Cover artwork by Justina šuminaitė
Editor EVA PELÁEZ Creative Director ANA AFONSO Graphics & Web Design ANA AFONSO ANNA FERRY Photography Director JUSTINA ŠUMINAITĖ Art Department PAULA AFONSO TOM GOSLING
Photography and Video IVAN CORDOBA ALEXANDRA UHART Editorial Assistant DAVID RAWLINS Fashion Editor TANIA FAROUKI
Writers SABRINA BRAMBLE JESC BUNYARD OCTAVE CAT SAMANTHA COOMBES HEIKE DEMPSTER LATOYAH GILL ADAN JERREAT-POOLE NERMINA KULOVIĆ PEGGY MCGREGOR YINKA OLUMOMI SCOTT PARTINGTON JEREMIAH TAYLER JOE TUCKER SUZANNE ZHANG Commercial Department ANDRÉS CARRENO ISSABEL FEHRNAND MOHAMED MAHAYNI
Thank you to all our amazing contributors and artists that have made ROOMS 12 so special. Big thanks to: Justina, Suzanne, Kika y Kiko, Tania, Samantha, Kevin, Mr Ballard, LaToyah, Patrilava, Michael Hoppen Contemporary Gallery, BEARSPACE Gallery, photographer Robbie Mike Jeffers, and Moha we’ll see you in Paris soon. To Isa, the bravest woman in the world. Published in London by RAU Studio London National and international distribution by Central Books General enquiries email@example.com Subscription enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN: 2046-5505 Issue 12 – 2013 www.roomsmagazine.com 12
©RAU Ltd. London All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the publisher. The information and images, contained in this magazine, are materials supplied to the publisher by the artists and contributors. Opinions and images expressed in this magazine’s contents are those of the author. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Rooms Art Uncovered Ltd. does not under any circumstances accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.
Immersive sound realms by Haroon Mirza at Lisson Gallery visceral paintings by Barnaby Furnas at Victoria Miro Fractured flesh of Charlie Isoe’s portraits at Lazarides Emotionally charged age lines on Mark Powell’s antique letters at Ben Oakley Musical history passage of Tokio Aoyama’s paintings at Hoxton Gallery
Energising sense of discovery from Suzanne Zhang in her US trip feature On the Road with
Nostalgia awakened by The Pixies’ new album Humanly touching realism of the film Prevertere Sophisticated tomorrow, the Future is Here at The Design Museum BLUE SKIES of Albuquerque Sun and excitement of summer festivals, Primavera Sound and Field Day Neon colours and light clothes in Spring Breakers
Light of Laura Knight portraits at the National Portrait Gallery
Spirituality in Ibrahim el-Salahi’s paintings at TATE Modern Intoxicating sweat of !!! (Chk Chk Chk)’s Nic Offer at VISIONS Festival Solitude in Ed Ruscha’s architecture photography, Rocking
showing at The Getty Center
eNERGY at Meltdown Festival Mouth-watering retrospective of Ferran Adria, El Bulli at Somerset House
Shinro Ohtake’s obsessively rich, collage diaries and wordless dialogues of Pawel Althamer’s Venetians at the Venice Biennale
Lavish silhouettes of RetroSpective at
The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology
Comforting silence of Gary Hume ‘s paintings at the Tate Modern Art excessiveness of the Edinburgh Fringe
Hypnotising lights of James Turrel’s trips through space at Guggenheim Museum
Here’s to the encounters that have enthused our senses with a spectrum of tantalising images and texturized sounds. With a trail of inspiration coiling under our skin we celebrate our new collection of artists. Welcome to ROOMS 12
Words by Eva Peláez
Garis & Hahn presents ANDREA MARY MARSHALL 60
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects presents WANGECHI MUTU 72
CHRIS TURNER & CELESTE WONG 78
MUUSE presents HELLEN VAN REES 86
EIGEN + ART presents BOSCO SODI
Fashion Spirit in Bloom: JESSICA NG, MAXXI JAE-HYUNG LEE, MIUNIKU, OCTOLOGY, VALENTINA LA PORTA, MICKEY MARLOWE, KATIE WITHAM
The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship
We Enter Sacred Ground
Suzanne Moxhay 98
Kyle Henderson 102
Borja Bonafuente Gonzalo 106
Noe Sendas 108
Sandra Chevrier 112
Reuben Wu 116
Acaymo S Cuesta 118
Topaz Leung & Martin Cheung Founders and Creative Directors at Studio TM 124
Julius & Tobi Co-founders and Designers at Nomadic People 126
James Ratsasane Art Director at First Love Records Label 128
Pierangelo D’Agostin Creative Director at TWEEN
Ryan Stanier Founder and Director at The Other Art Fair
EMMA TOOTH The Renaissance Revival 142
AUNIA KAHN Eye Connection 152
ALEX TURVEY In live Action 158
GUILLAUME LANDRY Hunting for Stories
JANE PETRIE Undressing Film 172
ELLEN ROGERS A Darkroom Affair 178
RYOICHI KUROKAWA Introducing the Audio-Visual Phenomenon 184
IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE The Art of Revolution 188
Official Selection: BRIAN MCGUIRE, MICHAEL PEARCE, RAFAEL PAVÓN 196
Motel Rooms featuring Mike Ballard
The Cover Artist Uncovered
Hello Lamp Post by PAN Studio
No Borders No Boundaries
Why Do You Do What You Do?
JUSTINA ŠUMINAITĖ Pictures of Me
We Ent er Sacred Ground
A graphic tribute to the designers of tomorrow
FASHION SPIRIT IN BLOOM
Photography by Justina Šuminaitė
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
MAXXI JAE-HYUNG LEE
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
VALENTINA LA PORTA
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
We Ent er Sacred Ground
Garis & Hahn Gallery presents:
MARSHALL A Woman of Subst ance NY,US
Mary Garis and Sophie Hahn, Directors at Garis & Hahn Gallery, New York
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Andrea Mary Marshall is an innovative and inspiring artist who is creating powerful works that speak to our contemporary culture, not only through the subject matter, but in the way she creates her art and utilizes her mediums. Andrea’s past bodies of work have been strong and colourful, both conceptually and aesthetically which have attracted us to her world. Despite the success in her earlier works, Andrea continues to grow and develop as an artist which is apparent in her latest series and is influenced by cultural icons; Elvis and the Japanese Geisha. There is a maturity in these new works that we were unfamiliar with. This latest series is so unique, seductive and current, that we truly believe she will be a great artist of our generation.
Gia Condo Untitled No. 1 Self-portrait as Mona Gloria, Vanna, Pananana (Flava Flav) 2012. Oil on poplar panel
Words by Tania Farouki
Painter. Photographer. Drafts(wo)man. Collage artist. Add to that filmmaker, model and actress. Is there anything Andrea Mary Marshall can’t do? Just like Gloria Steinem acted as an advocate and catalyst for the Women’s Liberation movement back in the 60s and 70s, Ms. Marshall may well become the 21st century representation of female empowerment. For one, she is giving a whole new meaning to self-portraiture, giving birth to alter egos who can easily pass as contemporary Flaubert or Hitchcock heroines: Loretta Minx, Rosemary Myst, Diabolical Donna, Gia Condo. Who wouldn’t want to be these überglamourous characters? Yet underneath the immaculately beautified portrayals, you sense that each of them have been through intense emotional voyages. The same goes for the wittingly-well done portraits of Mona Lisa’s modern doppelgängers and Vague (aka Vogue) cover stars: even when posing as females who should be instantly degraded and tagged by the media as negative, Ms. Marshall somehow makes them look in total control. The character in question – whether a nun, a pregnant bride, an S&M aficionado or even a Pope – might be vulnerable, dramatic, passionate, distraught and seen as going through self-inflicted pains and pleasure, yet she completely and utterly acknowledges and upholds the emotions and consequences. But always looks good while doing it (stigmata bleedings and being covered in spaghetti won’t stop her). It is clear how complex and intriguing the female gender is and she explores the many facets by defying society stereotypes and reclaiming the status of women as a symbol of power. The New York City-based artist is in full bloom and she’s just getting started. Only one question remains: is the world ready for Andrea Mary Marshall? ROOMS had the pleasure of conversing with the charismatic creative engine.
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Tell us a bit about your background. So you were born in Massachusetts? Yes. I have a wonderful and crazy family and had a very creative and inspiring childhood. I was a rather awkward girl, very nerdy, shy and did not quite fit in. But I was always creating, always making and always inventing. And I had a lot of fun and adventure. When was your first encounter with the art world?
My grandmother, Gloria, was a painter and a ceramicist. She brought me to museums when I was very young and always encouraged my interest in art. But I never thought I would go into fine art. I wanted to be a fashion designer and graduated from Parsons with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. It wasn’t until 2008 that I decided I wanted to pursue art seriously.
Your choice of art varies: paintings, photographs, drawings, videos, mixed media, etc. What role does each platform play for you? Do you prefer working with a particular one? In front of my camera is where I feel most at ease and powerful. Most of your work comprises of selfportraits. Why is that?
Exploration. I don’t know why exactly but it was always natural for me to do self-portraits. Instinctive.
Some have dubbed you ‘the next Cindy Sherman’. What is your view on that? I think it’s flattering. Sherman is a great artist and I admire her success and career. But I think my work is different than hers and I do not view myself as ‘the next’ anybody. I’m me.
Reincarnation still as Gia Condo With Mustache 2012
Self-portrait as Venus de Milo Kink 2013
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Tell us about Gia Condo, your alter ego: who is she exactly? Should we be expecting more characters or is she the main one?
One of the elements I particularly love about your work is the appropriation you use, be it Vogue magazine covers or La Gioconda. You take these – shall we say iconic – visuals to an extreme end that I find empowers the female gender. Do you feel closely linked to popular female representations at all?
There are several alter egos. Gia Condo, Rosemary Myst, Loretta Minx, Flo, Maria Gonzalez, among others. Gia Condo was inspired by [Leonardo] Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the idea that she may be Da Vinci’s selfportrait in drag. The name Gia Condo is an anagram for La Gioconda. She represents a more fearless, liberated and empowered version of myself compared to past alter egos like Rosemary Myst, who represented a damsel in distress. Gia Condo plays with feminism, sexual identity and gender identity. She will not come back though. I’m now trying to move away from my focus on alter egos and do self-portraits that are more true to myself.
I find I often can’t avoid the cliché. Female representation in history has always inspired me to analyse myself, the women in my life and in popular culture. I think regardless of how far our society has come in evolving past stereotypes and limitations, somehow we still seem inherent and exemplary of feminine idealism.
I love how Gia Condo exudes this confidence and sex appeal: the effects you use (such as make-up, clothes, accessories, etc.) truly make it performance art… Yes, Gia Condo was a lifestyle!
Are there any messages you aim to convey in your pieces? If yes, what are they? For instance, what are the main differences between [the exhibitions] Toxic Women and Gia Condo? Toxic Women felt masochistic in a way but very cathartic. Along with examining the side effects of the pop culture we often idealise, the work was symbolic of my own toxic behaviours and relationships. Gia Condo was about breaking free from the restraints of being a Toxic Woman – toxic to myself. Emerging liberated, free and wild – removing the limitations of society, gender, sexuality and also the limitations we place on ourselves.
Some of your work includes fashion and accessories – like the Confessional Bag with Sacrificial Object Inside. What is your relationship with fashion? Do you think fashion can be art? Most definitely. I studied fashion in college. Fashion is storytelling. Fashion is beauty. Fashion is history. And the way we dress or style ourselves can both conceal our identity while at the same time reveal our soul. A theme that I think is present in all of your pieces is pure ‘passion’. Do you agree?
Yes, almost too much. I’m an art-aholic. I have to be making art all the time. I live for it and I love it passionately.
How does an idea for a piece come about? Tell us about your creative process. The ideas just come â€“ usually while I am listening to music. I just see an image in my head and then recreate it. But the images I create are always autobiographical and a result of experiences and emotions in my life. What are the influences you tend to look upon when creating pieces? What inspires you the most: the people, the places, media, etc.? Real life experiences and emotions.
Do you have a favourite piece from your body of work until now? Yes. My favourite painting is my self-portrait Search For The Holy Grail and my favorite photo is Blow Drying My Wounds: Self Portrait as Flo. I also love a few of my demon paintings from Toxic Women, anything as Rosemary Myst, The Gia Condo film stills and some of my new photographs from my latest KINK series. Especially Self Portrait with Hoover.
Self-portrait with Mop Kink 2013
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Self-portrait with Hoover Kink 2013
What kind of satisfaction do you get when completing a piece? I feel thrilled. As long as I like the piece. If I don’t like the piece, that’s another story. Who are your favorite artists? Any particular movements you are fond of?
impressionism, abstract expressionism, and selfportraiture. But the list goes on forever.
Impossible question! Here’s the short list: Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, George Condo, Diego Velázquez, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Lucas Cranach The Elder, Hans Memling, Paul Gauguin, Henri Rousseau, Hector Hyppolite, Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, El Greco, Edouard Manet and John Singer Sargent. In terms of art movements, the ones I’m quite fond of are Haitian folk, Mexican folk,
Reincarnation still as Gia Condo with Sauce and Milk 2012
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Self-portrait as Gia Condo as the Main Course 2012
Do you tend to look at your peers’ work? I like a lot of my peers’ work. I especially love the work of Dan Colen, Olympia Scarry and Angel Otero. Describe to us a typical day at the studio and/or when working on a piece. There is no such thing as a typical day. No routine besides copious amounts of caffeine and Santana’s Abraxas album on repeat. First thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Put on my high heels, of course!
Our latest theme question, which is on point with what you do: imagine a photo with you in it, what would it be? What’s the story? Well, this question is interesting because I already do this. I am always imagining photos and putting myself in them. But I guess today I would like to forget about the art and see myself in a photo laying on the beach in the Bahamas! Any future projects in the works? What’s next for Andrea Mary Marshall?
Yes, I am doing a two-person show at Garis & Hahn Gallery in New York City opening September 16th. I’m very excited for this!
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Confessional Bag - I Confess Whore 2011
Self-portrait as Gia Condo as the Trashbag Mona Lisa 2012
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Eat Cake 2012. Video projection, newsprint, used cardboard boxes, wood, felt, blankets, recycled plastic, recycled cardboard, 12min 51sec. Edition of 6. Courtesy of the Artist
Repainting a New Africa
Eat Cake 2012. Video projection, newsprint, used cardboard boxes, wood, felt, blankets, recycled plastic, recycled cardboard, 12min 51sec. Edition of 6. Courtesy of the Artist
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Susanne Vielmetter, Gallery Director, Los Angeles
vielmetter.com I have followed Wangechi Mutu’s work since 2002 when I discovered her small-scale collages on paper. They immediately stood out because of the extraordinarily powerful way they portray the female figure. Mutu’s work engages us in a sophisticated approach by equally fascinating and repulsing us, her characters are always powerful, even if unspeakable violence is inflicted upon them. They exude an unparalleled raw force that I find very effective in addressing contemporary issues surrounding the female body. This is an artist who has developed a supremely unique visual language and who is not afraid to address tough contemporary issues.
I see the most important role of the gallery in supporting our artists and in creating a framework which enables them to grow, to challenge their practice, and to strive for the most ambitious work they can do. Seeing their work grow and receiving the amazing response and support from the public, the critics and the art institutions is the best reward for us and for the artists together. The program of my gallery reflects an interest in work that is not afraid of content and engages in important contemporary issues, whether they are of a political or more personal nature. We present a wide range of approaches, both in terms of concept and medium, with a focus on fostering a diverse canon of cultural voices. Wangechi Mutu’s work adds an interesting facet to our program as it confronts the perception of the female body from a Eurocentric point of view with a contemporary African voice.
Words by Heike Dempster Share some of your New York with us. A tremendous amount of work in my career has been accomplished here in New York City, in Brooklyn actually. It has played a big role in my goals and my understanding of this cross-cultural, multilingual, multicultural world . I live in a very Caribbean Diasporic immigrant area. These things that I was interested in always surround me anyway. I walk out of the door and I see people co-existing who are not necessarily from the same island, the same country, the same history or background. I live in a house that has passed from one group of immigrants to another, Jewish and Caribbean. My building was previously owned by Irish and Dutch people. When they first settled here it was farmland. I am very much aware of my immigrant city because of where I live. It has taught me to deal with my being trapped here, in a way. Not being able to travel has been slightly softened by my surroundings. How much do you draw on these personal experiences with such varied and rich cultural inspirations around you?
I draw from all my experiences. I walk around and I see a person wearing something interesting or something that awakens a memory and I draw that idea into my work as an image or a performance 64
idea. There is tons of music playing, lots of cars are on the street, people are talking in a variety of accents, a variety of American accents. All of that helps me create the way I do, and think the way I do. I am one of these people who uses the world, my everyday world, as a sort of encyclopaedia for research and to inspire me. I am not super conservative about doing my research in the library. I lean towards issues that relate to women and existence in this world. How do we walk? How do we feel? How do we survive? How do we masquerade ourselves? What is our predicament? What are our problems and challenges from different places and different times? There are a variety of challenges in Kenya that I don’t experience here, but then there is a whole set of other issues in the United States, and in Brooklyn and New York that are peculiar. I really use my female eye to understand our place in this time in history and in a way to illuminate the inequities that women still experience. Have you recently seen a piece of art or an exhibition that had a profound impact on you?
I think of El Anatsui’s work at the Brooklyn Museum. His work is magnificent. It is just remarkable. It is very important and beautiful at the same time. Important in the sense that it is such a representation of an ability and skill set with the use of materials from other cultures and materials from other economies, and they do not necessarily match up. He is using junk and shiny bits of metal to create these magnificent, very, very epic backdrops. It is like he creates these heavens, in a way, they are like stars and glowing lights. They are so big and it is all out of that junk. The material, as much as it was thrown to the bottom of the trash of our value system it actually has a beauty to it, a place and an importance, and it belongs to us because it comes from the earth, as well. Something about his work is super eloquent and clear about the capability of human creativity but also of contemporary African language. I am listening to music. I love Afro-Punk, the Afro-Punk festival and concerts of black rock bands. That’s a very open term and open category in their world. These kids are doing incredible music and they are rebellious in their approach to what music can sound like, and their energy is electric. I always enjoy it. In the fall I saw Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire. Nora is an immigrant like myself but a sort of self-exile type who left Zimbabwe because she had a yearning to learn about dance and learn about herself. She is one of the most remarkably interesting things to watch in movement. She has the ability to describe the predicament of contemporary Africa through her dance. We are not talking about the Africa that people like to idealize, the traditional, historical Africa that people have in their dreams and that is in the museums of Natural History. I am talking about the Africa that has blood and a pulse, and is alive, it has cities and noise and complicated
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social economic histories all blended into one hybrid amazing place. That is the kind of body she performs when she does a dance. She is really fierce and beautiful, and unpredictable. I have seen her work and one piece that I saw in particular called Heifer was very inspirational.
