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INSIDE: ISSUE #12
ANCIENT HISTORY, EXPERIMENTAL ARCHITECTURE, BREATH-TAKING LANDSCAPES AND KARAOKE SEEM TO COME TO MIND WHEN I THINK OF JAPAN, BUT VAMP’S INQUISITIVE WRITERS AND CONTRIBUTORS HAVE EXPLORED THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN TO GIVE US MORE INSIGHT INTO THIS EXTRAORDINARY COUNTRY.– NICK ROBERTS WRITES ABOUT HIS OBSERVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES AS AN ENGLISHMAN FINDING HIS WAY IN JAPAN; FRENCH ARTIST JULIEN VINET SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE WITH ART IN JAPAN, WHICH HAS SHAPED HIS IDEAS AS AN ARTIST; AND DAVID SCHEMBRI INVESTIGATES THE ATTITUDES OF THE JAPANESE TOWARDS SEX.– AS ALWAYS, WE INTRODUCE YOU TO LOCAL CREATIVES – AND IN THIS ISSUE YOU WILL MEET TALENTED ILLUSTRATORS NICOLE DIACONO AND JOSEPH BUGEJA, HAVE AN EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW OF THE WORK OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST RITTY TACSUM, NOW BEING EXHIBITED AT MOCA TAIPEI, AND SEE SOME OF THE INTERIORS DESIGNED BY ARCHITECTURE FIRM MJMD, AND MUCH MORE. – WE WILL BE BACK WITH A SPRING IN OUR STEP SOON ENOUGH, BUT NOW THAT WE ARE ALL ON THE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS, I WISH YOU A HAPPY END TO YOUR YEAR A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH JOYFUL EXPERIENCES.
015. STYLE FILE
An exclusive selection of fashionable goodies
023. INTERVIEW: JOSEPH BUGEJA VAMP meets homegrown fantasy artist Joseph Bugeja 026. “THE BIG ?”
We check out a fascinating installation by Mike Ross, created for the play ‘The Lockerbie Bomber’
031. LIVING IN JAPAN Nick Roberts shares his experiences in Japan 034. IN PERSON[A] The latest collection of photographic art by Ritty Tacsum
who is currently exhibiting in Taipei
041. LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX David Schembri explores the attitudes towards sex in Japan 046. FASHION: FLY BY Top fashion for this winter season 059. LUST LIST Jaw dropping designs to feast your eyes on 063. COMMUNICATION BREAK DOWN?
Editor Lily Agius Art Direction / Publisher Chris Psaila Photographers Federico Peltretti Stylist Luke Engerer Sales & Marketing Manager Matthew Spiteri 7724 2490 Sales / Manager Sam Psaila - 7788 0300 Printers Progress Press
Contributors Bay Street Complex Chantal Busuttil Charlie Azzopardi Clinton Chetcuti David Schembri Diandra Mattei Dyan Azzopardi Federico Peltretti Julian Cardona Joseph Bugeja Jeff Holmes Juan V. Wong III Julien Vinet Justine Micallef Lara Spiteri Luke Engerer Masao Nishikawa Mike Ross Miyuki Vinet MJMDA Architects Med Asia Fusion Lounge Nicholas Cutajar Nicholas Roberts Nicole Diacono Nicole Cushchieri Ritty Tacsum Sandra Calafato Satoshi Kuroskai
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. Dates, information and prices are believed to be correct at the time of going to press but are subject to change and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. Neither the editor nor the publisher accept responsibility for any material submitted, whether photographic or otherwise. While we endeavour to ensure that the organisations and firms mentioned are reputable. The editor can give no guarantee that they will fulfill their obligations under all circumstances.© Copyright 2013
Dr. Charlie Azzopardi explains he psychology behind relationship break-downs
066. ARCHITECTURE: FLOW HOUSE
We visit a experimental space in Chiba, Japan, designed by Satoshi Kurosaki ( APOLLO Architects )
076. TWO COLOURS VAMP catches up with artist Julien Vinet, and reveals
the craft behind Japanese art
085. ABOUT BORGO FRANC We step inside a stylish apartment designed by MJMDA 096. THE BIG SHIFT Julian Cardona explores the effects of technology
on human evolution and society
096. THE ART OF MAKING SUSHI Sushi chef JUAN V. WONG III from Med Asia shares his
secrets to making perfect sushi
103. INTERVIEW: NICOLE DIACONO Nicole Cuschieri speaks with talented local Like us on facebook.com
illustrator Nicole Diacono
106. BEAUTY CALL Make-up must haves by Chantal Busuttil
VAMP MAGAZINE UPDATE
SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A BEAUTIFUL SCENT: BOSS JOUR POUR FEMME Following the success of BOSS NUIT Pour Femme, the biggest BOSS Female fragrance launch so far, BOSS Parfums unveils the next chapter in its female fragrances story with the launch of BOSS JOUR Pour Femme with fabulously beautiful actress Gwyneth Paltrow as the face of the perfume. Inspired by the first light of day, BOSS JOUR Pour Femme is using this unique moment to inspire women to seize all opportunities and create their very own stories, every day. Brought together in a beautiful blend of white florals with vibrant citrus, the fragrance has been created to reflect composure, elegance and inspiration. BOSS JOUR Pour Femme now cements the BOSS Parfums reputation as creators of luxury, contemporary fragrances classics for both men and women. Complementing each other perfectly, BOSS JOUR and BOSS NUIT offer a feminine day-to-night fragrance collection. Receive a Boss Tote bag when purchasing Jour Pour Femme 75ml or a Boss cosmetic pouch when purchasing Boss Pour Femme 50ml For local trade enquiries, call VJ Salomone (Marketing) 8007 2387
DISCOVER STATE-OF-THE-ART TRAINING Why spend 2 hours training when you can achieve faster results in 30 minutes? Fun, personalised, revolutionary training achieving better results in less time. Come twice a week and you will see results! Move is now open in Ta’ Xbiex, and apart from boasting a fantastic location within a state-of-the-art training environment, it is offering the latest technologically designed equipment in the future of fitness. Activate all your muscles simultaneously and target specific hard to get areas with Miha Body Tec and Power Plate. Get the body you always wanted especially amazing for glutes, hips, arms, abdominals and chest. Shape up in 2 weeks with Circle by Milon and get a full strength/endurance workout in 35 mins. Great to tone and burn excess body fats. In addition, you can also join our group classes for pilates, indoor cycling, TRX, yoga and more. Tagliaferro Business Centre, Cathedral Street, Sliema T: +356 2131 5601. Forth Mansions, Ta’ Xbiex Seafront, Ta’ Xbiex T: +356 2131 0573. www.move.com.mt
KEEPING IT REAL
TAG Heuer, Official Timekeeper of Ferrari throughout the 1970s, partnered with the makers of Rush to accurately recreate the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing. In its depiction of the Formula 1 environment of 1976, Academy Award® Winning director Ron Howard’s Rush starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl is historically accurate down to the smallest detail. From the cars to the clothes, every element has been meticulously researched. Not since Le Mans, the classic 1970 race film starring Steve McQueen, has a major Hollywood film more authentically recreated the intense action and glamour of the world’s fastest sport. No surprise, then, that TAG Heuer played a key role in the look of both films. In Rush, the Heuer colors and crest are visible on the overalls of Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Brühl), his teammate Clay Regazzoni (Pierfrancesco Favino) and every other member of the Scuderia Ferrari crew - just as they were in 1976. The brand’s colors once again bedeck the tracks at Nürburgring, during the German Grand Prix, at Monza for the Italian GP, and the season closer at the Fuji Speedway in Japan. Tag Heuer timepieces are exclusively available from VIP (Bisazza Street, Sliema & Melita Street, Valletta) and Sterling Diamonds boutiques.
SLEAZY CAMERA CRIMES IN JAPAN. Concealing a camera has become oh-so-easy nowadays and, like every good thing, it is being abused. According to the Japanese National Policy Agency (NPA), there were 2,408 cases of secret picturetaking reported last year in Japan, compared with 1,296 in 2008. Preventing voyeurs and peepingtoms from taking their stolen pictures is an ongoing battle. The advances in technology mean that high-quality cameras have become smaller and easier to conceal, and prices are falling because of increased demand. So, keep your bathroom door locked and your eyes peeled for that secret admirer or investigator, if you don’t want to be caught saying ‘cheese’ unawares.
SLIEMA • VALLETTA • PAOLA • THE DUKE, GOZO • THE AXIS, PACEVILLE FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
T. 2134 6080
BY LUKE ENGERER
Photography: Federico Peltretti Models: Diandra Mattei, Dyan Azzopardi Make-up: Justine Micallef Hair: Lara Steer (D salon) Location: Bay Street St. Julians
‘STYLE FILE’ Woman:Guess top €112 Guess jeans €147.50 Guess shoes €170 Guess cardigan €169 Guess jacket €190 Swatch watch €65 available at Sunlab & VIP Man: Guess t-shirt €42.50 Guess jeans €126.50 Guess cardigan €200 Guess coat €252.50 Guess shoes €125 Swatch €140 watch available at Sunlab & VIP JAPAN ISSUE
#STYLE FILE Coccinelle If you’re looking for a stylish new handbag, you should definitely stop in to the newly opened Coccinelle store in Tower Road, Sliema. This iconic Italian brand has joined P. Cutajar Ltd’s extensive portfolio of international brands. These unique eye-catching, quality handbags scream modern class and style. There is a great selection of bags from small to large and a great range of colours, all made from the finest leather. This season’s star is the soft-bag with the vintage mood in suede or calfskin leather. The Cocinelle woman is dynamic, chic and modern and her Cocinelle bag is always in fashion: elegant, functional and practical.
BHS Red alert! This red dress with lace detailing from BHS is ideal for the more conservative of functions. Wear day or night, this red number will get you noticed this festive season. ¤50.00
Blue ¤235 Mustard ¤165 Black Clutch Bag ¤110 Green Suede Bag ¤225
202 JEWELLERY BERING Watches timelessly beautiful and long-lasting time-pieces. This silver watch with gold frame is beautifully embellished with sapphire glass & Swarovski crystals, it’s classy and elegant. This watch is contemporary and easy to wear and will really add a touch of glam to any outfit. ¤199 Christina Design London Rings We have seen and loved her watches, fallen in love with her bracelets and charms, and now Christina presents the Christina Ring Collection! All hand-crafted in 925 solid silver, every fashion-conscious woman with personality and a sense of humour will want something from this collection! With a number of combinations to choose from, the only limit is your imagination! Solid 925 Silver, rhodium-plated from ¤29 Gold Plated from ¤49, and the New Special Rose Gold-plated from ¤49 Exclusively at 202 Jewellery flagship outlets in Fgura and Sliema. Exclusively at 202 Jewellery Flagship Outlets of Fgura & Sliema.
