WORG EW NOITARIPSNI HGUORHT
+poetry, paintings, illustrations, & photo collections
T R A N S I E N T
I L L U S I O N S
ISSUE NO 2
SEVITAERC ETILE ROF ENIZAGAM EHT
Tom Cunningham & Alisa Karin: Exclusive Interviews!
o ationsti a r o b abo Collaborations
We feature a variety of artists and creative entrepreneurs through our online platform.
Visit our official website at
to see how you can be a part of our mission to #CelebrateCreativity
Do you want to be featured on our website? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A MESSAGE FROM VAGUS
Here we are, Issue No. 2! Although we are not quite sure how to put these last few months into words, we want to take this moment to appreciate the hard work and perseverance that creators have shown. The continuous output of artwork during a time where it's easy to just slow down and do nothing until we see better days demonstrates their dedication to creation, and the passion that artists and creative entrepreneurs have towards their craft. We'd also like to extend our appreciation to those in other industries who have continued to persevere through these challenging times and have collectively helped us get through
contributing to the framework of society. It's been an usually busy time here at Vagus as we work to accomplish our vision while we continue to develop the platform. With every new adjustment we strive to
products. After 3 months of planning, researching, and recruitment, we are so excited
inspiration behind the name stems from the feeling that this past year may have seemed like one long illusion, but in reality, it has been a period of transition as we adjust from a life where people are within close proximity to each other to an isolated, virtual one. Stay hopeful for better days, there is a lot to look forward to in the future! We hope you enjoy your viewing experience, and stay tuned for more!
IN THIS ISSUE Page 2
A MESSAGE FROM VAGUS
IN THIS ISSUE
Page 4 - 6, 89 Page 7 - 10
GENTLE WORDS: T. BUSHEY FEMI OROKUNLE
Page 11 - 22
FEATURE STORY: TOM CUNNINGHAM
Page 23, 24
GENTLE WORDS: MICHAEL GRAHAM
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Page 33 - 42
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GENTLE WORDS: EMMA
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Page 49 - 66
FEATURE STORY: ALISA KARIN
Page 67 - 74
AMRIT SINGH SANDHU
Page 75 - 80
GENTLE WORDS: SONIA SABNIS
Page 81 - 84 Page 85 - 88
TALUT KAREEM GENTLE WORDS: MAFALDA E.L.G.
VISIT VAGUSCREATIVES.NET FOR EXCLUSIVE ONLINE CONTENT
Femi Orokunle Femi
residing in LA. His work is defined by darker tones dipped in vibrant colors, that appeal to his nostalgic sensibilities and evoke a feeling of melancholic reverie.
Artist Statement Page 7 This
Page 9 This piece gives hint to the artist’s favorite color (blue), and the inclusion of the rainbow over the eye gives it a painterly feel. I love images that draw your attention to the form of a person’s body in some way, such as skin tone, a silhouette, and in this case the eye. If humans are art it’s only right to use them as a canvas sometimes.
Page 10 This was a moment of serendipity; luck and circumstance combined to capture this moment after a failed shoot at the beach. From there, with the influence
described by viewers as akin to a smooth R&B song.
WWW.FOSTUDIOS.ART @THECHIGERIAN 8
Tom Cunningham unique
is an Australian-based typeface designer specializing in
elegant single-weight typefaces that can be sold to graphic designers and design studios.
When did you develop an interest in designing typefaces and how long have you been producing creative fonts? I started as a freelance designer and moved into digital product design (logo, templates, and graphics). From there, I moved into typeface design as I loved unique
typefaces in the market. I have been doing this full-time for about 3 years now.
What was the inspiration that fueled the creation of your design studio? I live in a small town. Without any opportunities to join an existing studio, I started my own for the sole purpose of needing a job.
Who are the members of the New Tropical Design team? Do you collaborate with other designers? It’s mostly me. I have a few contractors who I use to help out with the boring stuff and I sometimes collaborate with lettering artists to make some fun typefaces.