You’ve recently presented Fantastic Journey at Nasher Museum Of Art, North Carolina, US. Could you walk us through the show? It is basically a survey, and it is a journey of me and the time I have been in the US building my career. It also references a TV show that was around in 70s America. The premise of it is, these people leave their home and they go and travel very far away. And when they get to this place they sort of get trapped in a parallel universe and they can’t return. It is both a show about me embarking on an adventure to some unknown place and at the same time this adventure is also a metaphor for the work and the way I produce it, exploring different themes that have to do with transitory life and the existence outside of home: exile. It also relates to gender issues because as a woman I think it’s been a different kind of journey from that which a male artist might have had. Fantastic Journey embraces my work of the last 20 years. It is not as comprehensive as a retrospective, but it is a survey.
What has your migration experience been? I left my country on an airplane and landed somewhere else. I saw myself completely differently the moment I was thrown into an environment in which I became a foreigner or a non-native. I had never been a minority. It was an interesting and very extreme kind of change and shift. I have lived in the US for 20 years plus, and I think eventually you stop longing for home. It
Pretty Double-Headed 2010. Mixed media, ink, collage, pearls, contact paper on Mylar, 34 x 41 3/4 inches. Image courtesy of the Artist. Private collection, Los Angeles.
becomes less apparent and becomes something way more nuanced. I think initially you see yourself as a person from another place and slowly by slowly you get used to where you are and the place that you came from becomes something quite private. Your experience of somewhere else becomes something only you can really discuss with yourself or other people who are similar. How has your migration experience influenced your work?
I guess there are a ton of comparisons and examinations of where I am that I have been obsessed with and that I continue to be obsessed with. For me, being a non-native means having a sensitivity to your surroundings just because you have that opportunity to compare, because you are not from there. Not because you are special in any other way, really. That and the fact that I studied anthropology influences my work tremendously. It gives me a tool by which to create art.
Do you find that you tend to romanticize the idea of your original home?
Yes. I think that is only natural. I did not realize how much I was doing that until I compared it to stories that people tell me who live at home, who live in Kenya, who live in Africa more continuously. You absolutely do romanticize because you only have your memory to live on. You start to fill in the gaps. Your desires, you think they are real but really you are remembering a more utopian place than you left.
Do you travel to Kenya? Now I do. I did not initially. Not because I did not want to travel, but I had a very difficult immigration case. I have recently been able to travel home so that has been the next chapter of my life. I am able to go back and forth. Not just to Kenya, but also to other parts of the world. I can really experience that global aspect of my brain that had woken up when I first left home.
I had already travelled quite a bit when I was living in Europe. I have been to Turkey and, at the time, Yugoslavia and East and West Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and have taken a train through Bulgaria. I have been to Cyprus, the UK and Switzerland and then, there was no travel for many years. I was almost forcefully bound to the US. I did not want to leave and risk not being able to return. It was a very pragmatic decision. I could have said, â€˜to hell with all of this, and just travel the world,â€™ but I think the way my life worked out, New York became my home away from home. Your work has been described as provocative. Do you agree with that term or what words do you use to describe your work? I cannot answer that. I was not the one who called my work provocative.
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Yo Mama 2003. Ink, mica flakes, pressure sensitive synthetic polymer sheeting, cut and pasted printed paper, painted paper, and synthetic polymer paint on paper, 59 1/8 x 85 inches. Image courtesy of the Artist. Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift, 2511.2005.aâ€?b.
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People in Glass Towers Should Not Imagine Us 2003. Mixed media collage on paper, Diptych, overall: 140 x 102 inches. Image courtesy of the Artist. Collection of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn, New York.
Provocative is this powerful word and an interesting term. It is a very important term when you are trying to awaken sleepy kind of ideas that we refuse to let go of, that are conservative and old-fashioned and traditional and unfair. It is sort of difficult for me to sit here and go, ‘oh yeah I am really provocative and incredibly controversial.’ I think that is for someone else to decide and to say. It is not as interesting to me to say that about myself and my work. I think that’s way more interesting for someone else to discuss because it would be more honest. I don’t have any distance from my work, so I can’t sit there and say, ‘oh this scares me’ or ‘this makes me want to go out there and protest this issue.’ Could you take me through your creative process from idea to the final piece?
My mixed media collages begin with small drawings and that is where I decide on the narrative of the piece. Once I decide on that, I find a body that suits that narrative and plays out the story. It could be about a hierarchy or a relationship between two characters, or sorcery, or a character wandering this landscape. Once I am done figuring that out and happy with it I project it using just my hand and my eye to a larger surface of paper and start to decide on what bits and pieces to insert into the body. I also start to create antagonism around it. That
is where I really start to flesh out what is happening. From there I begin to really play with colour and paints, at some point I have to let go of the original narrative and really work out the form, the colour, the tone, the texture. It is not an illustration but a didactic drawing of an actual situation, an imaginary composition. Then, I really have to let go and come up with new things, make mistakes, explore, use materials I have never used before and just really have a great time in my adventure, in my movement around the surface, so that I can actually produce something unique and make this character come alive. Which media would you still want to explore, or explore further?
There is animation that I just made. It has opened up this new space for me. I really enjoyed the process of making this animation, both, with the animator but also with Santigold who played the character. I love making performance work. I don’t do as much because it is more nerve wrecking. It is harder for me to perform because I am kind of shy but it is something that I love doing.
Do you think you are part of a rewriting or ‘repainting’ of history by adding your voice to the discourse on post-colonialism and contemporary Africa? I do think that there is something undeniable and important about my ability to discuss and talk about where it is I come from, and to sort of triumph against all of these social, economic and historical elements that attempted to squash our cultural voice as contemporary Africans. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to be a creative person in a time and a place where those are not necessarily the values we are focused on in a poor country like the one I come from. We are very much a culture that is rewriting our history, rewriting our languages. We may have lost some of our languages, but we have remnants and assets of our past culture that have entered our hybrid present cultures that are very African and Kenyan.
Those are the things that I try to make visible in my work. There are ways of doing things that are very much our own. They are not necessarily the tradition of my great grandmother or my grandmother. I consider those, small as they might be, triumphs over this battle to reclaim what we have been fighting for, that have been taken away and given back to us in pieces.
The End of Eating Everything 2013. Animated video (colour, sound), 8 minute, 10 second loop. Courtesy of the Artist and Gladstone Gallery. Commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
It is an ongoing process and it is a process I can say that I would not be able to do on my own. I have people I very much admire, all over the continent doing similar work. Reclaiming, reinventing, reworking our languages, our history and addressing the issues of the loss of confidence that comes about when you are colonized, when you have been violated as a people. We are building, block by block, image by image, word by word, a type of confidence that is not going to match what was there in the past. Nothing is going to be like what it was and we donâ€™t want that anyway. We want a present that is of our own making, and I think I am very much a part of that group of people that is tirelessly working on a daily basis to give a voice to our histories. How much does this factor into your depiction of beauty?
It influences every part of my life, so it definitely influences that particular part. My perception and what I describe as beautiful has a lot to do with what I was taught was beautiful versus what I saw in the mirror and what I saw around me. The disconnect between the status quo and what you see in the magazines and the mainstream media tells us is beautiful, and the majority of the women and the girls and people around me was so apparent at a certain point in my life. Not as a child necessarily but as you grow up you start to
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realize the things that are called beautiful, the things that are called interesting and ethereal and are the idealization of splendor, for some reason they don’t look like me. That’s a problem because I don’t think there is anything wrong with me, or my grandmothers, or my sisters or the men around us. Why are our images and why are our voices not considered central, beautiful? I have had to assess my own position.
There is an attempt to visually brainwash a lot of people in colonial spaces and I hope that the way I go about working makes people question what is beauty and how come you get to define what is beautiful, versus me? How did you get to insert yourself at the centre of what is considered beautiful? How can there be only one version of beauty, anyway? I went to Catholic school in Kenya for 12 years and the Virgin Mary’s image was inserted in every single room and every single space we walked around in. Every time you sat down to learn there was this lily-white, very young, very docile female and she was the ultimate woman. In a Catholic environment, in a convent, this is the woman that stands for all that is whole about a woman. This woman looked nothing like us, behaved nothing like us, nothing like my sisters, my people, my mother, yet this is the woman we were asked to emulate. You do not necessarily take it too seriously, but at some point, you keep flashing this image in front of young girls, you give them that sense that
there is something missing about them, that there is something incomplete about their faces and their bodies and their image. In some weird way my women, as unreal or as dream-like as they may be, they are ways of breaking the molds that we were given. How significant are the titles of your work and how do you choose them?
They are very significant. For me, they help to complete the piece. They give it a sense of itself once it is finished. Sometimes I start off with one title and I keep it the whole way until I finally finish the piece and sort of baptize it – I still use religious terminology. Once it is finished I sort of give it the name that it should eventually always be called. That title is either a way to understand the piece and it’s also, sometimes, a general theme of that body of work – somehow underlined in the titles. Sometimes I have a little poem as a title with some alliteration or a rhyme in it. It is important for people to open up their imagination or to show people up, sometimes, maybe, so they are not assuming they know everything they are looking at right there at that moment. Keep people on their toes, keep me on my toes.
the insides of the way we are right now. This is what is going on. Am I creating solutions, there and then, in those particular moments with my work? I do not know because I don’t know if people go home after looking at my work and choose to see things differently and behave differently. But I do know that they have seen something different and they have a choice. I think the artist’s role, my role, is to be honest and to be clear about my experience, so that people can identify with me or my story and then understand something else about the world. If it goes in the direction of helping people heal, be compassionate and humane and be more enlightened, I am so thrilled, I have done way more than I thought I was capable of. But I cannot guarantee that because I am not in people’s minds. People’s prejudices and their leanings are very much inside of them but I think my existence is important. Being a Kenyan female artist in this day and time, and being successful, insistent and consistent about my presence is important.
Do you want to push people to question or rethink their ideologies?
I am an artist so I am not really trying to make people rethink in that very direct way. I am not a preacher or a politician. I am definitely revealing things so I am opening up the bowels and
TURNER CELESTE WONG
Diary of a Director and an Actress London, UK
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
Still from G(O)OD+(D)EVIL, featuring Celeste Wong
Words by Octave Cat
Film director Chris Turner is steadily making a name for himself creating passionate short films conjuring up equal measures of darkness and beauty. His recent short film G(O)OD +(D)EVIL, starring actress Celeste Wong, is captivating and compelling both visually, from the choreography to the costumes and set design, and sonically thanks to the music composed by electronic producer Scanner, underpinning the intense emotional journey of the bride and widow. An art/fashion film, shown at the London Short Film Festival and recently nominated for an award at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival, this project arose out of a deeply collaborative effort. I caught up with director Chris Turner and actress Celeste Wong to delve further into their creative process and to explore the unique relationship between director and actress in the making of a film.
For me, being in front of the lens is an uncomfortable experience. I find it hard to look directly into that unblinking black eye. So I’ve always favoured being the one who aims the weapon, not the target. If I could have an actor play my role in the photo, then the story would be me (played by Michael Shannon) gunning a ski-doo across Iceland’s wintery landscape.
I started out as a graphic designer, then through televisual branding work for groups like Channel 4 and MTV, got into shooting commercials. I’ve always been interested in films and photography so my own film projects grew from this crossover of experience.
– Chris Turner
I first started working on film as a duo with Samuel Christopher, but two years ago I started to work on my own. G(O)OD + (D)EVIL is the first film I’m really proud of in that it says something about the work I want to do in the future. I approached online fashion magazine TWENTY6 as one of my regular collaborators David Hawkins and his agent Vicky at Frank had suggested this might be a good platform for my work. The film was supported by my production company Hungry Man and we pitched an idea to fashion director Tilly Hardy. I’d met Celeste through some commercials we’d both worked on and thought she was the right actress for this film.
In general, I’m inspired by individual films rather than following specific directors. I love The Shining, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that I love all of Kubrick’s work. My favourite recent films have been Killing Them Softly by Andrew Dominick, Take Shelter by Jeff Nichols and Holy Motors by Leos Carax – which is insane and brilliant in equal measure. I also admire British director Ben Wheatley’s work, especially his film Kill List.
So it was a coming together of a lot of different elements, starting with a few ideas including a ‘black hole cross’ and a ‘lightbox cross’… The initial concept started with these visuals in mind and then added to by Celeste’s ideas as well as the choreographer Lucie Pankhurst. It was a very collaborative process. I knew what the camera could do and Celeste worked closely with Lucie on the choreography. We also worked closely on the visuals with costume designer David Hawkins as well as other members of the team including make-up artist Lucy Flower, hair stylist/director of photography Jason Berman and our producer Saskia Moore. Everyone involved brought something unique to the film. It was like jigsaw parts fitting together. G(O)OD + (D)EVIL was made Vimeo Staff Pick, and since then it’s had nearly 100,000 views. It has been embraced as a fashion film, but we didn’t specifically set out with this label in mind. I don’t believe in the ‘auteur theory’. I think film should be collaborative on every level and that’s what I like about it. I guess I like to filter other people’s opinions and ideas. By the time we shot the film, Celeste had worked through all her hopes and dreams about the project and knew what she was doing. For me it is a continuous process of change and the film you are making develops a life of its own. Also editing can really transform the final product so you don’t know exactly where the process will lead until it’s finished.
Celeste is open to collaboration and has lots of ideas to offer to the film development process. We have this trust where you can say something that may seem stupid but that’s OK. It’s important to be brave about your creativity and actively seek to challenge yourself. She sometimes gets a little stressed about the process, the practical side of preproduction and organising a film shoot which she doesn’t need to be worried about! I’ve come to realise that part of any actor’s process of preparing for a role might involve
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
getting out some stress and worries and I need to let this process happen. Also the lines of responsibility in film making can get a bit blurred so these things may need to be discussed, so the time and effort of everyone involved is used best.
I’ve just done another film for TWENTY6 Magazine involving members of the English National Ballet; it’s a dance piece called Hallowed. I’m also in the early stages of my first feature film. What I’m most proud about G(O)OD + (D) EVIL as well as Hallowed, is that they are a sum of the parts of all the people involved and without each person’s involvement in these films, they may not have been made or be as they are. It’s exciting when a meeting of people and ideas actually becomes something real.
Still from Lachrimae, live visuals for Scanner
My picture would be me lying on the teal-coloured ocean floor, on my stomach with warm sunlight streaming onto the pages of a book I am reading. The story? I guess it would be love, loss, passion & discovery. – Celeste Wong
I wasn’t a child actor but started acting later in life. I love acting and the process, because it allows me to express and explore different thoughts, feelings and ideas, which is very fulfilling and satisfying. It forces me to be vulnerable and brave and hopefully more truthful, which is often more difficult in real life. For me, all the stuff that comes before the acting is just as important as the acting itself – especially if I get to really discuss the concept and get involved in the creative process, I really enjoy it! I was in a feature film in New Zealand called My Wedding and Other Secrets by Roseanne Liang which was the highest grossing local film the year of its release and has won many awards since. I chose to be involved in this project because I really believed in her story. It’s a very common story based on a documentary about her life and a subject not often talked about. It was the first time that the Chinese/New Zealand culture had been represented in film and this had a lot of meaning for me.
When I choose a project I like to be involved in the process. It’s hard to be able to trust a director – and you must absolutely. Sometimes the connection is immediate and sometimes, like any relationship, you need to get to know each other, how you both work etc. But when this trust develops it can manifest into something so magnificent, creative and satisfying. So I guess it’s about the director as much as the project.
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
Chris approached me and asked if I wanted to ‘make an art film’. When he asked me, I was in a place where I was willing to ‘go deeper’ and really give myself creatively to the project. I was in an emotional space where I could offer my performance in quite a personal way.
Chris and I met over a period of four to six months to develop the ideas so it felt like quite an organic process. I shared my experiences with him, and he cleverly developed them in a way that could be communicated visually in a succinct manner. I remember rambling on about an idea, and leaving thinking, ‘gosh, Chris was quiet – maybe he didn’t get what I was saying?’ An hour later, he’d articulated my muddled thoughts into an even better representation in the form of a proper scene. He really listened. It was like an epiphany!
In the film, I play the ‘bride’ and ‘widow’, which represents one’s inner self – light/dark, good/evil, right/ wrong. The image of the ‘bride’ represents happiness and goodness, but inside she is scared and weak. The widow on the outside appears as sad, grieving and weak but in reality her experiences have made her a strong and independent force. For me these contradictions question one’s perception of reality – if ‘good’ is really good and if ‘bad’ is really bad? Primarily exploring the idea that negative and traumatic experiences can actually be a source of strength and empowerment. Well, that’s my take on it anyway – it has a feminist undertone for me but there are SO many other interpretations of this piece.
I find that Chris lets me say what I want to say and he considers this part of the process. He knows when to guide and how to bring out something more challenging, like when I’m asked to do something I’m less familiar or comfortable with. He is patient, fair and very generous with his time and how dedicated he is to his work. Sometimes I don’t know if he has listened, as he needs time to process things and I can’t tell what he’s thinking! This collaboration has taught me to trust myself and my instinct more. No ideas are stupid, and from any idea (silly or not) something interesting or even fabulous can be developed.
Still from G(O)OD+(D)EVIL, featuring Celeste Wong
VAN REES muuse.com
Gitte Jonsdatter, Director of Strategy and Co-founder at MUUSE
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
In Spring 2012 I was invited to a private press showing of the CSM MA graduate students. From the moment I saw Hellen’s pieces - voluptuous textile in controlled, geometric form, it was clear we were in the presence of a unique talent. The concept was fully realized - in a way that was brought to a logical, if extreme conclusion. Working with the idea and history of Chanel’s textures, Hellen wove seamless, sculptural versions, bringing the rectilinear forms into 3D by sculpting them into boxes that extrude from the dress’s form. Listening to her talk about her work, it became clear that this was not a passing fancy - but that Hellen was embarking on a design journey that was both thoughtful and thoughtprovoking, and creating a beautiful aesthetic that deserved the support to flourish. Shortly after this first encounter, MUUSE began to collaborate with Hellen on a capsule collection and the printed Hellen van Rees dress is already a MUUSE classic. Since then we’ve watched her develop and build on these core ideas, developing a language all her own. Hellen has successfully translated her own unique creations and techniques into ready-to-wear MUUSE Editions, which still represent her strong design vision.”