TWENTY 2, BIRKIRKARA Fun, fresh and cool, this playsuit by Twenty2 is a great holiday piece. Dress it down with flats, thicker tights and a cosy coat, or dress it up with pumps and some ‘bling’ and get ready to paint the town red. With tons of great pieces to choose from for any occasion, Twenty2 caters for all those fashionistas out there. So, look no further, get down to Twenty2 and choose your outfits for the festive season! Dress ¤58
SUNLAB This watch from Just Cavalli is ideal for the woman who likes a ‘bit of class’! It is so sophisticated and sleek and will sit prettily on any woman’s wrist! This Skagen watch is classic and understated – a great day-to-night watch that will take you anywhere. Since Sunlab recently welcomed Skagen Jewellery and watches to their fab collections, they have been hit with both the guys and the girls and are super well-priced. Ten out of ten! Just Cavalli (Left) ¤249 Skagen (Right) ¤169
C MODA, SLIEMA
Make heads turn with this animal print dress from CModa. You can dress it down with biker boots or knee high boots, and team up with a biker jacket for that rock-androll look. Go bold in animal prints this season! ¤27.90 Glitzy and glam, this full-length gold-beaded shimmer dress from CModa is fit for the Oscars. Shine as brightly as a diamond in this elegant dress that is suitable for black tie events and other more formal functions. ¤159.90
Available from Sunlab and VIP
“Holiday tips for the naughty and nice!” What’s on your list? YANA’s Jewellery One of a kind. I get so excited when I am introduced to young local talent! I met up with Yana at her shop/work studio in Msida a few weeks ago. I must admit I was really impressed with this young woman’s creativity, talent and down-to-earth attitude. Her jewellery is beautiful and unique, all hand made by Yana herself. One of the most interesting aspects of Yana’s work is that you can choose your own stones and have your jewellery custom made for you: I think that’s awesome! To my eyes, each piece is a work of art – modern works that are somewhat abstract. Yana’s jewellery is a great Christmas gift idea and the beauty of it all is that every piece is unique – an original one-off. Yana also does bridal jewellery, worth looking into. I highly recommend dropping in on Yana at her studio in Msida or find her on facebook/Youtube and take a look at what this talented lady is up to. Sliced Agate Gemstone Necklace ¤35 Set of earrings ¤12 Ring ¤7 Bracelet ¤16 Yanas Jewellery, Triq Misrah il Barriera, Msida E: email@example.com M: 99841509
LADYMATIC, MOSTA Want a flattering coat with a great cut this Christmas? Ladymatic has a selection with unique prints and details for a modern twist. Ladymatic has now moved to a larger shop, where it is offering woman’s fashionwear and a collection of shoes and clothes for girls and boys up to the age of 14. Find Ladymatic on Facebook to see the whole collection. Coat ¤75
Available from Sunlab and VIP Watch: ¤65
#STYLE FILE Guess Accessories Guess have recently opened a Guess Accessories store in Bisazza Street, Sliema. The shop is beautifully finished in a clean modern style but the real star of the show is the extensive Guess Accessories range on offer. Guess has a unique style of its own, always a step ahead and this is also reflected in its Accessories collection, which includes shoes, bags and jewellery. Sexy is the first word that comes to mind when reviewing their collection. It’s a refined sort of sexy that is sometimes hard to balance, but Guess have mastered this sophisticated sexy style.
Luke’s sexy picks: On her watch: Bling it on with a Guess watch. Bold but not ostentatious, a Guess watch can add some glam to your outfit. Oh –and, of course, it should keep you running on time! ¤193.90 The thigh high boots: Thigh high boots were all over the catwalks for AW13. These flat, thighhigh leather boots are versatile, sexy and so on trend. If you’ve got the legs for it, team these boots with a micro mini or shorts. ¤285 The Red Bag: I think this bag is gorgeous. Believe it or not, red is an easy colour to wear. This is a statement piece, so you want this bag to be the stand out item. Keep the clothing monotone, don’t include too many patterns and let the bag speak for itself. ¤186
CH Sublime EDP The scent complements femininity, elegance, sensuality and charm. Sublime woman is fun, cheerful and charming – with a hint of mystery that makes her more special and irresistible. If you’re someone who lusts for luxury, this is the one for you. This very floral fresh fragrance is sophisticated and delicately feminine. CH Sublime EDP 50ml - ¤75.00
Nina L’Eau by Nina Ricci Nina L’Eau opens with refreshing notes of apple, grapefruit, mandarin and neroli. It is fresh, fruity, romantic and subtle, with a heart that includes gardenia and cherry and a base that is sensual and musky. This fragrance has an undertone of musk and is a really girly scent. Nina L’Eau EDT 50ml - ¤50.00
Lady Million by Paco Rabanne This fragrance is bitter sweet: lemony but balanced with berry floral sweetness. It’s a bit strong for the day, but perfect for a night out or evening events. I love the warm citrus notes in this scent. It has just the right amount of sweetness, floral and spice to be noticeable but not overpowering. The honey adds some dimension to it – sweet but earthy. Lady Million EDT 50ml - ¤57.00
CARPISA Carpisa has a fun collection of bags this season! In a variety of colours, designs and materials: animal prints, gloss, matt, plum, burgundy and ice, and beige suede, they come in all shapes and sizes and will hold everything a girl needs to carry! Necessaire ¤10.90 Jewellery box ¤15.90 / ¤19.90 Small jewellery box, mirror and iphone holder ¤5.90Necessaire ¤7.90
MAKE-UP ARTIST: JUSTINE 7757 1770
Available from Ta’Xbiex Perfumery
Leviâ€™s Stores: Merchant Street, Valletta - 2258 4444 | St.Anneâ€™s Square, Sliema - 2258 4431
212 VIP Men by Caroline Herrera This is a seamless blend of woody, tropical, rum and vanilla scents. The top notes open with the fusion of passion fruit and rum, the heart is made up of musk and gardenia while the base is a fusion of tonka beans and vanilla. Masculine and peppery, yet sweet and fruity, this is a great masculine scent and a fragrance that can take you from day to night.
202 JEWELLERY Men’s Jewellery by Aagaard You can afford to be choosy about what feels right for you – see what makes you feel confident, and look for something original. Find inspiration for your own personal style from the three men’s jewellery lines: cool, business and casual. Men’s bracelets from ¤49; beads from ¤19.90. Aagaard Men’s Jewellery is exclusively available from all 202 Jewellery.
212 VIP Men EDT 100ml - ¤76.50
1 Million by Paco Rabanne
Bering watches will delight women and men alike, with their timeless, beautiful and long-lasting timepieces. The design of the collection was inspired by the beauty of the Arctic, and is characterised by clear, streamlined forms and pure elegance. The Chronograph Men’s Steel Case Sapphire Crystal in calfskin leather. ¤199
Guess Accessories On his watch: This Guess watch is really chic. I really like the navy-blue on gold combination. It’s masculine and sophisticated but still modern and cool. ¤218.29 A running start: Yes, you can be comfortable and stylish at the same time. These Guess trainers are just that: they are great to look at and kind to the feet. Wear with jeans or tailored track pants and you’re ready to hit the streets running. ¤135 The manbag: It is so hard to find a good manbag! Yes, men need bags too. This is a great sized bag, not too big, not too fussy, just right. Keys, wallet, mobile – yes, they will all be happy and safe in this Guess manbag. ¤124 Available from Guess outlets 022
SUNLAB Michael Kors, a fashion designer based in New York City, has an affinity with fashion! There is now a superb range of amazing pieces at Sun Lab! This watch is masculine and classic and is just one from an infinite collection! So hurry down to Sun Lab – you know you want to! This Sector watch is sporty and great for the outdoors man but it can be worn with just about anything. Jot it down on your Christmas list – it’s a must-have in my book!
Michael Kors ¤279 Sector ¤240 Swatch ¤140 Available from Sunlab and VIP
Inspired by Rabanne’s metallic fashions, 1 million was, in particular, a 1967 dress worn by singer Françoise Hardy. This fragrance is fun and fresh, fruity and very sweet, with subtle spicy undertones. It features notes of fragrance including grapefruit, rose, cinnamon, spice, mint, blood orange, blond leather, white woods, amber and patchouli and is more of a day scent. Million Intense EDT 100ml - ¤73.00
CH Men by Carolina Herrera CH is sweeter then 212, with a subtle vanilla undertone. Spicy but not overpowering, this fragrance feels more mature and a more formal scent. This exotic but classy spicy oriental fragrance for men has top notes of bergamot and grapefruit peel, with a Latin heart of saffron and nutmeg blended with woody notes, jasmine and violet. The base notes are amber, vanilla, leather, moss and Latin-American sugar. CH Men Sport EDT 100ml - ¤77.50 Available from Ta’Xbiex Perfumery
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INTERVIEW: JOSEPH BUGEJA
WITH: JOSEPH BUGEJA
rtist Joseph Bugeja completed a five-year Fine Arts course at the Malta School of Arts, with his thesis on Fantasy Art resulting in him being awarded a Diploma with Distinction. His fondest childhood memories are of drawing cartoons and fantasy creatures on the walls of his family home. He has also self-produced and published three comic books: The Tsar Issue 1, a futuristic story written by Joseph P. Farrugia; and Hal Mudlam Issues 1 and 2, written and illustrated by Joseph Bugeja himself, in the horror genre series. Interview: Nicole Cushchieri
How did you first get into illustrating? I was raised in an artistic environment and started drawing from a very young age. At home, my father, who is also an artist, had books on Boris Vallejo, Chris Achilleos, Jim Burns and other famous fantasy artists, so my interest in fantasy art started there. After attending art classes as a child, I obtained a Diploma in Fine Arts with Distinction at the Malta School of Arts. How would you best describe your style of illustrating? I consider myself to be a “fantasy artist”. When you work in this genre, there is much more to learn, because not only do
you need to study all the academic rules but you also have to go beyond them. You need to draw things which aren’t in front of you – that’s the challenging part – and, unfortunately, many art schools don’t give enough importance to creating images from your imagination. They teach you how to draw still life or how to produce a lovely landscape, but they don’t push inspiring artists to use their creativity and imagination. My father helped me to develop my drawing skills and observe things around me with an artistic eye from when I was just a child, and then I was lucky at art school when my tutor sensed my passion for the subject and encouraged me to produce my thesis on the style I most love to draw. >>
INTERVIEW: JOSEPH BUGEJA
Can you take us through your design process, and from where do you start? When I am planning a painting the most important thing is to find an interesting composition – and then I plan the colour scheme. You need to carry out research on what you are drawing as well. For example, if you are drawing fabric, you need to study how that particular cloth creases because different fabrics crease differently: drawing linen is different from drawing silk. And when I am drawing a monster, I need to understand its original habitat. You can’t draw a desert creature with marine tentacles, for example. Even though you are drawing fantasy, you still need to stick to the basic rules of nature. What tools and techniques do you use to create your art? My most important tool is definitely my pencil. With it, I begin by making a sketch, and then I decide whether to continue working traditionally or digitally. I actually prefer working traditionally, if I have the time. If the deadline is too short, then I have to work digitally. I prefer working traditionally for a number of reasons, but mainly because you can achieve brushstrokes and paint effects that up to now no computer programme can achieve – nothing compares to holding an “original” artwork. Do you use social media to help promote your artwork? Facebook is a great tool for promoting an artist’s work and make contact with other artists and learn from them. Every day I see so much great artworks that inspire me. Have you ever considered tattoo art? I have bought the guns and ink and was very interested in continuing my studies in tattooing. I used to get pig skins to practice on – believe me, my studio used to resemble a scene from a horror movie – and then I arrived at the point where I needed a professional tattoo artist to teach me the right techniques. There aren’t any schools for tattooing, so the only answer is to learn from a pro. I used to research different kinds of inks, the depth of the needles needed, etc., and I would really like to share some advice here. In Malta these last few years, tattoo art has really became the “cool” thing, but it really is important that, before you have
a tattoo, you check that the tattooist is a professional who uses only EU-approved inks and not cheap inks that can contain dangerous chemicals! What inspires you? My inspiration can come from anywhere really, but my main source has to be our country’s rich history. This tiny island has seen some great moments in its time and with some more imagination from inside my head, I can produce some seriously interesting fantasy artworks. As an artist, do you manage to maintain a steady income? Unfortunately this is still my part time job although I would really love to be able to make it my full-time means of earning a living. I sell original artworks and have prints that can be seen either on Facebook or my website josepbugejart.com What do you feel is the most important lesson you’ve learned as an illustrator? Never give up, listen to anyone’s opinion and criticism but, in the end, do what you think is best for you and your art. Can you tell us about a moment in your career that you remember with pride? In 2006 I held a solo exhibition at St James Cavalier in Valletta entitled ‘Immagina’, the subject of which was the history and myths of Malta, with a bit of fantasy injected into the 36 artworks that were displayed. This was the first ever fantasy art-related exhibition held, and it was in such an important place. Are you working on any interesting projects at the moment that you would like to share with our readers? I am presently working on a solo exhibition and taking part in various collectives. I will be organising some more workshops with professional foreign fantasy artists and have some other plans for the near future which for now are still in the early stages. Is there anything else that you would like to say to those reading this? Yes, I would like to thank Vamp for giving me the opportunity to promote my art and for helping the local art scene to flourish. V
...”MY STUDIO USED TO RESEMBLE A SCENE FROM A HORROR MOVIE”...
MERCHANT STREET, VALLETTA | ST.ANNE’S SQUARE, SLIEMA
“ THE BIG ?”
VISITORS TO ST JAMES CAVALIER IN NOVEMBER COULDN’T HAVE FAILED TO HAVE BEEN INTRIGUED BY A GIANT QUESTION MARK INSTALLATION SUSPENDED AT THE TOP OF THE MAIN STAIRWAY.
