4EVER YOUNG IT’S OUR 4TH BIRTHDAY! 1
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the 4EVER YOUNG Issue!
NATURAL WOMAN Photography by Tori Ferenc
LOVE AFTER WONDERLAND Photography by Jason Bassett
PUFF, PASS, & PAINT Because nothing says mile-high like Mary-Jane and Monet
RADIANT Photography by Élionore Lapawa
MAD GIRL Photography by Francesco Vincenti
FASHION AS THE ART OF EXPRESSION Designers Bartholomäus Wischnewski and Dana Mikelson create wearable art
MIROIR Photography by Łukasz Wac
ALLURE Photography by Jakub Saczuk
THE ALOHA SPIRIT 9th Wave Gallery fuses art and social responsibility
INTO THE BLUE Photography by Ivan Genasi
HAUS ALKIRE The niche New York brand elevates the industry to lofty new heights
LOFTY HEIGHTS Photography by Heath Grout
FALLIN' Photography by Alexander Jacob
NATALIE Photography by Julian Marshall
PHANTOGRAM On creative process, making visual sound & the music industry today
LOST BOYS Photography by Martha Galvan
WHITE EDGE Photography by Dena Huys
IN FOCUS: ALVIN NGUYEN Going behind the lens and getting personal with photographer Alvin Nguyen
WELCOME TO THE 4EVER YOUNG ISSUE!
From The Editor
Hey Papercutters, Another year has flown by and it still feels like yesterday we launched our first issue. Each year at this time, I always reflect on where we started, how far we’ve come, all the talent we featured and all the great people we had the pleasure of working with. I am so grateful. I’m extremely excited for this issue! We curated some of the best images, interviewed some boundary-pushing people and really tested the limits to bring you something new and fresh, but still Papercut. Whenever I hear Phantogram's "Fall In Love," I can't help but get pumped and start dancing along. The beat is awesome and the duo involved are coming up quick. We had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah Barthel, one half of Phantogram to find out how this duo works together to create their unique sound. And a special thanks to photographer Mike Nguyen for the great shots to go along with it! We also get to take a stroll down memory lane with one of our favorite photographers, Alvin Nguyen. Alvin has been a great friend and creative asset to Papercut since the beginning, so it’s our pleasure to do an inspirational retrospective on how he started and where he is now. Until next time Papercutters, enjoy! xx
Hayley Maybury P.S. I want to give a quick shout out to the masterminds behind Papercut Magazine and Papercutmag.com. Thank you to all of our interns, graphic designers, writers, contributors and editors! You all play a huge role in evolving Papercut Magazine.
THE TEAM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Hayley Maybury COPY EDITOR & FASHION EDITOR Jessica Young CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Jamall Oluokun GRAPHIC DESIGNER Margaret Walsh MARKETING DIRECTOR Shomari Miller WEB DEVELOPER Jason DePeaux UX/UI DESIGNER Nicole Sullivan GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN Amber Cunningham EDITORIAL INTERN Jennifer Ortakales CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jessica Young Jenny Ortakales Jamall Oluokun Liz Hall Lee Hershey
ON THE COVER Photographed by JASON BASSETT Styling by KATHERINE EASTMAN Makeup and Hair by MAIRELYS ALFONSO Model MADELEINE Assistant by LEROY BROWN Wardrobe by TRUFFLE LUXE
NATURAL WOMAN Photography by TORI FERENC Styling Team by BOY DIVISION Hair and Makeup by BOY DIVISION Model ANNA PACKOWSKA @ orange models
Accessories Designer by MISS MALWIA IWANSKA
LOVE AFTER WONDERLAND Photography by JASON BASSETT @ jason-bassett.com Styling by KATHERINE EASTMAN Makeup and Hair by MAIRELYS ALFONSO Model MADELEINE @ minus 20 management Assistant LEROY BROWN Wardrobe by TRUFFLE LUXE @ shoptruffle.com
PUFF, PASS & PAINT “BECAUSE NOTHING SAYS MILE-HIGH LIKE MARY JANE AND MONET.” Interviewed by LIZ HALL
A 2011 Gallup Poll reported that a record 50% of Americans support legalization of marijuana. Since 1996, over 20 states have decriminalized medical marijuana. Furthermore on May 20, 2013, the state of Colorado became United States' first legally regulated market for cannabis for adults. With the legislation, Colorado seeks to minimize the costly and ineffective role of the criminal justice system in addressing drug-related issues. The decision to decriminalize cannabis has as much to do with balancing the state budget as changing perceptions about the substance. When Colorado made the pragmatic decision to divert it’s budget money away from prosecuting dope smokers, they opened a door for a new industry. Now, across the state enterprising procannabis folks are figuring out ways to capitalize upon this new income stream. Heidi Keyes is a painter from Denver, Colorado. Coming on the heels of recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado, she decided to combine her passion for artwork with her passion for cannabis, and created the program Puff, Pass & Paint. The response to her art-class-meets-stoner-party is overwhelming. We spoke to Heidi about how it’s going. 30
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR PUFF, PASS & PAINT? Honestly, it started with a joke from a friend. “Hey, you know those cocktails-and-canvas classes? You should really start doing that with pot.” I laughed it off a bit at first, until I realized that it was actually a pretty damn good idea. I started putting some feelers out there and asking folks if they would be interested in attending a painting class where you were not only allowed to, but encouraged to smoke marijuana, and people were really excited about the idea—really enthusiastic about it. It’s all about creating a space where people feel comfortable laughing, chatting and creating something original, and who doesn’t want to be a part of something like that? As a working artist already, and a big supporter of legalization and the freedom to consume cannabis, this came really naturally to me. HOW’S BUSINESS SO FAR? The reaction to starting Puff, Pass & Paint is overwhelming. Classes are selling out thanks to the press that I’ve been getting, word of mouth in the cannabis community and among students. I typically schedule one class a week, but
from Wisconsin who was visiting her grandparents here and they attended a class together. She had never smoked before, and her grandmother said she hadn’t smoked for 40 years, and they both partook. Another woman in that class was doing a strain review and was very knowledgeable about marijuana. That was really amazing for me, just being a part of these experiences and seeing both new cannabis converts and seasoned smokers enjoying each others’ company while making art. I looked around at everyone laughing, chatting and painting and had a brief moment of, “Wow, this is history. This is really cool.” DO CLASS MEMBERS SMOKE JOINTS OR OUT OF A BOWL? Some people bring joints, some bring their own glassware or pieces, others bring their vape pens, and if they don’t have their own they are free to use the small selection of pieces I have as well. I have this huge swirly green bong named King George that has traveled around with my boyfriend since his college years. People love smoking out of him, probably because of the recent press photos (KG and I will also be in Penthouse Magazine, May 2014). Again, it’s all about what you’re comfortable with. HOW DO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY FEEL ABOUT YOUR NEW BUSINESS? I’m originally from Wisconsin, where marijuana is not even close to being legal, but my friends and family there are incredibly supportive. When I discussed my new business venture with my mom she said, “You know Heidi, you’ve always done your own thing and we’re proud of that.” That really meant a lot. I’ve never really played it safe. Quitting your super-secure, super-soul-sucking-9-to-5 job to make art isn’t safe, but I did it and I’m still doing it. I thrive on that uncertainty now and I think the important people in my life recognize that and appreciate it.
