EDITOR IN CHIEF CHARMAINE MAINOO CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ADRIAN RICHARDSON - ART AND CULTURE DAME K - ART AND CULTURE MICHAEL NDEBUMADU-ART AND CULTURE EMMA WHITEMOSS - FASHION OLIVIA ALESSANDRA - FASHION
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS ELINA PASOK David Oslan Hitomi Soeda Martina Simeonova Daya Tocareva
Night and day, Ying and yang, good and evil, the list is endless. Where there is life there is balance, an opposing side. A gun in hand, destruction may follow, the trigger Is pulled, the damage is done, There is no tomorrow. Shed no tear, it’s far too late for sorrow you see, what’s concealed by darkness, shall be exposed by light now, watch as wondrous things comes to light I Smoked The rose from whence blood drips, Let’s call it “the realm of Guns & Roses a love hate relationship”… Adrian Richardson
CONTENT 6-11 Hitomi Soeda Fashion spread 12-16
Sharaya j interview
18-21 Christian benner Interview 22-25 Efren Isaza interview 26-31 Martina Simeonova fashion spread 32-35 Rosie Emerson interview 36-39 Hazel Lyon interview 40-45 Kane interview 46-51 david oslan fashion spread 52-53 Liron Kliger interview 54-57 minkpink interview 58-63 Elina Pasok artist spread 64 -69 Gary Carr 70-77 Erwin Blumenfield article 78-80 black history finale 82-85 Daniel Jones 86 - 87 Meet Dame k 88-91 oliviaâ€™s Aw/13-14 92-93 top productions
A Peacock Up Above
PHOTOGRAPHY:HITOMI SOEDA STYLING MAYU YAUCHI MAKE UP: RINO KAMIKITA HAIR:YUUK @ SUPER SONIC MODEL:ALENA G @STAGE TOKYO MODEL AGENCY LOCATION:SHIMOKITAZAWA_TOKYO_JAPAN
SHARAYA J Interview by CHARMAINE MAINOO
There’s an amazing buzz surrounding the name Sharaya J. And it’s no wonder. The name belongs to an undeniable talent, topped with a quirky sense of style and beauty. According to Vibe magazine, the buzz is valid. Vibe recently described Sharaya as ‘ Hip hop’s one to watch’... So, I have to ask the question... Who is Sharaya J? How would you describe your self in 5 words? The 5 words I would use to describe myself are BE, AUTHENTIC, NEVER, JEOPARDIZE, INDIVIDUALITY! The acronym of course :) Mainly because the BANJI movement represents who I am as a person. I genuinely have a connection with those words because I try to live by them. It’s been a long time since I really got excited about a new artist.You really are a breath of fresh air! When can we expect your debut LP? Thank you so much! I don’t have an exact date yet for the LP, but I will say that we are definitely taking our time and focusing on creating something great. I wanna make sure that the fans are getting a crazy body of work and it’s important that it happens organically, but anything great takes time and special attention! The ‘Banji’ and ‘Smash up the place’ videos (released this year) are super dope! The tracks are really fun and up beat and the video’s reflect this well. Can we expect more party music when the LP drops?
You guys can absolutely expect more party music! That’s what we do! I am a dancer so I’m always going to have some joints you can get busy to! The choreography in both are sick! I understand you are an established choreographer... with films such as Step Up 2: The Streets, and Step up 3d and a portfolio full of the industries biggest names under your belt, what inspired the transformation from Dancer to Hip Hop artist? Yes, I was in those movies but not as choreographer. I’ve always been in love with HipHop and music in general. When I ran into Missy Elliott, I was at a point in my life where, although I was extremely grateful for such a great dance career, it also started to feel like a ceiling creatively for me. I always believed that if something begins to feel like a job, then you should move on. The first time we met she asked me if I was an artist, I told her I was dabbling in it and she offered to take me under her wing because she thought I had star quality and talent,-that’s still surreal to write). That moment began my transition. Your fashion sense exudes confidence, it’s a bold statement. How important is fashion to you? Who/what inspires that? Fashion is def important to me because it’s an expression of who I am. I wear whatever I want. I hate to follow trends! But I am inspired by the 80’s and 90’s baggy jeans and door knockers! I like to wear baggy clothes because I believe that there was a time when women were still sexy in big clothes and were respected for their talent first. Plus I’m a dancer, we stay in sweats and sneakers! (lol)
“Man, I’m still pinching myself when I think of how blessed I am to be working with the musical genius that is “MISSY ELLIOTT”.
Photo Credit: R. Ettinger S. DeAngelis
I read you have done some screen writing? Is that something you intend to explore more? Yes I have done some screenwriting and enjoyed it! If that’s where my creativity takes me next I’m open! But for right now I’m 100% focused on making great music! You are one of the first artists signed to Missy Elliot’s ‘The Goldmine Inc’ label, in some time. Missy is an amazing artist. How does it feel to have greatness behind you? Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Man, I’m still pinching myself when I think of how blessed I am to be working with the musical genius that is “MISSY ELLIOTT”. She has given me so much wisdom and dropped so many jewels on me, I’m still in awe of her. I have never met a person more passionate about music. Of course it gets overwhelming sometimes, but it’s a small price to pay to have a person like her on your team! We are both perfectionists so she definitely pushes me to reach my best potential especially because she feels I’m capable. I’m grateful to have her as a mentor! I love the Banji movement, for those who don’t know...what is Banji? How did the idea come about? The word BANJI is an acronym for Be Authentic Never Jeopardize Individuality. It’s a movement to inspire people to be fearless enough to be who they are. It’s about being leaders not followers and embracing your own uniqueness. It came about after Missy and I had a meeting with some record execs. After the meeting they agreed that I had star potential and good records, but I needed to wear sexier clothes, put on some pumps, and get a weave! (lol). Now, I live for a good weave, but that’s
just not who I was. I wanted the world to get to know me, the real Sharaya J. And I wasn’t gonna compromise how I looked. Right then I realised that I was gonna create a movement that celebrated individuals! I came to Missy with the idea and she loved it! Okay, so to end this interview, I’m going to ask you to finish the following sentences... I loooove...cheese. If you wanna piss me off...be lazy. I can’t live without...Jesus. My favorite place in the world is...the stage. I’m listening to Nada on my ipod right now…I’m still on my CD kick! If I could work with anyone it would be...too hard to narrow down, I respect so many artists! And finally...I want the world to know...That I’m BANJI CERTIFIED BABY!:-) http://www.sharayaj.com
Christian Benner interview by Olivia Alessandra
After lusting over his work on Instagram for months and months, mentally dressing myself in the coolest of cool garbs, wondering exactly how important is it to keep a roof over my head if I had one of his leather jackets, it is my greatest pleasure to introduce to you Christian Benner. This man is extraordinarily down to earth and ever so humble considering all he has achieved with his work. He really puts his everything into all of his pieces and I am now the proudest owner of one of them. Holding a winning mix of a sense of humour, great style, and being humbly generous, I could not be a bigger fan. First of all I’d like to thank you so much for allowing me an interview, always appreciate someone lending some precious time. So, let’s get down to business - talk us through your beginnings... Its pretty wild how it all started. I would always go out shopping for myself, and could never find anything. I was always against the main stream, and purchasing items that someone else could potentially own. So finally, I took it upon myself, to start buying pieces, and transforming them myself. I started wearing them around, and immediately people would ask me where I got them. At this point, people were giving me their own shirts, boots, and jackets to be altered, turning them into their own individual pieces. What made you jump to create your own label? After some time, I felt it was time to develop my own brand. I saw a small graffiti sign down in the subway station, and it read, “don’t get paid to live someone else’s dream” and it literally hit me. I wanted to create my own form of art, something I love to do, and be able to -
put my own name on it. There is nothing more satisfying than someone appreciating a piece I created for them. What’s your work ethic? I’m a huge creature of habit, and I have my own form of rituals. I like to wake up every morning, and watch the sun rise, and sit outside and try and clear my head. I then like to spend at least a few hours walking around Manhattan, taking in all the inspiration I can. I’m a big people person, and I love getting into random conversations with people, and learning so much. I then get back to my studio, and really have my “alone” time and start to work. I found myself working best by myself, blocking out all distractions. Music is a huge inspiration to me as well, and I go through phases by the week, whether its a ‘70s stoner rock phase, or a ‘90s grunge phase, I put on a good record, and start working. What’s the average journey length and process with any given piece? I have a huge case of OCD, and always at all times have a million different things going on in my head. I never can work on just one project. I will start working on a jacket for a few hours, get up a few times, work on a t-shirt, and at the same time, thinking about what I could do next.I tend to get really excited, and want to see the outcome of all these projects at the same time, so I’m literally going in circles. There are times where my entire bed is covered in different projects, and I find myself literally living with these pieces. One of my biggest fears is “time” and I never really like to put a set time on when I should be finished with something.
