ISSUE 1째 FREE BIANNUAL
WHO ARE WE? Welcome to ‘My White Tee’. We’re a collective of London-based individuals who want to promote a belief in and celebration of creativity in all its forms. We employ a variety of platforms in order to promote appreciation of the Arts and inspire readers with stories of everyday individuals who are achieving amazing things. Twice a year we have a small group of carefully curated Creatives produce a black and white image for a t-shirt with the brief to reflect something about their story, their unique voice and their view on the world. These t-shirts are available for purchase through our website and in select retailers, but we don’t want the experience to end there. We’ve produced this bi-annual ‘art for art’s sake’ collectable newspaper to give an added depth and understanding to all the Creatives we’ve featured. Through this paper you can explore the world of each Creative and hopefully achieve a deeper understanding of the meaning behind their image as well as find inspiration to create your own path and story. We use the word ‘newspaper’ lightly; we prefer to think of it as a conceptual collectable. Within these pages you won’t find any ‘best buys’ or ‘top trending items’, but a preference for the understated. White space and clean lines provide space to contemplate, and hopefully you’ll find something to relate to in each and every person we’ve chosen to feature. Although our paper is only bi-annual, our website runs all year and here you’ll find short films and behind the scenes action from all the photoshoots, additional photos we didn’t have room to feature here as well as a Q & A section where you can literally interact with your favourite Creative. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about upcoming events and promotions. We’re working in collaboration with Headway, an East London charity that helps those with brain injury, and not only do we donate 10% of all profits, but we regularly host events and promotions to aid their work. So that’s us in a nutshell. A multidimensional collective that truly just wants to make the world a more encouraging and inspiring place. What started as a personal project has grown and evolved into something quite special, and whilst the copy still retains my voice and perspective to some extent, it is only to provide a context in which to explore everyone that we’ve featured. With limited space our back cover is dedicated to appreciation of our team. They’re the unsung heroes behind the printed word, and without this amazing group of individuals this paper and the greater collective would have never been. So flip through this paper and see how this issue’s Creatives all got started, check out their profile pages on our website and then choose a t-shirt and continue your journey at home. We want you to take something away from your interaction with us, and hopefully have you checking back regularly. Skye-Maree Dixon Editor
WHY WHITE? Why did we choose to focus our collective around the white tee? Well, it’s a bit of a paradox, but what other garment better sums up individuality than a simple, ubiquitous item that every single person owns? A white tee is universal and synonymous with style yet it means something different to everyone who wears it. It both unites us and differentiates us simultaneously, a platform through which our internal qualities can be expressed. That’s why we chose it as the blank canvas through which all our Creatives are connected. They may all come from different perspectives, but the white tee references the similarities between us all. Add the constraint of only black ink that we’ve employed and you’re presented with a grass-roots concept of creativity. We are all different and have a whole host of experiences to share, but underlying humanity connects us all, and that’s what we hope to reference. The white tee is our connector; the underpinning that holds us together, whist the black ink represents the variety of perspectives we have to offer. Plus, we hope you think they’re cool too. We certainly do.
SAPPHIRE shows us that it’s never to
late for a career change. Happiness and fulfilment to her are paramount values of life.
CLARE is a muddle of contradictions, but illustrates that you don’t have to know where you’re going in order to find out where you need to be.
is a born musician and seeks out talent wherever he goes.
NADIA is another example of change for
the better, promoting a belief in yourself and a commitment in quality above all else.
that our generation can find surprisingly hard.
LARA has been ‘on it’ her whole life and has reaped the benefits with an incredibly charmed career so far.
Our Creatives are variety of individuals who are all on the path to success. Although they come from a multitude of backgrounds they all share the goal of reaching the top of their respective fields and show inspiring levels of commitment and drive. For this paper we shot each Creative in their own personal space and attempt to make a connection between personality, profession and philosophy on life. You’ll also see Polaroids that they took themselves dotted about, giving you extra insight into what really makes each individual tick. Through this amalgamation of content we hope you can find aspects of each individual relatable and discover inspiration to chart your own path. Issue 1 sees us present eight individuals who are at different stages on their journey. Some have already shot to success whilst others have just only just started out, but they all have something you can take away.
is a creative through and through. For him its his art that he wants to pursue and takes no prisoners.
JON and PETE may not seem creative gen-
iuses but geniuses but they represent the variety of artistic expression. Brewing beer is indeed an art form and these guys are living their dream.
BEN had to swallow his pride, something
WHO ARE THE CREATIVES?
Working in a pub may be interpreted by many in society as a somewhat lacking career choice, yet Jon and Pete prove that corporate culture needn’t be the only path to success. A mutual love for a quality brew brought them together whilst working at The Eagle pub in Farringdon ten years ago and have since been looking for the ideal project to go out on their own. They searched all over London for that perfect pub, but with high standards for quality and that local experience, none of the offerings made the cut. Yet they’ve both been brewing their whole lives at home, and with their strong roots in the pub industry it seemed a micro-brewery would be a great way to go. It is this focus on the ‘handmade’ quality of experience that sets the Hackney Brewery apart from the rest. These boys don’t want fame or fortune, they literally just want to drink good beer, and possibly make a living out of it at the same time. Of course its not like it’s been an overnight success; they’ve had their heads down for the past 18 months but momentum is slowly building. Now in over 60 pubs across London, their stylised ‘HB’ adorns many a tap and with a commitment to the community Jon and Pete have been welcomed by both industry and consumers alike. It is clear their success is due in part to the increasing momentum of the craft beer movement, yet their dedication to quality and emphasis on a strong local brand have also been integral ingredients. Both Jon and Pete have lived in Hackney for most of their adult lives and it was no question that their brand had to reflect their love for the area. Whilst brewing beer may not bring to mind great creative genius, Jon and Pete can provide some real-world solace for the unfulfilled creative within us all.
The Craft Beer Market has definitely being growing rapidly over the last few years. Does it worry you that it may just be a trend? Pete: I think there’s definitely a general interest in craft beer at the moment; in the same way there has been a focus on really good, hearty food over the last 10-15 years. All the media focus on organic food, healthy living and local producers has extended the emphasis from food across into other areas, in particular beer and ale. Even in Hackney itself there’s over five small breweries now, which is amazing. When we set up the company in 2011 there was none. There were only about 10 in all of London, and now there are over 30. Jon: But if it’s a trend then it’s definitely a good trend. People are becoming interested, our sales are starting to come up and in general it’s a really good, positive movement. I can’t see realistically it suddenly dropping out. The gastropub movement is still massive ten years later. I think once everyone has started drinking nice beer and engaging with intelligent products, they’re not going to want to go back to a bland taste and lesser quality. Were you worried about starting a new, niche business in the middle of a recession? Pete: We did a lot of research and knew we were catching the market at the right time. We never really thought about it being a bad idea. We never questioned ourselves. We made sure it would work and spent a lot of time on our business plan. We started off with beers that are really quite approachable, we knew there was specifically a market for the range of beers we were going to produce. Jon: We never really worried about the recession. Craft beer is one of the few products that’s still growing compared to pretty much every other product. If anything, a pint of ale is less than a pint of beer, so its not really a bad thing as you can save 50p. I think the recession may even have helped us and the craft beer industry in general. It doesn’t seem to have affected it too much.