I’ve had to add more due to demand and because of requests for private classes. The most rewarding part of P-Cubed is the connections I made with students and other members of the cannabis community here in Denver. It shouldn’t be a big surprise but the kind of people who want to come into my studio, smoke a joint and create something of their own— they’re just good folks. During class, I work on a reference piece and students are welcome to follow me in the process, but I also encourage them to add their own touches or create something completely different from mine if they are feeling inspired. Each person’s piece turns out so original and fascinating in their own way, and that is really refreshing. I enjoy teaching as much as anyone enjoys attending, I think. DOES EVERYONE WHO PAINTS USE CANNABIS? ARE THERE EVER ABSTAINERS? HAS ANYONE EVER USED CANNABIS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YOUR CLASS? Not everyone smokes weed. Some people have a glass of wine instead. Some people do neither. Like I said before, it’s all about being comfortable in this environment and having a great time while painting, so I always make sure no one feels pressured to partake if they don’t want to. I just had a woman 32
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT BEING ABLE TO TAKE RISKS AND GO AGAINST THE CONVENTIONAL GRAIN? LEAVING THE SAFE PATH AND MOVING FORWARD WITH DOING SOMETHING SO POTENTIALLY RISKY IS A PRETTY SCARY PROPOSITION. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU WERE ABOUT TO MAKE THE MOVE? I'm a planner so I always make sure I have all my ducks in a row before I take a big step. But ultimately, if it's something I'm excited about, I'm going to find a way. As I mentioned before, with Puff, Pass & Paint I took all the correct precautions to ensure I was starting a marijuana-related business within the law and legally covering all of my bases. I wanted this to be something that could continue to grow, and it already has and will even more, I hope. Beyond that, taking risks but also letting things happen naturally is essentially the basis of my art and the way I create. That translates into my business model and the way I live my life in general. ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT CANNABIS OR DID YOU FEEL THAT RECENT LEGISLATURE OPENED THE DOOR FOR THIS BUSINESS MODEL? I’m passionate about cannabis and I’m thrilled that it’s slowly losing the negative stigma that surrounds it. People say that we’re coming out of marijuana prohibition and I would definitely agree with that. Things are changing. This is a good time to be in Colorado, a great time to be a pot smoker and a mind-blowing time to be a gangapreneur.
Everything just fell into place for me. HAVE YOU RUN INTO ANY LEGAL TROUBLE? WHAT ABOUT RESISTANCE FROM BANKS OR OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS? I’ve been super careful about this. Before I started holding classes, I talked to a lawyer about my plan. I contacted the Marijuana Enforcement Division to make sure I wasn’t proceeding with anything that might have legal complications. I’m not selling any marijuana or marijuana products, and everyone must be 21 or over. This is just creating an environment, in a residential space (my studio is in my home) where people are free to partake. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything correctly from the very beginning, because I want this to continue to be successful in the future. WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR PUFF, PASS & PAINT IN THE FUTURE? I want P-Cubed to keep growing. I’m mulling over a bunch of different ideas in my head that would allow me to expand, because the demand and the opportunities are definitely there. Ultimately though, I don’t want to lose the closeness that my students get when they attend one of my classes of eight or nine people. There’s a certain intimacy there that might be lost if I was just doing this for the money, to funnel a huge group of people in and out of each class. I
think things will take a natural course, and for right now I just want to keep holding classes, making connections with good people, painting…and also enjoying legalization. DO YOU FIND THAT PEOPLE TEND TO BE MORE CREATIVE ONCE THEY'VE SMOKED WEED? I think that marijuana allows people to ease into being creative, which is a mindset that can be difficult to get into if you're not someone who typically draws or paints. At the beginning of almost every class, I hear someone mention that they're nervous to paint because it's been so long. I always say that this is supposed to be fun and relaxed, not something you should be stressing over. Once they get started, they're not worried about it. You're not in this class to create something perfect, you're here to create something that is original and your own. That's why I love it when each person's painting turns out to have its own personality and style.
RADIANT Photography by Ă‰LIONORE LAPAWA @ elionore-lapawa.com Hair and Makeup by NATALIA SOBOLEVA Model KATHARINA BELLINGER @ via modelmanagement Designer JULIA AND BEN @ juliaandben.com
MAD GIRL Photography by FRANCESCO VINCENTI @ vincentifrancesco.com Styling by KAYLENE WEST Makeup and Hair by GIMMY AREVALO Model LAURA SAVICKA @ 2morrowmodel Assistant Photographer by SALVATORE POLLARA
FASHION AS THE ART OF EXPRESSION DESIGNERS BARTHOLOMÄUS WISCHNEWSKI AND DANA MIKELSON CREATE WEARABLE ART AS THEY BLUR THE LINES BETWEEN “INNER LIFE” AND “OUTER APPEARANCE.” Written by JENNIFER ORTAKALES CEXN is an artistic fashion label creating undoubtedly thought-provoking pieces made from steamed leather, cable and iron wire. They have two workshops located in Mainz and Berlin, Germany. The designers behind this label, Bartholomäus Wischnewski and Dana Mikelson, work with artists and performers around the world to express their art in platforms from theater and magic, to photography and dance. Through their label, the designers hope to find “a new understanding of the body as a medium of expression” and “new definitions of beauty,” explained Mikelson. “We open a gate to the inner life of its wearer and that becomes beautiful in my eyes. To share your inner life with others and grow with it. Express feelings, wishes, fears instead of hiding them. Only this way you can be heard. Share instead of consume. Talk with each other instead of silence. Develop your personality instead of trying to ‘normalize’ it. Enrich your soul. Take influences. Listen. Read. Look twice.” Wischnewski developed his idea for CEXN through concerts and cultural events and established the label in 2009. “I asked myself repeatedly, ‘How could the clothing work as a mirror for the artist’s music, unaffected by social conventions?’ Furthermore, ‘What would be suited for the personality, if there were no norms or categorized thinking?’ I did not want to study average fashion design,” he said. CEXN is surely no average fashion brand. “If everything develops according to my personal vision, it will never be one,” said Wischnewski. Every piece they make tells its own story and emerges from such inspirations as music, nature, psychology and art history. “Sometimes, a small shape is all that it takes to spark the creation of a whole new piece of clothing,” he said. Mikelson joined the team in 2011, contributing initiative, perspective, tenacity and her skills in woven wire. “So I'm really not doing anything Bartholomäus couldn't do on his own, but then it wouldn't be so efficient and…fun!” she said. From the moment Wischnewski and Mikelson met, the two identified with their understanding of aesthetics and work ethic. Mikelson describes their sentiment as “love and enthusiasm mixed with perfectionism and devotion to craftsmanship.” “It became evident, that we complete each other very well and would reach much more together than each one on his own,” she said. Mikelson sees the human body just as any fine art—a medium of expression. “Clothing has always been inseparable from its wearer’s identity. It becomes authentic when the ‘inner’ life is equivalent to the ‘outer’ appearance,” she said. Wischnewski reflects that fashion can quickly become outdated and ridiculous, therefore his design needs to be strategic. “To find the momentum between aesthetics and comedy is a major challenge,” he said. While the designers intend to keep the words behind CEXN a secret, they say the four letters are a code that hints at the creative energy of human beings. They stand for “a new understanding of body schemes, an appeal to the creational power mankind may have,” explained Mikelson. Expression is important to any fashion business, but so is earning a living. “We’re of course making commissions as requested, but even then, usually our clients know that we’re best when given as much artistic freedom as possible,” said Mikelson. This means the label finds most of its monetary success through its clients and customers who understand and relate to the products. “Our first principle is always to stay true to ourselves and never make something, item or project, we’re not convinced of,” she said. CEXN doesn’t typically design made-to-order pieces because it’s important for the two designers to have freedom in their creations. “I swore an oath to myself, to never work without room for individual development,” said Wischnewski. However, 56