A/W'13 SQUARE3 ANGLE: The Transformation. All images courtesy of Hellen van Rees
Hengelo, The Netherlands
Words by Tania Farouki Born in Gouda in The Netherlands, Hellen van Rees attended the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem prior to graduating with an MA in fashion womenswear from the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London in 2012. After interning at cuttingedge labels Giles and fellow Dutch prodigy Iris van Herpen, van Rees founded her label in 2009 and has since then been critically acclaimed for creating innovative silhouettes using 3D shapes and structures. Citing abstract art as an inspiration among others, van Rees is driven by searching for new forms of fabric and strives to construct never-beforeseen shapes. Now based in Hengelo in her home country, the designer recently won the Humanity in Fashion Award by Hessnatur, Germanyâ€™s largest ecological clothing brand for her eponymous sustainable collection titled SQUARE3 ANGLE shown at Berlin Fashion Week. Blissfully unaware of creating walking
works of contemporary art, unconventionality is
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
undoubtedly van Rees’
What is your fabric of
mantra. ROOMS sat down
choice to work with?
with the designer to discuss texture, shapes and why she won’t leave her studio when
I prefer to work with very
creating a collection.
basic but enjoyable qualities
Who is the Hellen Van
cotton, wool or silk. Natural
of fabric like organic
materials. With those I can do
She’s confident, independent,
contrasts, because I tend to
the best manipulations and
in the garments, so it could in time also be a different way of creating contrasts. I guess what I’m trying to convey is that
there is no standard way a garment should look. It’s up to the designer to reinterpret certain assumptions about clothing and surprise the audience. Otherwise what is the point of
creating new clothes each season anyway? We can just stick
to the options we have and we’ll also be dressed. But that’s not what we want, is it?
Tell us about your creative process: how do you start
either completely create my
It’s always difficult to describe a creative process since it’s
When was your first
Your clothes tend to take
encounter with fashion?
on a 3D aspect. Why is that?
start to continue with what I liked most from the previous
I remember my mother’s
Is there a message you are
when I was little.
clothes? Or rather, what do
What prompted you to
has a very personal style and identity and is often into art and design.
own textile or manipulate an
trying to convey with your
3D elements bring that ‘2D’
become a fashion designer?
For as long as I can remember,
I was interested in making things, discovering materials and
developed into an interest in
textiles and drawing fashion. This combined made me want to do fashion design.
Who are the design legends you most admire and why?
I like to explore the
possibilities in shape and
texture with my garments.
To me, texture comes more
alive and gets to a higher level when it’s also involved with
shapes. I’ve been exploring a
lot of cubic styles in contrast to very traditional garment
ones. I’m not saying I will do
this forever. But there needs to be a certain juxtaposition
I admire everybody who can
make a way for themselves in the fashion industry.
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
never a clear straight line towards an end result. But I usually collection, using a different colour or material or sometimes
both. From there I start experimenting, exploring new ideas, taking in certain influences and then start creating toiles.
These also bring new ideas. When I finish a good portion of the collection – a third or even half of it – I begin photographing
everything and start compiling looks with the photographs.
I figure out with the collages what is missing. You could call these my sketches, even if they’re very late in the process.
But they are quite close to
the end result, since they’re made of photos. They give a good visual overview of
the collection. Then, I can finish it and also think of
the visual story around it with accessories, photos
and videos that form the
presentation of the collection. What inspires you the most when creating a collection?
Just working on it gives me the most ideas. That’s also
one of the main reasons why I
make everything in my studio and don’t outsource the making to a factory.
Do you see the garment as a blank canvas that needs to be painted? How important is colour to you?
If I’m following your
metaphor, I’m not just
painting the canvas; I’m making the canvas and
painting at the same time.
Colour – or gray, black and
white – is very important to
me. That’s the way it’s built. I don’t like flat colours or any colour without any nuances in it. I think clothes are
more beautiful and lively if
they’re made out of different
shades. For example if I want to weave a yellow fabric, the colours of the yarns going
into it would be dégradés of
yellow such as mustard and lime, combined with white, gray, gold and silver.
What are the main factors that go into creating a collection? Do you focus more on the art form rather than practicality?
One does not necessarily exclude the other.
Do you think fashion is art? What is your view on that? And do you think art can be fashion?
Thereâ€™s endless discussion about what is art to begin with. Then you have
fashion, but that cannot
be identified as one thing
since each designer is on a
different level, has different
ambitions and different ways of working. Some areas of
fashion can definitely be seen as art and others definitely not. But itâ€™s a gray area. It
elements depends on many
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
What is your relationship with art?
Art is a big influence to
me, especially modern and contemporary art. Mostly
abstract work that’s about space and texture.
Can you tell us about your latest collection?
My latest autumn-winter
2013 collection is entitled
spring-summer 2014, which is very exciting. It’s going
to be about very clear and
clean shapes with 3D effect standout prints. I’m really looking forward to seeing
the end result and what the
response is going to be like.
I’m also currently designing
my own spring-summer 2014 collection at the moment.
I’m not disclosing anything
yet, but it’ll be finished and
SQUARE3 ANGLE: THE
shown around early or mid-
TRANSFORMATION. It’s a
designing a capsule collection
continuation of my previous work inspired by the tweed
fabrics used in Chanel and 3D artworks by Anish Kapoor and Rachel Whiteread. It’s
completely handmade and
September. After that I’ll be
for Hessnatur, an eco-fashion brand based in Germany, due to be released in autumnwinter 2014.
Picture yourself in your
recycled yarns are directly
shape of the garment. Not
It’s a photo of me at the Anish
the garment with included
standing next to one of the
woven one by one into the
wasting anything and making cubes totally seamless. The
collection itself is really about textures & geometric shapes, mostly diagonals that return in the weaving, coatings
and in the shape of the 3D elements that transform from cube-shape to
Kapoor exhibition in Berlin
reflecting mirror sculptures.
I was there a few weeks back, but wasn’t allowed to take
pictures, which I thought was a real pity since the work
really invites the viewer to take pictures!
What’s next for Hellen van Rees?
A lot! I’ve got a capsule
collection on the way in
collaboration with Muuse, for
EIGEN + ART
Sodi Boscoâ€™s works are especially fascinating for their materiality. Pigments, wooden particles, sand, glue and other materials build together organic and vivid structures which make his work that special.
Gerd Harry Lybke, Gallery Owner at Galerie EIGEN + ART, Berlin and Leipzig eigen-art.com
NY, Barcelona, Berlin and Mexico City
T h e B eg inning O f A B eaut if ul F r i e nd ship
Verde 2013. Mix media, 200cm x 280cm
Words by Heike Dempster
What was it like growing
Are there any cities or places you would like to explore
up in Mexico City?
for your work?
I come from a big family, so
I would love to work in Rome. It’s an ancient city with
a simple life and at that
there were a lot of people
around all the time. It was
time Mexico was completely different; it was a very safe
a very special vibe – in a certain way it is a little bit
decadent. I am interested in how this would influence You are currently represented by a few galleries
place and we used to play
around the world. Do you feel you need to approach
used to go to museums,
No, on the contrary, my work is easy to read and the
You now work between
Graphein is your latest show at PACE London launching
football in the streets. My
your work differently depending on where you
concerts, galleries, and
reading comes from deep inside the viewer, that part of us
parents loved art so we
other cultural events.
which is the same in all humans.
Mexico City, New York,
in September ‘13. What are you presenting?
Barcelona and Berlin.
I am going to show a series of large format paintings done
What inspires you about those cities? All of them are very
different which is what I
like: each has a completely
different vibe. Also, related to my work, the weather
and the materials are totally different from place to place
with pure graphite. It was the first time that I worked with
graphite. It is a completely different pigment I was not used to working with, so there was a lot of experimentation
and learning in these paintings. As always in my process,
accidents played a very important role. I want my work to remind the viewer of the impermanence of life!
You also have a forthcoming show at EIGEN + ART in Berlin this Autumn. How do your shows
so the outcome of the works
How does life in those
carefully, and to create a specific ambiance - the show at
is always different.
When I do a show, I always try to do it in a single colour, in
PACE is all graphite.
your work? I think that everything
that happens in your life,
everything that you do, you see, at the end influences the work but not in a
conscious way. Everything just finds its way in; it is
inevitable and it is best if it is not conscious, but it just happens.
888 T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
order to oblige the viewer to enter and read each painting
EIGEN + ART’s show is going to be all in green, using very
to let the accident happen,
have been discussing with Judy Lybke (the owner of EIGEN
whatever happens in an
rare yellow and green pigments.
Working with this specific pigment has been an idea that I + ART) for a very long time and I am excited to show the results in October.
What sparked the colour and story of this show? When I lived in Berlin I was amazed by how much green there is in the city, and how beautiful it becomes after
the long, strong winters. For this show I wanted to make
to lose control of the work, and to understand that
organic way in the painting makes it more unique. That way the work gives the
feeling of impermanence. What materials do you use?
a group of paintings that reflected my experience and
I use pure pigments,
You do not use a brush. Was that a choice based on
really like to work with
memories of the city.
experimentation or an idea or concept? First of all it is practical. My work is very sculptural, I grab the matter and add and throw it with my hands. I believe
in the exchange of energy when you grab something with
your hands instead of doing it with a brush or gloves. I don’t like to work with a preconceived idea. Normally I come to the studio, look at the pigments and the stretchers and at
that moment, I decide what I will do. My work is a lot about the process, looking for as little control as possible in the
painting and looking for ways to allow accidents to happen. How would you describe the connection between you and your art? It is cosmic!
You emphasize the importance of a rather organic process. Where do you place yourself in the creative course? It is a kind of alchemy. My intervention in the painting is short, the rest is made by nature, that way each painting
is completely unique, the accident, the uncontrollable, the weather and the materials make it unique.
sawdust, organic fibres, latex and white glue. I
organic materials because they are less predictable. For example the sawdust
changes from place to place and from time to time; it could be from different wood, it has different colours; it can have
different absorptions, etc. It is completely unpredictable and that ensures the
uniqueness of each painting. Which materials would
you still want to explore? Now I am doing some researches on gold
pigments, something that I have wanted to do for a long time.
How does your immediate environment influence
How do you explore that connection anew every time
you create art?
In a big way. When the
I am very interested in the Wabi Sabi philosophy, an
important Japanese aesthetic that encourages the artist
painting is dry and cracks,
it changes a lot from place
to place, depending on
humidity and other external conditions. Also the wood for the sawdust changes a
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
lot from place to place.
Rosa. Mix media, 250cm x 350cm
Which artists do you admire?
Can you share a personal
determines the rate at
Tapies for me is one of the most influential artists, the way
story about one of these
crack, once I have made
they manage and yet also transcend colour.
Michael Joo, a great artist
The humidity completely
also the way in which they
of simple things! Also, Rothko and de Kooning for the way
Last Spring I was with
Do you collect art?
beach in Mexico where I
which the paintings dry and the initial decisions and
gestures in the laying down and consistency of the material.
he explored the use of texture and looked for the energy
I do exchanges with artist friends.
and a great friend, on the have my studio, and we
found a whale jaw bone.Â
It was very heavy but we
carried it to my home.Â So
now Michael is thinking of maybe doing something
with it. If he decides to do something I would love to have that piece!
Your works are all untitled. Do you engage with your viewers in conversations about your work? I never title them and I sign them at the back because I
don’t want to influence the viewer in their perception at all. For me, words or
trying to describe my work,
are the work’s worst enemy, I prefer not to do that. The viewer should make their
own conclusions; it’s like a sunset, you don’t need an
explanation, you just feel it. Your process demands your full physical and emotional participation. How long does it take you to finish a painting? From the beginning to the end it takes around two
months, but my intervention is very fast, just a few days, the rest is done by nature. When you work, are you Untitled 2011. Mixed media on wood board, 123cm x 82cm
completely absorbed by it or do you listen to music or have visitors while working? I prefer to work alone, and sometimes listen to music but at the end it’s a kind
of trance; after working I
never remember what kind of music I was listening to. 92
T he Beginning Of A Beaut if ul Fr iendship
How much do past
What do you enjoy the
experiences factor into
most in your free time?
Listening to music, reading
In a conscious way not so much, I try to avoid that,
but in an unconscious way I
and being with my family. What’s next for you?
am sure that they do in the
I am in residence in Puerto
the work influences it.
designed by the Japanese
same way that the city in
which I am living or making
Escondido, in the South
Pacific of Mexico that is architect, Mr. Tadao
Ando. It’s going to be a
Untitled 2012. Mixed media on canvas, 186cm x 186cm
sanctuary for artists from
Imagine a photo with you
hope to have it ready by the
It would be with my three
all kinds of disciplines, a
in it, what would it be?
end of next year.
kids at the beach in Mexico
place to recharge energy. I
What’s the story?
No Borders No Boundar ies
Henderson kylehenderson.co.uk UK
Mcreath stuartmcreath.com UK
Interview by Jecs Bunyard
hello lamp post by
PAN STUDIO Why do you do what you do? Pan is a critical design studio with a focus on experience design and what experience means for everyday life. We work in the space between the digital and physical, whether that’s a Twitter powered swing-o-meter for the Design Museum in London, or a pulsing heart in the back room of a Parisian gallery for Hide&Seek.
exploring a new or exciting territory, that’s a real thrill and something we look forward to
120 W hy Do You Do W hat You Do?
We’re a design practice first and foremost, and Pan gives us a space to explore the things we care about. We’re only a small studio, so it moves from running workshops and giving talks to building and designing physical or code based things and increasingly both. We spend a lot of time talking and writing about the issues we think are really important for our practice and modern living. The best thing about it is working in the new spaces that we find ourselves as designers. It’s exciting that the public, city councils, brands and art organisations are increasingly looking to designers to explore and enhance services, experience and fundamental things about how we live our lives. Getting to take our thinking to new territories and audiences is always exciting. Whenever a project grows to feel like it’s exploring a new or exciting territory, that’s a real thrill and something we look forward to. We hope that Hello Lamp Post makes people aware of the character and fabric of their city, that it’s encouraging them to look around and be more aware of their fellow citizen.People are effectively leaving messages for each other, so person to person
interaction is at the core of what we’ve made. The project for us is about asking people to think differently about their environment and where the boundaries between citizens and services are. One inspiration was Austerlitz, Sebald’s excellent novel where the titular protagonist unravels his forgotten past through travel, searching for his identity by crossing the globe as if it was his brain. It paints an image of our environment, the city, as a Wiki about how we got to be the way we are, where we can walk the streets and be reminded of the ingredients. The mechanic works by texting ‘hello’, followed by the name of an object, then a hash tag and its unique number. After that the conversation should just flow. Different objects behave in different ways, a lamp post doesn’t have the same agenda as a post box. Time of day, familiarity and type of object affect the way a conversation flows. Conversations are normally, though not always, exchanges of three messages eachthough you can always return and see if an object remembers you, if it has something new to say. Something you realise as you grow is that no one is going to walk up and give you the perfect job. You have to spend everyday making that job. It’s quite empowering once you realise that believing in something and working hard is just about all you need. That said we were very lucky as we grew, we had a good balance of web and graphic skills that enabled us to do client work whilst also growing our own practice. Take it seriously and treat every project as something that exists in the real world. That doesn’t mean it has to be complex, it just needs to be aware of its context and build on existing work. Ben Barker, Co-founder at PAN Studio Hello Lamp Post is a project by PAN Studio, winner of the Watershed Playable City Award 2013
Interview by Jesc Bunyard
topaz leung & martin cheung co-founders and creative directors at
Why Do You Do What You Do? We started up Studio TM very naturally. We have known each other for about ten years, and we have worked together for five years now. At that time we were both freelancing, and the projects came to a point that we thought of working it out in a more systematic way, and that’s why we formed Studio TM in 2010. Topaz Leung: Martin and I are both founders and creative directors at Studio TM. I usually handle the commercial cases with certain production inputs – providing clients, art and creative direction, theme and mood board or proposals, pitching and such kind of things. Then I execute the photographic part and communicate with designers for postproduction of catalogues. Martin 122 W hy Do You Do W hat You Do?
takes the role of art education within Studio TM; this includes teaching in art institutes and corporate companies. He explores a lot within the possibilities of photography’s materiality, with many experimental forms of camera making, prototypes and workshops about technical photographic knowledge and histories of pinhole.
Martin Cheung: Creativity is the best part of the job.
Topaz Leung: For me the best part of the job is to give me a flexibility of life. We work at home basically; things work out in a small scale but very quickly and directly. I don’t like offices; right now I have a true balance to work, to meet people, to own all twenty-four hours how I wish, in a very productive and fulfilling way.
Martin Cheung: Reputation drives us forward. It is uncountable but very important to sustain our work. We are responsible for every single photograph we take and every project we do. So to me, the commissioned projects are not just to fulfil the clients, but also to establish our reputation. I drive myself forward by not ruining any opportunities and try our best to do them well.
We try not to limit ourselves to categorizing commercial or non commercial. We mix our aesthetic and knowledge into both, and we are open for any challenging projects including something we have never tried. For example, video shooting, installation, mixed medium art projects, etc. We usually use the simplest approach to execute an idea, and usually the inspirations from daily lives influence us on both projects, such as books and articles, movies, exhibitions...
The fact that we don’t set boundaries to commercial or noncommercial works is a main part of how we set ourselves apart from the industry. Sometimes we even use very experimental materials to shoot a campaign, such as a toy camera/pinhole camera, or using a plastic bottle as a lens filter! Of course, we are not risking our client’s campaign, we have mostly tested and refined what we use. We respond to the content or subject in a spontaneous way. We project a direct feeling towards the model and intend to use a minimal and analogue approach to execute it.