WE’RE NOT THE FIRST PEOPLE TO BREW BEER BEFORE, BUT WE’RE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO BREW BEERS HOW WE WANT THEM
Were you guys always drawn to unconventional jobs? Pete: I’ve had a bit of a checkered career history. I have a biology degree, but then moved into IT and worked for the Financial Times for seven years, on their website team. But it just felt like office life wasn’t for me. I then thought I wanted to do photography, so I did a bit of assisting work, mainly food photography, whilst also working at The Eagle on Farringdon Road, which is where I met Jon. I’ve always been home brewing all the time as well. Just trying to be a bit creative I guess, working with different ingredients and creating different styles. Ultimately I think I’ve found my perfect job. It combines the creativity I was craving with some practical skill.
What’s your creative process when developing a new beer? Do you have to stick to particular styles in order to meet market demands? Jon: We do brew our beer to styles and also depending on season. Craft beer’s very seasonal and you do have to take it into consideration. We stick within the guidelines but we try and develop what we’re making and add our own identity. Creativity lies in the planning and the talking about it and the trial and error. Finding out what other people have done is also very important; we want to be special and different. Someone might say these two particular hops don’t mix, but we think they might, so we do it and often it can create a great new beer. But ultimately we want something that’s a little bit traditional, but with our own spin on it. A modern update on traditional beer.
Hackney is obviously a central aspect of the brand. Why did you choose to centre your business around this area of London? Jon: Our branding is a slightly heritage style and I think Hackney has got good traditions, but its now modern and one of the most happening places in the country. For us it works really well that we’ve got a bit of history, and some really amazing, artistic, creative things going on in Hackney. For us it all ties in really nicely with what we wanted to do. Pete: For both of us it was important to base our business in Hackney because it feels like home. We’ve both spent a majority of our lives here and neither of us ever really wanted to be anywhere else in London. Hackney really is the best place. I think it’s a real melting pot of all the best bits of London. Being a local brand is definitely important to us. We’d want to be part of the community and give back to the community. We are building from a brand that has basically being created for us, and it seems a bit tight not to give something back to the people that helped create it. From every pint of beer we sell, a penny goes to a local charity.
What are your plans for the future? Do you want to expand? Jon: We don’t have plans to take over the world. And we want to keep the business local. Maybe be one of those iconic things that Hackney needs maybe? Just stay as part of the community really. For us the idea wasn’t to be huge and rich, but to do something we really enjoy and can make a living from. And meet loads of really interesting and good people in the community whilst doing it. I think that’s almost being the best part of it. We’ve met loads of really nice guys in this business. Everyone’s encouraging each other and bringing the industry as a whole up. There’s no concept of competition really. Can you talk us through your T-shirt? Jon: Our t-shirt is our Hackney Brewery logo, a bit of hops at the top and the wolf is a reference to my band, The Downtown Wolves. We just tried to tie it all together. I think it represents where I am right now, making music and making beer. Pete: And getting animals drunk.
What would you like people to take away from your experience with MWT? Pete: I think just that it’s achievable. Whatever you want to do is achievable. If you put your heart and soul into you can do it. Realistically we haven’t stopped thinking about this for about the last year and a half. Our brains just haven’t stopped. Jon: You’ve got to really be committed to it though. You can do it and achieve your dreams, but you’ve got to get the right people around you and get your head in the right place. There’s always a way, you’ve just got to work out what that way is. And be prepared for a few setbacks because they will happen. But yeah, do it!
THERE’S EVERY BIT OF LONDON IN HACKNEY. I THINK IT’S A REAL MELTING POT OF ALL THE BEST BITS OF LONDON
With a Jamaican accent and an incredibly charismatic personality, Udi works any room he walks into. One of those people who knows absolutely everyone, Udi is a connector, identifying possible relationships and helping them develop. It’s a natural ability he’s always possessed, but in recent years he’s developed it into a full-blown business, starting an events collective ‘Drop Events’ with two of his best mates. It first started when he attended university in the small town of Durham, a place notorious for its limited musical offerings. Always a keen musician himself, Udi galvanised some friends and set about developing Durham’s first live music venue, acutely entitled ‘Strum’, a name that references the acoustic nature and ridiculously hip array of performers and clientele that would frequent the events. With tea lights, drinks in jam jars and an eclectic mix of acts, in particular Udi’s own 12 piece ‘Papa and the Jim Jams’, unsurprisingly Strum was a hit and remained so for two years until his graduation. Now based in London as so many of us are, Udi and his collective have gone from strength to strength and Strum has effortlessly transplanted its grass roots soul into
a variety of venues all across the city. Never ones to stagnate, these guys have big plans to expand as well. For the moment they are working with a whole host of artists to help them create ‘the unnoticed experience’ of lights and visuals whilst long-term plans are to work towards act management. Already on the festival circuit, Papa and the Jim Jams are also going from strength to strength. This eclectic band incorporate almost every instrument available into a jazzed-up soul extravaganza every time they perform and they are mesmerizing to watch. In the fiercely competitive world of live performance, Strum holds its own against the big boys. Building its reputation slowly and focusing on quality acts and talent development, these guys have their eye on the prize. I can’t recommend them enough. Definitely the ones to watch.
How do you go about finding new talent to showcase? Initially it comes by recommendation. If you’re wired to observe certain things, then you spot them. You come across them through the literature you read. If you’re geared towards looking for some musical nugget that is yet to be appreciated then you slowly but surely hardwire yourself to recognise those opportunities and find these hidden gems and expose them. Is it mainly musicians that you feature? We feature musicians primarily. Often DJ’s who have dipped a toe into producing and want to see how their sounds are received and how they’re appreciated, so we give them a space to do that. We’ve also done some exhibitions in spaces that artists wouldn’t normally have access to. Which has worked really well. Visual projections is something we’d like to get into in the future. We’ve worked with a lot of VJ artists and that’s part of the experience that makes things like festivals enjoyable. Its part of the unnoticed experience which is really interesting to explore. The synergy between the visual aspects of sound and lights. It’s like touching base with all your senses and evolving them into a myriad of pleasurable experiences. Next five years. What can we expect to see? In the next five years I envisage that we’ll maintain the desire to give people a platform to perform. I imagine that we’ll start to see a lot of people that we’ve worked with in the past doing really well and we’ll potentially look to growing towards something like management. Help them at further stages. As we develop industry experience
I think we’ll look to pass that on to people who are coming through the ranks and working hard and making music happen for them. I guess pursuing the dream for us as well. We’re got a couple of bands that we’re involved with, and some DJ’s who have been residents with us for some time. So just looking to open up our sound to as big an audience as possible. Your own band is a quite unusual. Do you have big ambitions? We’ve got 12 people that filter in and out as and when they’re available. All very talented musicians. I went to school with some of them, went to university with a couple of them and then found the other members in London. Just at events in London or they came to perform with us. They’ve all got these unique talents. Not necessarily with atypical instruments but we’ve got saxophone, trombone, trumpet, piano, guitar, electric, bass, percussion, bongos, cajon, drum. At our full potential we’re a force to be reckoned with. So far we’ve played a lot of gigs and we’re starting to do the festival circuit a bit. So who knows how far it will go. Our last gig was very well received. We had about 600 people just going mad for some of the stuff we had so it was brilliant. What does your t-shirt represent? My t-shirt is meant to embody the significance of communication to us all. Sound
and communication, they’re just integral parts to that which I’m involved in. Its what I appreciate and enjoy most. Of all the senses the one I’d hate to loose the most is my hearing. That’s purely as a result of the experiential process of listening. It takes you to another place. A lot of people identify sound as being such a strong indicator of how you are. Such a strong conveyer of emotion, of meaning. Of a lot of things I guess. Have there been any pivotal moments in your career so far? It can be quite stressful but it can also be quite rewarding. You have a lot of pride about it. Especially once you see a lot of successes coming through. There’s one guy that we had in Durham. He was busking on the street at 13 years old, and we got him along to one of the nights that we did. It was the first time he had played in front of an audience, maybe around 100 people there. He was so inspired by that experience that he enrolled himself at a music college and worked hard at this café to go and do it. And he’s now about 18 performing around the North East, doing tours and the such.
