ART | LIFESTYLE | PHOTOGAPHY
Issue 4 | Holy Trinity
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/URBAN MANIFEST PHOTOGRAPHER JIMMY OUTHWAITE MODEL/STYLING JEFFERSON PIRES www.schoolboycouture.com
/AURORA IRA INTERVIEW BY JIMMY OUTHWAITE
Describe yourself in 120 characters? Aurora Ira b. 1977 USSR) is a UK-based emerging artist, photographer and art director. What is your background and what draws you to art, as a career? I think that art is the ultimate form of Selfishness Out of all your creative projects which is your favourite? I am not attached to any of my past projects. I just experiment with the new ideas/techniques
What is your creative process when working on a new project? I think first. By the time I start working for real it is just to perform it technically If you were stranded on a deserted island far away from civilisation what three items would you take with you, and why? 1. iPhone - cause it has a camera, so i could make photos and video relatively easy 2. 27” iMac - cause i like big screens 3. A cable to connect these two - cause i am not sure there will be a WiFi reception...
/URBAN REALITIES PHOTOGRAPHER JEFFREY STOCKBRIDGE
Some photographers make you feel like you’re standing right in front of someone. No airs and graces, no posing. Jeffrey Stockbridge is one of them. It’s just as if you’ve climbed between the folds of the subject’s every day life, peeled back the two halves to find a heartbreaking cross section. Candid, documentary style first person portraits are Stockbridge’s game. His Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize shortlisted double portrait ‘Tic Tac and Tootsie’ from his project ‘Kensington Blues’ embodies the spirit of all that he does. Two sisters out on the street turning to prostitution to survive, fiercely protective of each other and fiercely determined to get on with the lives they’ve been handed. Kensington Avenue in Stockbridge’s home city of Philadelphia has long been the photographer’s pictorial stomping ground; a hot spot for drugs, hookers and violent crime, and the site for many of his projects. ‘The Kensington Blues’ is one such project and has its own website devoted to telling the visual story of its people, along with audio and journal entries to create a rounded story, laying bare subject and viewer to create a frank and somewhat heartbreaking exchange. Openness and reciprocity are key features of Stockbridge’s work and it doesn’t stop with the subject/viewer relationship. As the photographer, Stockbridge also opens up before even lifting the camera, citing this as an essential part of getting his subjects to trust him and share their stories. He gets close to them, shows them photos, talks about his work. People certainly respond to what the photographer is creating, with his work having been on show at The National Portrait Gallery London, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Fleisher Art Memorial, The Delaware Art Museum, and The Wapping Project Bankside. What Stockbridge’s work really portrays is a series of addicts and prostitutes who have been de-humanized by media and film, and turns them back into humans with a voice and confidence to stand in front of a lense to document their lives. What really stands out about the photos is not the addiction, the sex or the grime. It’s the overwhelming desire of the subjects to survive and deal with the lives they live. There’s young Laura who writes she can’t remember a time when she last ‘truly and wholeheartedly’ loved herself, or there’s hardened prostitute Donna who speaks matter-of-factly about her work as a way of paying a bill. It’s outside a comfort zone and Stockbridge drags the viewer in to deal with it.
I AM DONNA...
I AM CHARLIE...
LEFT: ILLUSTRATION BY HARRY WILLIAMS | RIGHT: BRENDA BY JEFFREY STOCKBRIDGE
ABOVE & RIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS BYHARRY WILLIAMS FOR JUSTPIREZ!
the reality PHOTOGRAPHER JON SENECO
/ANDY RUDAK INTERVIEW CARDBOARD CITIES BY VIKI IMRIE
Art can be altogether too serious these days. So on that rare occasion you stumble across a project with ‘labour of love’ written all over it, you have to stop and take note. Photographer Andy Rudak’s Cardboard Cities is one such project. Working with set builder Luke Aan de Wiel, Rudak recreated life-sized scenes from cities around the world including Mumbai, Tokyo and London, which he then lit and shot as a series of photographs. Almost childlike in its playful mimicry of the ‘adult’ world of architecture but hugely complex in its construction, the project emanates a delicious sense of fun . It only makes sense then, that it was building cardboard dens with his children that inspired Andy to create the series! You work a lot in the advertising sector - what made you embark on a project so different to that kind of photography? It is a bit different; I wanted to try something new, more challenging. I like the fact there is so much going on, and the narrative of the piece engages your eye for longer. I also wanted to do something that would be impractical to do in post production as I really like to shoot everything on camera whenever possible. It’s so much more
rewarding. In the Mumbai scene for example, the level of detail is really incredible. Each stone and boulder along the waters-edge is individually shaped and every roofing panel had hours of time spent getting the corrosion spot on. What were the most challenging issues that you had to overcome when building the cardboard series? It looks like it should be impossible! Before starting the build I had experimented a lot with the effects of water on cardboard and had found the results resembled the feeling of decay I was looking for in my buildings, so I knew roughly what it should look like. Something we hadnâ€™t thought about was the problems the sheer size of the set might cause. We learnt our lesson pretty quick after building the first (and largest) scene which was the Brownstone in NY, measuring thirteen feet in length and nine feet tall! Â Whilst I had the physical room for the set in my studio, the size placed restrictions on how you could light it and because it filled the whole studio I had to shoot it crammed into the furthest corner with my camera. Lots of lighting tricks were employed to control the contrast of the image, including desk lamps! Who needs expensive gear?