How do you know when it’s finished? Like I mentioned, I literally live with these pieces during the creating process. I can work on something, and put it down for a few weeks, when I don’t feel the time is right with the outcome. Going back to my OCD, I can never walk away from something until I feel the right vibe from it. I will never put my name on something that I don’t feel is right... Personally, I can never look at clothes in a shop without imagining how I might destroy them and pull them apart somewhere along the way. At what age did you first realise clothing design doesn’t stop when it leaves the factory? Well I have never been a huge fan of wearing any type of graphics. I always found myself wearing t-shirts inside out, or ripping off any labels that give off where the piece came from when I was younger. And now that I look back on that, I’ve come to the realisation that in today’s society, a lot of people judge your character on the labels you wear. I want to be able to take a piece that nobody would ever even look at twice, and turn it into a high fashion piece. I have had the most amazing conversations with homeless people that your average person would just step over. Everything has beauty in it, you just have to look. What’s your favourite piece? My black leather jacket. It is a second skin to me... Have you ever over-destroyed something, and had to trash it? All the time. I’m constantly experimenting with chemicals. The people in Home Depot think I’m absolutely insane.
I have had shirts literally fall apart in my hands while washing them. It becomes very entertaining, and I found myself really learning about different fabrics, and how they react to certain chemicals... How did you dress as a kid? And how did your style change over the years to get to where you are now? I was your average kid in high school, and never really thought twice about what I was wearing. It was actually the middle of the year in 10th grade, and a friend dared me to wear the same pair of jeans for the rest of the school year. Of course, I wanted to keep my pride, and I did it... Did you ever imagine the crazy success and high demand for your products? I didn’t start doing this for any type of fame, and I actually still think to myself “I wonder if people like what I do” I just want to make people appreciate what I do, and see my work as an art. There are a lot of the same “cookie cutter” type products out there, and I want to do the-opposite. I feel a true artist will create something no one else has ever seen, and take a huge risk by putting it out there. How does it feel when you see the likes of Brad Pitt wearing your clothes? In my mind, I create for everyone. I am the worst with modern pop culture, and try to stay away from any tabloids…I put so much into what I do, and whoever owns one of my pieces, owns a piece of me. Finally, if you weren’t designing clothes, or working in fashion, what would you be doing?
I would love to live in the middle of no-where, maybe in the mountains, and live off the land. I create all of my own stress and anxiety trying to keep up in the face pace world, I would love to just be able to not have a worry in the world, and enjoy my surroundings for what they are. Check out: http://www.christianbennercustom.com
EFREN ISAZA INTERVIEW BY Charmaine Mainoo
Your work breaks the mould of traditional fashion photography. It’s a refreshing change. How has your varied working background (industrial engineering, fashion design to graphics and photography) influenced your work? Undoubtedly, either consciously or not, these disciplines, altogether, including painting and drawing, which I used to practice since I was a child, have influenced my work. I think there is no different way to feel and live life, than through your own point of view and experience. In my case, these disciplines have been my means of expression and have driven me to break and blur the boundaries of traditional photography, but none of them are the essence of my work, I am more concerned for the final image and the emotional journey anyone can make through it. What materials do you use in your work? Any material that serves to my purpose: canvas, wood, photographic paper, aluminium, surgical tapes, indian ink, acrylic, pigment, watercolour and so on. Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works? Anything can inspire me; from an ordinary, simple, poor, and seemingly superficial thing, to a beautiful, bombastic, psycholog ical and philosophical topic. One of my favourite pieces is the ‘Frida’ series, tell me about this? The Frida series is made up of approximately 30 final pieces, which I shot in 2007, and up to date only 5 of them have been displayed in my exhibitions, so there are many to be seen.
I usually avoid trend topics. I had always heard of Frida as a “commercial thing” to explore, so I was never interested enough in knowing about her, though her work was so intriguing to me. Once driven by curiosity, I could know more and got inspired by her entire world, the confusing and contrast life, her disabilities and the high psychological content of her oeuvre; which I cite and alienate my way in new compositions full of poems, patterns and symbols. Which piece of work are you most proud of? Impossible to define- a new piece is a new creation and as such, it is the object of new interests, new approaches, new experimentation, and each one has its own reason for being in my process. Each finished artwork means plenitude at the time, but is no longer the same once I begin to create a new one. What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have when creating new work? There are no routines or patterns. There is a different kind of connection with each artwork, so an arsenal of new emotions can guide me when creating. You are officially one of my favourite fashion photographers, along side Tim Walker, Helmut Newton, David Lachapelle and others. Do you have a favourite artist? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work? There are a lot of well known fashion photographers, some of them really creative and unique - but I’m more attracted to artistic movements, painters, poets, writers and any person who makes me see and feel things in a different manner.
Can you remember one of the first things you drew/sculpted/painted/photographed etc.? What makes it memorable? Obviously my first oil painting when I was six a painting of my mother. It was really epic for a child to deal with oil with no professional guide and getting a good result - one year later I began taking private classes. What’s a typical day like in the life of Efren the photographer? Actually, I am pretty much down to earth, and a family oriented guy. On my days off, I live a normal life; I usually paint, draw, sculpt, read or exercise and stay away from celebrity world and media, which I avoid as much as possible. When working, I keep myself focussed on my goal and dealing at the same time with models, makeup artists, producers, stylists. Do you have any hidden talents? I sculpt, paint and draw, maybe future exhibitions can have some pieces alongside my photographic artwork. Are you working on any projects that you would like to tell us about? Currently, I am working on a huge production inspired by Catholic virgins in South America and it’s influence on people and also a photographic production in the Colombian countryside and the way transgenic GMO seeds will affect peasants lives and our lives. What advice would you give to up-and-coming photographers wanting a career in fashion?
I have always approached fashion photography in a different way, so maybe I am not the right person to give advice. I just follow my thoughts and my Latin roots - being Colombian and loving my country has given a special feature to my work - I am not so influenced by the fashionable heiretics, cold and dark aesthetic. http://www.efrenisaza.com
Photography: Martina Simeonova Mask and bra top Handcrafted by Martina Simeonova Model: Georgia Cohen
Rosie Emerson INTERVIEW BY Charmaine Mainoo
Your work is stunning. I was blown away by a piece titled ‘Shrine #5 ‘...(An image of a graceful figure draped in regal attire with headgear, which I can only describe as fit for an empress! There’s also a series to this...) What was the inspiration? Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work? Thanks! Yes it’s a particular favourite of mine too. I love early portrait photography, especially anything with sepia tones, or hand colouring. I wanted to feed this aesthetic into my work in a contemporary way, and create portraits which were almost not there, over exposed and like floating ghostly Goddesses. For the Shrine series I wanted to get away from creating works on the computer, I made all the head-dresses by hand and then I worked with Becky Palmer, who is a wonderfully talented photographer, the bodies are also painted and then the final works in they are all hand screen printed. The colour comes from walnut wood sawdust, kept and posted from Dad’s workshop in Dorset. My Inspiration comes from all directions, from nature and its silhouettes and textures, it could be to a line in a poem which might trigger something. visit a lot of Art and Photography exhibitions and love fashion. I visit a lot of Art and Photography exhibitions and love fashion and costume design and museums like the Wallace Collection and the V&A. I’m always intrigued by artists who mix different mediums, you’ve managed to create a whole new genre of art. What materials do you use? I use a lot of different techniques and mediums; I enjoy the energy created by mixing mediums.
