EDITOR IN CHIEF Derrick Odafi
DIRECTOR OF FASHION FEATURED PHOTOGRAHERS Teresa Mwangi Lewis Robinson Comewell Puplampu CREATIVE PRODUCER Jessica Rushforth FEATURED MODELS CURATION New Wave Studios
Raquel Quitirna Kehinde Martns Kozy Owen Edobor Ruben Madelon
MUSIC EDITOR Rehana Harmony MAKE UP ARTISTS WRITERS Shorayi Mauluka Derrick Odafi Diego Martinez Chacon Blessing Borode Barbara Naz Olive Oberoi Aran Saleme Fatima Sheekhuna George Patterson Hiba Hassan Megan Warrender Daniella Francis PHOTOGRAPHY Rhys Frampton Diego Chacon Martinez Derrick Odafi Caz Dyer Danika Magdelena Elena Cremona Vilmar Red Flora Scott Barbara Premo
Blessing Kambanga Jessica Niore Rhian Webster Mandy Lubasa Tamara Gocharenko Tara Emily Mata Marielle Yolanda Dohr Aoife Hipkin
HAIR STYLISTS Rhian Webster Amanda Toto Shemaiah Aimi Osezele llenbs Toni Malcolm
STYLISTS Lily Mcmurray Malcolm Methogo Clea Brockes Leslie-Carolina Kapesa (Les Studios) Sade Bennett (Les Studios) Jacklyn Agu (Assistant) Gloria Iyare (Assistant) Adena Gordon (Assistant) Freya Monro Morrison Alive Lujilbula Paola Maniglio
COVER Cover Star - Prettyboy DO Creative Direction - Derrick Odafi, Jessica Rushforth Photographer(s) - Barbara Premo Set Design - Jessica Rushforth, Derrick Odafi Stylist - Malcolm Methogo Assistant Stylist - Gloria Iyare MUA - Blessing Kanbanga Visual Direction - John Serunjogi
CREATIVE WRITING Xuestlove
firstname.lastname@example.org London, United Kingdom
Micah Chudleigh Olisa Amadi Sophia Hill Sophia Poroosotum Siobhan Martin Blessing Borode Ria Sharma Jordan Hurrell Frank Rodriguez Ugo Anyamele
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EDITORâ€™S LETTER Our latest issueâ€™s theme is centered around the idea of Excellence, what does that word mean to you? Through our many conversations with the amazing talents we have featured on this issue, we ask this question and received various answers with their own profound message. Some see excellence as the ability to excel in whatever you choose to involve yourself in, others see it as the way you carry yourself or even how you inspire others. on Issue XI, we explore this idea visually and in our discussions over the past year. Many things have influenced the theme for our latest issue, one of them being the worldwide revelations that resulted in social unrest and political struggle. With the worldwide protests during the movement for black social, judicial, and economic equality, many felt the need to stand up to the call and fight for human rights. This created a beautiful image of solitude and community within all races. We aimed to do our part by applying these ideas to our craft. All of those featured in this issue exhibit a level of excellence that we aim to celebrate, raising the torch for so many people in their respective industries and still have so much more to offer. From speaking to the amazing multidisciplinary artist Butler Archive about his spectacular journey through the worlds of design, art, and architecture to featuring Prettyboy D-O who is a powerful figure in the new musical generation coming from Nigeria, also taking huge steps himself for social justice in his country, being in the frontlines of the END SARS protests. We find out who these individuals are and what they stand for, finding out what makes them as excellent as they are. Over the last year, despite the global pandemic, New Wave has continues to strive for excellence in our mission to give you quality content and information. From our interview with the founders of the world renowned label Daily Paper to our conversations with our Ternion cover stars, we have grown leaps and bounds, we believe this issue has lived up to the theme. Our amazing team has made an extraordinary effort to make this possible and they have all embodies the direction of this issue. As always, we appreciate your support extremely. We hope this issue has enlightened or inspired you in some way, that for me is excellence. I would also like to dedicate this Issue to a friend that was an example of Excellence, Christian Mbulu. #LLCM
Derrick Odafi Editor In Chief
Alex Gardner Through the Darkness Alex Gardner is a Los Angeles based, Afro-Japanese artist who has become known for his large-scale paintings featuring faceless figures in a deep black tone. He went down the â€œtypical routeâ€? for an artist, developing his passion for painting in his earlier years and then attending California State University for a Fine Art degree. Gardner comes from humble beginnings and wanted to remain debt free after his studies, which is why he decided to attend a state university. He is now based in a Downtown LA studio, however at one point during his career he was forced to live in his studio surrounded by his creations. He insists that he is not a surrealist, which may be concluded based on his artwork, but instead a realist and a slight pessimist. Instead Gardner sees himself creating canvases and murals that combine Renaissance painting techniques with geometry. He also keeps his palette small but impactful using various tones of deep black, blue, pink, white and green.
Tejumola Adenuga, better known as Butler, is a Nigerian born, London based multidisciplinary artist whose practice focuses on the intentional removal of informational excess through a subtle, minimalistic approach. Butler began his career by studying Graphic Design at Havering College and Ravensbourne University. Butler’s work has a sense of simplicity that gives it a tasteful touch of effortless quality. However, every line and dot in his pieces of art are an isolated yet extremely important part of the bigger picture.
Butler has become almost as fluid as his artwork, moving from one space within the creative industry to another. Some of his most notable projects recently have been his Architectural design of the London flagship store for clothing brand Cold Laundry and his C-Type Aluminium home wear sculptures for his furniture series. His amazing talents have given him the opportunity to work with world recognised brands such as Adidas, Beats by Dre, Selfridges, MTV VMA’s, Dr. Martens and Soho House. His multiple talents make him one of the most sought-after individuals with a considerable knowledge in many disciplines. His work fixates on the significance of clarity in content, while upholding an uncompromising attitude towards achieving figurativism in a minimalistic art form. Butler grasps at the purity of objects in their rawest form, depicting just how possible it is to dissect the physical personality, without eliminating the elementary aspects of allure that many contemporary individuals relate to.
His early work, which began his growth in notoriety, was his artwork that predominantly captured the confidence of women, men, non-binary, and objects related to their persona with equally confident and precise lines. These pieces of work have a fluidity that paralleled his artistic purpose of capturing the myth of nudity by mixing the ideas of eroticism with movement and form, forcing a sort of artistic illusion that connects the dots between positive and negative space. After multiple successful exhibitions both in London and abroad, most recently in Amsterdam, Butler’s artwork has continued to make a huge impact in people’s lives – both emotionally and physically as over 250 people have his work permanently etched in their skin.
New Wave has the privilege of sitting down with the Nigerian born designer to discuss his journey from finding his love for the arts, his learning experiences within the industries of art and fashion and much more. We also had the opportunity to discuss Butler’s artistic style of pointillism. His precision and clarity of vision allows him to express something complex in a multitude of dots and lines.
Early in his design career, Butler had the opportunity of working with UK musical powerhouse and entrepreneur Tinie Tempah on his clothing venture What We Wear. As one of the lead designers on that project, Butler learned a lot about the fashion industry, along with his understanding of space and the physical consumer experience. Since venturing out as his own entity,
WORDS/INTERVIEWER Derrick Odafi, PHOTOGRAPHER Flora Scott
"My first form of art was kind of replicating comic books"
What moment would you say sparked your love or passion for art? At the period I know you were able to work with Tinie Tempah; how was that experience?
It cemented itself when I was around the age of 10 years old. My first form of art was kind of replicating comic books and the first was this particular one sold in Nigeria which was about soccer called Super Strikers. I think and then I moved on to the marvel comics like X-Men and the rest. It was so amazing and it spiralled me into what I do now. There was no gallery-esque setting around me so comic books seemed to fill that spot.
I had a website where I was putting all my little vidoes and the works I did, and he found it thinking it was a collective of different people’s work but it was just me. Then he messaged me and he said “I’d like to meet you guys”, but I had to explain to him it was just me. We talked about some of his ideas he wanted to execute outside of music and following that I became his Art Director for about four years.
Would you say from a young age your way of communication was different to those around you?
What would you say you learned during that process?
I never thought of it as art, it was more of my perspective on it being cool and so I figured why not. I also never thought you could make a career out of being an artist because in Nigeria only people who were sculptors or work alike were considered artists. Now it’s like “oh here I am!”
It really allowed me to gain experience in the “big boy” world with these bigger brands. It really put a lot of power behind what I was creating while teaching how to work behind commercial infrastructure. Personally you might feel one piece is good and you like it but commercially you’d have to do 6 even 7 different variations on one project which I felt as an artist didn’t always work out well all the time. I was able to alternate between both though which was something of a good experience. I got to do everything from stage design to album covers to merch design while at the same time going through college. Obviously there was the downsides with me being tired all the time but it did feel very surreal to have that opportunity.
Where did you first see a future in art for yourself? A future didn’t really appear visible until, I would say, 10 years later when I was 20. A friend offered to do a show for my drawings. Went to IKEA for some things and put three pieces together and swiftly had the announcement on social media and a few people signed up. At the time I didn’t really have many followers but people still paid and showed up which was an amazing feeling. After that show, A sportswear company got in touch with me for an endorsement and I said yes. Haha but I think accepting it back then was a bit of naivety but It helped me embrace the lifestyle of being an artist.
"It was never meant to be an aesthetic in much sense but rather more functional because it was an easier way to work"
You mentioned earlier it’s two different things being an artist and a designer, what did you mean when you said that? Art is like a self-expression creating your own language but I think being a designer is very much like, however, it comes with an added sense of functionality in its application in real life. It’s putting the “how” and emphasis on the experience you want from it when people view it. How did you develop your current style of art being mainly pointillism? It was never meant to be an aesthetic in much sense but rather more functional because it was an easier way to work, and me being color blind. On the topic of being responsible, do you think your Nigerian heritage impacted that in any way? I felt like at first moving here, there was a need to assimilate very quickly and adapt so all I did was shell all of that information and take in the new which allowed me to learn how to work in this new community that I existed in. Now I feel like I know all I need to know and all that shelved information is coming forward like my identity and tradition and all aspects of me being Nigerian. Who do you think inspired your development and really resonated with you in your journey? I think for me it was really Tonye Odutola, Anselm Keifer - a german artist who taught me the importance of scale and the effect it had on people and a few others. The sense of a piece of work being bigger than a person made it so much more impressionable.