I placed the animals in there as a sign of life. I loved the idea of a city with no people; there is something surreal about it. I was drawn to the feel of taxidermy animals and think they communicate the dream-like feel perfectly. The fact that they are all native to Blighty (my home) so are in completely the wrong habitats made the fantasy element even stronger. For example the woodland deer in New York and the hedgehog in the Tokyo scene. How did it feel being involved in then physical creation of the set as well as being the photographer? Is that common to a lot of your personal work? I am very much a hands on photographer. I enjoy having input into the narrative, even the smallest detail can change or make a story, and sometimes it doesn’t get seen, but you know it’s there. I don’t really enjoy all the technical stuff, I prefer to concentrate on lighting and my stories if I’m honest.
Why is there an animal in each scene? Has architecture always been a fascination of yours? Do you think we need to be more creative with how we think about shelter and buildings?
I have always looked at and loved architecture, and Iâ€™m fascinated by how buildings react to the light around them. Even the most humble wooden roof on a hut can look incredible when the light hits it just right, in fact there is one such hut I can see from my studio window. I think the new office buildings I see going up around us here in London look stunning, I just wish more effort was put into designing domestic buildings...
INTERVIEW BY JIMMY OUTHWAITE
Tell us about yourself. What makes you tick? I’m an American artist who grew up in a little town called Littlestown, Pennsylvania, believe it or not. I got my MFA in Baltimore and then moved to the UK in 2011 with my husband, who is half-British. My main passion is making my art, but I also curate exhibitions when I can raise the funds, and do research on topics that interest me. My studio is in my home in Bristol. I prefer a live/work space because it allows me to paint more often than I would if I had to go elsewhere. What keeps me fuelled is the artwork, my very supportive husband, and lots of Sauvignon Blanc. How did you get started as an artist? My mom and great uncle are fine artists, and lots of my other family members are good with their hands. My grandfather and uncle are carpenters and my other grandfather built elaborate constructions out of cardboard, like castles for me to play in when I was a kid, complete with cardboard horses! My high school, very surprisingly (for being a small-town public school), had a fantastic art department with very supportive, constructively critical, and demanding teachers. My parents were also very supportive of my career choice and told me I could do whatever I wanted with my life and helped me along, which I think often isn’t the reaction kids get when they announce that they want to be artists. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started? It has changed a lot. When I started out I was hugely influenced by the 20th century American portrait artist Alice Neel and used to make loose caricature-like oil portraits. In grad school I moved into symbolic and campy subjects painted in a more realistic way after having critiques with people like the artists Peter Rostovsky, Kamrooz Aram, Francesca di Mattio, Joyce Kozlof, and particularly the critic Dominique Nahas, who has an amazing mind. Now I’m working on painted pattern pieces, which are nothing like the portraits I began with. Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums, etc? I usually make very large oil and watercolour paintings, but I’ve also done performance and made sculptures, and a few miniatures. Lately I’ve gotten into hanging pieces, like the large cut-out double watercolour, Navigating Memories to Find Something Real. Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then? I tend to work in series using a lot of detail on a large surface, so a project can take over a year to complete. Because of this I normally have more ideas for series than I have time to make them, and so have to edit down the possibilities. I do have big slumps in my confidence, though, particularly when I haven’t been offered an exhibition in a while and my work piles up. The worst time this has happened was about a year and a half after I immigrated to the UK. No one knew me, I had left my clients behind, and most people hadn’t even heard of the art university I attended in the States. I felt very isolated and unknown and I was afraid I had committed career suicide. I had a short but intense identity crisis and then I metaphorically slapped myself and realised that even if I had to work in obscurity I would rather be an unknown artist than be thought of as successful at anything else. I got back to work and shortly after was asked to be part of a group show. It’s gotten better and better since then and now I have two two-person shows coming up and a possible solo exhibition. In these situations one has to decide what is really important and keep working. Best / most fun part of your job: First and foremost the best part of my job is the process of making the art, but exhibition opening nights, and exhibition opening night after-parties are also perks.