Currently I am working with Screen-prints using charcoal powder, ash and sawdust, but I have used everything from etching, embroidery and gold leaf to digital collage. When did you start to experiment with art? From a very early age. I come from a very creative family; my father is a cabinetmaker, and my grandmother an abstract painter. It is something which has always been encouraged, I feel very lucky in that respect. Can you remember one of the first things you drew/sculpted/painted/photographed etc? What makes it memorable? One of my earliest memories of something I made was an illustration for a William Blake poem, it was a tiger made of tissue paper, it got put up in the school entrance, I was very proud! What’s a working day in the life of Rosie like? Never the same, which is great! I have an incredibly chaotic mind, so my day is usually dictated by my diary and various lists and meetings. I try to set aside strict studio and research time, being in the print room is great for this as there is no computer. My creative time is very precious to me, as I have to fit it around all the day to day running of the business side of things. So no day is average, I can be doing anything from wrapping and delivering artwork to life drawing. Like most self-employed creatives, it requires having two, quite different heads and juggling a lot of different balls, its hugely rewarding and I feel very lucky to able to do what I love everyday. Do you have any rituals?
I walk my dog ‘Prince’ every morning for about an hour and a half, this ritual really sets me up for the day. I find it walking very good for getting my thoughts in order, and for developing ideas, it is probably the most creative and useful tool for my work, by the time I get back I can’t wait to get started. What item can you not be without? My Diary, nothing would happen without it, and everyone would get very annoyed with me! What secret talents do you have that not many know about? Endurance dancing!? Not sure that qualifies as a talent, but I once did a charity dance-athon, and managed to keep dancing for 19 hours, although I’m confident it was not the best dancing you’ve ever seen!
What would be your favourite piece of work to date? Ooh really tricky one. My favourites change all the time, I am really enjoying the direction my work is taking. I just did a portrait of Lillian Gish which I particular like, although I think ‘White Knight’ was quite a turning point in my work, and the Austrian model, Nina Braunsteiner has such a powerful androgynous look, and the way she melts into the background also really helped inspire the ‘Shrine’ Series. Are you working on any projects at the moment? At the moment I am working on a private portrait commission, which I am excited about. I am also completing some new hand-finished screen-prints for The Other Art Fair, which is taking place at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane over Frieze weekend, and for Battersea, Singapore and Seattle Affordable Art Fairs all later this year.
Check out Rosie’s website: http://www.rosieemerson.co.uk
Little Owl by Hazel LYON EInterview by Emma Whitemoss
So, tell me a little about yourself... I have always been very interested in art, design (including interior) and photography. For many years I was a partner in a mosaic business which we started by selling mirrors and small mosaic brooches at craft fairs in Edinburgh. This then quickly developed into designing and making commissioned floors and panels for private and commercial customers. We also ran mosaic classes in our workshop...Iâ€™ve always needed an outlet for my creative streak! However eventually my desire to travel got the better of me, so I qualified to teach English as a foreign language in 2008, which opened up the world to me and in turn developed my passion for photography. Over the years I have taken thousands of photographs of the places and people I have met along the way. I have particular interests not only in landscape and wildlife photography but in also the detail and beauty that can found in everyday objects we walk by (and often ignore) in the city streets...I take my camera everywhere I go. I dislike the feeling of not having my camera with me when I see an image I want to capture. However I am now beginning to learn how to appreciate and understand the merits of a special moment more and more without the distraction of a camera!
How did the idea of combining photography with jewellery begin? And the name ‘Little Owl’ come about? Making jewellery using my photography simply came about from liking large unusual pieces of jewellery, the amount of photographs I had sitting on my computer, a need to have something creative (and potentially money making) to keep me occupied between my travels, and the love of taking on a new challenge...Little Owl by Hazel Lyon was born! The name was suggested to me by my partner, Owls are pretty cool and in fact one of the few creatures I haven’t yet been able to get a photo of...there’s an irony I like. I also have a large ceramic owl that was crying out to be a mascot. It goes with me to every craft fair! Does each image you use in your designs have a special meaning to you? Certainly, I can remember exactly where the images I use in my pieces were taken and even the emotion I felt when I captured it. There is a story behind each piece which I have found that customers love to hear. It can not only personalise the piece to me but it can provoke an emotion or connection for them too. I have a piece I have called ‘Going home’. I took the photo as I was driving south down Vancouver Island after 3 months working away. It is a photo of the road tapering ahead, pine trees towering at the side of the road. As I was telling the story behind the photo, the person that bought the pendant totally related it. I love this aspect of my work, I get great pleasure for the people I meet and discuss my work and their own travels with.
Tell me more about your jewellery and how it is made... My photographs are encapsulated in resin and set into silver plate to make pendants, rings, earrings and cuff links. Prices vary between 5.00 and 15.00 so are hopefully affordable to most. I either use the entire image (and keep it photographically real) or I may crop the photo down to get the minutest detail. I love that you need to pick up the piece (they are also tactile as the images are encapsulated in resin) to take a really good look so as to workout what the image is.
I also take this a step further by changing the colours making the image almost beyond recognition. For example I have a close up of daisies taken in Moor Park, Preston which I have supped up with bright yellows and blues for impact. I also make one off commissioned pieces. I can put a customer’s special photograph into a pendant or make several images into a modern take on a charm bracelet. Past commissions have included maps, wedding, baby and honeymoon pictures and recently photos taken in a favourite place. So where are you currently selling your designs? So far I have mostly been selling through Lancashire based Craft Fairs organized by ‘Crafty Vintage’, Let’s Get Crafty’ and ‘Riverside Vintage’ in places like Clitheroe, Whalley and Preston. My most recent fair was at Brockholes Nature Reserve, a beautiful place on the outskirts of Preston that is teeming with wildlife and open space. It’s the perfect setting for me and my work. I do however want to spread the Little Owl wings and get my work into Manchester, Cheshire and Wales I also sell through my Facebook page and will hopefully soon have an Etsy page up and running. Apart from more unique and gorgeous jewellery, what can we expect to see from you in the future? Recently I started making cards using my photography. Perhaps this will lead me into selling my photography on a larger scale...
Check out Hazel’s Facebook page and be sure to ‘like’ it!! https://www. facebook.com/little.owl.by.hazel.lyon
Interview by Dame K Good guy who all the girls can talk to. – And believe me you’re gonna wanna! First off I’m struck by his positive energy, openness, he has a great vibe about him, easy going, very easy to talk to and we laugh a lot during this interview. Young, confident and successful, at only 18 years of age, this young man has it all going on; Kane is a singer / songwriter and a producer! Kane how did all that come about? When I was younger I used to listen to my Granddad a lot, he used to work with Dennis Brown, he’s a reggae artist. I was five / six and I would listen to them and sing along with them. My granddad had built a studio and I used to love singing along. That was my inspiration. When I got to school they had the same equipment as my granddad and I thought ‘I know how to use this’! I was in Year 10 and we had to pick our options, so I chose Creative Arts of Music diploma, it covered all round the industry – photography, making clothes music & performance. When I was 15 my voice broke and I started sounding good. From then I had vocal coaching, before that I could kinda sing but nothing special. So when I got to college; The Institute of Contemporary Music, I did music performance. It was sick. I’d never played with a live band before then. It opened me up.
What was the first song you ever wrote? ‘Baby Keep Shining’. I was bout 7 / 8 when I wrote it. My granddad played guitar and I sang along. Has anyone ever heard it? Family have heard it. He (granddad) tries to bring it up in front of people now and get me to do it and I’m like nooo! What have you been up to recently? I’ve been doing a schools tours for three / four months. It was good though man going there seeing them being inspired by me. Because we are of a similar age it’s good. I told them yeah you can do what I do. It helps them. What type of schools did you go to? Couple of girls schools. Oh my god, It was mad. Some girl dropped to the floor and nearly got trampled on, I nearly got dropped to the floor. You’ll need your own security soon! Yeah. We went to mixed schools too, I went to one in Newton some of them were far, three hour drive staying in hotels that’s was exciting. I felt like a real star being on tour. What’s your proudest achievement to date?