Thereâ€™s A Seat At The Table, When I Get Home, 2020
Boom For Real, 2020
The participating photographers: Kareem Abdul, Siam Coy, Elena Cremona, Dimitri Dâ€™ippolito, Winston Duke, Abena Lamptey, Yolanda Y. Liou, Diego Martinez, Zerb Mellish, Latoya Okuneye, Noela Roibas, Eva Watkins
When you think about Afrobeats, Nigerian artists are likely to be the image of where your mind takes you, which we know boast a great deal of powerful and influential names. Trailblazing persona Prettyboy D-O is one that cannot be missed from the current list of influential artists from the powerhouse of african music. This New Jersey-born breakthrough artist offers a bouncy and vibrant sound that doesn’t let you sit still. These sounds seamlessly match his eccentric style, from his performance of ‘Jungle Justice’ on COLORS and other extremely successful singles such as ‘Same Energy’ and ‘Chop Elbow’ you can see the reflection clearly of this creativity. Prettyboy D-O is an artist that walks the tightrope of social commentary and experimental music, crediting his surroundings and personal influences for these character traits. Prettyboy is as interesting in person as he is in his music, with individuals such as Dennis Rodman and Sisqo as influences, his personal style and energy is distinct from head to toe, from his colourful hair to his expressive sense of style. Following the recent release of his latest project, an EP titled ‘Wildfire’ which was inspired by the Book of Revelations in the Bible; Prettyboy D-O has been able to diverge between Afro-Pop to Rap showing off his versatility which separates him from the rest! Being named as king of the Alte scene, there’s no surprise that his influence is spreading with music that creates an enthralling atmosphere. Continuing on his journey, it seems the singer/rapper has a clear aim to be the greatest and inspire people along the way, paving his own path. .
CREATIVE DIRECTOR(S) Derrick Odafi, Jessica Rushforth PHOTOGRAPHER Barbara Premo VISUAL DIRECTOR John Serunjogi STYLIST Malcolm Methogo STYLIST ASSISTANT Gloria Iyare, SET DESIGNER Jessica Rushforth, Derrick Odafi, MUA Blessing Kambanga, STUDIO Take More Photos Studio
Purple Suit, John Lawrence Leopard Shirt, Edward Crutchley Leopard Coat, Edward Crutchley Jewelry, Rathel Wolf Glasses, Stylistâ€™s Own
First, I got kicked out of school, then my mum said she wouldn’t pay my fees P: Feeling good, feeling nice. so that’s when I started making music, and my mum was like “you don’t have Obviously, you’re a Nigerian artist, to go school but you have to do well if but tell us about where you’re from you’re not going school.” exactly in Nigeria, what did you see/ experience growing up? In New York, it’s probably easier to see the structures on how to do well P: I’m a Nigerian artist, African artist, in music, do you feel like it was the word artist. I was born in New York, mum same when you returned to Nigeria? gave birth to me in NYC but she went How was it adjusting to the music back to Nigeria. I did my whole education business there? in Nigeria but I did college in New York. It was at college, I started releasing music. P: I like that question. I started music I’d say my music is very Nigerian, it talks in NYC and saw the structure, then about what I’ve been through. I moved I got signed to a label in Nigeria and back to Nigeria in 2015 when I graduated thought when I returned the structure from college and my music is like a would be the same but I got to Nigeria. social commentary on life as a Nigerian, but it wasn’t the case. I even had more as a young man or woman growing up structure than the n***a that signed me. in Nigeria. I came from a middle class In Nigeria, it’s really - get it by yourself background. Before my music was fun - and that’s what I did and that’s why I and commercial, Over time, I’ve been am the artist I am today. starting to speak the truth and make sure all my music has a message. I feel like you have a militant aura about you, do you think it comes We hear that in the music for sure. from your Dad? You mentioned being born in New York from a middle-class family. Tell P: Yeah my father is a hard man, the us about your family, what were they first time he said I love you to me was like? What was it like for them when this year. My relationship with him was you came around. always to prove to him I was worthy. Before last year we hadn’t spoken in 5 P: My mum was a cosmetic supplier, years just to let you know how hard he she was doing well and my dad was in is. I feel like I got pride from him last the military and was therefore moving year. around a lot. I spent loads of time with my mum and she was the one that I speak about it. I still do the commercial predominantly raised me. I had a very stuff, but I feel like people need to hear happy upbringing even though my the real things. I’ve mentioned it in my parents weren’t always together. I even songs before that we never spoke and I feel like I was in a whole other world at often don’t feel like people speak about that age. The most important thing for it or say that stuff in Nigerian music. My me growing up was to do well in school parents didn’t want me to listen to music, so my parents especially my mum could but I had to prove to them I was worth be happy and become a doctor. That’s doing it by praying to god and working. what I went to school for, biology. Just like in one of your songs ‘Deh How good were you at biology? Go Hear Weh’, it’s the ideology that you’re gonna hear about me. P: First semester my GPA was 4.0, I started off really good but started just P: Yeah, that’s the idea, basically the partying and watching stuff on youtube. whole country. You see my bro here I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do and I points to his manager - he is a mogul, think that was the problem. If I was doing clean digital, musical mogul. But if he a major in music, I probably would’ve came to Nigeria dressed like this, they done a lot better. . gon’ be like what’s this guy doing, is he doing fraud? Because in Nigeria all they know is doctors/ lawyers. How you feeling?
That’s what I’m fighting for, in Nigeria they don’t really respect the craft of where music can take you. I was telling him the other day they only believe doctors and lawyers are smart, I’m fucking smart, that’s a Next question, where does the name pretty boy do come from? P: D O are my initials, pretty boy comes from my mum and sister since that’s what they used to call me and I was also a big rocky fan and he would use it a lot too. What are some traits you would like in a female partner? P: Loyalty… she just has to grind for something, whatever it is, she has to have passion for it. What’s your opinion of London? P: I’ve come here often, this time it’s different because of the music and we’re up now. I love London, I love the people, it seems very African to me. It seems like home in a way. London and Lagos have a great connection, what do you feel like it is? P: Firstly, we’ve got a lot of our own people here, a lot of Africans here. There’s a whole vibe here that’s similar to Lagos because it’s very busy, very hustle and bustle. But it’s a higher level here, there’s still struggle. I love London, but at the same time, the struggle here is crazy because they don’t say anything here, it’s just internal. You have experience in New York too, and that’s also a place where you really have to hustle to make it out. P: I think the life I’ve lived, one thing I’ve learned is you can’t really regret. And if I have some sort of position, I can’t waste it. London is busy, like the underground, you really have no space and New York is just like that, and it’s like x2 not clean, it’s more gritty than London. .
Jumper, Liam Hodges Earcuffs, Rathel Wolf
Fur Coat, Astrid Anderson Leather Trousers, John Lawrence Shoes, Zander Zhou Jewelry, Rathel Wolf Glasses, Gentlemonster
Life isn’t fair and it isn’t a fairytale, so I sing about that. He’s my bro, one of the most passionate about the arts, one of the most passionate people I know. He’s one of the youngest, but even then I still speak to him. We’ve worked together on a lot of projects, he was very instrumental in the ‘Dey Go Hear Weh’ video.
Why do you feel it’s important for the new musicians coming out of Nigeria to stay connected and collaborate often. P: Important for us to make money, number one. We are coming up at the same time, and that brings us together. We are on the same mission to connect people to African music, show them that this is a new time in our country, we all support each other and that inspires each other and other artists too.
You’re a very expressive guy, how often to you change your hair colour? P: Every Month
A lot of you are getting your shine right now, but some people that may be getting lost in that are the producers. Who are some of the producers you work with often?
You spoken about making music to touch on political topics etc. What are some social things that are most important to you? Equality, everything should be equal. No classism, tribalism, racism - no isms. Equal opportunity for everybody is the number one thing I feel like.
P: Higo, DARE, Adey... A lot of the producers I work with I met on my come up, and it’s true what they say about producers getting lost or left behind, but this generation of producers, they’re fighting for their right… they are all so dope and I feel that their name and brands will spread worldwide. As I grow, my people will grow with me.
If you were to perform at a political gathering and you could only pick one song, what would it be? Chop Elbow! I made that when I was younger and it’s a bit brash. In this day and age you need brashness in order to get things done to be honest. But, because of my mother and me fearing for her life I just speak on reality, about the whole world, about my country. Life isn’t fair and it isn’t a fairytale, so I sing about that.
Another element of you are your visuals, and you say you know your movies. Tell us about people like TSE and why you like working with him. P: I started with them, and they understand my vision, not just the pictures and visuals but everything, how everything looks and feels… I am a fighter for the arts in our country, and my people, visual team, producers, all have that similar mind to fight for it too.
So if you had nothing to lose it’ll be ‘Chop Elbow’? P: Yeah, where we come from - they could just come and seize you. That’s some real shit.
Someone that’s close to us is Chuka Nwobi, and he works with you as well, what’s it like working with him?
WORDS Olivia Oberoi
Imran Ciesay, known more commonly as just ‘Ciesay’ (pronounced ‘see-say’), is one of the founders of popular photography turned fashion company, Places + Faces alongside his long time friend and business partner Solomon ‘ Soulz’ Boyede. Born and raised in South East London, Ciesay grew up in a West African household. During his preteen years he moved to Gambia with his mother, eventually returning to London after 6 years. Growing up in South London you naturally gain exposure to a variety of culture within music, especially rap, which allowed Ciesay’s intrigue to flourish. From a young age, Ciesay would finesse his way into gigs where he would take photos of the performers and crowds. His interest in music and photography went hand in hand, and he began to post his images online. In 2011, Ciesay and his partner Solomon Boyede or ‘Soulz’, started a photo project on Tumblr. What was initially a side hustle and a hobby for the two, eventually blossomed into a business – which was entirely unexpected. Whilst the idea behind ‘Places + Faces’ was manifesting, Ciesay was contacted by a distant relative to come over to New York. Using this as his chance to photograph in America, he applied the same technique in New York to gain ‘AAA’ passes to shows. Confidently stating he was from press companies, such as Vice, he would lie to managers and security, not only would they believe him but they would be honoured that someone had been sent over from the UK to cover the show.