New Tropical Design is located in Australia, a beautiful country surrounded by water and beaches. The typefaces have a curvature that resembles waves, and therefore prompts the question: do your surroundings and experiences influence the work you create? 100%.
inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, you will just end up looking like everyone else. In nature you will find something new every day.
Sometimes it can be easy to just “stick to what works”, but this can result in repetitive productions and possibly even lead to a creative plateau. As a designer, how do you challenge yourself to come up with new/different ideas? I have lots of tricks to keep it fresh. For example: One trick I use is to scribble abstract shapes and curves all over a page or my design software with no intention of creating anything. I then look over it and pull out lines or shapes I think are interesting. Those shapes are twisted or turned until they can fit into a curve of a letter. Once I have 1 letter, It’s a puzzle to work out how the rest will fit in. Sometimes I design my letters with the page upside down or back to front to find something unique. Jimmi Hendrix played his guitar upside down (he was left-handed and he played a right-handed guitar). This is why he had such a unique style. I always think about that.
In terms of running your business, what have your experiences been like from a marketing perspective? I approach my business decisions just like I do with my typeface design. I try to think outside the box. My marketing strategy is quite different from most companies trying to sell products. I try to focus all of my time on creating good work. I find that others will market your work for you for free if it’s good enough. The opportunities that can come from something going viral online are much greater than just running ads to promote your work.
In what ways would you like your business to develop in the future? Good question. I have created almost 50 typefaces over the last 3-4 years and I always wonder if I will run out of new ways to draw letters but at this stage I'm still going. The world of design and digital product design changes every few months so the main goal is just to keep up.
Are there milestones that you’ve reached in your career that you’re appreciative of? I just hit 50,000 typefaces sold which is kind of crazy. I have seen my work throughout the world from large corporations to small boutiques, in global protest movements, and in my local supermarket. It’s always exciting to see what other designers create using my typefaces.
When browsing through your online store, there is a line that reads “Your purchases help feed kids in 3rd-world countries”. Do a percent of the proceeds from purchases go to charities? I have been lucky to have had financial success with my typefaces over the last few years. This has enabled me to not only feed my own kids from typeface sales but also to help out others. New Tropical has a sponsorship with World Vision that helps supply food and other essentials to kids in the city of Chittagong in Bangladesh.
Behind the design of the 'Tangeringe' typeface: Tangerine has been one of my most popular typefaces. It’s shown up lately as the logo for global K-Pop superstars “Twice”.
around the world.
I wanted to make a retro typeface with that 70s good vibes feel but I didn't
from that era. I decided to make new unique letters that had that groovy 70s feel. The bold curves pay homage to the big hair and bell-bottoms
Tangerine fits perfectly into those nostalgic
Behind the design of the 'Gallery' typeface: Gallery had been another popular one. Gallery is an ultra modern typeface that is both memorable and stylish. The smooth
ascending letters make for a unique aesthetic. It's a mix between a classic serif and a futuristic sans serif. Blending font styles and eras is an ongoing theme in my work as it makes for interesting outcomes.
What is it like to live in Australia? I love it. I have travelled all over the world but I find Australia is the best place to live for me. I can watch whales go by from my rooftop studio and surf every morning. The weather is usually good, and there's a lot to see and explore. I am very lucky to have been born here. I do miss seeing the rest of the world and can’t wait to get going again once COVID-19 is over!
In the process of creating work, what have you learned about yourself? I have learned that I'm just like every other designer. Every creative project goes through these stages: loving it, hating it, almost giving up then ending up with something pretty cool. A creative mind is great for design work but it’s also great at distracting you, making you question everything and the imposter syndrome never goes away. You just have to accept it and remind yourself that it will all work out!