Photography by CLAUDIA WYCISK Makeup by ELENA BECKER Model SANDRA Assistant ANIKA LAUER 57
“Clothing has always been inseparable from its wearer’s identity. It becomes authentic when the ‘inner’ life is equivalent to the ‘outer’ appearance.” - Mikelson Photography by JULIA BLANK Styling by SUSI BAUER Makeup by KERSTIN J. HAJDU Model LUJA @ 4models 59
they do occasionally create pieces for the spotlight. Recently, they provided a headpiece for Tim Doody’s fire dancing show in New York and soon will be outfitting German rock band, Dark Tenor, in floral head and neck accessories. “I am always delighted when my creations get to travel the world and people all around the globe order them; it is a little journey for me as well,” he said. They also name illusionists, the Ehrlich Brothers, among their clients. “For us, they count as rockstars,” said Mikelson. Since they often work with different artists, the completion of each piece is very dependent on others. Mikelson considers this a blessing. “It’s wonderful to give away a part of the control and take influences from other brilliant people, adding their potential and raising the whole thing to a much higher level than one alone could reach,” said Mikelson. The designers compare many of their techniques to painting. A heavy leather is the base and wire becomes filigreed lines, as if drawn with ink and feather. “The actual material, unlike pure paint, is given a physicality and one more dimension, which brings it quite close to sculpture. That’s why we like to call our work ‘wearable sculptures,’ it’s an actual applied and usable art form,” said Mikelson. Wischenwski starts his pieces with a drawing, then cuts the initial materials with a blade, using vegetable tanned leather from Belgium that is treated with organic substances. He experiments with heat and steam, using a technique which lets the leather “work.” This creates a distinct shape that determines the rest of the piece’s look. “The material often gives a rough outline and I take the basic shape, cultivate it and close the circle,” he said. He uses an adjustable bust to form the materials to a pre-existing pattern. “It is always a creative journey with a very distinct vision of how the fashion is supposed to function in a world never seen before,” he said. Mikelson starts a creation with a raw idea of what she wants to express and, in most cases, uses no more than small pliers, pincers, and an awl to manipulate wire. Her most important tools are her hands and the mannequin she forms everything onto. “Working with wire is a lot about creating structures from scratch and enforcing them. It’s a little like weaving or basket-weaving,” she said. She spends many long days and nights in the workshop putting the pieces together like a puzzle and hours staring at it to make sure they fit. “It’s like a blurred vision that becomes more detailed, the longer you look at [it],” she said. Sometimes she needs to take time away from the piece to get a different perspective, while at others, she prefers to give it to Wischnewski to finish. The great detail in their pieces require a long time to complete. Depending on the size and complexity, pieces can take several weeks or months. The two designers work and communicate closely everyday, yet find it crucial for their individualities to have space and work on their own. “We like to finish things the other one started. It’s a nice workflow in which we both give impulses to one another but also leave enough freedom for own concepts,” said Mikelson. This allows them to make both collaborative and individual pieces. “Even as we work in a similar way and we know roughly what we have to expect from one another, it is always quite a surprise and a moment of excitement when one of the works is unveiled. Every time, it seems like a voyage into another dimension, one that has already existed in our minds and as we recreate it we just know how it has to be,” said Wischnewski. 60
Photography by JULIA BLANK Styling by SUSI BAUER Makeup by KERSTIN J. HAJDU Model LUJA @ 4models 61
Photography by CLAUDIA WYCISK Makeup by ESTER FOSTER Model LISA MARIE
To take their designs from the workshop to the real world, Wischenwski and Mikelson collaborate with stylists, photographers, performers, and other artists. Make-up artist Kerry J. Hajdu discovered the two through social media and approached them to shoot with photographer Julia Bank. “Her inspiration for the shoot was to display our pieces in a soft and bright way,” said Wischenwski. Along with stylist Susi Bauer they created a luminous theme, down to the model’s bleached brows and disheveled hair. “It adds a very modern touch to our pieces,” he said. Meeting new, talented people is a continuing goal for CEXN and collaborations like these are essential. “I made a handful of friends with whom I can communicate without words,” said Wischenwski. He has an effortless harmony with photographer Christian Martin Weiss, often taking photographs for the pure enjoyment of their craft, but that they will never publish. “We talk about a concept, we arrange models accordingly, we draft a design and everything else works non-verbal,” he said. Mikelson is largely inspired by people with intriguing personalities and an ability for “powerful physical expression,” a reason she tends to choose performing artists as models. “Sometimes I see somebody and instantly want to make a costume for that person because I’m struck by the output they communicate visually. It’s funny what some people can make me unfold,” she said. Some people she’s worked with recently are comedian, pianist, and songwriter Jack Woodhead; acrobat and dancer David Pereira; model Viktoria Lapidus; and photographer Hannes Caspar. “Right now I’m surrounded by many inspiring people,” she said. 62
While most of the pieces they make are not part of a particular collection, their latest compilation exists in two parts, Wischnewski’s “Suertes” and Mikelson’s “Für Elise.” He described his as “more fashion than costume and more real than fantasy,” with straight-forward, strict, and geometrical elements. “I tried to create the exact opposite to the otherwise more floral and arbitrary forms,” he said. Hers was inspired by historical underwear, using light cotton and delicate silk-mohair to give “an intimate feeling of a second skin,” she said. This month, CEXN is launching an affordable, hair accessories collection consisting of smaller pieces that are easy to wear. “I am always trying to establish a connection between the creation and the customer,” said Wischnewski. He is also planning a bigger collaboration with photographers Hartmut Nörenberg and Claudia Wycisk. In May, Mikelson will be costuming dancers, acrobats and other performers in the variety show, “David Pereira’s Trip,” at the famous Wintergarten in Berlin. “I would like to work more conceptual, making complete costumes and arranging them in a series and not just making single pieces. This way you can truly artistically work with staging,” she said. So what is CEXN’s end goal? “World domination, of course. This is all part of our diabolic plan,” joked Mikelson. “No really, having an end goal is not nearly as important as to enjoy what you are doing right now, here in the present. Of course it will be more comfortable to have less worries and more options, but generally, I think we are happy in doing what we love. Big projects and inspiring people are just a part of this."