Soulz was the photographer, and Ciesay the videographer; but once in New York, his laptop wouldn’t allow him to edit anymore, so he started photographing. The iconic Places + Faces style is a laid back, point and shoot method of photography, nothing too over-prepared, mostly capturing people in a natural setting. Ciesay loved shooting photos that he felt were compatible with everyday life, what his friends would like rather than glossedover versions often found in print. He contacted Soulz to do the same in London and they would upload content to their Tumblr - with each image captioned, ‘Place: [Location] + Face [Person]’. In 2014, Places + Faces started to gain traction after Ciesay formed a relationship with the A$AP Mob, through a coincidental bump in with A$AP Ferg in a lift. Ferg invited him to photograph behind the scenes of Trap Lord, where Ciesay met the crew and began an association with them. By the end of that year he met and shot an iconic image of Kanye at Paris fashion week, this is when the blog began to gain notoriety and recognition. Meanwhile, Soulz was paralleling this movement in the UK and photographing the grime scene. The whole operation was clever, as both hip hop and rap scenes were being covered across the globe whilst both guys were forming relationships and building up their platforms.
â€œI want people to look at the pictures the same way they look at pictures of Biggie and Tupac in the 90s, and just know that Places + Faces were documenting the culture.â€?
Introduction & Short History “We have to get away from the coldness of functionalism. It is a mistake to believe that to understand the problem of modern architecture, it is enough to recognise a necessity for rational solutions. Beauty in architecture which is a necessity and finality for our time as for past periods cannot be attained unless we can see beyond simple utility when we build.” - Mies van der Rohe
The German Pavilion also known as the Barcelona Pavilion at the (1929 Barcelona World’s Fair) built by the architect Mies van der Rohe. The building has had three lives. The first lasted only eight months. Although important edifices that were intended to last were built for the fair. The German Pavilion a was provisional structure, like the pavilions of the other nations invited to participate. Inaugurated by the king of Spain in May 1929 on the day the fair opened then demolished when the fair ended in February 1930. The story would have ended there if the architect did not have the idea of having a series of photographs taken by a Berlin photographer working under his supervision. That was the second life of the pavilion. For 56 years it only existed thanks to a dozen photos that have been taken with extreme care. Constantly reproduced and commented on, they made the loss pavilion one of the most mythical buildings of the 20th century. The pavilion’s third life started in 1986 when it was rebuilt identically on the same site by a team of young Catalan architects.
The Vilamoura House, Section, Aran Saleme 58
Barcelona Pavilion, Mies van Der Rohe (1929)
The house on the Sloping Site also known as Vilamoura House is designed by architect Aran Saleme during his studies at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Located in Vilamoura in the Algarve region of Portugal. The design of the house is the result of his interpretations and analysis of the Barcelona Pavilion. For this issue of the New Wave Magazine, both buildings are featured and compared and with illustrated images and analysis.
Location The exhibition organisers had planned to set the Barcelona Pavilion in an angle of the permanent buildings, just in front of the French pavilion. The architect refused this site and chose another, further away set against a wooded slope. The contrast between the greenery and the part down geometry of the pavilion evokes the architecture of ancient Greece that Mies van der Rohe particularly admired. This fascination with antiquity could have played a part in the choice of the site itself. Similar to Roheâ€™s approach, the site for the Vilamoura House was specifically chosen due to its sloping landscape and site qualities.
Layout It is obvious that in both buildings, the horizontal line reigned supreme. The main vanishing line of the walls are figures of speed. The line of the flat roof symbolises the modern movement with a horizontal response from the surface of the large pool, and so that nothing should distract from this mirror image. To the extent that in the case of the Barcelona Pavilion, many of the original prints have been retouched to remove any misplaced verticals. Material & Structure The concept of the Barcelona Pavilion is ultra-modern, but the materials are less so. There is no concrete but there are three different sorts of marble from Greece and Italy for the interior. For the open air and the paving; more economical than Travertine; the much favoured stone for monuments in ancient Rome is used. Mies van der Rohe considered these traditional and luxurious materials to be the indispensable complement to modernity. Here less provocative and more user-friendly. To this first deviation the architect handed a second. Contrary to the precepts of the modern movement, these materials are only a cladding concealing the proper structure of the walls. A metal frame on which are hung the stone slabs that are just a few centimetres thick and shown in Salemeâ€™s analysis drawing. The architect plays on the oppositions of ancient and modern. The chromed metal posts stand apart from the Travertine or marble bases as if to prepare for the discovery of the space that separates structure from petition. In Salemeâ€™s design, chromed spider fittings are used in the interior garden where the stairs are located by reinterpreting the similar playful touch. In one of the rare anecdotes wherein he mentions the pavilion, Mies van der Rohe tells about the shock he felt one evening when he was busy working on his plans when suddenly he had the idea of a totally new principle - a floating wall - freely placed in space not attached to anything. This wall constructed on the same principle as the others is covered in Onyx, the most luxurious of materials. That alone accounted for a fifth of the total budget of the pavilion. Similar to this, the Kitchen element in Salemeâ€™s design is a floating element. Separating the kitchen and living room area.
Visual Effects & Reflections Mies van der Rohe did not just work on plans but also used a model. He played with the position of the walls to find the desired sight lines. That was the only way he could arrange for the visual effects to be sufficiently precise and especially to make clear the interaction of the transparencies and the reflections from all the glass partitions that played an essential role in the perception of the interior the pavilion. The eye is lost in the accumulation of transparencies and reflections. The architect did not tire of the play of mirrors that augments the real space with an illusionary space. In the Vilamoura House, this notion is taken to the extreme in the design of the garage. The garage is not the hidden dark additional space of the house. By adding wooden and glass partitions, the garage becomes an important part of the house and the car parked in there becomes an object shown and totally revealed in the living room.
â€œBuilding and sense are one, but the senses are multiple. All attempts to solve the problems of architecture using calculations are bound to fail. What is beauty? It is certainly not calculable nor measurable. It is always something indeterminable, something situated between things. The artistic dimension is expressed in the proportion of things often even in the proportion between things it is a question of something immaterial something spiritual.â€? - Mies van der Rohe
WORDS DERRICK ODAFI
Personal style and poise are traits that are very rarely taught, these are attributes that are innate and polished with time, not many exhibit both traits at the level of designer and tech entrepreneur Lasha. Born and bred in North London, Lasha is one of the key members of the legendary collective Boy Better Know and one of the lead designers of Skeptaâ€™s MAINS clothing brand.
These associations are only a small part of the man that is looked at as an enigma in the fashion space, attracting interest from all angles of Fashion. Lashaâ€™s inaccessibility is something that he holds dear, keeping a close-knit circle is part of his way of life although he is surrounded by many that as synonymous with the spotlight.
You are a very enigmatic figure in the fashion industry, is this based on your personality or more strategic? Personality I suppose - I was already Lasha before being part of any industry. Nothing strategic on that part. Tell us about your background, where are you from? Nigerian and Zambian, North London born and raised. Tech background coupled with my experience in the music & fashion space. Does this play a part in your style or mentality? Naturally - I’m built off all my past teachings and experiences We imagine you were a key aspect of the development of the MAINS brand – tell us about the beginning stages of that compared to what it is now. MAINS has always had the feel of a family, it’s a small tight-knit team and the mission hasn’t changed from launch which is to make the clothes we like to see and wear. You’re one of the most interesting people in fashion, as a muse for designers in the past – why would you say they connect to you so much? I cannot really talk for other designers but from my perspective I’d say it’s taste, which seems to hold true across the board. This isn’t about having the most expensive or loudest pieces but more so understanding how to put them together tastefully.
This is not about having the most expensive or loudest pieces but more so understanding how to put them together tastefully.
Being of both Zambian and Nigerian heritage, Lasha is a citizen of the world, often spotted travelling across the globe for his business ventures and occasional fashion shows, either walking or sitting front row for some of the most prestigious houses in the world. At the start of 2020, after a string of shows for Louis Vuitton Lasha has decided to take new steps in his career by collaborating with brands such as Patta, as well as developing a new application that aims to build an authentic fashion community that champions new talent and ideas. STEELO is the latest venture that Lasha will be impacting the fashion and tech worlds, in an exciting way. We spoke to Lasha to understand a little more about the man behind this grand idea.
Trousers, Tod’s Shoes, Tod’s Vest, Repsycho Vintage Shirt by 16Arlington Necklace, stylist’s own (Kenneth Jay Lane)
70s Style Photographer Lewis Robinson draws inspiration from the pastel sculptures and interactive pieces of Franz West to produce a 70s homage photography editorial
PHOTOGRAPHER Lewis Robinson STYLIST Freya Monro Morrison SET DESIGNER Lucy Ann Fraser HAIR/MUA Rhian Webster MODEL Ruben Madelon
Coat, stylist’s own (Reserved) Rollneck by Tod’s Shirt by JW Anderson Trousers by Av Vattev Shoes by Toga Hat by Emma Brewin Sunglasses by Port Tanger
Suit, Sandro Rollneck, Scotch & Soda Zip jumper by AGR Ring by Chloe
Ruben wears shirt by Sandro Rollneck by Knitss Trousers by Nicholas Daley Shoes by Adieu Sunglasses by Port Tanger Ring by Ambush
Jacket and trousers, Issey Miyake Vest, Les Girls Les Boys Socks, Uniqlo Shoes, Camper Belt, Stylistâ€™s own (Mulberry) Ring, Tom Wood
The beauty, mastery and extraordinary discourse fashion can take is infinite. The simplicity of a singular piece can tell a thousand stories in endless forms, be it a shirt or football kit, the way we dress and why we do, silhouettes our story. Something Amsterdam based trio, better known as the Daily Paper, know all too well. Everyone from Lupita Nyong’o, Jorja Smith to Lil Baby, have donned this fashion brands pieces, and it seems it is only becoming bigger and better. Founded in 2010 by childhood friends, Hussein Suleiman, Jefferson Osei and Abderrahmane Trabsini, their collections draw inspiration from their shared African heritage and seamlessly combine modern streetwear design. Except the focus is not only on their design, but to the indispensable and enthusing projects they craft around the diaspora. Hence the name, it originally started out as a blog, where they would spotlight individuals succeeding in the streetwear and sneaker industries. Four years later the collective decided to turn their blog into a marque, and fast forward to our interview with Hussein, Jefferson and Abderrahmane, they have now created an empire. Ranging from hoodies to oversized suits, for men and women, capsule collections with Havana club, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and curiously collaborated with Zenology, creating essential oils and aromas inspired by Africa, they are embracing every industry. The most favourable aspect of their brand is their continuous homage to their heritage, they are eternally highlighting various work and industries around Africa, presenting its long due prominence to the world. In 2017, they paid tribute to the Omo Valley Tribes along the Kenya-Ethiopia boarder, including their first ever women’s collection. In the same year, they unveiled a collaborative collection which took cues from Zambian scientist Edward Nikolso. In 2019, they highlighted the “Souks if Maghreb” in Morocco, in partnership with electronic music producer Loco Dice. Tying together a diaspora that has influenced trends around the world, needed now more than ever before. Their success is exceptional, showcasing modern influence with stories from back-home, binding us all as solitary, here is what happened when we sat down with the excelling trio, Daily Paper.
