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The Future Is
re, Edito Rebecca Moo
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Creative Director: Rebecca Moore Photographer: Jessica Klingelfuss Stylist: Gabrielle Stival Makeup: Michelle Webb Hair: Liam Curran Assistants: Luke Taylor and Annette De Agoni
Idol magazine: THE FUTURE IS NOW
Idol magazine: THE FUTURE IS NOW
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Idol magazine: THE FUTURE IS NOW
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Idol magazine: THE FUTURE IS NOW
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ow the world will end is as baffling a question as how it got here in the first place. Scientists widely claim that the planet will meet its end when the star death of the sun occurs, while others have reached very different conclusions. You might remember, for example, the film 2012 starring John Cusack. It was a massive Hollywood disaster flick which focused more on special effects than it did on plot, but if you just followed it close enough you quickly gathered it had something to do with the Mayas. Critics laughed at it, as did physicist turned comedian Dara O’ Brien, who reckoned that a mariachi band uprising was far more likely. Out there, however, are those who believe something similar may happen very soon. Theories stem from the Mayan calendar which runs in periods called long counts. The time period we are currently in is said to be 5,125 years long and will come to its conclusion on December 21st next year. Ancient Mayan prophecies dictate that at the end of this cycle the world will significantly change, but in what way remains unclear. While this prophecy has long been abandoned by Mexican folklore, it has been embraced by the kind of people who see UFOs on a regular basis. One such ‘contactee’ is Nancy Lieder who runs a website called ZetaTalk. Lieder claims that she was chosen by extra terrestrials from a planet orbiting the star Zeta Reticuli to warn ‘earthlings’ about Decemeber 21st 2012. Lieder states that the ‘Zetans’ informed her that on this date the earth will collide with Niburi, a large gas planet lurking just beyond the recently demoted Pluto. Lieder’s communications with the Zeta sound nonsensical but she is not the only person who claims to have been warned. The Sumerian people’s texts state that the ‘planetary’ god Niburi remade the solar system and continues to remodel the galaxy as it passes through, while their art also depicts ‘little green men’ complete with flying saucers. Perhaps more surprisingly, NASA’s ‘Ask an Astrophysicist’ forum has inadvertently become devoted to Niburi (or Planet X, as it is commonly known), with frightened US citizens either pleading or angrily accusing scientists in order to ‘get the truth’. So if it’s not Mayas, giant rogue planets or aliens, what is going to get us in the end? The New World Order theory is the one that most speculators have attached themselves to. This claims that the human race is being run by an overarching superpower that will eventually rise up to form some kind of dystopian or utopian (depending on your politics) empire. Both religion and popular culture have been all over this theory. Author and ‘futurist’ H.G. Wells took the theory one step further -
in his 1940 book ‘The New World Order’ he talked about a revolutionary socialist democracy, which some people would sure hate and do anything to prevent. Come this day there’s little doubt the Christian far right will be amongst them. Their theory links to the Biblical prophecy about judgement day and states that the superpower is actually being driven by the Unholy Trinity; Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. The Westboro Baptist Church (far right Evangelical organization, bordering on a cult) believes Barack Obama to be the Antichrist. Other predictions have named Julian Assange, a future secretary general of the UN, or the last Pope to be the False Prophet. So if this is the way we’re going to go, just who are the proverbial puppet masters, stringing all of us along while moving our governments into position for the end of days? The group taking most of the flack for being the insidious organization is the Freemasons and arguably with their secret handshakes, mysterious Masonic lodges, eerie symbolism combined with assumptions about their members including some of the worlds most powerful people, they make a fair game. Another group accused of puppeteering the New World Order are the Illuminati, but there is nothing beyond what’s written by Dan Brown and the like that supports the notion of them existing past the 18th century.
The reason the New World Order is such a popular End Time theory is open for debate, but all the panic isn’t too hard to understand for someone that follows the news on a regular basis. Haunting wars, murders and natural disasters all give the impression that something Big is going on. While it probably isn’t aliens or the Illuminati you may think something is afoot. Is this the end of the world, or is it news coverage just getting better? Maybe we’ll be ok after all. Best cancel the milk though - just in case. Words by: Rebecca Norris Illustration by: Tom Cotton
Idol magazine: END GAME
Kyla La Grange
Kyla La Grange is more than just the one-to-watch tag that she has been labelled with since her electrifying debut single ‘Walk Through Walls’ was released earlier this year. She is the absolute antithesis to the auto-tune pop-by-numbers artists that are characteristic of much, but not all, of the charts right now. Intelligent, charming, witty and youthful, her songs are brutally personal but extremely accessible, with hooks and lyrics that are instantly exciting, and addictive. Refreshingly honest and exhilaratingly individual, Kyla is undoubtedly on the cusp of greatness, and it seems it’s only a matter of time until she is a household name. The IDOL music team caught up with her after her photoshoot in London. 16
Idol magazine: kyla la grange
You’ve recently finished a support tour with Wolfgang and last year you toured with iblamecoco – what did you learn from these gigs? I learnt so much. Touring has been the biggest learning curve for us. When we did the iblamecoco tour I’d only just got my band together and really it was much too early to start gigging but, we knew it was such a great opportunity that we had to do it. We practised almost constantly, eight or nine hours a day for the next week and the whole thing went really well.
never feels completely comfortable, it’s always hard taking that first step with a song that’s so completely personal, trying to get others to see your vision of what the nature of the song should be. The practice of performing the songs you’ve written for yourself to an audience is strange anyway, trying to get others to feel what you felt. Even if a small amount of people understand what you felt then that’s amazing, and if you need a band or a producer to help you get that then so be it. It took me a while to find the people I have now who really feel what I feel.
The main thing we learnt from the Wolfgang tour was how to really give everything at every show. It didn’t matter if those guys were playing to five people or a packed house, they would give it everything they’d got; they’ve got so much energy and it was infectious. They kept up loads of eye contact with each other and you could just see them bouncing off each other’s energy and we’d never really had that connection before.
What inspires you to write a song most? Is it human experience or human emotion? Or both? I think it’s both. It’s usually when I’m stressed out or angry or upset. I need that. I never just pick up my guitar and start writing a song from nothing. The idea of going into a studio and just forming a song is very contrived I think. I’m uncomfortable with it.
At present you’ve only released two singles, Walk Through Walls and Been Better. When can we expect more releases and perhaps an album? I’m hoping to release another single in September. I’ve been working throughout the summer on the album and I’m hoping it’s going to be released early next year, perhaps February. It’s being produced by Brett Shaw and we recorded in a studio just off Brick Lane. A lot has been made of you being a solitary, quite sad and moody person, but in interviews and during our shoot you’ve appeared engaging, charming and happy. Is it just other people/press who are portraying you like this or is that an accurate description, and are you comfortable with it? I think it is actually an accurate description of myself. Of course being around other people does make me happy but I think I just have a tendency to want to be alone and to be a bit reclusive. I have these spates of loneliness and it’s generally at times like that that I write. I’ve written pretty much the whole album like that. Does that mean you’re drawn to more emotional music? Yes I’m definitely more drawn to dark and unhappy music. But having said that there is plenty of really upbeat and ‘happy’ music I like, but it has to make me feel something. I need to get something out of it. I cannot stand music with mundane, meaningless lyrics and where everything is immediately so predictable. Bands like Yeasayer and artists like Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell make happy music but it’s really interesting and often has a quite dark and deep undercurrent. ‘Time To Pretend’ by MGMT is the perfect example. Immediately it sounds so upbeat but you know there’s something so aching about the lyrics. It’s that kind of combination that I love and that makes tracks like that so good. In your last two answers you’ve described your song-writing as an ‘intensely lonely experience.’ Is being alone the only way you can write your songs? Why do you feel you can’t really collaborate with others in this process, when you need them to engage and put their time into the songs when performing with you live? Well for me the writing process is utterly different from the performing process. Obviously they’re linked, in that one leads to the other, but they’re also almost opposites. There are loads of songs with just me and a guitar that will never get played to anyone, but there are others that I just know need more. However, whenever I first play a song with the band it
It’s easy to hear that your lyrics are a very important to your songs. Are they the number one priority with the music having to fit around them, or is the music equally important to you? It’s absolutely both. I know it’s a bit of a cliché but it’s a very organic process. From what I’ve already said you know that lyrics are definitely really important to me, and often what I’ll do is write the lyrics and melody at the same time. Usually the melody stays the same but my lyrics may change. It comes together quickly and almost simultaneously. I know that melody is very important to people when they first hear a song, so naturally it’s important to me.
times that has appealed to so many people. It was so refreshing to see Florence + The Machine do so well because she’s quite eccentric and she doesn’t look like your typical ‘popstar’. Overall I think it’s both a cultural and musical change. What sets you apart from the others? I don’t really associate with questions like that. I would like people to listen and make their own minds up. Are there any new bands or artists that you’re tipping for future success? I’m listening to an artist called Daughter who makes utterly haunting songs, and Coldspecks, who has a really heart wrenching voice and beautiful tracks. Ultimately, what are your goals in music? I just simply want to earn a living from my music. Maybe ten years from now I’d like to still be writing albums and be really proud of what I’ve created. With the first album I want to be able to sit down, listen and to be so proud of what I’ve made. Finally who is / are your IDOL’s? My IDOL’s are people like Ann San Suu Kyi. Anyone who is risking their life for their cause, they’re so inspiring. Words by Charlie Hodd Photography by Josh Shinner. Styling by Gabrielle Stival Make-up by Jenny Hellstrom
You’re living in Watford right now, whereas before you were based in London. Was this decision a musical or creative one? And what do you think of the idea that bands and artists have to live or be based in London to really make it? I was living with my boyfriend and unfortunately we split up so I had to move. I wasn’t happy. With regards to the second part of the question that depends on what you consider as ‘making it.’ If that means getting lots of industry types coming to your gigs and getting a major record deal then I guess it’s important, but if you think it’s writing the best songs you can possibly write and performing lots of gigs then you don’t have to be in London. There are great venues and scenes all over the country so it’s not necessary unless you’re fixated with the idea of the record industry watching you. Having said that, London has a fantastic music scene and there are amazing opportunities there, so in those terms it’s brilliant and for that reason I moved from Watford to London in the first place. In Watford there is a real lack of opportunity. The charts are saturated right now with strong female solo artists, groups, and female fronted bands, largely with a strong pop influence. Is this indicative of a change in the music industry or a larger cultural and social change? It’s really interesting and you’re absolutely right. Beyonce headlining Glastonbury is the perfect example of this movement, and I was actually shocked that the last female headliner there was 22 years ago, which just goes to show that despite women dominating the charts it has no effect on those who have the power to elevate women to positions of importance. Also, rather more cynically, I’m afraid that now it’s a lot easier to market a female solo artist. People respond to a woman looking nice on the cover of a magazine compared to some bloke wearing a t-shirt and jeans. But on the other hand, women have made some genuinely amazing music in recent
Idol magazine: kyla la grange
Dale Jacket Silent/Damir Doma Knit Asger Juel Larsen
David Jacket Silent/Damir Doma Knit Asger Juel Larsen
Photography Jessica Klingelfuss Creative Direction Bianca Spada Styling Gabrielle Stival Assistants Chloe Hwang and Nikoletta Sedlak Make-Up Artist Rocio Cordero Hair Stylist Aaron Blondell Hair Models Jonathan David James Varcoe & Dale G Toogood @ Elite
Idol magazine: XEROX
David Shoes Topman Knit Henley Lee 101 Trousers Mihara Yasuhiro Shirt Topman
Shirt Silent/Damir Doma Knit Mihara Yasuhiro Trousers John Varvatos
Idol magazine: xerox
David jacket John Varvatos Dale jacket Asher Levine Shirt Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche @ Selfridges Trousers Alexander Mcqueen @ Selfridges Shoes Topman
Dale Jacket (top) Hiroaki Kanai Jacket (underneath) Religion Shorts Topman
David Jacket (top) Alexander Wang @ Selfridges Jacket (underneath) Religion Shorts Topman
Idol magazine: xerox
Shirt Hiroaki Kanai (white)/ Topman (grey) Trousers Hiroaki Kanai Shoes Topman
Knit Asger Juel Larsen Shirt Topman Shorts Hiroaki Kanai Scarf John Varvatos
Idol magazine: xerox
David & Dale Shoes Swear London Jacket (Dale) Acne @ Selfridges Shirt Topman Skirt / Trousers Hiroaki Hanai
Idol magazine: xerox
was reinvested into a non profit foundation after the investors had been paid back, so in June 2008 I set up the Foundation. I created the Worldview Impact Foundation to engage people in the broader education for sustainable development work globally. The social enterprise has a three-fold mission: 1 Protecting the environment and biodiversity through the mitigation of climate change. 2 Enabling local economic growth through the creation of sustainable livelihoods for the poor. 3 Supporting social development through poverty reduction initiatives The foundation has a five-fold boarder mission: 1 To promote and support the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. 2 To provide capacity building and training for young people in the developing countries for employment generation. 3 To generate awareness and support initiatives that addresses the public health implications of global climate change. 4 To create awareness and provide support to initiatives that addresses the nexus of poverty and environment. 5 To provide a forum for young social entrepreneurs in the developing world to connect with their peers in the developed world. What type of projects do you work on? Can you give us some examples of current ventures and what you have achieved or aim to achieve from them? Well to date Worldview Impact has planted 75,000 trees in different pilot projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America as part of UNEP’s one billion tree planting campaign. Through the foundation we have built schools in India and Uganda, and we have also raised resources to train and support teachers for schools in remote rural areas.
remley Lyngdoh is a self-confessed dreamer, entrepreneur and go-getter, who has dedicated his life to fighting poverty and climate change. More than just a hippy with a dream; the founder of World View Impact has a master’s degree in Environmental Communication, International Affairs and Philosophy in Development Studies, as well as a PHD in Sustainable Development.
He has represented his home country, India, at the UN Millennium Summit; has cycled over 3,700 miles from San Francisco to Washington D.C.; raising half a million dollars for environmental research and has been involved in numerous political and environmental projects throughout the world. In 2007, Bremley launched World View Impact; a social enterprise focused on creating sustainable business for a sustainable future. With a bold and determined vision; Bremley sees a post-carbon world where developing countries are able to sustain their livelihoods and where businesses actively combat climate change. His
projects throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America serve to aid the environment and allow developing communities to become self-sufficient and educated to enable them to create a more positive future for their younger generations. Indeed, it is in the youth of today where Bremley places his hopes for a better world, and so he continues to pressurize governments to realize the importance of education and self-development; in order for the younger generations to fulfil the dream of a greener and fairer global economy. A talented entrepreneur and passionately dedicated activist; Bremley Lyngdoh is a go-getter we couldn’t pass by. So between mouthfuls of organic banana cake and Paradise Farm Tea, IDOL sat down with Bremley to talk saving the world and just how he plans to do it.
You are the founder of Worldview Impact, what made you decide to become so deeply involved in fighting climate change and the subsequent issues? I come from the land where the clouds come home – Meghalaya in North East India, which is home to the wettest place on earth Cherapunjee. But massive deforestation over 3 decades has made the wettest place on earth into a cold high desert. Women have to walk a long way to collect drinking water as the watersheds have dried up from lack of standing trees and soil erosion. So coming from this background I had a calling early on in my teenage life to do something to save my people and my homeland. This inspired me to get involved in many reforestation and conservation projects. When I left home at 17 to pursue further university studies my father told me “Son a tree with no roots bears no fruits and falls in the lightest breeze; so always remember your roots and where you come from wherever you go in the world.” I knew one day I will go back home to continue fighting climate change and poverty. There are two separate organisations under Worldview Impact; the Social Enterprise and the Foundation. How do they differ and what do you hope to achieve through each? I established Worldview Impact as a social enterprise back on 28th August 2007 to attract investors to help fund our pilot projects. I wanted to make sure that the surplus from the green business
What are your views on the current status of the world in terms of humanity and the environment? I think the young generations have a major role to play in creating a global shift in the way we behave with respect to the environment and other species. It is their future and they must act now to secure their own livelihoods. We all know that we cannot do business in a dead planet so as the level of consciousness rises globally we will see a shift in the old ‘business as usual’ approach. By 2020 I believe that the only businesses thriving will be those that have incorporated social, economic and environmental bottomlines into the core of their business. Those that cannot meet this will not be able to stay competitive and eventually disappear from the market. What are your thoughts on the future in relation to this? Where do you feel our planet and civilization is heading and how do you think we can improve this? I see the world becoming a more tightly bound community in 20 years time due to the fact that our economies are becoming closely linked together through globalization. Cultural behavior is being influenced by a global economy and is changing the patterns of production and consumption. People will demand a greener global economy in the years to come. I believe that we will be living in a post-carbon economy where no more oil is drilled, no more coal is mined and no more gas is piped.
Idol magazine: bremley lyngdoh
In this future I see a world where apart from energy, no fertilizers, no plastics, no drugs, no foodstuffs will be manufactured from fossil fuels.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge we face in overcoming the issues of global warming and poverty? Do you see a way to counteract this? The biggest challenge in dealing with climate change and poverty is the lack of united political will to deliver on the promises made in so many past international negotiations. World leaders need to put a price on the emissions of carbon and all greenhouse gases, and then over the years we will have to learn to measure it, price it; like a tax. This will encourage people across the planet to produce less GHGs. Under international climate law we have to introduce legally enforceable ‘caps’ or limits to the amounts of GHGs any one country could emit over a year. This will result in the transfer of clean technologies from the developed to the developing world and over time we will have to build a global green economy with no carbon consumption or emissions. How can young individuals get involved in climate change in a positive and interesting way? Are there any opportunities in which they can get involved with Worldview Impact? I believe that young people are in the forefront of social, economic and political developments, and they are often agents of change and innovations. Young people will inherit many of the environmental, economic and social problems created over the past decades so incorporating their opinions and concerns into policies at all levels is critical to sustainable development. The capacity of young people to address sustainability issues and become leaders in the 21st century is also critical and so at Worldview Impact we create an opportunity for young people to work and gain experience in our education for sustainable development projects globally. There has been various criticism of the volunteering sector for creating dependent cultures where under-developed countries depend on the efforts and contributions of volunteers; rather than teaching them to create sustainable livelihoods. However, there are many charities and organisations (like yourselves) who focus on educating and developing communities. What are your thoughts on this debate and the best way to deal with the issues the developing world faces? I believe that we need to teach people how to fish and not throw them the fish. We have to focus the training of the communities that we work in to be self sustaining and independent in the long run. I believe that with better policy and programming congruence among education, training and credit provision, young people will be better equipped to access credit, develop and sustain self-employment initiatives. I think that national governments need to address key global policies that affect youth employment and sustainable livelihoods. They need to take strategies that promote self-employment and entrepreneurship, school-towork programmes and work-based training. The young people
themselves must be fully empowered to generate the solutions supporting youth employment. Their best practices and success stories must be recognized and acknowledged at all levels and support must be provided for further replication of such initiatives from the grassroots to the global level. Through Worldview Impact, you have had the opportunity to witness how other developing cultures live, what is the typical lifestyle you have viewed on your journeys? Are there any particularly humbling moments you can recall which our readers can draw inspiration from? I had the opportunity of working with my mentor Arne Fjortoft starting back in 1999 in building an equal trade organic farm called Paradise Farm, which now supports about 200 poor rural women in post conflict Sri Lanka. The model developed at Paradise Farm is unique in the sense that women workers make decisions on how the farm is run and what kind of organic plants, crops and trees they can grow and sell to the market to sustain their livelihoods. The women of Sri Lanka have risen from the bloody civil war that lasted three decades and now they are able to build their shattered dreams through projects like the one in Paradise Farm. What has been Worldview Impact’s greatest achievement so far? Worldview Impact now has about 3500 members and supporters globally. It has developed partnerships and projects in nine pilot countries and is now creating an enabling environment for local people to actively participate in an array of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. We were also featured on a global climate change campaign called - MTV Switch that beamed the success stories of green enterprises to 170 countries around the world. The foundation is working on a project called Mandate The Future with the European Commission to support education
for sustainable development initiatives in six pilot countries. The Wadzal Institute in Vienna also selected the founder as one of the Architects of the Future. Are there any particular activists who you feel serve a strong and influential role in the climate change/poverty battle? President John F. Kennedy said, “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.” I think former Vice President Al Gore has had an influential role in inspiring young people globally to take actions in fighting climate change and poverty. However, other world leaders must follow his footsteps and show a true partnership with young people in the international community. What advice can you give to those who would like to become further involved or are considering pursuing a path in charity or areas relating to climate change and poverty?