Photography by CLAUDIA WYCISK Makeup by ELENA BECKER Model SANDRA Assistant ANIKA LAUER
Photography by CLAUDIA WYCISK Model EVA PECHMARIE Assistant MONI HERZ
“We open a gate to the inner life of its wearer and that becomes beautiful in my eyes. To share your inner life with others and grow with it...only this way you can be heard.” - Mikelson 63
MIROIR Photography by ŁUKASZ WAC Styling by EWA MICHALIK @ ewamichalik.com Makeup by KATARZYNA SZARY Model WERONIKA @ mango models
Designers ERYK ULMAN, DOROTA WOYTASIEWICZ, OLGA SZYNKARCZUK, ANNA KNAŹ
OPPOSITE Dress by ERYK ULMAN
THIS PAGE Dress by DOROTA WOYTASIEWICZ THIS PAGE Dress by ERYK ULMAN
THIS SPREAD Dress by ERYK ULMAN
THIS SPREAD Blouse by VINTAGE
THIS SPREAD Dress by ERYK ULMAN
THIS PAGE Blouse by VINTAGE OPPOSITE Corset by OLGA SZYNKARCZUK Pants by ANNA KNAŹ
ALLURE Photography by JAKUB SACZUK Styling and Hair by ANNA STACH Makeup by LENA ZIĘBA Model KATARZYNA DANIOŁ
OPPOSITE Jacket by PATRYCJA WIATR Underwear by RILKE Boots by STRADIVARIUS Gloves by MOHITO
OPPOSITE Coat by PATRYCJA WIATR Boots by STRADIVARIUS Bracelet by PATRYCJA WIATR THIS PAGE Bra by RILKE Bracelet by PATRYCJA WIATR
THIS SPREAD Underwear by RILKE Boots by STRADIVARIUS Belt by JOANNA HAWROT
THIS PAGE Bra by RILKE Pants by RESERVED Necklaces by GLITTER OPPOSITE Dress by AGA GUZ Earrings by GLITTER Bracelet by PATRYCJA WIATR
OPPOSITE Jacket by BERSHKA MOHITO Bra by RILKE THIS PAGE Dress by JOANNA HAWROT Necklace by PATRYCJA WIATR
THE ALOHA SPIRIT 9TH WAVE GALLERY FUSES ART AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Written by LEE HERSHEY
On March 9, 2011 as an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale devastated Japan, 9th Wave Gallery launched its company. The quake generated a tsunami that changed the face of Japan, and because of events following that tsunami, such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, 9th Wave Gallery goes beyond just art. Rather, the art and the artists featured at the gallery use their talents and give their time, effort and support to charitable causes that benefit Hawaiian-Japanese communities. The name of the gallery, 9th Wave, derives from the Mayan calendar, in which March 9th, 2011 began the “wave of unity consciousness.” Essentially, the ninth wave suggests dramatic changes. It encompasses a lifetime of experience and wisdom in every twenty-four hour period until a higher consciousness is reached. Combining this idea with the message of “Aloha,” Hawaiian for peace and compassion, 9th Wave Gallery artists strive to produce positive changes in the world with and through their art. In the Hawaiian community, “There is a connection to source and nature that is so profound that to use words would be forgery. Everyone is there to help each other and heal. To find source and share that with everyone they come across. The message of ‘aloha’ and thought of making this world a better place is on the forefront along with social awareness, being environmentally responsible and caring about the world, ocean, people we live with and interact with everyday. Otherwise…you stand for nothing and your life will be missing something very vital to your soul’s existence... and purpose...” explains Jay Celat, CEO and owner of 9th Wave Gallery. The 9th Wave Gallery Ohana (family) includes Jay Celat, CEO/owner and founder; Ryan McVay, artist and partner; Berry Meklir, partner; Darris Hurst, creative director; Clark Takashima, creative director/marketing; and Eri Nishikami, Japan sales representative/surfer. The team interacts daily using social media networks like Skype, Viber, Line and Facebook to organize the gallery’s main events as well as global pop-up shows. 9th Wave Gallery is a collection of contemporary artists featuring Hawaiian surf art, psychedelic blacklight Art Deco, Zen Surrealism and the use of sacred geometry in composition. The international group of artists—some as far as Ireland and others hailing from the California, Japan and Hawaiian coastlines—work in a variety of mediums, formats and styles that voice elements of the consciousness movement. Jay Celat adds, “This year we will also launch the publishing company 9thWavePBL, so the artists’ stories can be told with the integrity they deserve, including the story of our most recently departed artist and legend, Clark Takashima, from the North Shore of Oahu.” 9th Wave Gallery works with charities like Volcom Japan’s Embrace Recovery Foundation and Japan’s Red Cross to support still-recovering families affected by the tsunami and 87
Fukushima. Artist Drew Toonz designed a print series called “Aloha for Japan” which was sold at the GreenRoom in 2011, and then later written about in Safari Magazine. These images became the backdrop for Volcom’s campaign to raise money for the tsunami victims. The connection between Japan and Hawaii is well documented. “I would say about 70% of the art sold in Hawaii is directly related to Japan and Asian markets. The love for Hawaii from the Japanese is so well known that many restaurants, cafes, galleries and pancake houses are all Hawaiian-themed.” There are many events in Japan such as Mele Kaliki Maka, Aloha for Yokohama and the GreenRoom Festival that feature Hawaiian art and artists. “Our company, even though from Hawaii,” Celat says, “is made up and supported greatly by the Japanese. Their love of nature and living ‘shizen’ (naturally) is very much in touch with Hawaiian culture,” and there are even linguistic crossovers. “Hawaii’s history is forged greatly by the Japanese and their connection to the Aina.” Aina literally translates as “child of the land,” and refers to the long-time Hawaiian residents. “We have received nothing but love and aloha, especially since we came here when everyone was leaving. We have made both art and financial contributions to Japan along with doing events for the Japanese in Hawaii. We are also now working with a Japanese artist Ikuo Yakusimaru who is from the Tohoku area. That will come out this year along with our work from the Fukushima area.” As a Hawaii-based business, 9th Wave also works with the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Shop Local event that benefits the Art To Go program. Four artists from the gallery did a live painting at the Whole Foods in Kahala doing T-shirts and hats in association with Organik Clothing to promote the arts. Artists also contributed to the North Shore of Oahu’s Surf Art Kids’ mural program donating time, energy and art to the Sunset Elementary School’s Benefit, a yearly event held in Oahu’s Sacred Waimea Valley. For the event, Clark Takashima, Hilton Alves, Barry Meklir and Jay Celat were on hand to participate in the Waialua elementary school event. “It was a beautiful day filled with aloha,” Celat recounts. The artists reached out to each grade and worked with over five hundred kids throughout the course of the day. They painted a large mural and the kids worked alongside the artists to complete the painting. “The Hawaiian community, especially along the North 90
Shore is so tightly knit that everyone knows everyone,” says Celat. “So, you have no choice but to be ‘pono’ or correct in your thoughts or actions. Or you WILL be held accountable for it if you are not. We all gather in times of trouble and give whatever we can to help those around us.” With its foundation in Hawaii, 9th Wave Gallery strives to produce 100% Hawaiian-made. “From the artwork to the printing, framing and shipping,” Celat says, “We work with rare woods, along with a variety of local businesses to keep the 9th Wave brand and integrity intact. It’s very important to us. All our production and manufacturing gets done on Maui, where our offices are located. The gallery also has a house in Pupekea called the Plant 2 that serves as an artist workshop and artist collective where creatives come to collaborate with each other. “An art collaboration is spoken of often but rarely achieved over a period of time and under stress or pressure to make money,” Celat says of the Plant 2, “We are lucky enough to get enough help from people who believe in what we are doing. It allows us to continue what we are doing.” Artists from all over the world have stayed and worked there over the last three years to help each other grow. They work on collaborative projects and influence and inspire one another. “There are not many places like this anywhere,” Celat says, “It’s literally a who’s who of artists, musicians, entertainers and pro athletes.” “We are an international brand that has become recognized…in two short years.” In 2013, 9th Wave Gallery set up several other gallery spaces and pop-up events in Hawaii, Japan, California and Boston. This year, the gallery launched a publishing division to release a series of limitededition books, DVDs and magazines both print and online to cover the behind the scenes at the gallery. 9th Wave Gallery has an elaborate resumé working with companies and magazines like Safari (Japan), Flux Magazine, Spur, Surfer Magazine, Vice, Apple, Volcom, Hurley, RESTIR, Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation, Louis Vuitton, Chan Luu, Patagonia, Jamie Oliver, Billabong, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and pro athletes like Kelly Slater, Jamie O’Brien, Christian Fletcher, Buttons Kahuliokalani and many more. Celat says, “The business, the gallery, the artists, Ohana, and the life I am trying to build [is] becoming more real one brick at a time from two countries, three coasts, five elements and an infinite world of possibility.”