It would have to be performing at Summer Love Festival in Ayia Napa. All the big names were there. Tinie Tempah, Angel - I was haa-ppy! Yes! Partying non-stop! But it was work as well. It was a fun experience. Plus I’m 18 so it was a good time to go. How do you feel about being described as a young Usher? Oh – when I read that I was thinking, wow. I was always playing him in the house when I was younger. I read somewhere that you want to put RnB back on the UK map. How will you do that and why? Well putting out more. Me and the stuff I like listening to, I’ll experiment with it. R’n’B has got lost with the dance. I read somewhere that you want to put RnB back on the UK map. How will you do that and why? Well putting out more. Me and the stuff I like listening to, I’ll experiment with it. R’n’B has got lost with the dance. What was the best advice given to you? Double S said to me ‘You are the only one that will stop you from being great.’ He said it to me on my 18 birthday. Who, in the industry would you like to work with?
Angel. I met him in Ayia Naper. He is very creative, he writes and he produces his own stuff, he’s very cool. Where would you most like to perform? Oohhh er, a big festival. Glastonbury, coz my mum said to go – she used to go a lot when I was younger, but has never taken me yet. If your life were a movie; which title would tell your story? Dreams. Coz I’m trying to turn my dreams into reality basically. How close are you? I’m 70 % there. I got work still, growing still, I got space to grow. How often do you sing? Every day. I spend most of my time in the studio. Is it all work and no play? Ayia Napper was it was a bit of both. But as I get bigger its gonna be more work. I have to make sacrifices. So when not working what are you getting up to? Chilling with my friends. Watch a film, order some pizza and junk out. Play some ps3, just chill with everyone. I’ll invite about seven of my friends and we’ll watch t.v.
So when not working what are you getting up to? Chilling with my friends. Watch a film, order some pizza and junk out. Play some ps3, just chill with everyone. I’ll invite about seven of my friends and we’ll watch t.v. If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing? I like food. I’d make my own restaurant. My mum can cook really good, she teaches me. I’d open a restaurant with my mum. If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be? Country. Country? Wow. Yeah. I like Miley (Crrus) and Billy Ray (Milye’s dad), I like him. What makes you get up and dance? Anything that has a mad beat. Certain r’n’b, certain dance, Chris brown. I like him. How do your songs come to you? I could be walking down the road and a melody could come into my head, I’d be like I gotta record that on my phone. Then I’d write to it. Or I could be in the studio there could be beat there I like and I think what kind of feeling does the beat have? So you’re latest single Raindrops has been gaining a fantastic reaction and great success. Totting up over 54,000 views on youtube!
Yeah, I’m over the moon! I was looking at it, took my eyes of it for a couple of hours and when I came back the views had gone up, people talking about it, people having little wars on youtube. It’s good. I was gob smacked and I couldn’t take it all in at the same time. How did Raindrops come about? Marcus (Producer) came up with the conception. Nowadays girls think all boys are the same. We are showing there are boys out there that you can talk to and who will listen to you. There are good guys out there. Are you a good guy? I am 100 percent a good guy. So what’s next? I’ve got ‘Second Time’ coming out. It has a similar r’n’b feel to Dreams. And after that ‘Turn It Up’ will be coming out. Are you going in the studio today? Yeah, I might just make a little beat. (I chuckle) You just might make a little beat. (He’s so cool about it all. His beats are far from little.) you never know it could be the next big hit. You never know. You can listen to Kane’s tracks on soundcloud. com/kaneofficial Catch his videos on - Youtube.com/KaneOfficialTV
Photography: David Olsan Designer: Cat Yap MUA: Lynn Doherty Hair: Sonya Kaur Model: Lenka Josefiova Jewellery: Liron Kliger
Liron Kliger INTERVIEW BY Photographer
Tell us about yourself. How did you start making jewellery? I was born in Israel and now I’m a London based jewellery designer. I graduated with a BA (HON) in Jewellery Fashion Design at the London College of Fashion. I always had a passion for jewellery design which developed whilst completing a foundation course in fashion design at a West London College. I love working with raw materials and desire to create unique pieces encompassing the form and essence of the material used. The primary influence of my work (apart from the raw materials) evolved from years spent living and travelling in cosmopolitan cities including Barcelona, Paris, Milan and Tel Aviv. Your creations are truly unique! Tell us more about your jewellery... I like to create one off statement pieces which leave a mark - the most important thing for me is that they will be unique and original. One of my favourite tendencies in jewellery,
actual creation, is an interest in expressing two or more existing extremes (whether obvious or not). In this collection, I tried to apply warm colours to my jewellery pieces which would create an association to the feeling of a snake’s skin, but at the same time used hard & cold materials to simulate the cold bloodedness of the snake and create my asymmetric, somewhat rounded resin bangles. What inspires you when designing new pieces? Seeing the world made me feel more open to, and fearless of, artistic creation. The vibrant colours I use in my created jewellery pieces could be attributed to a combination of fragments of travelling memories (i.e. rich, versatile and colourful bazaars, markets, stained glass,views etc…). Whom would you love to see wearing your jewellery? A specific woman who springs to mind would be Nancy Cunard, the writer, heiress and political activist, who is a particular inspiration, predominantly as she was
a fan of startlingly provocative jewellery. Who is your ideal woman? What describes her? My jewellery is aimed at women who possess a strong personality, an ‘attitude’, and who are not afraid of making a fashion statement. What’s your next goal? Do you plan to take it to the next level and have your jewellery produced commercially? My plans for the future are first and foremost completing internships with different designers or companies in order to gain more experience and skills within other areas of the industry, whilst expanding my existing collections. Afterwards, My goal is to establish my own exclusive jewellery line in the near feature!
Jewellery featured in David Olsan shoot
INTERVIEW BY Emma Whitemoss
I understand that in 2005 you spotted a gap in the Australian fashion market which encouraged you to start up the brand MINKPINK. Tell us more about how you started? I have always been a big lover of fashion and it had been my dream to start up my own label for as long as I can remember. At the time, the fashion market was hugely lacking in really awesome, well designed products that was affordable for those girls who love style, but live on a normal, everyday budget. With MINKPINK, it was all about changing that. Where did the name MINK PINK come from?
We bandied around with hundreds of ideas, but once we came up with MINKPINK it stuck. It just felt right - it’s young, playful, girly, it’s got a bit of attitude. We felt like those two words just really captured the essence of everything we wanted the brand to be.
Have you always been interested in fashion and designing your own clothing?
I knew from being tiny that I would go into something creative, although I was a little bit older when I decided on the exact direction. Fashion and design is something I’ve always loved, and still love to this day.
You have become so well established, and now stock your pieces in stores all over the world. How does this feel? Was it hard to take in at the beginning? It’s a really amazing feeling, and we feel so proud of everything we’ve achieved as a company! There’s a lot that goes into every aspect of the business, and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing all that work come to fruition. We still definitely have those moments where we stop for a second and look at how far we’ve come and just go WOW! When designing your clothing, what inspires you? Or how do you go about designing a piece? Gosh, anything and everything! It’s hard to pinpoint really, it can be anything from blogs to architecture to street style, things we see on TV, people we meet, places we go...all sorts! We keep an eye on the runways and current trends and we all feed off of each other too, which is great. There are six designers that work on MINKPINK so there’s a lot of personalities - which means we’re never short of ideas or inspiration! The design process starts with the conception of ideas, then we start researching so we can pull everything together into a ‘story’. Once that’s done, we can start drawing and creating mock-ups which will eventually come together to form our collection.
l photographs from
You have some awesome photos on your site and Tumblr site.
What do these represent/what do they mean to you? Again, it’s a real collaborative effort. We all have a hand in finding imagery that inspires us,
or that we think is representative of the brand or current collection – something that really catches our eye, or makes us think – and other times it’s just those things we see that make us laugh til our sides hurt and we just HAVE to share them! You have various campaigns such as La La Land and Rooftop Party. Can we expect a new campaign in the near future? You can indeed! We have something VERY exciting coming up in the not too distant future I can’t say too much other than keep your eyes peeled – you have been warned!
What tips would you give to others that want to start their own fashion like yourselves?
What can we expect to see from MINKPINK in the future?