Youth organizations must maintain sustained international pressure to help forge a coherent follow-up to the UN world conference commitments. This is the challenge that lies ahead. My advice to young people is that they should focus their energy to turning negative situations into positives ones and they should try to win the hearts and minds of other people. Words by Jessica Duffin Illustration by Juliette Davies
Idol magazine: bremley lyngdoh
Ksenia wears: Dress by Krystof Strozyna Fingerless Gloves by Liz Black Boots by Atalanta Weller Necklace by Maria Francesca Pepe Long Necklace by 2nd Day by Day Birger et Mikkelsen Ring by Beazie Roberts available at Dover St Market Katerina wears: Dress by Krystof Strozyna Siri Cross Harness by Fannie Schiavoni Wedges by Finsk Bracelets by Maria Francesca Pepe Ring by Beazie Roberts available at Dover St Market
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Idol magazine: terra incognita
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Opposite Leather Ruffle Harness by Givenchy available at Feathers www.feathersfashion.com Leggings by Bryce Aime Rings by Maria Francesca Pepe
Idol magazine: terra incognita
Dress by Herve Leger available at 29 Lowndes Street SW1 Chainmail Shoulder Piece by Fannie Schiavoni Necklace, Bracelet and Cross Ring all by Maria Francesca Pepe Necklace worn around wrist by Violet Darkling Large Rock Ring on models left hand by Imogen Belfield
Zipped Jacket by Rick Owens available at Feathers www.feathersfashion.com Studded Jeans by Lina Osterman Necklaces and Bracelet all by Maria Francesca Pepe Large Crystal Ring by Bjorg
Jacket by Bryce Aime Swarovski Body Harness by Fannie Schiavoni Skirt by Givenchy available at Feathers www.feathersfashion.com Knuckleduster Ring by Maria Francesca Pepe Triple Gold Rings by Beazie Roberts available at Dover Street Market
Idol magazine: terra incognita
This Page Mirrored Dress by Givenchy available at Feathers www.feathersfashion.com Rings by Beazie Roberts available at Dover St Market
Opposite Dress by Herve Leger available at 29 Lowndes St SW1 Shoes by Iris Van Herpen for United Nude Ring by Beazie Roberts available at Dover St Market
Idol magazine: terra incognita
Natalia Kills, is the name of a new artist who will be striking fear into the music industry in coming months with her brand of ‘Dark Pop’. Her debut album, Perfectionist, is out in the UK in September. Catchy melodies, thumping basslines and outrageous outfits have been drawing Natalia comparisons with megastars such as Lady GaGa. Returning from the US, where she recorded her album with Will.I.Am’s Cherry Tree label, Idol managed to catch her to discuss her influences, her rise to the big stage, plans for the future and much more. So you were brought up in Bradford and then moved to America, what made you move? Yeah, I was born up North although you probably can’t tell from my accent. I can do a cracking Yorkshire farmer though. Go for it... *In Yorkshire Farmer accent* Hi, have you heard that Natalia Kills, she does a wicked Yorkshire farmer accent. Back to the question, the move was just for the music. Purely for the record deal. I think I will move back to the UK at somepoint though, that will be a personal decision. We’ll be glad to have you back. So when and how did your big break come along, eventually leading to signing to Will.I.Am’s label? Bit of a whirlwind really. I put together a demo at home and posted it on myspace. Perez Hilton found it, and before I knew it, my account had 2 million views. I flew to LA shortly after where I met Will.i.am and got the record deal, and lived happily ever after! Would you say that the inspiration for Perfectionist came from your experiences in the US then, or from past experiences in the UK? Well, my first demo called ‘Womannequin’ was about the perfect woman. I’ve always been a perfectionist and I think most people are. Whether its your career, love, appearance, you’ve got to go for the best you can. If you’re going for a job, you want the best paid in something you love. If you’re going on a date, you would want to go with a good looking girl, but not too good actually, you wouldn’t want to make yourself look ugly! But you know, it’s natural, you’ve got to strive to get the best out of every situation.
Natalia Kills is obviously not your real name. So what was yourtt inspiration/reason for it? Well, my real name is Natalia Cappuccini, like a cappuccino. But the name kills, is my stage name. The record company asked me to describe myself, and I came up with the name. It may seem a bit morbid but its not deathly. It’s not the ‘I’m going to murder my boyfriend’ kind of kills, more when a catwalk model wears ‘killer heels’. It’s about a 100% passion and commitment – Killing it. Your image as Natalia Kills is quite ‘hard’ in your songs and persona, but what is the real Natalia like? Well, the songs are all about my life experiences. I write all the songs myself, so they speak for themselves. I would say though that I am a very definite, absolute person chasing her ideal, its possible that this could be seen as ‘hard’. Your music has been labelled with the genre of ‘dark pop’. How do you feel about that? *Laughs* I think a fan came up with the notion of ‘dark pop’. I can understand it, its about saying the un-sayable. I’m hoping that my single ‘Free’ will show my other side though. My songs draw a lot on past relationships and they honestly expose how relationships can be. They are also very opinionated, and if you put all that together, people may mistake it for dark. The video for the song ‘Wonderland’ is pretty squeamish (Natalia can be seen eating a raw rabbit heart and eventually being decapitated), what input do you have on the content and what was your inspiration? You watched the uncensored one right?
I co-directed with Guillaume (Doubet) who I always work with on short films. The video is about how horrible and brutal love can be, and everything in the video is a representation of this. Finally, it represents how love is not a fairytale. Talking of short movies, I have seen a few of yours and they’re great. Can you see plans to act and direct in the future? I’m always interested in directing, but I don’t think I will go into acting just yet. Maybe later. I would like to develop a few movies that I’ve written but that would be as a director rather than actor. When I used to do TV, I would always sneak over to the director and say ‘my character wouldn’t say this’ or pop in to costume and say ‘my character wouldn’t wear this’. I would always want to change my character to be more like myself. I’m in music as I want to be myself and show who I am. I wouldn’t mind being in a Tarantino film though, playing a dark and boisterous heroine but still with other sides to her character. Back to music, how do you feel about being compared to stars such as Lady GaGa? Wow, that’s not the obvious one. I usually get Nicole Sherzinger. Apparently, its like a mirror image. I was supposed to meet her at Wembley but we were both being rushed here, there and everywhere, so we missed each other. I’d like to do a duet with her though, the video would be funny. What’s the best gig you have played so far? Oh, I would have to say Poland. I was in Germany at the time, and I was gonna miss the show in Poland because of the ash cloud and therefore, cancelled flights. We got a 14 hour train to Poland
with 5 suitcases of clothes, make up etc. When we eventually got to my stop, it took so long to get the suitcases off, the train started again. I had to jump off of the moving train! All ended well though as I picked up my first award for Perfectionist’ and played a great gig. What’s the last band/artist that you listened to on your iPod? I think is was Fever Ray, you know the one from The Knife. No, actually, *Natalia mumbles to her mate*. It was Freddie Mercury. His live stuff. We love capturing emerging talent like yourself, but who do you think is going to be the next big thing? If by big you mean, pop immortality then I think the next big thing is happening now with Adele. I think that when I’m 45 years old and driving my kids to school, I’ll still be playing and going to see Adele. Also, Beyonce is massive, and I hoped that Amy Winehouse would have been the next big, big thing. Hopefully she’ll comeback. Finally, who are your IDOLs? My Grandma. She taught me how to be a woman. She taught me everything, from appearance to which fruit to pick in the supermarket, which pears are ripe! She was born in the 20’s and was a real successful woman, somewhat of a pioneer for the modern woman.
Interview by Mark Shipp Image courtesy of Purple Music
Idol magazine: nataLIA KILLS
Your first major exhibition in the UK was titled Cloning and Religion (2004) at Beaux Arts on Cork Street; now seven years on you have completed another successful show at the Halcyon gallery in Mayfair. How does it feel to exhibit in the UK ? I arrived in London in the early seventies and this country has always been a hub of creativity and new trends. London is one of the capitals of the art world and it is a great privilege to be able to exhibit here. I don’t really have expectations, if any, from the public or my collectors, as I am too demanding and ruthless on myself to notice. In Works such as ‘Michelangelo 2020’ and ‘Modern Heroes’ you took classic Renaissance sculpture and gave it a somewhat pop-art twist. What was the logic behind this ? I spent some formative years in Rome in my youth and remember being in awe of the amazing art disseminated throughout the city. Every time I go to a museum, I still feel that admiration and, finally, I had the opportunity to combine that classicism with contemporary issues and my style of art. The two pieces address gender, which is such a talked about topic, and ‘Michelangelo 2020’ is my tribute to women, particularly to their role in history as the “underdog”. In the broadest sense of the word I LOVE women and I think they deserve a monument. ‘Modern Heroes’ is my monument to the gay community and their struggle for gay rights. Ironically, the ambiguity of this work is something that has been present in classical sculpture forever. As a surprise gift to you, your PR wife Lorena Perucchetti helped you become one of the artists to feature in the first ever Roma Biennale. How does it feel to have your work being part of this festival, and is there any added pressure, as it is held in your homeland ? I am an expatriate and this opportunity represents a bit of a return to my roots. I am very thankful to Lorena and extremely honoured to have been selected by the committee. How do you tackle the theme of politics in your work ? Politics are responsible for changing the world we live in, with massive repercussions, as we have seen many times. I find it fascinating how politicians, who are supposedly appointed to manage the interests of people, get there to begin with through intrigues and hypocrisy. Sometimes they go on to do an admirable job, but often they don’t. With the rise of the
media and technology, politics is becoming very intrusive in our everyday lives; Big Brother might well be around the corner. I generally create art that hopefully makes people think about global issues, many of my pieces are political. What would you say your relationship with art is? Visceral. Are there any particular contemporary artists that you admire ? There are so many talented people out there that, to choose one over the other, would be unfair. I don’t really follow what other artists are doing, but artists often respond to the same vibes in the air. I really am not aware of one artist in particular that influenced me. What would you say is the most important quality an artist can have ? Exceptional skills combined with an unusual approach. When did you first realise that you wanted to become an artist ? From an early age I was probably spending more time drawing, painting and making things with my hands than studying. Of those subjects I did study, I loved history, art and geography, all of which supported my imagination and an unstoppable tendency to dream. Out of all your works, which would say has proved the most difficult and which has been the most rewarding ? It has to be the ‘Jelly Babies’. I started to use resin initially because it was the perfect medium for making the ‘Jelly Babies’ that I made for my body of work on cloning. This wasn’t such a straightforward process as, when I started, there was nobody out there that I could use to help me. Every time I sought help from specialists I was told that I was already pushing up against the limits of what the material could be expected to do, but I can confidently say that I have pioneered the use of this material. What is an average working day for you like ? Days and nights blend together without boundaries. To my wife’s despair, I work all the time. How long did it take you to develop your style ? We all are as different as our fingerprints. One could say that
Idol magazine: mauro perucchetti
“style” is the way different individuals perform the same task in different ways. Resin is the medium I use most often, a material that I first experimented with as a teenager; you could say it is my style of the moment. I have been an artist all my life, but I couldn’t afford to do the things I wanted to do before. This is probably why I am so prolific, as I have a long and, trust me, very intense and unorthodox past, full of experiences. In December 2010 you revealed your ‘Jelly Baby Family’ in Marble Arch. Can you tell us about the project and how it feels to have changed the landscape of such a cosmopolitan area ? Again I can’t tell you how honoured I am to have received such a privilege and how grateful I am to my gallery in London, Halcyon, who made it possible. This has particular meaning to me, as London has really been my home longer than any other place. London is so multicultural, with tons of super cool people of all ages and the location, being opposite Speakers Corner, couldn’t be better. I hear the ‘Jelly Baby Family’ is receiving a lot of attention from the public, which is wonderful.
What inspires you as an artist ? I am inspired by the world around us, and especially by current world events and the explosive effect they have had on me and on many other people in our society. I have a great appreciation for life and suffer a great frustration that derives from the fact that I would like to fix some of the things that are wrong in this world, but I can’t and it pisses me off. My art is the result of a cocktail of passions : a conscious passion for life and passion at a much more physical and instinctive level, something I can’t describe, some kind of powerful and empowering mix of adrenalin and endorphin which needs to come out. And, finally, a passion for aesthetics. What has been the most influential piece of advice anyone has ever given you ? The owner of an A-list gallery telling me I was too old at 50 to start; it had the opposite effect but I never thanked him. Can you let us into what you are currently working on ? In my studio I have a big table with stacks of paper full of sketches and ideas. These go through a selection process and end up in boxes, all of which becomes a show. I have three boxes at the moment, but one is particularly exciting as it’s different from the others; I am preparing an abstract show which is also going to include some work I did when I was much younger. Can you tell us about the logic behind your piece ‘Cloning Factory’ ? Around 1999, when I was succumbing to the call for a change of life to follow my passion, there was a lot of talk going on about cloning humans, as there had been some scientific breakthroughs. This caused a lot of debate, which inspired me. ‘Cloning Factory’ was a possible imaginary scenario.
Idol magazine: mauro perucchetti
From your point of view, what is the relationship between ‘Cloning and Religion’ (2002), and why did you use those specific pieces in collaboration ? If human cloning had been approved there is a possibility that we would have been able to produce perfectly formed beings. But how would we have known what was going on in their heads let alone their souls, if any ? For most religions the cloning of humans is playing God.
There are quite strong American influences throughout your work. What is it about American culture that intrigues you ? I lived in New York and Los Angeles and America is another hub of creativity. In historic terms, it’s like a contemporary work. No other major country started off so recently as a ‘blank’ canvas (with all due respect to the Native Indians who have been there for so long and enjoyed it as it was). I think America is very unique and I always love going there.
What was the main influences in your piece ‘What are we having for dinner tonight’ (2006) ? I once went for a holiday to Cuba with my friends and we went to a supermarket to stock up. A few hundred dollars later we walked out with two full trolleys. This is when I realized that people were looking at us as if we were aliens and, most disturbingly, they were looking with shocked composure at the trolleys overflowing with goods : normal to us but not to people who can’t buy that amount in a year and, sometimes, do not have enough to eat. I felt the size of a pea. I went on to make ‘What are we having for dinner tonight’ and ‘Casualties’, a piece with Jelly Babies half buried in cracked dry clay like tadpoles in a dry river bed during drought.
What is your life’s motto ? Not on my dead body ! Finally, who is your IDOL ? My mother and father : what integrity and resilience !
www.mauroperucchetti.com Interview by Faye A. Images courtesy of email@example.com Graphic Design by Hugues Desjardins
What would you like to do if you were reincarnated in the next life ? I’d like to have a go at music. How do you tackle the theme of religion in your works ? I don’t think my work lends itself to religious messages unless I am making a comment related to religion and its interaction with society. But, strangely, I can hardly go past a church without popping in, they’re always full of artistic and architectural surprises and the sense of peace in them is difficult to replicate; definitely an abstract experience.
Idol magazine: mauro perucchetti
Having only graduated from university 4 years ago, Luke Snellin is fast emerging as one of the freshest and most exciting new talents in the British film industry. After being named as a “Star of Tomorrow 2010” by Screen International, Luke has gone on to win The Grand Jury Prize at Virgin Media Shorts and a BAFTA nomination for short film, Mixtape. At just 25 and having made his fair share of adverts, music videos and short films (including Mixtape follow up, Disco), he is now penning the script for his first feature film, The Wanderers. IDOL met up with Luke to talk about the challenges of filmmaking, early success and bringing colour to British film.
You are working on your first feature film now, The Wanderers. Is it a continuation of your first two shorts, Mixtape and Disco? Yeah, I’m busy writing it at the moment, it’s basically a musical, much more so than Mixtape and Disco. I wanted to make something that hasn’t got people jumping on tables and singing. More like The Commitments in the way that that’s a musical. The characters sing at certain points but it’s much more naturalistic, they’re singing to their walkmans or vinyls. It’s like a love story, coming of age thing that takes place over the summer between year 11 and year 12. I want to shoot it next summer but we’ll see, we have to sort out a lot of things first. A lot of your work, from your films to your music videos, features children, why have you decided to focus on them? I think it comes from a lot of the stuff I was watching, the stuff that I didn’t want to make was a lot grittier and had a social realist tone to it. I wanted to make something that was more of a live-action cartoon in a way, more colourful with primary colours. With the tone of the stories I wanted to make was something quite nostalgic and fun and keyed in to something that we’ve all been through, and it just fits to do that through children. The problems in their lives are more about whether they will get to dance with that girl and I just found all that stuff more innocent and interesting. It’s also because I’m quite young so I don’t feel like going out and making a divorce drama. I use my own experiences and put a lot of myself in to what I do, and I found that that part of my life was really fruitful for telling story. I’ve just shot a video for Young Rebel Set and it’s about two teenage runaways and it’s a lot more like Days of Heaven, more cinematic and less cartoony. I’m moving on to exploring the later stages of teenage years. You can tell throughout your work, from your adverts, to music videos and films that you have a distinctive style. Is that something you are conscious to hold on to? I’m glad that comes across and that you can see that. For me it’s a case of finding a visual voice, taking bits of my influences and merging them all together to create something new, a revolution against these gritty, hand-held British films. Not that I don’t like those films, I really love Fish Tank and a lot of
Andrea Arnold’s stuff, but it’s just not what I want to make. We rarely see Britain in summer time, so I really wanted to make something summery, we rarely see colour in British films and there is colour on the street, so the style that I started to find came out of that. I was also really interested in distilling moments in slow motion and building up the smaller moments to be massive, like when he’s walking next door in Mixtape, or has the dream sequence in Disco. I wanted to take my memories and make them cinematic. I also like a lot of traditional cinematography, like the way that Stanley Kubrick shot a lot of stuff in symmetry, the colour of Wes Anderson’s films and the naivety of Spielberg’s. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused was also a big influence on me. Why did you want to get in to filmmaking over anything else, did you have any other ambitions? When I was at school I was really sporty, but as I got older I read and watched movies all the time and I wasn’t really aware that you could just go and try and be a director, I didn’t even know that was a job. You watch a film and as a kid you don’t really understand that there is a crew of people making it, so at school I started writing plays because I did drama and did the young writer’s workshop for the Royal Court, and then after that I showed my plays to a few people and one of my form tutors was just like, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I said that I didn’t know and he said, ‘Well you love films and you’re good writer, so you should maybe go and screen write things.’ I did a screenwriting course at Bournemouth and then the production side of things just came about because I kept writing my own stuff and I didn’t want to give it away to anyone. I just watched loads of stuff and learnt as I went along and started directing as much as I could, and then I started working with better and better people and understanding who did what. I’ve been in a few different departments and worked in a couple of different jobs. Do you think working in all different areas has helped you as a director? I guess it has, I have a better understanding of how everything works. When I’m looking at the monitor, I’m looking out for performances, looking at the camera work, the lighting, how the set is dressed and whether we can do anything else. When
Idol magazine: luke snellin
I’m writing I have a clear idea of all of those elements, it’s a bit confusing sometimes to think about all of those things at once but you can have a much clearer visual image of it if you have had the experience of working in all these different areas and on budget rather than being over schedule by a mile because you want to stay there and get the best you can possibly get. Is it important for you to write your own material when making a film? I’ve just always done it, I feel like I really want to direct someone else’s writing now, and I also wouldn’t mind writing something to give to another director. I don’t think it’s necessarily important that you write it yourself, I think where it is important is if you’re putting yourself in to it, if you’re using parts of your life or using memories or influences. If you’re a competent writer then you’ll know how to direct, I’m not necessarily sure that it works the other way round. I think if you’re starting out and no one is giving you a script then you should just start writing yourself, because you’re not going to make it otherwise. Do you ever feel satisfied with your work when you watch it back? 90% of the time I’m thinking what I could have done better, or what I should have done instead, but most of the time I’m just happy to learn from it and let it go. If you achieve the basic emotion that you want to achieve then it’s sort of a success, and when you see it with an audience and they laugh in the right places and afterwards they tell you how they feel about it, it’s a really nice feeling when they say that they were touched by it or found it really nostalgic. If you worry about every little thing then you just turn in to a self-doubting,paranoid wreck.