You can view more collections from the New Tropical Design studio and purchase affordable typefaces from their online store:
FROZEN I wish the sun would shine again pieces of me that once embraced
SKIN Some days I’m happy in it but there are days it’s difficult
the cold, that once thrived on the chill
wearing this skin, this ruined garment,
of emptiness and sorrow, now crave to
stained by a love that gave too much
be illuminated by light once more And some days I want to shed it, But why has the sun concealed itself it’s rays, now a distant pastime no longer greet me at my window and the flowers on my sill no longer open their arms to its wakening embrace
Maybe if I opened the shades of this empty room, this frozen chamber and somehow managed to peel the covers off, then maybe, just maybe the answers
just as easy as the snakes do, leaving behind the pain, misery and bitterness I once occupied; to run far away from me, to make this all a distant memory
But still some days it hurts, the reminders of what once was come knocking in the quiet of the night, constricting my breathing and mocking me silently while everyone sleeps
would be made clearer, if only I was willing enough to feel warmth again.
Then, some days are quiet, though only fleeting moments of rest, some days I find ease in my solitude, company in my stillness and there I am whole again.
THE RAIN There were days I felt void of purpose. 24 hours of long and gruesome tortures, in hopes that you might return. I lost sight of what was real and I wasn’t sure I would heal.
The rain no longer excites me, its insistent knocking on my windows no longer bring me joy. The playful moments where I’d allow it to splash my face with its promise, no longer to be enjoyed.
But amidst the numbness and pain, I am gently reminded that over the raging torrents, the endless pouring of white delight, that just like the rain everything has its place, and just like the rain I too shall return to the sky again.
WAITING GAME Am I crazy for believing? Believing that it would have lasted a lifetime, believing that his heart would keep mine safe, but hopeless I am because these thoughts I have wasted
Only fools sit around waiting for men to change hopes high in anticipation of a love that wasn’t there to begin with, for a love that will never frequent this heart of mine, but still I wait
JUDGMENT SEAT You may think I’m crazy for loving him the way I did fierce and with passion steady and intentional you may even say that it was my fault, that somehow along the way him and I lost our way and I am to be blamed
Waiting for him to recognize that I was always by his side that it was I who battled relentlessly and also suffered severely at the hands of his demons
And now you place me in the judgement seat but must I be judged for investing, must I be whipped for believing that my days could be blissful
And it hurts, you know, because I had somehow conditioned myself to viewing him as my savior, as my hero
and my nights could be glorious, repeatedly filled with pleasure, bursting and overflowing in ways unimaginable?
when both of us know that caring for others was never his strong suit.
Those dreams were quite short lived as you see, his idea of pleasure was in controlling me his trophy on a shelf, his prize to be had but I am my own I belong to no one and I submit to no man’s control.
Hair Care MARK
Originally a graphic designer, he is a prolific and versatile creator, with a portfolio that explores the cadences of African identity and spirituality, often through the cultural aesthetic of African futurism.
Over recent years, Mark has been involved in a range of international projects with Africa Fashion International for Joburg Fashion Week and has worked with The Kraal who have published The Guide to African Spirituality: Volume 0, which features his work. Mark has recently finished working on an upcoming South African book and is an Emerging Creative from the class of 2020 at the Design Indaba, having exhibited there. @MARK_DRAWS
Kgabiso ka pula My recent work explores African identity and nature. As Africans, we mark our identity through adornment of various items that signify our status. My work looks at how we form part of the natural world, connect, and become tied to the land we occupy. This is my response to the loss of identity and connection to each other we experience in urban environments, online spaces, and living through the pandemic.
canvas, and wood. I have salvaged charcoal from old fires to draw with, flowers, leaves, and roots for various pigments and finally, I have introduced earth into my work as a base or ground from which everything emerges.
I hope to explore how we mimic behaviours, characteristics, and aesthetics from nature
integration of technology into identity. I believe we practice these ways of being as a collective and they help to inform our culture as Africans of the future. 27
Back to Life
Tlisa Lee Tlisa Lee is a Toronto-based hedonist & intersectional, multifaceted queer creator that draws heavily on the themes of mental health, mindfulness, sustainability, sign language as well as body movement to fuel her creative projects. She focuses on creating awareness to reduce the stigma around mental
acceptance through every step of her creative process.