WORDS Hiba Hassan INTERVIEW Derrick Odafi
The blog Daily Paper initially was a place for us to share our perspective on streetwear and the scene surrounding it and to bridge this with our African heritages. - Hussein
Daily Paper initially started as a blog, what was that time like for you guys in terms of learning about the fashion industry?
The brand has grown exponentially in 8 years, what are some moments that have signified that growth for you guys?
Hussein: The year we started the blog was 2008 and this was a time where global streetwear brands like A Bathing Ape and Supreme were really popping partly thanks to artists like Pharrell, Kanye West and Lil Wayne adopting these brands. At that time, you couldn’t get these brands in Amsterdam so I started looking at eBay and hypebeast blogs to be able to buy this stuff for myself. I quickly noticed that there was a whole market surrounding it, and it was a part of the fashion industry that nobody really paid attention to. That is when I decided to document it all through the blog. When we created our first tee’s a few years later, we looked for inspiration from our African heritage rather than following the overall trends dominating the fashion industry. In the beginning our colorful prints definitely took some getting used to here in Amsterdam, where the trend was more black and white rather than colorful but after we got our first retailers in Paris, Pigalle and Collette, Amsterdam followed suit. The journey of Daily Paper has all been a learning school as none of us has followed a fashion education to learn about things like manufacturing, production, trends etc so everything we know we learned along the way through trying, sometimes failing and trying again.
Jefferson: There have been many significant and memorable moments throughout the years for us. One of the first being when we realized we couldn’t do this on our own anymore. We outgrew our home attic to a bigger space and were able to hire staff. Another one was opening our first flagship store in Amsterdam Old West, the neighborhood we grew up in, in 2016. 2019 was a new milestone when moving from our previous office to a 1.000 m2 space. And the most recent one would be opening our first store outside of The Netherlands, on the Lower East Side in NYC in October last year.
What roles do each other Co-Founders take in the daily process of running the brand? Abderrahmane: We all have a very natural role in this game. Jefferson was always someone very sales driven and is very strategic when it comes to brand storytelling and art direction. Hussein is more into strategy and online marketing and I was the only one studying at a design academy, so it became natural for me to focus on the design of our collections. Was Daily Paper as a fashion brand always the vision for you guys? If not, what was? Hussein: The blog Daily Paper initially was a place for us to share our perspective on streetwear and the scene surrounding it and to bridge this with our African heritages. To promote the blog we wanted to create something tangible for our community to drive more traffic to the blog. It wasn’t before the tees became more popular than the blog itself that we changed our business model. Our vision of bringing Africa to the forefront and broaden the Western perspective of the continent has always been and still is our vision for the brand, but the global fashion brand it is today is not something we predicted when we first started out. 86
You derive your ideas from scenery in Africa. Where and what in Africa are your favourite sources of inspiration? Abderrahmane: For all our seasonal collections and campaigns we travel to different parts of Africa to gain inspiration and scout local talent. Our main sources of inspiration have definitely been the countries of our origin; Ghana, Somalia and Morocco, but the whole continent is a never ending source of inspiration. We always look to the past, present and future of Africa and it can be anything from Ghanaian outdoor advertisements and innovative technology coming out of the continent to old proverbs, symbols and nature elements - to name a few. Your self made story is very inspirational, what are some of the points that built the most character for you guys? Hussein: First and foremost we’ve always stayed very close to ourselves. We were very much aligned on the fact that we wanted to create and design a world we were interested in and welcome others to join this as well. We all grew up in Amsterdam but have roots in Africa, and like many other young diasporans, we didn’t know that much about our own origin. When we grew up people weren’t particularly proud to say they came from Africa and we saw people around us distancing themselves from their roots. We wanted to see a change in that and knew we had to implement our backgrounds in our collections and show the world something new.
So many superstars have worn your clothes, what were some that really excited you guys?
Who are some designer’s you guys have studied during this time to find Daily Paper’s niche?
Husseein: It’s cool to see how much support we gain from different types of creatives all over the world and how they make the brand their own. A great moment was seeing it reach the Latin market with major artists like J Balvin and Bad Bunny wearing the brand. Artists like Lil Nas X and his stylist Hodo Musa are super creative with our garments which is cool to see and Gunna incorporating our Van Gogh collaboration into his own art with music is another highlight. Other exciting moments have been talents that we admire wearing the brand like Issa Rae, YG and Elsa Majimbo to name a few.
Abderrahmane: We never really looked at other fashion designers or trends. We were more inspired by Africa next to our own surroundings, music, art, youth culture and the street scene in metropolitan cities. We understand your first Pop Up in Amsterdam was a defining moment for the brand, please tell us about that. Jefferson: This was of course a defining moment because it was the very first time consumers really could interact with our brand. A physical space to connect with our growing community.
Your brand has definitely helped change the perspective of Africa, what are some of the key misconceptions that you guys are most passionate about changing through your brand?
Daily Paper is very much respected for its Art Direction and Creative direction, what are some of your favourite examples of this?
Jefferson: When we were growing up around the 90s and 2000s, Africa was often associated with poverty and war rather than all the creativity, culture and diversity coming out of the continent. The continent has so much to offer in terms of talent and creativity but also innovative solutions within technology and entrepreneurship. People should also realize that Africa is a huge continent consisting of a large mixture of languages and cultures - even within a single country.
Abderrahmane: Storytelling has always been important for us. The way we communicate and reflect our collections with our campaigns to the world always comes with a message and every collection and campaign has its own uniqueness. Some of my favourites are the SS20 campaign shot in Ghana last winter, our FW19 editorial shoot in the Moroccan desert and our SS19 campaign shot in South Africa to name a few. It’s hard to choose a favourite!
As an African inspired brand based in Amsterdam, what are some of the opportunities you guys discovered early on?
Daily Paper is a world recognised brand now, stocked in some of the most sought after stores – If you don’t mind sharing, who was your first stockist?
Hussein: We quickly noticed that we were not alone in wanting to acknowledge our heritage and learn more about where we came from and with Daily Paper we saw that we had the opportunity to unite other young diasporans to do just that. There was a big group we catered to that didn’t necessarily feel represented earlier which was a gap that we could help fill in.
Jefferson: Pigalle and Collette in Paris. How difficult was that process of finding the right one and coming to the right terms? Jefferson: It was definitely a new journey. We were very specific in the choice of stores that would carry Daily Paper. Both Pigalle and Collette were two of our favourite retailers so we felt comfortable with these two being the first stores to represent our brand. Going to Paris was the more strategic choice after being rejected by retailers in Amsterdam. At the time, what we did was a new thing in Amsterdam and not everyone was ready for it yet, which is okay, but after we got Paris on board, doors opened faster for us here too.
When taking the brand to new territories in terms of garments, what were some of the biggest learning curves? Abderrahmane: To learn to treat every new territory as its own. You can’t assume that your best selling styles in your own country will perform the same in a new market. You learn that your consumers are different in every terrority.
The continent has so much to offer in terms of talent and creativity but also innovative solutions within technology and entrepreneurship. - Jefferson 89
Self Projection Photographer: Comewell Puplampu Stylists: Alive Lujilbula - @a.cco & Paola Maniglio Makeup Artist: Mandy Lubasa Hairstylist: Tamara Gocharenko Model: Raquel Quitirna Modelling Agency: Titanium
Dress: Roksanda Shoes: Prada Earrings: Stylistâ€™s own Necklace: GCDS
Top: Bevza Skirt: Jiri Kalfar Hat: Agne Kuzmickaite Earrings: Philippee Ferrandis
Dress: Rue Agthonis Earrings: Philippee Ferrandis
Beautiful things in life come in threes; The Holy Trinity, Primary and Secondary colours, Pyramids. The number three is synonymous with increase, expansion, and growth. In numerology, the number three is described as a number that resonates with creative self-expression, social interaction, and optimism. For our 9th issue based on the theme of Excellence, we decided to present to you three extremely talented and alluring women that have many similar connotations to the number three. The number three had been described as a designer’s best friend, a number that drives critical thinking in art, fashion, and architecture. In art, the rule of thirds – derived from the golden ratio - elevates composition and helps the attractiveness of what you aim to communicate. The rule gives you a guide for placing focal points and increase its compelling nature. Also, the idea of a Tryptic has relevance in the art world which is a set of three works curated side by side, many fine artists such as Francis Bacon, Rothko, and Andy Warhol have adopted this motif to present their works to the public. Leah (left), Eva (middle) and Tanatswa (right) are women that are not only picturesque but are craftswomen, linguists, and designers that excel beyond the confines of their beauty. All three of them are exemplary black women that have inspired many to become greater than they already are, in one way or another. ‘What is the meaning of Ternion?’, you may be asking... Ternion simply means a group of three or a trifecta. Derived from Latin etymology, Ternion also has a second meaning of being a section of paper or a book containing 3 double leaves. With this cover story, we aimed to deliver an elegant and powerful depiction of the black woman in both a classical and modernist.