You have been nominated for and won your fair share of awards, is it important for you to be recognised in that way? I think it definitely helps to get you in a room with people and you are taken more seriously. It was really helpful for me to get an agent, that has gotten me in to rooms that I would never have been able to get in to before. I don’t necessarily think it’s the most important thing but it’s definitely a boost, without those things I would still be doing stuff, but it just wouldn’t be as easy to get stuff made and the most important thing is being able to make new films and shoot music videos or whatever it is. It’s just easier when you can send an email and they trust you. You’re still so young and have already had a lot of success, why do you think it has happened so fast? I literally have no idea. I didn’t even consider it. I’m aware that I’m really driven and obsessively work, I can have a couple of days rest but then I want to know what the next project is. I just want to keep working and doing stuff, I guess I just kind of forced myself in, but then also there’s a great deal of luck, like making Mixtape at the right time for Virgin Media Shorts. That was a massive springboard for press and all the stuff that goes with that. Then with the BAFTA thing, again having press and getting a manager, a publicist, and they all push you forward, it starts to feel like you’re gathering speed. It was never really the plan that by this age I would be here, but I just really want to make a feature film and I’ve done whatever it takes to drive towards that.
like Jason Solomons from The Guardian and bloggers like Ultra Culture. I will be really nervous to see how it’s received but at the same time I’m just going to make a film that I want to make and if I’m really interested and passionate about making it then there will hopefully be other people that will want to go and see it. Who is your IDOL? It would probably be Spike Jonze, none of my family were in the industry, I didn’t have any leg up, and I feel like he did the same thing. He forced himself up through skate videos, music videos and photography, there are different ways in. Although different people and different companies have supported me a lot along the way, to break through initially I had to force myself in like he did. Also in the way that his career has spanned out and the stuff that he’s done, doing commercials, videos, shorts, throughout his career at different points, that is exactly what I want to do.
Words and Interview: Emma Hurwitz Photos: Josh Shinner
What are you working towards, what is your big ambition? I guess they’re quite short term at the moment, I want to keep making music videos and shorts and at the moment, as I said, I’m writing, and I’m about to begin my second draft of the feature. So that’s the goal really, to shoot that next summer and find the money to make it and make it well. After that I have a couple of ideas that I would like to do, and I never want to rule anything out and just keep going. I really like what Spike Jonze does, he can make Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are, and then come back and make music videos, that’s what I can imagine myself doing. It keeps you on your toes. What’s the best advice that you’ve been given? I think the best piece of advice I’ve been given is to jump at any opportunities you are given, there are always passing windows of opportunity and if you don’t take it then the ship can sail. It’s really hard to keep yourself on your toes and push yourself forward all the time but you just can’t stop yourself from trying to take those opportunities when they arise. Never rest on your laurels and don’t sit back and wait for stuff to happen. The other piece of advice on the technical side, is that when you shoot a scene, watch how the actors move before you tell them how to act. Arrange stuff around them, it gives you a much more spontaneous feel. Because you are more recognised within the film industry now, do you feel pressure to deliver? I definitely feel the pressure. I wouldn’t say it’s the pressure of doing it, I really want to make it, and it’s going to be so much fun and I love making stuff. I always feel anxious about making something and putting it out in to the world, but when you’re shooting it you just feel the adrenaline of being on set and making something that you’re so passionate about. I think pressure comes when you have that first screening, or you put the film out there in to the world, waiting to hear what people think of it. I’ve been really supported by a lot of critics,
Idol magazine: Luke snellin
Idol magazine: Luke snellin
LOT LIZARD Photographer: Jesse Untracht Oakner Editor: Ryan Davis Groomer: Cee Ruzzielle Models: Harvey @ ADAM NYC & Louis @ Fusion Fashion Assistant: Tricia Downes
Idol magazine: lot lizard
Harvey: Jacket by Rufskin
Louis: Jacket by Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair Tank by Rufskin Trousers by Yigal Azrouel Boot by Heutchy Jewelry by Chris Habana Harvey: Fur coat by Buckler Trousers by Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair Socks stylist own Trainers by Nike
Idol magazine: lot lizard
Opposite Harvey: Fur coat by Buckler Trousers by Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair This Page Harvey: Onesie by Dana Lee Boots by Heutchy Hat by Siki Im Cuff by Chris Habana Louis: Jeans by G Star Shirt by Yigal Azrouel Singlet by Rufskin Boots by Redwing Knapsack by Heutchy
Idol magazine: lot lizard
Harvey: Hoodie by Yigal Azrouel Jacket & Jeans by John Varvatos USA Louis: Jacket & Cardigan by John Varvatos USA Tee stylist own Trousers by Gilded Age
Idol magazine: lot lizard
Louis: Jacket & Cardigan by John Varvatos USA Tee stylist own Trousers by Gilded Age Boots by Redwing
Harvey: Coat by Yigal Azrouel Onesie by Dana Lee Boots by Heutchy Hat by Siki Im Louis: Jeans w suspenders by GStar Shirt by Yigal Azrouel Singlet by Rufskin Boots by Redwing Knapsack by Heutchy Ring by Chris Habana Eyewear by Super
Idol magazine: lot lizard
Jumpsuit by G Star Boots by Doc Marten
Idol magazine: lot lizard
This Page Harvey: Hoodie by Yigal Azrouel Jacket & Jeans by John Varvatos USA Boots by Redwing Louis: Jacket & Cardigan by John Varvatos USA Tee stylist own Trousers by Gilded Age Boots by Redwing Opposite Harvey: Coat by Rad Hourani Singlet by Rufskin Trousers & Belt by Buckler Eyewear by Super Jewelry by Chris Habana
Idol magazine: lot lizard
Born in Georgia and raised in Saint-Petersburg, David Koma is a well-rounded designer. Taking inspiration from all and everywhere, Koma’s designs are focused and a fully formed image of his inspirations. Made famous by his celebrity fans and fashion buyers across the world, David Koma is fast becoming a household name. Describing his designs as sculptural and heavily embellished, there is a keen awareness of silhouette and texture too. Using furs for the first time, in his AW11 collection, along with leather showed a move away from the military aesthetic of previous seasons. Still aware of form and feminine lines, the show was filled with soft circles of fluffy primary coloured fur against strong laser cut leather polka-dots. Now a third time winner of the NewGen prize and with a standalone show at prestigious London Fashion Week, Koma’s future is looking bright. Especially as he already has had one diffusion collection for Topshop under his belt. Idol chatted to David Koma about inspirations, Japanese Art and how he creates his much inspired collections.
Idol magazine: DAVID KOMA
When did you know that you wanted to design? I started to draw at the age of eight and by the age of thirteen I created my first collection for a design competition. Since then, I have just continued designing.
The A/W collection uses a variety of materials, like leather and fur, albeit playfully, do you worry about the backlash from PETA campaigners? Or, is the aesthetic key? I have always been the biggest fan of leather. This was the first time I used fur. To be honest with you, I quite enjoyed it.
Has your Georgian-St Petersburg heritage influenced your designs, if at all? Yes, of course, it’s been an influence. I think moving from one country to another gives you more experience and understanding of different cultures. And, each city that I have lived in has given me something different and influenced me in its own special way. I can’t tell you exactly what it is, I just feel it.
Where are your inspirations coming from for the Spring? This season I want to do something light and soft. But still keep a graphic element in it. The starting point was ocean. But who knows what it will be in the end. Having just announced the new winners of New Gen, how did the sponsorship help you? It’s just an amazing opportunity to showcase your collection on a LFW catwalk and I’m really happy to be the recipient of this prestigious initiative for the third time.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Graphic, sculptural and tailored. How do you start a new collection, what is your process? For me, the whole process of creating a collection is quite organic. We start with the research, then we develop patterns, then toiling, and once everything is ready we move on to making finished garments.
What do you think the future of fashion is? Will the over-saturated market ever slow down, or will the whole process change? I have no idea. Nowadays, fashion is really quick and you never know what is going to happen. But, I don’t think we’ll have to face any dramatic changes within the next 10 years.
Do you design with a person in mind? I wouldn’t say so. But, I definitely have vibe of a woman in my mind. I imagine her wearing my clothes. Having produced a collection for Topshop, do you see yourself doing this again – producing a collection at a different price point? Yes, definitely. I really enjoyed the whole experience of collaborating with Topshop and looking forward to creating the next one. Did you start from a different design angle for Topshop? No, not really. I treated the collection as I treat my own line. It was just on a smaller scale. How have your design’s changed, or progressed since working for the Great British highstreet? It was nice to push myself to think on a bigger and more commercial scale.
s c a r e d of a n y t h i ng , ta l e n t A lway s w i n s”
Do you ever doubt your own designs/aesthetics? Not really. I’m doing whatever I feel is right. I just concentrate on my own work to keep it focused and directional. What advice would you impart to the next generation of designers? Believe in yourself and push yourself to work more than you think you can. What has been the most valuable advice given to you? “Don’t be scared of anything, talent always wins”
Where do you shop for yourself? I like Topshop and Liberty.
What do you perceive to be your biggest achievement so far? Having a standalone show during LFW.
When travelling, what can you not live without? My camera and laptop!
What’s next for the Koma Empire? The SS12 show.
Is there anywhere else in the World you would like to live? I’m really happy to be in London. So, for now it's only London!
Would you ever consider designing for another atelier, if so whose? Yes, it was my dream to have my own successful label and at the same time be a Creative Director of another fashion house.
Now you’re living in London, where are your top three hang-outs? The Tate Modern museum, Busaba Eathai [restaurant] and Regents Park. Your Autumn collection picked up some key trends – spot motifs, vivid colour and laser-cut leather, was this purposeful? You never know what the trend will be in the beginning of the process. So I just did what I felt was right. The inspiration for the AW11 collection was avant-garde art, and in particular the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. I took this idea and translated it onto the female body. Reinterpreting the spot motifs within Kusama’s work where objects and people become distorted and indistinguishable: we used embroidery and layered laser cut patterns. We also used ‘face’ prints with bright polka dots and fur pom-poms. The hallucinatory dots create the illusion of three dimensions.
“ Don ’ t be
Being so young, and so successful, do you feel the pressure to keep producing outstanding collections? Yes, I do. Every season, I’m trying to challenge myself. I’m constantly trying to push the boundaries to produce something exciting and beautiful.
Who is your Idol? Azzedine Alaia, Geofrey Beene and Pierre Cardin. Interview by Lucy Morris Photo by Josh Shinner Illustrations by Niky Roehreke
Idol magazine: DAVID KOMA
WRETCH 32 Wretch 32 epitomises what we at IDOL see as the go getter generation. Growing up and emerging from North London’s notoriously competitive grime scene Wretch has carved his own musical niche and success has duly followed. This year has undoubtedly been his most productive and successful so far. Debut single ‘Traktor’ and follow-up ‘Unorthodox’ with Example made a huge impact on the charts and with his unique and accessible sound the rest of 2011 and beyond is almost certainly going to be defined by his achievements. The IDOL team caught up with him a matter of weeks before the release of his album for a chat about his music, the state of the industry and of course the future. 74
Idol magazine: WRETCH 32
mainstream appeal. Has your music changed forever from your origins or will your album chronicle your personal and creative history? Personally it’s always been about what I was saying. It could have been over anything. A lot of people ask if I’m going to do more grime like I used to, but I’m in a different mind set now from when I was eighteen or nineteen. I’m twenty-six now. It’s a progression. I don’t necessarily want to say things now at that speed or on a beat as angry as that. My mood has changed but I’ll always have the ability to do that. My album is a Wretch 32 album, if you like any of my previous output, you’ll like this. But now production has got tighter and the sound is stronger. You’ve collaborated with people like Example and Ed Sheeran and you’ve sampled the Stone Roses on ‘Unorthodox,’ so clearly you enjoy that crossover sound in your music. How do you feel about people pigeonholing you into one style or genre? You know I’d just rather be looked at as a musician. I’m influenced by so many sounds. But I know that in life and in this industry there are a lot of stereotypes. People might be surprised to see me playing with a band and a range of live instruments but I like surprising them and breaking down those stereotypes that rappers don’t have bands. I don’t want people to just look at me and say ‘oh that’s rap’ or ‘that’s grime’, I want them to say ‘oh that’s Wretch’. I want them to look at me as me.
Explain the name ‘Wretch 32’ . What kind of specific significance do the numbers hold? When I first started writing, the first thing I wanted was a 32 bar. So at the top of the page I wrote ‘Wretch 32 bar.’ Straightaway I liked the way it looked, and I guess 3 and 2 have always been my lucky numbers, it felt natural. The ‘Wretch’ part came about from me just being a bit of a naughty kid when growing up, a bit of a rascal. My family used to call me a little wretch. I was always up to something and as I got older it stuck. Despite two very high charting singles, many people won’t have heard your music. How would you describe it in one sentence? Above all it’s very honest. After that it’s edgy and it’s fun! For a while now you’ve been tipped for great success across various publications and websites including the BBC sound of 2011 poll. That poll in particular seems both a blessing and a curse. How do you feel about these polls? Do they detract from the actual music? Personally I really try hard to keep everything about the music. When I was told that I’d been included on polls I almost tried to get my name removed, I know that sounds strange but I didn’t want to be judged by that or have that distraction from my music. On the other hand I also liked my place on the lists because I was almost always the only rapper, and so I felt I had something to prove. If there are fifteen people on a list and only one rapper, it shows that perhaps there’s little belief in our scene. But the only person who’s charted higher than me is Jessie J, so it shows that rappers can have an impact even if people think we can’t. So yeah it can be a blessing and a curse.
How has growing up in Tottenham and North London influenced you personally and creatively? As I’ve said my music it is all about honesty, without going through what I’ve been through and without seeing what I’ve seen there, I don’t think I’d be able to write like I do or speak about it in this way. It has definitely shaped me as a person. North London is a tough place but for me growing up it was just normal. It’s like asking a Tiger what the jungle is like. It’s home and it’s normal to people who live there. I guess it’s about turning negatives into positives, you can go either way. I hope I show to young people from there that they can do amazing things. I’ve had first hand experience of things, I keep saying it but it’s given my music honesty. It’s really helped me. You’re part of The Movement; what have you learnt from being part of that and will you be working with them again in the near future? The best thing about The Movement was the friendly competition. When you turn up at the studio and you have to go bar for bar with the likes of Scorcher, Devlin and Ghetto it’s not easy. It keeps you on your toes, keeps you pushing and sharpens your skills. I always say this, but I think it would be wrong of us to not come back and do another CD for the fans. I’m willing and we’re talking all the time, so I’m hoping it’ll happen. I don’t even think we should push it with singles. Just go into the studio and put out the album and let people hear how amazing we can be. You were heavily involved in the North London grime scene, but from what I can tell from your music you’ve got quite a strong hip-hop influence, and your singles have had real
With regards to collaborations, a large slice of your work has involved working with other artists. How important is this for you? And could you see yourself writing and performing an entire album without collaboration or is that part of you as an artist? Firstly it’s about the nature of the music industry. Rappers have a strong fight in general. Some radio stations cut your songs in half. When ‘Unorthodox’ got playlisted it got changed from a sixteen bar to an eight bar because to many of them, rapping isn’t important, they want catchy choruses. Until I’m in a position to put out exactly what I want I’m going to have to work with these restrictions. Even with the next single we had discussions about whether it’s a summer track because in summer people want summery sounds. But I didn’t want to be forced into putting out another track like my last two singles because then people might be surprised when my album is out. So yeah for now I can’t do things exactly as I want. But it’s also too easy for me to say that because there’s many times where I’ll write a chorus that I just can’t sing so I need to collaborate with others at those times. How important is a live show for you? For me the live show is as important as the album. My love is with performing. I’ve got a lot to prove and so the live show is so important. Everytime I have to kill it. I relish the opportunity. A friend summed it up quite well when she said ‘to you, you’re just in a car on the way to a show. You stop, you play, then you move on. But to some of the people in the crowd it’s everything. They may have waited a whole year to see you there.’ I get tweets telling me they’re counting down from like one hundred days to see me. So the live show has to be as important as everything else. How are your club shows different from a festival set? My club shows are really energetic. They’re short and hard. The festival sets with my band are really when I’m in my element though, sometimes more chilled than club shows. The club shows have a much faster tempo. People should see me in both situations to really get an idea of what I’m about.