“THE BIG ?” ‘The Sun, the Moon and the Daughter of Time’ is an installation by Mike Ross, created for the play ‘The Lockerbie Bomber, written by Kenneth N. Ross and directed by Herman Grech, which ran for three weekends with a cast that included some of Malta’s finest actors. How did it come about? I’d been thinking for some time about producing something related to Lockerbie. I’ve been following the case for many years and it has become obvious that Megrahi was set up and that the whole thing has been a scandalous miscarriage of justice – and if Megrahi didn’t do it, then who did? If Megrahi was innocent, then the link with Malta evaporates. I was already looking for a way in which I might contribute to the cause – uncovering the truth about what really happened, or at the very least raising awareness about the issues. Recently, I’ve been wanting more and more to get back into areas of art that I’d left behind – painting, drawing, sculpture – but still using my photographic and design skills in some way. Installation art hadn’t really crossed my mind but it turned out to be the perfect medium – determined, as it often is, by the space in which it is placed. When I heard that The Lockerbie Bomber was to be staged in Malta, I contacted Herman Grech, the director, showed him some of my work and said: “Here’s what I do – how can you use me?” Herman 028
and the producers generously gave me carte blanche and I took on the design of the poster, adverts, programme and the photographing of rehearsals, and the result was that I came up with the concept of “The big ?” – a visual timeline montage of pertinent images in the shape of a question mark with the crucial piece of forensic evidence as the final dot. The Lockerbie issue is a tangled mass of unanswered questions. Did you have a particular space in mind in which to hang the piece as you developed the idea? When St James Cavalier offered to support the production with some display space, that’s when the idea of making “The big ?” into a suspended rotating threedimensional installation with light and sound was conceived. The original space that had inspired it was the atrium with its glass lift and footbridge, underneath which it would hang – all five metres of it – viewable from above, below and, with the benefit of a staircase on either side, from practically every possible angle. A circular
platform on the floor below would rotate in the opposite direction and on the circular walls, with their indented sections almost ready-made, I wanted to put a huge and telling quotation. In time it became apparent that the original space would present too many logistical hurdles if I was to meet the deadline, and so the decision was made to adapt it to a different space – at the top of the stairs directly outside the entrance to the theatre. The quotation was probably more effectively placed on the edge of the rotating turntable instead of on the walls. Describe what “The Big ?” consists of. On each face of the question mark is a visual timeline of the story, beginning with the shooting down in July 1988 by an American warship, the USS Vincennes, of an Iranian airbus, killing 290 passengers, pilgrims on their way to Mecca, many of them women and children. The original finger of suspicion pointed very early on to the Lockerbie atrocity being a revenge attack, carried out by a Syrian-based terrorist group with close ties to Iran. >>
the "Police - Do not cross" - style tape in front of the installation, states "Britain's Worst Mass Murder" and "Europe's Worst Terrorist Attack" alternately
“ THE BIG ?”
There are images of the Iranian victims, and the subsequent devastation at Lockerbie. The dramatis personae feature throughout. And then Libya enters the frame: Megrahi, his co-accused Fhimah and, of course, Muammar Ghaddafi. There’s the trial at Camp Zeist in Holland, the first appeal and then Megrahi’s release on compassionate grounds and his return to Tripoli. The timeline ends with the deaths of both Ghaddafi and Megrahi but it is by no means the end of the story.
The “big ?” - rotated anti-clockwise, while the turntable below rotated clockwise.
Although not everything can always be visible, the name of every single one of the 270 Lockerbie victims is there on the edges of the question mark and I made sure that no family members were separated from each other. Going through the list of victims, it was very sobering to realise just how many members of the same families died when Pan Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie. The final point, at the bottom of the question mark, is a cube on each side of which is featured a blow-up of the minute (10 x 9mm) fragment of circuit board, the single most crucial piece of forensic evidence in the Crown’s case against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. It was allegedly embedded in a piece of blast-damaged Maltese shirt, which was found 35 km east of Lockerbie in a field. Claimed to be part of an MST-13 timer, of which 20 were known to have been supplied to Libya, it has since been categorically proven that the metallurgical constituents of the fragment do not match those supplied to Libya, thereby destroying the Crown’s case. This is just a tiny element of the story – but one of monumental importance. What is the significance of the quotation that you used on the edge of the turntable? “Your government and our government know exactly what happened, but they’re never going to tell”. These words were allegedly said by a US Senator in an aside to the father of one of the victims, as he was leaving a meeting of the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism with UK family members at the US embassy in London in 1990. Can you explain the meaning of the title? I had been thinking about a title throughout the process – it had to be something connected with “truth”. The truth about what really happened over Lockerbie has still not come to light after all these years. In fact, it has been deliberately concealed by successive US and UK governments for nearly 25 years – perhaps some other governments as well. I played around with a saying attributed to Buddha: “Three things cannot stay long hidden – the sun, the moon and the truth”. However, as the truth is still hidden, or – more to the point, covered up – I didn’t want to use the actual word itself, and so used part of another saying, “(truth is) the daughter of time” by Francis Bacon. The result was: “The sun, the moon and the daughter of time” which has the meaning, partially concealed, that I wanted to get across. How did you come to choose the haunting music that accompanies the installation? I had this track, Snow by Dutch electronic DJ duo East & Young, in mind from the word go. It’s atmospheric and has the dignity I wanted without being gloomy. The speed of the rotations was based particularly on what worked best with the music. 030
“YOUR GOVERNMENT AND OUR GOVERNMENT KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, BUT THEY’RE NEVER GOING TO TELL” You’re known as a designer and photographer – have you created any previous installations and do you have any others planned? This is the first time I’ve worked in three dimensions on such a scale, and in conjunction with movement and sound. I would love to do more work in this medium, especially if there’s the opportunity to make a statement of my beliefs. I am certainly planning future work which is of a much more personal nature, work with meaning. In the meantime, I’d love to think that the question mark concept and the installation, even if not this actual physical Maltese construction, will have a life beyond the production of the play in Malta. I’m sure there will be future productions in other countries, and opportunities – theatrical or otherwise – to use it in connection with raising awareness about the Lockerbie atrocity, hopefully with the content of the montages being updated with appropriate new images as the truth eventually unfolds. Perhaps I can regain the original scale I had in mind, and ideally add projections of moving images, depending on the location. I’d like to see it as a constantly evolving piece with the truth as the final outcome. V
LIVING IN JAPAN
[ WORDS BY NICHOLAS ROBERTS ]
I’ve noticed two recurring themes in Western articles on Japan. On the one hand it’s a land of high technology, crazy fashion and weird sexual practices, and on the other it’s temples, cherry blossom and samurai. Perhaps it’s this contrast between dazzling futurism and exotic tradition that gives Japan its mystique as an almost alien place, where everything is different from home. However, whilst all of these things can indeed be found in Japan, they barely begin to scratch the surface of life here or reveal the intricacies of Japanese culture, one which I am still trying to understand and in some ways probably never will…. >>
LIVING IN JAPAN
ny readers who have seen the film Lost in Translation already have a pretty good idea of how Japan can seem to the firsttime visitor. There’s a seemingly never-ending stream of difference everywhere you look: strange food, cartoon characters everywhere, eerily silent trains. Then there are the customs: removing your shoes, sitting on the floor, using chopsticks. The language barrier is huge and it can feel like you’ve reverted to being a baby when you can suddenly read nothing around you. It’s a disorientating experience and on my first visit, six years ago, the thought of navigating the city alone was both daunting and exciting.
However, after moving here three years ago, that initial sense of shock slowly but surely gave way to a sense of almost unnerving ease. Learning some Japanese helped for sure, but then again I’ve also met foreigners who have lived in Japan for 10 years without picking up much more than the basics who feel the same way. There’s something about the lifestyle that sucks you in and makes the city an incredible place in which to live. In fact, once settled in, the thought of living anywhere else again can begin to feel like the real challenge!
LIVING IN JAPAN
One unexpected benefit of becoming a Tokyo-ite is that I’ve felt my stress levels literally drop since moving here. This is no doubt partly down to the convenience of living in a city where the trains almost unfailingly run on time and the corner stores are open 24 hours. However, it goes further. Within Japanese culture, it is considered rude to impose on others, making Tokyo an incredibly safe place. When I first arrived, I looked on in amazement at locals leaving their bag unattended while they used the bathroom or even using their mobile phone to claim a seat in a crowded café as they queued at the counter. Now I’m so used to it, I have to be reminded to keep an eye on my belongings when I’m back home! I’ve been able to cast off a low level of vigilance that I didn’t even realise I was carrying around with me previously. Another thing you soon get spoiled by here is the high level of service. This is part of the same culture of respect, within a strict hierarchy that positions the customer, in the words of one well-known saying – kyakuu sama ha kami sama – not just always being right but literally being a god! It’s also though a reflection of the high level of pride that people tend to take in their work here. The attention to detail that people pay to each other extends more widely throughout the culture, including the way people see their work. The figure of the craftsman – or shokunin – is dear to the Japanese psyche and the idea of honing or perfecting a craft and taking pride in one’s work touches many professions, including even those that would surprise many back in the UK such as shop-keeping or cleaning. This gives rise to another reason to love Tokyo: it’s almost impossible to find a bad restaurant here. Tokyo is famously the city with the highest number of Michelinstarred establishments but for most occasions one of the city’s almost endless number of cheaper B-Gourmet restaurants is more appropriate. For the traveller, there’s a vast array of Japanese fare to sample, from fresh sushi, to hot bowls of ramen noodles, delicately battered tempura to warming oden broth. More surprisingly, it’s also possible to eat delicious food from all over the world over here. When Japanese chefs develop an obsession – or kodawari – for something, they go to great lengths to perfect their art, meaning that the best Italian or French restaurants in Tokyo are a match for those available on the streets of Rome or Paris. It’s funny, however, how no one has thought of doing this for English food yet! No matter how good the food, city living can get exhausting, which brings me to perhaps my favourite aspect of Tokyo: how easy it is to get out of the city and make the most of the beautiful surrounding countryside. Jump on a train and within in an hour or so it’s possible to hit the beach or set off on a mountain hike. Given Japan’s temperate climate, this also means the opportunity to go snowboarding in winter and surfing in summer, the best of both worlds for the active and all whilst living in one of the biggest cities in the world. Be warned, though,that you won’t be the only
one escaping the concrete at the weekends, with outdoor pursuits popular amongst both the young and the old. In fact, even within the city people feel comparatively more alive to nature and the passing of the seasons, especially each spring, as the cherry blossom blooms and hanami – cherry blossom parties – abound. With all this in mind, the decision to head back home to the UK has not been an easy one. While I look forward to being able to spend quality time with old friends and family, in many ways I’m not looking forward to relocating to London, where living feels like a grind after the relative comfort of Tokyo. So why am I leaving? My main motivation is work. Without fluent written Japanese, opportunities here are limited. There are also subtler differences in the workplace that have only slowly dawned on me. The flipside to the benefits of Japan’s harmonious culture is that work can tend to about doing what has always been done or what has been requested by one’s superiors, rather than about thinking things through for oneself. In a culture in which confrontation is generally avoided, it can also be frustrating to see problems not being approached directly. Sometimes it feels as if issues that could be resolved with frank and honest discussion arejust swept under the carpet or allowed to drag on. The deference that is expected when dealing with clients can also undermine honest communication and great results. As a foreigner, some of these issues are minimised somewhat, as there is less expectation that you will ‘play by the rules’. However, this also means that, to some extent, you will always be considered a gaikokujin – quite literally an ‘outsider’. This is not always a disadvantage, and in some ways the ‘outsider’ role is one that is valued in Japan. In fact, some companies are happy to have a foreign worker on board in order to shake things up, in the same way that people may enjoy having a foreign friend out of interest. In such an ordered and homogeneous country, however, it feels as if there is always something of a divide, and that crossing the line into more intimate aspects of Japanese life is somehow out of reach. In fact, if there’s one cliché that has held true for me over the last three years of living in Japan, it’s that the country really can seem like a land of contradictions. It is very open to influence from the outside, whilst at the same time remaining deeply conservative and protective of its culture. In the end, it’s ironic that the same aspects that make Japan such a great place in which to live, can also give rise to its greatest frustrations. I head home, though, with a deep respect for the culture and an acknowledgment that even some of the aspects that I found challenging may actually contain more wisdom than our progress-driven western take on life. I’m already looking forward to my next visit but, even before then, I know that I’ll always carry my time here with me. Unlike time I’ve spent abroad in Europe, after three years immersed in a culture that really does see the world differently, I’ll be going back to the UK with new eyes and I know that things at home will never quite look the same again. V JAPAN ISSUE
IN PERS My first meeting with Ritty Tacsum, I remember scanning through her Facebook images and lingering, perhaps a little too long, on the one that is captioned thus: Max shoots women. Ritty shoots men. Together we shoot inanimate objects...