The looks, combined with our set design for this cover story, were cultivated to present 2 sides of our models of classical beauty and a modernist edge, trying the two together in a way that presents the duality of the black woman in today’s era. Jewellry was a key aspect of this story, dressed in fine gold necklaces, rings, and bracelets, an ode to Ancient Egyptian culture which held the power of women in high regard. Ancient Egyptians believed that gold was an indestructible and heavenly metal that would conduct energy from the sun and raise levels of consciousness and spirituality. We had the privilege of speaking to our three cover stars about their personal views on industries such as modelling, fashion and creative writing, as well as tapping into their younger selves and walking the path that led them to the women they are today. Our discussions also seek to tap into their vulnerability as individuals, something that is relatable to most that take the time to consume their points of view. Being women of profile and recognition, we felt the need to tell the stories of each of them that many may not be privy to, finding common ground between them and to our readers. These ladies are extremely ambitious, creative and inspiring. Many of their goals are dedicated to helping others and improving their quality of life as they continue to flourish in design, creative writing, and fashion for years to come. Our Ternion cover girls are the ones to watch this year as they steadily build empires in their respective fields.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derrick Odafi, Jessica Rushforth PHOTOGRAPHER Rhys Frampton, PHOTOGRAPGER’S ASSISTANT Danny Walker VISUAL DIRECTOR John Serunjogi STYLIST Lily McMurray, STYLIST ASSISTANT Gloria Iyare, SET DESIGNER Rita Ade SET DESIGN ASST. Maryiam Sanyang, MUA Tara Emily (Tanatswa), MUA Mata Marielle (Eva), MUA Yolanda Dohr (Leah), HAIR STYLIST Amanda Toto (Tanatswa), HAIR STYLIST Shemaiah Aimi (Eva) HAIR STYLIST ASST. Osezele llenbs (Eva) HAIR STYLIST Toni Malcolm (Leah) PROD. MANAGER Teresa Mwangi RUNNER Siobhan Martin
Dress: Nicola Bacchilega Tanatswa Dress: Nicola Bacchilega Leah Dress: Kata Haratym
Tanatswa is one of our Ternion cover girls for various reasons, one of them being her resilient work ethic, which has seen her do amazing things over the past few years. From being a highly sought after model to being a talented creative writer that communicates raw emotion in a sharp yet alluring manner, she has proven to be a powerful force to pay close attention to within the creative industries. Growing up around art, especially that of her origin, her vision of who she wants to become and her self awareness has been a part of development from being a young girl to becoming the multi talented individual she is currently. Tanatswa credits a lot of who she is to her parents and their emphasis on where she comes from, speaking to her about this, she says, “My parents made it very prominent, you’re Zim, you’re always going to be Zim”. At the age of 16, she already had an obvious creative flair. Along with fashion, modelling was one of her main interests, taking after her mother who also had recognised Tanatswa’s passion for the craft. Tanatswa remembers the moment of getting the harsh realities of the industry from her mother as both bitter and sweet as although it was difficult to hear, it has played a part in her successes thus far. She cites one of her biggest lessons as just listening and finding the truth in her mother’s words. Looking for an entry point into the creative industries, Tanatswa studied ‘Fashion, Media and Promotion’, which would satisfy both her visual and writing interests. Her first inspirations in the realm of fashion were Grace Jones and her mother, who’s jewellery and handbag collection drew Tanatswa into that same obsession. As for Grace Jones, she says “ I’ve just YouTubed her every day since I was little.” Tanatswa is known for her confident persona in front of the camera and an individual that teeters between sexy and classy. Although she doesn’t see herself as very elegant when asked what her most elegant trait is she pointed to her ability in being able to have a conversation with anyone, a key skill in any line of work or personal relationship.
Although she doesn’t see herself as very elegant when asked what her most elegant trait is she pointed to her ability in being able to have conversation with anyone, a key skill in any line of work or personal relationship. After taking a while to adjust to reading and writing after relocating from Zimbabwe at the ages of five to nine, she hit the ground running, excelling in literature from a very young age. Finding her strengths in literature gave her the confidence she needed to continue her passion for writing, which she often keeps to herself at this point in time. Tanatswa began to take her writing seriously during her first year of University and in times of need for inspiration, she often looks to her friends to get her creative energy back where it needs to be. As she currently works on various literature and visual projects, she aims to create a psychological thriller, to tap into the mind of a dark-skin black woman, discussing the perceived idea of these women being very strong at all times, but that’s not always the case. Because of her many talents, Tanatswa uses her modelling career as a stepping stone to many other endeavours, the end goal being to solidify herself as a businesswoman. However, before then she aims to be at the very top of the modelling game for many years to come, opening the doors for young women just like her. She aspires to develop a fashion university in Zimbabwe to help the upcoming scene of creatives flourish and during our discussion she states “I wanna put Zim on the map for sure.” Already with a rapidly growing following and working with the likes of Leomie Anderson, M Huncho and many more, as well as planning a new book release of her creative writing. The sky’s the limit. We had the pleasure of speaking to her about her past present and future as well as what excellence means to her.
(Leah) Top: Noku Noku Trousers: Song For The Mute Shoes: Asos
(Tanatswa) Top: T Label Trousers: Song For The Mute Shoes: Topshop
(Leah) Dress: Kata Haratym Cuff: Wolf and badger
(Tanatswa) Dress: Nicola Bacchilega Necklace: Alighieri Earrings: Alighieri Bracelet: Alighieri (LH) Ring: Phine (RH)
Leah Alexxanderr Caine can be described in many flattering words, however, the word that describes the multidisciplinary creative the most is fluid. In both her personal life and creative endeavours, Leah is known to be as fluid as they come, able to adapt to almost any situation when necessary. As one of our Ternion cover stars Leah is a well-known model that began her career in that industry at the age of 16, following heraspirations of being an athlete as a teen. Her interest in both sports and the arts are perfect examples of Leah’s fluidity as an individual, unable to be put in a box. This aspect of her personality is also evident in her sense of style, being quoted saying ‘ I might wear a silk dress one day I might wear a tracksuit. I feel like on a casual day, I wear mostly men’s clothes, like tomboyish and if I’m going, I’ll go all out. ‘ Leah is a fine artist alongside her modelling career. Although she delves into many forms of art, one of the most notable is her ‘Fluid’ art, which is a mixture of acrylic paint on a canvas that naturally flows on the surface to later create a beautiful expressionist painting, reminiscent of a marble texture. Leah is a great example of a young black woman paving her own way in society while breaking boundaries and stereotypes. Aiming to be a good example for young girls that may look up to her, she often thinks about opening up the minds of those that look up to her and believe that anything is possible with passion and self-belief. Her trust in her abilities is almost contagious as she advises those interested in trying something new to “Just do it and stop thinking about it.” Although she is a very sought after model for major brands across the world, Leah enjoys the journey she can be a part of when shooting with friends or small businesses and watching them blossom. Although many in her position may be guarded in that department, growing up in a household with both parents that are are free-spirited and open-minded, she applies these traits to her life also by not always sticking to a script and doing what is most fulfilling rather than what may be expected.
As the oldest of three girls, traits of leadership and independence are not too foreign to her. Leah is known to be an avid traveller and credits it as a big part of her growth as an individual, she often cites her close friends as the best people to share these experiences with. Another impressive feat Leah has accomplished at such a young age is starting her own homeware business. Taking the leap and learning on the job, Leah creates amazing homeware items that take an uncanny resemblance to her artwork. Her pieces are excellent for any individual interested in beautifying their home. Leah is not interested in stopping there, with big ambitions to grow her product base and create in the interior design space. When asked about her vision for herself in the next five to ten years she says, “I don’t feel like people should look at me and think, ‘Oh, this is what she does. She does this.’ I mean, I do a load of things. I just decided that I’m gonna do it, and I did it. So it’s just a thing where it’s like, what are you going to do next? “ Her willingness to learn and be productive with limited resources is something to admire, stating that online resources were key starting points when navigating her way through her start-up. Leah says, “Don’t feel like you need to have every perfect, most expensive resource in order to do things. Yeah, I mean, like, there’s always a way around something. I was literally using £3 acrylic paint and water. Just think, I want to try this thing, then obviously, the more that you can do if you sell your pieces, you know, you just level up. Just try... And don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m talking to myself as well.” With such an impressive resume already, we spoke to Leah about her experiences in the modelling industry as a black woman, her interests in fashion, and what excellence means to her at this point in her life.
Dress, Ballard Ballard Shoes, Glamorous
A vast majority of people involved in or aware of the creative industries have come across the model, philanthropist and public figure that is Eva Apio. At the very young age of 20 years old, Eva has already accomplished great things in her industry and inspired thousands of young girls to break boundaries and follow their own path. Although many see Eva as an individual that has excelled greatly, she still maintains a burning desire to do more and achieve to her highest potential. Eva’s notoriety has grown astronomically in the past year as she engages with her base consistently and develops her personal endeavours, however, her journey in the industry began at the tender age of six. Coming from a family with full knowledge of the modelling industry, Eva has previously described her entry into modelling as something she simply just fell into. Like many of us, Eva was inspired by a woman that came before her and took the steps that she soon followed, her mother. Eva’s mother was a previous winner of Miss Uganda, her country of origin, and moved to Germany to work while Eva would live with her Aunt in Uganda. The world of fashion was a consistent influence for Eva as her Aunt was a fashion designer and would work with Eva as a muse for her work. During this time Eva would begin her own journey in modelling, doing campaigns for major companies such as Coca Cola. Eva’s mother would later relocate from Berlin to London, and at the age of 10, Eva joined her mother and continued to shoot. However, Eva would later pivot and stop modelling to find her own path rather than follow in the footsteps of her mother, from having the same name to the same career path - Eva felt the need to find herself naturally and receive what the world had to offer to her. Years later, her father would take the initiative to sign Eva up for a casting. Initially having a negetive reaction to this Eva eventually decided to honour the invitation. Eva would then sign up for a year and later looped to other agencies to take her on. Writing down her agency preferences, her father would then drive her to every casting only to be met with no success due to the industry criteria of height.