So I like to think that we had a hand in inspiring him to go ahead and do that. What do you like most about living in London? There’s a lot of inspiration to be found in London. There’s a lot of help and support. There is so many places that appreciate music, the arts, entertainment. It’s a very fulfilling place with which to play the stuff that we do. We have done stuff in other places too. Durham as I mentioned. Oxford and Bristol as well. They all have their unique elements to them that are amazing, but London’s very sound.
And for inspirational places in London? It would have to be St Paul’s Cathedral. I live close to it so I guess that helps. But that’s a cool place to go on a Sunday. Chill, space out and soak it in. I’m not a religious man, but there’s something quite cool about the collective element of going to church. All looking to one direction, and collective silence. There’s something I really appreciate about that.
Of all the senses, the one I’d hate to loose the most is my hearing. That’s purely as a result of the experiential process of listening. It takes you to another place.
Lara is all about self-expression. Whether it is through her clothes or her work, Lara is constantly promoting her philosophy of peace and love through everything she does. She’s definitely an eccentric; incredibly intelligent and with insane style and the confidence to match, Lara truly is an individual. She pulls off looks that most of us wouldn’t even try in our bedrooms, yet manages to make it work time and time again. Think acid jeans, bright prints, shoulder pads and absolutely everything oversized. Yet it’s not just about her clothes, though they are a central aspect of who she is. Lara’s charted the fashion landscape like a pro, and despite only being 24 she’s held positions at a host of high profile companies including Vogue, Net-a-Porter, House of Holland and WGSN. Most recently she’s been taken up by District MTV, providing trend forecasting and analysis but also works hand-in-hand with brands like CKone to bring users unique and interactive projects, jealous yet? I know I am. What I find inspiring about Lara though is her admission of dedication and will. She didn’t get to where she is today without a hell of a lot of hard work. As you will read, she’s interned and free-lanced for free for months on end, all in order to make a name for herself in the industry. Her story is one of someone who knows exactly what they want and is not afraid to go out and get it. Lara represents the reality of what hard work can bring and really, truly, was born to be in fashion.
Peace and love are kind of my key buzzwords. Just keeping positive really and not taking anything too seriously.
You’ve had somewhat of a charmed life in terms of career advancement. What attributes do you think helped you get experience at such prestigious places? I think it was my parents. They’ve had a business for 25 years so I think that’s being a real driving point for me as they have worked so hard throughout their lives. Staying positive was key as well and good experience. I only graduated a year and half ago but every second I’ve had I’ve either interned, or worked somewhere else or freelanced on top of studying and working as well. So keeping busy and working as hard as possible really. What was it about journalism that identified with you? I think just expressing myself through writing. I love to write and find it is one of the easiest ways to express myself. I like how you can really think about what you want to say. The words just kind of flow out quicker and more naturally on paper. I want to write my own book one day when I’m older. So you’re working at the new MTV District website now. What exactly does your role involve? It’s quite conceptual so it’s difficult to explain. We work mainly on concepts to bring money into the site, its not quite advertis-
ing as such, but collaborative projects. The brands come to us and give us a budget, then we pitch to them ideas, creative things that we think would work. It really has to be quite a marriage of both expectations. It’s collaboration at the end so both the brand and us have to be happy with the outcome. We also do weekly trend digests so keeping up to date with all the current trends in the music and the fashion industry to keep internally aware of what is happening in the world. On the MTV District site you don’t disclose that most features are funded by the brand. What are your thoughts on that? I think it’s fine having to mention brands in the copy and features. I don’t think it limits our creativity. The brand is the subject at the end of the day and everybody has to make money. For us to keep going we have to inject that into the site. I think that’s the way journalism is going in general. Sites will need to be backed by brands and money. In order to make money features do need to be somewhat premeditated and sponsored. You do have to be quite intelligent in the way you go about it though.
Have there been any pivotal moments that have helped you shape your career? I think everything has shaped who I am and where I am today. Especially the kind of people and company’s that I’ve worked for. Like when I was interning at House of Holland and working with Henry, he was quite inspirational. Everyone likes to diss him but he’s doing well and what he does, he does really well. I’ve interned at Vogue as well. So being amongst all those people who are so successful and professional. They’re the best of the best. So I think being inspired by people at the top of their game has really helped me get to this point. You obviously have a very unique personal style. Has it helped your progression through the industry? Sometimes the way that I dress does challenge conceptions and things. At Vogue I would go in to the office in my Doc Martins and my cut-off Levis and I was told to dress a little bit more formally. But it was Summer
in New York and I just didn’t know what to wear. And then at Net-a-Porter as well, they used to say ‘we really love your style and really love what you do with clothes, but its not quite right for Net-a-Porter’. But it was never a problem really, it was just different to them and they weren’t really used to it. After they made those kinds of comments I did tone it down a little bit. Not that I wanted to, but I did. But the places that I work at now really encourage my style and the absolutely love it. So I guess that means I’m at the place that I’m supposed to be. What drew you to London? As a young creative in terms of networking you have to be in East London. I mean just down at the pub you can get chatting to someone and they’re in the same situation as you. You never know what can happen from those interactions. I’ve even
I’d describe my personal style as quite out there. Rather eccentric, but not too eccentric. Definitely fun and not too serious at all. I just like to play around and mismatch everything.
started collaboration with someone over a beer. We just started talking and ended up putting on a few nights out together. It’s just the whole networking side of it. There are so many cool things happening over here.
How do you go about seeking out new cultural information? I’m quite proactive. I think you have to be. I have loads of different word documents for different categories of information and imagery. It’s important for my work as well. I’m always picking up bits of information from here and there and adding to my lists. Lists and lists of blogs and sites, all
categorized quite well actually. Personally I love researching online. Just starting at one point and then the whole spiral of connections until you end up at another completely unrelated place. Plans for the future? In later life I want to start my own charity. Just giving back to people. I’ve had so many opportunities in my life that so many youngsters don’t have. I just think it’s important to push that and give other people opportunities. It will probably be a youth project or something like that. Just promoting positivity. I just want to make people understand that they can do what they want with their lives.
What would you like people to take away. Advice-wise it would be to work hard. Stay positive. Don’t let anything get you down because you will get a lot of ‘no’s’. But you will eventually get to a point in life where you’re where you want to be and be successful and happy. And finally can you talk us through your t-shirt? My t-shirt represents my philosophy on life I guess. All the words are my key, buzz words. I think it’s really important to be original, always thinking outside the box and bringing fresh ideas to everything you do. Possibility as well, just thinking that you are able to do what you want to do. Remembering that there are opportunities out there. The same with prosperity as well. Happiness is obviously the key to life. And then peace and love, they’re particularly strong buzz words for me.