Biography After struggling to find my ‘niche’ and my place as an artist I realized that I was limiting myself for societal standards. Even referring to myself as an artist
painting, cut & sew, modelling, styling, creative direction, etc. has allowed me to grow in ways I didn’t know I could and keeps me on my toes (which my ADHD thrives off of). Since then, I’ve learned to trust my intuition and go where I flow.
I'm also a yoga teacher & psychology graduate. Through my degree, I was able to acquire a number of valuable skills including an understanding of the
interpersonal, developmental, and cultural differences. Through my yoga teacher training, I was able to find a balance between work, relaxation, and the importance of taking time to listen to your body (or not lol)! I love collaborating with other like-minded creatives & enjoy exploring new places and faces.
WWW.TLISALEE.COM @TLISA.LEE 34
HOT N’ COLD 5.5’ X 8.5’ GOUACHE ON 140LB RECYCLED PAPER
To me, this piece represents my mood fluctuations within a thermal format of myself. Bipolar and ADHD (both of which I have) carry significant effects on mood, emotions, and behaviour. One moment I’m hot, the other I'm cold and sometimes there are no in-betweens. It feels as though there is a constant tug between both extremes making it tough to just be. Emotions flow and should continue to flow through you but sometimes it’s hard to let them go. This piece reminds me to feel, flow, and let go. Anyways, most people just see nice tits lol. @TLISA.LEE 35
One of my favourite photographers was able to capture the essence of my physical form & emotions through stills. We are currently working on an interactive
language for all.
MLIF 021 NO TOHS - SEIRES OTOHP TES 3 TROHS EEL ASILT 37
LOSE YOUR HEAD 5.5’ X 8.5’ HAND-PRINTED, LINOCUT ON TIBETAN FLOWER PRESSED PAPER
identifying things and being confined to the physical form we inhabit when there is so much more than that. Learning to detach from the physical body and it’s senses through meditation has allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of why I’m here. There are two different mudras within this piece,
channel elements of the sun and fire energy, and the right Vayu mudra used to channel elements of air and wind to bring balance back to the body. Focus
who/what you love. @TLISA.LEE
BLEEDING HEART 2048PX X 2048PX DIGITAL ART Sad girl, why do you cry all the time? Through an intense breakdown this piece was somehow born. An alter ego maybe? Majority of the time I create art in my manic and energetic states but this was born through a depressive state. She’s hurt, tired, and just wants to be seen as she is.
ADHD: SHORT 3 SET PHOTO SERIES - SHOT ON 120 FILM
I was so lucky to be able to connect with Richard for these unplanned shots - I didn’t think I would connect with these photos in the way that I did. I feel like these photos capture my ADHD and even some of my bipolar traits. I’m always moving (physically & mentally) bouncing around from thought to thought, action to action, let's rearrange the entire house, waters plants, *SCREAM* Yes, I'm still listening (well trying to), a new idea! going back to a previous thought, oh look a puppy! *picks skin* wait, what was I doing again? Disassociate. My brain just works differently and if I didn’t take the time to introspect and understand how to work with myself, it would have consumed me.
PHOTOGRAPHER: RICHARD ASHMAN @LOWERFORCES www.lowerforces.com
Darius Salimi Darius Salimi is a director and fashion photographer based in Paris, France.
Biography I graduated from Paris Cergy Fine Arts school and have worked for the music industry as a director for music videos, and have photographed for fashion magazines and clients such as L’Oreal.
What I like doing the most are portraits and fashion. I like simplicity and softness; those are the moments that I try to create in my pictures.
Artist Statement In
(hairdresser), Gabriel Bezé (stylist), and Pierre Rose who made the digital masks. The models are the amazing Claude Emmanuelle, Laura Joy, and Pablo from the Mademoiselle Agency in Paris.