WORDS: JEFF HOLMES
n this self-portrait, the subject dons a (digitally imposed) handlebar moustache with chin puff, not unlike Marcel Duchampâ€™s readymade, titled L.H.O.O.Q. â€“ her femininity, or rather, her sexuality, nevertheless untarnished by the digital add-ons.
It is more than apparent that Ritty has a double personality of sorts: she balances her feminine and masculine counterparts and at the same time also manages to strike a balance between her individual and artistic personalities.
Ritty Tacsum is the persona; Ritianne Muscat is the person. Ritty is a self-assured young woman: signature cigarette in hand, she is deceptively calm and confident, with a cool demeanour and inexplicable amounts of charm. Ritianne, on the other hand, is shy, avoiding all eye contact, soft-spoken and vulnerable... Two distinct halves making a whole, each intrinsically dependent on the other. It is, however, fascinating to watch as she turns one on and switches the other off with the same ease with which she takes photographs. >>
...”TWO DISTINCT HALVES MAKING A WHOLE, EACH INTRINSICALLY DEPENDENT ON THE OTHER. IT IS, HOWEVER, FASCINATING TO WATCH AS SHE TURNS ONE ON AND SWITCHES THE OTHER OFF WITH THE SAME EASE WITH WHICH SHE TAKES PHOTOGRAPHS”...
This duality or dualism has informed Ritty’s work from the outset: she has inadvertantly (or maybe purposely) projected this tension onto and into her photographs. This ‘tension’ could begin to explain – or resolve – the inherent appeal, the desire to scrutinise her work, irrespective of subject matter or personal tastes. Fresh from her second solo show – Four Rooms – Ritty is showing six new works at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei. Collectively entitled Shell, this previously undisplayed work draws inspiration from her early years and further reveals and confirms her fascination with androgyny as well as an incessant preoccupation with gender and sexuality. The group show in which Ritty is participating, together with some 25 international artists, has the theme: Post-Humanist Desire: Sexuality and Digitality in Contemporary Art. Curated by Dr Ming Turner, the works on show have been divided into three categories: the post-human clone, post-human sexuality and the post-human body. >>
BISAZZA STREET, SLIEMA
Ritty’s work unequivocally sits within the second theme. Yet it would be erroneous to assume that her work deals solely with sexuality. Her work is tactile; it’s both playful and provocative in that it challenges viewers’ preconceived notions of identity and conventionality. Often Ritty does this by merely flipping an image on its side or by completely inverting it, thereby adding a heightened sense of ambiguity – an essential characteristic when selecting her sitters. Her work is also highly personal and, to a certain extent, autobiographical. Shell is a figurative series in which Ritty references (perhaps inadvertently) a couple of works created for the Humanoids series (2011) – here I specifically refer to the work entitled I Was Alone, Falling Free and the triptych entitled Protect Me From What I Want. There is the same feel, the same mood and she also uses some of the same ‘props’. Yet the approach is altogether more mature: there is less of an attempt to provoke and more effort to challenge. A common idiosyncrasy in her work is the use of the ‘mask’ – not necessarily in the traditional sense. Her work can hardly be considered abstract; more often than not it is raw, crude, overtly figurative. She requires the human element to bring her visions to life; to set her tableaux. Yet her insistence at masking the identities of her sitters is a distinct projection of the self, rather than an incessant desire to capture the life of another. Ritty’s key piece in the Shell series is a hybrid of limbs and body parts – an image in which genders and sexualities blur and overlap. The image is intricately layered: body upon juxtaposed body form a clingfilmed, silhouetted mass of skin and matter – perfectly weightless, yet nonetheless grounded. Post-Humanist Desire was launched on 23 November and closes on 12 January. Ritty Tacsum’s participation was made possible through the support of the Malta Arts Fund www.mocataipei.org.tw www.rittytacsum.com V
...”HER WORK IS TACTILE; IT’S BOTH PLAYFUL AND PROVOCATIVE IN THAT IT CHALLENGES VIEWERS’ PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OF IDENTITY AND CONVENTIONALITY”... JAPAN ISSUE
LAID IN JAPAN
LETS TALK AB UT SEX LAID IN JAPAN BY DAVID SCHEMBRI
WHILE WE HOLD ITS PROWESS IN THE ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY IN HIGH REGARD, MANY OF US IN THE WEST THINK JAPAN IS A BIT – WELL, WEIRD. PERHAPS “EXOTIC” MIGHT BE A BETTER WORD, BUT IF RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE GOINGS-ON IN THE EAST ASIAN ARCHIPELAGO IS TO BE BELIEVED, JAPAN IS DEFINITELY WEIRD BY WESTERN STANDARDS. >> JAPAN ISSUE
LAID IN JAPAN
ere is a country where toilets have special speakers to mask the sounds of farts by occupants, a country whose people use umbrellas and face masks in the Western sun (Hello Kitty graphics optional), who snap away on their Canons and Nikons and strike their trademark poses near whatever landmark they happen to be next to; the land that gave us Pokemon, Captain Tsubasa (Holly e Benji, if you live in Malta) and Sailor Moon, Pacman and Super Mario. It is a country so weird, as the UK’s Observer recently told us, that its young people have actually given up on the two things (some consider them as one) that occupy the thoughts of millions of young people all over the world: sex and love. It was an article which was shared relentlessly across the web; we believed it, thinking it was just the sort of oddity we’ve come to expect from the good old Japs. As ever, when it comes to titillating headlines in the British press – including the selfstyled “quality” papers – what followed in the article was not as dramatic as the “Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?” which, if anything, ensured the article got hundreds of thousands of views. Cleverly vague headlines aside, there is something of a pattern in Japan’s appetite for reproduction. The birth rate in the country has been moving steadily downwards, which is of enough concern for law-makers to assess the situation in a report every five years. It does seem, in fact, that the Japanese lead the way when it comes to sexless affection, but the worldwide success of that particular article could also just be down to one thing: we don’t get it. There are many reasons why we don’t, and they’re not entirely down to the fact that we do not fully comprehend Japanese culture; if anything, it is the knowledge we have of the culture that leaves us perplexed as to the alleged sexlessness of this nation. A prime culprit in forming our impression of Japanese attitudes to sex is the nation’s art. At the time of writing, The British Museum is hosting an exhibition of shunga, fairly explicit Japanese erotic 044
art which was hugely popular over three centuries, the same period in which European culture drew a strict line between art and pornography. This kind of art, in turn, was to influence more contemporary forms of Japanese art – hentai – which is manga-style cartoons depicting pornographic themes. Although standard male-female are depicted in these cartoons, more bizarre sexual encounters – such as between women and octopuses, and robots and aliens from outer space – have been present in this kind of art for hundreds of years. That’s just the cephalopods, mind you. Then there’s the pornography. Japanese men have been known to read “comic books” with rather explicit material – sometimes even involving schoolgirls – while on a train. In fact, possession of child pornography is legal in Japan, while distribution was only made illegal in 1903. More the mark of a sex-crazed nation than a sexless one, it would seem. People who might have stumbled upon a friend or family member watching Japanese pornography might have noticed that – no matter how rough the sex, no matter how many people participating, no matter how many artificial implements used, no matter how depraved – Japanese genitals are unlike those of the rest of the world, in that they have a moving mosaic all over them, which in turn blurs whatever’s happening down there. That’s because of a censorship law that prohibits the distribution of obscene material. However, regulation in this field depends on the content producers and, as time goes by and internet distribution is fast becoming the norm, that form of censorship is being dropped. Another western perception of Japan is that its famous geishas – female entertainers – are actually prostitutes: this is only due to the fact that Japanese prostitutes marketed themselves as “geisha girls” following the Second World War. Yet prostitution in Japan is not without its ironies. The law states that “no person may practice prostitution or become the customer of it”. Yet the definition of prostitution is as narrow as they come: it only counts if it’s intercourse. Under this definition, oral sex, anal sex – and anything-else-you-can-imagine-sex – for money, does not count as prostitution.
...”Although Japanese people are having sex, the figures say that they are not doing so as often as the rest of the world”... Although Japanese people are having sex, the figures say that they are not doing so as often as the rest of the world. Despite traditional mores not being as restrictive on sexuality – monogamy wasn’t particularly prized in marriage – a 2005 worldwide survey found the Japanese had the least sex in the world, with 45 lays a year. Researchers are still trying to understand what has led to this decline in sexual activity. Some blame habit-forming periods of time where couples stop having sex with the birth of a child; others have speculated that a career – particularly for women – has taken priority over their love life. Another theory is as paradoxical as they come, and yet very believable. The hyper sexualisation of pop culture might have actually contributed to the decline of sexual activity on the part of the nation. With sex on paper, on screen and in art satisfying the sexual urges of the nation, the real thing doesn’t matter all that much anymore. V
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MY REALITY UPDATE
Mercedes-Benz CLA: S leek
“ The resPonance created by the Concept Style Coupé was overwhelming. By far the most frequent comment heard was: ‘please put this car into series production’ And that’s exactly what we’re doing now ” The CLA is set to establish a new segment, with world-leading aerodynamics (Cd value of 0.22 for the Blue EFFICIENCY edition), avant-garde coupé design and 4MATIC all-wheel drive (optional). As a new four-door coupé it follows the idea of the CLS, the design concept of which has spawned more than its fair share of imitators since its debut in 2003. The newcomer features a radar-based braking system (Collision Prevention Assist) as standard that is able to warn the driver of an obstacle from a speed of 7km/h and initiate precision braking when the driver steps on the brake pedal. “The resonance created by the Concept Style Coupé was overwhelming. By far the most frequent comment heard was: ‘Please put this car into series production’ and that’s exactly
what we’re doing now”, said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of MercedesBenz Cars. “The CLA is a car that does not confuse mid-range with mediocrity. Its powerful design underscores the sporty side of the Mercedes-Benz brand.” In keeping with its sporty positioning, the CLA is available with high- torque turbo engines rated at up to 155 kW (211 hp), sports suspension and 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The technical highlights of this new design icon include a new world record in aerodynamics for series production automobiles (Cd value: 0.22) and numerous driving assistance systems, including the further-developed Collision Prevention Assist.
A Daimler Brand
UNTAMED - The new CLA The four-door coupe from Mercedes-Benz When design becomes a statement. The new CLA not only impresses with its striking design and the lowest air resistance of all production vehicles, but also with intelligent all-wheel drive system 4Matic and AMG Line, if desired. www.mercedes-benz.com/cla CLA 180 CGI â‚Ź33,500 including a 5 Year Service Plan H.P. Terms available at 5.5% variable interest rate* * terms and conditions apply
Auto Sales Ltd - Kindâ€™s Tel: 21433601 www.mercedes-benz.com.mt
FLY BY Photographer: Federico Peltretti Stylist: Luke Engerer Make up: Chantal Busuttil Model: Miyuki Hair: Clinton Chetcuti at Vigorous
Zara top - €49.95 Zara trousers - €29.95 New Look shoes - €29.99 Coccinelle hand bag - €148 M Vinage ring - €13.90
Guess jacket - €242.50 M Vintage necklace - €21.95 M Vintage cuff - €14.95 New Look dress - €29.99 Guess boots - €230
Zara top - €39.95 New Look cardigan - €24.99 M & Co blazer - €47.50 Next skirt - €38 New Look shoes - €39.99 Breil necklace from Sunlab - €135 Coccinelle hand bag - €215
Next shirt - €30 Next choker €14 202 pendant - €199 New Look top - €29 Zara skirt - €29.95 Guess wristband - €38 Guess boots - €285
Diesel jump-suit - €188 Yana neckalce - €35 Yana ring (left hand) - €13 Yana ring (right hand) - €15 New Look jacket - €74.99
Mangano dress - €259 New Look boots - €59.99 M Vintage cuff - €14.95
New Look top - €29.99 Guess jacket - €190 Maison Scotch trousers at Junction - €79.95 New Look shoes - €34.99
New Look jacket - €44.90 M Vintage necklace - €34.95 Zara blazer - €59.95 New Look shirt - €17.99 Zara trousers - €39.95 Guess shoes - €180 Coccinelle handbag - €330
Now in Malta 11, Tower Road Sliema. (Two doors up from Solaris). Find us on
COCCINELLE: THE ICONIC ITALIAN DESIGNERS NOW AVAILABLE IN MALTA.