Standing at 5’5’’, Eva is one of the rare individuals chipping away at the rigid requirements for models in the fashion industry. After many turned her down because of this, Eva is currently signed to one of the biggest agencies in Los Angeles, California. Since making her way through the UK modelling scene, modelling for friends such as Ciesay of Places + Faces and Danika Magdelena, he has also worked on campaigns for brands such as Daily Paper, Cold Laundry and H&M. Through developing her personal brand and expanding her influence in the fashion industry, Eva has built great relationships with amazing heritage brands such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry and is a frequent feature on fashion week blogs and articles, recognised for her ability to switch from street style and sneakers at Paris Fashion Week to well fitted, sleek dresses and Heels at the Brit Awards. As a young black woman with already so much responsibility, Eva has been vocal about her struggles with anxiety and being under the microscope at an overwhelming rate. However, she consistently aims to be a great example for young women by encouraging them to be as comfortable as they can be in uncomfortable situations, and maintaining the capacity to keep going at a point where all signs lead to giving up. With spectacular ambitions to build facilities in her home land of Uganda and making a way out for children going through uneasy childhoods and poverty with her Apio Foundation and developing her own clothing brand, which already has a great amount of anticipation. Eva has proven that she is more than just a beautiful young woman and has built herself into a businesswoman with amazing potential to make a considerable impact on many young women and creatives. We had a conversation with Eva about her journey thus far, social issues and learning her craft as a DJ.
[NOTHING]/ RISK Life and death exist within a moment shared and halved and folded into memories that fade with every breath and broken silence. I feel like itâ€™s risky to exist. ...Itâ€™s easy to perform though. Routine leaves a bitter taste in our mouths... But the thought of failure has cut many throats. We were taught to consult our size when cutting coats for the winter, never knowing that the stubborn cold would affect our growth like so. For how long will we be left outside? For how long will we subject ourselves to the lacklustre love of the lethargic? A string in the throat of eternity, A speck in the one eye, and a plank in the other. - Xuestlove
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derrick Odafi, PHOTOGRAPHER Elena Cremona, PHOTOGRAPGERâ€™S ASSISTANT Vilmar Red, STYLIST Malcolm Methogo, MUA Aofie Hipkin, STUDIO Take More Photos Studio
T-shirts: Stylist’s own Trousers: Stylist’s own
South West London’s Kasien has been redefining the UK music scene ever since his early SoundCloud days. Having recently unleashed his debut EP, ‘I Found Paradise in Hell’ earlier this year, Kasien continues to progress in his momentous career, implementing his unique influence to generate a sound like no other.
Although Hip/Hop and R&B came from his parents, Kasien would find another genre of music that he would identify with as an adolescent. Kasien describes this period by saying “I was just looking for something different to identify myself with. At that point in time, my parents had just broken up and I felt weird, I just wanted to lash out.”. At a young age, Kasien began to grow tired of being the person he was and became rebellious to authority. At this point is where he found his new interest in metal, as it expressed exactly what he was feeling. He would listen to Lincoln Park and music that were rap infused but also rock-influenced, which represented his group of friends at the time.
Kasien is already a staple figure within the upcoming new wave of music, collaborating with the likes of Kelvin Krash, Cadenza, Daily Paper, and many more. He also went on tour with London-based fashion/ photography brand, Places Plus Faces back in 2018 which took him to sold-out shows across the UK. Kasien’s story is one of rebellion, perseverance, and passion. Coming from a Nigerian-Jamaican home, his mom and dad broke up early so he lived with is mum and her family, which influenced him heavily in terms of his Nigerian heritage. Being rebellious in school, he was kicked out of school and moved to Nigeria for three years, from year 9 to 11. This was the beginning of his strong relationship with the city of Lagos and the creative talent coming from Nigeria. Kasien’s active and animated character in his music can be traced back to all the cartoons and wrestling shows, with one of his early role models being wrestler Triple H, he would be entertained by as a child. In our discussion with Kasien, he stated “I’ve always wanted to be a character. Shit like South Park - that definitely fucked me up as a kid (laughs), you know what I’m saying? Watching them things when you’re in like year 4. It’s a mixture of South Park and Eminem that fucked me up early. I just started knowing certain things and saying certain things.”
As a youth Kasien was also very involved in dance, which is no surprise based on his high energy performances and tempo on the microphone. The first times he ever was on a stage in front of people have been from dancing. It was the first time he interacted with a crowd. The energy from these shows made him feel comfortable. In our discussion, he also recalled a conversation he had recently by saying “when dancers count, like “one, and two and three”, lowkey that’s kind of helped my flow when I’m listening to music, because I’m finding little pockets, it’s like flow is almost like dancing”. A key period of change and Learning for Kasien was during his 3 years in Nigeria. During that time, he remembers still being a rebellious kid, but after being there for a while he began to adapt, he started to realise that being a rebel in that environment was a losing battle, so he started to calm down and started doing better academically. Over the years he began to develop a talent for rapping, but he just didn’t take it seriously and was content with people knowing that it was something he could do. With praise from his peers, after a while, he began to realise that it was something he wanted to do as a career. Since the beginning of his career Kasien has continued to grow steadily, speaking on key moments in his life on his music and experimenting with all his influences on his projects. A career shifting project in Kasien’s catalogue is his collaborative project with close friend Kelvin Krash.
As he grew older, music continued to be a big part of his life, most notably through his father. His father would throw parties around London, with people like Tim Westwood, Trevor Nelson, Manny Norte, and DJ’d on choice FM, now Capital XTRA. His father pioneered the scene of black talent alongside Semtex. Kasien has many memories of just growing up in his house and always hearing music. Kasine remembers this time by saying, “Every single wall of my house was full of vinyls. My earliest music memory is Bone Thugs & Snoop.” Kasien would get the best of both worlds of the budding genres at the time, his mum is a big R&B head, so that was exposed to him from her, and all the hard hip-hop music would be from his dad.
Coat, Stylist’s Own Trousers, Stylit’s Own Boots. Stylist’s Own
Trousers, Per Gotesson
PHOTOGRAPHER Diego Martinez Chacon, WORDS Blessing Borode & Diego Martinez Chacon
We met with the Gasser Brothers, twins Marco and Fabio, in their studio in the Spanish coastal town of Sitges, near Barcelona, and caught up with them about their short film Eclipse and their working dynamic as twin directors.
What are the negatives that come with knowing each other so well? Directing is so personal how do you balance the duality? GB (M): well the bad thing is that you can come to depend too much on each other’s opinion and we end up stepping on our own toes. If one of us says we don’t like something the other might take it too seriously and throw it away, or we end up in a grey area not really being able to decide. This happens the most early on in the creative process.
Who are you and how did you start directing together? Marco: We’re Fabio and Marco Gasser, brothers from Switzerland. We moved to Sitges, Spain around 2001. We never planned on working together and we had different interests when we first started. I started by doing graphic design and other things, then eventually through a friend, I started getting into videos.
What’s the creative process when getting started on a new project?
Fabio: I started by studying sound design, did about three years but realised it wasn’t for me. Marco had already started getting into video and I found it really interesting too.
GB (M): It’s hard to say. It all really starts and depends on the original idea. Sometimes it can come from a song we both like, or whatever really. Just any impulse that comes and we can sort of talk about, we’ll snowball the energy until we end up with something that really excites us.
What was the first project you did together?
What was the process of making ‘Eclipse’?
GB (M): My first experience was shooting a small video for a festival. We ended up shooting some footage of Busta Rhymes and Steve Aoiki, just shooting loads and hoping to put something together in the edit. Planning wasn’t a huge deal for me early on, I just went in shooting and then in the editing room I started realising directing was the best way to gain control of what I wanted to make visually and conceptually.
GB (F): We were in a good space around the time we started that. We really wanted to tackle a more serious and personal project and we were in the headspace of wanting to focus on human consciousness and the environment. Obviously there are loads of films and filmmakers out there who do that already, but it still feels like there’s something missing when it comes to bringing frontline social issues to the screen in a way that resonates both visually and creatively.
Our first serious job was with a bicycle brand in Barcelona, who we’re good friends with now. They were small jobs really, but we always took them very seriously. We ended up even travelling with them around Spain, then shot a race in London and eventually went with them to California.
GB (M): The star of Eclipse, Olouy (Yao Dapre Nicol), was actually a big influence on the making of the film. We did a photoshoot with him for a sunglasses brand and we saw him dance and were blown away by how talented he is. After that we started thinking we could take the narrative of Man’s relationship with the environment and merge it with dance. Then we established the music and that was basically the base of the film. It was important for us to know what the music was going to sound like before shooting or planning anything at all.
Obviously you guys are twin brothers as well as a directing duo. What’s the twin telepathy like? GB (M): It’s weird, some twins can’t stand each other but we’ve always been really close. It’s kind of easy working together, I always know what he’s thinking and he knows what I’m thinking GB (F): We can tell immediately when the other one doesn’t like something, it’s very instinctive and it helps with making decisions.
We were in the headspace of wanting to focus on human consciousness and the environment.
Can you guys explain some of the symbolism in the film? The dancers, the butterflies, the desert, etc? GB(M): The dancing circle dressed in blue essentially represents the Earth. It’s a world that wakes up when the protagonist wakes up in the desert. The world starts turning, and when he traps the butterfly, the world stops. We had that butterfly scene from ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ in mind and we really wanted to try something similar. It often happens with us that we have the final image in our head, the real work is just figuring out how we’re going to make the script get there. GB (F): We’d never worked with a visual effects team before, the main problem was how are we going to fill a room with butterflies?
Who did the special effects? GB (M): A studio called AD4, we were very lucky to have them on board, they were on board from the beginning but it was really complicated. A digital butterfly is hard to make and we actually had to direct the butterfly and determine all of it’s flight patterns and emotions, how nervous versus how confident it would be and so on. We were lucky that the studio was very intuitive and could visualise what we were trying to explain. What was it like mixing film with digital footage? GB (F): That was our first time shooting on 16mm film so it was a great experience. The way film is able to capture colour is just unmatched, it’s a shame it’s sort of getting overused as a trend these days but it really is spectacular. We knew we wanted to mix some stock footage in as well so obviously we had to shoot on film in order to make the mix look more seamless.
How did you find the location for the film? GB (F): We filmed it in the Monegros desert in Northern Spain. The building structure is in Igualada near Barcelona; it’s a cemetery made by a famous architect so it’s a real work of art. We’d shot there before for a different project, so we knew about it already. We had it in our heads straight away that it would look great having a circle of people dancing in there. Our idea for the climax of his ‘awakening’, if you will, when he sort of gravitates towards the middle of the circle, just seemed to really complement the architecture of the place.