After the success of your first proper singles what can we expect next from you? Album? Tours? More collaborations? There are some big collaborations coming up but I can’t tell you right now! But trust me you’re going to love them. I’ve got my first headline tour coming up in October that I’m really excited about. It’s about twelve dates long. I’m really happy with the album (released in August.) It’s tough because I had to cut some songs out but overall I’m really excited and happy with it. Picture yourself making music a century from now. The 22nd Century. What type of things will characterise music, the way it’s made and the industry? Rapping will change, definitely. I think people will rap the syllables. If you look at the evolution of rapping from the likes of Run DMC they were just rapping the last word in each line. In the future everything will be rhymed. Sound wise, I think people will begin to make up instruments and use sounds never heard before. The beats will also definitely be more minimal, more acapella based. What new artists are you listening to right now, and who are you tipping for future success? There’s a girl called Kay Young who makes really interesting music. I’m not sure the country is ready for her yet though! There’s another girl called Henrietta Bond who is also amazing. There are so many rappers who are just one song away from being big, people like Smiler and Scorcher. What are your ultimate goals in music? I want to be the best. Not necessarily selling the most. Just to be in that bracket with the other greats of my genre. It’s all about representing myself to the very best way I can. It’s not really about statistics. Many of the IDOL readers are ‘go-getters’ always aspiring to succeed and out to make their own success. What advice can you give to them? Success is all about a journey and not a destination. You should never think you’re at the top. You should always feel that you’ve got something to prove. That way you stay fresh and humble. You should also surround yourself with people who are as hungry and as passionate as you, whether doing the exact same thing or something associated. For example you might be mad into filming, so you need someone mad about being in front of the camera to work with you. You go together. Also you really need to study your game. Really understand your game, in order for you to get to the highest point you need to learn everything inside out. Finally, keep going. Everyone has knock backs, but it’s how you get up from them that makes you. Who is / are your IDOL's? My IDOL is always going to be my dad. Always. For me it’s about reality. It would be easy to say someone like Michael Jackson, but I haven’t seen him struggle and succeed like my dad. I’ve seen that at first hand. So yeah, it will always be him. Words by Charlie Hodd Photography by Elliot Morgan Special thanks to Red Bull Studios London
Idol magazine: WRETCH 32
I am inspired by the army and how they camouflage to confuse opponents and protect themselves from attack
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Idol magazine: liu bolin
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Read more. Think more. Do more. Idol magazine: liu bolin
Jack: trousers SARAH BARBER; necklace BRETT DE JAGER; shoes BRETT DE JAGER; jumper HANNAH TAYLOR Josh: dress WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK @ HOUSE OF LIZA; leggings TOPSHOP; shoes BRETT DE JAGER; hat HANNAH TAYLOR; bag KTZ (stylist’s own) Gemma: jumper ROKIT; skirt FAM IRVOLL; tutu BEYOND RETRO; shoes TOPSHOP Jade: scarf BEYOND RETRO; apron BEYOND RETRO; dress BEYOND RETRO; leggings TOPSHOP; shoes IRREGULAR CHOICE; cardigan BEYOND RETRO
meiji SHELL.indd 82-83
Idol magazine: children of meiji
Jack: trousers STEPHEN SPROUSE @ HOUSE OF LIZA; jumper SARAH BARBER; shoes KTZ Josh: shorts KTZ; shirt JCDC @ HOUSE OF LIZA; jacket WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK @ HOUSE OF LIZA Gemma: skirt H&M; shoes H&M; jumper BEYOND RETRO; necklace LITTLE SHILPA; beanie LAURA WILLIAMS Jade: jumper KANSAI YAMAMOTO @ HOUSE OF LIZA; leggings STYLIST’S OWN; cherry necklace FAM IRVOLL; shoes IRREGULAR CHOICE; bead necklace STYLIST’S OWN
Idol magazine: children of meiji
Idol magazine: children of meiji
Jack: trousers STEPHEN SPROUSE @ HOUSE OF LIZA; jumper SARAH BARBER; shoes KTZ
Jack: trousers HANNAH TAYLOR; top BEYOND RETRO; coat LAURA WILLIAMS; boots BRETT DE JAGER Josh: boots BRETT DE JAGER; trousers LAURA WILLIAMS; top SARAH BARBER; coat ROKIT; headband LAURA WILLIAMS; rucksack LAURA WILLIAMS
Idol magazine: children of meiji
Gemma: skirt H&M; shoes H&M; jumper BEYOND RETRO; necklace LITTLE SHILPA; beanie LAURA WILLIAMS
Idol magazine: chilfdren of meiji
Idol magazine: children of meiji
Jack: t-shirt BEYOND RETRO; knitted jumpsuit HANNAH TAYLOR; shoes BRETT DE JAGER; helmet BRETT DE JAGER Josh: vest SARAH BARBER; trousers VERSACE @ HOUSE OF LIZA; shoes BRETT DE JAGER; shark bag LARISSA HADJIO; gloves ETRE TOUCHY Gemma: top H&M; trousers TOPSHOP; lolly necklace FAM IRVOLL; coat DANSLAVIE by RIRA SUGAWARA ; shoes TOPSHOP; hat ALEXANDRA GOLD Jade: tutu BEYOND RETRO; bra FAM IRVOLL; jacket BEYOND RETRO; scarf KTZ; gloves KTZ; bracelet FAM IRVOLL; shoes IRREGULAR CHOICE
Jack: top WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK @ HOUSE OF LIZA; hat ALEXANDRA GOLD; trousers KTZ; shoes BRETT DE JAGER Josh: trousers KTZ; shoes HUMMEL; shirt BEYOND RETRO; cardigan HANNAH TAYLOR
Idol magazine: CHILDREN OF MEIJI
Creative Direction: Bianca Spada Photography: Paulina Otylie Surys @ Mystery Management Styling: Gabrielle Stival Make Up: Megumi Matsuno using Illamasqua @ Carol Hayes Management Hair: Noriko Takayama using Kiehlâ€™s Models: Josh Tuckley @ Select, Gemma Janes and Jade F @ Profile, Jack Cornell @ Storm Scan the QR code to check out behind the scenes
Idol magazine: children of meiji
the future is
apan Space-age-style technology, outrageous fashions, maybe even tribal factions or super-fast transport can be associated with the distant future but these things already exist on the streets of Tokyo. Japan has long been considered the technology capital of the world, always a few steps ahead of the rest of us, trying to make technology smaller and undetectable or attempting to automate lo-tech living. Tokyo’s sky line, particularly, at night gives the impression that the place might take off, to dock with the mother-ship, at any given moment. It’s shiny architecture and digital advertisement boards look as if flying cars and hover-boards might come around the corner at any second; it’s all very Blade Runner and it is clearly this backdrop which has inspired a whole host of recent talent, which is starting to become a prevalent part of Japan’s art scene. Japan is a country steeped in tradition and ancient values, however Tokyo has always stood somewhere apart from that, like a beacon of futurism. The city is famous for its sci-fi-esque Harajuku fashion; a trend which is organic and quite hap-hazard, favoured by teenagers and fans of Full Metal Alchemist. This style of dress, as synonymous with Japan as the Kimono, is named after the Harajuku district of the city, which is a favorite hang out of Tokyo’s teens and other fashionable people. Harajuku itself is a collective name for various sub-cultures which line the Jingu bridge on a Sunday afternoon. The look, which can be anything from ‘California girl’ to space age punk has a so wrong it’s right quality about it. The get up is reminiscent of what we saw in futuristic Japanese cartoons, such as Pokemon and tries to emulate the animators exaggerated style. Resultantly followers of Harajuku fashion look as if they stepped straight out of sci-fi.
Harajuku is the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles. These styles rarely conform to one particular style and are usually a mesh of many. Its entire culture is based around expressionism; wearing who you are, rather than having to tell people about it.It is almost tribal and a little bit primal; willing evolution on to allow us to be identified by our musical tastes (or our ‘Visual Kei’). This is futuristic in itself. Recently, however, Tokyo’s bright young things have pulled something out of the city’s space age chaos: a new generation of futuristic cultural mediums with an air of seriousness that suggests we should all stand up and take notice. These new offerings provide a much more cohesive, futuristic vibe. The trend, particularly in fashion, is for Japanese talent to bring skills they have learned from their studies abroad back to Tokyo and to give it that futuristic twist. Tokyo fashion week this year saw shapes inspired by space suits and technology and other silhouettes clearly influenced by science fiction but without the cheesiness. Just clean lines and a muted color palette, which made the collections look like viable options for futuristic wear. Up and coming artists in Tokyo are also starting to produce edgy urban inspired pieces featuring modern materials, drawing influence from Tokyo’s space-age skyline. This gritty work is a far cry from willow patterns and Kimonos. Art in Tokyo is becoming more about large scale, eye-catching pieces, representing the artists political ideals or messages about the future. Tokyo’s emerging talent is pushing Japan’s traditional boundaries to produce sophisticated, classy work which is set to shake up and enhance the city’s futuristic image. Now it is no longer nano-technology which sees Tokyo soaring into the future. Instead it is art, fashion and culture which is set to turn heads.
Words by Rebecca Norris
Idol magazine: +81 japan
Trippple Nippples may be a striking name for a band, but even more striking are the Tokyo-based collectives’ experiential live shows, which include cheeky costumes made of cabbage, mud, popcorn, blood, human hair, rice and rotten spaghetti amongst other things. Exploring the relationship between music and audience-inclusive performance art while heavily borrowing from archaic ideas of dance ecstasy and shamanism, the electro fivesome have been going to quite some extremes in their effort to “awaken” their audiences by, basically, reinventing the idea of “party hard”. IDOL caught up with the lunatic group to discuss billionaire parties, Japanese designers, rice marketing and the year 4011.
Idol magazine: trippple nippples
Where did the name Trippple Nippples come from? We started off performing at an underground party called MEAT. At the time we were three girls shooting alcoholic milk from fake rubber boobs. That’s where it came from. How did you come together as a band? When we (Yuka and Qrea) were the milk-shooting half human - half cows, we once splashed on Jo’s face and that’s how we met and started writing music together. In early 2010, Jo’s cousin, who is also a music producer, moved to Tokyo and joined the band. Drummer Hash Eddy, we found him on the street. Why do you feel your concerts have been described as a “complete experience”? I guess because that’s exactly what we are trying to create. We are trying to slap all those sleepy faces and wake them up. We want to help people let loose and enjoy every moment as if it where their last, and we really are a live band. You never really know what we are about, until you are there to see and feel for yourself. We are actually happy if people perceive us in this way. You’re not just a band. You are also performance artists and costume designers. Do you see yourselves expanding into other fields anytime soon? Oh yes! We are in a rice business now! My dad grows the best organic rice on the planet, but he has a serious alcohol problem, as he still suffers from a love he lost ages and ages ago. I wanted to help him become happy again, so I decided we’d start marketing his rice. It’s called CHI CHI MAI - in Japanese CHICHI means both dad and boobs so, you now, it’s perfect! We made a special package for it with Takeshi’s (my dad) trading cards, hoping it will help him get some ladies’ attention!! Ladies, my dad is awesome. LOVE THIS RICE, AND HELP TAKESHI LOVE HIS LIFE AGAIN. Fashion clearly plays a big role in Trippple Nippples. Who are your favourite designers? We don’t know so much about designers, we just like making things ourselves. Some of our friends in Tokyo make some really cool stuff and sometimes they make things specially for us, there is Yoruko (Banzai), Hachi (Balmung), Rachel (ilil), Yulia (Giza) Daphne (Deface) and also Qrea Nippple makes things too, her label is called Dead Kebab. You definitely put on a show with your costumes, take for example the rotten spaghetti outfit. Where does the choice of costume come from? When we made the spaghetti outfit we were just hungry, ha! We made some rice helmets too - I had tons of old rice left at home, cause my dad sent me the new rice and I didn’t really know what to do with the old one, so we made that. Cabbage, mud, popcorn, human hair: we usually find materials that look nice as they are and try to somehow wear them. Often those things are not meant to be worn, so we struggle and end up with vomit smelling items or whatever. But we like the process of turning something given into something totally different. What are the best places to hang out in Tokyo? If you are here to party, go to TRUMP ROOM. If you are here for nice food and a nice atmosphere, go to ROKU and meet our friend Ako-chan Shibuya.
Billionaire parties are really a lot of fun, they just have a bad reputation because the Chinese ones are a bit stiff, and the Korean ones can be a bit dangerous at times.
Idol magazine: trippple nippples
If you are here to shop, go to KITAKORE in Koenji. If you are here to get some exercise, come to our show!!! What was your craziest concert party moment? We played at a benefit event that our friends Tokyo Dandy put on 3 weeks after the earthquake/tsunami disaster. It was the very first party in our scene after the disaster and turned out to be the BEST party in ages and ages and ages. So much energy, it felt like the place was about to burst. It felt like everyone finally got to release something, like everyone finally felt like “Ok, we can have fun now. Let’s fucking do this!!!”. Everyone literally went nuts. Who would you like to perform with on stage and where? Tag team with Hulk Hogan and GG. Allin’s ghost at an Aztec themed 60th birthday party beneath the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico. Billionaire parties are really a lot of fun, they just have a bad reputation because the Chinese ones are a bit stiff, and the Korean ones can be a bit dangerous at times. Something you want to do before you die? Home party with shamans - they live in the north of Japan. We’d get them to summon our spirits over there and have a home party with a bunch of our friends’ spirits’ in a shaman’s body. We actually really wanna try this over the next couple of years, but I think it costs a bit too much money to hire shamans, so we gotta get rich quickly. If you were to throw your own party, who would you have performing at it, besides yourselves? Actually there is another band called Triple Nipple (not three ps) - they are awesome!! We would love to play with them, it’s just so wrong. How do you guys imagine the future? We already live in the year 4011. The rent’s a total bitch, but the drugs are incredible. Africa is the new China, America is a Third World county run by the Mexicans. Starbucks has real mammoth milk café au lait, and when it rains, and you can’t see on your way home, you can choose the rain to flow in fluorescent pink or blue colors. Its amazing. And, finally, who are your idols? The sun. We think everyone is more or less the same – no more idols please, the sun is enough. Interview by Bianca Spada Pictures: Courtesy of Trippple Nippples
We started off performing at an underground party called MEAT. At the time we were three girls shooting alcoholic milk from fake rubber boobs. That’s where it came from.
Idol magazine: kimiko yoshida
Mao’s Red Flag, Greek War Goddess, Mickey Mouse, Marie Antoinette – Geisha, Cameroonian and Nigerian bride, King Louis XIV: she has impersonated all of them, along with hundreds others. The way that Japan-born, Paris-based photographer Kimiko Yoshida plays with personal identity, almost makes us forget how much of an over-used (and abused) artistic concept it actually is. Kimiko, of course, knows that, underlining in her artist statement that “There is no search for identity in my work. I know that identity doesn’t exist. There are only infinite layers of me. If I peel them back, like the skin of an onion, there will be nothing underneath.” At the same time, it’s hard to see her work as cut-off from identity, not least because she tries so mouth-wateringly to underline its liminality and universality. Unexpectedly candid about her escape from Japan and what she refers to as the “mortifying servitude and humiliating fate of Japanese women,” her exploration is also of political nature, although not of the pretentious or exhausting type. Subtle and aesthetically pleasing, it is a multi-layered as the characters she ‘plays’.
Idol magazine: KIMIKO YOSHIDA
What bothers you most about Western representations of gender and female sexuality? The dominant ideology, in contemporary art as everywhere else: the gender stereotypes, the communitarians clichés, the servile belief in the genealogical or hereditary determinations, the romantic nihilism of identity, of membership or “roots”, the deadly metaphysics of origin, family or group, the inevitability of parentage or biology, and racism, sexism, exclusion, and the segregation resulting from them... It is against these clichés and against the voluntary servitude that we have to fight head-on, constantly. Some art critics interpret your work as being “distanced from current affairs”. What do you think of this claim? Art for me is primarily the experience of transformation. How to be a contemporary of your own history and remain forever universal in the Vertical Time? It’s otherness and alteration, transformation and transmutation that indicate the way out of the circle. “Death is the absolute master,” said Hegel, it’s remembered. That’s what I think. I look around me and I see that time is my sole contemporary. Art soon outweighs the void. In your work you play a lot with the theme of the ‘exotic’, the ‘alien’, the ‘other’, as well as with cultures that are lost or forgotten. Do you feel a preservation of cultures is possible and/or important? What matters in art is the transformation of meaning. In my Autoportraits (Self-Portraits) in which I tend to disappear, I emphasize how otherness is correlated with the identity. I say that identity is a fantasy, an imaginary projection, it is just a puff of successive identifying loans. I really think that identity does not exist, there are only identifications. My work opens up the question of Who am I? And goes on to the more relevant question, more essential to identifications: How many am I? This obviously has a different scope. It’s the number in me I’m interested in. Remember John Lennon in his song I Am the Walrus “I am as you are he as you are me... Being where I do not think I am, disappear where I think I am, that’s the important thing.” All your images are extremely beautiful. Is beauty a concern in your work and if so, what does beauty mean to you? Beauty is a truth illuminating the space. The ageless beauty which shows us the way out of the circle. No counterparts, no reverses. Seen like that, the beauty prevails immediately upon the nothingness: art, what we also call poetry, becomes the natural outcome. As Montaigne once said: “It’s an absolute perfection, and almost divine, to know how to loyally enjoy your own being” (Essais, III, 13). Self-portraits no doubt, but emerged from the expressionists burdens, torn from the psychological heaviness, free from the universal negativity, aerial. Sudden extension of a pre-Socratic Eden. Beyond the reach of the usual parody, of the trash eroticism, of the imposed sentimentalism. An art that is not only plagued by death. Tell us a bit about this recent body of work, Self Portrait? As in previous self-portraits, the conceptual protocol of these paintings remains unchanged: always the same subject, the same framing, the same light. So the same figure is repeated, but is not identical to itself: we see that the more it is repeated the more different from itself it becomes. These Paintings, I see them as timeless and hieratic portraits, “abstract” portraits, that is to say emerged from the imagination and History itself. This mental evocation of old masters’ masterpieces is a symbolic transposition. How would you describe your style? I rely primarily on art history, on a reflection on the presuppositions of the symbolic function and the conditions of possibility of representation. My photography is still, more timeless, I believe, there is no before or after, it is hieratic, it is in a vertical time. My pictures are very abstract. The figure (my face) tends to disappear in the single colour. My photographs are presented as (incomplete) attempts towards the monochrome colour. Do you have any IDOLS? Yves Klein and El Greco, Bernini and Richard Serra, James Lee Byars and Fragonard, Watteau and Gerhard Richter, Carl Andre and Manet. Interview by Natascha Chtena Translation by Sarah Kante
Idol magazine: KIMIKO YOSHIDA
Japanese fashion label Christian Dada is all about contradiction, extreme and a provocatively forward-looking punk attitude. One of the most promising young labels in Tokyo at the moment, it is bringing alternative subculture and its nihilistic philosophy to the forefront of high-end fashion, hoping to redefine not only our perception of must-have footwear, but also the world’s perception of young Japanese creativity. IDOL had a chat with the labels’ ambitious founder and director Masanori Morikawa. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? I have previously worked as a personal assistant for Charles Anastase and have been working independently since 2007. After moving back to Japan, I launched the label Livraison with a friend of mine. I left Livraison in 2009 and started Christian Dada in 2010. Why did you decide to call your brand Christian Dada? I am half Christian and like the attitude of Dadaism. How would you describe your style? Elegant punk with attitude. Does Japanese style ever influence your designs? Some designers like Eiko Ishioka, COMME des GARÇONS and Undercover do. What is it about Tokyo Fashion Week that makes it so unique? I don’t think it is unique, to be honest.
What are you working on at the moment? I am thinking about the designs for next season. Your Autumn/Winter 2011 collection features both menswear and womenswear. Is there one that you favour? I should probably do a separate men’s and women’s collection. By mixing the two I aimed at comparing them, but I guess not everyone understands that. How has Christian Dada developed as a brand? With the help of everyone, always. How do you think fashion will be in 3012? I think that the fashion world is undergoing a tremendous change at the moment. Some designers will create a new age, others will be left behind. I think it will become very polarized. What can we expect from Christian Dada in the future? Although I have been avant-garde my entire life, I don’t know where the future will take me. This is an honest answer, I have decided that I don’t want to lie in my life. Who are your idols in the fashion industry? Why? Vivienne Westwood and COMME des GARÇONS. They have a genuine punk attitude. Interview by Hannah Newman
Do you ever dream about showing in New York, Paris, Milan or London? I really want to do a show in London, I think they have such great locations, models and vibe there. But it’s still too early for our label to consider it.
DAda SHELL.indd 110-111
You’ve certainly had a lot of attention considering the brand is very much in its infancy stages. Does this ever become overwhelming? Thanks, even though our impact so far has been, I believe, very small. We still have to destroy Japanese fashion politics and increase our influence in the world.
I am half Christian and like the attitude of Dadaism
“I AM MY OWN IDOL”
When we think of an IDOL, we think of someone who is a pioneer, an innovator, someone who is courageous enough to push themselves to the very limit to succeed; the value of success varies from person to person, and in the case of artist Yayoi Kusama, it’s personal. As a child she was plagued by vivid hallucinations and suffered a turbulent relationship with her mother, that came close to destroying her. Kusama first made a name for herself in the 60’s, when she was taken under the wing of artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and soon won the praise of the critics and her contemporaries Having detached herself from the painters of the moment, i.e. Pollock and De Kooning, Kusama created her own innovative and personal style, which she carries on to this day; one which has earned her amongst other the ‘Praemium Imperiale’, one of Japan’s highest honours for living artists. Yayoi, is more than an artist, she is a true IDOL, not only to herself, but to those around her, never yielding to her demons, but prospering and inspiring others. Great idols leave an imprint not only on the world, but to us, the viewer, and Yayoi’s work is a testament to that.
The moment of regeneration | 2004
Idol magazine: yayoi kusama
“ I h a v e c on q u e r e d my m e n t al illn e s s wi t h my a r t ”
Revived soul | 1995
Describe your work in three words. Obliteration, accumulation, infinity, emptiness, wisdom, etc. What are the fundamental elements of your work? Concerning life and death/ my own artistic quality/ disease/ creativity and a longing for creation of artworks/ dignity as an artist. Did you always dream of being an artist? There were times when I painted pictures everyday well into midnight, dreaming of pursuing a path as an artist. I have actually dreamed the path up to the present. Who have been you biggest influences in your life and why? It is myself, Yayoi Kusama, as I have, in every phase of my life, sought peace and an infinite path to creation of artworks with love. When the public view your work, what is it that you want them to feel? A yearning for the never-ending universe and personal quality as a human being. Since childhood, you have been plagued by vivid hallucinations. How can you translate these experiences in your work? I would be delighted if you could find an answer to this question in my works shown currently in the exhibition. As an artist, I want to explore this wonderful life of mine far more deeply.