We respond to content or subject in a spontaneous way
studiotm.hk Hong Kong
Interview by Scott Partington
julius & tobi co-founders and designers at
NOMADIC PEOPLE Why Do You Do What You Do? We are both craftsmen at Nomadic People and design everything together, Julius is the Strategic Director and Tobi is the Creative Director. The brand has been around for two years â€“ we sell handmade individual pieces ranging from heavy duty rucksacks and tote bags to small accessories like cardholders and wristbands for todayâ€™s urban gentleman. The best thing about our job is the satisfaction you get every time you complete an order, knowing the amount of love and effort that has been put into creating something that the customer will really love and appreciate. People who know us always say our bags are a big representation of our personalities. We get on very well working together because we have very similar styles and interests. We also complement each other with different ideas. Outside of our brand we also have very good relationships with our leather suppliers and customers. On a day to day basis we conduct a lot of research for inspiration. The design phase consists of different stages, sketching different ideas and making different samples to see what works best such as different strap shapes or selecting the most suitable leathers for the project. Seeing something from the design phase to a finished product is magical, especially because it is made with our own hands. 124 W hy Do You Do W hat You Do?
SEEING SOMETHING FROM THE DESIGN PHASE TO A FINISHED PRODUCT IS MAGICAL
Julius & Tobi
We always try to create a product that we will use ourselves and that reflects our own styles. We are both level headed people and try not to complicate things too much which is also evident in our products: practicality and simplicity is the key. We both cycle a lot and found it particularly difficult to find anything that was both aesthetically pleasing and practical. Most bags are either poor quality and too expensive or they are completely impractical for our everyday use, so we wanted to make bags for people like ourselves who want good quality, but do not want to pay a ridiculously hiked up price. What makes us different is some of our unique designs and quality feel of the leather. The brand has a story, it’s not just something that has come from thin air. It has really been thought about, the care and attention that goes into every single product we make. The customer knows that the product was made just for them and no one else, all our products have unique serial codes and are tracked for everyone.
We see the company trading on a bigger platform. We believe in life you get out what you put in, so it’s pretty much like the 10,000 rule, when you put in 10,000 hours you will be a master at anything. There is always room for improvement but seeing the final product every time an item is complete and knowing that it is going to be appreciated by the customer is what keeps us going – we love what we do. nomadic-people.com UK
Interview by Nermina Kulović
art director at
FIRST LOVE RECORD LABEL Why do you do what you do? Your ‘First Love’ be it music, art, performance, romance, film, writing; anything is a passion and the whole ethos of First Love is about engaging with your passion, finding something you love, and doing it whole heartedly with the best of intentions to add something of value to the world. That's our mission statement in a nutshell. The idea for First Love came about four years ago; I was really inspired by the whole notion of an artist collective, people banding together to empower and maintain control of their art. With technology the way that it is, we’re seeing more and more avenues for expression and distribution becoming available for people to self-publish, upload videos and music and in general promote their work. Having the mindset of ‘DIY’ is empowering, and the next level from that is groups of creative people with that ‘DIY’ mindset, a collective of artists if you will – and that is precisely what First Love is.
The best thing about my job is really the people. I get to learn so much working and developing ideas with the artist on our label. I’ll often try to stimulate and provide creative ways to help them find their audience; direction for the artwork and presentation of the release and ideas to give the shows more of an experience. I’m responsible for 126 W hy Do You Do W hat You Do?
Having the mindset of “DIY” is empowering
label managing, A&R, PR. With a background in art and design I often find myself involved with creating the artwork for our releases, art direction for music videos, marketing material, in general giving a visual and conceptual framework to help spread the vibe of our releases and events. Getting to this point was and still is a slow and steady progression. I remember a teacher saying to me once that you can’t just decide to turn all your hobbies into a profession or a business, I thought ‘huh?’ Something in my gut knew that that was BS, and small minded. I’d always loved music and art, doing anything else would be counter intuitive. And sure it’s a hard road, but so is doing something you don’t love. I love it. I love the stimulation, the learning curve and the interactions with people; the joy of thinking up and creating new things, and also the sense of community.
I see running a label as another vehicle for expression. By directing our releases as if they were art pieces we can continuously develop and evolve our ideas so it has lasting meaning for our audience. When we conceived First Love, it was with the intention of creating an artist collective rather than the traditional model of a label that tries to make money from the exploitation of recordings. My colleague, Geno Carrapetta was also already working on many art happenings and events in London, and I was already creating a lot of artwork for various record releases, extending our scope to running a label and events was the next natural progression.
Our label is different from other labels because we exist from the point of view of expression, we believe in the act of sincere involvement, not only with artists we work with, but how we interact with the world at large. We interact with the artist with the aim of helping them nurture, define and realize their artistic and musical vision. We hope we can learn something human and valuable from each other. In other words, we don’t do it for money. We do it for vibe and love.
Jimmy Hawk & The Endless Party - Liberty Sunset Blue album cover art by James Ratsasane
I always try and use my immediate environment as a source of inspiration when responding to the vibe of the music. My process is quite systematic at times, but can also be completely organic. The goal is to always present a total experience for the audience, from picking up a copy of the record, to watching the video clips and of course listening to the music. I like to call it an ‘otherworldliness’. There’s always more than one path and every road is different. Certainly you could always envisage having different circumstances in the beginning, but the reality is in anything you do there will be many mistakes and hopefully good luck along the way, we always knew that going in and embraced the learning curve rather than its results and for that reason, we’re having a huge amount of fun, bringing out great music and spreading good energy into the world.
Brave Face album cover art by James Ratsasane
Pirangelo d’agostin creative director at
Interview by Scott Partington
Why do you do what you do? TWEEN is an Istanbul based brand established in 1994 in Turkey and means an abbreviation of between, which immediately reminds one of Istanbul being between Asia and Europe and between East and West. Istanbul is also a city of the fascinating contrast of the traditional and the modern, the Asian and the European and the wild and the developed metropolis. These contrasting elements can also be seen in TWEEN’s new identity. I arrived at the pivotal point of TWEEN’s rebranding. The brand is fulfilling its immense potential and raising the bar along the way, it is a continuous ‘work-in-progress’ brand. The work of creative director is not just about designing a collection, but creating value of the brand, identify an appropriate concept for the brand, developing a functional product from profound research and communicating these ideas to the public precisely and coherently through product design, visual images and messages.
I get inspired from details of everyday life travelling around the world. Inspirations from the most traditional cultural heritage to the ultimate modern development; art, music, films, architecture, books, poetry, photography, philosophy and also the various essence of nature. I travel around the world on a monthly basis for many projects and when I visit Istanbul, I take advantage of my travel experience and try to bring that experience to the brand; I like exploring my inspirations and ideas and adapting them. I try to make them visible in the form of product design, materials, concepts, visual images, etc...
128 W hy Do You Do W hat You Do?
I have witnessed the brand undergo major progressive changes and growth throughout the three seasons I’ve been Creative Director at TWEEN. With an international design team we created a new logo, a new brand concept, new brand images and new identity that would represent the contemporary brand. The whole collection has also been revised and a series of new products and innovative materials have been developed for the new collection, I introduced a lot of innovative technical fabrics from Japan where I’ve been working consistently over 20 years, this was experimental for TWEEN and one of the most creative ideas that have been brought to the brand as well as to Turkey.
Following the rebranding of TWEEN, I have also introduced new proportions, new volumes and the idea of giving more attention to functional details. The collection has been evolving ever since. The understanding at TWEEN as mentioned earlier is treating the collections and the brand all as ‘work-in-progress’. TWEEN products show a contrast of tradition and innovation, the natural and manmade high-technology. The combination of the contrasting ideas makes it unique and interesting and we try to find a unique personal identity by mixing and playing with these ideas, we strive to make a personal wardrobe with innovative functional clothing items for every man’s daily needs. There is always room for innovation and improvement and this is what the brand strives for. At this rate, with its coherent image and continuous development of welldefined products and innovative materials the brand is destined for even greater successes.
between Asia and Europe and between East and West
Interview by Suzanne Zhang
ryan stanier founder and director at
THE OTHER ART FAIR Why do you do what you do? I have worked in various fairs across the fashion, wine and motor industry, prior to running a gallery in Covent Garden for a year and a half. It was during that time that I noticed there was quite a huge interest and hunger from the general public to discover new artists. It’s difficult to find places to buy art here, and generally speaking, there aren’t many galleries that reflect London’s art scene. This is how I got my initial idea for The Other Art Fair. There has been a real interest from the beginning: about 4,500 people came to the first one, and we were on a very limited budget. Since then, it’s grown and we are now going into our fifth fair, this time in East London with the Moniker Art Fair. The Other Art Fair is really more of an experience than just any other fair where you go just to buy art. It’s a unique destination as I feel it’s much more personal, accessible and interesting. In addition to the artists’ stands, we also run lectures, workshops and talks. Last time we invited Mo Coppoletta, a tattoo artist who previously worked with Damien Hirst. We held a competition where you could win one of his four exclusive tattoos, or simply buy a print of it. This year we have taxidermy classes as well as a space for children to draw. The idea is really to make it into an affordable destination.
130 W hy Do You Do W hat You Do?
I’m very aware of London’s obsession with finding the next YBA
I’m very pro-active in going around studios, meeting artists, and I attend as many graduate shows as I can. As the founder and director of the fair, I’m involved in the whole process, from the marketing to the promotion, to the operation side, to the more technical side of the project, like building the walls and installing the lights. I have a very closely-knit small team and I’m usually a very easy-going and professional person to work with. I also work on trying to get sponsors involved in the fair to support it, since we are trying to keep the costs as low as possible for everyone.
There are many good things about being the director of the fair, but the best is that you get to work with amazing people and meet brilliant artists. I have become friends with some of them, like Francesca Gavin from Dazed and Confused or Mila Askarova from the Gazelli Art House –we recently set up an exhibition for Alex Trimble together.
What is really good about running the fair with these artists is that I get to see the work before it is on display as I also buy a lot from our artists. We’re also really keen on helping the artists curate their stand. We get some curators involved, and from my perspective it’s really important that the show just looks good.
I focus on two very important aspects when I run the fair. My number one thing is to make sure it works for artists since they have to invest both time and money to participate. It’s important that I give back more than what they have invested. The second part is that I want to make sure we produce an affordable fair that connects artists and buyers. A lot of the featured artists already work with
galleries but are not exclusive, which is good for our audience. The audience we are trying to target are people interested in buying pieces and people in the art world, like gallery owners. I’m very aware of London’s obsession with finding the next YBA, and a handful of artists have caught my eye at the fair. Interestingly enough, not all of them were British. In the last fair, we had 100 artists and ten of them were from Paris, which sort of highlights the fact that there aren’t so many opportunities there. About 70% of the artists represented at The Other Art Fair are international. I get a sense of fulfilment when I look back and see that I have put the fair together and created relationships between the audience and the artist. My best memories are always when I get approached by ecstatic artists who just got offered work opportunities off the back of the fair. I also get very excited when someone just purchased a piece of work and cannot stop talking about it while they are getting it wrapped! I would be a ballet dancer. I know it’s very bizarre but I love to think that I could do that. theotherartfair.com UK
The Renaissance Revival
Derbyshire, UK emmatooth.com 132 No Borders No Boundar ies
Qeen Bee 2011. Oil on canvas 102cm x 77cm
It is my husband Owen and I in our wedding clothes. A friend told me he felt the photograph showed how we have grown together and how much more space we have to grow above us.
Words by Jeremiah Tayler
hile away your days
Hello Emma, we’ve previously discussed your
in Derbyshire, and
agricultural heritage; penchant for petting
revisit the modern
chickens and more. Take us for a stroll around
day renaissance master… In our fast sprawling world, there are so many forms of communication; our visual language has extended from
the yard. I work from my home in the Derbyshire countryside, my
studio overlooks rolling hills, ancient trees and many different
animals. I live in a very secluded little world with just my birds and my dear husband Owen, I rarely venture outside of it.
My paintings really are the only way I communicate with the outside world. And in my spare time I like to read or sew and cuddle chickens.
All much esteemed past times, requiring a degree
of dexterity. If your dress is much to go by, it would
and yet even today,
appear you’re a talented seamstress. Would you
see it as being too familiar an element to be art,
of the past are as
or just a very different one to the ‘art’ that you
relevant now as
then. Regardless of lifestyle, the figure of Christ is a tough one to forget. How then do we extend our message across the rural plains of the
Artists often speak about ‘expressing themselves’, and my
clothes I think are the most natural, the most literal way that I do this. It’s not a deliberate act, it just happens. As you say, I’m probably too close to the subject to be able to step back
and think of the clothes I make in those terms. When I dress
it’s a selfish act, a solitary act – I create them just for me, and to speak only to me really, whereas the paintings I create to
send out into the world and speak to everyone, it’s a different
the clucking of hens,
As with these talents, you’re a self-confessed self-
language and a very different purpose.
to the city streets,
taught painter. I don’t imagine there’s much time
for that in the busy world of pig farming…
individual histories? Through art, of course.
Haha, well, it is actually my ancestors who were the ‘Pig
Farmers and Showgirls’ to whom the title of my book alludes. I’ve not actually indulged in any pig farming myself though to what extent I can deny having indulged in any showgirl activities is debatable… It was when I was about 17 my
wonderful A-Level tutor handed me a box of gnarled old oil
paint tubes and a filthy jam-jar of turps, and with the words
‘have a play!’ my career had begun.
134 No Borders No Boundar ies
You haven’t yet stopped playing with people’s perceptions of your work. The gilt frames, as I understand it, are more than just a fashion statement; much as the references to certain works in your composition aren’t accidental. Much of my work refers heavily to the Renaissance and European
almost everyone will pick up on), I’m fortunate because
many people can enjoy and relate to my work on many levels.
I think there’s a lot
art history in general, and the framing underlines that fact.
being an old painting because of the framing, lighting and pose,
project, where you
they realise the figure in the painting is anything but traditional
of purely pencil
a lot. A couple of years ago Derby Museum and Art Gallery mixed
Joseph Wright of Derby paintings. The framing was essential to
People sometimes come to a piece with a preconception of it
in your Heredity
and thus dull and irrelevant to them, but on closer inspection
display a selection
and is actually someone they can relate to. I play with that idea
my Concilium Plebis work up with their famous collection of
does it pose a
that momentary illusion/confusion I was creating.
‘In myYour spare time I like to read or sew and cuddle chickens’ work focuses a lot on the people and less on the and paints? with a particular aestheticism, can you convince me that you’re not lying? Though it’s true I do get through an awful lot of black paint, I don’t think I have ever claimed that. Recently when I saw my
Evolution show in Liverpool, it really struck me just how dark
it all was! But also how luminescent the skin tones seemed by
contrast, rising out of the shadows. And actually it confirmed to me why I have done it such a lot – I love the effect! I like how it
focuses the viewer’s attention where I want it, it’s the features of that person that I’m interested in; everything else is just
a distraction. I love Zurbaran’s haunting paintings of monks
emerging from blackness with little or no apparent background. They’re spine-tingling. I’m into tenebrism rather than just chiaroscuro. That’s just the kind of girl I am!
How do you attempt to make your work relevant and pique the interests of the society you represent, when commercial art typically caters to an inducted audience?
I think as a portrait painter I have a head start, because my audience will on some level relate to the images of fellow
humans in the paintings. People can see themselves in the
work. Additionally, there’s a lot there for the ‘inducted audience’ to unpick too; references to specific Renaissance paintings
for example, references to Caravaggio or Bernini or to Tudor portraiture (rather than the general ‘Old Masterliness’ that 136 No Borders No Boundar ies
There are many paintings
in Heredity too, but beneath every painting there is a
good solid drawing, though not worked up in so much
detail as those you mention.
It is expedient to have a good
drawing under there because it would be awful to get to a
later point in the painting and find the head is actually a bit
too small or an arm too long! I do prefer painting in that I have more control to depict
light and shade, but also many shades and depths of colour
and transparency. I feel there is more to explore and more to master there. It isn’t a
challenge to move between
them, but it surprises me that
Breaking Art 5 (study) 2013. Oil on panel 20cm x 25cm
background. While the claims are that you’re keeping
I can spend almost as many hours on a pencil drawing as on a
painting! I seem to be attracted to the most painstaking things.
If life has taught me anything, it is that
Have you ever had to reject a model for your
so are we all… But
Concilium Plebis project on the grounds that they
aren’t ordinary enough?
Many of the models for Concilium Plebis were people I plucked
circumstances at the time. I’ve never had to reject someone for
frames of your own
who emailed me because they just weren’t normal... A mature
scene and story:
from the city streets of Derby where I was living in sorry
you’re within the
not looking ordinary enough, but I have rejected some people
picture, set the
female nude model contacted me not long ago; she seemed nice
It is my husband Owen and I
the naked, unadorned human form is boring at best, and more
have been together 17 years
enough and told me she had ‘a lovely smile’. But actually I think usually just ghastly.
Ah, perhaps you could have been my muse, Jez, but alas I’m afraid I have finished work on Concilium Plebis for now. In favour of breakdancing, correct?
The new work is indeed the breakdance-inspired project
Breaking Art which is coming along slowly. I wanted to see if I could capture some of that movement and attitude that I saw in the dancers I met. It’s the first time I have tried to paint
in our wedding clothes. We
now, and when we originally got married at Hedingham
Castle in 2004 we didn’t have any ‘formal’ photos taken, so recently we had some taken
at a ruin not far away. It was a tough time when we had
movement, usually my paintings are very still and peaceful
almost, but I think in some ways these frozen moments I have captured are even more eerily still and peaceful, because of their impossibility.
Your work’s utilisation of classicism is somewhat subversive when the world of contemporary art has become very, if not overtly, conceptual. How does it feel to find success as a rebel?
I think that perhaps conceptual art needs reclassifying. Rather than being discussed and displayed alongside other art forms, philosophy. If the end result is so unimportant, beauty is
worthless and your art is of no intrinsic value outside the
hallowed space of an art gallery, and it is only the explanatory piece of writing on the wall that bestows any value upon the
pile of bricks or whatever you are displaying. To paraphrase Ad Reinhardt, I feel conceptual art is something you step in when you back up to look at a painting – but I am biased.
‘It’s the features of that person that I’m interested in; everything else is just a distraction’
138 No Borders No Boundar ies
Breaking Art 8 (Icarus) 2013. Oil on panel 76cm x 101cm
it should be thought of as a rather untidy branch of beginner’s
these done, and I love this
one because we look strong as a couple, holding each
other up like the archway
has survived for centuries. A friend told me he felt the
photograph showed how we have grown together and how much more space we have to grow above us.
The Man With Fish In His Eyes, drawing
140 No Borders No Boundar ies
Breaking Art 7 2013. Oil on panel 102cm x 76cm
Breaking Art 6 2013. Oil on panel 122cm x 76cm
Illinois, US auniakahn.com 142 No Borders No Boundar ies
Most of my works from art to photography have myself as the subject. If I was to do another work today, the woman would be dressed in lots of lace, cream colour garbs with lots of textures. She would be wearing a hat, and have long hair pinned up with long pieces hanging down. She would be outside looking over a garden from a balcony into the past, as a storm rolled in to wash away the memories and bring in new dreams. Her story is that of letting go, and seeing a rainbow through the sunshine and rain that pelts the trees and flowers below her.