These pictures were kind of an experimentation between the vegetal world and digitalism. I wanted to create masks as ornaments that could have been found in some initiation rituals in our modern world. Instead of using real flowers or roots, I chose to use 3D masks to depict what could be the passage between teenage years and adulthood in our 2.0 era. Maybe one day our planet will be sadly so dry that the only way for future generations to remember nature will be through digital artists?
WWW.DARIUSSALIMI.COM @DARIUSSI 46
Alisa Karin based
is a film student, photographer, and creative director
accentuates the structure of the body through her use of extreme close-ups. @ALICE.KARIN 49
How long have you had an interest in the arts? Probably since birth. My mom said she would play me classical music while she was still pregnant. I grew up in an environment full of
dancing to Vivaldi. I honestly can’t imagine my life without art.
You’ve mentioned that you study film, but also have interests in acting and photography. What drew you to film initially, and what role would you like to pursue once you graduate? During the first year of highschool I got into a french theatre group. I started falling in love with it within seconds. Then I slowly started obsessing over cinema. My dream has always been to be an actress, but I just didn’t like the professional schools in my country to study for it. I started taking private classes and auditioning for small parts. I knew I wanted to be a part of this world and then I decided to study film arts. I don’t know what this road would lead to, but I don’t like making big plans for the future.
Analyzing some of your work, there appears to be a focus on lips. What do lips symbolize for you? Lips are like the gates of hell or heaven. They could be the sweetest, pure thing. Or the most evil of them all. I want to show that besides eyes, lips can show a lot of emotions too.
Other images from your work include hands either via shadow, in gloves, or submersed in water/liquids. What is the significance of showing extreme-close-ups of hands in this context? Maybe it’s my deep love for the sea and these endless waters. I live far away from it and I miss it with my whole body. I miss the touch of water, the coldness, the weightlessness.
Have you done other creative/artistic things prior to formally studying it at school? I started playing the piano when I was 8 years old. I would sing in a choir alongside my parents. I wrote my own fairy tales and stories. I also tried doing ballet. I was in a french theatre group for 3 years, where we would go to theatre festivals. After that, I got into a non-professional theatre school and now I am here.
Which school/institution do you study at and why did you choose it? How has your experience there been so far? I am at New Bulgarian University. I had some friends who were into film art and it sounded very interesting to me. I have to say I am not the best student, but I try my best to stay present.
For your non-spontaneous work, walk us through a typical shoot day from planning/preparation, to capturing the moment, to post-production touches: I have had very few experiences like that, but I like to go early. Always. If I am late I get very anxious. I need to drink my coffee and smoke my cigarette before the day starts. I prepare the day before with all my equipment. I don't know why but I check if the card is in my camera at least 10 times. As for capturing the moment, I may have some ideas that I thought of pre-shooting, but most of the time they come while I work. And finally when I get home I am so excited to open photoshop and play for hours.
What are your thoughts about eye contact, both prolonged and brief? God, eye contact...One of the most powerful weapons on Earth. You could connect to the soul of a person within seconds. You could say so many things by just looking at someone, that in most cases you don’t need any words. I’ve had the most exciting prolonged eye contacts, but the most heartbreaking brief ones.
Why do you choose to capture extreme-close-up shots? Life would be so boring without the details. I like to capture hidden messages, show things that we see everyday, but don’t really pay attention to them.
Do you feel your work is a reflection of yourself or life experiences? Absolutely. I aim to show the world as I see it. Emotions are deeply personal and I hope everybody could feel something different through every image.
Out of all the elements, which is your favourite? Looking at your portfolio, one may assume it’s water, as many of your images include liquids. I may say water, yes. There is something about it that always fascinated me. It represents life. I find it very similar to shooting water and women. No matter what conditions you put them under, they always look miraculous. Both as pure and majestic. Both as powerful as a god. Both can kill you easily but can’t live without them.
Suppose we are in an apocalyptic world and water is a limited resource. How would the absence of water impact your work? We are in an apocalyptic world and I will be able to make art? CRAZY! And exciting.