Coccinelle, the Italian leather specialists, has been creating bags, shoes and accessories that perfectly represent the contemporary woman for over thirty years. During an exclusive event last Friday, Coccinelle joined P.Cutajar & Co Ltd’s extensive portfolio of international brands. Located on Tower Street in Sliema, Coccinelle is already proving to be a very welcome addition to the popular shopping district. The Coccinelle woman is dynamic, chic and modern as is her Coccinelle bag, it is always in fashion, elegant, functional, and practical. For the Autumn/Winter 2013-14 collection, Coccinelle offers an irresistible mix of rationality, sensuality and metropolitan esprit. The undisputed star of the season is the ‘World-Wide Bag’ available in soft skinned suede or calfskin leather with a vintage feel to it. Distinctive features include briefcase like snaps and shoulder straps, with saddle-like details that can be seen throughout the collection in various other handbags, clutches, micro bags and duffels. Also available is a vast and varied selection of bags, purses and fashion accessories to be found at the new shop which will definitely delight all women.
started in 1980 and there are now about 96 single branded stores and 1,150 multibrand stores, with high-quality representation in leading department stores in the main capital cities of Europe and the world. Experience, precision, attention to detail, quality and simplicity are the mantra behind the Coccinelle brand. Each product is hand crafted and updated year after year with a special focus on the selection of top quality materials destined to become coveted Coccinelle products. Autumn / Winter 2013 - 14 collection For the Autumn/Winter 2013-14 season, Coccinelle shows an irresistible mix of rationality, sensuality and metropolitan esprit. Formal instinct and casual temperament, bags longing to be explored, audacious yet reliable. This fabulous collection offers something for every day.
About the brand
Freeze-frame on the shapes. The recognized star of the latest Coccinelle collection is the soft-bag with the vintage mood in suede or calfskin leather. Its co-star is the sophisticated lady-bag with the retro soul, looking for the contrast between femininity and rigueur, and the iconic Celeste, which reveals new volumes and rediscovers the luxurious detail of the reversed C in metal.
Coccinelle was established in 1978 in the province of Parma, and has an extensive retail network that is expanding all over the world. The process of brand expansion
Details in the spotlight. The new Coccinelle collection focuses on special effects: glossy surfaces contrasting with wintery felts, surprisingly colourful edges, zips that break
up the continuity, and suede with a velvety touch. The glow of antique gold runs along the edges of the flap pockets and work wear bags, whereas tiny studs give the bags a touch of hard rock. Imaginative processes such as brushed effect, saffiano, calfskin. Python, croc, elkskin print. Metallic, nappa leather are used to finish the leather.
Gloria Beacom with Kylie Poppe
Mrs Vivian Scicluna with Mr Tony Zammit Cutajar
Sarah Portelli, Michaela Spiteri and Maria Cattabiani from Coccinelle
“PRECISION, ATTENTION TO DETAIL, QUALITY AND SIMPLICITY ARE THE MANTRA BEHIND THE COCCINELLE BRAND” Q+A: SARAH PORTELLI:
Retail Operations Director for P.Cutajar & Co .Ltd What items will you always have in your handbag? 1. I Phone 2. Basic Make-up 3. Something sweet like mints or chocolates 4. Sunglasses (rain or shine) 5. Wallet. A Cocinelle one of course 6. Wipes as I’m also a busy mother of three Shoes and bags must always match – yes or no? Ideally they should be the same colour but I am not too fussed if they are not. It’s not the first time I’ve rushed out the door wearing mismatching shoes and handbag. I find that as long as my bag and shoes are good quality they always manage to pull my look together. How would you describe your personal style? I wouldn’t describe myself as an overly fashionable person; I like to dress appropriately for all occasions however I do like a funky and casual look. Again with my busy life the most important is that I feel comfortable in what I am wearing. How would you describe your daily schedule? Wow !! I don’t know where to start! My day starts super early when I meet a girl friend at 5.45am for our daily walk then back home, have my Lavazza coffee (I don’t function without it) morning rush to get my three kids ready for school, breakfast, shower and out of the door straight to office, then it’s back home to juggle school homework and extra school activities with the kids. I really cannot complain though as I love the busy life and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
LUSTLIST! DESIGNS FOR LIFE
THE 365 KNITTING CLOCK The 365 is measuring the time as it passes by. It is knitting 24 hours a day, one year at a time, showing the physical representation of time as a creative and tangible force. After 365 days, the clock has turned the previous year into a two-metre long scarf. Now the past can be carried into the future and the coming year is hiding in a new spool of wool, still to be knitted.
BEATS BY DRE 2013 NEON Created in conjunction with David Guetta, Beats by Dre’s Mixr is designed to be the perfect set of DJ headphones, thanks to its lightweight design and massive sound. Now the design’s original trio of black, white and red colourways is to be supplemented by the addition of a neon collection in the near future. Featuring hues of blue, green, orange, pink and yellow, the fluorescent pieces will retain the deep bass, extraordinary volume, swivelled ear cups, dual input, daisy chain connectors and ultra-flexible headband of the original – now in an even bolder package. Expect all five colourways to be available later this summer for HK$2,200 (approximately €210) each.
KNOCK-ON-EFFECT There are plenty of wooden galoshes and shoes around, which means that wood can be used for making useful shoes. The thing is that these always tend to look rather old-fashioned. These wooden beauties, on the other hand, which are made out of 2mmthick sheets of Tanganika wood by Agustina Bottoni, and called Knock on Wood, don’t look like anything we have ever seen before! Perhaps they are not the most comfortable footwear, but they are definitely hallway eye-candy for those in love with crafty design. www.agustinabottoni.com
DOGGY STYLED Created with both design and function in mind, Doggy Radio combines the artist’s, Nara Yoshitomo, two interests: visual art and music. So now, in addition to being a beautiful three-dimensional depiction of one of Yoshitomo’s well known canine characters, Doggy Radio is a fully functional sound system. With design supported by global sound positioning technology from Yamaha Lab, Doggy Radio simply connects to your digital music library via Bluetooth, USB or auxiliary input. And by turning the dog’s lit nose, you can tune in to your favourite FM radio stations, controlling power and volume by touching its chin. Doggy Radio is a limited edition of just 3,000 pieces, and each one comes with a metal dog tag bearing its unique number. In addition, each dog comes beautifully packaged in a custom-designed container with an exclusive easy-to-follow manual illustrated by Nara, as well as a USB cable and a power supply with an international outlet adapter for easy and convenient use. Doggy Radio costs approximately €1,850. For more information go to www.momastore.org
DESIGNS FOR LIFE
THE NAOTO FUKASAWA LAMP The Demetra table lamp was designed by Naoto Fukasawa for Artemide in Italy. Naoto Fukasawa (b.1956) is one of the best-known Japanese product designers working today. His design philosophy relies on carefully observing what people do and feel in their everyday lives in order to find simple solutions that touch the senses and are linked to shared memories. Fukasawas’s life and work are indelibly linked to his thoughts about how people live and how they can live better. Stardust (.com) considers his style as “functional minimalism” – a design concept that could be compared to the legendary design philosophy of German product designer Dieter Rams.
“SIMPLICITY IS NOT A STYLE, IT IS A STATE OF HARMONY” – Naoto Fukasawa
NAOTO FUKASAWA CHAIR A harmonious blend of tradition and craft, Naoto Fukasawa’s Hiroshima armchair exhibits an honesty of materials and subtle warmth while using advanced technology and hand craftsmanship in its production. With perfectly seamed joints, the armchair appears to be carved from a solid block of wood. The natural texture and colour of the beech and oak wood gives the chair a fresh quality, at the same time being reminiscent of the traditional Japanese wooden chairs of the past. Following Maruni’s tradition of industrialising Japanese craftwork for over 80 years, the Hiroshima armchair combines advanced technology with hand craft.
THE BOOM CASE Mr Simo is an audio-nut. He has been making portable music machines since 2000 and drew inspiration from the man selling stereos and blaring music from his homemade briefcase stereo at the flea market in Sacramento. His latest products are the BoomCase: beautiful vintage suitcases customised into a self-powered, portable stereo system. Working with an iPod, iPhone or any other device with a headphone plug, the BoomCase will last more than nine hours on a single charge (charger included). In addition to running on batteries, the BoomCase can also be plugged in to a power supply when the party goes indoors. To save on weight, you can opt for a plug-in-only version.
PORTABLE ELECTRIC RADIATOR The elegant Rimorchietto portable electric radiator features an attractive design that is made of vertical, tubular steel elements (either 14mm or 25mm) arranged in two rows. It can be easily moved around thanks to the wheels and the wooden knob located on one end. Available from S&S bathrooms, Mosta Road, Lija.
116, Labour Avenue, Naxxar T. 2141 4071 116, Labour Avenue, Naxxar 57, Merchants Street, Valletta T. 2141 T. 2158 4071 4353 57, Merchants Street, Valletta firstname.lastname@example.org T. 2158 4353 facebook.com/dorboutique email@example.com facebook.com/dorboutique
COMMUNICATION BREAK DOWN? BY DR. CHARLIE AZZOPARDI: B.PSY.(HONS), MSC. DOCT. SYS. PSYCH
Communication has become a buzz word that partly reflects people’s craving and yearning for contact and attachment. For many, it’s only another word for talking. In actual fact, ‘communication’ means a lot and is a very complex word. Because they don’t talk much to each other, some couples claim communication is the root of their problems. Similarly, professionals equally fall into the trap of making statements such as “There’s no communication”. Whilst exercises in learning to ‘communicate’ may be helpful, ‘communication’ is frequently the symptom of other difficulties, rather than the cause. The term ‘communication’ refers to all human behaviour – verbal or not, vocal or not – that is in some way or other expressed by one person and received by another. All behaviour is therefore communication, as long as there is a relationship. To make sense of behaviour as communication, a medium is needed through which to send the message. One medium is language and talking. Another medium can be the body, which people use, either deliberately or otherwise, to send a message. For the simple fact is that communication has no opposite. There is no “no communication” and people are literally communicating all the time when with someone else. So statements such as “we have no communication” or “we don’t communicate” make no sense at all. Silence is in itself a form of communication, in the same way that speaking is, and the fact that people don’t talk is in itself a communication about what a person might be feeling or thinking about the relationship. There are two main levels of communication: what people actually say – referred to as “the content”, and the way in which they say it – “the process”. It is one thing to say: “I want that” and another thing to say: “Can I please have that”. The content is almost identical, but the tone of voice and the attitude are different and convey messages about the type of relationship. But let me be less theoretical and talk more practically about how partners in a relationship can improve communication. One aspect of communication that often needs improving is the way in which we normally focus on the content. This can be quite misleading at times, because it draws our attention away from the meaning of the communication. Here is an example: A wife goes to the shop around the corner and takes an hour. On her way out of the shop, she remembers she needed to buy something else as well, so off she heads for another shop. There’s a queue for the cashier and she waits for a long time and then, to top it all off, the cash register breaks down. At home, her husband realises that his wife is taking longer than usual. Outside in the busy main street around the corner, there is the squeal of a car’s brakes. He’s worried as he looks at his watch and thinks: “I hope there’s nothing wrong”. He peers out of the window to see if he can see anything: he is anxious and thinks his wife might have been run over by a car. Fantasy, yes,
but it happens so much when people are concerned about their loved ones. All of a sudden he hears the front door open and runs to it to greet her with a shout: “How long has it taken you to buy some bread? Where have you been all this time?”. The wife thinks he is angry because he is shouting at her, the words he is using are accusatory, and he doesn’t say “I was worried”. So she starts shouting back, feeling angry and mistrusted. She misunderstands the meaning of his communication of concern and worry – and possibly fear. He doesn’t transmit the message clearly, either. It is this kind of misunderstanding that is often the cause of distress and arguing between partners. In order to achieve clearer and better communication and understanding, couples may have to undergo some sort of selftraining. It is not really hard work, but it can be in times of trouble. Listening to the meaning behind the message often requires paying full attention, which is called “empathic listening”. It invites the listening partner to suspend all judgement and forget a little bit about him or herself in order to understand the meaning behind what the partner is saying. There is some reading between the lines to be done here. So, ideally, when your partner gets angry you have to identify the inner feeling that is pushing your partner to say whatever he or she is saying. Try to let your partner know what you think by responding to the real meaning of his communication, rather than to the actual words. In the above scenario, the wife would have done better had she replied: “I’m very sorry to have scared you. I’m glad you care so much about me”. Obviously, the husband in the story could have welcomed his wife with a hug and a kiss, telling her: “Oh I was so worried. You see, you hadn’t returned and when I heard some car brakes, it scared me. I thought something might have happened to you”. One good way of increasing connectedness and securing the attachment between partners is by holding each other’s hands and trying to communicate how you feel through your hands. A mask over the receiving partner’s eyes will be excellent if you want to focus on touch. The receiving partner has to guess what the other is trying to say by his or her hands and continue until guessing correctly. Eye contact is another important feature in an increased sense of connectedness. The following exercise can be done by sitting facing each other, looking into each other’s eyes. Try to communicate your state of being or your feelings to your partner through your eyes. Your partner has to guess what you are trying to say. Communication is all about understanding meanings and trouble starts when partners act like two radios on two different frequencies. The skill is to elaborate the meanings of communication other than language in order to expand the possibilities of understanding. V
Furniture by Hay. 21, Triq San Pawl, Naxxar Tel: 20 9999 66 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org loft.com.mt facebook.com/loftnaxxar pinterest.com/loftmalta
A NEW PERSPECTIVE.