144 No Borders No Boundar ies
Words by Adan Jerreat-Poole
unia Kahn was born in Detroit, Michigan. She is a
Can you describe
self-taught artist who works with an impressive
your work process
range of mediums: the breadth of her work spans
the spectrum from drawing and painting to
That is not easy as I am finding
photography and experimental collage. She
as I keep growing it changes all
also engages 3-dimensional art through
the time. I know some people
have set patterns as to how
The making of the pieces are all individual and typically one of
they do things. I shoot from the
a kind. I use recycled and new materials to make the work. Each
hip a lot. I go with what feels
artwork lends itself to just the right styles of metals, beads, etc.
right at the time. There is no
It’s simply like making a miniature display for each piece
formula, except I need good
music and my fur kids to be
Aunia’s work traces the evolution of art, using the
physical hand on paper and the metaphorical hand
Aunia’s most recent
of technology to make unique, arresting images.
work has been for
Kahn’s relationship with art began as a method of
a solo show at Pop
healing, and she often engages in self-portraiture.
Gallery on May 3rd,
She envisions art as a language of self-expression
of Broken Ground.
In 2005 I was coaxed by a friend to share my artwork publically.
These works, which
I originally thought he was crazy, as my work was very personal
and I never thought it was meant for public consumption, yet
when I saw the impact my art had at my first art show I knew I
show the viewer
had to keep going, not only for myself but for others.
pieces of women’s
And how did you get to where you are now?
faces, focusing on
Lots of hard work, dedication, rejection, self-reflection, goal
the eyes. These
setting, and a love for what I do. Really I just want to make art
and touch people with it. I make goals as to where I want to
show, and what artwork I want to do, what projects I want to
have an electric
accomplish, what people I want to bring together in projects, but
as to where I want to go, it is all about the journey and not the destination. It will take me where it is supposed to as long as
‘We are all sexual beings whether we want to oppress that or not’ I work. Aunia has had exhibitions that circle the globe and her work has won numerous awards. She also acts as a curator, and lectures at educational institutions across America. She now lives in Shiloh, Illinois with four dogs and a cat, and uses both her visual and her spoken voice to educate the public on the power of art to overcome abuse. My relationship to my work is nothing more than me trying to take what I see and feel and communicate it visually. It’s like a
cane to a blind person; it aids me in navigating life.
power and strength
books, and research into
A smear of lipstick or a flash of eye shadow; the coy
that draw us into
subjects that I adore. I am
raising of a shoulder; long, curvaceous eyelashes:
the very psyche
inspired by the emotions of the
these pieces reverberate with a subtle, underlying
of their subjects.
sexuality. When asked about this aspect of her
When the eye or
Are there any
part of an eye stares
artists who have
Being really honest, sexuality was something that was taken
right at the viewer,
from me as a child. I won’t get into the specifics but I learned that
work, Aunia said:
its gaze pushes
Most times I am influenced by
human sexuality was bad, and could be used dangerously. As an
past the frame and
writing and music. Overall,
adult I have learned to embrace sexuality in a non-explicit way.
through the paper –
there are artists that I admire
We are all sexual beings whether we want to oppress that or not.
the painted woman
and some of those are: Ray
I am not too sure why it comes up in my work other than me being
becomes a real
Caesar, Frida Kahlo, Kris
secure with my own sexuality and wanting to own it and not
human being. When
Lewis, Marie-Denise Villers,
the eye is averted
Kris Kuksi, and so many more.
Kahn also engages the gothic in her art, and
and we cannot, no
I was really
the breathtaking beauty of the sublime. This
matter how hard we
captivated by the
lovely terror is experienced through the gentle
try, catch her gaze,
eyes in your work.
suggestion of a skeleton sketched underneath soft,
the frustration of
Could you comment
pale skin, in the dramatic use of dark and light and
this failure enacts a
on this motif?
the occasional teardrop punctuating a face. Thick,
Eyes are connection. I have
heavy eyebrows, arched furiously, make these
always loved eyes and hands.
women a part of the ambiguous landscape rather
I think they are a very telling
than helpless victims.
I am inspired by the world
part of the human form. I am a
For me darkness has always been something I have gravitated
around me and what is going
compassionate person and I see
to. Again, coming from a dark and unfriendly upbringing maybe
on as well as my inner peace
stories in those features.
it was a way for me to own that darkness and make it less
and turmoil as a human being.
frightening since I had control. I like pretty, delicate things too –
It’s all about the experience
but don’t tell anyone!
and the way I experience my
What is the most challenging part of being
experiences. Everything. I
know that sounds cliché, but
The work and dedication. This is not a field for the faint of heart,
its truth. I love music, writing,
or those that are not willing to put in very long hours. I like to work, and I am dedicated. As an artist I started to look at my friends who had 9-5 jobs, who got to go home and get ready for the weekend and be envious of them at times. They could leave work at work. They could go home. Now, I am not complaining of being able to get up at noon if I wish and stay in crappy PJ’s all day, but if you get into a rut it can essentially be bad for your health. So not only is work and dedication challenging at times, but trying to keep to a schedule, not overwork, neglect your family, hygiene, etc. And the most rewarding part? Giving the world something that they never had before. Being a
146 No Borders No Boundar ies
creator of any kind is a gift, even if it’s just a gift to yourself.
What makes you happy? Happiness is within me. If I love, I am happy. Simple. In 2014 Aunia will be curating three exhibits: Tarot Under Oath at Last Rites Gallery, NY, Oultrepreu Mourning at 423 West, CA, and Il Innamorato at Potters Wife Gallery, IN. She will also continue her own work in a variety of mediums. Her deeply personal artwork has the ability to transform the viewer, to heal, and to free. So when you see those wide eyes staring into you from the painting, don’t look away – stare right back. Make sure you give back. There is so much in this world… If we can give ourselves to others, and help them along the way we are actually giving to ourselves.
148 No Borders No Boundar ies
Unmaking of Forever
La Sociedad Secreta
Edge of Hope 150 No Borders No Boundar ies
Through Which It Passes
152 No Borders No Boundar ies
T Alex There is a fifth
dimension beyond that which is
known to man.
It is a dimension as vast as space
and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground
between light and shadow, between science and
it lies between the pit of manâ€™s fears and the summit
of his knowledge. This is the
urvey London, UK alexturvey.com
is where I stand. It is an area
which we call the Twilight Zone.
In Live Action
elements of your work? Beauty, Horror, Romance,
Nature, Nostalgia and Sex.
How do you blend beauty and
ailed as one of the fifteen ‘creatives who will define the future of British Arts’ by the Independent, Alex Turvey is a film director
and visual artist based in London. Having worked for
the macabre? I couldn’t tell you exactly
how it happens, but it seems
to come worryingly naturally to me.
A lot of your films
the likes of the BBC, Dazed
& Confused, Nike, H&M and
even Grizzly Bear, his work
Do you see yourself
is incontestably fresh and
living in one
innovative. What about him, then? He tells me that above all, he would like to be remembered for staying true to his vision and to his heart. The worlds he creates and inhabits are
of them? I guess that spending 90
percent of my life creating
these worlds, they become my reality.
Does your art and reality ever blend
dark, surreal, and highly stylised, embracing both beauty and horror. Even though on a very busy
into one? Frequently.
What is your background, and
schedule, Turvey took
who are your
the time to step out of his dreamlike and fantastic world to talk to Rooms about his work and where his heart really lies – in live action.
quickly began animating and
gave me a huge amount of
and magical environments in
constant nurturing if you
filming my designs, mostly
devising absurd narratives which to contain my ideas. I have been obsessed with
video cameras from a very early age, so I would film
anything and everything
How did you
manage to achieve such a distinct style in film?
I got hold of my first iMac
somehow come together to
hands on a camera. It was
really when I hit 16 or 17, and with iMovie, that I started to create and edit films
properly. My first attempts
at film-making were rather ludicrous horror comedies, usually involving the local
beach, fake blood and faded Speedos. Luckily for me,
they are now all lost or very
I have developed my own
rules and techniques that create my own aesthetic.
My style has developed very organically and is ever changing.
What is it like mixing commercial and noncommercial work for you?
securely hidden away!
It’s a necessity. I would say
I’m only content when I’m
develop and produce your
What drives you as an artist?
creating, so I constantly have to keep creating.
was a costume/ textile designer
sketchbooks being filled with
do you think your
grotesque aliens, complete
as a creative? Do
my Graphic Design Degree
naturally or can it
ever since I was a child. I
was an illustrator.
intergalactic battle scenes
with comic book sound
you believe that
that I realised I actually
remember my very first
How big of a role
where blue biro lasers fire at
on your career
effects. It wasn’t until I began
found it pretty difficult to
My upbringing had a huge
static image. As such, I very
nurtured my creativity and
154 No Borders No Boundar ies
want to stay fresh.
I guess that being self-taught,
and your father
to say through one single
I do believe creativity needs
whenever I could get my
I have thought in motion
communicate what I wanted
freedom to create. And yes,
impact on my creative process; my parents
that commercial work gives
you the financial freedom to personal work, and in turn
your personal work gathers momentum and brings
commercial opportunities to the table. It’s an important relationship to maintain.
From top to bottom: Zulu Winter, Silver Tounge. Topman, Distil. Blanck Mass, Icke's Struggle
Words by Suzanne Zhang
What are the main
156 No Borders No Boundar ies
What is your
What is your dream
approach to film
storyboards, is your
and fashion? Do you
end result usually
a deviation of it or
do you stick to the
shape the edges for
rules you’ve set up
the company or are you given a specific brief? I have been lucky enough to work with excellent clients who have allowed me total creative freedom. As such,
and with all my film works,
I create everything from the concept to the set design.
As a visual artist, I
imagine you have a very clear image of
I have always wanted to work with Kanye West. Taking into
how does that make
source of your
capture more than expected,
to CGI and visual
delivering exactly what I
and more often than not
board, but you will always
how open are you
that’s the most exciting part
I appreciate CG as a tool
safe and thus free
is in live action. I wouldn’t
of a shoot. If you can achieve
your boards you know you’re to experiment.
The music video you shot for Ash,
where necessary. It can be a
beautiful thing but my heart choose to let it dominate my work if I could achieve the same effect in camera.
Do you believe
favourite of yours! Could you tell us
innovation left in
when you couldn’t
more about how you
the fashion and
achieve that specific
came up with the
image? If so, how
idea and went about
If so, how do you
do you deal with
think your work
compromising or exploring new techniques to achieve the unknown, but I take
pride in making my ideas as true to the original spark
as humanly possible, so you often have to fight for your
vision, especially if budgets are tight.
The concept was a direct
response to the music, Carnal
incorporates that belief?
Desire. The production was
Of course there is, it’s all
set and most costume pieces
process, and I believe as
very intimate and pretty
insane. I design every prop,
in my work but worked with a close team to produce the physical results.
down to the individual. I stay true to my personal creative long as I stay honest to my creative beliefs my work
will stay honest. Innovation is a product of honesty and instinctive creativity
I heard you were working on your own debut film…
I’m afraid I can’t say a great deal about the film yet as it
is in development, but what Hollow Earth
prizes and awards
there been times
The process may involve
With so many
I do have a knack of
in your head. Have
You always find a way.
months of my life.
Carnal Love, is my
to consume the next few
account the surreal
what you want to do
California and it’s going
I can say is that it’s called
Hollow Earth. It’s set in 1990s
I think it’s great to receive
recognition for your blood, sweat and tears, so as long as you take it with a pinch
of salt and don’t let it affect your process or ego!
Paul Smith 158 No Borders No Boundar ies
Hunting for Stories
An urban landscape, a place a bit dirty in the suburb of a city during the sunset with real people around me, maybe at a corner of a street, I’m smoking a cigarette and having a conversation with a Deli man or someone from the neighbourhood, that’s actually what I do here. The story would be one of a traveller who is passing time meeting others, and the colours would be ones of Gregory Crewdson’s pictures.
andry Paris, France guillaumelandry.com
Words by Peggy McGregor
rench photographer Guillaume Landry has grown his career out of
What makes a great photographer?
That’s hard to say. You have to be confident in your skills of course, but beyond that you have to be sincere with the people that you photograph. Be open-minded, a bit sophisticated, and observant; there is something happening in everything, even if it’s not obvious. Be yourself. Create, win, lose, and learn. Say ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’. These are simple things, but it is what it is. I don’t do big sentences or be overly philosophic, but I have noticed that photography can change you – either for better or for worse.
Art, Paris and a dream: it’s a story that ends all too
(of all things),
Landry does not work nights (unless he gets carried
for an HTML
integration company Guillaume started
playing around with an amateur camera in his spare time. Two years later,
his self-taught skills at a Parisian Visual Arts School for
just nine months before making the leap to full
time professional photography.
I started photography
pretty late, when I was 26. I was always attracted by images, but I had no idea that one day it would be my job. I love cinema and I think movies have influenced me from the first time I played with a camera. When I look at my first images, I say to myself that I was crazy to think I could make a living from this art; but today it’s a reality, and I love this work more and more each day. 160 No Borders No Boundar ies
often in a soul-sucking night job and a ‘charmingly bohemian’ flat riddled with damp. Yet Guillaume
away with a shoot), and his residence is perfectly intact. In fact, Guillaume is now a freelance
photographer working for the likes of Men’s Health magazine and he’s even shot the odd portrait of Paul Smith. Do you think formal education is
necessary to become a successful photographer?
I spent just nine months in photography school
actually. I wouldn’t say that it’s useless, but if you really love photography then you’ll learn by yourself, as I did. Formal education does give you the advantage of exploring a range of techniques, cameras, and approaches, and this can help you decide what you want to make. However, photography school is not really necessary to become a famous photographer; just work hard in silence and let success make the noise for you! You’ve worked in some great cities – New York, London, and your home, Paris. Where is your favourite place in the world?
For now I would say Paris, because I’m most familiar with it. But of course I have a big crush on New York; I love the energy and the architecture, and not only in Manhattan but the suburbs as well. There is something really special about New Yorkers and Londoners. You know Parisians are thought to be the worst people in the world! It is good to travel in order to change your bad habits, to learn to be nice, tolerant, and to stop talking for no reason. Obviously there are douchebags everywhere and you can’t do anything about it; but travelling is still the best way to sharpen your eye as a photographer.
Is fashion photography as glamorous as it sounds?
photographers can only do one or the other; it is
That’s a funny question! The people I work with stay
a completely different
open-minded and realistic – they don’t live in a dream.
way of thinking about
Then again, sometimes people give more of an attitude
the picture. At the
than a personality, and you have to know how to play
beginning, I was very shy
about taking pictures of
Guillaume doesn’t let famous faces overshadow
strangers. Nowadays, I'm
scenarios, capturing them in full swing to create
by their stories. The
his style though. From pop stars in bumper cars to
not only feeling confident,
images bursting with vigour and tongue-in-cheek.
stories help to create the
inked-up toddlers, Guillaume plays with ludicrous
but also interested
The old saying goes that a picture says a thousand
words; in Guillaume’s case, they shout a million.
Despite all the
street photography on the other.
no rush for fame.
Your work seems to have two sides – glamorous
staged portraits on the one hand, and raw, intimate
You’re right that these are two different sides of
my ‘work’. I mean, street photography is not work; it is a pleasure and sometimes it helps me to think about future scenes I want to do. In essence, a staged scene is thought-out, whereas street photography is taken immediately. I can understand why some
glamour and noise, Guillaume is in
He doesn’t do big philosophies or big sentences,
he assures; and
he cringes at my
request for a self-
description. I would find it difficult
person, serious about my work, friendly and caring, but sometimes wandering off into my own thoughts.
to reconcile this
Here, among shots of tatty houses and strangers,
portfolio, if it was
It all centres on the words that a picture says –
quiet man with his flamboyant
not for his street
photography. How would people you work with
I don’t like much this question [laughs], because I’m not an egocentric person; I try to stay humble, but at the same
we can glimpse the connection between this quiet
observer and his extravagant staged photography. words that make up a story. In all of Guillaume’s work, staged or street, he observes, captures
and builds stories. While his street photography
presents raw narratives, his staged work amplifies them for theatrical effect. In essence then,
Guillaume is a storyteller. He may swing from true accounts to tall tales, but one thing is always for
sure: a terrific ending. Can you give me an example of a stranger’s story that helped inspire one of your photographs?
time I don’t depreciate
Often it’s just the moment when you meet someone
myself. I think people
and introduce yourself; that is the story. You get the
could describe me as an
picture because of this moment; or sometimes, you
optimistic and creative
take the picture and introduce yourself afterwards. You have to be observant, because some people don’t like you taking a picture without saying anything, and others just don’t care and that is easier. To me, it is just
162 No Borders No Boundar ies
Everyone, every human on this earth was born in adversity. Coming out of that sweet, comforting and warm mother’s belly does represent a tear when one lands into a world that is destroying us more than it fills, isn’t it? At work, with family, in one’s relationship with others, issues can be found anywhere… Every single day is a new adventure created to overcome victories and failures in one’s daily routine. In the manner of American football players who are endlessly struggling in order to bring success to their team, it seemed natural to me to compare this technique and strength sport, yet really strategic as well to illustrate our lifestyle in 2013, where everything happens so quickly, where relationships are made and unmade at the pace of tweets that are barely read, where the crisis gives way to the only ones who are strong enough to keep fighting… to the daily fighters, who can put a knee on the ground from times to times but are still able to get up and move forward. Contractors, parents, preachers, faithful friends, artists, dreamers accomplishing their destiny… they are the people who run the world, to their level, with their personal involvement.
Beating Everyday - Krondon
Beating Everyday - Alex
finding the moment and
The project I’ve been working on in L.A is about
conditions that bring to
portraits of people who are the fighters of their
light what I want to say.
everyday life; I call it Beating Everyday – I’ve created
What are your life and work
a blog to introduce the project, beatingeveryday. tumblr.com. I got really into it all these weeks, it took me a long time to meet the right people and organise
Stay focused and positive.
everything as I wanted, but I have gathered some really
Try to be a better man
interesting people from very diverse backgrounds.
tomorrow. I told you I don’t do big sentences! Tell me a bit about your recent solo exhibition, NYC.