How have your background, previous experiences and your daily life affected your creative process? Since my younger days, I have been under the care of psychiatrists. I have been battling with my disease over many years to this day. I find that medication and counseling have been greatly helpful. Would you say your mental health has defined you as an artist? Yes. I have developed my art, as a form of self-therapy, to overcome my disease. I was once hospitalized in New York after a suicide attempt, and since around that time I have established my view of life and conquered my mental illness with my art. There were cases where my family, relatives and friends gave me a cold look, as if to say I was crazy. But I believe it is the artistic creativity that has made me what I am today. I want to tell the peoples of the whole world that Love Is Forever. Upon arriving in New York, you were taken under the wing of the prolific American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Can you tell us about how you two came into contact and the influence she had on your life? I was so impressed with the works of O’Keeffe, which I saw reproduced in an art book at a secondhand bookshop in a provincial city I was living then, that I went to American Embassy to find out her address in a Who’s Who. I subsequently sent her letters as well as some of my works. She wrote back and that was when our written communication started. O’Keeffe was certainly instrumental in my decision to go to the U.S. Accumulation on cabinet no.1 | 1963
Idol magazine: yayoi kusama
Yellow silk pleated goddess dress Daks
"I am grateful for the recognition so many people gave to my works"
Infinity mirrored room filled with the brilliance of life | 2001
Your new exhibition just kicked in the Contemporary Museum of Madrid – Reina Sofia, and you are going to be travelling with it to some of the biggest contemporary museums in the world (Tate Modern, Pompidou and Whitney Museum), until June 2012. What do you expect from this experience? It gives me great pleasure indeed, to be able to have an exhibition of my works in such major museums as those mentioned here, and have my works viewed by the people there. What inspires you? Everything is linked to inspiration, which leads to deep emotions. What has been the biggest obstacle that you have overcome in you life? The objection of my parents, especially that of my mother, against my becoming a painter. Believing that happiness lied in my marrying into a wealthy family, she tried to stop me from painting, by tearing up the pictures I was working on, etc. Now that she has died, and having advanced in years, I seem to understand why she acted the way she did, pressuring me to marry, and adamantly fighting against my becoming a painter, all out of concern about my future. How did you feel when you were selected to receive the coveted ‘Praemium Imperiale‘? I am grateful for the recognition so many people gave to my works. Meeting with the Imperial Family members and the encouragements I received from them left a deep impression on me.
Idol magazine: yayoi kusama
‘Soul under the Moon’ is an incredible piece of work. Can you please explain the logic behind this piece? Since I started creating mirror rooms in the 1960s, I haven’t stopped. Beautiful reflections of lights on the mirrors and changing lights suggest how wonderful life is. This work started with a doubt about what lies beyond the ends of the universe. I am not able to travel in the universe, but the work shows what I imagine it would be like. I wish my soul after death will look as beautiful. I deeply reflected on my life in creating this work. How would you say your work has progressed since your debut in the 60’s? It has made much progress. How do you imagine the future? Creating, forever. What is your life’s motto? A feeling of awe toward life. What has been the most encouraging or important piece of advice anyone has ever given you? Comments from the people who have seen my works, such as “deeply moved”, “inspired” etc. Who is your IDOL and why? It is me, myself, as I believe in me. Interview by Fay A Pictures courtesy of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Idol magazine: the future’s bright
Burgundy silk knitted cardigan with red gabardine jacket and trousers Hermes
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT Photographer Sarah Brimley Stylist Pop Kampol Make Up Lucy Gibson using Kiehl’s Skincare and Mac Cosmetics Hair Christian Landon Nails Shardae Green for Pinkitas Nails Model Dasha @ Strom Photographer Assistant Leo Williams, Jack Gill and Michelle Duffy Nail Assistant Tashma Daw Special Thanks to Sunbeam Studio
Yellow perforated leather top with electric green perforated leather and skirt Christopher Kane
Orange spice double ‘Raso’ dress with feather, pvc, stones and cords embroidery Gucci
Idol magazine: the future’s bright
Turquoise silk chiffon evening dress with flowers Dior
Green and yellow baroque printed cotton top Prada
Takasaki On March 11th 2011, architect Takasaki Masaharu inaugurated a space which - in his own words - “respects human dignity” and aims at contributing to the peaceful daily life of those displaced by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. He named his creation the “KOKORO SHELTER”, borrowing from the concept of the homonym 1914 Japanese novel that discusses changing times, the role of family, the importance of the self versus the group, the cost of weakness, and identity amongst other. While mostly unknown outside his native Japan, the work of the Tokyobased architect has equally captivated those interested in individual and animated design, and those interested in the architectural connection of humanity and cosmos. Egg-shaped forms, diffused light that creates mystical interiors and skewed columns and planes, all manifest his interest in the universe and the inspiration of nature in his work. IDOL had a rare chance to talk to Masaharu and discuss Moon architecture, time flow, economics and the deeply human emotions that the Japanese disaster brought up in him. Why did you decide to be an architect? When I decided to become an architect, I was fourteen years old. I have always enjoyed creating artworks which resemble pictures and making three-dimensional works. I love how architecture allows people to express their own philosophy and concept to the world, merely with the use of a pencil. In addition, architecture is a single global language which is able to move people all over the world, regardless of language barriers. Describe your style (in one sentence). “The environmentalized living body” which resonates with the sphere, the earth and cosmos in KOKORO (Japanese for “the heart of things” or “feeling”). It is all about an architecture that is deeply tied to the environment, the “psychological” world and the inner self. Has your style changed over time? If so how, and what made it change? It has indeed. My style has been evolving along with my outlook on life and society. As I develop as a person, my style tends to change. What is your thought process like when you embark on a project? When I embark on a new project, I always tend to start by drawing and creating models of my “findings”. How do you imagine the future? In reaction to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, I think that currently we are controlled by science technology and a utterly economic logic. Our future, however, I believe will be characterized by a harmonious rhythm of natural systems and by a balance between human life, KOKORO and nature itself. I think in the future humans will rethink the relationship between science technology and economic logic. How do you think the houses will be like in the future? I think houses will become more like “living entities”, in the sense that they will open up a conversation with the true secrets of life and fuse dynamically with the human mind. Regarding materials, I think that they will be an unknown “environmentalized living body”, which will have the flexibility to change softly and also have a more delicate texture than contemporary materials. I think materials will become much more fluid.
Idol magazine: takasaki masaharu
If you were given the chance to build the first building on the moon, how would you do it? If I were given the chance to build on the moon, I would combine the concepts of nonhierarchical architecture and “oneness”, which stem from ideas such as right and left, up and down, that are generated by gravity. Or perhaps I would like to create a kind of architecture which people all over the world have never seen and experienced before, a concept based on nothing previously conceived on earth. Which country with the most futuristic architecture and why? Europe and South Asia are interesting to me. On the one hand, I think that there are many architects in Europe who think and design architecture within the flow of history. On the other, I feel that South Asia architects have ideas that make architecture unify with nature. Also, (in South Asia) I have the project called “The Architectural Project along the Ocean Silk Road”. This project tries to connect civilizations and cultures from Europe, Persia, Asia and Japan.
My ultimate ambition is to free people’s mind from any stereotypes and to let them encounter the unknown through the architectural space of my works.
You have been helping those displaced by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. How has the experience been so far? I have already set up the “KOKORO SHELTER”, which I designed for displaced people who suffered from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant at evacuation sites in Minamisouma-shi, within a 25-kilometer radius from the Nuclear Power Plant. This experience taught me the answers to two basic questions, which have both been inevitable for my life: the first one is “What is a human being?”. Second is “What is the most important thing in our lives?”. In addition, while natural elements like the blue sky, heaving sea, leafy mountains and blooming flowers are a “breath of life” for most of us, there were no people and no farm animals throughout the hectares I saw in Minamisoumashi. The space looked like lifeless ground. The experience also lead me to ask questions of modality for future civilizations. Have you got any dream projects that are beyond the realm of possibility? Well, “NANOHANAKAN” is a project which I initially believed to be beyond what you call “the realm of possibility”. This Senior Communication and Community Center is a huge, complex facility that includes an educational and cultural facility, a health facility, accommodation, a gymnasium and an outdoor theatre in Kagoshima Prefecture (a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyushu). I designed everything about “NANOHANAKAN”, whose site area is about 10,000, from furniture to landscape architecture without any help.
Idol magazine: takasaki masaharu
What is, in your opinion, the world’s greatest architectural work? It is the holy place called “Utaki” in the Okinawa region which is registered as a World Heritage Site and which is close to my hometown Sathuma. “Utaki” is the place where god descends to this world and there are no artificial facilities or objects like shrines. However, the fact that it “exists” without any artificial objects emits such intense energy, that it always moves me. What’s the concept behind Article 25? Article 25 tries to preserve displaced people’s dignity, maintain their self-respect and sustain their daily life by designing shelters for them. I totally sympathize with those concepts. Similarly, I faced the displaced people by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster, as a human person rather than merely a professional architect and designed the “KOKORO SHELTER”.
Although most people view architecture as an object of lust, I always treat architecture as culture.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced with your work? There are always two challenges that I face with my work. The first one is that, since my work takes nonconventional forms, sometimes, my clients and builders take a passive stand towards uncharted territory. The second one is that, since new technology is necessary to build my models, when builders and staffs do not satisfy my requirements, I feel discouraged. However, both challenges are inextricably associated with hope and also provide the strength to keep me going. What is your ultimate ambition? My ultimate ambition is to free people’s mind from any stereotypes and to let them encounter the unknown through the architectural space of my works. You have completed several projects related to Astronomy (Kihoku Astronomical Museum, Zero Cosmology). What is your relation to science? I am very interested in the relationship between human and space in astronomy. “Fresh” scientific views on the universe fuel my imagination and imagination in turn provides me with motivation to create new works. What has been the most challenging project yet and why? The most challenging project was a two-story wooden house named “House Tenchi”, which I completed in 2009. Around the site there was an unregulated area, there were many telegraph poles, many unnecessary advertisements and also the site in itself was small. However, I tried to design the house positively despite the poor conditions, and constructed a facade which opens a dialogue with both the environment and the human being, an internal space which triggers communication and which takes a “human-like” attitude to generate community between people and the natural environment. As a result, the house was completed with artistic beauty. The reason I mention this, is because most Japanese suburbs were and are being designed disorderly and there is no architectural beauty there. I would really like to bring the “mental culture” that I think architecture should have, there. What’s your biggest fear as an architect? Designing always depends on both human deeds and economic activities, which are all based on social and human desire. Therefore, I constantly feel under pressure. Although most people view architecture as an object of lust, I always treat architecture as culture. I do, however, believe that my attitude towards architecture also supports my clients’ financial interests. What advice would you give to young and aspiring architects? I don’t really think that there is a relationship between creator and age. However, if I did give them one piece of advice it would be to act upon their beliefs without considering social values. Who is your IDOL? My IDOLs are craftsmen related to my work, who always sweat and appreciate daily work. Interview by Maria Spada
Idol magazine: takasaki masaharu
Bendable musical shoes for Nike, magical dancing spoons, LED mouth prosthetics (for partying) and a flight of musical
n Your ‘Face Visualiser’, a tool which lets people’s faces move
been attracting a lot of attention on and offline with his
artificially in sync with music through electroshocks, has been attracting a lot of attention lately. How did you come up with the idea and how do you actually envisage people using it? This idea came from copying the facial expression of others. My colleague Masaki Teruoka, who is a bio-medical engineer, said that “we can’t put on a real smile without emotion”. It inspired me a lot.
physical interpretation of sound and programming which
n You have been called a conceptual artist, an experimental
stairs for Sony are just some of Daito Manabe’s extraordinary inventions. An artist with a background in DJing, Daito has
focuses - surprisingly - on the re-materialization of digital space and the celebration of analogue life. IDOL caught up with him during his ultra busy summer tour of Europe.
artist and more notably, an inventor. Do you see yourself as any of those and in what way? I think I am a programmer/ designer, in the sense that when someone has a problem, request or idea, I solve/ achieve it. But when I do my own projects, I am more of a researcher/ artist.
Interview by Natascha Chtena
“ I love technology, but I don’t think about it very much. I use it as a tool „
Idol magazine: DAITO MANABE
n What was the first technological device you ever invented?
n How do the Japanese party? Could you tell us some really
n If you could invent/create anything, what would that be?
n People must come up to you with reactions to your work all the time. What is the weirdest thing someone ever said to you (about your work)? I was asked to create a device for making autopsy.
I had been working with a sync audio signal on analog record for controlling audio/ visuals on a computer. It was before Final Scratch/ Scratch Live was released, but I couldn’t make a commercial product of it. It was just for “private use”. I would make a small lighting ball which can move in 3D space freely.
n Technology plays a predominant role in all your work. What attracts you to it? I love technology, but I don’t think about it very much; I use it as a tool. Sometimes I start a project out of technological interest (like a 3D scan camera or 3D printer) and sometimes I look at technology for finding a solution (laser, led, 3D scan camera, myoelectric sensor). n
You are also a sound engineer and DJ. How does music influence your work and what kind of music do you enjoy listening to in your spare time (if you have any!)? I buy a lot of tracks on beatport.com, yet it’s more researching than enjoying. Of course I enjoy listening to tracks, but I am looking for the really great ones. At a club or bar I will listen to all kinds of music; I love jazz, soul, hip-hop, dubstep. Artists like James Brown, Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, Kool & Gang, D’Angelo, James Blake... DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Jay Dee, Madlib, Flying Lotus, Martyn, Falty DL, Dorian Concept, TRG, Syncro, ASC, Addison Groove, Perfume etc.
cool places to party in Japan? It really depends on the line up for me. Actually it is not clubbing nor partying .
n Your projects obviously explore the relationship between
the human body and technological development, while issues around communication are also a strong component.Where do you think the dynamic between this triptych: technology, body, communication, will lead us in the future? I think we will share our body info as pictures or videos some days. I know it has already happened, but I’m not talking merely for environment related issues/ medical services or the secondary use of personal information.
n How do you think the world will look like in 1000 years? I have no idea whatsoever. n Where do you want to take your art over the next years? Interface/ content > platform > infrastructure.
Small collectible (and non-collectible) treasures play a big part in most people’s lives, even secretly in the ones of those who claim superior to the material pleasures in life. Be it audio cassettes, seashore shells, crystal figurines or nipple covers, we all have our little precious items either openly displayed or hidden in a cardboard box at the back of our bedside drawer. It’s not surprising then that art picked up on the magic of the petite and recyclable millennia ago: from the intricate mosaics of Mycenaean Greece to Robert Mapplethorpe’s obscure jewellery created with the use of fishing supplies, and to the more recent LEGO art of Nathan Sawaya, small pieces have been used repeatedly in the creative world to compose the artistic ‘whole’. Where exactly the appeal lies, is uncertain; in the case of used materials it is certainly their mysterious history that fuels the imagination and which strongly contributes to their recurring appearance in various artistic media. Perhaps also the metaphors that is evoked via the use of smaller pieces, namely that nothing is complete in itself but is always defined by the smaller parts that make up the entity, is a concept transgressing language and cultural barriers, something apparent in every single facet of life. Seeking some ‘enlightenment’ from those artists who have redefined, and in some cases almost perfected, the use of found and recyclable material, we approached three of them – all stand-outs in their own sub-fields – to take a deeper look at throwaway culture, sustainability and the triumph of the Chinese replica: Nick Gentry is what one may - tongue in cheek - call an ‘analogue artist’, using VHS, cassette tapes and Polaroid pictures to create art pieces that explore our own identities and the ways in which the new technology affects our lives. Selftaught maverick Brett Goldstar started out as a mural artist in the 80’s, gradually progressing into a painter and digital artist concerned with the ‘reinvention’ of popular culture. And Josh Chalom turned Rubik’s into art, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for remaking Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ with an incredible 4,050 Rubik’s cubes.
Idol magazine: art in pieces
Everyone can relate, more or less, to LEGO. Many of us grew up playing with them as kids, while others continue to purchase them for their own children or as gifts. Identification, in fact, can be so strong that one woman recently erupted in tears when faced with a massive LEGO sculpture. The notorious sculpture was the “child” of US artist Nathan Sawaya, an eccentric and visionary who is currently touring North American museums with over a million bricks in his pocket (not really), in a show titled “The Art of the Brick”. Nathan’s sculptures take many forms: kangaroos, supermen, DNAs, lion kings, skeletons, flowers, violins, bees, bears, dolphins, castles, cell-phones, hearts, koalas, houses, watermelons and skateboards comprise part of his colourful and refreshingly audiencefriendly LEGO art. And while one might easily argue that Nathan is in fact trying through his work to push the boundaries of public art, all that he himself would ever admit to is striving to have fun; the type of fun he feels is strikingly absent from todays art world. “Relax and enjoy” is his message and, boy, is it welcome!
Idol magazine: Nathan sawaya
Describe your art in 3 words. Just for fun. Do you think someone is born an artist or becomes one along the way? It is a process. One may be born with certain skills, but they need to hone them and find the right way to use them. That is where the experimenting comes in. I am still experimenting with my art. I hope to become an artist one day. What was your favorite toy growing up? Is fire a toy? I had lots of favorite toys growing up; LEGO was one of them. I also liked crayons. How and when did you discover your love for the LEGO and why did you “settle” on this particular medium to build your current artistic body with? I liked playing with LEGO as a child, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I decided to use it as an art medium. I wanted to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the LEGO brick. The right angles. The distinct lines. As so often in life, it is a matter of perspective. Up close, the shape of the brick is distinctive. But from a distance, those right angles and distinct lines change to curves. That is what drew me to the brick.
“I had lots of favorite toys growing up; LEGO was one of them. I also liked crayons” How many LEGO pieces do you use on average for each creation? A sculpture of a life-size human figure uses about 25,000 bricks. However, the largest work I have crafted to date was a 53 foot long image using almost 500,000 individual LEGO pieces. How did you come up with the idea of creating art out of LEGO pieces? I had worked with more traditional media like clay and wire. I had also done a series of sculptures using candy. One day I just challenged myself to create a large scale sculpture using this toy from my childhood. When I put together a website, brickartist. com, I started getting commissions from around the world and I realized that there was something about this medium. What do you want people to “get” from your art, what do you want them to think/feel when looking at it? It depends on the particular piece, as each piece has a different story. For instance my sculpture, “The Courage Within”, is about the transitions one can go through in life. On a more personal level it is about the metamorphosis I went through in my transitions from attorney to artist. The fact that the
sculpture is built out of a construction toy, and the story behind the sculpture is about re-building oneself, is additive to the interpretation. What has been the most peculiar reaction to your art so far? When I debuted one particular sculpture, a woman started crying. That was great because she connected with the emotion of the sculpture.
“The largest work I have crafted to date was a 53 foot long image using almost 500,000 individual LEGO pieces” What does your typical working day look like? It is hard to find a typical day. I have three exhibitions touring, so I find myself on the road quite a bit. When I’m in my NYC art studio, I usually spend time answering emails and running the day-to-day elements of my business. I then spend hours in the studio working on the latest creations. I usually have at least three projects going on at one time.
Love, music and candy. What are the best places to hang out in NYC for an artist? Anywhere in the city can inspire, but I like the museums, Madison Square Park and Penelope’s on Lexington and 30th. Where would you like to take your LEGO art? What’s next? I am currently producing a film called “Daddy Warblocks”. It is a fictional tale about love, loss and magical bricks. I was asked to create some props for the film, but I was so impressed with the story idea, that I worked my way into producing the film. Film is a new medium for me, so I am excited to explore that aspect of this project. How do you imagine the future? It is a lot like today. Only I am older. What advice would you give to young artists? Practice. Don’t give up. Follow your passion. Who are your IDOLs? I have been heavily influenced by sculptors Tom Friedman and Antony Gormley.
Words by Natascha Chtena Images: Courtesy of brickartist.com
Do you need and believe in inspiration or do you think it is an overrated concept? I think inspiration is important. Many of my works centre on the phenomena of how everyday life, people and raw emotion are intertwined. Often my art is a re-enactment of my personal feelings. I am inspired by my own experiences, emotions and the journeys I am taking. What do you think is absent from today’s art world, if anything? Acceptance. There are no rules in art, so I disagree with people who feel the need to try and implement rules. What’s your take on art criticism? Friends and family don’t hesitate to give me criticism and I’m fine with that. Actually, I was most pleased when an art critic first reviewed my work and was critical of certain pieces. It showed that he was taking the work seriously, and that was an important step. Can you share something that you want to do before you die? Show my work in the Tate Modern. What are the 3 things you cannot live without?