We’re in the process of huge international expansion and just recently opened our office in LA which is pretty exciting! Our MINKPINK Swim 2013 range also just launched globally this week, and we have another big global campaign coming up soon. Obviously we want to continue to grow as a brand, but it is massively important to us that we always stay true to ourselves and continue to produce collections that are well designed, inspiring and original - clothes that girls can afford to buy and LOVE to wear. What do you most look forward to on a working day? The fact that every day is different! You never know what you’re going to get with so many creative types all in one place. In the past eight years, we’ve proved to ourselves that the sky really is the limit, so there’s never a day goes by that we’re not excited about what might be next!
Stay true to yourself and your style. Work hard, believe in yourself and be original. Don’t be afraid to seek out advice and help from other designers, it’s always great to have a mentor or someone you look up to. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way, that’s how you learn. And never give up. http://www.minkpink.com/uk
BLUEPRINT by Elina Pasok
Photography: Elina Päsok MUA: Natalie Fox Model: Tia O’Donnell
ACTOR GARY CARR INTERVIEW BY dame k
I caught up with actor Gary Carr fresh from his trip back home from Guadeloupe where he had just finished filming his third series of Death In Paradise. Only five years out of drama school not only is Gary smashing it in the world of television, what with being the first black actor in Downton Abbey, three series of Death In Paradise under his belt and having worked on Silent Witness, George Gently, Holby City, Law & Order UK, Runaway, Bluestone 42, and Frankenstein’s Wedding, his career also boasts three plays at the National Theatre. Not only that but Gary has also been perusing his own writing, directing and musical aspirations. He gives a lovely interview as we talk very openly about his journey so far. He’s an interesting and beautiful man, passionate about his craft with a great, and inspiring attitude. Gary, how did it all begin, can you remember the moment when you thought yeah this is it, this is what I want to do? The moment? I think it was performing in The King and I when I was 7 years old. Before that I was performing at home. Always learning routines and doing performances, and my mum said one day about this audition in town. And I got it. I had to leave school half days to do rehearsals. From that age I was feeling that satisfaction whi-ch was the conformation that this is what I wanted to do.
So your Mum was a big influence and deserves some praise then? Yeah, in fact both of my parents have always been very supportive and very involved. They end up studying the business and the industry themselves. Between the ages of about 4 – 16 any drama group that I’d done any talent competitions, and auditions – they found them for me, they’d be like there’s an add in the paper, there’s this there’s that. They were always on the look out for drama groups and plays. They’ve always known how serious I am about what I do. Then when I was 18 I went to performing arts college (Arts Ed) at the same time of taking my A levels. Then I was thinking what’s next. I was shocked though when my parents said ‘you should consider further education, like university’. I thought ‘go to university to do what exactly?’ They didn’t know you could go to a drama school and get a B.A. Neither did I, it was only when I asked the head of 6th form what was the next step? She suggested that the best thing was to go to drama schools. I then started auditioning. Which you were very successful at, with offers from four drama schools. Why did you choose to go to LAMDA?
I went with LAMDA because of the feeling I had when I walked in the building. I liked the way the auditions were run, I felt like I was going into a top quality environment. The school had a very down to earth vibe to it and still the work was getting done. Plus I’d seen a production at LAMDA and it was high quality and I thought yeah this is where I want to be. I had no idea what I was gonna do when I got to the school but there are some things you just know – and this is where I had to be. What was your experience of drama school? It was fantastic. There were periods when I was frustrated, there were times I didn’t want to be there. I just wanted to get out and do it. I am an impatient person, I’ve got better at this, but I wanted to leave before I finished my training, but I didn’t and it was best decision to make. I learnt to take risks. I grew as an actor, I learnt a lot about people, how to interact with people. I learnt what my fears were, the things I needed to get over. I learnt so much, so much, so much. And I made friends for life which is a big deal. It makes the experience that much more special.
Then you were snapped up by an agent and out in the big world. Yeah, the first job I did was a play at the National Theatre, the Greek Tragedy ‘Dido Queen Of Carthage’. That was great, the perfect role for me to play at this time coz it wasn’t a lead role, it was ensemble I guess. I could be in a rehearsal room watching and learning from great actors. Obviously that paid off! As you went onto a lead role in the play ‘Nation’ on the Olivier Stage what was it like? Well that was an epic production. I loved it and it was just what I needed at the time. It required so much of me, it was the most physically demanding show I’d ever done. I was on stage pretty much the whole time, moving between different worlds, from boy to man. I had to get into great shape. I put on a stone and a half. Then it was Earthquakes In London? Yeah. That was a fantastic experience such a high quality production. The director Rupert Goold wasn’t afraid of taking risks of executing his vision. Every time you see a Rupert Goold production it’s always a stand out production. It was really special.
You were clearly smashing it at the National, how comes you haven’t done any theatre since then? It was a deliberate decision, I felt like I’d been on stage non-stop. I really feel at home on stage and I wanted to feel at home on a film set. I’d done a few bits on T.V. in between but that then became my focus. There was a bit of a waiting game, I had a job in a restaurant and then I got a role in Death In Paradise, which was my first regular role. What a dream to be shooting in the Caribbean! Yeah. It was great fun in the Caribbean. Away from home I built another family. I love to travel and love to explore,
I’m so happy to be learning new things, learning different cultures. In the restaurants they cook fish traditionally and I love those meals. I lived in an apartment, I didn’t go to restaurants every night I became a host and I became a better chef for it. Then came Downton Abbey. Congratulations on changing the game! Thank you I’m extremely happy, I feel very fortunate and grateful. What appealed to you about the role? I’m a big fan of the series and Julian Fellowes did a great job on the writing. I play Jack Ross from Chicago who is touring Lon
-don and Europe, at the time he crosses paths with some of the regular characters and from there the story grows and unfolds. I’m excited to see how the character plays in the series, the fact that he’s African American, and a celebrity. It was great to play a character that is portrayed in this way, he’s not a victim, but a great character that had such a high position in society, that’s very cool. Okay, so you are not American, not a Jazz singer and have no personal experience of the 1920’s. How challenging was that for you and how did you go about preparing for the role? I love any role that requires me to grow, to push hard and transform. I’m so hungry for that. I studied the 1920’s. I had to study singing styles of the time, it was very specific, I listened to a lot of different people and tried to pull from that. For the accent I had a fantastic accent coach Neil Swain. He is so detailed when he works. Who are your hero’s, who inspire you? I love actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Brando, Guy Pearce, Robert De Niro. I have studied their work – I have those guys on repeat. I’ve seen A Street Car Named Desire so many times!
We are so lucky to have a record of performances like that. When I watch Guy Pearce, I’m like “where’s Guy Pearce, I just don’t see him”. He’s amazing in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Raging Bull is also one of my favourite films. They set the bar, I’m chasing them in terms of their work efforts. I want to give performances where people are like, wow! People like MJ, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix they are my teachers too, how to put a performance together. They are leaders in their craft. Even when I approach a piece of theatre there are influences in my work from people like that. I know you’ve written, produced, directed AND acted in your own first short film! How did that come about? I always had the desire to create my own film. I’ve got books and books of notes and quotes, ideas sketches and ideas on choreography that I created over the years. When I was on the island of Guadeloupe filming Death In Paradise I wrote a song called ‘Freedom Serenity’. I was very much inspired by the pure natural environment I was in and that’s where the idea came from. It just grew from there and I had to do it in that moment. Make something tangible with all my creative juices, to express my work, my voice as an actor, as a direc-
And finally what’s next for you? I’m going to Paris at the end of the month to work on my music. This is the first time I’ve set time aside to record all my material. Over the years I’ve also managed to build a team of collaborators and writers and we are all going to get together and brainstorm, try ideas and work towards an ep or possibly a mixtape. What is most important is there is time to dedicate time to it. What’s your style? The style is pretty much everything. My influences are Massive Attack, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Bjork, classical instruments, Tribal sounds. I listen to a lot of film scores. I’m a massive fan of old skool hip hop. It may seem as though Gary has been incredibly lucky, which of course is one thing you need in this industry, but it’s also taken a lot of dedication, a great attitude, strong belief and hard graft over the years. You can catch Gary in Downton Abbey currently airing on Sunday nights ITV1.