Shannon O’Connell 9th Wave Gallery features artists like Shannon O’Connell who grew up in Laguna Beach, California and later moved to the island of Oahu. As she learned to surf, her connection to the ocean became stronger and more apparent in her artwork. Working primarily with acrylic on canvas, she notes, “When you’re surfing you paint with your board on each wave and no two are alike.” O’Connell is regularly featured in wwdjapan. com and she had her first international solo art show at RESTIR 221, a surf concept store and gallery in Tokyo. Clark Takashima The most charitable and “giving soul in 9th Wave Gallery has to be Clark Takashima who recently passed away on March 14th 2014,” says Celat, “His constant giving is well documented. His tireless efforts to literally give the shirt off his back are nothing short of a life lesson in caring for others.” After losing his wife to cancer, Takashima became a lot more involved in charities such as Ryan’s Light (http://www.ryanslight.org), which works with children suffering from cancer. He has supported and donated consistently to Sunset Elementary Schools (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Celebrating-the-Arts/259816139674). At the benefit, he was a featured artist with his piece “Soul Most Known.” The piece was later auctioned at the event. Clark was also very close to Mauli Ola (http://www.mauliola.org), a Hawaiian organization that works with kids who have cystic fibrosis. The organization takes kids into the water and takes them surfing, which has a great healing effect. The organization constantly gives back to kids all over the world and has several of surfing bests in the ranks to help the cause. From Kala Alexander, Jamie O’Brien, Sunny Garcia and most notably, the late local legend Buttons Kahuliokalani, Clark worked side-by-side with them to spread this very important message and simply spend time with kids in the water.
INTO THE BLUE Photography by JONATHAN QUIPOT @ jonathan-quipot.net Styling by VANESSA OLBERG Model LUISA ENGEL @ spin model management Wardrobe by VANESSA OLBERG
THIS PAGE Jewelry by AEA JEWELRY
THE NICHE NEW YORK BRAND ELEVATES THE INDUSTRY TO LOFTY NEW HEIGHTS. Interviewed by JESSICA YOUNG Photographed by HEATH GROUT
Stepping into Haus Alkire’s TriBeCa shop that doubles as a showroom, one only has to look and touch the clothing once to realize the quality, workmanship and multi-faceted creativity that infuses each seam with aesthetic perfection. As the TriBeCa neighborhood itself exudes both sides of New York’s gritty and urbane attitude, Haus Alkire expertly captures a distinctly Gotham point of view in regards to luxury fashion. Unlike the commerciality that New York’s big-business fashion industry is known for, the designer duo Julie Haus and Jason Alkire focus on the elements that make their brand at once coveted by early adopters, unique and collectable, yet understated in aura—a more authentic facet of the city’s creative milieu. Julie and Jason reference a myriad of personal influences that are fleshed out into cultivated, architectural designs in complex materials like rich furs, anaconda, eel, fused wool, cashmere and crepe silk. Using techniques in painting, graphic design and photography to create custom digital prints, one can literally peer into the kaleidoscopic images that inspired them in the first place. Utilizing local production, each Haus Alkire garment is manufactured in NYC if not made to order for a client. With attention to
detail—from the lining in a coat to the trim on a sleeve and everything in between—a Haus Alkire piece stands as not only a wardrobe investment but an investment in the innovation and hard work New York City prides itself on. With the tenacity it takes to navigate a niche label in this burgeoning industry, we spoke to Julie Haus and Jason Alkire to get an insider take on the beauty and the business behind the brand. HOW AND WHERE DID HAUS ALKIRE ALL BEGIN? DO ANY OF YOUR PREVIOUS LIVES FEED INTO YOUR BRAND? Haus Alkire began as an underground personal creative project—we started making one-of-a-kind pieces for private clients in NYC. Our backgrounds in magazine editorial, fine art and graphic design influence the work we do now. AS A DESIGNER DUO, WHAT DOES EACH PERSON BRING TO THE OVERALL VISION? DO YOU EACH HAVE CONCRETE ROLES? Our roles within the design and business aspects of the company are always interchanging. We constantly pitch ideas to one another, which can often times result in altering the direction of the collection for the better. Experimenting with 107
textural and visual elements in the collection is very important to both of us, thus when one of us is focused on the textile design, the other seems to focus on the drape and shape of the garment. HAUS ALKIRE ALWAYS HAS AN ARTISTIC EDGE. INSPIRATION SEEMS TO POUR IN FROM ALL FACETS OF LIFE. WHAT INFLUENCED THE FW 2014 COLLECTION? ANY COMMON THEMES THAT RUN THROUGH ALL THE SEASONS? Every season originates from a new specific theme, but the core inspiration typically comes from an exploration of past and modern culture, and how life is expressed in different art forms. For FW 2014 we were inspired by the imagery found within a 19th century French book of poems and the Greek deity, Artemis. The collection is poetic, and shows both masculine and feminine perspectives through matelassé fabrics, chalk menswear stripes, matte anaconda skins and dip-dyed furs. The prints are a merging of typography, photography and hand illustration. WHO ARE YOU DESIGNING FOR? WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ADD TO THEIR WARDROBE? AND CONVERSELY, WHAT DO YOU ENVISION YOUR CUSTOMER BRINGING TO THE BRAND AS THE CLOTHES ARE WORN ON THE STREET? We design for discerning individuals that collect seasonless pieces. We hope to add foundation pieces to our client’s wardrobes that reflect their individuality. We imagine our customers bring an uplifted sense of confidence when they wear Haus Alkire, and we envision them being brand ambassadors. HAUS ALKIRE IS KNOWN FOR ITS KALEIDOSCOPIC PRINTS. WHAT’S YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS FOR THIS? DO THE PRINTS COME FIRST AND THEN THE DESIGNING OF THE COLLECTION? OR, VICE VERSA? We were fortunate to garner some notoriety for the few kaleidoscopic and photographic prints we have done. But honestly, though the prints are powerful, they only make up a small portion of our collection. We begin each collection by focusing on garment design and construction and we
THIS PAGE Jewelry by BIJULES
develop the prints to complement the actual form of each style. HAUS ALKIRE HAS WON RECOGNITION OVER THE PAST SEVERAL FEW YEARS: ECCO DOMANI FASHION FOUNDATION FOR WOMENSWEAR, W HOTELS FASHION NEXT, SWAROVSKI SPONSORSHIP, THE FASHION GROUP INTERNATIONAL RISING STAR FINALIST. BEING SMALL AND NICHE, HOW HAVE THESE AWARDS AFFECTED THE BRAND FROM BOTH A CREATIVE AND BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE? Creatively, the awards provide a bit of reassurance that our designs are well received by people. And, from a business standpoint, the awards help expose the collection to industry
insiders and to early adopter clients. ANY LEARNING LESSONS ALONG THE WAY? WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR OTHER BRANDS OUT THERE THAT WANT TO PRESERVE THEIR NICHE IDENTITY YET CULTIVATE A VIABLE BUSINESS? Do not get caught up in what other people want you to be or let anyone put you into a category. Focus on the design and fit of your collection. No matter what, someone needs to actually wear the garment to be a viable business! Have a distribution plan. Know where and who you want to sell to—don’t sell to just any retailer. And be patient. HAS ANYTHING COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED HAPPEN
WHERE YOU JUST HAVE TO ROLL WITH IT? Winning each award; landing Louis in Boston as our first account; being able to open a shop in TriBeCa out of the gate; the timing of each was a surprise. And, we rolled with them all. ANY LIFE PHILOSOPHIES OR CREATIVE PHILOSOPHIES THAT PLAY INTO THE BRAND? We try to encourage our team to be kind and give without expecting anything in return. Celebrate the small victories and live in the moment. WHAT’S NEW AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR HAUS ALKIRE? ANYTHING WE SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT? Menswear is in development and handbags are on the horizon.