It was a big surprise to me, because I didn’t take the pictures with that goal in mind. The exhibition just came to me from a friend of mine, who has contacts in Geneva’s contemporary art scene. I’m really excited because this exhibition has enabled me to reach a category of people I don’t usually reach; an older generation that isn’t usually into street art. We’ll be moving the exhibition to Aix en Provence in the South of France this summer. We know you’ve
been busy working
on a new series this summer, anything you can disclose?
164 No Borders No Boundar ies
How do you see your work developing in the future?
I’m in no rush to become a famous or very talented
photographer. My goal is just to avoid limitation and do what I want – whether that is portrait, fashion, advertising, or simply taking pictures in the street.
Jane Petrie photographed by Justina Ĺ uminaitÄ—
166 No Borders No Boundar ies
In the 80s there was a busy thoroughfare of young people travelling up and down between London and Scotland, looking for opportunities. Jobs, squats, record shops, Kensington Market, Hyper-Hyper, Dingwalls, basically anything less depressing than the northern towns with high unemployment, shut shops and youth crime that everyone was hanging around in. This photo was taken in a Photo-Me booth in Dundee bus station at ten o’clock at night – the picture is for my Young Person’s Pass which gives me discount on the 10.30pm overnight bus to London and I can get there for £8. My best friend Judith is outside the curtain trying to make me laugh which is why I am biting the edge of my lip. We were coming and going from London a lot in the mid-80s; eventually I stayed down and found my way into Wimbledon School of Art to study Costume. But this picture is definitely me, right at the end of my time in Dundee, on the cusp of moving to London; a bright young thing, looking good, very confident and full of optimism despite having struggled so far to find my creative direction in life. London wasn’t easy for the first two years, the time before I started college, and I like the fact that this photo is me before all that. These were the happiest days of the young period of my life and I didn’t know they were about to be over. I’d had photos taken in that photo booth with friends throughout my youth, often as many as eight of us crammed in, squealing with delight. So there’s a connection weaving back and through to all my friends, directly from this photo. The picture captures the end of one stage and the beginning of the next.
London, UK janepetrie.com
Words by Sabrina Bramble
ane Petrie – 47, born in Newport-on-Tay near Dundee – is sitting comfortably on the floor, eating a spot of lunch. We are conducting the interview at her workspace just off trendy Broadway market, East London. As a member of Bafta, a lecturer and a co-owner of successful bespoke store Shelf, we realise that Petrie has many strings to her bow. However, there is no doubt her passion for costume design resonates highly above anything else. It’s here where she explains with great vigour and understanding, what it’s like to be a costume designer; where there is a demand for pace, for quick decisions, for the right decisions and ultimately for something real. Petrie paints an effortless picture in her choice of styling and use of costume. She has the innate ability to hide the blood, sweat and tears of what it means to make a character come to life, to tell a story, and to tell it 168 No Borders No Boundar ies
well. To be honest I’m not really sure how she does it,
How does it work with
but what I do know is that raw instinct can’t be taught,
and this is what makes Jane Petrie remarkably good at what she does. Hello Jane, Hello... I’ve bought you some tea and biscuits.
Arr thank you!
[I say making myself comfortable. Switch the recorder on. Take a sip of tea. Begin.] So tell me, why clothes? Why clothes? Well, I think historical clothes were my first interest... I went to the V&A [London]
when I was 10 and saw a collection there, and after that all my school projects given the choice, were
always about the history of fashion. But I grew up in Scotland in the 80s, I never thought in the terms of
‘I want to be a costume designer and work on films.’
I get the script before my
wouldn’t really do
an interview that I
haven’t read a script for. Ultimately you want to go for a
piece of work that
you want to do, that you believe in and
that you’re going to commit to.
How much research do you do?
It wasn’t in anybody’s thinking, not in my family’s
Loads, but mostly
up I was into clothes and fashion, but didn’t know I
– nobody would’ve even thought that was a job
that even existed, so it was an interest. As I grew wanted to work in fashion.
I moved down to North London for six months,
because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and
shared a house with some fine artists from Dundee. I had a stall in Camden and was selling and making hats... And anyway, there was a programme called
The Clothes Show who did a piece on the Wimbledon School of Art and their costume course, and there it was, it was perfect, so I applied and went that year. So it wasn’t clothes, because if it had been
clothes I might’ve gone straight to do fashion if I
hadn’t known about costume, it was something else. Storytelling.
How important is it to story-tell through costume? Vital.
How do you start? It varies from project to project, you might find
a key photograph that says it all for you, or there
might be a colour that just works. I’ve had things
where I don’t know, a handkerchief says something about a character and that’s my starting point. But it’s... it’s all in the script, if you really penetrate it and analyse it as deeply as you can, the answers kind of come to you, I think.
I’ll do research
for the interview
allow the director and I to know if our aesthetic is
similar, and if we
each other is coming from. I’ll take some visual reference to the interview
and if that goes in
the right direction, and I get the job, I keep digging and
digging, and if it’s contemporary I’ll
go and visit the kind of community that I’m designing for. For Fish Tank for
example we went out to Romford which is on the
edges of London
and has got its own look; you think, ‘oh it’s just working
Saoirse Ronan in How I Live Now
‘You might find a key photograph that says it all for you’ class London, but
and I’m asked to make a decision in a hurry, I’ll be
know what it needs, because I would’ve done that
it doesn’t look
like working class where I live, it’s
different.’ But yeah, I do an enormous
amount of research.
making the right decision on instinct and I won’t
need to think too hard about it, I’ll just know it, I’ll thinking beforehand.
We all love the movies, but I guess when it’s done well you don’t even think about the costume; when it’s done well it’s just supposed to be there.
I have the mood
That’s right; it’s a sort of invisible art in a way. But
refer back to them
of the screen.
boards up around me, and always
because you can
drift off quite easily.
if it’s wrong your audience will read that, or if the
film’s a bit boring you’ll start looking at other parts
You’ve been involved with films such as Fish Tank, Harry Brown, Notting Hill, Star Wars, The Phantom
Is there a blurry line
Menace, Moon, 28 Days Later to name but a few. What’s
between what you would
been your favourite project to work on, and why?
like an actor to wear and what they should wear? I find I do a lot of
that in prep. When
I’ve done my break downs and I know
the script inside out,
The job that I’ve just done, 71, was one of the best. I mean, the crew knew it would be a gruelling
schedule, it was up north, it was cold, it was winter, there were going to be rain machines, stunts and action sequences; we knew it was going to be
hard work. But we all respected the director Yann Demange and we really admired him, it was the
third job the crew
had done together, so we knew each
other quite well. It
just worked, which is not always the
case if you’re not in sync with your team – it’s not
I also really enjoy
being an assistant
designer. I love that job, because you’re doing all the fun
stuff without the sleepless nights!
Michael Caine in Is Anybody There? Photo by Nick Wall
Who are your inspirations?
Phoebe De Gaye,
work, she’s also a production designer – yeah she’s quite amazing.
she goes at it like
Ok, Jane I have to ask, what’s this fascination with
touch and a sense
Yes, it’s like an obsession of yours...
an artist, she’s
got a lightness of
of fun but it doesn’t feel like she has to
wrench the designs from her soul – you
know, she just loves it, she’s happy, she’s a joy to be around and her work is excellent! That
sort of effortless
delivery of really
Have you been on my blog? [She laughs]
I think it’s because I really like Indigo, French work wear, and Japanese work wear is amazing! I can’t
say exactly when it started, but I like the fact that it’s designed for a reason and a purpose. We don’t
realise that some of the stuff we wear has a history and a utilitarian need, like elbow patches – that kind of thing where things wear out, shoulder
patches on hunting jackets. I went to Japan on a recent research trip, and there’s nothing there
‘It’s a sort of invisible art in a way’
good designs is a
complete inspiration to me. I also
Norris who did The Assassination of
Jesse James, Killing Them Softly and
Scarface; she has an
incredible amount of 170 No Borders No Boundar ies
Katie Jarvis in Fishtank Photo by Nick Wall
without a reason,
director didn’t like
that was cobbled
there’s a symbol for
the bikini they
everything. I find
had originally, so
Do you enjoy lecturing?
together in a break
I do, because you
– BANG there it is!
don’t get to talk
If you over think it
about what you do
you’ll blow it, all you
very often, that’s
can do is provide
why I like blogging
what’s right for the
because there’s an
scene. You can only
awful lot of stuff
do the most honest
that’s flying around
in your head which
you can, and if you
you don’t vocalise.
connect to people,
A lot of the job is
they’ll connect with
based on instincts.
A costume designer
makes you wake
doesn’t sit and do
a load of drawings,
up in the morning?
it is unpicking the
There’s a lot of ways
and have lots of prep
I love it, I really do,
script, and charging
to have a terrible
time. An awful lot of
and I’m dead lucky.
ahead at a crazy
time at work that
pace to a very tight
aren’t just about
schedule. I might
being tired, that’s
have a conversation
the worst thing. And
with make-up, or
if you like people
and you're curious
but it’s fleeting;
about people, then
you’re in a hurry,
it’s a great job.
Thank you so much Jane,
so it’s often a quick
it’s been great talking
show and tell, or
or what colours will work.
This sounds like a shallow question, but do you ever think of trying to make an ‘Iconic’ design? The Bridget Bardot
bikini was designed during the lunch
break because the
Sam Rockwell in Moon
Home. All photos courtesy of Ellen Rogers
A Darkroom Affair 172 No Borders No Boundar ies
R Is it wrong to have trained yourself out of seeing yourself in images? I don’t know, but I can’t visualize myself in the way I can visualize someone else. I don’t know how I move, how I react. The ones I want to photograph, I have studied them. I know they replace me in some way.
London, UK ellenrogers.co.uk
Words by Heike Dempster
llen Rogers’ photographs
to show us. Rogers uses
says, He still moans about
are secretive, mystical,
light and often a layering
the way I shoot now, I don’t
whimsical and delicate,
of different images to
wash my prints properly
with a dangerous, erotic
create an ethereal quality
apparently! After studying
and gothic edge. The
at Goldsmith College
showcasing a multi-
and finishing a Master’s
photographer seems to
faceted woman with
degree in photography
transplant you into a
various moods, thoughts
in 2007 Rogers has
hidden world immersed in
been busy shooting
subdued colours and all-
Nowadays Rogers shoots
her personal work and
fashion stories. She has
Looking at Rogers’ oeuvre
women she knows,
also been lecturing at
one sees years of work
focusing on showing her
depicting women as
relationships with and
like the London College
central figures, fashion
of Fashion and the
models, or as components
Manchester Metropolitan University; she has
of abstract works of art. The female body, face and
Ellen Rogers learned a lot
contributed a monthly
soul are on display in an
about photography during
article to Lomography.
intimate way, baring their
childhood from her father,
com called Sepulchral,
being, and occasionally
who was a photographer
a personal and very
their skin. The women
in the army. Thinking
never seem exposed
about her father she
of her life as an
beyond what they want
analogue photographer. To create her works of art Rogers uses the traditional darkroom process and her secret techniques. What they are, we shall never find out. About her choice of analogue photography, Rogers says, It suits me, I know it well, I relate to it, I think in it. It’s become a second language to me. She has no interest in digital photography but rather immerses herself in the process of shooting, developing and the post production of her images in the traditional way. Her images are the outcome of skills honed over many years, and a number of the
174 No Borders No Boundar ies
works are aesthetically quite similar to paintings due to their timeless narrative and thoughtful composition. Every detail has meaning and is created with careful consideration. The one of a kind images Rogers creates encapsulate a woman’s being with sensuality, thoughtfulness and strength. The fashion world took notice of her work and she has had many successful shoots. Rogers has shot lookbooks, advertisements and fashion spreads for the likes of shoe and handbag maven Charlotte Olympia as well as Piers Atkinson, Sorcha O’Raghallaigh and Maria Francesca Pepe. For each of these designers Rogers merged two opposing visions, one artistic and one commercial, into imagery that highlights the product, inspiration and style of the designer yet always retains the qualities of an Ellen Rogers photo. Fashion photography is deeply entrenched in Ellen Roger’s being and although she has forged a unique style of her own, the artist has come to a point in life where she wants change. I want desperately to evolve so I
have of late decided to stop shooting fashion for a year. I am
How does a model’s
sure there will be some relapses. Instead she is currently
working on a new multidisciplinary project with her
partner Prizme and a small team, and she will continue to explore filmmaking. What fascinates you about photography? I suppose it doesn’t really fascinate me at all. I am
endlessly fascinated by things I don’t understand,
but photography isn’t one of those things. Music or surgery however seems like magic.
What kind of music or which musicians do you listen to? Do you listen to music while you shoot?
I spend most days listening to various video game soundtracks. I am very fond of the soundtrack for Final Fantasy 7.
Hana, (a muse of mine from the
beginning) is quite confident and
has a great deal
of humility. The
way she stood and posed always had
great strength and
elegance. Maxine is very shy and quite sensual; I think it shows in the images too.
How important are scenery and location to you? It depends what
you are trying to
say. Sometimes a
location can have
a personality of its own. These days I prefer to shoot at home. It’s a
place I love and it has nearly all the various styles of location I might
want to convey in any narrative.
176 No Borders No Boundar ies
Have you studied other media? Yeah, I studied print making. I was a keen etcher in my formative years; I used to make fanzines that
were etched. I’ll say it first… ‘Wanna come up to my place and see my etchings?’
Can you tell us more about your work as a filmmaker? I am not actually very confident with filmmaking. I’m still finding my feet to be honest but I have
been practicing a lot more recently, I hope I am
improving at least. I suppose you may find out soon.
You released the book Aberrant Necropolis. Please tell us more about the book.
The images and order were selected at random by a puzzle we, Prizme and I, made that is incorporated in the book and leads to a hidden door on my website…
Why did you choose that title?
Aberrant, as in ‘chromatic aberration’ caused by
a lens in a camera and the Necropolis is my world
after my mother
died. My particular Necropolis is a city of dead people.
How is the experience of working with your partner?
It is difficult to say the least. We have
no filters with each other, so we would have no qualms
about shouting at each other freely, hehe! We have a
new member of our working team. A
girl called Rose. She helps diffuse the
situation a lot. She really is brilliant
and knows how to calm us down.
You have worked with
many designers. What is the difference between your fashion photography and your photography that is purely artistic? The main difference is usually that
fashion photography is really designed to sell clothes or a life style. My personal
work isn’t so much a commercial
endeavour and I can be free to
shoot without the
practical restraint of having to show the clothes clearly.
Have you seen an image, painting or exhibit that changed how you look at art or life in a profound way? I suppose House of
Leaves [by Mark Z.
What aspect of your art do
photographs remain slightly obscured, ambiguous, and
you enjoy the most?
Rogers may not wash her prints properly but she
Banks] too. They are
by them. Few things
makes her images unmistakably hers. As she captures
a lot to me, The Wasp Factory [by Iain books, though.
people I love and
has definitely developed a distinctive style and has
make me happier.
fleeting moments with her camera she allows us into
experimented to create a top secret technique that
What do you do in your
Ellen Rogers’ work
her world. Viewing her images feels personal, as if we
is fascinating for its
are stealing an intimate glimpse.
I genuinely do
beauty but also for the
Sometimes I’ll read
technique and we also
work all the time;
secretiveness. There is
or watch a film.
search for the hidden in
I love it so it’s OK.
the secret surrounding
every image. She never shows us everything and the women in her
178 No Borders No Boundar ies
purely on simultaneously awakening the human perceptions of hearing and sight to the most natural occurrence in the world, ‘reproduction of nature’. Ladies and gentlemen, allow yourself to be exposed to the audio-visual phenomenon and a ‘synesthetic experience’. The Japanese artist, born in 1978 and currently living and working in Berlin, Germany, has been developing his work over 15 years to become an internationally
acclaimed and awarded multimedia artist. Kurokawa has adopted a variety of arrangements to inform the audiovisual phenomenon through concert pieces, screening
works, recordings and installations. His work has been
featured across the world including the Tate Modern and
Shanghai eARTS, and most recently the Southbank Centre in London for his performance of Syn_ in September ’13, as part of the Alpha-ville and BFI Sonic Cinema Series.