With her bright red hair and roots in edgy Dalston, you’d be forgiven for thinking Sapphire would be somewhat of an exhibitionist. Yet forget the stereotype of pretentious hipster that her Hackney address and station at uber-cool salon Bleach presents, Sapphire is indeed one of the most wholesome and down-to-earth people I know. Whilst our first meeting was in discussion over dip-dyes and how to create the next ‘it’ look, dig a little deeper and this girl can really offer some food for thought. Sapphire is definitely one who has carved her own path. Unsure as to what to do at 17, she decided to follow in the footsteps of her father and undertook a degree in journalism and screenwriting. Having always been interested in the creative process underpinning film, it seemed a logical step, yet by the time of graduation she had lost all passion for the subject. With a desire to work in the creative industries, she opted for fashion wholesale and despite climbing the ladder well, after two years she just wasn’t feeling that either. Whilst others might have stuck it out, too scared to leave a wellpaid office job, Sapphire excels in seeking out fulfilling experiences. At 23 she gave it all up and went back to college to train as a hairdresser. Minimum wage and back at the bottom, but surprisingly unfazed. And it appears that this time she really has found her calling. Not only did she rise to senior stylist within a year of graduation, but now finds herself regularly attending to the coiffures’ of a number of high-profile personalities. With her feet firmly placed within Bleach, an infamous East London hot spot specialising in the weird and wonderful, expect this star to rise.
What was the inspiration for your t-shirt? Curly hair was the inspiration for my t-shirt, but I wanted to reference my family as well. I have two sisters, Emerald and Ruby, and we all have big, curly hair and that’s fundamentally why I became a hairdresser. So whilst curly hair was the inspiration, my sister Emerald is quite clearly the focal point. I guess I’m just trying to convey my skill as a colourist, my own curly hair and a bit of my family. I also I just think it looks nice, you wouldn’t want to wear a rubbish t-shirt. I didn’t want it to be too abstract either. I think if something looks cool then that’s great. I’m not going to try and be really cool and mysterious or anything. It speaks for itself.
Who inspires you in your day-today life? I don’t have any particular heroes; it’s just the people around me. There’s no-one in my life that has a typically conservative job. Everyone I know seems to be quite creative whether it’s in fashion, art, music, film, photography. That’s pretty much all the company I keep. Everyone I know is very creative so I guess that reflects through my life. You want to be inspired in life, so why not have talented, amazing friends if you can? Your hair is an obvious focal point of your look. Has it always been so conspicuous? I only started wearing my hair down when I was 23. I was always so self-conscious of it before then. But I decided that this is the
hair that I have, and if I don’t embrace it then what I am going to do? That was part of what drew me to hairdressing; I wanted to be great at curly hair so I could provide for people like me who had struggled for so long. It really speaks for itself now. Its like a homing beacon, I can never be inconspicuous. My personal style as a result is quite basic. I pretty much wear black, white or grey. Quite boring really, but because of my hair I can’t wear a lot of colour, otherwise I just look a bit mad. It’s like wearing an accessory constantly. I don’t have to dress up too much. I can wear something basic and with this hair it’s enough. I don’t have to worry about wearing fancy clothes or jewellery.
Would you say you have a personal philosophy by which you live your life? I guess my personal philosophy is what I’ve done throughout my life. Just change whatever doesn’t work for you. I like to think that if you have the means and you’re not happy then you can just start again and do whatever you want. You’ve got to have some sort of drive and motivation but you don’t have to be a crazy person. Just bit-by-bit you change what doesn’t work for you. I think that’s really important.
WHEN SOMEONE’S OPEN TO ANYTHING YOU’VE REALLY GOT TO THINK, ‘HOW CAN I BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME’
People who moan about their jobs, I don’t want to hear it. That’s what I used to do, I would moan about my job and it got to the point where I could just continue moaning or change and do something else and not moan anymore. Often money is something that holds people back. People don’t want to spend their savings on more education, but it can make the difference between success and failure. I mean what else is that money going to go towards, mine wasn’t enough for a deposit on a flat, but if it can provide for a career change then why not?
What can we expect to see from you next? I don’t have any defined plans for the future. I’m really interested in trying to make a book about curly hair. A type of a stylebook or a guide on how to look after curly hair. It’s all hazy at the moment, no definite dates or anything but it will happen. It’s a project I’m collaborating on with a friend, so hopefully in the next two years we’ll see something come out. And personal? I’m not sure. Probably stay in Hackney forever. I absolutely love it here. London? London’s probably the most inspirational place I’ve been. It’s a city that I feel, I thrive off it. I haven’t been to many cities, but none of the one’s I’ve visited have beaten London. Berlin has got a great atmosphere around it but I wouldn’t want to live there and I’ve never been to New York. Everyone says it’s very similar to London but then at the same time it’s so far away. London is home. My family aren’t far away and there’s so much you can do here. Where I live in Dalston, it’s busy five minutes around the corner, but my little bit with my garden, right opposite the church is so still. On a Sunday you’ll stand outside and
I’m not sure what kind of mark I’d want to leave. I don’t want fame. I don’t want to be someone you read about in magazines, that’s not for me. I just want to be good at what I do. Hopefully I’ll leave some sort of legacy
you’d have no idea you were in the middle of Hackney. It’s just so beautiful here. I love it and I don’t think I’m ever going to leave. I’ve definitely never travelled anywhere and thought, ‘this could be home’. I’m too much of a homebody. London is home to me. Do you want to leave a mark on the world? I’m not sure what kind of mark I’d want to leave. I don’t want fame. I don’t want to be someone you read about in magazines, that’s not for me. I just want to be good at what I do. Hopefully I’ll leave some sort of legacy. Not necessarily anything really outrageous. One of my dreams was to have my own salon someday, so maybe something like that. Or perhaps with my book? Maybe I can help girls with curly hair, who were like me a few years ago and didn’t know what to do with it. Maybe I will be someone, or a name that people think of in relation to ‘curly hair’. Maybe they’ll say “Sapphire, she might know something about it”. That would be something I’d like to leave. A sort of legacy like that.
Ben is a chameleon with an incredible love and appreciation for the world around him. Happy-go-lucky, friends with almost everyone and with a finger in pretty much every pie about. Ben moves effortlessly through a multitude of personas and social groups everyday, from football lad on a Saturday morning, to heartfelt creative in the afternoon and to smooth-talking Lothario as the day draws to a close. Yet it is not due to a self-conscious urge to be liked, although he does definitely love being the centre of attention, instead Ben literally seeks to explore all that the world has to offer, and uses his relationships as a way to fulfil all facets of his personality. www.mywhitetee.co.uk
He read psychology at university with this in mind but never quite connected with it, the scientific method got in the way of his experiential understanding. So instead Ben decided to make the foray into the ridiculously competitive world of film and TV. He openly admits he was arrogant at first, assuming his degree and infectious charisma would be all he would need to walk into any job but oh how very wrong he was. The experience has been nothing if not grounding however, and heâ€™s come out the other side of entry-level with a renewed sense of understanding and respect for hard work and dedication. With assistant producing the next rung up, Ben is slowly climbing the production ladder, getting closer to his dream of producing and writing his own shows. He may not be there just yet, but watch this space folks. Heâ€™s gone from hero to zero and worked his way back up again in no time at all. Who knows what ten years will bring but something tells me weâ€™ll be seeing his psyche play out on our screens in no time at all.