THIS PAGE Bracelet by LADY GREY Bracelets by WHITE GOODS Earring by BIJULES
LOFTY HEIGHTS Photography by HEATH GROUT Creative Direction by JESSICA YOUNG & HEATH GROUT Styling by CINDY JO TAYLOR Makeup by JULIE POPE Hair by JOSEPH DIMAGGIO Model by SHERRY Q @ one management Lighting Director by PJ SPANIOL Photography Gear by ROOT NYC All Clothing by HAUS ALKIRE FW 2014
OPPOSITE Rings by BIJULES Shoes by AGL ATTILIO GIUSTI LEOMBRUNI
OPPOSITE Necklace & Bracelet by LADY GREY Bracelets by WHITE GOODS Earring by BIJULES THIS PAGE Shoes by AGL ATTILIO GIUSTI LEOMBRUNI Jewelry by BIJULES
THIS SPREAD Necklace by LADY GREY Ring by HADRIA
THIS PAGE Jewelry by AEA JEWELRY OPPOSITE Earrings & Ring by AEA JEWELRY
THIS SPREAD Bracelets by WHITE GOODS
OPPOSITE Bracelet by WHITE GOODS Rings by AEA JEWELRY Shoes by ALEJANDRO INGELMO THIS PAGE Jewelry by LADY GREY
Photography by ALEXANDER JACOB @ alexanderjacob.me Styling by DARA SCHAFER @ darascahfer.com Makeup by VANESSA VENANCIO Model MINJI MONEY @ photogenics
OPPOSITE Top by FINDERSKEEPERS Pants by LAUREN STUCKY Necklaces by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Bangles by TIFFANY KUNZ Bracelet by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Sunglasses by ISSON
THIS SPREAD Cape by LAUREN STUCKY Slip by NOE UNDERGARMENTS Necklaces by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Rings by NANIS ITALIAN JEWELS
THIS SPREAD Cape by LAUREN STUCKY Slip by NOE UNDERGARMENTS Necklaces by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Rings by NANIS ITALIAN JEWELS
THIS SPREAD Cape by LAUREN STUCKY Slip by NOE UNDERGARMENTS Necklaces by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Rings by NANIS ITALIAN JEWELS
THIS SPREAD Top by FINDERSKEEPERS Pants by LAUREN STUCKY Necklaces by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Bangles by TIFFANY KUNZ Bracelet by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Sunglasses by ISSON
THIS SPREAD Top by FINDERSKEEPERS Pants by LAUREN STUCKY Necklaces by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Bangles by TIFFANY KUNZ Bracelet by NATALIE B. JEWELRY Sunglasses by ISSON
OPPOSITE Coat by KAHLO Bodysuit by NOE UNDERGARMENTS Shoes by UNITED NUDE Rings (right hand) by NANIS ITALIAN JEWELS Rings (left hand) by WANDERLUST Bracelets (left hand) by TIFFANY KUNZ THIS PAGE Bustier by KEEPSAKE THE LABEL Shoes by UNITED NUDE Bracelets by NANIS ITALIAN JEWELS
THIS SPREAD Dress by CAMEO Pants by ENGLISH CLIENTELE COLLECTION Ring by NANIS ITALIAN JEWELS Bracelets by NANIS ITALIAN JEWELS
NATALIE Photography by JULIAN MARSHALL Styling by CAMILLA ASHWORTH Hair by OSCAR ALEXANDER LUNDBERG Makeup by NINA FAY ROBINSON Model NATALIE KEYSER
OPPOSITE Shirt and Skirt by NARCISS Jumper by ANHHA
THIS PAGE Shirt and Skirt by NARCISS Jumper by ANHHA OPPOSITE Top by FILIPPA K Bra by MYLA LONDON Jacket by WON HUNDRED Trousers by ALEXIS BARRELL Earrings by MAWI Bag by BARBARA BONER Shoes by JEROME C. ROUSSEAU
OPPOSITE Top by FILIPPA K Jacket by WON HUNDRED Trousers by ALEXIS BARRELL Necklace by MAWI THIS PAGE Top by ANHHA
THIS SPREAD Shirt by FILIPPA K Jumper by ANHHA Skirt by NARCISS Boots by JEROME C. ROUSSEAU
THIS PAGE Shirt by FILIPPA K Dress by PINGHE Bracelet by CORNELIA WEBB OPPOSITE Shirt by FILIPPA K Skirt by MAURO GRIFONI Coat by FILIPPA K Boots by WON HUNDRED
OPPOSITE Top by ALEXIS BARRELL Blazer by HEMYCA Skirt by SUPER TRASH Bracelet by CORNELIA WEBB THIS PAGE Shirt by FILIPPA K Jumper by ANHHA Skirt by NARCISS
THIS SPREAD Skirt by FILIPPA K
THIS PAGE Shirt and Coat by FILIPPA K OPPOSITE Dress by ALEXIS BARRELL
ON CREATIVE PROCESS, MAKING VISUAL SOUND & THE MUSIC INDUSTRY TODAY. Interviewed by JAMALL OLUOKUN Photography by MIKE NGUYEN Assisted by KRISTEN M STUART
If there’s one phrase to sum up the musical duo Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, better known as Phantogram, it would be “visual sound.” They have a unique ability for crafting musical experiences that you can see. It’s like a good book that comes alive because the characters are deeply explored and the narrative is so rich with life and emotion. One doesn’t have to relate to what they’re saying because it’s as if they're already there, living in their melodic moments that are shaped with each note and hit of the snare. To find out more about how they create these harmonic worlds and get their thoughts on the music industry, we chatted with Sarah Barthel. Jamall: Did I hear one of your recent tracks on a Gillette commercial? Sarah: We did a thing with Gillette for football season. They wanted to use one of our instrumentals, so we decided it would be a good opportunity to get our song out there. Jamall: And was that running through the whole season? I only saw this about a week-and-a-half ago, and I was like interesting! Sarah: Yeah, it’s been going the entire season. It’s been crazy. Jamall: Wow. How did that come about?
Sarah: They just asked us. They’ve been fans of us for a long time. They emailed our managers and were wondering if we’d be interested. Jamall: Nice. And at the end of it there’s like a little guitar riff, was that you guys or was that something they added? Sarah: No, yeah, that’s what they added in.