His success is due to his works pushing the boundaries of
modern art forms by using video images, audio recordings, graphics and animations to portray his main concern; the reproduction of nature. Kurokawa’s journey began with
simply the fascination to explore the opportunities created by digital art: When I had the chance to use a PC I had
little knowledge of digital creation, plus there wasn’t a
lot of information about. So I learned by experimentation and became hooked. I never had the intention of creating an art piece but I was fascinated with expanding the possibility of using digital creation as a tool. I soon got into this quest, beginning to create works in 1999. His first early set of works, Copynature set the meaning he would still strive to portray in his most current projects
today. It was a simple audio-visual piece, but at the time I didn’t regard it as a ‘project’ but rather just fun. It’s a series of short single channel videos with stereo sound
work. The title means to approach another dimension of nature by the ‘reproduction of nature’, which is still my main concern today. This perception of nature has meant that Kurokawa
hones in on developing original visual lines, where digital
technology and environmental influence combine to create a form which pleases our senses of sight and hearing. The
result is an architectural reconstruction of the audiovisual Berlin, Germany ryoichikurokawa.com
Introducing the Audio-Visual Phenomenon
Words by Samantha Coombes yoichi Kurokawa is a revolutionary. His works rely
phenomenon: Nature and
dependent on the works,
but I always try to provide
pleasure and surprise
me in the process of
through the fundamental
constructing the idea for
ideas behind my creation
new works. Science and
which are ‘synesthetic
architecture are another
source. However, it varies
‘reproduction of nature’.
according to the presented
Music also plays a vital
direction or format of the piece. With the world of digital
technology expanding every day, this only opens up new
role in his works by
a number of the human senses: Sound has the
ability to make up for
the domain that vision
opportunities and meanings
cannot cover in other
for the sophisticated
ways. For instance
technologies make it
capture the light within a
composer: Various new
visual senses can only
possible to stimulate
particular range of view,
our perceptions and find
whereas auditory senses
out new expressions of
can perceive sound from
creation. Meanings are
every direction. So audio-
180 No Borders No Boundar ies
‘I learned by experimentation and became hooked’
visual integration and simultaneous stimulation to both receptors are the fundamental elements for my pieces. With a firm vision enthused
by nature, it’s not surprising
So how does Kurokawa go
about starting a new piece with so much technology
at his disposal and the task of combining video and
music? After conceiving
an idea and developing a format and audio-visual
that one of his main
behaviour in my head, I
who focus on the use of
don’t care if it’s feasible
composition: I like a lot of
right I begin a practical
influences is the work of
make a 3D model to the
sounds produced by raw
for freewheel thinking,
Musique Concrète artists
exact size. At this point I
material to create a musical
but when the time is
Musique Concrète artists.
process of audio-visual
Their compositions and
composition for that
methods have influenced
piece. The software I use
my work in audio and
varies depending on the
video creation. I also
piece, from commercial
take inspiration from
software such as Nuendo
expressive method of
or Max to an open source
Japanese animation as
like Cinder or Blender. I
well as the sound designs
never cling onto one tool
and effects used in
though, especially with
Left to right: oscillating continuum 2013 Audiovisual sculpture / 2ch square display, 2ch sound Duration: 08:00 loop Dimensions: 924 x 800 x 422 ( mm ) Concept, direction, composition, programming, design: Ryoichi Kurokawa Production: Cimatics Coproduction: Scopitone
I prefer to take on different
ways more flexibly in
through keeping bias
accordance to the piece,
and inclination. I wanted
rather than fixating on the
to symbolically create
equilibrium beautifully and simply. So like usual I
Kurokawa has produced
needed to translate it into
integrate it all within one
the form of a sculpture;
of displays and speakers
side with a crisp central
the balance being kept
on top of the sculpture. This
have led him to be featured
his works in a wide range
an audio-visual language
and sculptures. Oscillating
object. So I created a dual
two minimalistic diagonal
which wouldn’t be able to
line running seamlessly
between the two.
work brings Kurokawa’s
in a huge number of
of formats including
to express this, but also
Continuum which takes
white structure consisting
rectangles placed side by
stand up straight without
through the screens located
Kurokawa’s unique works
emphasis on detail to the
fore, crafting intricate
graphical shapes combined with the visualisation
of the digital waveform to create explosions of
colour juxtaposing the calm hum of the sharp
lines that begin. This time
including the National
Film Theatre in 2005 and Sonar Festival 2005 in
the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and
in 2010 was awarded the
nature is in the form of the universe, illustrated as a
wavering force controlled by the successful care of the equilibrium, which
as Kurokawa explains, is
personified by his design. Intrinsically, every
force and matter in our universe is oscillating
continually. We maintain
182 No Borders No Boundar ies
‘I always try to provide pleasure and surprise through the fundamental ideas behind my creation’
Golden Nica at Prix Ars
with an aim to open the
Sound Art category. Syn_
personal exploration of the
Electronica in the Digital Music and Sound and
is Kurokawa’s most recent live performance as part of the Alpha-ville and
BFI Sonic Cinema Series.
Combining glitchy images
and graphical lines flashing
mind, eyes and ears of his spectators through his
audio-visual phenomenon. His language method
uses masterfully the most advanced techniques in video and audio of the 21st Century to reflect
across a diptych of two
his fascination with the
and musical patterns
core of Kurokawa’s creative
screens and 2.1ch sound, Syn_ explores abstract
together with manipulated everyday imagery to
construct an irresistible
enigmatic ‘reproduction of
nature’ and thus become the mission. Although there
are various theories, we cognise more than 90%
sensory experience. I’m
of the world’s information
very pleased to present
through our audio-visual
my work in London since
senses. So you can imagine
I’ve only played there a
how big simultaneous
few times. Syn_ is a newer
version of ‘cm:av_c’: a
could impact us. I just hope
concert piece I did eight
that audio-visual art has
years ago. I took the main
the possibility of creating
direction and concept from
it rather than find new inspiration, so to provide a synesthetic experience in a very simple way. ‘Syn’ as a prefix means ‘together’, ‘with’ or ‘integrate’ in Greek to make words such as ‘synthesis’ [differing perspectives], ‘synchronisation’ [occur simultaneously] and ‘syneathesia’ [sense in one modality]. So this work was directly aimed at stimulating the eyes and ears simultaneously. Kurokawa has created
around 16 different main
works in contrasted forms,
Left to right: syn_ 2011 Audiovisual concert. Diptych | 2.1ch sound Duration: 30'00" - 45'00" Concept, direction, composition, programming: Ryoichi Kurokawa Production: Cimatics Coproduction: Scopitone Support: Canon Europe/Images shot with Canon 7D
“How could this be,
The land of the free, Home of the brave, Indigenous holocaust, And the home of the slaves”
The Art of Revolution 184 No Borders No Boundar ies
Words by Joe Tucker
orn in a military hospital in
complete creative control without having to water down
to the United States in the
The album Revolutionary Vol. 2 followed in 2004, seeing
South America, Immortal Technique was brought
early 80s while a civil war was breaking out in his
native country. Exchanging the struggle and turmoil of
a life in Peru for the streets of New York, Immortal
Technique’s family migrated to Harlem. After serving
time for some offences he hit the NYC battle scene
with a vengeance, carving out a name for himself in
the underground Hip Hop movement. With money
set aside from his battle
wins and other menial jobs
Technique released his first album Revolutionary Vol. 1 in 2001.
From here on in, things only developed for him with more and more
people hearing about his
fresh and often combative style. Without a signing
he pushed his own music
upon artists signed to major labels in the Hip Hop industry. him earning success in the charts with songs such as
Industrial Revolution and further cementing his reputation as a political and globally relevant artist.
Throughout, he has remained committed to a revolutionary style of Hip Hop, one which inspires thought and creativity well outside the realms of material obsessions and status
within a certain scene or environment. Resisting the trend
of ever-increasing commercialization and commodification in the corporate-dominated, misogynistic haze of bling
and guns, he is an artist who has helped to restore some of the intentions of early Hip Hop which have been lost to the masses, that is the spreading of knowledge. He
remains a vigorous activist, recently helping to set up an
orphanage in Afghanistan, supporting numerous projects in South America as well as educational programmes for those incarcerated within the U.S prison system. Having
recently been at his performance at the Royal Festival Hall
for Meltdown Festival, I can testify to his strength as a live performer and, despite the slightly unorthodox setting for a Hip Hop concert, his ability to carry the audience with
him. His new work, The Middle Passage is due for release. How did you first get into Hip Hop? Were you writing before you started rapping or did that come after?
I always tell people that I could rhyme when I was about 9 years old, but when it comes to
as an independent artist,
stories I was told that since I was a child I was
this he was able to maintain
or to show them things about themselves that
becoming part of the label
‘A change that I would like to see goes to the root of confronting human kind’s vanity and exaggerated history’
his content and conform to many of the constraints put
Viper Records. As a result of
always telling and retelling them. I used to write short stories as a kid, just to make people laugh they could not see for themselves. I didn’t really take the talents I had for music and the spoken word seriously in terms of actually putting out a project until I got out of prison. Before that I was just collecting ideas and bars in my mind and storing them non-stop. Your work contains a lot of information and thoughts on situations all over the world from the Spanish Conquest of the Americas to U.S government programmes and
wars of aggression, and
since I was in the womb I have been requesting
thinking about history and
representing it on an international scale, I think
I was wondering, do you
this type of reading material, therefore, it is
politics on the national and
that developed organically as the music that
know what got you started
hard to say when I took an interest. As far as
I made spread on its own. So maybe it wasn’t
those enslaved… For you is
there an available means at
the moment to enact change from outside the system? It depends on
what people think
My mother said
even a conscious decision, it was something that
change is. That is a
that when she was
developed as my interest did.
matter of opinion.
pregnant with me, that for some reason she started reading books
Knowing you had to express things, and growing up in
The system being
Absolutely not. I had no idea that this would
revolution, that is
Harlem, was it always obvious to you that the form would be Hip Hop?
corrupt and needing reform or
actually be what I would do for a living or even
the question here.
to express the thoughts that I have politically.
A change that I
I think over the course of the past few years it
would like to see
from one style of
became more and more apparent to me that I
goes to the root of
thinking, or from
have a voice that has the ability to transcend
the same author
this art form. I think though that I want to
but a diverse
go even further than just expressing myself
content. It is not
through music, and I have thought of releasing
that my mother
these books I have been working on.
mythology of every
had no interest
From Revolutionary Vol. 1 it’s clear you’re in a different
nation comes rife
Hip Hop has come from people talking purely about their
classism that is not
and Food for Thought as an example of this. Obviously it’s a
begins to taint the
of things on a global scale I’m wondering where that came
empires to think
about history and
in these things, she just preferred other reading for enjoyment and area of study. So
‘The world isn’t for sale. Environmental Capital is not expendable’
space to many of the rappers and M.C.s out there in terms
local urban environment, storytelling but not elevating to
put into its proper
combination of the instrumental, flow and lyrical content
ability of these
from? What drives you to put that kind of material
of your commitment to explore global issues. A lot of great
see out of that environment – I’m thinking Lord Finesse
making a great song, but you talk about such a wide range
nations or former
their history and
For some people their only canvas is the paper. I used to write graffiti, therefore, my canvas is the world. My inspiration is drawn from global struggles, from Kurds to Sikhs, from Palestinians to Ethiopians, so how could their suffering not be legitimized if we expect ours from an urban ghetto in the 1st world where the buildings still have running water and plumbing, to be received around the world.
The Poverty of Philosophy from your first album is such a
strong socio-political and historical critique, it could easily
be a distributed document. You say about not wanting to be the lone escapee from the plantation but rather to free all 186 No Borders No Boundar ies
present role in the world. What are you looking
towards for the future in terms of your music and writing?
I’m going to finish The Middle Passage, and then work on a few other projects.
In terms of your production process do you set time
aside to write things down and make music or is it just something that happens naturally? Do you have a few
people sending beats and demos to you to listen to and rap on?
I always have ideas circling, but I would
to speak to children of the
neo-liberal age and educate on certain things?
isn’t for sale.
definitely tailor the words to any beat I receive.
Production you would think would be an easy
thing to get, but while I receive a boat load of
amateur submissions, it’s sometimes harder to connect with these other major label producers who always tell me that they love my work, but just have different schedules or just because their management is often opposed to doing ANYTHING political. I wish I could make this stuff up, but this is where we are in terms of music. GreenLantern, Southpaw, Scram Jones, Ali Shaheed and DJ Premier don’t give a shit about stuff like that. That’s why I always rocked with them. It’s just tough to lock everyone down. How does the idea of spreading knowledge fit into the way
you consider and deliver your music? Is it important for you
do you personally maintain momentum when working against such a strong
current wanting to keep
your views on the margin? Giving your
time is often
I see people around me who
than giving your
systems of control, and as
changes you make
ager with, as Akala says,
you are just like
Have you got any advice
the gym after one
feel overwhelmed by the
money. And you
a result settle down and
a stake in the matrix they
those people who
or thoughts for people out
complexity of power and
may not see the
become a cynical middle
if you expected to,
once claimed to hate.
come back from
there wanting to enact
some sort of change to the
society around them? How
188 No Borders No Boundar ies
A new generation of bold film directors in the making LA, US
Brian McGuire London, UK
Terry Wayne in Prevertere by Brian McGuire
Michael Pearce London, UK
Brian McGuire A celebration of American indie cinema What inspired you to make the film Prevertere? It’s something I went through when I was younger. This movie is all about human relationships and connections. With the other three films I have made [The Black Belle 2012, Carlos Spills the Beans 2012, On Holiday 2010], it felt like I was watching behind glass doors, so I tried to make something that had more of an emotional impact. What is your definition of true love? Brian McGuire If I see your worst shit and you see mine… and we Words by Suzanne Zhang still hold hands and walk through the world together, ‘The answer to the game of love is...’ that there then that’s true love. I came are no answers, says Chicago born Brian to this definition through a McGuire, the director of Prevertere, which girl I was with for six years. premiered at the recent Raindance Festival We broke up a month before 2013 in London. The now Los Angeles based we got the money for the writer, director, actor and musician creates film. Now I’m stuck with a films that seek to speak and touch his audience film about true love and she through honest renderings of the world we live is gone. in. McGuire revives with passion the celebrated Prevertere is sort of a and unforgettable spirit of independent films ghost from my past. of the 90s and pays his personal tribute to All three women were the directors he loves, Jim Jarmusch, Richard representations of people Linklater, Todd Solondz, with emotion and wit. in my life. I am looking for Funny, ridiculously tall and sheepishly answers through them; romantic, McGuire sat down with ROOMS to I see the story through talk about his past, filming sex scenes and Templeton’s eyes. discovering the meaning of true love. We don’t Has this film been have our definition of it yet, but we love his and a kind of catharsis we are certain you will approve. Here is our talk for you? with the father of emotional perversion, true All my films are. I think love and intimacy. the key with movies is 190 No Borders No Boundar ies
to completely embarrass yourself, tell your own story, and hope that someone will relate to it. Were you trying to convey a specific message when you wrote Prevertere? I was the voice-over for the opening line ‘The answer to the game of love is…’ And really, there is no answer to this question that Templeton is attempting to solve. At some point you have to grow up and let it go. It would be nice to feel safe in love, but that’s up to you… Prevertere is not so much a physical perversion as a mental and emotional one. This film won Best Narrative Feature at the Downtown Film Festival in LA this year. How do you feel about this and all the positive critiques of Prevertere? I was actually shocked to win. I didn’t expect it. There is a huge low-budget quality and factor that goes on in the film, which was intentional since I wanted it to feel like a 90s indie film. As for the positive reviews, it just makes me incredibly happy and excited.
Bret Roberts, Terry Wayne and Pollyanna McIntosh in Prevertere
What was the hardest challenge you faced when filming Prevertere? The scene with Bobby D (the lounge singer) was quite stressful as we filmed in a show house we were not supposed to be in. We had a realtor with us and a couple of topless dudes running around pretending to be on cocaine when we learnt that the cops were on the way to the house! Another challenging scene was the opening one, with all the lights in Vegas. We couldn’t time the lights right. You start and end the film with the same setting, with Templeton and Jo-Anne in the car, only this time the atmosphere has drastically changed. It used to be a linear story with the Italian first, Irene second, and lastly Jo-Anne in Vegas. In this original cut, I feel like you follow Templeton more, whereas in this one it is more about the women. You get to meet Jo-Anne and then you get to go back to her, which allows for a new dimension and other stories in between. As to the car, I always wanted Templeton to be driving back and forth from each place and woman, expressing physical mobility. What do you think happens with Templeton afterwards? Does he stay faithful to Jo-Anne or is he still looking for true love? What do you think? I want him to stay with Jo-Anne, although I don’t think she is his true love. I would love to see him
with Irene, but that would defeat the purpose of their nature… That’s the trick of it. I don’t think he stays with her, though. They’re probably not right for each other – I give them another six months or a year! I don’t know, I am a cynical prick. It’s hard for me to say. Are there any scenes from the film that inspire you? Antonella Ponziani inspires the hell out of me! She is incredible in that role, and I love all her scenes. The pain on her face when Templeton leaves is so surreal, it is actually painful to watch – that’s how good she is! I also like the sex scene, with the painting, the fish tank, and the mirror. It was exactly how I had envisioned the scene in my mind. Most of the sex scenes are explicit without being vulgar. Was there a resolute decision to not make it graphic? The way I saw it first was insanely graphic, but I didn’t know how to get people to do that. If you are going to make it graphic, it needs to make sense and serve the story. A friend of mine remarked that in Prevertere, there was nudity when they are not having sex; when shit is wrong. I like that element. Also, we all know what sex is and looks like – let’s move on to more interesting things.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Desperation. A reason why I make a lot of films is that I’m trying to get out of the ghetto. I don’t feel insanely human when I’m not creating. The gift that I have is just being the creative idiot that I am and I just hope that I can make someone cry or laugh somewhere. And maybe I would get to heal them…
As for films, I am always trying to steal from Jim Jarmusch, Todd Solondz and John Cassavetes. I like the oddity of Jim Jarmusch, the slow pace, and his frames. I admire the darkness of Todd Solondz’s humour, as well as the ugliness in his characters. And Cassavetes is the master of realism and naturalism. Do you have any up coming projects? I just finished my new film, Window Licker. It’s about a guy [gestures at himself and mouths ‘me’] who is insane! He has a crazy addiction to video games, reality shows, and a webcam girl website. It is the most tedious and technical project so far. There are worlds within worlds in this film. It is super twisted and very colourful. If you could bring back any extinct object to life, what would that be? I don’t live in the past that much! Dinosaurs… The old Coca-Cola before they made the new one!
Michael Pearce Haunting narrative on human relationships An exceptional piece of film making lingers in your consciousness long after the film has finished. This was definitely the case when I watched Gallop, a beautiful yet bittersweet short film by the BAFTA nominated director Michael Pearce. Gallop is just one of many short films by Michael along with Rite, Stranger and Madrugada that showcase his undeniable skill to create a unique combination of evocative images and thought-provoking narrative on human relationships. The UK’s Jersey native’s talent first garnered attention after he graduated with a degree in Film Directing from Bournemouth University which lead to a scholarship to attend the National Film and Television School. His graduation film Madrugada then won a prize at the 2009 Jersey International Festival.