That scene is great. GB (M): The movement in that scene was directly influenced by the classic Spike Lee style of movement, when he has his characters sort of gravitate above the ground. That scene is really the essence of the whole film - the protagonist really wants to be at one with the Earth, his home, but he needs some form of rebirth to get there. At the end of that rebirth, when he makes it into the circle, there’s freedom.
TALENT Yao Dapre Nicol aka. Olouy PRODUCER Jana Balcazar DP Fabio Gasser STEADICAM Ricard Haro ART DIRECTOR Aida Rodriguez COSTUME DESIGNER Alba Miquel STYLIST Ana Fuentes EDITOR Xavi Trilla (Martes Studio) VFX Eighty4 SOUND DESIGN IXYXI COLOURIST Julia Rossetti (Eighty4) CREDIT DESIGN PIEL
Directed by the Barcelona based twin directing duo Marco and Fabio Gasser, Eclipse is an audio-visual experience that follows a manâ€™s evolution and personal growth towards self awareness as he struggles to justify his place in the natural world. 140
Eclipse deals with the idea of Manâ€™s inherent yearning for spirituality with the Earth, and the question of how humanity struggles to find it. The film is a fresh and creative take on the broad and often dully relatable issue of contemporary environmentalism. More and more often do social activists often backtrack progress by promoting mob mentality towards change and disengaging the necessity of informed individuals. Eclipse is a testament towards the power of individual (brotherly, in this case) creative expression as a tool for social change and how the arts can both relate current societal sentiment and promote an agenda of positive and thoughtful decision making.
Premiering as the Brotherâ€™s second independently made short film piece, Eclipse has garnered several notable recognitions and established them as stylised filmmakers with the ability to execute. Conceptually, the thesis of the film optimistically follows convention by drawing on a broader sense of human belonging and moral responsibility, as well as natural longing for unity, to make an argument for environmental consciousness. The Gasser Brothers explore this through the beauty and fluidity of the art of dance, using movement and bodily energy as the medium through which they express the human desire for unity with the Earth, interpreted by the filmâ€™s lead Yao Dapre Nicol, better known by the name Olouy. That being said, the real power of the message within the film is that it reiterates the fact that humanity has a choice. Playing on that idea, the film makes very simple but seamless symbols of contrast through light and dark, life and death and movement and paralysis. It also relies on a montage of found footage and detailed editing to deliver the story as well as a very mature choice of locations. Shot in the Monegros desert, the landscapes are vast and arid, and the film climaxes in the enclosure of a Brutalist structure of striking architectural beauty.
Narrated in the Yoruba language in a parable-like form, the voice is a personification of what would be the voice of Mother Nature, the higher being that guides (or is supposed to, anyway) human life on Earth. Using the imagery of a real eclipse, she recalls that light can be covered by darkness but it can always become light again, the same way our choices can affect our lives and the lives of others to either liberate or destroy.
With music provided by WEVAL, the experimental short film explores these concepts through rich symbolism and striking cinematography. Although not immediately apparent, the philosophies become clearer and clearer as the film goes on until we realise that the story is presented as a full circle story of humanity, seeming to start at the birth of human consciousness. Olouy’s character wakes up in the desert, surrounded by lifeless human bodies. We then follow him as he journeys across the desert, loses himself, and eventually regains spirituality. At the middle point of his journey, he rejects nature, represented by his action of covering a butterfly in darkness. The Gasser Brothers seem to be showing us that point as a commentary of where we may be finding ourselves now, if we can believe that their protagonists’ story is a parallel story of human kind’s. That we have suffocated the natural world in fumes and plastic is surely true, though it’s very unlikely that our story will be as redemptive as the Gasser Brothers have allowed their film to predict. WORDS Blessing Borode & Diego Martinez Chacon
“You arrived to this world pure and innocent…”
CREATIVE DIRECTOR(S) Derrick Odafi/Diego Martinez Chacon, PHOTOGRAPHER Diego Martinez Chacon, VISUAL DIRECTOR John Serunjogi STYLIST Clea Brockes, STYLIST ASSISTANT Adena Gordon, SET DESIGNER Jessica Rushforth GAFFER Derrick Odafi MUA Aoife Hipkin, HAIR STYLIST Amanda Toto CREATIVE PRODUCER Jessica Rushforth STUDIO Take More Photos Stuido
Dress: Rue Agthonis Jewellery: Artistâ€™s own
“I am good, just adjusting to lockdown” drawls Jetta, her soft voice, still heavily laden with her Liverpudlian accent despite vacating the city over eight years ago. It’s early November, London is thick with the gloom of dark clouds and sorrow moods, as we settle into the first few days of the second national lockdown. This time, however, much to the star’s approval she’s able to physically go to the studio “which makes it a lot better.” Following an array of mishaps, like Jetta dropping her phone in the bath, we are finally able to come together through the use of tech for a chat about her career journey, lessons, and hopes for the future. During our conversation, there is a recurring theme around Jetta’s insistence or habit of immersing herself wholly into musical and creative experience. She touches on one of her first memories, and how she remembers being a small child around the age of three or four, laying on the floor with her eyes closed, as the accapella quarter formed by her mum and mum’s friends, would create music in their living room. “There was something magical and special about watching them build covers of songs, or their own original pieces, solely from the use of their voice.” Now, much older, the art of immersion is what has enabled her ability to remain creative, particularly through the current climate - “I’ve been putting together sort of like an exhibition space, in my home studio that’s just like the inner workings of my brain and it’s what I wake up to.” Jetta is a musical powerhouse, she produces and writes all of her own music, and traces her abilities to the informal education received from her parents. With a sound engineer as a father and singer-songwriter mother she saw the intricacies of all sides of the process growing up, which influenced her own path into the industry. There is a unique eclecticness to the sonic of Jetta’s music, which is hard to pin down to a specific genre. Her key to achieving this is the tunnel vision approach she has to her work, and not drawing comparisons or inspirations from anything but her own feelings and judgement.
Bodysuit: Di Petsa Bralet: Di Petsa Shoes: Tabitha Ringwood Necklace: Di Petsa Rings: Artistâ€™s own
Top: Graci Peps Tights: Stylist’s own Shoes: Tabitha Ringwood Gloves: Artist’s own
CREATIVE DIRECTOR(S) Derrick Odafi, Siobhan Martin, PHOTOGRAPHER Caz Dyer VIDEOGRAPHER Azeez Bello STYLISTS Les Studios STYLIST ASSISTANT Jacklyn Agu, MUA Jessica Noire, CREATIVE PRODUCER Jessica Rushforth MODELS Kehinde Martns, Kozy, Owen Edobor
Dancing for change: Exploring the Complex and Inextricable Link between Social Activism and Music
Social justice movements and music have long been entwined, successfully creating a powerful social commentary. For as long as musicians have played to an audience, music has been tied to social and political change. Alongside this, comes the artists, who often take on the role of “activists.” In 2021- an age of immense political divide and urgency for serious change, where wokeness is used as a form of social currency and cancel-culture is used and abused, how are artists today using music and visibility to make a real difference, and when does this turn stale? Furthermore, when artists do miss the mark, it begs the question: can this blind fascination with celebrities as idols and figures of change do more harm than good? This notion has recently been reiterated by soulful RnB songstress Ray BLK, who highlighted the importance of seeing actions from executives, music labels and companies, to put into action the change needed to combat racism and sexism in the music industry. “I won’t think anything is going to happen until I see commitment. Putting up a black square or saying, ‘We stand with you’ does absolutely nothing,” she states. Ray BLK’s experiences growing up in South London have fuelled her confidence to address covert racism head-on, as only action will bring about the necessary change. “If you want to enjoy my culture, part of my culture is unfortunately my struggle. I want to call people out. I don’t want to see your banner or your coloured fist emoji. It’s time to act.” Looking back through history, protest songs such as Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” are just some of the many that raised awareness, inspired change and remain just as moving today. Spanning genres from jazz to techno, musicians are still creating spaces for change both on and off the stage.
Whether its performances that push political boundaries, or workshops creating dialogues between educators, learners, artists, activists and scholars, we are inclined to shed some light on some of the many who are best demonstrating this today. The Black Lives Matter movement was brought to the forefront of the news after the death of George Floyd in May 2020, which amplified the ongoing police brutality towards Black people and systemic racism in the U.S. and Worldwide. With Ray’s willingness to talk about social injustice, she sat down with MusicWeek to discuss her thoughts on the #TheShowMustBePaused initiative. This movement was prompted by two Black female music executives (Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang) and intended to disrupt normal proceedings in the music industry and on social media.
Whilst chatting with me last year, she discussed the protests she attends, music fundraisers she organises and how supporting social justice movements inspires her to write and create music, and vice versa. “I want more people to know about these issues and get involved with them as well,” she comments. A perfect amalgamation of how music and activism are tied together is her extremely powerful song “Yarl’s Wood”, which she wrote the same day she came back from protesting at the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, a Women’s detention centre in Bedfordshire. Using recordings of passionate protesters chanting throughout the track and layering them over punkinfused jazz breakdowns heighten the already extremely emotive lyrics to enormous effect.
Music is a vessel used to explore identity and create community, and as stated by Juliet Hess, “music rooted in identity politics is inherently political.” It positively facilitates education on specific issues and can expose important structures of oppression and marginalisation. However, a huge concern when using music to explore oneself, is the expectation of artists of colour to engage with politics in their work. Hess also highlights, “while the work of white artists can “transcend” identity, paradoxically the work of artists of colour cannot. It is important to account for these power dynamics when considering what the arts might offer to both politics and (music) education.” We must remember that while music and activism will always be linked, musicians are not always equipped to be dubbed “activists,” particularly Black, Indigenous, and artists of colour. Musicians, for the most part, are neither leaders nor In the same vein, Jazz powerhouse political organisers, just passionate Jelly Cleaver has lots of experience people fighting for a cause in their own in community organising. Getting into ways, just like the rest of us. activism six years ago after moving to London, she is extremely inspired by all the causes she supports. Without falling victim to praising the “good celebrity”, Chicago born rapper Noname seems to fit that category due to the very fact that she rejects this completely. She dedicates herself to the fight for radical change, and publicly learns alongside her fans, making mistakes and holding herself accountable, creating spaces where others can do the same. Aside from amplifying politics in her music, Noname also created a book club dedicated to uplifting POC voices. This is a great example of creating a space, building a community, and passing the mic. Each month, the club highlights two books written by authors of colour, also sending them to incarcerated comrades through their Prison Program. Here, Noname is relinquishing her power and rejecting her status as “celebrity” – everyone learns together.