Erwin Blumenfeld Article by Dame K
Born in Berlin, Germany and of Jewish descent Erwin Blumenfeld came into the world on 26th January 1897. At 11 years old he was given a camera. “Nine by 12 with an ultra-rapid anastigmatic lens, ground-glass screen, red rubber bulb, metal plate holders and a tripod” Blumenfeld recalls in his autobiography. He experimented with self -portraits from the moment he was given the camera and this started his life long passion with photography and the subjects of his photos that lead to him being one of the highest paid fashion photographers in the world and consequently even now, widely regarded as one the most influential photographers of the twentieth century. However this fame did not come until he was in his 40’s when he began to get paid as a professional, shooting for the likes of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Harpers Bazaar magazines. Although these magazines are highly commercial and Blumenfeld would have been bound to a big degree by his clients expectations but this man was an artistic pioneer. The fashion shoot as the industry knew it then was revolutionised and reinvented by Blumenfeld’s artistic aspiration, vision, integrity, experimentation with colour, lights, mirrors and his audacious framing. He was and still is to this day, six decades on incredibly inspiring. At 16 years of age he began work as an apprentice dressmaker and lost his father who died of syphilis. A year later World War One broke out and he was drafted into the German army working as an ambulance driver. Surviving the war, Blumenfeld became involved in the Berlin Dada movement, experimenting with collages, made from his photographs and mixing them with magazine cuttings. At 25 he married Lena Citroen and in 1918 they moved to Amsterdam, by now working in women’s lingerie and at the age of 26 opened his own shop the ‘Fox Leather Company’. Here he photographed a lot of his female customers, often in the nude, (this could have been the start of Erwin and Lena’s open relationship). In 1932, at 35 years old, his work was shown in his first exhibition at Carl van Lier’s Gallery. One of the things he is most famous for are his black and white photographs of naked women. Commissions started coming in 1936 when he moved to live in Paris, where he took portraits of artists and began shooting for advertisers. Cecil Beaton, an English fashion, portrait and war photographer, who was also an award-winning stage and costume designer for films and theatre and had a CBE was a big influence taking Blumenfeld under his wing and setting him up with French Vogue.
Three years later and World War Two broke out, Blumenfeld by now was 42 years old and with his daughter Lisette of 18 years old, both of whom were incarcerated at French concentration camps. Two years later Blumenfeld and his family fled to New York. They arrived with one suitcase between them. He soon began working for Harper Bazaar and Blumenfeld often photographed his daughter. Her legs featured in his first double page spread for American Vogue in 1944. Fashion photography was booming and Blumenfeld took the industry by storm, collaborating with Vogue Art Director Alexander Liberman over the next fifteen years his work was published on the front of more covers of Vogue than any other photographer before or since. He created for Vogue their most iconic image ‘The Doe Eye’, Jean Patchett’s mouth, one eye and her beauty spot are all that’s to be seen in this shot. Currently at Somerset House, on the Strand in the centre of town, there is a fantastic exhibition, Blumenfeld Studio New York 1941 – 1960. It focuses on the archives of his photography studio and unpublished transparencies from his personal collection that were not selected for publication. The East Wing Gallery has got a nice atmosphere and I found the staff very friendly and helpful, it is host to over 100 colour photographs and originals of Blumenfeld’s work. New to Blumenfeld’s work, straight away I was hit with how incredibly striking, dramatic and alluring it is, vivid colourful and sharp detail. Really beautiful work. There is an array of original front covers including Vogues ‘The Doe Eye’ which is fascinating.
There are many page spreads, my favourite being for Look Magazine in 1958, ‘Rage for Colour’. Models Renee Breton, One of Christian Dior’s favourite models, Tess Mall, Dolores Hawkins, Anne St. Marie and Bani Yelverton, who is thought to be the first Black model to participate in an American Fashion show in 1957 and subsequently the first black fashion model to appear in a major American fashion magazine. Blumenfeld said of Bani that her “looks and personality embody the charms, sadness, compassion of a blues singer.”
The beautiful artistry of Erwin Blumenfeld’s talent in creating moments, catching moments and capturing moments in a an age when digital cameras were yet to be invented makes this artist even more inspiring for me, also the fact that he influenced and changed fashion photography to such a degree, and the art of photography has expanded exponentially ever since. There is an intimate sized room, that houses four chairs facing a screen for a projection of two video clips, so anyone else that wants to watch is huddled round the door way. There is a 13 minute clip from the documentary feature ‘The Man Who Shot Beautiful Women’ written and produced by Remy Blumenfeld, Erwin’s grandson. The other clip is 7 minutes entitled Beauty In Motion produced from the 16mm films of Erwin Blumenfeld circa 1965. In the 50’s Erwin started to make his own films or as they were known then ‘motion pictures’ to be used as beauty advertising – this also was a concept ahead of its time.
Obsessed with photographing ‘beautiful’ woman, largely models and also actresses of the silver screen including Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly in a gold frame, a print of witch can be seen in this exhibition.
Blumenfeld motion picture He is fantastic at creating a composition, capturing an expression totally that these photos have such a life to them, how does he get the soft, beautiful open eyes at the click of his shutter? – he lets us in on his secret in one of the videos, asking his models ”Will you marry me?” adding “it’s the one formula that makes a female American tick”. This is genius, because for me there is the proof that this artist knows exactly how to create what he needs from the model and the environment he shoots in.
Red Coats - Vogue
Self portrait - Mask
“People really want quality and beauty. It is up to the photographer to give it to them, even if it has to be smuggled into the illustration when no one is looking. Once I laughingly remarked that I worked at smuggling art. Thinking it over since, the remark isn’t so funny.” Blumenfeld. Commercial Camera, 1948. Interestingly very few men feature in his work, if they do, they are out of focus or their focus is on the woman in the shot guiding us to what’s most important in the framing. There are two shots of Cecil Beaton and a couple of self portraits. It is said that someone told Blumenfeld when he was young that he was ugly, a remark that upset him, in the self portraits that he captured, he quite often has bags or masks over his head. In Rome, Italy 1969 on the 4th July Erwin Blumenfeld took his own life. It was said that he though he had cancer and feared a prolonged suffering end. So at 73 years of age he ran up and down the Spanish steps in the pounding heat to induce a heart attack. Deliberately he didn’t take his medication for his heart condition and refused any medical help to be sought. His second wife, Marina Schinz 40 years his junior at his side as life left his body.
Of course Blumenfeld’s work made him rich and famous but he did what he did because he loved it, passion oozes out of it. “I was an amateur – I am an amateur – and I intend to stay an amateur. To me an amateur photographer is one who is in love with taking pictures, a free soul who can photograph what he likes and who likes what he photographs. By that definition I am an amateur, so that is the definition that I accept. Currently I am absorbed in magazine and advertising illustration, and I remain as true an amateur than I was at ten. The wonder that the camera can really reproduce anything shown to it still astounds me; and I am strongly determined to show the lens a more exciting, dramatic and beautiful way of presenting life.” Currently I am absorbed in magazine and advertising illustration, and I remain as true an amateur than I was at ten. The wonder that the camera can really reproduce anything shown to it still astounds me; and I am strongly determined to show the lens a more exciting, dramatic and beautiful way of presenting life.” His work was Off The Hook – a master photographer, a true artist who also developed his work in his dark room combing multiple imaging and positive and negative images, pushed the boundaries in art and created stand out original work, ahead of his time.
Picture – positive and negative by Blumenield
Top five black inspirational artists As black History Month comes to an end, writer Michael Ndebumadu shares his top 5 black artists with Off The Hook.
1. Bob Marley [1945 – 1981] Bob Marley was one of the world’s greatest Reggae artists. You can’t mention reggae and not think of Bob Marley and his musical legacy. Marley was more than just a reggae artist; he was an icon and inspiration to many the world over. His music did more than entertain people; it touched people hearts, it uplifted people and gave out a positive message. Whether it is religion, love, life or politics, there is always something of value in Bob Marley’s music. 2. Chinua Achebe [1930 – 2013] Chinua Achebe, was one of the most prominent authors from the African continent. In his life he wrote many books, poetry and essays, which often addressed cultural, social and political issues. One of Achebe’s most popular books is ‘Things Fall Apart”, which has been translated into 50 languages and sold up to 10million copies around the world. Chinua Achebe’s writing showed the world of African culture and history which hadn’t been seen before. He was a writer who inspired many authors of today. A career which lasted over 4 decades, Achebe has left his mark on the world of literature.