Architect: Satoshi Kurosaki/APOLLO Architects & Associates Location: Chiba, Japan Site Area: 148.55m2 Total Floor Area: 116.96m2 Structural Engineer: Kenta Masaki Photography: Masao Nishikawa
omes in Japan are mostly designed by creative young architects with a desire to be radical, in a country that seems to allow anything: from houses with no handrails on roof terraces or stairs and rooms completely open to their surroundings to homes with no windows at all. A typical home in Japan has limited living space, so a good use of such space is mandatory and calls for designers who are more able to think creatively. However, the more whimsical houses may have as much to do with the young architect’s creativity and desire to be noticed, as to the country’s take on their real estate.
These unique homes are not necessarily for the wealthy, other than the middle-class – which is not something we would expect in the West. The reason for this is that they do not expect to sell their homes, or consider their value. The concept of successfully investing in real estate as we know it in the West simply does not apply in Japan, so clients usually apply their own tastes and ideas to their projects without worrying about what the next owner will think. In fact, a house in Japan depreciates as rapidly as a consumer item, losing all its value in just 15 years, and is demolished on average after just 30 years, unless it was planned to be a house ‘for life’. >>
...’THE INCLINED EXTERIOR THAT LOOMS OVER YOU AS YOU ENTER THE HOUSE CONTRASTS THE CONCRETE WITH THE WOOD, AND EXPRESSES THE OWNER’S PLAYFUL TASTE’...
The main entrance and garage are shielded by a fence of horizontal slats and sit under the inclined facade. 070
The bedrooms and a kennel are on the ground floor, connected to a narrow terrace that runs along the side of the house.
So, Japan wants things new, while the frequent severity of earthquakes has also taught them to not take buildings for granted. With this ingrained in the minds of architects, they can create as freely as they please pushing the boundaries of residential design. And their clients, who are likely to have been saving their money, and will continue to work to pay for their home for the rest of their working life, quietly raise their middle finger to the futility of home ownership in Japan, and damned well build the best designed home they can. ‘Flow’ is such a house. A striking duplex, located near the sea, is designed with the lifestyle of two generations in mind – a young family who asked for maximum light, privacy and relaxation – and a two-car garage. The inclined exterior that looms over you as you enter the house contrasts the concrete with the wood, and expresses the owner’s playful taste. In fact, this distinguishing feature makes the house stand out among the rest of the buildings in the new residential area – which tend to lack any individuality. Flow makes full use of its visual capacity and is also private, being enclosed by a wooden fence. This has created a private garden – cutting back on the internal space so that there is a fine line between the inside and outside of the house. On the ground floor, private rooms – for the family and the dog – are connected by a terrace that sits flush against the external wall with an overhead skylight. >>
The first floor is a long, open-plan space that houses the kitchen, living and dining areas with storage and facilities enclosed in a glazed unit.
You could say that, in terms of plan, the main characteristic of this house is the misalignment of the ground and first floors. The first floor has been designed so that the living room, dining room, kitchen, lounge, terrace – and even the roof-top garden – are connected in succession at a congenial distance...
...THE DIAGONAL TERRACE IS NOT ONLY EFFECTIVE IN MAKING THE INTERIORS APPEAR MORE SPACIOUS AND IN BRINGING IN LIGHT, BUT SIMULTANEOUSLY ENSURES PRIVACY AND VIEWS OF THE OPEN SKY. >> 072
The sloping concrete overhang that contains the private terrace bounces light into the first floor rooms. JAPAN ISSUE
Ponsomby Street, Mosta MST 4032 2143 2571, 2143 6186, 2143 2951 email@example.com www.vct.com.mt Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 08.00 to 18.00 Thu 08.00 to 20.00 (Late Night) Sat 09.00 to 12.30
AREAS REQUIRING WATER, SUCH AS THE KITCHEN AND THE BATHROOM, ARE CLUSTERED TOGETHER IN AN ALL-IN-ONE SPACE Kitchen equipment, including the refrigerator, is built into the walls, so that the space loses the appearance of a kitchen. Areas requiring water, such as the kitchen and the bathroom, are clustered together in an all-in-one space compartmentalised by a glass wall that makes it appear larger while also implying a compact hotel-like atmosphere. Stepping outside again, and looking back at the house, you can feel the balance of volumes between the main building and the garage, covered by the striking louvered roof. A mutual respect between design and modern life has been achieved. V
at camilleriparismode you will find a beautiful ménage of gifts that will help you cross off all the names on your list this christmas. from gifts for men and women, a vast range of homeware, corporate gifts and also a selection for children. every product is meticulously selected by our team. each is then individually wrapped in what has become our signature trait to ensure that each present carries the guaranteed “camilleriparismode seal of approval”.
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T W O COLOURS> WRITING A R T T
wo deep black large strokes are projected in a heavy oblong form, each representing anything and everything: an A and an ÎŠ. A branch made of one perfect but jagged stroke goes out of this pedestal to link the ground to the bird that is flying up to it. This fluttering bird, made of only a few brushstrokes, evokes the Platonist idea of a bird â€“ alone, suspended in an invisible sky. It is the perfect archetype... The painting, with this smouldering composition: Bird on a Deadwood 1771, by Ito Jakuchu. This work hangs in the studio of artist JULIEN VINET in Valletta and has seldom been out of his sight since he moved from Tokyo to Malta three years ago. Parisian-born Julien talks to Vamp about his art and life in Japan. >>
“I got into art when I was really young: I’ve been drawing and creating paintings ever since I can remember. As a child, I already knew I wanted to make a living out of my drawing skills – as a cartoonist, I thought. I went through art college and studied Fine Art at university. While I was there, I met a teacher who’s a friend now, Kkrist Mirror, who has a real passion for art and had a really big influence on me. After university, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make money from just painting, so I taught myself how to use Photoshop and managed to talk my way into a graphic design/ illustrating job. In the evenings, I would still paint in my apartment OR at home and eventually, people started to buy my paintings.
I graduated in Fine Arts when I was 22, and decided to leave Paris to spend some time in Japan to experience a new world where writing is a daily art, where a brush is a pen and where ideograms are the find something of an intense graphic culture. I was to stay there for eight years. Influenced by artists such as Bashou, Buson, Hokusai, Isamu Noguchi, Ikko Tanaka, Kayama Matazo and Takeshi Kitano, I was looking for a new way of interpreting the present, the reality and the obvious. With my primary works in France as an illustrator I was already working on the idea of deconstructing the clear line by a representation of the subject that would call for the imagination of the spectator, his subconscious sense of aesthetics.
”I DIVED INTO A WHIRLPOOL OF TWO SPLENDID AND HIGHLY COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS, THE BLACK AND THE WHITE, AND THAT WOULD STRONGLY DETERMINE MY ART” 080
So my first confrontation with the Japanese painters and calligraphers at the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno drove me much further than I had expected. I dived into a whirlpool of two splendid and highly complementary colours, the black and the white, and that would strongly determine my art. The perfect alchemy of colours, the high and enigmatic sense of composition, the unbelievable techniques, the depth of the drawn ideas and the simplicity and serenity emanating from the works were an ecstatic to me. As a graphic designer in Tokyo, my work was strongly influenced by all the colourful Japanese pop designs that surround everybody in the megalopolis while in the meantime I was more interested in the black and white drawings I was doing for editing companies. It made me reconsider my career and think about how I could concentrate more on art. >>
...“MIXING MY EUROPEAN ROOTS WITH THESE JAPANESE INFLUENCES, I BEGAN TO REALISE THAT I COULD BLEND FORMS OF EXPRESSIVE ART WITH ELEMENTS OF GRAPHICS TO CREATE A COMBINATION OF STROKES AND TEXTURES”... In the beginning I was really influenced by people like Ito Jakuchu, Kandinsky, Herbin, Mondrian, Alberto Breccia and all the other Japanese modern calligraphists. The modern Japanese masters have this incredible love of composition and expressive strokes that goes so much further than the shape of the original kanji (ideogram), dismantling the structure of the visual in order to create an unreadable but eloquently soulful kanji. Mixing my European roots with these Japanese influences, I began to realise that I could blend forms of expressive art with elements of graphics to create a combination of strokes and textures - complete with my red stamp. In Japan, everybody has their own stamp with their name carved on it – nobody has a handwritten signature. So if you want to open a bank account, for example, you need your personal stamp. One day my calligraphy master, Inomata Sensei, took me to her calligraphy master’s place – a well-known artist and a national treasure who paints for the Emperor and makes the official stamps for the Emperor’s family. We spent an afternoon watching him work and seeing his impressive collection of traditional sumi-e and kakemono while drinking tea. I was impressed but shy, while my master was comfortable in his company, as if they were old friends. In the middle of a conversation, she just asked him if he could engrave a stamp for me, to which he agreed without hesitation. Three weeks after that fantastic afternoon, I had my stamp – a true masterpiece made by a Japanese living treasure. Since that day I have always had it with me and it is printed on every one of my paintings – front or back.” V
Julien Vinet is exhibiting a collection of his art in the gallery of Casa Rocca Piccola until 20 December, organised by Lily Agius and supported by TheSmartSkinClinic, Fimbank, The Malta Independent, Gochi and Philippe Martinet Fine Wines. Next year, he will be exhibiting at Lily Agius Gallery in Sliema and also in a collaboration show with photographer Alex Attard. He will also continue to exhibit in Paris and Tokyo. 082
VAMP MAGAZINE UPDATE
THE VERA WANG SHOWCASE 2013 As exclusive representatives of the worlds most sought after couture bridal dresses, Vera Wang, camilleriparismode hosted a showcase of these show-stopping dresses at their flagship shop in Rabat. A large crowd of bridesto-be and fashion lovers gathered at their beautiful shop to view the collection and appreciate the dresses which are all hand-sewn and truly one of a kind. Each dress takes 2 weeks to be made and are solely produced in New York. A special surprise was held at the end of the showcase where they presented a sneak peak of the upcoming collection by new designer Tony Ward. This was followed by light refreshments on their third floor terrace and proved to be an evening that fell nothing short of bridal magic.