Jamall: Yeah, I was like wait a minute, they didn’t do that! Although, it’s a nice tie-in in terms of the branding. Sarah: That was the only weird part that we weren’t too pumped on. However, I can understand why they needed to do it as their little jingle, you know. Jamall: Yeah exactly, a best a man can get right? Sarah: (Laughs)
Jamall: Good for you guys though. That’s cool. Any other projects like that? You know, where you guys are leveraging your brand or sound for different promotionals? Sarah: Yeah, we did a track for The Hunger Games soundtrack, which was cool. We weren't expecting them to ask us but they did and we had a song in mind. There were a bunch of big, respectable artists on the soundtrack. It’s a good soundtrack. Jamall: Speaking of the Terminal 5 show, there was this particular track called “Fall In Love.” You said it was a sixyear-old beat. That track is interesting, it stood out from the whole set. It was very hip-hop lean, old-school-sample vibe. Sarah: That was a song we’ve been holding on to for years and years. Josh made that beat a long time ago. It was a piece on its own. It was heavily influenced—I mean I don’t make the dope beats—but we listen to a lot of MadLib, J Dilla and Detroit hip hop. The song kind of like fit into the music, there 159
were no vocals. It wasn’t really a song, but it moved, it was interesting. We were just going to keep it like that and then we had the idea of maybe having someone rhyming over it. Anyhow, we picked it back up a couple years ago when we were writing this album and we were able to figure it out and turn it into a full song. And it’s our big single for this record! Plus, we have a music video that will be heavily promoted for the release. So, they’re spinning it on radio stations and people seem to really like it. Jamall: It’s so interesting that an old track from years ago has become the new single for you guys. Speaking of which, what’s the creative process for you guys. Who starts it off? And I also noticed that considering you’re a duo, both of you lead songs, which is interesting. I know some duos tend to have one person be the feature. Sarah: We initially wanted to make a point to have both of us singing on this project, just in general. In our first album, Josh sings a lot more and the plan was the same for this album but we ended up picking the songs that I sang. But initially, it’s important for us to have that duality, because it’s the two of us that make us Phantogram. When we create it’s different every time. It always starts with a beat first and foremost. Normally, that’s where it really begins because it’s so complicated that we typically have to write around that. It’s more complicated but if we’re able to figure it out, it works really really well. It definitely encourages us to make a huge effort rather than simply sitting down, picking up a guitar and just writing a
song. It’s very different. Sometimes we write songs separately and once one gets stumped, we switch. Josh will give me something he’s working on and I’ll give him something I’m working on and then we finish it. So yeah, there’s no one way we do it. It’s different every song. Jamall: I can definitely hear underground hip hop, Madlib, J Dilla and all those influences. Also, when I was at your show at Terminal 5, I wrote down something to the extent of, “Ambient. It’s like soundtrack music played live that puts you in a particular mood.” That’s how I described it when I was listening to you guys. That’s apt in my brain, would you say similarly? You’re able to put people in a particular mood. Sarah: Yeah, that’s really important too. It’s crucial. It’s crucial for our sound to have that soundtrack vibe, you know? We’re very visual people, so we always keep that in mind. Jamall: It’s great that you touched upon that. That’s actually what I was going to say next. You guys are very visual. Obviously, you guys are musicians, but I’m guessing you see yourselves as more than that, as complete artists who bring the visuals, apparel and the cool, music videos with interesting angles. Can you briefly explain the whole artistry of all the different elements? Sarah: Since day one, we always connected sounds and created songs around a visual idea. It could be just a daydream, or a picture in our heads, or our own little scenarios that we come up with and we’ll write a song around that idea, emotion or feeling. It’s like a plot or scene in a movie with heavy emotion that gives the song direction. Jamall: Last question, this is more just about the industry and what you’re working on now. So, obviously in terms of what you guys have been able to accomplish, how do you feel about what you’re doing to make it as artists and the different ways to make money within the industry? Yes, one can sell records, but obviously now artists are doing the deals and promotional stuff, different things beyond selling just records. What is it like to be an artist in this new industry? Sarah: It’s always new. We don’t really know what’s happening next and we want to take advantage of every outlet that we can, and I think that’s important. It’s not the same way it was in the ’90s when someone puts your song in a commercial and you were considered a sell out. That’s not what it’s like these days. So, bands are doing that a lot more, and it’s the best way that artists can make a living. I always Shazam a song I hear anywhere. One can just pop out Shazam and automatically find who made the song and buy it instantaneously. It’s a really interesting outlet for music discovery. Yeah, I mean pretty much we’re going with the flow.
Photography by MARTHA GALVAN @ marthagalvanphotography.com Stylist by SEAN PANELLA Hair and Makeup by CAROLINA YASUKAWA Models ANDREA DEBEVC, GARRETT WOOD, MICHAEL ROSE, AND JARED NORTH
Photography by DENA HUYS @ denahuys.com Styling by L'OBJET SINGULIER @ lobjetsingulier.be Hair and Makeup by M A S S Y CREATIONS @ massycreations.be Model CAMILLE BOTTEN @ dominique models agency
IN FOCUS: ALVIN NGUYEN
GOING BEHIND THE LENS AND GETTING PERSONAL WITH PHOTOGRAPHER ALVIN NGUYEN. Interviewed by JENNIFER ORTAKALES
Alvin Nguyen is a seasoned photographer for us at Papercut Magazine. He’s provided inspiring editorials issue after issue and offered a unique perspective on fashion. Now, we’re showing you the man behind the camera, how he began his career and his fondest memories with the Papercut team. WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM? WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING THERE? I was born and raised in Vietnam until I was ten. My parents moved us to the States and I grew up in Seattle. That's where I got my start in photography. I will always love Seattle, but the other part of me loves Los Angeles. I moved there in 2013 to pursue my photography career. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PHOTOGRAPHER? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I've been shooting since summer of 2010, so I guess I'm on my third year in this glamorous life (just kidding). It was a rainy day in Seattle (no seriously, it rains a lot) and I was sitting in my MBA classroom. I was 24 and totally uninspired by sitting in this classroom full of business people trying to get a degree for their next promotion. I looked around and I couldn't see myself doing any of the jobs I would be able to get once I had my graduate degree. The best thing for me after lectures was to get into my car and drive home. I absolutely love cars! Growing up with my dad being a mechanic, we would build race cars together in our garage. When I graduated, I got a DSLR for myself and started shooting my friends’ cars. So you can say I started with car photography before I realized that shooting fashion stories was way more fun! HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE? WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK? It's a bit hard for me to describe my photography style, but I guess if I had to pinpoint it, it would be cinematic shifts of color. I love movies so much. As weird as it sounds, I almost felt like I grew up with characters in the movies I liked. 194
So, when I shoot a story, I want it to feel like a still from an old movie. I want you to be able to see, breath, live in that moment. I'm so inspired by timeless beauty, you know, the kind of beauty that people appreciated decades ago that we overlook today. Remember the time our grandparents used to speak of their youth? That's the kind of inspiration I love. HOW MANY PHOTOSHOOTS DO YOU TYPICALLY DO EVERY WEEK? HOW MANY COMMISSIONED VS. PORTFOLIO BUILDING/PERSONAL INTEREST? I typically shoot one to two days a week, depending on the time of the year. I used to shoot three to four times a week, but as I get further into my career and my work matures, I want to put more time into making sure the production value of the shoots goes up. That means shooting less but ensuring more quality with each shoot. I typically shoot more personal work than commissioned. I feel that personal work makes an artist grow, transform and discover. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR FREE TIME? I love being out in nature, so anything that has to do with being outdoors, I'm in! I think that's why you see so many location shoots in my book. I just absolutely love being outside and looking at this amazing world we live in. Combine that with a good drive and it's perfection! I absolutely love cars so you'll always find me working on my car in the garage if I'm not shooting or editing. I'm actually prepping my current car to take to the track in a few months. THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY CAN BE UNPREDICTABLE AND HARDWORKING, WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BALANCED IN A HECTIC LIFESTYLE? You're right, it's a crazy world we live in! I think it's important to have other things in your life to ground you. I love my dog I got after volunteering at the local LA rescue group, Much Love. I take photos of homeless pets on Sundays when I volunteer at the adoption event. It takes me away from what I do normally, but still allows me to help rescue animals with photography.
ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHERS LOOKING TO PURSUE THE FIELD AS A CAREER? Patience. I can't say how much it means to have patience on your side. You'll get plenty of rejections no matter how good you think you are or how good other people say you are. As my Dad told me, “No matter how hard you're working, someone out there is working harder.” So, make sure you're always doing something that you love. This is why shooting personal projects is so important. Keep good people around you and be crazy. Do things that are out of this world, even if it seems impossible or stupid. Do anything you want as long as you use good judgement. And most of all, have fun. Because that's what you're doing this for, right? WHAT DO YOU DEEM YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT THUS FAR? WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS? My biggest accomplishment...this is hard. I always judge the marks on my road by how my images turned out and if I improved on the last story, not necessarily by who the story is shot for. That being said, I think my biggest accomplishment is shooting my first Elle cover with my best friend Niko Weddle in Vietnam. We were two crazy hungry artists and we got the chance to shoot something for Elle with an amazing team. As for future goals, I've always wanted to shoot for Vogue. Everything I'm shooting for my personal work is to continue towards that path. To be able to pick up a Vogue with my work in it would be amazing! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PAPERCUT MOMENT? Oh man, I have so many! Can I have two answers? My favorite moment is probably with the Papercut team at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I have to tell you guys, it's never a dull moment with the Papercut team! It's so fun to be at Fashion Week with people who are on your same wavelength. Plus, for all the craziness it's okay to have a little bit of that glamorous life, right? Okay, I'm exaggerating, but really, MBFW + Papercut = memories for life! YOUR FAVORITE PAPERCUT SHOOT? Favorite Papercut shoot, this is tough, but I would have to say our shoot in New York on the rooftop of a hotel in Queens [October 2011 issue]. It was a rare shoot where I got lucky enough to have almost every single Papercut team member there. The Queensboro Bridge was in the background and we had Jamall DJing for us. I was shooting this amazing Swedish model who had just come to New York. The stars were aligned and it was a beautiful October cover for Papercut. You'll see that every time I talk about a moment it's always tied to a specific time spent with friends. It's because I believe the most important thing in this life is our friendship with the people around us and not which client you get or which shoot you're doing. It's the people that you work with who will become lifelong friends. I've always been grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to grow with Papercut. You guys believed in me from the beginning when I was a brand new photographer and was still finding myself. I appreciate that I was able to find myself with Papercut. Love you guys and I can't wait to do more with you! To see more of Nguyen’s work check out his website at http://alvinnguyen.com. 195
AN ALVIN NGUYEN RETROSPECTIVE
Exactly three years go, Papercut teamed up with an unknown photographer by the name of Alvin Nguyen to shoot our very first anniversary issue cover. Little did we know that this relationship would spawn 20 editorials, 19 covers and a lifetime of amazing memories. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane to share Alvin's top 10 photographs and top 5 covers.