When did you decide you wanted to work in the film industry? I read psychology at university because I loved the concept of studying people and social interactions but in the end it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like it much and didn’t have a great ttime doing it either. It was during the last few months of university that I really started to think about my future. All my friends were going to recruitment evenings and applying to law school or Deloitte or Accenture type companies and I knew that wasn’t for me. I was a little bit lost for a while, not sure which direction I wanted to head in, until one drunken comment got me thinking. Some random on a night out said “you can make money and be successful in anything you want to do. So why not try and find out what you like first, and then think about the money”. I not sure why but it really stuck with me. It didn’t take me long from there to think there might be a way to make money through film and TV. To make money from making things as opposed to doing things for other people. Did you find it hard to get your foot in the door? Definitely. I came out of university with this massive naivety and arrogance that I would spend the summer off and then walk into any job that I found within the industry and that it would be easy but it wasn’t at all. There’s such an enormous swell of people at the entry level and for those jobs, you don’t necessarily need the qualifications that I had. You’re just swimming upstream, fighting against so many people and there’s just not enough jobs for the demand. For six months I travelled around the UK with different jobs. Wherever anyone would take me I would go. All of it unpaid and all of it basic menial tasks, fetching teas, driving people around, moving props. I understand
completely now, but at the time I had a lot of resentment about it. I felt like I should have been doing better straight away. But as the months go by and different jobs go by you realise that that’s not how it works and sometimes you just have to suck it up to get where you want to go. And that’s what I’ve done. Its what I’m still doing to an extent. What inspired you to write your first script? My friends were very much the inspiration. They were the ones who really got me going and inspired me. I was in a very stationary place after university, whilst my friends were all down in London, working and moving on with their lives. Whether or not they were doing things that I myself wanted to do, they were progressing and getting better and actually doing things. I just felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere and had to have something that was realistic and that was mine.
The inspiration for the script was less what it was about and more what it represented. The concept of me taking the steps to further myself. Doing something that I hadn’t done before
My parents are Egyptian and my family are all doctors and lawyers so this was never something I was expected to do. But one day my dad just sat me down and said ‘do it. Just make something. All you need is a starting point, and that can be anytime in the next few minutes’. That meant so much to me. So what I’m doing is very much a two-way thing. On one sense I’m forging out a career whilst also doing something that is more creative and personal. You just have to try and make it happen. It was my friends and my Mum and Dad who really just said ‘do it’. What is it like actually working on a day-today basis? It’s like a constant job interview. There’s never a day or moment where you’re completely comfortable in yourself. You always have to make an impression. So what you wear and how you present yourself moreso is really important. It’s a social industry.
How you come across to people is a million times more important than what your CV says. Half the jobs I get now are from people I’ve worked with in the past, not necessarily things I’ve applied to on paper. Can you talk us through your t-shirt? The first thing I remember from when I started was walking down hallways in edit suites and making people cups of tea. It’s important to me because one day I’m going to be in those edit suites and in those script meetings, and people are going to come to me with a cup of tea or with a lunch order. So it’s important for me that I am nice and polite to them because I remember how much it meant to me when someone was nice. So that’s what the cup of tea signifies. It really is the most important thing on there. The quote just sums up my attitude to life really. It comes from the start of The Great Gatsby. ‘ Then wear the gold hat if it does please her, and if you can bounce then bounce high for her too, until she says ‘Lover, gold hatted high bouncing lover I must have you’’.
The moment I read that I was like ‘That is me’. It’s exactly what I believe in: doing what it takes but also being a little bit extravagant, and being creative. Just doing things a little bit out of the ordinary to get what you want. And then on the back I’ve got a TV set. Which is initially quite self-explanatory but if I get to where I want to be then what comes out on TV is going to be a huge judgement of who I am. It’s the platform on which I’ll be judged and it’s the platform on which I want people to judge me. London? I came to London with the simplistic goals of being around my friends and being where the work is. But now that I’m here I just absolutely love it. I can be heading home on the tube at 11pm at night and see the entirety of human emotion laid out in front of me. Just the other day I saw this Middle
Eastern couple who were so similar to my parents. The man kept falling asleep and the women would keep checking out all the good looking guys in the carriage. It was just hilarious to see, and so you can just sit there and write about it. Stuff like that can really inspire me. If you’re stuck for things to write about or lacking inspiration just go out, and you’ll see a million things that could inspire the start of a project.
It’s not easy. It’s like anything, like taking out the bins. In your head it feels like such a strain but once you’ve finished it, it’s like ‘oh that was so easy I should have done that ages ago’. It’s the same with writing.
Soft-spoken yet highly alert, Nadia watches the world go by through the lens of her camera. Although a graduate film-maker, she chooses to shoot stills, preferring to document the processes of back-stage life as opposed to the final result. It seems an odd career choice, shooting production stills, and I must admit it is an area I wasn’t familiar with, but when you hear Nadia talk about the variety of life on a set, the drama and the egos, all the gossip between departments, you can understand the attraction. Where better to capture human life at its most profound than when 100 people who don’t know each other are thrown together on set for weeks on end. Yet Nadia wasn’t always involved in the arts. She had a brief stint at university reading history and film theory, but in her second year found the essays and research repetitive and, much to the dismay of her parents, dropped out to pursue her dream of film. It’s that pivotal moment where we question who knows best: is it passion, or the piece of paper that signals success? It takes guts and a belief in yourself to walk away from a life that has definite and defined outcomes. The film industry is a treacherous and unwelcoming place, yet Nadia’s resolve to follow her dreams meant that this was never going to be a backwards step. She graduated with flying colours and a strong portfolio, but a gift from her brother, a Nikon D200, was to alter her direction once again. She took to stills and despite being completely self-taught has had surprisingly quick success. Not only does she now shoot production stills on a regular basis but a recent commission from Kensington and Chelsea had her create an installation along 100 meters of Portobello Road, and a short film about it was screened at the V&A. It was a long road for her to get here but she’s finally more settled in her direction. Will she be shooting stills forever? Who knows, what’s important is her resolve to find out.
Was it hard to go from an academic based degree to a more practical based career in the film industry? Yeah for sure. I actually wanted to go to film school before university, I was just advised not to. I was told to get myself a proper academic degree. You know, something theory based, and written, something that I could show to people and say ‘I can write essays, I can think for myself and do research‘. Which is all great and I understand why it was suggested, but now that I’m in film I realised that I don’t need any of that. You just need to be a logical thinker. You know, have an eye for things, be creative and want to be involved in all the different stages of the creative process. I feel like I always have to be doing something practical. Making things with my hands or being physical with whatever I’m creating. That’s quite important. I enjoy being on set. With stills photography I’m kind of in my own department and get to communicate with everyone on set. There’s just so much going on. There’s something there for everyone on a film set and it’s just a really fun environment to be in.
