely skydiving with loads of people; I like to jump as a 4 person team, which is my preferred competitive discipline, but recently I skydived for the Women's World Record attempt which consisted of 181 people. That was scary as you had to be really on top of your game to stay safe with that many people in the air at the same time!
Does the risk of death this sport carries scare you? Yes all the time. It's healthy though, I think to still be scared despite now having around 6,000 jumps. It keeps you on your toes.
Your achievements are incredible. You mention in your website you are not a natural, what is your key to success?
I am very determined; I often say that if something isn’t hard, it isn't worth doing. I
hope to be able to encourage other people in that you don't have to be a natural in order to succeed.
Have you ever gone through selfdoubt?
I have had times where I have found things difficult but I have always believed I would succeed in the end. I always play down my achievements, everyone around me makes a big thing out of what I’ve accomplished but to me I still think they are pretty small. Anyone could achieve the same things if they put in the work.
You are married to Andy Scott a professional parachuting instructor that worked with RAF; your trips must be really interesting, where was the last country you visited? What did you do?
In terms of my skydiving trips, I have been lucky to travel all over the world to both train and compete. My most recent trips have been to California, USA and Portugal. In the USA I was coaching both the Army and RAF formation skydiving teams. In Portugal I
coached their National Formation Skydiving Team.
Where do you get the drive that encourages you to go further?
I think it’s being surrounded by other talented skydivers, the standard of British Skydiving is always improving and so to remain at the top you have to keep working hard. On my most recent skydiving team we had a saying; "you never had it, you never lost it". It doesn't matter how many times you are world champion, you have to keep working to stay at the top.
Name 3 things you cannot live without?
My family's support, self belief, and a sense of perspective
Who is your IDOL?
Dan BC, he was my skydiving coach for 4 years, he also coached Airkix and Storm to be World Champions
What message would you like to give to the world? Anything is possible if you want it bad enough, you just need to believe in yourself.
Ben Skinner What do you like doing for fun?
It used to be Skateboarding, now it's taking my son. I love it. It is the best thing watching him at three cruising around the skate park. I also have been spending quite a bit of time on the flowrider at Retallack resort. It's the best thing to do when there is no surf, check it out!
Oddest fear you would like to share? Heights!
If you weren’t surfer what would you be?
I don’t know really… probably an alcoholic or something, if I didn’t have surfing I really don’t know what I would do.
How did it feel to be sponsored by a brand like Quicksilver when you were only 12 years old? Surfing since the age of three, competing since the age of eight and sponsored by the age of twelve, it comes as no surprise that Ben ‘Skindog’ Skinner is now one of the top surfers in the world at just 23 years old. Having been passionate about the sport at such a young age has propelled Ben to the heights of the sport with 16 British titles under his belt. Now still hot on the pursuit of a world title, he is also exploring business - establishing Skindog surfboards and surf schools, his 23 years become even more impressive. He chats to IDOL about his achievements, his sacrifices and what we can expect from him in 2011. Cornwall is a legendary spot for surfers, skateboarders and many other extreme sports. Tell us your journey into surfing?
My journey into surfing began when I was three years old in Jersey. I was a beach rat and spent all the time possible in the surf. I left Jersey when I was ten and moved to Cornwall which I am proud to say it’s my home now, well I have two homes now. 15 years later and I now have three children of my own and I wouldn’t bring them up anywhere else. I love it. Cornwall gave me the platform and
the opportunity to be a Pro Surfer. Competing from the age of eleven as a shortboarder I really got the taste of the surfing lifestyle in Cornwall and then around the world.
Why have you been nicknamed “skindog”?
When I was 14 I went to Australia surfing for Britain and the boys on the trip started calling me Skindog. It was just one of those things, it stuck!
Your parents are the owners of a renowned brewery in Cornwall, is that where you celebrate all your triumphs? Do you plan to take over the family business?
Yes I am proud to say my parents own a brewery! But joking aside, It is amazing what my parents have achieved with Skinners brewery. If you ever get the chance, go to the brewery for a tour, you wont regret it. It’s a great place for functions and yes I have celebrated a lot down there, the best night was wetting my sons head alongside my friend and business partner’s wetting of his sons head, I will never forget it. As far as the business is concerned, who knows, but I would like to create my own businesses, which I am in the process of doing with Skindog Surfboards and Surf School.
Your achievements are incredible for your age. What would you say has been the most challenging competition so far?
Thanks, it all seems like they merge into one. The hardest thing competing is the build up to any event. The anxiety and suspense of what the conditions are like, who are you going to surf against, what board am I going to ride. And then you start competing and get on a roll and then it becomes fun, I love being in heats surfing against the best surfers in the world to push and challenge myself.
Who is your IDOL? My parents.
What’s the best advice your parents have given you? Work hard, play hard.
Surfing runs in the family, what is your first memory of surfing?
My first memories surfing are driving to the beach with my dad listening to the Waterboys loving life already in my wetsuit, and I used to hang out on the inside while dad surfed. All his mates would come and see me to help me catch waves. Thanks boys.
I feel really lucky to have had that as a grom, it was some of the best times of my life. I was given the opportunity to surf and train with the best surfers in the world as well as go to some amazing places. I really believe it was a big part of my success.
Longboard or surf?
Whatever you want to ride... I love to ride everything, keep it exciting, different courses, different horses!
What can we expect from you in 2011?