3. Bell Hooks [1952 – Present] Bell Hooks is an author, feminist and social activist. Though she is seen more as a feminist scholar, her materials cross a wide range of topics such as race, class and gender. Aside from writing, Bell Hooks is a woman who teaches and gives talks around the world. She is very inspirational to women of colour and is the voice for women (and men too) who are opposed to misogyny/sexism, racism and classism. Through her writing, Hooks tackles issues which many people feel are too sensitive to talk about or just choose to ignore.
4. Lauryn Hill [1975 – Present] Lauryn Hill is a singer-songwriter, rapper and actress. Many will know her as 1/3 of the group ‘The Fugees’. Lauryn Hill’s rise to fame occurred in a decade when music was still seen to be in its purest form. Hill’s contribution to music is widely appreciated. She is seen as an inspiration because of the success she has achieved as a woman in a male-dominated industry. Her critically acclaimed album ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ was her first solo album which debuted at No.1. Through her music, she addresses socio-political issues, love and her personal life. Her lyrics speak to many people, touching them in ways that other artist have been unable to do.
5. Nelson Mandela [1918 – Present] Nelson Mandela is man who has left his imprint on the face of history. He is known all around the world as the man who stood up to the cruel and oppressive system of apartheid in South Africa. He is an encouraging man, whose tale of bravery through suppressive adversary made headlines across the world. Mandela was a political activist who stood up to South Africa’s prejudiced government. He was imprisoned for 27 years and was finally let go after international bodies lobbied for his release. What stands out about his story is that in 1994, after returning to politics, he became the president of South Africa. In that same year, his autobiography, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, was published. Mandela’s legacy can never be forgotten. His life is not only a great addition to Black history but to world history as a whole.
Daniel Jones graphic artist Meet Daniel Jones, a graphic designer with a literary and almost philosophical twist. Writing abstract poetry and combining it with graphic line work, he has created a genre all of his own, coining them graphic poetry pieces. I met with him at his home in Cardiff, and after half an hour of attempting to catch his rogue pet rabbit, we discussed his work, where it came from, what it means, and where his path is to take him next.
Explain what exactly your work is... Basically, I take my writing and rather than it being text on a page, I’m giving it visual presence to make it more interesting. I like to write, but I wouldn’t produce a poetry book in the same way people used to, I don’t think people can be bothered to read in that way anymore and I believe you really need more to keep people’s attention and interest now. The way we’ve developed to learn and see things is all so visual these days, and thanks to the internet, imagery has taken over. We just don’t see things the same way anymore. Is that because you don’t want to or because you want to make something more out of it or you just don’t think you’ll get the response from it? I think we’ve just moved on from that kind of thing. The writing-
I do is relatively abstract so I think some of it needs a bit of help visually, otherwise it might get lost. This way, I give it more substance and it creates a different body to just text on page. What happened first? Did you start writing before you started making the graphics? The first one I did was this [shows me an extract from “Disappear Completely”. It wasn’t really poetry to begin with, it was just collections and snippets of my writing assorted into the image. They happened at the same time, one created the other, and I just built it up bit by bit. In my earlier work there was no goal in mind I just let it develop on the page.
What do you actually write about? Depends. A lot of my earlier stuff is about when I lived in Plymouth after I finished university. We were all a bit mad and a bit arrogant, living the bohemian life of artists… doing what we wanted regardless of any consequence. Talk about the book you made a few years ago, because that was the first thing I ever saw of your work, so to me that’s the original seed for all of this. So that one is a book about our life back then. Basically we just got fucked up a lot and I was living on my mate’s sofa for about six months after I left uni. We felt we were the lords of Plymouth..! It was obviously really fun but then it all inevitably turned sour with living conditions, it all got a bit… Boyish? Yeah, basically! So I had this mad crisis of ‘What am I doing with my life? I’m still living on the floor of my mate’s house!’ And I started getting ill and the doctor said it was because I spent too much time sleeping awkwardly on a small sofa and during the day I was crouched at my desk and he basically said I needed to straighten up, which was unfortunately figurative as well as literal!
The book is basically going through how it had gone from this elevated, constant party and then plummeted to a really unpleasant place for all of us. It played out like a film, it had the arch of awesome with girls and parties – we were having the time of our life and felt unstoppable – and then there was the inevitable drop. I was behaving recklessly and I was hurting other people as well as myself and it was happening to everyone in the group – everyone was getting ill. There was no way it could possibly have lasted, but when you know something won’t last, you don’t consider the end, especially when you’re having so much fun. The book is essentially a memoir after this had all come to an end. I disappeared for a few days and made the whole thing, I just needed to get it out of my head. From that it became more purposeful afterwards, as opposed to my newer work that was more thought out where I wrote the poem and fitted the graphics to it afterwards as a sort of casing for it. Tell me about your newest piece ‘Technicolour’...
It’s a love poem. It’s about that euphoric feeling when you’re with someone that together you’re unstoppable, going from the initial spark and that rush at the beginning of a relationship… “I promise that we’re technicolour”… “twin bolts rattling in a can” and the second half talks about if things do go awry then the notion of it being better to burn out and fade away and basically about throwing everything you’ve got into a relationship regardless of what happens at the end. It was a much more formalized process for this one because I made it for an exhibition. Knowing what you were like before, thinking of the book and the parties and girls, compared to what you’ve made here, can you see how you’ve changed? Can you reflect how wrong. The best stuff comes from when you’ve different you are now? got extreme emotions or thoughts running I never really considered that growing up was through you. When you’re living in your parents’ nice house and your girlfriend is great, there’s a thing that you realised yourself but it’s only really nothing to try to work out and move away now that I have that I can see it clearly. from. It’s just all small steps you don’t realise you’re taking, like the seasons changing, the leaves Do you miss it, being reckless? turn and fall and then all of a sudden it’s winter. I don’t think it’s a change in person necessar- Yeah. I miss the pace. I get very bored. I think I’m struggling with that quite a lot since I’ve ily, I’m just in a different place; happier, content. But I think if I wasn’t I’d produce work like been back here, [6 months] it’s just too long to be sat in one place. There’s no the book again. To be honest, I’m finding it hard to work at the real peaks or drops to shout about. One of the moment… basically because there’s nothing- main problems is I don’t really-
want to do anything else, there’s nothing driving me out of here because there’s no greener grass anywhere. It’s a weird kind of purgatory. I don’t want to do this but what do I actually want to do? You can’t really just go and stand in the middle of the street and go “go on life happen!” I’ve started making videos since I haven’t been able to write much. It’s the same sort of thinking; I think it comes from a lack of faith in the whole idea of poetry. If people can enjoy lyrics in a song, it’s no better than poetry but it’s carried forward in a different package before they actually acknowledge the words, so the idea with these [points to images] and the videos is to present it in my own way rather than, like I said, just words on a page. So, what’s next? I think I need to do bigger projects rather than just little prints. I want to sink myself into something with more scope. I did that mural [‘A Certain Sunrise Over the Peninsula’] and I loved seeing my work massive, and on the wall. I want to do more of that – I’d definitely love to take things more into the eye of the public. Right now I feel a bit too little and doing things in my room… I just want to break out.
You can view Daniel’s pieces and videos at www.iamdan.co.uk
MEET DAME K We have a new writer on our team, who goes by the name...Dame K. This magazine is all about the Up and Coming. So, it just wouldn’t be right, not to introduce the people behind the scenes! Dame K is a multi-talented artist in the true sense. She describes herself as a ‘lyrical artist’, writing poetry, play scripts and now writing for us at Off The Hook Digital. You can check out her Blog posts every Thursday! Her work focuses on highlighting and exposing difficult social elements that are often ignored. Her poetry is raw, unflinching, hardhitting, inspiring, HONEST and at times very funny! Dame K studied Drama at the BRIT and Lamda drama School. Dame K has won awards for her poetry, two years consecutively whilst at LAMDA. Following Drama school, Dame K went on to produce some of her poetry in a short film titled ‘Klink Klank’, which she wrote, acted in and produced with Toni Darlow as DameTK Productions. The film has been screened at several festivals. From there it was written into a play and had a staged reading in 2009 at the Tristan Bates Theatre as part of Rikki Beadle-Blair’s Lowder Than Words Festival.