WORDS Megan Warrender & Daniella Francis 179
Olan Collardy is a well recognised cinematographer that has made his name in recent years, working on some spellbinding visuals that always have a distinct visual identity. Born in Nigeria he relocated to the Uk at the age of 15, Olan’s first career was in a completely different industry before finding his feet as a filmmaker. Studying Computer Science, Collardy would code for major companies as his day to day and later found time to pick up a camera and sharpen the tools of a passion he has always had. Citing films like ‘Mother Of George’ as early influences for him, Collardy’s work is an infusion of his passion for art, culture, and style. His unique attention to detail and aesthetics coupled with his ability to craft light enables him to capture the dramatic and compelling images he sknown for. Being a member of a Jazz band years ago, Collardy describes filmmaking as assembling the right team. After you assemble that team you have to be able to set rhythm or beat. “Let’s say you are at a bar one night and you see a dope bassist. You ask him to come round on a Tuesday night for a jam session.” he says while describing the role of the director. “He is more of the drummer or the keyboardist, they set the beat, then you start running the bass, then the trumpeter and saxophonist starts going.” The diversity of his work is exemplified in a range of television/short drama series, some notable names Collardy has made look immaculate in frame are; Burna Boy, Wiz Kid, Jorja Smith, Raye, and many more. From fashion films to commercials for luxury brands, Olan’s extensive Vimeo portfolio is a world of creative excellence. Previously creating his own work as a means to an end, Collardy now prefers to work alongside amazing directors to help them execute their vision through his impressive eye. When asked about this approach, he states “My approach to filmmaking is holistic and I have sensibilities to all these departments and with all the directors I work with I feel like my voice is being heard in terms of that department. And the hassle is too much man, I want to turn up and shoot and go home.” Through his work, Collardy aims to change lives through feeling and inspiration for those that look to take a similar path to himself. Speaking on his past career path, he says “I left my 9-5 because I felt like there was more to life than waking up and paying bills. Not to say that people can’t find their purpose in that 9 - 5 but mine wasn’t there.” On a more personal level, at the end of his career, he aspires to have an ASC or BSC at the end of his name, a great finish to an already outstanding career full of accolades and awards. In an extensive interview, we speak to the man behind so many of our favorite visuals to get an insight into his craft and what has led him to this point, as well as some points about the film industry.
We want to start with a bit of your background and talk about you before being a filmmaker. What was your background, where are your origins from? O: I’m originally from Nigeria, born and bred in Nigeria. I spent my formative years in a small town in Nigeria called Ibadan. I came to the UK when I was 15 or so. I went to college here, did my sixth form. I majored in, I suppose the sciences, so I did maths, physics and computer science. I wanted to work in the IT sector and also it was something I’d always loved, so when I was younger I’d liked computers, whether that was playing computer games. I just liked the immediacy of computers and also the creativity that comes with computer. Is that something you did in higher education? O: I studied computer science at UCL in London. That went well, and shortly after university I went on to work in the city writing software. Seems a long way away from what you do now, how did you transition into cinematography? O: Along the way, I think in 2011, kind of around the DSLR revolution where everyone and their mums were shooting on DSLR’s. I think I was fascinated by the idea of these very interesting images that were very different to what I grew up with. I mean DSLR’s, you know you have these really shallow depth of field and trying to make the ordinary very magical, so I was kind of drawn to that, and I remember buying - I bought one which was meant to be just like a hobby to get myself into photography and I think that’s what opened up I suppose the Pandora’s Box, or my Narnia. Just once I picked up that camera there was no looking back, and what I mean by that is that it just opened my eyes to. What are some distinct points in your journey that have lead you to what you do now? O: When I look back at my childhood, I was very interested in the arts, I was the third out of four kids, I think I spent a lot of my time entertaining myself in my own world, so I was into drawing, painting. Also when I was young, we took music lessons as well, so we took piano lessons and I remember when I got to the UK, I did play into that, I was part of the jazz band. I had creativity in all aspects in my later teens, I dabbled in creative writing, I used to write a blog, I’ve written two novels, even though I can’t write anymore to save myself. Then shortly after university I had a passion for fashion and interior design, so now when I look back at my timeline, it’s not coincidental that image making and filmmaking somewhere I ended up because when you look at a camera, when you look through the viewfinder of your camera, for me, it’s all about how I can create these images using my sensibilities that my narrative, creative writing is relevant for what is in front of the camera, what does the face behind the camera look like? What are they addressing? What’s the occasion this character is in? What kind of music is in that scene? Down to what kind of font we have on the screen, so I think for me, filmmaking is a combination of all these creative endeavours pursued in my younger days.
That sounds like a very interesting journey. O: it’s very tangential, it’s very unexpected and unorthodox but when you look at things holistically from all the things that I did try out it kind of did make sense that I ended up where I am today. So that’s kind of my background, where I spent time practicing my art form alongside my working job for a very long time. Was it more you trying to escape or was it you more like exploring you being you in all different aspects? O: I think that’s a very good question. I think it started off as an escapism, so film to me was a way to have something called personal resilience, you have something that you day in day out, it’s always good to have something else that takes you out of that world and for me filmmaking or photography or the arts space was a way for me to break away from my 9-5 and the craziness that comes with that world. The passion you have when you have a hobby or when you discover something new, I think that helps me truly feel my creative space and my longing to want to excel in that space. I think one thing I also have to mention is the fact that because I had a 9-5, I think I could afford to be kind of picky with what I did and when I did what I did, because I can imagine if I came straight out of uni and went straight into filmmaking and film was a way for me to survive and also a way for me to express myself, I think there would have been some sort of compromise in terms of how, I express myself and how long I could keep on making films What gave you the push to really get into the image making process? O: Initially it was me self-expressing and me exploring my creativity and me using that as a vehicle to get away from my day to day, but over time I think I got lost in that Narnia, in that fantasy world where my real world became kind unattainable, I don’t want to exist in that. I don’t want to exist in that vanilla world, I need to stay in this world kind of forever.
What elements of the computer science world do you still use today in your filmmaking, if any? O: There is some overlap in terms of computer science and coding and filmmaking. There are a number of elements I suppose, the first one, I’ll start with an individual, there is a creativity to writing code. Writing code is problem solving, in ways you arrive to an answer, there are multiple ways you can create a solution to a particular problem and it’s the same thing when you are on set and you’re making a scene or you’re about to take a picture of a particular artist, or you’re about to shoot the scene, you know what you want to get and the multiple ways you can get there. So you don’t have to think of the worst case, the best case, the average case, and work out what’s the most effective way for you to get there. I think that helps me be a bit more pragmatic when I’m on set, so if a producer says, we need to shoot this scene, we have x amount of time, we have x amount of money to afford whatever kit we can and we have x amount of people to do it.I think that logical step by step thinking can help me perverse that particular problem and still come up with something that is effective in a timely manner.
We loved the direction and your execution for the Octavian ‘Rari’ visual, what was it like working with Crowns & Owls, and how quickly did that visual come together?
You recently shot a TV pilot and have many short films under your belt, are there any storylines that have really resonated with you?
That was mental. I still don’t know how I shot it but I did. Crowns And Owls, who are the directors on that, are up there when it comes to thinking about incredible ideas, the work they have done with Slowthai is incredible. I remember seeing that treatment and saying “I don’t know how you guys are looking to shoot this but somehow we will figure it out”. Something that was somewhat refreshing was that they felt the same way. It was one of those projects where everyone on board was an Avenger, a superhero in their own right, from the editor to VFX artist to the prosthetics makeup artist and of course the director. It came out so dope. You were nominated for Best Cinematography at the Berlin music video awards, how does it feel to be acknowledged in that way for your work? It’s always refreshing when people celebrate your work and give you those accolades. It’s something I try not to focus on and not think that if it doesn’t get nominated it’s not great work because some of these things are also very political. you can’t let that be your benchmark to good work or not. It was great to have been recognised in that regard, it is always welcome when your work gets nominated, even if it’s not for cinematography, even if it wins Best Narrative, etc, it is always nice to be on a project that people recognise. 186
I’m not a director but sometimes you get scripts or stories that you get invested in. My dream would be to only work on stuff that I resonate with although that is not always the case. In all the work I’ve done I’ve always looked for part of myself in the project. one of the most rewarding ones was ‘Appreciation’, it was a story where I was able to latch onto something. when you as a DP or anyone in the crew brings a part of themselves to the project I think it shows. With ‘Appreciation’, us bringing part of ourselves to the project and letting that permeate into the fabric of the film is selfevident. I think Appreciation is one of the pieces I’ve shot in recent years that I am extremely proud of and resonate with the story that was told.
In your film for Dazed Beauty titled ‘Process’ there was a beautiful shot of a young individual putting their face in the water, how was that amazing shot achieved? Process is one of those things that you shoot and think “This one is good’’ and people think “ Oh Shit, that guy is sick” [Laughs]. This was another line in the sand that meant that when I reach a particular mark in the journey to becoming a good filmmaker, I think Process for me was another one of those benchmarks. Just in terms of the celebration of that work and what it meant. I think when you create work that means something to people, to me that’s excellence like I said earlier. Process for me is beautiful but to me, it’s more about what it meant to most of the people who were watching it, how it made them feel, and the transportation to self-recognition and self-acceptance. Kudos to the director Rhea Dillion, everything we shot was something she had preconceived and story-boarded. It was a case of me thinking about how to shoot it. That particular shot was a very difficult shot, you had a perspex of water that you had to hold onto and put the camera underneath and shoot it. The problem with that rig was that it wasn’t very stable, and if it falls it will ruin the camera. If they made a story about your life, who would be the DP? If Bradford [Young] should shoot it, it would be cool. There has to be something, there has to be some sauce. It doesn’t have to be too clean or over lit, there just has to be something there. I’d like for them to be able to channel how I see lights and textures in imagery.
New Wave Magazine Issue IX is our latest publication based on the theme of excellence. Featuring Afro-Fusion artist Prettyboy D-O on our cov...
Published on Jan 29, 2021
New Wave Magazine Issue IX is our latest publication based on the theme of excellence. Featuring Afro-Fusion artist Prettyboy D-O on our cov...