What avenues do you want to pursue in the future? I definitely want to have a career in being a production photographer. For me that’s my goal, but I don’t want that to stop me from doing other stuff either. I really enjoy just shooting anything, stills or film projects really. I don’t like saying that ‘I’m a photographer’ or ‘I’m a production photographer’, or even writer or artist. I like the idea that anyone can do whatever they like and however many things they want to in their careers or in their lifetime. I think that makes for a more interesting character sometimes. Were you always a creative person? A part of me thinks that I’ve always been a creative person but I also think its to do with my upbringing. I’ve just always been exposed to arts and crafts. I’ve always drawn and painted. I think its something you can nurture as well though. So maybe it’s partly in my upbringing and partly how I see the world. Maybe that’s what makes me a ‘creative person’, I don’t know. How do you find inspiration for your projects? I find inspiration from everyday life. It’s the everyday goings on that interest me the most. For example my friend and I were walking through a market and we noticed that everything was in bowls. Literally
I just like the idea that you don’t have any limitations. That you’re not like, ‘ok, I’m a stills photographer and that’s what I’m going to be for the rest of my life’. I like the idea that I’m going to explore other avenues and be creative in other ways.
everything was in bowls. And we were kind of wondering what happened to the whole idea of loose fruit? You know, that joy that you get from picking out your own fruit. It just didn’t feel like a proper market and we both thought like ‘wow’, this could be a great stills project or a great little short film. It just said a lot about where we are in society. Everything’s in bowls, everything’s picked out for us. It’s all saving us time, just take a bowl here and there. We take what we’re given almost. Silly things like that but also they’re quite fun. I think its more interesting than a project on Hirst or a big artist who’s been seen before and there’s already a lot of stuff on them. How do you balance your own creative work with more bread and butter work? I’m very lucky in that my family home is in central London so I’ve had a lot of support from my family. But not necessarily financially, but having that security of having a place in London and I’m so grateful for that. Do you need a lot of focus and drive to succeed in the film industry? You definitely need a lot of focus and drive to succeed in film. And even in photography. Just in the arts in general I feel. I think a lot of people get caught up in trying to succeed in the arts so much so that they don’t really enjoy what they’re doing in the present moment. That’s really important to me. I obviously want to do really well and get onto great films and work with supertalented people but I’m not going to not enjoy where I’m at currently in order to get
to that place. For me it’s really important to enjoy where I’m at. Because that’s what life is about for me. Can you talk us through your t-shirt? My t-shirt is actually a face. Usually people don’t see it the first time round, but then it clicks and messes with your head a bit which I quite like. The negative space is what gives it its form almost. I just thought it would be quite fun to present a block shape even though I’m a photographer. Advice? For anyone wanting to go into the arts, just go for it. Really, truly enjoy what you’re doing because that really shows through you’re work. It’s good to get onto any project for experience sake but just do what you really enjoy. I think that makes a huge difference. When you love what you do, you excel in it. So even if you do get into the arts, onto a film or onto a photography shoot, make sure it’s one that you’re sure you want to sink your teeth into. Just give it your all. What would you like people to take away from your story? It might sound really strange, because obviously you do art for other people to enjoy as well but it’s almost a slightly selfish thing. You do it because you enjoy it, but you’re expressing something from within yourself that you want other people to see. I want other people to enjoy my work for sure, but I think moreso I want to share my experiences through my work, bring people on a journey with me in a sense. I guess I want to share my journey with others through my work. That’s what’s most important to me. Not necessarily how big my name is. It would mean more to me if they enjoyed their experience, or enjoyed my experience through my work. I’m not sure if that makes sense.
Alec is the definition of a true creative. He has always drawn for as long as he can remember and spent his final years at school trying to figure out how exactly he could make his notebook doodles into a career. Yes, the 9-5 has never been for him, and money, despite its obvious importance, doesn’t motivate him to a large extent. For Alec is not just an ‘illustrator’ but a creator in general. He loves the practicality of working in a variety of media and his chop and change attitude is totally reflective of that. Since graduating, he’s worked with fashion designer Derek Lawlor wearing his traditional ‘fashion illustrator’ hat, but also with magazines, print textiles and most recently 3D animation. It’s a mix and match, up and down career but he’s following what he loves. Alec and his work have a purity about them that can be missing in modernity. He is not climbing pursuing fame or fortune but creating art purely for art’s sake. But don’t let his slightly meek appearance fool you, Alec’s illustrations reveal hidden depths; his drawings dark, almost always monochromatic and highly arresting. Skulls, crosses and depressed figures litter his walls in intricate fine line illustrations, yet meet the man and his openness to life and infectious personality present a conundrum of sorts. He’s not obsessed with death, but rather chooses to explore his teenage angst through his art. His art express his momentary depressions so that he doesn’t have to.
You graduated as a ‘fashion illustrator’ but you work across a variety of mediums. Why is that? I began to find my own voice with my illustrations in my second year of university, and from that point on I found it surprisingly restrictive. As I had decided to specialise in fashion illustration, everything I did had to be quite figurative. Although that in itself was fine, I found it annoying that I couldn’t experiment. I would look around at other peoples’ work on blogs or whatever and I’d see an illustrator who was very graphic, or who had a particular colour scheme that was interesting, but I wasn’t ever able to apply their techniques to the sorts of drawings I was doing. There was such an emphasis that my portfolio had to have continuity. Because I was doing ‘fashion illustration’ it had to be a ‘fashion illustration figurative’ portfolio. I found it really frustrating that I couldn’t just dabble and muck around with really bright simple coloured motifs or whatever. I think that’s why I’ve moved across mediums quite a lot. With animation it just feels a lot more open. I’m working on a music video at the moment and I’m also doing a little short and stylistically they’re very different and that seems to be completely ok. Stylistically it’s not really important, it’s more about your technical ability. I think that’s a big part of it as well. My move into animation was a bit of a changing point as to how I saw my career and myself. I’m really enjoying the variety of work. It’s nice to chop and change. The whole generation of people having the same job for the same company for 30 years or more just doesn’t really happen anymore. People seem to go from place to place all the time. Your career sort of evolves in a way that it didn’t 20 years ago.
How important is freelancing to your creative process? Do you find it liberating? One of the big benefits of freelance is this idea of freedom. That you can do whatever the fuck you want really. If you so please you can just uproot and get gone. But then sometimes you do get little twinges of restrictions on what you’re doing. Over the last year or so I’ve been doing little bits here and there for magazines and it can be really good, but it can also be a real pain in the ass. They can be quite dead set in how they want a particular image to look. At first you think you can give their brief a bit of your own creative spin, but publications are always saying ‘no, we want the composition to be like this, and this piece over here” so it can be really frustrating. Its weird because this year has been the first year of good, decent, well-paid and consistent work, and I’m finally starting to feel more settled with the inconsistency of freelance. Yet at the same time I’m also getting itchy feet slightly, thinking to myself ‘is this it? Is this what I am going to be doing forever?’ The great thing with freelance is I’m not tied down. I can experiment with different mediums and pathways I’m not really particularly money focused at all. I’m quite obsessive with my own time, so for me it’s quite important to be able to work as a freelancer. Just being able to do what I want most of the time. Not necessarily all the time because money does jab in there from time to time. But it’s this whole ideal of being able to uproot and go somewhere else. I’m not ready for a 9-5 job yet. I’m sure that time will come but until then I’ll just float about.