A whole lot more, I have just got a new GOPRO HD camera and I am going to be riding all the different boards I have, around Britain, documenting it all. Just posted my first video from the south coast of Cornwall. You can see it on my website HYPERLINK "http://www.skindogsurfboards.co.uk/"www. skindogsurfboards.co.uk. I am also going to be training hard up to the contest season where I obviously want to keep on winning, but I really want a world title, that’s what I really want!
What is the biggest sacrifice you have done to be where you are?
The worst thing is spending so much time away from my family. If I could take them with me everywhere, it would be the dream life.
Hailing from Newquay, Adam Moss has broken the mould of the town’s surfing image to establish himself as a wellrespected skateboarder. Now part of footwear company Ipath’s team, Moss has established himself in the world of skateboarding; but as IDOL finds out, the achievement, respect and glory which comes with such a role must fit itself in around a 9 to 5 job.
on a special move and come up with a cool name for it.
How did you get involved in skating?
Just Skating; living life, keeping it real, some slides, grinds and all that great stuff. It’s going to be a great video over all; I’m really excited to see what everyone else has been up to! I don’t know how my parts going to turn out yet due to lack of filming and now the winters here you’re lucky to get any skating in at all. So, I kind of need to migrate somewhere warmer!
I’ve just always been surrounded by skateboarding; in Newquay surfing and skateboarding are common interests, I started surfing when I was young and used a skateboard to practice when there weren’t any waves, I was hooked from there.
What keeps you going?
My Wheels! I can’t see myself ever stopping, it’s way too fun.
Tell us a little bit about your (signature) skating style?
I don’t really have such a signature style; I just do what I find fun. I love to take part in all varieties of skateboarding, not just in one set category. I should probably start
You are an ambitious skater. How fearless would you rate your skating? Ha-ha, I don’t know. I’ll rate myself a total beast!
What can we expect from you in the upcoming Death Skateboards video "Ordinary madness"?
This year you were welcomed as part of the “iPath” team. How challenging did you find the competition?
There was no competition, there’s never any competition between team mates. I was stoked! Plus when I got on the UK team I didn’t even think there was a team, so we were the first!
Pictures by Leo Sharp If you weren’t a skater what would you be doing?
I have no idea, Gangster rapper? Anything could of happened, there’s still time I guess.
Can you tell us something that most people do not know about you? I don’t know what people actually do know about me? People might not know that I work a 9 to 5 job like most skaters in England.
Do you have any mistakes that you regret? Nope, no regrets just lessons.
Who/What would you like to be in your next life?
I can’t say I believe in it, but if it was true probably one of those sharks who jump out of the water and catch seals in the air, they must have a great time.
3 Things you can’t live without?
Jeez, I don’t know; I’m not a very materialistic person, so as long as I can survive I’m happy with just the basics and my skateboard of course!
Message you would like to leave for the world?
Give up your day job! Go do something new, there’s a big world out there and you only live once!
Who is your IDOL?
I don’t have any, there’s a lot of people who inspire me to skate like Mark 'The Gonz' Gonzales; he's probably my favourite skater, but there’s nobody I idolise.
And finally, who is the person that you have learnt the most from in your life so far? Snoop Dogg
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MRS. B To be honest there are only the very few that have had an effect on the fashion industry, but I have been lucky enough to work with most influential woman in the fashion business Joan Burstein, known to everyone in fashion as Mrs. B. For the past ten years I have worked closely with her, and to be honest, coming to working everyday has been like a huge learning experience. There is never a time that I have been bored, or become complacent. I sometimes pity the department store worker - to me they are like zombies waiting for the clock to strike closing, so they can go home. Q; For any readers that don’t know - how did Browns start? A; The store started in 1970 with one floor at 27 South Molton Street, brought from Sir William Piget Brent. I managed to make a business appointment with Mr Piget because my son (who is currently the CEO of Browns) was working in the store on Saturdays. Brown was stylish back then do, but had no business direction and there was not a strong Browns image. When we took over, I brought clothes from aboard. This had never been done before, no one was sourcing designers from aboard, I was the first. Q; What has been your biggest obstacle throughout your career? A; I don’t usually have obstacles, due to the fact of amount of hard work in the past, people usually want to work with us. But for today I think an obstacle has been when designers open their own stores. Q; You have achieved so much, do you still have an ultimate goal or do you feel that you have reached it? A; I don’t think I have reached it and keeping that feeling in the back of my mind is a positive thing. And at the same time I don’t have a goal, I just enjoy finding fabulous designers/ collections. Q; If you could chose any designer to design a full collection with a collaboration with Browns, what
designer would you choose? A: Lanvin. His use of colours and fabric are just wonderful. Q; How do you pick the pieces/designers that should be stocked in Browns? A; I look for the individuality of a garment and I will usually get a gut feeling about a piece, collection or designer. The clothes have to be beautiful, they also have to have an extra special factor, they basically have to stand out to me and speak to me. Q; If you could be born in any fashion era – when would it be? A; I would be born now – in the moment, you should never look back! Q; If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? A; London – Hampstead (where I live now). Q; Who are your IDOL’s A; I don’t have IDOL’s, but I do love Amanda Harlech style & energy, she seems to always looks elegant and graceful and she does it with such ease. Q; What would you never leave home without? A; My glasses, I am lost without them, and my mobile phone Q; What do you do to relax? A; I love to read. I like walking, and I really love the theatre, it transcends you to another world.
Published on Mar 8, 2011