THE SCENT OF VICTORY Inhale the scent of Victory with Invictus, the new masculine perfume by Paco Rabanne. This sensual and fresh scent conjures up an impression of virility. Invictus is an unexpected clash of worlds, powers, sensations and values: a thrill of pure freshness in the top note faces the sensuality of guaiacum wood in the base note. Invictus – the essence of the champion, the perfume of victory. Exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd Tel: 2133 1553
NO WIRES, NO HASSLE, NO COMPROMISE – LIBRATONE INTRODUCES A TRULY PORTABLE AIRPLAY SPEAKER. We’re happy to announce the arrival of the Libratone at Loft. This brand features the first ever range of truly no-compromise and hassle-free wireless speakers. An attractive and compact portable speaker, the Libratone Zipp is the first and only device to deliver the performance and convenience of AirPlay, without the need for a Wi-Fi network and complicated setup. The Libratone Live is a versatile and powerful Airplay sound system for iDevices and computers. Additionally, the patent FullRomm technology provides the listener with a room-filling soundscape dispersing 360 degree sound which makes the Libratone Live play like an acoustic instrument. Available from Loft , Triq San Pawl, Naxxar Tel: 20999966 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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ABOUT BORGO FRANC
his project involved the transformation of an apartment with substantial space but little original charm into primarily a bachelor pad with a functionally designed layout and an aesthetic to induce calm and balance. The apartment also required better definition of an entrance and flow, a better injection of natural light, guest facilities, the addition of a study space, finding a solution for the living room requirements and the addition of a laundry and other functional spaces. As an apartment to serve the needs of a busy professional, our design approach – with which we very much identified – revolved around the state of mind of a busy professional. As professionals in the medical, legal, architectural or financial sectors know, the stresses and issues faced day in, day out create a situation where personal space and time becomes physically and psychologically suppressed to varying degrees. >>
ABOUT BORGO FRANC “VERY OFTEN, AS ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS, WE ARE CALLED IN TO TRANSFORM EXISTING SPACES THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED COMPLETE INTO SOMETHING THAT REALLY FEELS COMPLETE, ESPECIALLY TO THE NEW USER/S AND THEIR EXPECTATIONS.” Architects: MJMDA Photography: Peter Mercieca Styling Accessories: camilleriparismode Art: Photographic prints by Peter Mercieca
Custom carpentry by Woodserv/Servgroup, Parador flooring by Brands International Plastering, soffiting and painting Mediterranean Building Finishes Ltd Fireplace Hallmann JAPAN ISSUE
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ABOUT BORGO FRANC
... “THE BUREAUCRATIC, AND EVER INCREASING COMPLEXITY IS DISTANCING MANY OF US FROM OUR HUMAN NEED TO ENJOY FREEDOM AND LIBERATION”...
The truth is that bureaucracy, and ever-increasing complexity is distancing many of us from our human need to enjoy freedom and liberation. Everybody faces this reality, and on an intellectual plane, professionals face it even more so: procedures, standards, methods and approvals being constantly battled with. Most of the time, the standards of community are increased through the activity of the people who face this systematic work practice, added attention and procedure. So from a design point of view we asked: where does this leave the standard of life of the very people that have their own space and time compressed? How can they return to their home to live their life, when it’s time for them to go home? How are they to find their intrinsic urge to be liberated, and hence strive for happiness? We then channelled our energies for this home into designing
it for the person inside our client that represents the liberation of humanity: Borgo Franc, an alter-ego. However, this alter-ego is not an escape from reality, but a return to it. In our design solution we strove to mobilise a willingness for a rebirth to humanity. The darker entrance into the apartment induced us to penetrate through a wall to the outside areas, creating an axis off which to orthogonally orient passage-ways and access to the kitchen and living spaces. The day spaces were designed to have a clean-lined appearance and built-in functionality. The apparently simply design and reflective surfaces conceal open and slide appliance areas and use flush mount handles. The smart ensemble was custom manufactured by Woodserv and white glazing by Float Glass. >>
(ABOVE) The flexible and configurable living area – from an audiovisual entertainment set-up to a communicative set-up. Custom carpentry by Woodserv/Servgroup, Parador flooring by Brands International Plastering, soffiting and painting Mediterranean Building Finishes Ltd JAPAN ISSUE
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ABOUT BORGO FRANC
One unique feature is the three-metre span Carrara marble dining table, that sits beside the kitchen island, which is also marble. This single piece of marble was specially ordered and delivered by Hallmann. The key element with the living areas is that they exhibit the duality contemplated in the concept, in that in accordance with the userâ€™s wish, and through lighting design, you can switch off the day mode and brightness and switch on the red-lit mood that will underline evenings of enjoyment.
ABOVE/BELOW: The marble dining table mass fronting the kitchen island marble mass. Custom carpentry by Woodserv/Servgroup, marble by Hallmann, glazing by Float Glass, Parador flooring by Brands International. Plastering, soffiting and painting Mediterranean Building Finishes Ltd
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ABOUT BORGO FRANC
The extended hallway & concealed rest room, cloak area and study. Parador flooring by Brands International, black glazing by Float Glass Plastering, soffiting and painting Mediterranean Building Finishes Ltd
Resin flooring and walls by Rado Systems
...”THE MONOLITHIC FLOOR CREATES CONTINUITY BETWEEN FLOORS AND WALLS TO CREATE A SIMPLE RECEPTACLE STRIPPED OF PERIPHERAL EXCESS’...
ABOUT BORGO FRANC
Resin flooring by Rado Systems Lava floor and wall by Hallmann
Getting to the private areas of the bedroom, the duality vanishes and the alter-ego really becomes the reality. With a central black leather bed sitting on a monolithic sea of matt black resin, there is no doubt about mood and character. Laid by Rado, the monolithic floor creates continuity between floors and walls to create a simple area stripped of peripheral excess. The depth of the human psyche is given some weight when the ancillary bathroom becomes evident through black translucent glass when the space is illuminated and another space for discovery and playing with reality is revealed. V (BELOW) Red lacquered chest-of-drawers and central bed set on a black resin floor with black glass backdrop. Custom carpentry by Woodserv/Servgroup, marble by Hallmann, glazing by Float Glass, resin flooring by Rado Systems. Painting by Clemens Hasengschwandtner. Plastering, soffiting and painting Mediterranean Building Finishes Ltd
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WHAT’S ON YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST? SANDRA CALAFATO Distributor of Environ® Skin Care, Malta Looking good this festive season is important to many of us: a new outfit, new accessories, new makeup, maybe even a new hairstyle – you have to put a lot of thought, time and hardearned cash into getting it all together. Then there’s the important job of buying presents: choosing the perfect gift for everyone on your list, taking time to think about your relationship with each person on your list, giving a gift that celebrates your relationship and the love and respect you have for that person.
Six great gift ideas: 1. Luxury eye gel Environ’s CQuence Eye Gel helps remove dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles, with visible results in three weeks! Buy Environ’s CQuence Eye Gel 10ml at €54 before the end of December and get 5ml CQuence Eye gel worth €27.31 FREE. 2. Your Skin Factory This book, by Dr Des Fernandes and Jennifer Munro, is a production manual for better skin, with 100 pages of easy to understand information for the skin you want. €20 3. Hydrating oil capsules Environ’s Luxury Hydrating Oil Capsules x30 are a wonderful treat for any woman over the age of 35. Each individual capsule contains retinol and antioxidants in an easily absorbable oil. Apply once a week at night to give your skin a real treat and wake up to find it looking great. €41.46
4. Environ luxury facial voucher A gift that is always really appreciated. Let your loved one enjoy one-and-a-half hours of sheer bliss and pampering while their skin is being nourished with essential vitamins and antioxidants. €39 5. Body Profile Environ’s answer to cellulite, this is an intensive body treatment applied daily to improve the appearance of cellulite and slack skin. Three months of daily application will help give you visible results. €41.35 6. Hydrating Masque Environ’s Hydrating Masque is a musthave for everyone! This lovely hydrating masque can be used in three ways: 1: As you would normally use a masque, applying and washing off after 15 minutes; 2: as a light exfoliate by applying with damp fingers using circular movements leaving for a few minutes and then washing off, or 3: applying on top of your Environ moisturiser or oil capsule at night, to wake to find wonderful, glowing skin. €29.04
Apart from the gifts, decorations, luxury foods and parties, please spare some time and thoughts for the less fortunate. Here’s wishing you all joy and peace in Christmas time. Environ Skin Care distributor for Malta. Call 2131 3208 or 2701 0997 for your nearest stockist.
Beautiful Skin for a Lifetime
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TECHNOLOGY: FRIEND OR FOE? Just let your imagination run riot for a moment and imagine waking up tomorrow in a world with no technology. With no iPad, iPod or iPhone, you’d be forever cast into the bottomless pit of “disconnectedness” and you’d actually have to (I shudder as I write this) talk to people in order to stay connected. Bye-bye, Google and its all-embracing wisdom that spits replies in under 0.17 seconds flat. Now you’ll have to burden your retinas with those crazy little things called books. To compound your misery, you’ll also have to lead a Facebook-less, Twitter-less, Linkedin-less, MSN-less, Blogger-less life. You want to express yourself? Then – oh bugger – you’ll have to do it in that god-awful, mediaeval thing known as writing. >>
THE BIG SHIFT
With no way of communicating from home, you’ll actually have to put something on and step out of the World Wide Web and into the real wide world. But you finally realise that there’s something terribly wrong. Now you will find yourself abhorring grey and white and craving green and blue and you will finally realise that those Geekish, queer tree-huggers actually had a point – you just can’t remember why you didn’t care. Oh yes, you hadn’t been out in ages. You need to go somewhere and realise that your skinny little legs aren’t actually designed for walking and no self-respecting horse seems too keen on having your old car keys stuck into him. You’ll just have to do it the old way; suddenly Arriva doesn’t seem so bad after all. The roads are bumpy and you just can’t find the autopilot on that useless bike. And you have to kiss goodbye to back-to-back appointments; it’s now time to revise the mathematics of time because old 24/7 doesn’t seem to fit in with your life schedule any more. But, hey, look on the bright side: with this talking thing going on, you’ve just remembered the colour of your wife’s eyes, the feeling of your husband’s kiss and just how better your mother’s voice sounds in real life than on Skype. Who knows where this might lead? Well, to a better world, according to Cris Rowan, a paediatric occupational therapist and opinionist with the Huffington Post. In one of her articles discussing the impact of technology on a developing child, she articulates her fear as follows: “Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundations, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together. Juggling school, work, home and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient.” The problem with this, she warns, is that technology is depriving children of the four important factors that are paramount during their development stage. These are: movement, touch, human connection and an exposure to nature. On the other hand, children’s visual and auditory sensory systems are on overload and, according to Rowan, this creates a serious neurological imbalance
in young children, especially since they are still unable to tell between the real and the virtual world. According to Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face company, children’s evolution is not the only kind of evolution that risks technologyinduced impairment. According to him, technology does two things very well: it accelerates the economy and re-allocates enormous wealth in the hands of the few elite. All of this has an enormous social and environmental impact and, to quote, is “eating up the world. It’s eating up its resources, its processing,
always, should be ‘balance’; perhaps it’s the most important word ever created by man. Saying that technology is doing more harm than good because it alienates children and ruins the environment is as narrow-minded as saying that new technology should always replace old practices because it is more efficient. Man is a self-indulgent animal and, if left free to wander unregulated, the result will always be the same: excess. The real developments for the next few decades should, in my opinion, be educational more than anything else. In particular, we will have to study in depth
“TECHNOLOGY’S IMPACT ON THE 21ST CENTURY FAMILY IS FRACTURING ITS VERY FOUNDATIONS, AND CAUSING A DISINTEGRATION OF CORE VALUES THAT LONG AGO WERE THE FABRIC THAT HELD FAMILIES TOGETHER.” its manufacturing, its distributing, its consuming. That’s what the computer’s real work does and it does that 24/7, 365 days-a-year, non-stop, just to satisfy our own narrow needs.” According to Tompkins, a technologydominated world is in for a tough ride and the future has never looked bleaker. This is how he concluded his dreary analysis in an article published in The Guardian this year: “There will be no society, there will be no economy, there will be no art and culture on a dead planet basically. We’ve stopped evolution.” But is technology the horned monster that these two analysts describe? I believe it is always wise to look at the flip side of any argument. What about the countless number of students who are now able to study and research using distancelearning technology? What about the countless lives being saved daily when life-threatening diseases are diagnosed just in time? What about protestors who use technology to spark revolutions and fight for better futures?