LEFT: “BEAUTIFUL MONSTER” With the Queensboro bridge in the background, it was one of those rare moments that I got to work with every single Papercut editor on one shoot. It's a rare opportunity to get such a beautiful location and pull together such an amazing team. I absolutely love this shoot! RIGHT: ANNABELLE WALLIS PORTRAIT When shooting a blonde subject, especially a movie star like Annabelle Wallis, it’s extremely difficult to not immediately be focused on her natural sexiness. I wanted to shoot a portrait that displays her beauty in a non-provocative way but still retains a certain sexiness—I love the way our team finished off her hair with a messy style and a naturally clean makeup look. Her glance back at the camera is intriguing and adds a mysterious appeal. 197
BELOW: “HALF LIFE” I love a good discussion on current issues. Having friends who were directly affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, I wanted to shoot a story that brought attention to the nuclear footprint we left behind. The images are most likely the only of its kind— an abandoned nuclear power plant that was only 90% completed. Aside from the reactor, everything was ready to be put to use, including two giant cooling towers. And yes, our team climbed 45 stories worth of stairs to shoot on the very top of the structure. Believe me when I say that going up was the easy part.
RIGHT: “DELOREAN” I've worked with fashion stylist Alvin Stillwell for many years and his execution is perfection on this shoot. I love that we shot a futuristic story that's also very realistic. I think it's easier to shoot something totally out of this world. But to shoot something you can wear every day but still has that fantasy appeal is hard to do. Our team completed the look with retro slicked-back hair and unique makeup. Futuristic, vintage and menswear—I love it when everything comes together.
RIGHT: “REINVENTION” My first time shooting a menswear story for Papercut had to be different than the mainstream. I told myself we needed to do something that challenges the status quo of the modern gentleman. We showcased a more masculine side of fashion and Heffner Management sent us an amazing model that reflects that. I also wanted to shoot it simply with just one light and all effects done in camera. LEFT: “GLOBE TROTTER” I love this shoot because when we came up with the theme of a traveling subject, I never thought about shooting it indoors. But, in fact, it ended up being better to shoot this in a studio environment—a place that allows us to focus on the pieces and see the differences across designers from around the world. This outfit is from Lie Sang Bong from South Korea and currently he’s my favorite designer. 200
LEFT: “WITHIN A DREAM” I think one of the hardest thing any team can face is shooting in a harsh environment. And believe me when I say that 120 °F degrees is a very harsh environment. Our team braved the heat and rattlesnakes for this shoot and I'm glad we did. The images look so serene and peaceful but, of course, it was a chaotic environment. However, everyone worked hard and made sure that everything from her hair to the clothes stayed perfect. Now that's team work! RIGHT: “OPEN ROAD” The unique part of this shoot is that our location was chosen not for its beauty but rather because of the proof that everything heals with time and love. We shot high up in Angeles Crest National Park, a location that just two years prior had completely burned down in one of the biggest wildfires in California history. This standing tree is one of the survivors and is regrowing—you can still see the burnt marks all the way up to the highest branches. Within a sad history lies the beautiful story of survival. I believe that all living things have a soul and should be preserved. 203
LEFT: “THE AMERICAN” I wanted to shoot something that defies conventional stereotypes of American men and our sense of fashion being just jeans and a T-shirt. James Fenske did an amazing job with his simple poses and this falling shot is one of my favorite menswear images to date. RIGHT: “MACKLEMORE” When we shot Macklemore for Papercut thanks to a connection from stylist Alvin Stillwell, I immediately knew this is the kind of artist that Papercut loves. I immediately called Hayley (our EIC) to ask if we can secure a cover—this was the first time a magazine put Macklemore at the forefront. And how appropriate is that? Emerging artist. Check. Amazing sense of style. Check. And amazing talent to boot! 204
ALVIN NGUYEN'S TOP 5 PAPERCUT COVERS
“FRESH FOR FANTASY” FEBRUARY 2012 The Challenge: A spring story shot in NYC in the middle of winter. The Answer: An indoor popup park. The Difficulties: We had four hours to shoot seven looks including makeup and hair. Only three hours in, we realized the venue was double-booked for Toddlers & Tiaras. Imagine stage moms and little princesses running around. It was definitely a crazy shoot. 207
“SUSTAINABLE” MAY 2012 The Challenge: An environmentally focused cover. The Answer: A sustainable wardrobe and locally grown, organic flowers. The Difficulties: Originally, we were going to shoot this with the flowers on a white background but it had been done before and it didn't look powerful unless we had the entire wall covered in flowers, which we couldn't do. I used a simple photography trick which was to bring the flowers to the foreground from the background to make them appear much bigger than they were. I also photographed the flowers individually in front of the lens and graphed them into the shot later for this effect.
“PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN” OCTOBER 2011 The Challenge: The October Halloween issue. The Answer: Shoot the most beautiful girl I could find but style her with pieces that reflects the theme. The Difficulties: The conceptualization process of this theme was hard. It would be too obvious if we just shot a dark and scary theme. I wanted to do the opposite and tell the story of a girl that is so seductive that she could be called a monster—but she's also beautiful and we know that beauty kills.
“FOR THE RECORD” SEPTEMBER 2012 The Challenge: The September music issue. The Answer: Shoot the most amazing emerging artist we can find with a sense of style a.k.a.: Macklemore. The Difficulties: We only had two hours of light (Macklemore stopped his other engagements to shoot with us). We had to get everything done just right and even though we only needed three shots, every second counts. And since we shot this in Macklemore’s hometown of Seattle, we were getting stopped frequently by his fans.
“REDICULOUS” DECEMBER 2011 The Challenge: The all-red December issue. The Answer: Sometimes you can't beat simplicity. A red cover was all we needed. The Difficulties: I was in Vietnam shooting for Elle when I was asked to shoot this cover story. Unfortunately, with clothing being limited in Vietnam, I could not get the correct pieces to shoot this story. With the deadline closing in, I realized that I had an image that I took a while back that could work. Six months prior, I was at a hiking trail in San Francisco with model Kelsey Harding. We found a construction worker’s helmet at the beginning of the trail and she jokingly put it on. I saw rays of sunlight coming through the foliage and throwing such a beautiful shadow on her face that I pulled out my camera and took several frames. I thought nothing of it until the moment that I needed a red theme cover for Papercut. The moral of the story is that you never know when or where your images may be presented to a large audience. Take every shot as if it's a cover shot.
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