Would you still want to create art during an apocalypse? Between the time I’m killing zombies and running away from aliens? Maybe.
"Black and white could take away the colors that distract you, and put your focus on the shadows, highlights, and the composition."
You’ve been creating art in this manner for a few years now. As you receive more recognition for your work, is there anything that you’re proud to have accomplished? I actually started taking it more seriously at the end of summer 2020. Before that I just liked to take random pictures and make a nice feed. The quarantine did something to me. I isolated myself and started creating things everyday. I am proud of myself for not quitting and slowly improving as I shoot and edit.
How do you feel about the increased appreciation you’ve gained from your work? I am beyond grateful. It feels like I share a part of my heart with people. It’s amazing.
What brands have you collaborated with so far? This year was my first collaboration with Osswim. Amazing swim brand.
Seeing as you use your personal Instagram account to show your artwork as opposed to a separate business or creative account, how do you balance your personal image with the work you create? Do you aim to separate the two or do you prefer to just weave them together? I like them to be together. Because this is me. This is my work and it’s still me. I show my life through my work. People nowadays tend to be very serious and closed. I don’t know why. We have one life. I might as well live it the way I want to and not the way I am supposed to.
Do you have any goals or aspirations for the near present future? I sure have and I made a deal with the universe, so I can’t tell.
In the process of creating work, what have you learned about yourself? That doubting and comparing myself is the worst thing I can do.
Amrit Singh Sandhu, born in India, currently lives and works in New York. Having been brought up in an artistic environment and watching her father create, she has been deeply passionate about art and its limitless abilities since childhood. Trained as a realistic figurative painter, her curiosity took her to experiment with impressionism, modernism, and abstraction to learn to challenge and expand her creativity. She mainly works with oil, gouache, and watercolors.
Biography Sandhu’s work revolves around the idea of memory and exploring how everyone has their own unique version of reality. Through the invented characters in her oil paintings with enhanced expressions, she intends to question her perception and reflect on her own inner thoughts and emotions about the people, culture, and structures in her society. Her focus is on experimenting with Cubism and symbolism and to push those ideas and her imagination formally and conceptually.
Sandhu attained her BFA Painting degree from Pratt Institute in 2020. Currently, she is a freelance artist working with clients varying from fashion designers to doctors, trying to portray their individual essences.
Artist Statement I perceive my paintings as a recollection of thoughts and emotions that come to my head when remembering a person, object, or place that has left an impact on me. Reflecting on the positive and negative aspects of these memories by contrasting them is the subject matter of my current work. Using this as a reference point for my artistic explorations, I intend to situate the viewers in ambiguous spatial compositions that
existing in a single frame enhance the weirdness of the imagery.
I seek to create movement that is not just linear, but also takes the eye in through the window and out to the surface. In my process, there is a movement of taking away from the surface that is as important as putting on the canvas. Colour relationships, pattern,
spaces represented in the imagery—men with big beards and broad shoulders, women peeking through their veils, dog heads, and red floors, connect the paintings to my cultural identity. Exaggerated expressions with long noses, big ears, purple eyelids, and
Furthermore, through the symbolic imagery and the spatial orientation, these paintings act as metaphors to their hidden personal emotions and desires. My paintings are souvenirs of my memories, ideas, and identity. 71
Talut Kareem (b. 1994) is a contemporary artist based in Lagos, Nigeria. He initially studied Mass Communication at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic where he received his National Diploma and subsequently pursued a B.A. in Visual Art from the University of Lagos. His love and enthusiasm for art have been evident from his childhood as he would always
expression. Since childhood, he has identified as an introvert which made it challenging for him to develop relationships with people. He is a self-taught artist who specializes in drawing. He explores charcoal and acrylic on paper and canvas to portray his expressive blurry figures. His practice explores the transitory nature of the human mind and his work unpacks his emotions and social behaviour. His work attempts to illustrate his mental state.