Idol magazine: Nathan sawaya
When he was a little boy, Brett Goldstar wanted to be a milkman. Following a career in art never even crossed his mind, until somewhere in between the second ‘Summer of Love’ and the first legal rave in the UK, something clicked in Goldstar’s mind. Today, after more than two decades and quite some experimentation, contradictory, if not opposing images make up his work. Yet the social questions he raises far from manifest in this obvious, outer layer of meaning. Take ‘Johnny Be Good’, for example, where Jack Nicholson’s manic, grinning face is apparently made up of “all the good people of the world”. It’s actually less a pompous manifestation of good versus bad and more a cheeky comment on the complexity of the ethical question. If you pay attention, you’ll see that there’s much irony in Goldstar’s work and strong social comment. Just read on, to discover more. Describe your art in 3 words Iconic Pop Art. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? I come from a relatively creative background, my mother was an artist, my father a writer. As far back as I can remember, I was always painting, drawing or making something out of whatever I could lay my hands on. I hated my art teacher at school and because of this I had zero interest in following a career in art. After leaving school, I concentrated mainly on skateboarding, girls, music and very infrequently, A levels… You are self-trained as a mural artist. How has your journey in the art industry been so far? Pretty good. Mauger Modern Art has given me amazing exposure over the past three years, showing my work in New York, Miami, Bangkok, Amsterdam and London...thankfully it seems to go down well. Did you always want to be an artist? No, I wanted to be a milkman when I was a kid. Bob, our milkman, was my inspiration. He was always really happy, he had an amazing electric vehicle full of stuff I liked to drink and he wore a cool uniform. Seemed to me like the perfect job. Where do you go when you need inspiration? Mainly online, but also everywhere I go I get flashes of inspiration, galleries especially...I love Tate Modern. Your works are made up of smaller pictures. What is the relation between the small pictures and the big picture? For my first series, ‘Intercontro’, I used directly opposing small images to make up the overall image. e.g ‘Johnny Be Good’ Jack Nicholson’s manic, grinning face peering through the axed door made up of all the good people of the world. For the latest series, ‘Idols’, the small images relate to the era surrounding the person featured in the main image. The era I choose is more relevant to my own personal experience of the ‘Idol’ featured, for instance ‘Maybe One Day I’ll Get The Right Flesh Colour’ a self portrait of Andy Warhol is comprised of 80’s iconography. Before the 80’s I didn’t have a clue who he was.
How do you choose the pictures you use? Mainly from memory, although the Internet is a great tool for refreshing it. To gather all the images for one piece generally takes me about 4-5 days. The process, although enjoyable is surprisingly draining. Taking a trip down memory lane, 12 hours a day, 4 days on the trot is a complete shock to my brain. Duran Duran songs stuck on internal repeat, Rene and Renata, Eddie the Eagle and Roland Rat haunting me in my dreams. Takes a few days to rejoin the present. What has been the biggest challenge that you have faced with your work? Time or rather the lack of it. How long does it take for you to create one piece? Can you explain the creative process? From the point I’ve collected all the constituent images and chosen the main image, it usually takes a couple of days. So in total roughly a week from start to finish. If I told you my process I’d have to kill you. But besides my dog, Photoshop is my best friend. A lot of stuff goes on in there. What pieces have caused the most attention and why? Most recently ‘I Love Plastic’ which is based on the classic Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe. At a recent art fair the reception by the public was phenomenal. Two thirds of the edition sold out over five days. Why? With over 480 iconic images from the 1980’s I think a large percentage of people who took a deeper look at the piece were connected with it in some way. Some so much they decided to bring it into their lives. It’s obviously great when that happens. If you weren’t an artist what do you think you would be doing? Delivering Milk. What has been your greatest achievement? Bringing up my dog to be an amazing, considerate and thoughtful human being. What message would you like to convey through your art? Look deeper and all will be revealed.
Idol magazine: bret goldstar
Where would like to see yourself in ten years? Ten years more established than I am now. To be honest, I find it difficult to predict where I’ll be next week. What can we expect from you next? Good question. I’m still working on my current series, but past that perhaps larger versions of my previous works on canvas.... and I’m talking big. You’ll be the first to know when it happens.... apart from my Mum. What advice would you give young emerging artists? Develop your style, stick with it, refine it even more, produce a decent body of coherent work and don’t approach a gallery until you reach that point. How do you imagine the future? A lot more silvery. Who is/are your IDOL/s? My Mum. Standard.
Interview by: Bianca Spada Pictures by: Brett Goldstar Credits pix: ‘Johnny Be Good’ - Edition of 35. 68 x 60cm ‘I love Plastic’ - Edition of 25. 87 x 87cm ‘It’s What’s Inside That Counts too’ - Edition of 25. 66 x 50cm
Idol magazine: bret goldstar
“I like the mystery element of floppy discs, anything could be on them”
As technology continues to develop and our desire for the latest, fastest, smallest TV, phone and computer continues to take hold, throwaway culture has become an accepted part of society. London based artist Nick Gentry plays with this idea in his work, using floppy discs and other obsolete technology as a canvas for the concept of not only throwaway culture but also our increasing dependency on technology. With our lives now presented on countless social networking sites, our identity online and in reality is becoming increasingly confused. Maybe the world presented in films like Blade Runner doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all. After graduating from both Liverpool and Central St. Martins, Nick has been gaining attention and praise for his expressive floppy disc portraits. Following the success of his two month solo show in Barcelona earlier this year, he’s not resting on his laurels, with shows planned in Miami, Belgium and London. Nearly an hour late due to delayed trains and our poor navigational skills, IDOL headed to Dalston for a drink and chat with floppy disc artist Nick Gentry.
Idol magazine: nick gentry
Can you describe your art in three words? Obsolete, technology and identity. You use the word obsolete a lot. Yeah, because everything becomes obsolete. I just love the term. You make something and then it’s the centre of everything – your iPod, phone. You think you need it, but then suddenly it comes to a point where you want something else, the next thing. While the thing in itself hasn’t changed, your viewpoint has. So it’s nice to bring something back. All of these things get put away in the loft or thrown away. And it’s sort of a shame, it seems a bit wasteful. So it’s nice if you can re-use something. Who inspires you in your work? I saw Vik Muniz’s ‘WWW’ in Brazil and it was amazing. He had a massive world map made up of old computer junk – monitors,
keyboards, mice. I thought that was really cool. I love it when you see a piece of work and you can really think about it. In London there’s Matt Small, he does portraits a bit like me. It’s really cool the way he uses different paints like water based and oil based paints so it doesn’t blend together and bubbles up. I like classic artists like Da Vinci and Picasso, they were all doing things that were different. A painter called Guy Denning.. I just like different things and mix them together. How do you get inspired? Travel, just going to different places seeing different things. I think you also have a different mind set when you’re travelling, it just feels like you have a different way of thinking.
Idol magazine: nick gentry
You were part of the first generation of kids that grew up with computers. Do you think that has affected the way you view the world? Yeah, I suppose I’m in that one generation that can remember a time without computers – that one generation that’s in between the two. When I think of my childhood, I spent a lot of it on my computer and maybe that’s a bit of a shame. Our parents’ generation spent time playing outdoors, so it seems kind of weird if you think about it. It’s just one of those big changes in society.
You use recycled materials. What’s your view on sustainable development and sustainability? Before I started this project, I was a bit naïve about what recycling is. And I still don’t know that much about it, but I met this guy at IT recycling centre in London and he trains people to fix up computers. He taught me more about recycling versus reusing. Reusing stuff is better because you don’t have to process it as much. Sustainability is important, it’s easy to pretend that we aren’t running out of things but we are. How do you imagine the future? I think it’s going to be good…No really, I tend to live in the moment. I don’t think too much about the past, even though my work may create that impression. It’s also not about the future, it isn’t saying that we’re going to be robots in the future. I like to imagine stuff, but I like the stuff that’s unknown…. Actually I’m lying, I do think about the future a bit. Maybe things like Blade Runner will happen, the merge between human and technology. It’s even happening now.
Would you say your work is a criticism on throwaway culture? No, I try not to criticise too much. I just do what I do, but if people want to think of it in that way then it’s fine – I think everyone has their own view. That’s the nice thing about art. You could look at something and understand it differently to everyone else – that’s the mystery of it, the talking point of art. How did you first get into art? It’s something that I’ve always done. I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I went down the design route studied at university, did a bit of graphic art and now I’ve come back into fine art with painting. I’m really happy that I did the design stuff because the process of learning is more structured and informs concepts.
Three things that you can’t live without? Phone, floppy discs and chocolate. In no particular order… probably chocolate first. What kind of reactions do you get from people when they see your work? They see something familiar, so it’s nostalgic, yet it’s completely new.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an artist and it hadn’t really worked out? That’s something I haven’t really thought about. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to be creative with visuals and I’ve always really liked music, but I’m not technical and I don’t know how to do it properly. I guess if I couldn’t do my art I would try to learn how to make music. Why did you choose floppy discs? There are so many different things you could have used. Yeah, I like them because of the mystery element. If I give you a floppy disc anything could be on it, but it’s a physical object. You have a look at the label and you think about what could be on it, but there’s still a sense of wonder and mystery about it. You put all these things together and they’re like little fragments of someone’s life – memories or pieces of information. Why have you chosen to paint people in your work? When I first started doing it, I was doing fingerprints to represent identity. I was just always interested in identity – how we represent ourselves on Facebook, our virtual identity compared to how we are in person. The face can say a lot about identity, I just tried to give a human face to the blank discs. Have you ever had any big knock-backs where you felt like giving up? Not yet, no. I don’t think of my work too much, I just do it. I like to just get it out there and see what happens. I try to not be too precious about my work, I don’t keep too many pieces for myself, whatever I do is gone. So does that mean that you don’t care too much about criticism? How do you take it? I think everyone takes some criticism to heart, but I just do what I do, and that’s all I can do. I just try to do my best and have fun with it and if people don’t
Idol magazine: nick gentry
“Obsolete, technology and identity” like it then that’s OK. I know art is opinion based. How did you come up with the idea of using floppy discs? It probably came from my childhood. I was thinking about identity and how I could show it in my art. Then I just thought about the discs, as I wanted to reuse old things. To me it was more interesting to use other people’s old stuff rather than just paint something on a canvas – that’s part of the fun, gathering things and playing with materials. Only when you have it in your hands can you let your imagination run wild. Then after that you actually develop it physically. Do you think someone else in the world uses the same technique? Possibly, I haven’t seen too much of it. Maybe not in the same way, but some people have emailed me to say that they have started using floppies. A student came over earlier and she’s using an old kitchen sink with the plug hole for the eye. I just think it’s fun. What’s been your greatest achievement so far? I had a show in Barcelona which was really fun. I love Barcelona, and I just wanted to get away and travel. I want to do my art but if I can do the two things together it would be great.
It was even better than I imagined, it was a new thing and it just seemed to go so well. Do you see yourself using iPods and iPads in years to come? Ha, yeah it seems crazy now because they’re so expensive but yeah, possibly. I like technology, I think I will always be interested in it. I just find it amazing, all the new stuff that’s created. There’s other areas that I would also like to explore though, just general things about people’s lives. I like things that have been thrown away, I want to bring them back into the spotlight. It’s funny how we make value judgements, everything can be beautiful if you put it back in the spotlight. What is your big ambition? I think I want to do more travelling. After doing the show in Barcelona, I want to do more of that. I haven’t got any huge plan, just keep doing it and exploring.
Do you think people can live without technology? No, I would go mad. I tried to give up the internet for a month or something, but I just realised that I can’t live without it. Even if you go to a really remote place someone will come up with a mobile phone and they’ve got the internet on there. It’s everywhere, life changes so fast. What advice would you give to other artists? Look at other artists but don’t try to take things too literally. I always wanted to be original, that was my main focus. In schools they educate kids to take inspiration from other artists and they end up copying it. What can we expect from you next? I’ve got a few shows, one in Miami, in Belgium and a couple of things in London. I’m also thinking about doing sculptures, but time will tell. Who is your IDOL? The Dalai Lama. I also follow him on twitter! I think he is writing it, he loves technology. You say about my long term plan? I want to be like him!
Interview: Bianca Spada and Emma Hurwitz Pictures courtesy of: Nick Gentry
What city do you find the most inspiring? London so far. It’s crazy, because I really want to travel but just keep coming back. I want to spend more time away, but I spend about 2 months away and I’m ready to come back here. I just love the buzz.
Idol magazine: nick gentry
It’s only a couple of months since it was announced that Josh Chalom had received the Guinness team’s official certification of a new world record for a 29-by-15-foot rendition of Michelangelo’s “Hand of God”, made entirely of Rubik’s cubes and the prolific artist already has his eyes set on the next record! Reknown for his depictions of Elvis Presley, Billy Idol, Bob Marley, Mick Jagger and the like, Chalom runs the amazing Cube Works Studio in Toronto, creating art pieces from carefully and strategically turned Rubik’s Cubes. Why he prefers the Chinese replicas to the famous original and where exactly he considers the purpose of his art to ‘lie’, he explains to us, amongst other things, in the interview below: What gave you the idea to use Rubik’s cubes as your canvass? People and especially kids have been making images with cubes ever since someone had more than one cube and created a design by putting them on their desk. I believe I have just taken that idea and have begun to push the boundaries in both size and complexity of image. How do you work within the cube’s limited colour pallete to produce the range of colours you use in your work? Working with the original six colours is both challenging and fun. The colours are created by grouping several tiles of different colours together, so that when viewed from a distance they will blend into the desired result. For example different combinations of white, orange and yellow will create flesh tones. Any plans to branch out into a different medium, e.g. back to traditional methods or other retro toys perhaps? I am always experimenting with different mediums. I have created work with dice, spools of thread and now am combining cubes with lucite to create multi-dimensional works. You use cube experts to solve the puzzles for you. Have you developed a cube-based following or are your fans mainly art lovers? I have chosen to use cubers to execute the designs for the simple reason that they are much faster than I am and again it allows me to keep the price down. Also, on larger projects it saves wear and tear on the joints. I believe most people can relate to the cube in one way or other. That is the attraction. That attraction combined with an iconic or meaningful image and the optical changes by squinting or using a digital device makes them a pleasure for everyone. You also use a computer program to solve the cubes. How does it work? The computer program is used for making the blueprints. We use a computer to pixelate the image. Unfortunately the computer has an infinite pallete, while we only use six colours. So regardless what the computer comes up with we still need to go by hand and adjust the tones, shading and depth. This is where a majority of the time is spent. In the making of the ‘Hand of God’ it took over 200 hours to create the blueprint. How did you come up with this sophisticated method for solving the cubes? The cubes come solved. We have become really good at unsolving them. ;)
Idol magazine: josh chalom
“The cubes come solved. We have become really good at unsolving them” 18/08/2011 22:00
“I enjoy doing popular figures because people can relate to them”
The Huffington Post reported in 2010 that you were in talks about a recreation of the entire Sistine Chapel ceiling. Anymore developments on that? The blueprints are being finalised and we will be meeting with a structural engineer in the coming weeks. The piece will weigh over 50 tonnes, it will be 156 ft. long by 56 ft. wide, which is over half a football field in length. It will be comprised of 880 panels suspended by cable from a steel grid. Each panel will be angled to actually recreate the curvature of the chapel. Once the plans are finalised we can go on to the next step. You have been in the Guinness Book of World Records twice now. Did you set out to be a record breaker or was it always about making art for art’s sake? I believe in the art but I also believe strongly in sharing it. And I do things because I enjoy them. I remember reading the Guinness Book as a child and being in awe. It was just fun being included, particularly since there was no previous entry in the category we were selected in. Admittedly, in today’s world getting people to notice you is important and Guinness did help.
Any more world record attempts on the cards? I am confident that the Sistine Chapel project with its 250,000 cubes is worthy of a new record. We will be filming both the making and the installation of the pieces. A modern day version of the “Agony and the Ecstasy”. I just hope we don’t go blind. You were once asked to construct a portrait of Eva Longoria. Have you had any strange requests? I feel no request is strange if it is meaningful to the client. We have had a request for a motorcycle (a Ducati to be exact), pets, a historic house, a medical device; they kind of stand out from the norm. Clients were all happy! You have made a lot of portraits of popular figures. Is there any famous person you really want to capture in cubes? I enjoy doing popular figures because people can relate to them. I believe everyone has a favourite movie star, musician, or athlete. My faves are of legends past. Marilyn, James Dean, Bogart.
Your work is displayed in Miami and Toronto. Now that you have cracked North America, when will you be showing in the UK? I am happy to say that the Woollf Gallery in London has just begun showing a few of my pieces and we are in talks for a show in the near future. My pieces already are. Finally, where do you see yourself in the future? In the future we hope to be focusing on the Monumental Attractions. These are the pieces that consist of over 100,000 cubes and are mind blowing in size and detail. I hope to recreate the masters of Van Gogh, Picasso, Da Vinci, Monet and Rembrandt and put them on tour in museums, attracting inner city schools to bring the children to see the cubes and at the same time get interested in and learn about the art.
Words by: Katre Laan
Idol magazine: josh chalom
! y M Oh
Pop-duos are rare right now. Pop-duos making music worth listening to are even rarer, but in Oh My! We have a pair of fully formed chart slayers. Partially formed on the M1 motorway between Leeds and Milton Keynes the girls were quickly snapped up by uber label 679, already home to similar pop seductresses Little Boots, Marina and the Diamonds and Spark. Having spent time working with Example on their debut album and with a growing buzz across the blogosphere, it appears it’s not a case of if but when for these girls from the Midlands. More intelligent than The Ting Tings and edgier than Mini-Viva ever were, their brand of electro-pop is as fun as it is addictive. IDOL met up with them ahead of the release of their single Kicking and Screaming. So I’ve heard that OH MY! were formed on the M1, how exactly did this come about? Alex: Right well, I’m originally from Leicester and Jade is from Milton Keynes. We used to go to college together in Leeds, so we used to do the drive together at the weekends from up north to down south. We just had to entertain ourselves because it was such a long drive every weekend, so we ended up singing and dancing down the motorway. You both studied dance at college, how exactly did that evolve into the music side of things? Alex: Well we were studying dance, acting and singing, and we heard that the label were looking for new artists so Jade and I came down and presented a song to them and it all started from there really. And how exactly would you describe your sound to people who aren’t already familiar with Oh My!? Alex and Jade: Pop with a dose of attitude! So how have the past few months been for you two? Jade: Really good! Really busy, we’ve got quite a few gigs coming up now so we’re just getting everything sorted. We’ve been recording some new songs too. Alex: It’s just a huge amount of preparation really, getting everything ready for the big new single. Considering you spend so much time together, do you ever argue over music or things in general? Alex: We spend literally twenty four hours a day together, we live together, work together, everything. Jade: But no we don’t really argue… Alex: And if we do, we just say what needs to be said and then go into another room for half an hour or so to chill out and do our own thing. Do you think you need to have a particularly strong relationship then, to be able to work together musically, especially when there’s only the two of you? Jade: Yeah definitely, we spend every living hour together, travelling, staying in hotel rooms and stuff, so yeah it’s really important that we have a bond. Alex: We just try and make it fun.
Idol magazine: oh my!
Futureof Was it a conscious decision that it was only going to be two of you in the band? Jade: It’s just because we work so well together, we didn’t even think of having a bigger band.
Did that influence the way that your music sounds nowadays? Jade: Yeah of course, we’re just a little bit of everything shoved together! I think that’s the best way to have it going on, especially for dj’ing as well.
Alex: We have such a good connection, which I think is very clear to see especially when we’re on stage. I think if we didn’t then it would really show.
Who would you say writes most of your lyrics? Alex: Mainly so far, I’d say example and us, we’re getting a lot more into writing now because we feel like in each song we want to have a clear message. Something that people can relate to, not just something that sounds good.