What are your plans for the future? I’m not really sure to be honest; there are a lot of things I want to do. I think I want to focus on animation for the near future. I want to see what I can do with it, how I can apply it to all different elements of the industry really. In terms of illustration I’d like to press that towards print textile stuff. The things I’m interested in at the moment is a lot of print textile, pattern based work. I kind of want to do a whole series of wallpapers actually. I want to do a wallpaper exhibition, and just have that for a little bit. I’ve been considering doing a bit of street art too. I always complained about how much I hated street art at university. I don’t necessarily dislike street art as a concept, but I just think that loads of it is really shit. I guess it’s that sort of arrogant art school
I’M NOT READY FOR A 9-5 JOB YET. I’M SURE THAT TIME WILL COME BUT UNTIL THEN I’LL JUST FLOAT ABOUT.
thing of ‘I can do a better job than that’. So I feel that at some point I should at least try and do it. Just make a little bit of a mark and hope its not too crap. It’d be good to do some stuff with a bunch of coders as well. Get some really heavy great tech guys in and see what we can do. Just try to change the limitations of what I do really. I’ve always been interested in doing collaborative projects. So loads of stuff really. For me, if you have that eye for design or have good taste then you can apply it to different elements within design in general. You don’t really need to be an animator, or specifically an illustrator. It’s more about the people that you work around. You can apply your ability to whatever.
THE ARTS WERE REALLY THE ONLY THING I COULD EVER REALLY PROPERLY DO. I WAS JUST SO PAINFULLY MEDIOCRE AT EVERYTHING ELSE.
How would you describe your attitude towards life? I kind of just want to do my own stuff to be honest. I’m a frustrated artist of sorts. I find ways to make my bread and butter stuff and then do what I want. I’m not really particularly money focused at all. I’m quite obsessive with my own time. To me it’s quite important to be able to work as a freelancer. Just being able to do what I want most of the time. Not necessarily all the time because money does jab in there from time to time. But it’s this whole ideal of being able to uproot and go somewhere else. Have there been any pivotal moments that you felt really identified the path you were going to take? I remember when I was in school and we were asked that question we’re all asked which is ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ We went around the circle one by on. My friend Dean was first and he called out ‘crypt keeper’ and we all thought it was amazing. So one by one we all called out ‘crypt keeper’ like dicks. It was on the way
back home with Mum when she was asking about school that I became really annoyed with myself. I didn’t want to be a crypt keeper. So I started to actually think about it and the first thing that popped into my head was to be a monster truck driver. I haven’t really changed from that boy a great deal. In the sense that I thought of a monster truck driver because I thought to myself ‘what is a job to me?’ For me a job to me needs to be fun and possibly a little bit ridiculous. And that hasn’t really changed a huge amount. It’s just about doing things that interest me really. I’m probably a bit selfish on the way I want to plan out my career really. Were you always drawn to the creative industry? I’ve always been interested in working in the creative industries for as long as I can remember. I was always trying to figure out how I could make a career out of drawing things. Everything was based around drawing really. To be honest the Arts were really the only thing I could really ever properly
big job was just through friends. And it’s the same with pretty much everybody else. My main advice is not to stay at home and remain insular. Make sure you maintain a friendship with your inner circle of friends within university because you never know where they’re going to go and where they might lead you. And put yourself out there. If your work’s good then keep the faith and be aware of the technical advancement of your subject matter. My career improved a huge amount once I got into motion graphics and new media because it’s a growing industry. Its great being completely analogue, but you have to look to the future and think where is this going to go? So new media and be lucky essentially. God is that advice? I dunno. Just stay in contact with as many people as you can and stick it out. It’s shit for a while but it does improve. It took me a long time for things to sort of pan out but planning things didn’t seem to work out for me. When I stopped planning things and just sort of got on with it, it all started to work really.
And finally your t-shirt. What does it represent for you? Like most of my drawings the image is figurative and quite sullen. In terms of creating an image for a t-shirt, it’s always good to keep it quite bold, so I decided to keep the figure a silhouette. It’s a development of a sketch I did quite a while ago and then put down and forgot about. So it’s been quite nice to go back to it and make it into something as opposed to just a sketch. Regarding the meaning, it’s the element of fantasy that reflects my general aesthetic. Out of hand I tend to draw dead things as default, skulls and things like that. I’m very placid in real life; I’m not really a scary individual at all yet quite a lot of my drawings are rather morose. I guess it’s a way of dealing with teenage angst or something I guess.
do. I was just so painfully mediocre at everything else. I was pretty much the standard C grade throughout school with the odd B grade thrown in here and there. Plus I’ve never had a 9-5 job I’ve enjoyed. I had really crap jobs when I was working at home before I went to college. I was working at Alton Towers, the theme park, for two summers. I was in food and beverage, which is like the shittiest job ever, in a kebab store called ‘Nemesis Nosh’. Just perfect summers totally ruined by the fact that I spent every day getting shouted at by angry customers with four kebab machines to my back in absolutely blazing hot summers. That was another factor that contributed to how I don’t care for money so much. It’s important to an extent but I’d rather have my own time to myself really. So I think that’s the big thing. Having the freedom to do my own stuff is my main importance at this point really. Until my life is not my own and I have kids and stuff. Do you have any advice for aspiring young creatives? When I graduated I had all these carefully laid out plans as to how I was going to approach people and how I was going to find internships and jobs but to be honest they never worked out whatsoever. More often than not the stuff that worked out was just completely out of the blue. My first really
Clare is a woman on a mission. She’s not quite sure what that mission is exactly, but she knows that she’s on one. It centres on creativity, and graphic design, but there is something more there, something she hasn’t quite defined. Originally headed for a career in fine arts, the tutors at Central Saint Martins suggested she try graphic design and in this one moment she completely altered her direction forever. It was a world she knew nothing of, but upon seeing the displays she felt incredibly connected to it. It was the combination of practicality with design that intrigued her and this tiny intervention from fate has brought new meaning and complexity to everything she creates. Minimalism and white space are clearly her aesthetics yet she primarily solves problems of communication and always presents a particular perspective with everything she does. Surrounded by a hoarder’s fantasy, Clare draws on a wealth of resources to inspire her work. She collects and hoards practically everything and consciously seeks out new and validating experiences everyday. Her studio is filled with a whole host of ‘collections’, from the expected stacks of alternative magazines to more nuanced focuses on kitsch and colour. Somewhat demure and slightly girly, iconic 1970’s pornography is prominently displayed all around her studio. And although she insists that she’s ‘not that into fashion’, her bulging closet and bookshelf stacked high with Litas and other notorious styles begs to differ. Yet somehow all these contradictions and oddball combinations work to deepen the meaning of Clare’s work. Everything is considered. Everything is contemplated. Maybe it’s because she’s just graduated and has not yet been tainted or tarnished, but my instincts tell me she will survive unharmed. She may only be at the beginning of her journey and who knows where she will go next, but trust me, expect great things.
How did you end up in graphic design? I was always interested in doing some kind of creative job or career. That’s the way I’ve always thought I guess. I’ve always thought creatively. But I wasn’t always interested in graphic design. When I went into my foundation course I didn’t even know what it was. In fact, I was leaning more towards Fine Arts. But I went to look at some work by someone who was on the graphic design pathway one day and it all just clicked. It was the way they were communicating and answering questions, the problem solving aspects, that I actually found really interested me. When I went back and looked at my own work it was leaning more that way than fine art. I was producing work that was solving problems and not just creating an experience. So it’s something that has developed slowly. The more I learn about it the more I’ve really love it and appreciate it.