“The moment I started reading the first draft of this play,I was swept up- in its rhythm, its swagger, its natural flow. How can such a dramatic, shocking play be so seductive, so sexy, so beautiful..? This play has alchemy - Kathryn has a unique voice. Truly inspirational! – Rikki Beadle-Blair Dame K continues to write plays, receive commissions and has had five of her plays at various stages in development, including a reading of her play ‘Scarred’ with a a-list cast including Carey Mulligan, Johnny Harris, Celia Imrie and Jamie Forman directed by Blanche McIntyre with Out Of Joint Theatre Company. As a poet, Dame K has featured for Apples & Snakes at the White chapel art Gallery, the Wise Words festival, and the Soho Theatre. Other performances include Farrago slam winner, Lyrical Lift festival, Brockley Max Festival, Conscientious Objectors day, Last days of Decadence with Sistova productions for the Endometriosis charity and at the Theatro technics with Clean Break for Oxfam. Currently, Dame K is collaborating with singer Eddy (who has performed with the likes of Omar, Mica Paris, Eddy Grant) and Tas, at Purple Room Studios making an EP, which is set for release in the New Year. Dame K has also played with her group at Lyric Hammersmith,
Bar Music Hall - as part of Black History month celebrations, Vibe Bar, Last Days of Decadence, Cranstoun - celebration of a recovery event, City Hall, Oxfam event also Derby for national women day. They are next due to perform at Scratch That Hackney at Hackney Picture House on Thursday 7th November and later in December at the Arcola Theatre in the bar. Further details will be available on Dame K’s personal site…www.damek.org.uk
Olivia’s take on A/w 13-14 As has been the way for a while, so many trends from all corners, origins and decades are being thrown around in a whirlwind of never ending style choice. A lot of them entwine to create eclectic and wonderful style clashes, constantly birthing new vibes. From the catwalk to the high street there’s a constant collision of both new and old looks, which I feel we on our small isle take and run head first into the storm with. If us Brits know anything it’s how to throw caution to the wind and bloody win by doing so. These are my favourite trends that I hope to chuck into a blender this winter and come out looking golden…
Gothic Beauty As alternative born and bred, I’ve often tried to stay away from wearing all black outfits. My dark hair, dark eyes and porcelain complexion always used to make me concerned I’d end up a bit too Manson and nowhere Monroe. However as I’ve grown up, cared less, and experimented more, I’ve realised not only is my hair clean, not black, that my teeth aren’t grills, I’ve never owned platform goth boots or worn black lipstick, and my tongue is most definitely in one piece. So from this little assessment I’ve realised how freaking cool you feel
Armani -prancing out in an all black outfit complete with studs and a tonne of gold jewellery. I’ve found some catwalk high (or low) lights proving my theory…
Regal I adore religious art. I could soak it up all day long. Absolutely any time I visit a European city I spend at least a third of my time wistfully sauntering around every church, cathedral and basilica I stumble upon. I can never leave without another set of rosary beads, or a crucifix pendant, or 50 postcards with mosaics, gold leafing, and images of some of the most amazing oil paintings you’ve ever seen.
Dolce & Gabbana
So it’s no wonder that I’m simply drooling ALL over this season’s regal trend that smashed the catwalks at fashion week. Dolce & Gabanna have well and truly outdone themselves blending two of my most adored subjects into one, where I never thought the two worlds would collide. Their collection is truly astonishing and bruisingly jaw dropping. You can’t even begin to fathom how much time, effort and precision has gone into their collection this winter and it deserves nothing short of a thousand awards for sheer beauty alone. If it wasn’t so truly inappropriate you almost wish their catwalk had been at St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. I cannot express enough how much of an amazing work of art this collection is. The red, the gold, the sequins, the sparkle – it’s literally giving me goosebumps thinking of this year’s festive party season!
As well as being so very bluntly regal, there is a more subtle vibe on the edge of this regal trend with very deep, sultry jewel colours. Blues in shades with endless depths, and Indian rich reds make you melt at the thought of those fabulous winter events with roaring fires, candelabras and Champagne all roundâ€Ś
Meanwhile on the high street... Tartan has hit our high street stores in a big, pretty, tough, punk – in fact every – kinda way. Whether it’s an adorable pea coat, a super cool bomber, daring leggings, a party dress a la Sex And The City’s Charlotte York-McDougal, or even some funky shoes, you can most definitely get your hands on it this winter!
Dame k’s Top 5 THEATRE PRODUCTIONS When I was asked to select five top theatre productions to look out for I thought how am I gonna do that what with the wealth of talent out there, what with that talent creating a wealth of work ~ there’s so much to choose from but I’ve picked a few personal choices, basically based on some peeps I really admire ~ and I’ve squeezed two more in while at it! In no particular order… 1. The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht I’d been in this play when I was doing Youth Theatre many moons ago. It’s a brilliant piece of writing and this production directed by Jonathan Church has transferred from the Chichester Festival Theatre to the West End’s Duchess Theatre. The gorgeous Joe McGann is always lovely to watch and Henry Goodman in the lead role gives an outstanding performance, an actor clearly having outrageous fun. Runs until 7th December Duchess Theatre, Catherine Street, WC2B 5LA 2. Martin Shaw, Robert Vaughn, Jeff Fahey and Nick Moran star in Twelve Angry Men which will hit the West End’s Garrick Theatre after playing at Birmingham Rep directed by Christopher Hayden opening on the 11th November.
Twelve jurors have murder on their minds and a life in their hands as they decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of killing his father. But what appears to be an open and shut case soon becomes a dilemma for the twelve, as their prejudices and preconceived ideas about the accused, the trial and each other turn the tables every which way, until the nail-biting climax... 3. Now I’ve read Ghosts after Stephen Unwin gave me a copy ~ I’ve liked Ibsen but when I read Ghosts I fell in love with Ibsen. So Stephen Unwin had his production at The Rose Theatre Kingston with the seriously talented, beautiful Kelly Hunter ~ whom years ago I did many a Shakespeare class with this woman and she blows my mind. But if you missed that production Richard Eyre has his production playing at the Almeida Theatre and the truly brilliant and beautiful Lesley Manville is in it, Manville is amazing having done loads of Mike Leigh’s films and smashed it in my favorite Secrets and Lies. Helene Alving has spent her life suspended in an emotional void after the death of her cruel but outwardly charming husband. She is determined to escape the ghosts of her past by telling her son, Oswald, the truth about his father. But on his return from his life as a painter in France, Oswald reveals how he has already inherited the legacy of Alving’s dissolute life.
Runs until 23rd November Almeida Theatre, Angel 4. Nut written and directed by the very talented and beautiful Debbie Tucker-Green plays The Shed Theatre. Bein you means not bein me – see, a deficit already – before you even started we running at a loss. Elayne doesn’t want company but company won’t leave her alone. Everyone’s got an opinion but no-one’s listening and things are starting to slip. Starring the amazingly skilled, gorgeous and talented Nadine Marshall who smashed it in the t.v. series The Smoking Room and in Debbie Tucker-Green’s debut film Random – which I had the pleasure of having a small role in, a memorable experience. Runs until 5th December. The Shed ~ National Theatre, Southbank. 5. Mojo by Jez Butterworth directed by Ian Rickson plays at the Harold Pinter Theatre Jez Butterworth is an exceptional writer – I first found him when I read The Winterling and his work is both magical and powerful and then when I saw Jerusalem – wow! Mojo stars the gorgeous Daniel Mays who smashed it in MotorTown at The Royal Court a few years-
back and has been storming it on screen, including working with the likes of Mike Leigh in Vera. Set against the fledgling rock ‘n’ roll scene of 50s Soho, this play delves into the sleazy underworld and power games of London’s most infamous district. This is the first major revival of the play, which won the Olivier award for Best New Comedy, when it opened at the Royal Court in 1995, prior to a run at West End’s Duke of York’s in 1996, which Ian Rickson also directed. Runs until 25th January Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street SW1Y 4DN.
Photographer: Daya Tocareva from Imageneration Photography www.imageneration. co.uk Model: Margit Mosovski.