the reason why computers have evolved from slaves to masters. We will have to study how to integrate the old family values into our technology-accelerated lives whilst at the same time keeping abreast of new developments. As a teacher, I believe that this all starts not at universities or in research laboratories but at home, at the kitchen table. Adults deserving of the name ‘parents’ should be the pioneers in leading this new revolution; call it the ‘balanceseeking revolution’ if you will. It should not bother us if computer stores are filled with young children this Christmas, but it should bother us if bookshops are empty and houses are cold. Speaking of Christmas, I must say that all of this has just given me a great gift idea for this year. I believe it’s called ‘time’. V
Life experiences should teach anyone with an open mind that black and white are unrealistic concepts and that reality always floats somewhere in-between. The truth is that the keyword here, as JAPAN ISSUE
THE ART OF MAKING SUSHI . CUISINE
PHOTOGRAPHY: FEDERICO PELTRETTI SUSHI BY: JUAN V. WONG III (AT MEDASIA) MODEL: LINDA GURANOVA MAKE-UP: DIANDRA MATTEI
UAN V. WONG III spent two years studying Marine Engineering back home in the Philippines before becoming a sushi chef for successful Japanese restaurants in the Philippines and Dubai. And to not blow his own trumpet, Juan has served the likes of Steven Tyler, Donald Trump, Leonardo Di Caprio, Hugh Grant and Sting. His knowledge of sushi and cooking techniques, together with his love for a fast-paced kitchen and good quality national foods, has landed him here in Malta as Head Sushi Chef at Med Asia. Juan shares some classic sushi recipes with us to try at home – if you’re game enough! >> JAPAN ISSUE
“...AS CLOSE TO A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN FOOD AS ONE IS LIKELY TO GET.” – ANTHONY BORDAIN
CALIFORNIA MAKI 48 pieces Ingredients: 4
1kg sushi rice 1/3 cup rice vinegar 2
tablespoons caster sugar
sheets nori (seaweed sheets)
large Lebanese cucumber, (cut into thin strips)
avocado, peeled, cut into thin slices
12 seafood sticks or crabsticks wasabi paste and Japanese soy sauce, to serve Method: Wash rice under cold water until liquid runs clear, and place the rice into a large non-stick saucepan. Add water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, or until small holes form in the rice. Cover and cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand covered for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt into a small saucepan over a low heat, and cook by stirring for 3 minutes, or until sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate until cold. Spread the rice over a large tray, and drizzle the vinegar mixture over the rice. Using a wooden spoon make cutting strokes into rice to distribute vinegar mixture (do not stir). Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, onto a bamboo mat or sheet of baking paper and place 3/4 cup of rice mixture onto the nori. With wet hands gently spread the rice evenly over the nori, leaving a 3cm border at the far end. Place a strip of cucumber on the rice, 3cm in from edge, and an avocado slice and a seafood stick next to the cucumber. Using the matt or baking paper as a guide, roll it up. Repeat the process with the remaining nori and fillings. Cut each roll into 6 pieces and serve with wasabi and soy sauce. 102
JUMBO SHRIMP NIGIRI SUSHI Preparing the shrimp for sushi: This is the way to prepare king prawns for sushi. Cooking them the right way and for the right amount of time will prevent them from curling and keep the protein in the shrimp.
SALMON TUNA & EBI NIGIRI 8-10 pieces Tell the person from whom you are buying the fish that you intend to eat it raw and buy the fish on the same day you are preparing the nigiri. Ingredients:
King Prawns – one per person/sushi
2 tbsp sugar
Method: Wash shrimp under running water and cut off heads. Insert a bamboo skewer or long toothpick along the shrimp from head to tail, running along the legs of the shrimp without touching the flesh. Drop the shrimp into a pot of salted, boiling water (use enough salt to make it taste like seawater). They will sink to bottom and after 3 to 5 minutes will change colour and rise to top. Do not use a lid, or a strong smell of shrimp will remain! To check that they are cooked, remove one shrimp from water and squeeze gently. If the inside is firm, it is cooked. Quickly place shrimp in ice water - this gives them a good colour and stops the flesh from shrinking and becoming hard. When shrimps are cold, remove them from the ice water and place in a colander. To remove the skewer, use a screwing motion to avoid breaking the flesh. Then remove the shell from around body, but not tail. To make a butterfly cut, lay the shrimp down with the tail away from you, then cut from the head to the tail along the belly with the knife only going halfway in. Use the knife or your fingers to open out and flatten the shrimp carefully, without breaking the flesh. Remove the vein and rinse the shrimp with mildly salted water. Lay on paper towels to drain. Note: For sushi rolls, remove tails and cut shrimp in half, lengthwise, or leave whole.
pinch of salt
50ml rice wine vinegar 200g
1 tbsp wasabi paste
Method: First you need to make the Sushi Rice (See Salmon Maki and Tuna Maki Method). You cannot just use any rice since the rice needs to stick together and be picked up with chopsticks. Plus, sushi rice is seasoned with vinegar (the “su” in “sushi” actually means vinegar), sugar, and salt. Next, slice the salmon into pieces of approximately 5cm (2”) long, 3cm (1”) wide, and 1/2 or 1 cm (less than 1/2”) thick. If the fillet isn’t thick enough to get the width you’re looking for, slice diagonally. A very sharp knife is recommended here. Dip your fingers into water and scoop up a little amount of rice, about 3/4 the size of your palm, and roll and squeeze it together until it rolls into a firm “log” sized rectangle. Smear a pea-sized dab of wasabi on one side of the fish slice. The wasabi is optional, but it helps the salmon stick to the rice, and adds a touch of extra flavour. Place the fish on the rice “log”, with the wasabi side on the rice, and gently shape the rice and salmon together. >>
SALMON MAKI & TUNA MAKI Makes 6 pieces of each Ingredients 150g sushi rice 2 tbsp sugar Pinch of salt 50ml rice wine vinegar 4 sheets nori seaweed 1 tbsp wasabi paste 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 red pepper, deseeded and cut into batons 100g raw salmon, sliced 100g raw tuna, sliced To serve: Wasabi and soy sauce, to dip Pickled ginger METHOD Wash and drain the rice several times until the water runs clear, then put in a pan with 225ml of cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat, leave covered and allow to cool at room temperature. Check that all the water has been absorbed, and if not drain off the excess water. Then transfer the sushi rice to a bowl, season with a pinch of salt, the sugar and vinegar. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, mix everything together gently making sure you donâ€™t squash the rice. Lay the nori sheets out on sushi mats then spread a little wasabi on each. Put a line of rice about 2.5 cm wide on the bottom edge of the nori, leave a little gap at either end. Press some cucumber and pepper onto the rice then add a layer of sliced fish (only one type for each roll). Top with more rice and roll up tightly. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge before serving. While the rolls are chilling, make the dipping sauce by heating the vinegar, sugar and chilli until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Cut the sushi rolls into 4cm pieces using the sharpest knife you have and serve with the dipping sauce and the other accompaniments on the side. V
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INTERVIEW: NICOLE DIACONO
ILL USTRATE. WITH: NICOLE DIACONO
Nicole Diacono is an established Japanese manga illustrator, who says she probably began scribbling on her pram at a very young age. She drew her way all through her childhood and teen years and on completing her studies at Mcast Art and Design College, she became a full time illustrator, creating incredible pieces of work for established local clients. Interview: Nicole Cushchieri
How did you first get into illustrating? At Mcast Art and Design, most of the drawings were not assignment-related. I grew up with the dream of becoming a fashion designer, then (briefly) a mechanic and in my final year of A&D, while creating a comic for my thesis, I suddenly knew that I wanted to try my hand at becoming an illustrator. So, fresh out of school, one of my first jobs was with one of the best publishing companies on this island and that led me to where I am today. I’ve now been working as a full-time illustrator for just over a decade.
How would you best describe your style of illustrating? Originally, the style behind every drawing was very Japanese manga, but over the years it has moved in other directions. Different styles are applied and the characters vary as well. I believe this helps to keep the illustrations looking fresh and versatile – and also keeps me interested in what I’m doing. >>
INTERVIEW: NICOLE DIACONO
Can you take us through your design process, beginning with where you start? When doing any illustration, I normally start with brainstorming ideas and procrastinating at times until inspiration kicks in, and then the actual creating starts. I use a drawing tablet as a coaster while sketching on ordinary drawing paper with an ordinary pencil. Yes, I’m very “old school” in my methods. Once the sketches are done, they are inked with graphic pens or felt tips (nothing too fancy) and then the illustrations are scanned and digitally coloured in Photoshop. It sounds really easy when I put it like that. What tools and techniques do you use to create your art? My essentials when working would be pencils, paper, my scanner, an extremely wellcompiled play-list, obviously my iMac with Photoshop, litres of coffee, double chocolate muffins and my swinging chair which is ideal for brainstorming – I am indeed a huge “needer”. Do you use social media to help promote your artwork? I’m really not a huge fan of Facebook. However, I do have my own FB page, which I don’t use as often as I should. As a result it looks rather miserable but, now here’s an idea: since the public these days can’t seem to live without their online petitions for practically anything and anyone under the sun, maybe a petition to save my FB page would be useful? I must try to put some more effort into online exposure when I’m given more hours in my day to do so – so, as you can imagine, when it comes to social media, I’m not the one to give advice to others. Have you ever considered tattoo art? I’ve done a few so far. I guess it’s flattering to know that there are people out there who have drawings of mine permanently on them for LIFE – or at least until laser or other methods do them part – and that’s all I have to say when it comes to tattoo art. What inspires you? I’d love to answer that my inspiration comes from nature, sessions of yoga and this gorgeous world, but I can’t. Inspiration for me strikes immediately or when I least expect it to and forcing it doesn’t help. Over the years, I’ve come to realise that it either comes out of thin air, when I’m doing the simplest or silliest of things, or it comes when I’m around other people. Basically, it comes as it pleases and so far it has never failed me.
As an artist, do you manage to maintain a steady income? I’m so pleased to answer this question for the general public since it is the most common work-related question. Over the last years I’ve been asked: “Do you actually do this as a job and get paid for it? You make an income out of this? People pay for illustrations?” I’m pleased to say that, yes, I work full time and I have a steady income and it hasn’t been a decade of charity! As for generating income, one method seems to fit the bill: work hard and keep the clients happy. How do you want people to feel when they look at your work? I was going to say I wish people would associate themselves with my drawings, but it would be worrying if they associated themselves with some of them – one example would be a girl jumping off a cliff! My personal drawings do have a little story behind them, based on real feelings or situations just projected in a surrealistic way. This may not be so evident at first glance, but it is not to be taken literally either. The majority are based on escapism, a place to which one can escape, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will turn out peachy. Having said this, art is open to anyone’s interpretation, so I would like people to be intrigued by the concept of the illustration but then decide on their own interpretation. What do you feel is the most important lesson you’ve learnt as an illustrator? Being patient. Patient with the creating process (not rushing it) and sometimes being patient with other people/clients, because it’s
vital to understand what they want and how they want it in order for them to be happy with the final result. Can you tell us about a moment in your career that you remember with pride? I do have my little proud pleasures in my job. When a client tells me they are happy with the work I’ve done or someone tells me that they like my work – but it’s more a feeling of happiness than a feeling of pride. However, the ultimate “happy, clappy” moment for me would be the look on my little one’s face when she spots something I have created, instantly followed by: “Mama, that’s yours”. I’ll certainly get one of those moments as she flips through this issue of Vamp. As for the future, I hope I’ll still be creating and as happy to be doing so as I am now. I’ve had plenty of ideas but have never found the time to put them into practice. I always wanted to write my own book and illustrate it; maybe have a monthly comic; maybe hang out with Tim Burton and discuss a mutual project and if a fashion design company were to suddenly need my services in the future, I certainly wouldn’t complain! My future is full of ‘maybes’ – and I’ll leave it open to any opportunities that come my way. Are you working on any interesting projects at the moment that you would like to share with our readers? I’m busy with a number of exciting projects at the moment, mostly illustrations for books, and as for the rest, well, they belong to clients so I have to be discreet about them because they will appear shortly – on my miserable FB page. I’ll try to make an effort as from this Vamp issue ;) V
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