Does London play a role in the way you work? Definitely. London is this big melting pot of creative people and galleries and inspiration. There’s always somewhere you can go and gain something from. It’s incredible having all these exhibitions and everything on your doorstep. Plus being surrounded by such an eclectic mix of people. That’s what Central Saint Martins was really, this big building filled with creative, amazing people from all over the world. Even if you don’t feel it influencing you directly, it definitely will in some ways. It has benefited me I think. Just so many different points of view. How would you describe your creative space? Does it reflect your approach to your work at all? It comes down to collecting and hoarding. I collect and hoard mostly everything, but books and clothes are my two main things. Every part of my room is like a mini collection and I create little focuses on each part of the room. For me, building a collection is like building a moodboard. That’s the way I start each
project, by collecting lots of imagery and feeling all the bits come together. My last large project was my degree project and it was based around my whole collection of kitsch. That was a personal project and it was absolutely great. It just meant I was basing a whole project on something I loved. Any key items that you couldn’t live without? There’s always a story behind the things I treasure the most, especially my ferret. He’s special. I’m not sure how old my ferret is. It was my grandma’s and it used to hang down the banister at her house. One of my oldest memories is being at my grandma’s house and being too small to reach and touch it. She was a hoarder as well, and when she died everything went up for auction, but I made sure I got to keep him.
Do you ever feel limited by the rules of ‘good design’? There are rules, but for my work a lot of the time I tend to ignore them. But I do think it’s very important to understand them and know why they’re there. That way if you ignore them you can do so in a way that will enhance your work and not make you look really ignorant. Do you think you’ll always be involved in graphic design? I’ll definitely be doing something creative my whole life, but I can’t say it will definitely be graphic design. I do see myself being a graphic designer definitely for the next ten years or so though. Whatever happens and feels natural I’ll go with but for now it’s definitely a profession that I really enjoy and want to get better at. I’ve always been drawn to art and design, its what I enjoy. In a way me ending up where I am now has all just happened. Its just felt really natural, all the different progressions, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and see where I end up. What is your creative process? Where do you find inspiration for new projects? I think a lot of things inspire me. Normally when I start a new project I get out of the house, away from all my distractions, and go for a walk or go to a café. The way I work is a bit funny. I’ll go and look at books, depending on what I’m working on or what I’m trying to solve. I make up rhymes in my head sometimes. And its just gets taken from there. I think its really getting away from your work space, going somewhere else and finding something small and then just building up on it. I connect ideas, and things just develop.
BEING CREATIVE IS JUST CONNECTING IDEAS AND PROBLEM SOLVING. I THINK PEOPLE ARE CREATIVE IN THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES AND DON’T EVEN REALISE IT SOMETIMES.
IT COMES DOWN TO COLLECTING AND HOARDING. I COLLECT AND HOARD MOSTLY EVERYTHING, BUT BOOKS AND CLOTHES ARE MY TWO MAIN THINGS
How would you describe the meaning behind your t-shirt? My t-shirt is a visual representation of how I find inspiration. A fish on Mars, playing a guitar. When I’m just starting a project I like to leave the house and go somewhere else. Maybe not as far as Mars, but go somewhere else. The fish is actually a salmon and they swim for miles and miles and miles and sometimes with ideas you just need to keep going until you find a solution. And the reason it’s a fish on Mars playing a guitar is that I like to make up little rhymes in my head sometimes. They help me figure out where I’m going. Do you have any advice for people who want to explore their creativity but perhaps don’t quite know how or where to start? I think being creative is just connecting ideas and problem solving. I think people are creative in their everyday lives and don’t even realise it sometimes. I question myself constantly, but you always have the gut feeling. There’s been many times with projects and stuff where I’ve wavered. But I was reading this book recently called ‘It’s not how good you are but how good you want to be’, its filled with all these
creative mantras and it really struck me. It just said that with you should aim to make every project your best, even if you hate it, because although it may not be your best work, at least you’ll go away with ‘I know I tried really, really hard at that’. I guess that would be my advice really, just always try to make everything you do the best it can be. And finally, where can we expect to see you in the next few years? With my design I definitely want to create stuff that communicates well and effectively. If all goes well I really would love to focus more on creating books and publishing. So hopefully I’ll be creating really lovely, big collector books. That’s what I really love, lots of books.
WHO ARE WE? We’re a small but committed group who all share the same vision in making the world a more open and creative place. What began as a personal project to explore my own creativity has developed into this full-blown collective of aspirational individuals. I still like to contextualise each feature with my own experiences but without the people adorning this page, My White Tee just simply wouldn’t be. We’ve all worked tirelessly to make this collective the best it can be and have big dreams for the future. Here I hope you find the roots to the story. Sean Preston, 23 - Web Designer
Clare Malseed, 24 - Graphic Designer
Where do you want to travel to? I want to spin the globe and go wherever my finger lands. I love the feeling of impulsive freedom.
Where do you want to travel to? Tokyo, Melbourne and LA are on my list. I spent four week in NYC this summer and fell completely in love with the city. Its definitely somewhere I plan to return to.
Favorite place in London? My favourite place in London is a little Portuguese restaurant in Beauchamp place. It’s such a ridiculous mix of terrible 80s cover songs (by an old man on an older keyboard) and the best peri peri chicken you’ll ever eat.
I always wanted to create but never quite had the confidence or the concepts to try something out. So I studied psychology at university and although I absolutely loved it, I just didn’t see myself taking the clinical route. As writing has always been a love of mine I ended up in the MA in Fashion Journalism at London College of Fashion and I guess that’s where I really found that something I’d been looking for. I’m not a great creative genius and never will be, but the course gave me the reasons to explore a side of myself I never had before. It was through this course that My White Tee was born and my passion for opening up the creative world is directly related to my own experiences. I still love psychology though and I guess that’s reflected in the types of questions I ask. I have a friend who works for the Daily Mail and she keeps telling me ‘people don’t care about philosophy Skye, they just want to know about the SEX’, but I like the idea that people want to be inspired. I do try to balance the deep questions but they’re just what I’m interested in. I’m sure as we continue our tone will evolve, but for the moment I like where we are.
Top five things you want to do before you die? In no particular order; Ride a camel, write and illustrate a poetry book, design a blimp, design something really reallly big, and live in New York.
Chloe True, 22 - Photographer Sara Galvão, 25 - Film Editor What interested you about this project? It’s a different approach to what is creativity, and who can be considered a creative. Also it shows the dark steps before the glamour lights, which I think most people don’t realize exist. What do you love most about London? The unexpectedness. Once I went to the supermarket and saw a bunch of guys dressed like cows buying milk. You don’t get that anywhere else. Why did you want to get into film? Telling stories, making people feel things with your images and sounds. And the free catering.
What interested you about this project? I saw it as a great opportunity to discover other creatives living in London. What do you love most about London? I’ve lived in London all my life and still feel that there is so much of it I haven’t seen yet. Favorite place in London? There are so many! Two places that come to mind straight away are a cafe called ‘Look Mum No Hands’ on Old Street and Columbia Road flower market. What do you do besides work with MWT? I’m currently working as a freelance Graphic Designer/Photographer. Where do you want to travel to? Why? I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska to see a grizzly bear.
Skye-Maree Dixon: Editor
The thing that I never leave the house without… My backpack. Pockets just aren’t big enough, you never know what you might need to stick in there. I once heard a story about a Japanese man lost at sea, who sailed back to port in his backpack.
Favorite place in London? I have lots! First Thursday’s in East, Hyde Park (in the sun), the Tate, Somerset House, Portobello Road, Breakfast Club in Angel, a dirty night out in Soho..
My White Tee is a collective that celebrates London Creatives