I had a chat with the London based filmmaker to find out about the films he loves and his career so far. Michael now calls North London home where he spends his time writing and creating stories, but 192 No Borders No Boundar ies
Words by Yinka Olumomi
how does this filmmaker relax when he has a moment to chill out? I like going to techno parties, listening to podcasts, having psychonautic adventures, running along the canal, sleeping on Italian beaches, sometimes a combination of these things. The fact that he finds the time to do anything that is not film related is astonishing considering the amount of dedication and attention needed to write and direct. Those who love film usually remember the point of genesis. Whether you grow up to be in the film industry or not, a film lover’s first memory of watching a film definitely impacts them in
some way. My first experience was in 1994, I was 7 years old, and it was The Santa Clause starring Tim Allen. The film itself wasn’t exciting per se, however the experience of sitting in front of a gigantic screen was what stuck in my mind. Michael on the other hand seemed to have a slightly more memorable first cinematic experience when he watched Moonwalker in 1987. At the height of his musical career Michael Jackson starred in this special effects filled extravaganza which may not be viewed by many as a masterpiece but it definitely made an impact on the seven year old. Michael reminisces about how his grandmother slept throughout, I just couldn’t fathom how you could sleep when you were faced with such wonder. It still confuses me to this day how she slept through it. A director’s appreciation for film goes far beyond the everyday aficionado who seldom looks beyond the surface missing slight nuances only caught by those who also create films. With Moonwalker being the catalyst for his love affair with film Michael’s tastes have of course matured and he now appreciates the style and vision of auteurs like Andrei Tarkovsky, Michelangelo Antonioni and Maurice Pialat. He cites Antonioni’s films as being incredibly elegant, poetic and melancholic. Watching
He also discussed the films that inspire him, like Adaptation which he wishes he could have written. When speaking about the Academy Award nominated writer Charlie Kaufman, Michael says, I don’t know how he pulls it off – it’s funny and tragic at the same moment, it’s selfreflective without being self-obsessed, it’s like Woody Allen meets Luis Buñuel, both profound and ridiculous. As for a film he wishes he could have directed he references Beau Travail by Claire Denis, It’s like a profane mythic fable, it’s visceral and physical, and at the same time quite lofty and poetic, it’s also got an amazing soundtrack, what more could you want. Along with awards from The Rushes Soho Film Festival and The Almeria Film Festival, 2012 saw the upcoming director’s film Rite nominated for a BAFTA for Best Short. Pearce describes creating the film as, a tough shoot but I think we managed to achieve quite a lot on the budget we had. It travelled to a lot of festivals, won a few prizes, generated a few tears. His impressive and diverse catalogue continues to grow with short film Henry, showing this last summer on Channel 4 as part of the Coming Up series and currently working on his debut feature film Beast
which is set in Jersey. Beast was selected for the prestigious Torino FilmLab Script & Pitch workshop. Recalling the true story of a serial sex attacker dubbed the ‘Beast of Jersey’, who terrorised the island for eleven years in the 60s, Pearce’s story revolves around Moll who comes to believe she may have fallen in love with the wrong man. Initially an uninspiring place for the director, Jersey had no connection to the film world whatsoever – not optimal for a boy who dreams of making films. After leaving the island as a teen, having kept quite a distance from it, Michael now appreciates the island’s landscape and its cinematic potential, rich and unique environment and what it has to offer as the setting for his next project. I couldn’t wait to get away and kind of turned my back on it. When I was a kid I was obsessed with the darker stories on the island, both actual crimes and the folklorish ones. With Beast I get to go back and explore the good and bad sides of the island and return to my childhood obsessions. Through his art, Michael is able to tackle subjects that interest and move him the most. This is the ability all directors strive for along with seeing an audience connect with something that is so personal to them. Audiences play a vital part in how well a film is
Still from Keeping Up With The Joneses, starring Maxine Peake, Geoff Bell and Adeel Akhtar
one is like spending a final rainy afternoon with a beautiful Italian woman that has just broken your heart but in a good way.
received and if it is financially lucrative. We all know that the best films do not always receive the recognition and financial success they deserve, a notion that has been an ongoing gripe for many directors. So many films are made and marketed towards a low common denominator, I don’t really see that changing though. I kind of wish that everyone had some level of film education at school, even if that was just introducing young people to different kinds of cinema, perhaps that way you would cultivate a more engaged and demanding audience. A valid point that would definitely see more opportunities for storytellers to create films with depth and less Michael Bay types spewing out yet another summer blockbuster, then subsequently reaping the benefits of mindless cinema that the masses seem to love. In anticipation of Beast we can expect something great not only based on Michael’s impressive portfolio but by how he describes his process of making films. I’m very collaborative. I bring a lot of doubts and questions to the table, and encourage the cast and my crew to be involved in building the film, not just to execute a rigid, pre-conceived idea. Temperamentally I’m quite calm on set, even when it gets very chaotic; I’m not sure why this is because I experience a healthy amount of anxiety and neuroticism in real life. Despite the ability to keep his cool on set, Michael reveals the subject matter of his picture when I asked him to describe a photo with him in it: Me swimming with great whites – it will never happen, I have a phobia. I even get scared in swimming pools but I’m obsessed with them.
Rafael Pavón Where legend meets everyday reality Words by Yinka Olumomi
You were born and raised in the beautiful city of Madrid. Spain, and moved to London seven years ago to pursue your career as Film Director. What ‘s your earliest memory of your decision to become one? Last month my cousin in Spain found a VHS tape from 1989. Tim Burton’s Batman had just been released and my dad owned a really bulky video camera with sound. So along with my little brother we decided to make our own version of the film with our costumes, editing on camera – what Michel Gondry called ‘Swede’ decades later in his film Be Kind Rewind. Once we were finished with Batman, we decided to continue with a rendition of Rocky, using golf club protectors as boxing gloves, then Home Alone, Ninja Turtles and many more I can’t even remember. It’s hard to find the reasons why one is driven by a certain passion, especially when not everything is great about that journey, but that tape helped me remember that it was 194 No Borders No Boundar ies
Watergun collective has provided a platform for collaboration and trampoline to your film career, how did the idea begin? Watergun started out as a spontaneous trans-oceanic collaboration between me and director/friend Ricardo Uhagón. I was living in London, he was in New York and we decided it was a great context to start working together and explore the collaboration in the form of a creative collective. Eventually, Lucas de la Rúa and Eric Schockmel joined us and we started growing and learning together for about five years, until we decided it was time to explore our individual voices as Rafael Pav�n photographed by Alexandra Uhart directors and grow on our important for me to be part of a story, modify it, play with own, which is where we it, understand all the narrative elements in order to play are now. We still have some with them and make people feel different – even if that projects on the dashboard, difference is extremely subtle, after watching what you’ve mainly ideas for scripts, done… And yes, we’re digitising that tape and considering online series, etc, but we what to do with it. thought it was better to let So, what was your favourite film as a child? them breathe and approach I’d have to put on my Fedora hat and tell you that Indiana them when we’re ready. I’d Jones and The Last Crusade is possibly the film I watched be surprised if Watergun more times (including subtitles in Swahili) and never doesn’t come back with stopped enjoying. Most adventure films excel in one or two something big in the aspects, and that’s already a big achievement, but this one long term. pushed every department; the music, the script, comedy, How would you to a degree that, not only is great in itself but also helps the best describe story. I believe it’s, quite possibly, the Led Zeppelin yourself as a of 80s films. director?
I have serious trouble looking back and having a wide perspective of what I do. I suffer from a massive ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ syndrome, but I always try to have an honest, uplifting and vigorous approach that I hope ends up somewhere in the outcome. Your short film The Hummingbird has been your biggest project to date and was in the Official Selection of this year’s East End Film Festival, as well as the FIBABC in Spain, Cambridge in UK and Patmos in Greece Film Festivals; what does this mean to you as a Director? When you start working on a project like The Hummingbird, the process makes everything really unpredictable. There’s lots of room for unpredictability in a project which is part documentary and part fiction and you’re never sure if the outcome will maintain the level of interest and excitement you have in mind when you start it. EEFF was the first festival that replied after we sent the first draft and that helped me realise that, in the end, it was making sense. The Hummingbird explores ‘the lost cosmonauts’ urban legends, and the role of conspiracy theories in our society, how did the idea come about? The initial inspiration came from the team behind Riot Cinema, who made the feature film The Cosmonaut. Their drive made me realise there was nothing stopping me
from telling this story. The first vague outlines started in 2010 and transformed progressively into The Hummingbird during the course of three years. The only way I could write about a subject like going to outer space (as I unfortunately haven’t been up there… Hello Mr Branson!) was to relive some experiences that I find too overwhelming to share and that emotion pushed the story forward. How would you say you have grown in terms of directing from when you first began to now? The confidence in my creative voice has grown immensely. I’m not sure if that journey has an end at all but I’ve already come a long way in understanding the direction I want to take and the type of stories I want to tell. Also, writing has been a big milestone as The Hummingbird was the first script I directed and it was a challenge to write it in English from the beginning. How do you get all the different elements, such as crew, cast, location, to integrate, in order to create your vision? You don’t have a lot of options with a self-funded project like this, so a big part of the process is trying to find people who are as excited as you and infect them with your enthusiasm. I don’t know any other way this could work.
What’s the key element you need to get set? I would say it all starts with a hunch. A big one Your favourite piece of work you have created so far is? The next project is always my favourite. By far! Because I don’t know how it is going to look. So what do you have coming up next? I’m really excited about this new stage after Watergun and I’m on the lookout for new environments and challenges to keep on making more and better work. I’m very interested in the possibilities of new technologies and the impact of interaction in storytelling, so I’d love to explore that field further. Also, I’ve started the development of a new film project about the way music affects us in different stages of our life, which I’ve had in mind since I first arrived in London – I was obsessed with the way music shapes everything in this city, but it wasn’t until recently, when a couple of turning points and the reception of The Hummingbird put me in the right mind-set to start writing again. The scope of the new project is really ambitious and clearly bigger than a short film but it’s still too early to know the final outcome. I feel it might be the moment to bring it to life.
© Robbie Mike Jeffers
© Robbie Mike Jeffers © Robbie Mike Jeffers
Motel Rooms We love a good art adventure. This summer we launched our artist’s travel diary Motel Rooms and followed one intrepid artist on a mission to set up their new show abroad. London based artist Mike Ballard has been our first Motel Rooms booking in the sunny city of Los Angeles, California, for his first solo show in the US at Known Gallery, Mind in Transit. We equipped our artist with some brushes, paint, impeccable attire, the best of intentions, and sent him off on the road to success – or shall we say excess? The people and the buildings, the parties, finding inspiration, the joys and dramas of making an art show in a city that’s not yours; Mike Ballard himself walks us through the pictures and stories. 196 No Borders No Boundar ies
© Robbie Mike Jeffers
Mike Ballard © Robbie Mike Jeffers
© Robbie Mike Jeffers
© Robbie Mike Jeffers
© Robbie Mike Jeffers
I first visited LA in 1997, when I was there to purely paint graffiti – I had forgotten what it was like and it has probably changed so we had a great laugh together, much in that time. A good old he's a funny guy and we hung friend of mine Roger Gastman, out a lot there. was programming and curating shows at Known Gallery. Roger I wanted to showcase a has seen my work progress since good selection of my work, I first met him in 1997, when we from prints and collage to went painting graffiti together. pop style canvases and oil The weather was amazing and paintings. It’s the first time I've really lifted my mood, from dull shown a few different bodies grey London, shit weather and of work together, so that made workaholic mode I'm normally in. it more interesting trying to 22.07.13 figure out how to arrange all The first few days were spent the pieces. hanging with Roger and friends and eating a lot, and drinking, In the project room of the and generally having a laugh gallery were legendary graffiti hanging out… the land of excess writers Remio and Duel – it for sure! The people really was a privilege to finally meet seemed so friendly and open, them both and to hang out like everyone is on holiday. I with them! like to walk and travel on public 29.07.13 transport… So I walked miles, Once the show was all set exploring the place and putting up and open, I headed up to up stickers, asking for walls San Francisco with my good to paint. friend Bobby ‘Broadband’, he's from SF and had come 24.07.13 One night we went to the Oscars down for the opening night Outdoors’ screening of the of the show. Once we got to film Style Wars. It was pretty SF we hooked up with my old cool to see this iconic film mate Ben Eine. He's such an on a massive screen outside! awesome guy, we have a lot of There was also a Q&A talky times painting together and bit with Henry Chalfont and one of the first writers I met I also got to meet one of the when I first came to London most influential graffiti writers in ‘95. We chilled at his studio ever, the grand incredible and then got pissed in the local SKEME. His pieces were a major bar and arranged to paint a influence on me, so it was a big wall the next day, together real privilege to chat to him and with SF based artist Rich get him to sign my black book. I Colman. It was great to see also managed to meet Patti Astor Ben living well in SF – he loves that night and got her new book, it there and has been painting The History of the Fun Gallery, a a lot of big walls there. Top true insight into the early days of bloke. Hip Hop culture. I loved every minute of being 26.07.13 The first week I headed down in LA, it was one of my best Melrose Avenue and started trips I've done, not only for looking for spots to paint. I the success of the show! got permission off a bike shop The whole vibe of the city is owner to paint a wall on his positive and open to a lot of roof – it was fantastic to spend new art. I'm gonna try and get all day in the sun up on the back there real soon. I'd like roof, watching the world go by, to big up Roger Gastman, and painting away, chilling… The Casey Zoltan for making it such guys in the shop brought me up a a great show. hamburger for lunch and we sat there chatting, enjoying the day. 28.07.13 The show was really fun to set mikeballard.co.uk up. I met up with Thank You X, the other artist in the show and knowngallery.com
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justinasuminaite.com LONDON, UK
SUMINAITE Pictures of Me
Words by Eva Peláez
Who is Justina? Justina – it's a scrapbook. I'm from Lithuania.
most boring and distressing I think it was a picture of subjects to study. Apart a killed jackfish in a sink, from that I know it's useful taken with a film camera. and necessary. Do you have What does a photo mean I remember that when I to you? It means a lot of saw it printed, I thought to a picture of you that you don’t show anyone? I don't, things, but overall it's the myself, ‘wow, that's art!’ I would have a paranoia released feeling from a How would you describe particular moment. When growing up in Lithuania? that someone might see it one day. Does swearing did you fall in love with Happiness, daydream. the camera? I was about Proximity to everyone and work for you? It's not that I 17 when one day I actually everything. Each season haslike swearing, but it works decided to try one of my a different colour, texture so well in the moment. In general, I'm not a hot father's old Russian ZENITand smell. I could come cameras. It just came to up with lots of contrasting tempered person, so I'm not swearing very often. me naturally. What coloursounds of Lithuania, but do you wear the most? what I love the most is the How much do you laugh a day? I laugh a lot, I just love Black. What’s the very first sound of tranquillity. Has picture you ever took? reading history been your a good sense of humour, How did it make you feel?thing, or would you rather irony and sarcasm. You don’t need any more of… make it? I would definitely Television. You can’t never make it instead of reading it.have enough of…. Films Personally, it was one of the and music.
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to create a sense for the image, and usually they main elements in your Youâ€™ve chosen to embrace photography? Humanity don't have to be afraid come naturally, as long about the results. Which the world behind the as you have a concept in is the most important photographers do you camera; do you miss element, everything else admire? Henri Cartier- your mind. But sometimes anything from the other branches out from there. everything starts from the Bresson, Diane Arbus, side? Not really, I think set instead. What gets you Why fashion? I would Richard Avedon, Irving that the lens helps me to in the mood? I usually put say it's more portrait in Penn, Martin Parr, Mario embrace the world even lots of thought into it prior general, than particularly Testino, Tim Walker, more accurately, to look at it fashion. But it might have to the shoot, but the results in a more concentrated way. a hint of fashion, as a way Mariano Vivanco. are rarely more surprising What do you consider I love being the beholder, I of expression. Film or than when you are doing your style to be? Artistic. always did. it more or less impromptu. digital? Mostly digital, just because post-production How do you create the How much is spontaneity Have you been obsessed is very important in my a factor? It depends on sets for your shoots? with someoneâ€™s face? I an individual concept, but process. I can use film, Feeling and mood are key. haven't, I would rather be for some experiments, or obsessed with someone's daily snapshots, when you The sets work as a tool worldview. What are the
you can't ever be hundred the story behind our per cent sure what you will get in the end. If the brand new cover? It's a circumstances allow me I human-chameleon in our always love to improvise insociety. What’s the role of order to surprise. Do you Symbolism in our society? search for the ‘perfect’ I think it's pretty important, it makes life more sensible. picture? It's more a moment thing. Sometimes I‘Vanity Fair’ (if I could call might see a stranger on theit a symbol) is a perfect street and just think how symbol and reflection of much I would love to take aone side of reality in our picture of that person rightsociety. Do you carry any symbols? I have a tattoo, now and right there, just the way they are looking in thatsymbolising eternity. Living in a city that exact moment. What do you look for in your models? breathes an intoxicating They would need to have blend of cultures and looks, together with a something interesting about them; it may be the looks, lush desire for success, lifestyle, personality. I'm which part is keeping you here? Precisely the blend not really interested in just ‘pretty faces’ if it’s not of different cultures, looks for commercial reasons. and worldviews. The same Who is your muse? My desire for success can affect environment inspires me anyone even in the smallest sombre cities. the most. Is self-indulgence part How do you feed your of the trade? I think it is, visual appetite? The best however you have to find a food is observation of daily life. What has given you way to ‘sell yourself’ as well. indigestion lately? I'm What inspires your photography overall? My environment, experiences, music, films, books, art in general. What do you want your photography to say? I just want my photography to be something more than a beautiful image, that it would provoke a viewer even into the smallest thoughts or emotions. Of course, any reaction is better than no reaction at all. How do you measure job satisfaction and decide when a photo is complete? After choosing the ‘right’ photo, retouching always comes as a second stage of the process – if there aren’t any doubts you could say it’s done. Satisfaction is something different, I can spend five hours retouching the best picture of the day, but tomorrow it might seem as the worst one ever. What’s
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ideas in my mind, they need to be completely finalized in order to start shooting, so thinking in advance takes more and more time! But sometimes I love to take a small one-shot plastic camera for some snap shots. Can you sleep without your camera? I can sleep like to explore further? without my camera, but not trying to not put too much stress into it. How do you treat Video art. In a world for too long. If you weren’t your other senses? I love electronic music and cooking for without limits you woulda photographer, what my friends, or cooking together with them. What are you create… I would make my would you be? I guess, I currently obsessed with? I’ve been always obsessed with friends’ and my dreams would be a lawyer. Where films, especially independent and foreign cinema; they come true. Last gig you would you like to go next? remain closer to reality and to me. I just love their mood in saw? Apparat, and I wish I The answer to this question general. Šarūnas Bartas, Kim Ki-duk, Emir Kusturica are were at Moderat's gig. Lastis still in progress… just some of my favourites Directors. I have watched all the film you watched and Iceland feels like a very films starring Vincent Cassel, he is a unique actor. Which loved? Adam Apples. All mymagnetic country though. artists make an impact on you? I've only discovered friends have been coerced Its landscape, Jake & Dinos Chapman recently, their sculptures and to watch it! culture and music, it’s surrealistic style overall fascinates me. I was always something I would love to inspired by Robert Rauschenberg, how he combines his experience someday. painting with collages and transfers it into objects and Who deserves a slap sculptures. David Shrigley , there is nothing to describe, right now? Who deserves you just have to see it! a flower? Those who deserved a slap, got it Anything you would like already. I would give a to say to the world. The flower to my twin brother. future is leaving, take Where do you think it’s ‘all’ happening? Probably What’s your relationship everything you can New York, it’s literally ‘all’ happening up there. Which with your camera these from today! designers inspire you the most? Young and emerging days? Before I used to take talent. Are there any other creative fields you would my camera everywhere and just take pictures – and it's a really heavy camera. These days, when I have any
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206 W hy Do You Do W hat You Do?
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