You have your first ever iTunes download becoming available soon, how does that feel? Jade: Yeah that’s coming out in the middle of October! Its called ‘Dirty Dancers’ and you can download our other single ‘kicking and screaming’ right now! Alex: It’s very exciting, a bit nerve racking though. You’ve been writing with a couple of different artists recently? Alex: Yeah we’ve been writing with Example a lot. Have you got any more collaborations coming up in the future? Jade: We’ve been writing a lot with Roxanne who’s an up and coming urban rapper and we’ve been working with producer Amera Moore who did ‘Written in the Stars’ with Tinie Tempah. He did the beat for kicking and screaming. Who do you think has been your biggest influences music-wise? Alex: Mainly all super-pop groups like Destinys Child and All Saints and more recently Tinie Tempah and Katy b, that kind of vibe. What about fashion influences? Alex: We have lots! But we kind of like to base it on what we like, a mixture. But we try and keep it comfortable… Jade: But edgy, comfortable and edgy. Alex: And maybe a bit preppy, we like the preppy look. So I know that one of you is a secret Paolo Nutini fan (Alex puts her hand up), but do you have any other guilty pleasures? Alex: Chocolate! Jade: That’s not exactly a guilty pleasure, everybody loves chocolate.. Alex: Yeah but you feel guilty after you’ve eaten an entire giant bar of it.. Jade: Mine is probably the spice girls
Jade: And Cock n Bull kid wrote ’ Run This Town’. You’ve got your own club night which you both DJ at, tell us about that? Alex: Yeah we’ve just started our own at Electricity Showrooms in Old Street, which is just literally a whole evening of songs that Jade and I love. We just like to play music and dance. Jade: It’s on the first Friday of every month. Where do you want to be in about 5 years time? Alex: (laughs), I’ll let you answer that one Jade.. Jade: Just to be successful I think, and to have a big following who just love our music. Alex: And hopefully be inspiring kids to do what we’re doing. Do you have any advice for other girls or kids wanting to get to where you are? Alex: You’ve just got to work hard I think…follow your dreams. Does the thought of becoming a role model make you nervous? Alex: It’s not scary no. It’s something you should be proud to be and it’s a position that should be taken quite seriously. Do you have role models yourselves or anyone you would say is your IDOL? Alex: (laughs) Jade you answer mine and I’ll answer yours… Jade: Well, yours must be Beyonce? Alex: Yes! And yours is either… Rhianna or Gaga? Jade: Exactly, but if you combined the two people together. Alex: That’s how much time we spend together, we can answer each other’s questions!
Alex: But everyone loves the spice girls as well! Is that the kind of music you were listening to when you were growing up then? Alex: Yeah, Jade was very garage and loved early Plan B, I was just cheesy pop music, Spice Girls, Destinys Child kind of thing.
Idol magazine: oh my!
Interview by Poppie Ellis Photography by Josh Shinner Styling by Gabrielle Stival & Christopher-John Summer Make-up by Sabina Ventriglia
ook at the papers today, the news or the internet, and at some point I’m sure you’ll find, amongst headlines of Cheryl Cole’s latest dramas, a story of religious unrest or conflict. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that good news rarely makes the papers, and it seems in the case of religion, if you only knew what the papers told you, you’d stay well away. I have an unstable relationship with religion, I believe in God, yet I don’t follow a faith and I don’t intend to. Besides the want to find enlightenment and fulfilment, there has never been much to attract me. But there has been plenty to attract others. Enough so that in 2000 it was reported that 84.8% of the world’s population followed some kind of religion. This percentage, plus the countless places of worship, life styles and conflict dedicated to religion, fascinates me. This unwavering belief, not just in God, but in everything religion teaches you, both concerns me and leaves me in awe. What do people find in these institutions that cause them to devote so much to them, sometimes, even their lives? And how faithful are these institutions to their people? There are numerous negative portrayals of religion in the media and on the internet and questions are constantly being asked. These, amongst other issues, are enough to cause doubt in many and prejudice in some; and it brings me to the question- if religion is as bad as the media makes it out to be, why are so many devoted to it and where will it go from here? Religion does many different things for many different people. I have witnessed content faces in both Mosques and Churches, yet on the television I have seen acts of hate and discrimination. It is said that love and hate are two incredibly similar emotions; and it appears religion is a platform this can be witnessed from. How can such a pure and dedicated love for God turn into such a strong hate for others, who after all, are apparently still God’s children? It seems that since 9/11, Religion has been under the microscope, it appears as if there is a battle between Christianity and Islam,
East and West. But is this the truth? Are the conflicts that seem to be raging today worsening? Or are they as they always have been, yet this time with the media glare ready to run back to base and tell all at the first sign of trouble? Is our media selective? Is only the bad news published? Are there in fact signs of hope and
There are numerous negative portrayals of religion in the media and on the internet peace and co-operation existing amongst religions that we are just missing? Dr Rose Drew, Lecturer of Theology and Religious Studies and author of Buddhist and Christian? An Exploration of Dual Belonging, seems to think so. She focuses her research on inter-faith relationships; that is the positive interaction between people of different faiths and the fairly recent occurrence of individuals claiming to be both Buddhists and Christians. She feels that the media is usually one sided and can often ignore the positive happenings that occur through religion “A few years ago I worked part-time for the Scottish Inter Faith Council, co-ordinating Inter Faith Week. There were all sorts of inspiring events going on around the country but it was very difficult to generate media interest. Evidently, a historic gathering of faith communities at Holyrood just isn’t as exciting as an interreligious row! So, those with a negative view of religion tend to see their view confirmed, since there is little in the media to challenge it.” “There are also some more specific distortions which feed inaccurate and unhelpful stereotypes. For instance, media portrayal of Islam tends to be very negative, easily creating the misimpression that ordinary Muslims have a tendency towards violence; whereas Buddhism is generally viewed through rose-tinted spectacles, producing a widespread misimpression that Buddhists are never involved in violence of any kind (one need only consider the recent violent conflict between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka to see that this is not the case).”
Idol magazine: FUTURE OF RELIGION
John Tran, founder of TrainwithTran and converted Muslim, supports Rose’s view “Post-9/11, Western media, especially in America and Britain, describe Muslims as fundamentalists, extremists, terrorists, and fanatics. Throughout the West, Islam is identified with violence, when, in fact it has common roots with Christianity and Judaism. Their tenets are based on love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not exploitation; and a just, fair society for people of all faiths.” “Many reporters don’t understand the local cultures nor speak the language. Thus their representation is often a biased account of the political and social events from their own interpretations of life in the Muslim world; their interpretations often being inaccurate, politically motivated and offensive.” But although the media is representing a negative view point of religions, some argue this isn’t necessarily affecting interaction between different faiths.
religions can not only complement one another, but strengthen the other faith Dr. Charis Boutieri, Lecturer in the Antropology of Religion feels that there is simply more emphasis on the negative relationships between faiths today but that the positive interactions do exist. “The two religions [Christianity and Islam] have lived side by side for centuries; they still do, in the Middle East, the Balkans, South Asia and increasingly so in Europe and the US. In this long history, there have been moments of tension and violence, but there have also been plenty of moments of cohabitation and mutual support.” Whilst through her research, Rose Dwell has found a development in positive relationships between various faiths. “Interest and participation in interreligious dialogue is growing and, in recognition of important shared goals and values, there are also now numerous organisations which bring together people of different faiths to work together to tackle the causes of conflict and humanitarian disasters.” In fact, Rose argues that religions can not only complement one another, but strengthen the other faith. “When we are willing to engage in searching interreligious dialogue, then we tend to find that the insights of others shed a powerful light on our own tradition, helping us to see its unique insights as well as its areas of weakness.
It’s not always easy to look critically at one’s own tradition but, in this way, dialogue can transform traditions for the better, helping traditions to better meet people’s spiritual needs in the twentyfirst century. So religious differences are not something we need to be afraid of, but can instead become a source of profound mutual enrichment.” However, Professor Richard Bell, a follower of Christianity, is not convinced that people can come together by supporting each other’s faith, but does still feel that a positive interaction between various religions is possible. “I think that groups can be brought together not by inter-religious dialogue but through music, art, sport etc. I’m very impressed by Daniel Barenboim’s East West Divan Orchestra (bringing Arabs and Israelis together). It may sound odd but I don’t like ‘religion’, i.e. a human search for God. This is how I would understand Islam, Hinduism etc.” This alternative view point highlights how important it is that we consider what influences one’s judgements. Richard has stated he is not a fan of religions and he has opposing views against other faiths, which may suggest why he feels people cannot come together through their different beliefs. Whereas although Rose is a Christian, she is fascinated by the Buddhist religion and inter-faith dialogue, therefore she leans towards the more positive aspects of religious differences. It is here you can see quite a significant contrast between perspectives. Both Rose and Richard are Christian, and have studied and taught Religion and Theology, yet here are two very different opinions. From just this simple example of two individuals, we can see that just because people may follow the same faith, doesn’t necessarily mean their viewpoints are similar. It leads me to ask what religion means to different people, how they think it serves society and where their viewpoints stem from.
The internet is currently, and has been in recent years, saturated is a way of life or death. In more ‘developed’ parts of the world it with conspiracy theories and this branches out to religion and feels like the faiths are losing followers; however they still have a the theory of faith being used as a tool for social control. It was significant influence. People turn to God in bleak moments and so only today that I met a stranger who told me they felt religion was long as there are bleak moments, there will be religions.” for the weak; to stop people asking questions and to encourage However, Rose Drew feels that religion provides more than just them to believe what they’re told somewhere to turn to during times by bringing them a false sense of People turn to God in bleak moments and so of crisis, it offers a way of life and fulfilment and contentment. In long as there are bleak moments, there will it is that which keeps religion be religions. fact, Karl Marx, the well known alive, despite developments in socialist who developed the theory science and the many other issues of Marxism, has left a significant mark on religion with his quote surrounding faith. “Some predicted that advances in science would “Religion is the opium of society.” When we look back in history eventually sound the death knell for religion. After all, now that and how peasants were kept in order during the medieval ages, we have good scientific explanations of life’s origins, why would this statement rings a strong element of truth. But does religion people continue to embrace the primitive alternative explanations have the same affect now? Yes, a huge percentage of the world offered by religion? But the fact that religion is still with us suggests may indeed be religious, but how many of them are controlled by that it was never doing the same job as science, or to the extent it? And how much of the population are losing their faith in the that it was, it was doing plenty more besides.” ‘good’ of religion? “Religion can’t help people understand the physical processes by The ColourKid, a talented artist who focused a series of paintings on which human life came into being (the Book of Genesis is not an conspiracy theories, feels that the control of populations through alternative to a biology textbook!); but nor can science help people faith is down to the mindsets of individuals. “I realised my views understand what is most important in life, what is praiseworthy on the world were being greatly reshaped by information I came and blameworthy, what our ultimate goals should be as human across on the internet. Deep down I learnt we don’t know shit. We beings, and so on. In other words, science and religion are not hear stories all the time and you can go right down the rabbit hole doing the same job. Science has not spelled the end of religion with them but when you get to the bottom ask yourself “What do for all of us convinced by Darwin because religion continues to you REALLY know to be true?” You’ll find that if you’re like me, you play a profound role in many people’s spiritual, emotional, moral don’t know anything; you think you have well formed opinions and intellectual lives.” Richard Bell, who has a Bsc in Chemistry or understandings but you don’t know the truth. I also learnt that and Physics also feels there is not a huge debate between the two. you can spend a long time and a lot of energy down these rabbit “Provided one does not adopt a literal understanding of Genesis holes and re-emerge without any solutions... People unknowingly etc (e.g. creation in six days) I don’t think there is a serious conflict allow themselves to be suppressed through the lack of their own between Christianity and Science. In fact you could argue that self awareness and control. That statement [Karl Marx’s quote] is the order of the universe reflects the rationality of God. It seems neither true nor false because there are cases where it is true and remarkable that the universe is intelligible and that we can use cases where it is false. mathematics to open up the structure of the universe.” Religious teachers can influence lives and that influence can be There has also been a turn towards alternative methods of worship used for good or bad.” and spirituality; with teachers, books and lifestyles dedicated to When asked whether he felt these doubts and questions finding enlightenment, inner peace and a higher being. This has surrounding religion could contribute to the secularisation of begun to change people’s opinions on religion and has given society he stated “The religions of today are under many forms of individuals another perspective on how to view spirituality without attack and over time the number of followers may reduce. However having to do so through traditional faith. religious teachings have taken many shapes and they have passed through many cultures so I believe that religions will only evolve with the spirit and minds of the people... I feel that religion does play a significant role in people’s lives, in some cultures religion
“What do you REALLY know to be true?”
Idol magazine: future of religion
Some religious followers argue that these new belief systems are just people’s ways of altering religion to fit into our modern lifestyles, to allow them to have more ‘freedom’ and to behave without restrictions. It is often those who do have questions about the validity and truth of religion, but who still believe there is a creator and want to reach a more spiritual place; who begin such movements or become involved. Yet for those who seek these alternative routes, these practices are simply the best way they feel they can develop spiritual growth and find contentment. However, now society has these alternative options, how appealing does traditional religion seem? There definitely appears to be a trend emerging with the younger generations, turning their back on traditional faiths and preferring instead to seek spirituality through books or new age religious movements. Yet The ColourKid feels that regardless of whether we are seeking God through the Power of Now or through Holy Books, the hunt for a higher spiritual self and deeper meaning exists in all of us and this is what drives people to belief. “To me it seems the ‘spiritual search’ is part of our inevitable evolution, it is a human need and it is becoming a popular belief that we are programmed to develop this way.
People are realising that there is a whole new dimension to life which exists within themselves I believe it is in our human nature to evolve physically, mentally and spiritually and what we are seeing these days are spiritual transitions. The internet has opened many doors and the speed at which information travels these days certainly contributes to their popularity as individuals and groups can be exposed to many religious/spiritual teachings over shorter phases of time. I’ve experienced being rigidly plugged into the day-to-day world and all its rewards. Many, like myself, are not satisfied and feel there’s more to this journey than just a school, car, house, wife, baby, pension, death. People are realising that there is a whole new dimension to life which exists within themselves and there they find new answers, new questions and new connections.” It seems as though to religious and spiritual believers, faith has a strong purpose in serving humanity and will continue to do so; despite the many issues surrounding religion and the development of society. It also appears that regardless of their differences, many religions and alternative spiritual movements have the same fundamental guidelines that enable a person to live their life ‘for the better’ and this is the root of what keeps people believing. Rose found through her research that “Crucially both Buddhists and Christians hold that egotistical, selfish way of being that needs to be replaced with loving, wise and compassionate ways of being.” Whilst John Tran, states the Muslim faith also adheres to similar ways of living “I live with a strong emphasis to show kindness and mercy to all the creatures of God on earth, with whom I come into contact with. This is how I live my life everyday and there are numerous narrations in the Islamic teachings that promote this attitude.” Actor and Christian, Femi Oyeniran feels that if more of the population followed the teaching of society; we’d live richer lives in a more stable environment. “I think there’s research that Christians (and other religious people) live more fulfilled and happy lives... The Bible in itself teaches extensively on homogeneity in society and if “you love God” and “love your
neighbour” there’s no way you can have a broken society.” So in consideration of these views, and if love is at the centre of all religions; can we move forward into a future where religions coexist more peacefully and without such a degree of prejudice? “Individuals and groups representing religions are not the religion and therefore religion cannot be responsible for the disconnecting nature of these people. As far as I’m aware all religions say we are children of the creator and that we are all one family. If people took this seriously then they would treat their fellow human beings as their brother and sister. In Egypt, Muslims and Catholics stood side by side (and made note of it too) when they faced a common adversary. To me it seems the world will only come together through fear when we face a common threat. It can be different; we can come together through care and love, promoting the human collective, to move the species forward as one like the books teach us.” The ColourKid
“can we move forward into a future where religions coexist more peacefully and without such a degree of prejudice?”
“Maybe [there will be a future where religions interact more peacefully]. However, we have to remember that every religion lays claim to The Truth. In order to be a believer in whatever religion you have to have strong conviction about your beliefs and you have to believe that your religion is the absolute for how all human should live their lives. So I couldn’t tell you any more about how various religions can coincide peacefully; but what I can say is that I hope that my fellow Christians do follow Jesus and the Bible’s teachings on Love and remember the verse “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God”. Femi Oyeniran “I certainly think a future where religious people coexist more peacefully than they do now is possible. Whether we achieve it will come down to how far we are able to listen with openness to those we perceive as ‘other’, to recognise the values and goals that we share, to engage in critical self-reflection, to acknowledge with humility where we’ve failed to live up to our own ideals, and to prioritise the desire for peace over the desire for revenge. It's not easy, but possible.” Rose Dwell There are many different views on religion. There are many different views on God. Unfortunately, there is a significant amount of negativity surrounding and coming from both of these subjects. Yet there is clearly also a lot of goodness too. There are awful incidences occurring through all walks of life that are not religiously motivated, from murder to rape. No good can come of these events. Yet although religion is and will most likely continue to be a catalyst for war, prejudice and possibly even oppression and control, it is also a source of happiness, love and fulfilment. Whether this is false or not, whether people are being blindly
a future where religious people coexist more peacefully than they do now is possible led or not and whether these religions are the truth or not is all debatable. But ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what your opinion on these are, what religion you follow, whether you’re an atheist or whether you're someone seeking alternative routes to spirituality; what should matter is whether it comes from a place of love and that you have good intentions through whatever your belief system is. Evidently, it will be these foundations that will allow the human race to build a more peaceful world. And so, if the root of all these beliefs really is love, then it’s possible, that with work and co-operation; the future of religion and humanity could be pretty bright indeed.
Words by Jessica Duffin Illustration by Graham Cheal
Idol magazine: FUTURE OF RELIGION
TR ES PA SS Photography: Ewelina Stechnij Styling: Simone La-Rose Make up: Kinga Markovic using Armani Hair: Magdalena Tucholska Models: Magdalena Fiolka @ Storm and Tereza C @ Storm
Lace Jumpsuit by McQ Jacket by Diane Gevorgian
Idol magazine: trespass
This Page Ashish Jacket Bordelle Bra Diane Gevorgian Skirt
Opposite Jacket by McQ Skirt by Miharayasuhiro
Idol magazine: trespass
Opposite Bra & High Waisted Knickers by Bordelle Dress by Eleanor Amoroso
This Page Sequin Jumper by Dagmar
Idol magazine: trespass
This Page Dress by Bordelle Gloves by McQ
Opposite Dress By Bunmi Koko
Idol magazine: trespass
BOB B Y AB L E Y As well as gracing IDOLs first ever print issue cover with his exciting interpretation of the timeless biker jacket, Bobby Abley is the designer behind one of the most talked about collections coming out of Ravensbourne in 2010. With praise from Dame Vivienne Westwood, and Jeremy Scott as his mentor, Bobby Abley has also battled Disney for the copyright to Mickey Mouse ears. He is definitely making his mark on British fashion (breaking some rules while he's at it!). IDOL met with Bobby to discuss his graduate collection, his thoughts on fashion, the ‘industry’, plus sneak previews on what else we can expect from this young, promising designer. In a conversation not a long time ago someone described your designs as ''S&M in kiddy colours'', which is obviously a boundary breaking thing. Is that how you see your collection? Is that how you would describe it? I suppose, yes. If you put it that way, that's exactly what it is. It's child’s play mixed with adult bondage. Some people find it a bit wrong but it turned out ok, it worked in my opinion. It’s always been a big part of me in everything I do, is to play… and not be afraid to play. There's a lot of childlike influences in your collection – the Mickey Mouse ears and the colours – was that always the initial idea or was it something that came out in the process of designing? I think as the design process went on, my playful side came out more. I wanted to do things my way. Some colleges tell you how to do things, and I sort of didn't want to do that, so I actually kept a lot of my work secret from my tutors and then at the last minute I was like 'Oh by the way, I've done this', I think there is definitely my own story in there. The childlike references mixed with bondage stems from me growing up as a bit of a loner, and surrounding myself with these make believe characters and toys, getting lost in a world of magic. Then being sort of bandaged to it is something that has never left me, it still remains as my escape when times get hard. I love all the things you would expect from a 6 year old. I have a huge weakness.
Idol magazine: trespass
Top & Jacket by Diane Gevorgian Skirt by Philip Armstrong Shoes by McQ
Idol magazine: bobby abley
with a specific type of a client in mind or is it more about you as a designer and an outlet for your creativity? I’d say I’m quite a selfish designer in a way. I always think of my fantasy wardrobe and what I would like to wear, or my friends to wear. I do believe there is a market for my work, a very small but fearless market, and that’s good enough for me! I like people to be expressive and really own the look. I knew from the start that I would never be mass market, and I will never liquefy my designs so it will appeal to thousands of people and they can all buy it. I hope if I become more popular it's because of what I do and the way I do it. I believe in quality not quantity, and I never want to feel like a sell out for fast cash, it just goes against everything I stand for as a designer. What do you think sets you apart from other young designers out there? I can’t really speak for other designers but I live a very alternative life. I’m a different little bird you know. I’m into things that others my age wouldn’t particularly be interested in. I’m not out very often. I’d rather be at home in my studio admiring my collection of Disney dolls. Haha! Sad but true! I think overall I have something new to offer, and quality work with meaning. I try to be one step ahead and think 'ok, maybe now is the time to do this'.