Worst / most difficult part of your job: The worst parts are applying for exhibitions and residencies, getting rejected for exhibitions and residencies, and the fact that artists don’t make much money, even the fairly successful ones. Of course the very, very successful ones make a fortune, which is certainly frustrating and makes one a bit green. What’s on your horizon? Any current/future projects and plans/dreams you can share with us? In early 2014 two galleries, one in London and one in Wroclaw, Poland are going to show a two-person exhibition that I’m in the process of making with the American artist, Natalie Dunham. We’re each creating a series of work, hers celebrating simplicity, and mine, complexity. I have a possible solo show in the works too, but I can’t talk about that yet. What’s inspiring you/your work right now: At the moment I’m very inspired by repeating visual patterns from around the world. These are the basis for the series that I’m making for my upcoming two-person exhibitions. I used to think of pattern as a signifier of the domestic and my older series, Declawed, uses patterns in that way, but now I’m beginning to see different visual patterns as potentially representative of various paradigms or Weltanschauungen. The series that I’m working on now for my 2014 exhibitions, Ethosphere, has patterns overlaying the various colours in comic book-style explosions. The patterns often meld together creating new amalgamations, which render the original compositions nearly imperceptible. The visual pleasure produced by these complicated painted interactions is analogous to the beauty of complex societies and thought. That’s the idea, at least! If you were stranded on a deserted island far away from civilisation, what three items would you take with you? And why? Assuming that people don’t count as things I could bring and that the island had natural food and water sources, I would bring a very well sealed up tent, a first aid kit, and a lifetime supply of sauvignon blanc (twist-off tops, of course.) I might trade the wine for a loaded gun if the island had dangerous animals or cannibals. BUT, if this is a nice island where I would be totally safe, but just a bit bored, I would instead bring a lifetime supply of art supplies, giant glass bottles in which I could set the artworks afloat when they were completed, and a lifetime supply of sauvignon blanc.
/ Miniature Narrative Jordan howley
Above and Right Miniature Narrative Project by Jordan Howley
Opposite and Above Miniature Narrative Project by Jordan Howley
/rachel walsh interview
Who is Rachel Walsh? I’m a freelance illustrator based in South West London! I love drawing buildings, squirrels, sketching people, and noticing the quirks in places. There’s usually a lot of detail in my work, I do more or less everything by hand, and there’s quite often a woodland animal hiding somewhere in my work. Despite currently working solo at home in my studio, I’m naturally an extravert people person, and am hoping to eventually find a shared studio to work in with other wonderful creatives! I love collaboration and bouncing ideas around with people, I think it can result in much deeper thoughts and ideas in your outcomes. You can always learn from others. How did you become an illustrator? I completed a degree in Illustration at Cardiff School of Art & Design, and since then have been lucky enough to be a working illustrator! Ironically I didn’t take any art subjects until my A-Levels, as I thought I couldn’t draw, until a tutor saw what I classed as mindless doodles, and introduced me to the idea of picking up an art subject. The idea scared me half to death at first! But my Graphic Design & Illustration A-Level rapidly became my favourite subject, and it became clear that illustration was most probably the best path choice for me. I was constantly in studio, working on briefs and always sketching. What is your favourite part of being an illustrator? My favourite part of being an illustrator is the ability we have to aesthetically improve something, meaning that the end result is more engaging as a result of the embellishment I’ve given it. Illustration is so important for communication, and I believe it is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s amazing to be able to make things look nicer in the world. (Or at least more interesting!) What is your fantasy Occupation? Fantasy occupation would be working at festivals around the world painting the sets, stages and décor with my designs. And then getting to party after the work is done! If you could change something about yourself what would it be and why? I’d want to worry a little less about always working to briefs for projects. I love using my imagination and am always doodling, but unless I have a purpose for the drawings, such as a client brief, I find it hard to escalate it into a solo project for myself. I’m too used to creating work for others rather than just me! I really enjoyed the ‘book art’ you have done quite a bit recently. What is the process from brainstorming to delivery? This book art stemmed from a university project in my second year. The brief was “take a modern piece of technology and explain it to someone who lived and died before 1900 in a medium they would understand”. I explained the Kindle to Charles Dickens: “a book with lots of books inside it”, which is what I ended up creating. Each piece of book art is made completely by hand, and the miniature books are bound as actual books are, and then I paint and draw the cover art on by hand. I’m definitely a fan of detailed work. If you were stranded on a deserted island far away from civilisation, what three items would you have teleported and why? I would have my iPod with unlimited charge, all the books I’ve wanted to read in the last four years but haven’t had the time to, and some high factor suncream. Had to get a practical item in there surely? No one likes the lobster look. Tell us a secret? I cried my eyes out when Sirius died in the Harry Potter books. Right: Block of Flats by Rachel Walsh
Above: Love Ducks by Rachel Walsh
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JP! Magazine is a celebration art, photography, fashion & design putting the spotlight on some of the best and most inspiring folk around the world. We hope youâ€™ve enjoyed reading our issue four. For more content online visit JustPirez.com