Rockets, the moon and love to stare up at the stars. It puts my mind at peace. One day I’ll get you all with my electronic, supersonic, rocket and blast you into a land of play!! Haha. Talk me through your design process. How did you come up with the idea for your collection? I started looking at the photographs of myself when I was younger and growing up. Disney was sort of my babysitter, so I was sort of like 'I need to get this out of me'. I started referencing to things I knew growing up, Mickey Mouse. I like the idea that everyone was at some point a child, and I guess for me it's more below the surface. It hasn't disappeared, as much as it might have for other people. I wanted to play with that. If you could change one thing about fashion what would it be? I love fashion, it's like my left arm, It's always been my life more so now than ever, but I wish people would just have fun!! I would try…(I’m trying) to shift this seriousness and grunge that is continuing. People tend to get to a point of hatred for children and it's like “you were a kid once you know”. I’m not saying everyone should be walking around with mouse ears on their head holding a teddy bear, I just think the world would be a better place if more people had a lightness to them and the ability to express it in what they wear! Clothes can really change your mood. The big established designers are in a position to come up with something completely fresh and new but they choose not to. And the fashion critics and fashion airheads are like’ OMG blah blahs new collection is AMAZE’. Just because it has a big name attached to it, it doesn’t make it right!! And they bite into it like fashion rats… all I can say is money doesn’t buy taste… if the industry was a room full of furniture, I’d definitely do some re arranging, then I’d colour it all in with red blue and yellow, stick my tongue out and say neeeeeerr!!
What can we expect from your next collection? I’ve left planet earth behind on this one and gone all things space. I’ve been watching a lot of the old twilight zone television series like the Jetsons, lots of things that involve another dimension and even cyber space. Me and my work partner Amy Beth came up with a sort of Spacebook network theme for some of it… its quite funny. Still lots of print, interesting fabrics, fresh color and still very animated. It's definitely mine, you can tell it's my work. I think the shapes, the silhouettes I'm doing now are definitely a lot more wearable, more every-day wear. So there's more wearable stuff, but it still has my colours and I guess the whole cartoony look. I reference a lot of cartoon again, although I tried to wave away a little bit from Mickey Mouse. But there's still a definite, same style present. You seem like someone who likes to push things and isn't afraid of experimenting, what would you like to achieve next in terms of fashion? I’m a big believer in change, it helps me grow. Fashion is an industry that is all about change: at least I thought it was. The deeper I get into the industry I find that very little does change. A lot of designers seem to go from season to season running off old steam, or relying on the popularity of a celebrity to gain them credit, when there is really not much creativity there. It’s a little disappointing and hopefully I will avoid this bear trap. I’m such a huge fan of London, and I think there is a bigger circuit here than anywhere else that is so up for pushing creative boundaries and experimenting, I like to think I belong in that swimming pool rather than the dry side of fashion. I like being cartoon chic and playfully decadent. Is there a specific type of a guy that you design for? You're definitely not a commercial designer, but do you design
What advice would you give to someone who's just about to start designing their graduate collection? With graduate collections it's a big hit or miss, so I think the important thing is to trust your instincts. Don't be afraid to stick to your guns. A lot of people I have studied with doubted themselves and re-worked their stuff to please the tutors but I think you should always be confident about your work. I was always like 'I'm sorry, I'm going to please myself, this is my vision, my collection''. I don't think any idea is ridiculous, as long as it's an idea and you try it. What advice would you give to someone who's considering a degree in fashion? If you like shopping, this isn't it. I've seen a lot of people come in and drop out in the first few weeks. If you want to get a degree in fashion it's just a short period of your life, but be prepared to commit and go on a roller-coaster. Like I said, things can be hit and miss. It's difficult and you get criticised a lot, but at the same time it is fun and being creative is always good.
emotions and feelings out. A long time ago I'd think 'maybe I'm not creative' but when I moved to LA it sort of changed everything. I don't know what changed or what happened, but I came back and I knew exactly what sort of a designer I was and what I wanted to do. There's a lot of difference between my preLA work and my post-LA work. I think work experience is really important, and being out there has opened my eyes to a lot of things. No disrespect to Jeremy (Scott) but he was a favourite of mine before his Adidas era and seeing how he put the collection together, the pieces couldn't be more different, but he managed it. He was very playful with his stuff and I thought 'this is a guy fashion needs more of''. We had a very good connection. What other designers do look up to or aspire to be like? I don’t necessarily admire designers, I respect them (a handful of them) but when it comes to admiring someone or something my heart lies elsewhere. Because your designs are so different I think it'd be difficult to put you in a certain group… I don't make myself so involved with the fashion industry. I want my work to be strong enough to stand on it's own feet. I don't want to get anywhere by pulling any favours. I'd feel like a sell out if I did. What can we expect from you in the future? Well, I am actually working on something now, with another designer but I can't really say anything. It should be out in the fall, it's sort of the last collection I did, but it's being re-worked, and it has a new twist to it. That sounds very exciting! And finally, who are your IDOLs? My Mum, and my dad. Both unique and strong in their own way, plus they are both naturally stylish, which has been a great for me to take in growing up. Interview by Monika Zgoda Photography by Josh Shinner Illustrations courtesy of Bobby Abley
What part of the process do you enjoy the most; the designing, seeing your collection come to life, or the final outcome? Its always flattering to see someone actually wearing something that has taken months to create, that balances out some of the intense, draining work that has to go into it. But I love the researching, pulling together my references and trying to put a new spin on things. I do love the designing too, its like telling a story through clothes.. its just another type of art form, like Picasso painting his stories or someone singing them… I’m sewing mine !! Are you easily inspired or do you sometimes find it hard to get the ball rolling? I don’t think I am ever short of ideas. I often find myself with too many at one time, but I try to never let them slip, whether I scribble it on paper or sketch on an envelope. I don’t think any creative idea is stupid some just end up being more successful than others. I’m also a bit Dyslexic and I think that makes me think of other ways to approach something or do something. I’m a very visual person too. I’m someone who needs to let their
Idol magazine: bobby abley
Since scooping up the Emerging Visions Award at SXSW earlier this year, the buzz surrounding Andrew Haigh has slowly been gathering pace. Starting off as an assistant editor on everything from Gladiator to Mona Lisa Smile, Andrew went on to make his micro budget debut, Greek Pete, an intimate documentary following the life of a London rent boy. Now with his second feature, Weekend, he has turned his attention to fiction, capturing a relationship between two men over the weekend that they meet. Having already shown at multiple festivals around the US, the film will be having a UK premiere at London Film Festival in October. IDOL sat down with Andrew in spring just before he headed off on tour with the film. The Weekend has had a huge reception already, what did you expect to happen when you were making it? You don’t really know what to expect you just concentrate on making it. Because of the type of film it is I didn’t know what sort of people would like it and what the response would be like so it’s been interesting how varied the response is, lots of different people seem to like it, which is good for me (laughs). Why did you decide to premiere it in America? We finished it at the end of last year and we wanted to get it seen at a good, high-level festival, and because of the type of film it is we thought it would be good for SXSW, it seems to be the sort of thing they like. I think it’s quite an American type of film so we though they would respond to it quite well. You previously made Greek Pete, a documentary about a London rent boy, this film seems to carry a similar documentary style of filmmaking. Yeah sort of, Greek Pete was completely improvised, still fictional to a certain extent but this is different, script-based fiction it hasn’t got traditional coverage, but long, intimate takes. You have worked in editing for many years, when did you realise that you wanted to do it yourself? Pretty much when I started working in the industry. I started working in a production company and then went in to editing, but I probably should have taken the leap a little bit earlier. You get stuck doing certain things and have steady pay, but then when you decide to stop doing that and start making films you don’t get any money so you have to make the decision to take the risk. There have only been a few films covering homosexuality more recently, such as The Kid’s Are Alright and A Single Man. Why do you think it has taken so long for there to be more films about homosexuality? There are a lot of films that get made about gay themes, if you go to the BFI’s Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, there are loads of films, but not many people see them outside of those festivals, there aren’t that many films that break through. I don’t know why that is, I think it’s probably because a lot of them aren’t very good…and it’s a hard market to work out. Still, even today, for whatever reason, straight people won’t feel drawn to going to see a film about gay people, which I’ve always found quite strange really, because you go and see a film about someone being murdered – that’s alright, but the idea that you might go and see a film where two men might get off with each other, it’s like ‘Ooh God, I can’t go and see that, what’s that going to offer me?’ Of course it’s going to offer things to you because it’s just about people and gay people have the same emotions as straight people.
Do you think you’re always going to base your films on homosexuality? No, I mean I’m gay so I’m interested in gay stories, but it’s almost like I use the gay stories to talk about other issues and wider themes, so the fact that these people are gay and that might be part of the struggle it’s part of a wider struggle that these people are going through, so it’s not just about being gay, it’s just a good way to discuss certain things – fitting in, not fitting in, trying to live honestly, trying to live authentically, all those type of things that everyone feels, it just happens to be about a gay couple. Yeah, it has been said that the film could easily be about a straight couple, which is good because it doesn’t mean that people are focusing on the fact that it’s a gay couple. Yeah, exactly but it’s funny because sometimes when you find out that you’re trying to promote it everyone’s like ‘tone down the fact that it’s gay, don’t tell anyone that it’s gay’. It is about two gay people and I can’t pretend that it’s not and they shouldn’t be embarrassed that it’s about that. You find yourself having to justify why you’ve made a film about gay people, nobody would say to Spike Lee, ‘Why do you make a film about black people?’ Have any directors had a big influence on your style? A lot of American filmmakers like Gus Van Sant, Kelly Reichardt, Aaron Katz. I also love Lynn Ramsay. Where do you go to if you need to feel inspired or if you’re having a creative block? Which is most of the time (laughs). I can’t work at home; I have to go out somewhere where there are people. When it gets to the stage that I need to start writing something, I get into a weird insular period and don’t really see many people or do much, just get a bit miserable and pissed off and frustrated that I can’t write anything. Then it slowly starts to come together. Like I’m trying to write some treatments at the moment and it’s just quite painful, but then again it’s not like I’m working in a factory so I can’t really complain too much. What do you think you would be doing if this film hadn’t really taken off, and your film career wasn’t really going anywhere? Well that could happen anytime, that’s the thing, just because it’s doing well and will hopefully do well when it comes out here you just don’t know. I don’t know what I would do…work in a shop, in a cinema? I wanted to be an architect when I was little, so maybe I would go back to university for 6 years.
Idol magazine: andrew haigh
Do you think about the audience when making a film? I try not to think about the audience too much, in fact I don’t really think about them at all when I’m coming up with the idea, I just try to make something that I’m interested in and you kind of hope that other people are going to be interested in it. When you’re a filmmaker you just have to have faith that other people are going find it interesting as well. I don’t make films for everybody, like Greek Pete for example was really like by some people and hated by others, you just hope that some people like it. That was a weird film, I made because I was interested in that world, but then a lot of people went to see it expecting it to be a nice, little funny film about escorts with a bit of sex, but the film is not like that at all. There’s not really any narrative, it’s quite explicit but I don’t think it’s sexy in the slightest. People were like ‘Oh what’s this? It’s really depressing, I don’t want to watch this.’ As if making a film about escorts would be all sunshine! So you kind of have to let it go a bit and let people make their own minds up. How did you come about making Greek Pete? I just thought it was an interesting idea, so I put out an advert for escorts and he replied, that was it and we just started making the film. It was made for nothing and I had no notion of what it would become. Weekend was a lot different, this was a proper, scripted film, and I think that was hard for funders to give me the money on that basis, I didn’t write the other one and nobody was sure if it was real or not real. What’s been your biggest achievement so far? In my life? Wow, that’s a loaded question! I don’t really know, I guess my films, and achievements in my personal life… secret things! Things I’m not going to talk about! But you did them… I did them and I have a huge sense of achievement (laughs). Do you ever have moments of doubt? Constantly, like when we went out to SXSW we had no idea what would happen. Two people had seen it in the whole world, and it’s that moment when you sit down and watch it in a cinema, I normally never watch a film again because it’s just too painful. When you sit down and you watch it you’re like ‘Oh my god, this is dreadful!’ - that’s how you feel. Looking at all the shots and performances, you’re always racked with doubt. When people like it it’s great, but you don’t believe them and when people don’t like it you just focus on why they don’t like it. You find yourself focusing on something that some person on some blog has said and people can be quite nasty, on the internet you have the ability to say what you want without anybody knowing who you are. On that note, how do you take criticism? Not very well (laughs). You try to let it wash over you but you can’t help it. You can’t help but Google yourself sometimes and you see these things and you think, ‘Well you don’t even know me!’ Half of them haven’t even seen the film. It almost feels like you’re being bullied at school, it feels like you’re seeing things scrawled on tables about you, but you just have to deal with it. What projects are you working on next? Secret projects…
You’re very secretive I know. I’ve got a few things I’m working on, but they’re both in early stages. I get nervous about talking about things too early. I just want to formulate it before endlessly talking about it. I guess there are similar themes in the two projects I’m working on, but different scenarios and one of them has a gay character, the other one doesn’t, it’s not that I want to stretch out but I don’t want to pigeon hole myself, people love pigeon-holing. What informs the style of your films? I think films can be over complicated, I like films that are simple, that doesn’t mean that it has to be like a TV show, it just means that I like a simple aesthetic to things. When two people are talking, I don’t feel like I need to cover it from ten thousand angles and you just want to work out what the scene is about and shoot it in the best way. Whenever I’m doing something, I really have to care about my characters and I think when you care about your characters then you shoot things in a way that shows that. I think everything that I make will look relatively similar even if I shoot on 35mm film and it’s shot by someone famous. If you watch Gus Van Sant films, even if he does Milk or Gerry, there’s a real delicate sense of something. At the moment, when I shoot something I don’t really have too many options, I just have what’s in my head and that is what creates your aesthetic, not by thinking about it too much. I try not to do shot lists and storyboards and just do it. What film do you wish you had gotten hold of first? There’s a film called Last Night, which is a Canadian film. It’s probably about ten years old now it’s, an indie film about different people on the last night before the end of the world. It takes a massive disaster idea, ignores it and focuses on what people would do in their last 6 hours. It’s just really beautiful and tender. I like films that take a big idea and just turn it around and focus on the characters. What’s the best advice you’ve had as a filmmaker? The only advice that’s really worth it is to just do it and not really worry about it. Stop waiting ten years to try and get a feature off the ground when you can go and make it yourself. I know so many people that just make short after short, and they’re just waiting for the money to go and do a feature, nothing happens and suddenly twenty years have gone by. If you’ve got an iota of talent then that will come through. Have the advances in technology helped you as a filmmaker? Definitely I think it’s a lot easier, I made Greek Pete for about £6000. Who is your IDOL? I admire people that just stick to their guns. Weekend is released 4th November
Words and Interview: Emma Hurwitz Portrait of Andrew: Vicki Carr Film Stills: Quinnford and Scout
Idol magazine: andrew haigh
nd 22 CENTURY SOUND THE MIGHTY BOOSH On November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. A triumph for democracy, it symbolised the end of the Grand Narrative of ideological warfare in the Western world and, with no political battles to fight anymore, the beginning of cultural eclecticism. Everything that followed would be transitional, contingent, fleeting, comparative; in essence, mini-narratives, and any inventiveness or ingenuity for our own era would be lost. Around the same time, in a nightclub in Burnley, a DJ named Paul Taylor began to dedicate the final hour of his Friday night sets to playing music released solely in the previous 3 or 4 years. He called his night ‘Retro’, and the practice of pop music’s reliance on its own history in an attempt to refresh itself was born. While forms of nostalgia - the revival of Greco-Roman homoeroticism during the Renaissance, – had arisen before; prior to 1989 they had been separated from the present day by a large bulwark of intermediate history. Since then, however, the buffer has become increasingly small allowing the phenomenon of several different waves of retro to be experienced within a single lifetime. A person born in the UK in 1989, for example, has lived through a period of revivalism that has seen the Sixties to the Eighties rehashed, beginning in the mid-nineties with Britpop and ending in the late-noughties with artists such as La Roux, the Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga, taking music that was first fashionable twenty years ago to the public consciousness once again. But what will happen now that all that can be revived has been revived? Are we to revive the revivals, starting firstly with Britpop? And does each revival lessen in quality, like that of a tape, used again and again? Pop pickers, we have reached a tipping point. The distinction between what is real and what is simulated has collapsed; everything is a model or an image, all is surface without depth. This is epitomised by the rise of cultural memory banks such as Spotify and YouTube, the exactitude with which musical history can be accessed and filtered into today’s records means that the West may now be missing, not only the insurgency, but also the artistic twist essential to creating great pop music.
In the 2009 film No One Knows About Persian Cats, Bahman Ghobadi explored Iran’s underground rock scene, highlighting the cultural challenges the Iranian youth face under a brutally restrictive government. Similarily, since December 18th 2010, a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests has been taking place in the Arab World. Dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’, to date there have been revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt; a civil war in Libya; and civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, and Yeman. It may well be that troubled times in the East could yet provide the upheaval needed to create a new type of pop. For the West, it seems, the time to indulge yourself is here, for this is degree zero of contemporary general culture and anything goes.
TYSON Is it just me or do most things in this world get better as music gets worse? Maybe you could apply that to culture in general, but the future of music looks pretty bleak unless artists start making art again instead of blinding us with musical nonsense. I imagine Michael, James and Marvin are turning in their graves thinking about what our generation has done to the art they helped make so popular and inspired so many. It’s getting to the point where you’ll be able to sing one word into a machine and it will just sing the songs for you in your voice. Technology is great, but the quicker something is made the more disposable it becomes. Today people want everything instantly, but the real artists understand the need to make something timeless. Trends will come and go and sounds will change, but the future of music will always lie in the hands of artists who can capture people’s imagination and give them something they will never get bored of. Internet or not, technology or not, future, past, present – all people want is something real that they can believe in. Fifty years ago they thought we’d all be driving flying cars and living in space, but people still want to live in Victorian houses and drive classic cars – they just do it in their own modern way. If it’s built well it will survive and people will come back to it and it will last forever. It’s the same with music – real artists know how to build something that in its own way will always be relevant and fresh. Everyone else is only capable of cheap imitations.
PSYCHOLOGIST ON THE FUTURE OF MUSIC I would hate to be able to predict the future of music; it would be such a shame to have no surprises! But one thing I do know is that I’ve always heard impossible beats in my head that I just knew someday I would end up hearing in the real world. When I was a kid I would hear super sped-up hip-hop beats and I used to try to dance to them. Then when I was a teenager I started listening to Jungle and I was like “These are the beats I used to hear in my head!” Later on as I got older, I would imagine these very drawn-out, stretchy beats that again originated from Hip-Hop that I would adjust mentally (because I had still never used a computer at this point) and naturally a few years later whilst at uni I started hearing Dubstep & Skweee and it was the same kind of feeling of having heard them somewhere before. I think there is a definite collective-consciousness amongst young people, I think we all hear the same beats in our heads and that’s where new music comes from. It’s the same with trends across all art and culture, not just music. There are prehistoric figures that have been found all over the world that look as though they were carved by the same person, but absolutely could not have been because they were thousands of miles apart. To me, this proves that there is a collective consciousness that is really in charge and that whoever is on record as having done it first is only actually *on record* as having done it first, when in fact, they’re probably just one of hundreds or thousands of people across the globe who have had the same thoughts or ideas. Illustrations by Anna Dowsland
I would hate to be able to predict the future of music it would be such a shame to have no surprises!
Idol magazine: 22nd century sound
REPLAY PHOTOGRAPHER: ANTHONY MEYER ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER: ARNAU MALLETT STYLIST: BEN BROUILLET ASSISTANT STYLIST: CHARIN CHONG HAIR STYLIST: ROBIN NAVARRO HARRAGA MAKE UP ARTIST: JACQUES UZZARDI @ SLR AGENCY using MAC Cosmetics ASSISTANT MAKE UP ARTIST: SABRINA SALZA MODEL: JULIEN SZNEJDERMAN @ BANANAS
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