Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Interview With Jordan Sullivan For A Shaded View On Fashion

Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,

From a construction worker in central Texas to a touring musician in New York City, Jordan Sullivan seems to have done, and seen, it all. The Houston-born photographer’s exhibition at Clic Gallery in New York, Roadsongs, is a documentation of this nomadic life. Sullivan’s faded colour images of America’s desolate landscape, largely shot in Polaroid and expired 35mm film, depict the lonely highways and deserts of New Mexico, Texas and California. Accompanied by Sullivan’s prose, Roadsongs amounts to a body of work that is both autobiographical and an ode to the solitary wanderlust in all of us.

Roadsongs is combination of photography and prose. How do you find these two mediums connecting with each other and how did your interest in both start?

I'm not sure how photography and prose are connected aside from being modes of storytelling. Writing was my first love. I've been writing stories and poems since I was 13. I used to photocopy zines at my mom’s office that were filled with weird drawings and stories, and give them out at school. Even as a teenager it was sort of an unconscious thing for me to pair text with pictures. Photography came later and actually happened as a result of not being able to write whenever I was traveling or just as a way to remember a color or a place or something. It took me a couple years before I figured out that all these pictures, which were supposed to be used as reference for paintings or sculptures, had become a body of work in their own right.

What different modes of expression do photography and prose give you respectively?

Prose carries an emotional range that photography can’t and vice versa. My pictures are all fragments of a much larger narrative, which is why I love making photo books. I need my images to all sit next to one another. When it came time to having gallery shows and making prints it was difficult for me to just have a single image sitting in a frame, so I started juxtaposing the pictures with sculptures or collages, or placing text on them. Often the text came before the images, so I'd end up sifting through all these archives trying to find a picture that fit with whatever story I was trying to tell.

How did these two mediums come together for Roadsongs?

In the case of this show, I included handwritten text on all the prints. I like the two together because the prose pieces are sort of intimate, mostly about a person or a relationship, which provides a nice contrast to these vast and empty landscapes. The stories give each landscape a specificity, a character, and a context it may not have otherwise.

What is the story behind the collaboration with Pamela Love for the exhibition?

Pamela and I collaborated on a book together called The Ghost Country. It is sort of a love letter to New Mexico. Some of the prose pieces I wrote for that book are incorporated into a few of the pictures in this show.

How has growing up in a variety of places such as Ohio, Michigan, and Indonesia shaped you both artistically and personally?

Growing up in different places and moving at formative times has left me feeling pretty rootless. I never know how to answer the question of where I’m from. I spent most of my childhood in a small town in Ohio, where I was one of the only kids around who wasn't born there, and one of few who probably wouldn't die there. So a lot of what I explore in art and fiction has to do with the bleakness and beauty of being stuck somewhere, whether it's on the road or in your hometown.

You've said that you have "spent a good deal of time moving around, chasing something from one city to the next". What profound experiences did you have during your life on the road and what essentially do you think you were after?

Too many to name. Every city or town I've lived in or passed through has stuck with me in some way. Traveling around reminds you of how weird and rad life is, but also how fucking sad it is. Last year I lived in Texas, pouring concrete for a construction crew. All the other guys on the crew were from Mexico and most had lived some of the hardest lives you can imagine. I learned so much about survival from those men. But I don't know what I was chasing in these last years, some sort of weird experience I guess, maybe a different way of living, but mostly I was probably just chasing girls.

Is photography there to capture a moment or does the art hold any other meanings for you as well?

I heard another artist say that photography makes the past present. I agree with that. A
photograph keeps those moments from being eternally lost. The pictures and stories in this
show mean so much to me personally and have to do with a range of subjects - love and
death, home and travel - but I want the show to remain open ended. I rarely know what my
work means until after it's done, and even then I often still can’t pinpoint it exactly. Usually
the meaning of each piece is always changing. As I grow up, I keep seeing all this stuff I
made in new ways. But, if anything, I hope the pieces in this show create a spiritual response or pose some sort question.

Being New York-based, how do you find the vibes of the city mimicking a nomadic life and in what ways does it inspire you?

New York's a great place for people who can't figure out where else to live. There's sort of everything here. All the contradictions sit right next to each other, and that in itself keeps everything pretty weird and interesting.

Do you still have the desire to go back to your traveling life or is the city your permanent home?

I'll stay in New York for a little longer, but I need more trees and stars and quiet around for me to call a place home.

What future projects are you working on at the moment?

I've been working with some found photographs, as well as printing on alternative materials. On May 17, I have another solo show opening at Underline Gallery in New York City. The exhibition is called Natural History and is mostly sculptures. I'm also putting a together a novel which is out in this coming year.

Clic Gallery, 255 Centre Street, NY, NY
April 19-May 15, 2012


Read the interview in full here.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Question Of Choice for Twin Magazine Blog

In a world dominated by endless choice, sometimes the hardest decision can be deciding between one or the other. Enter Mélanie Crété’s highly addictive Tumblr blog, This or That.
Ranging from the age old question of Audrey versus Marilyn to Ferrero Rocher versus Mon Chéri, in Crété’s online world, everything boils down to the idea of a simple choice. We sat down with the digital marketing and social media manager to talk about the idea behind her blog, print versus digital and to play a round of This or That Twin style…

What prompted you to start This or That?
I have always been a bit obsessed with DIY collages and mood boards. Then Myspace came in and I discovered the joy of Photobucket while trying to teach myself photoshop and basic html, which I guess lead the way to This or That. When I started working in digital marketing and social media four years ago, I spent days researching blogs, organising them by theme in a very anal way and got completely hooked on Tumblr which I decided was the perfect platform to showcase my very messy iPhoto library. The concept somehow came very instinctively, the name came from the fact that I actually never know when to use ‘this’ or ‘that’ (I’m from Paris).
What is your main source of image inspiration?
Tumblr. My favourites are When Hearts Are Young and New York City Lights.
When did you first become fascinated with all things digital?
In 2000 when I installed Napster and ICQ on my PC.
How do you see the relationship between print and digital publications developing, will one replace the other?
Nothing will replace anything. I just see digital being integrated in all parts of the process with both digital and print teams working in synergy to produce amazing content and using different formats which is relevant to all platforms, including social media.
You are also a DJ, what are your top five favourite tunes of all time?I used to DJ—I don’t think you can be good at everything so I had to make choices!
But my favourite tracks at the moment are:
The Pharcyde – Passing Me By
Machinedrum – Van Vogue
ASAP – Peso
Grimes – Oblivion
Mos Def – Auditorium
In the sense of This or That…Blackberry or iPhone?
Either coffee or tea?
Either Bikini Kill or Courtney Love?
Courtney Love.
Either The Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
Rolling Stones.
Either the city or countryside?
City during the week , countryside at the weekend.
Either Eddie or Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous?
Either an exhibition or a concert?

Read the full interview here.

The Burton Reign for Twin Magazine blog

It’s been two years since Sarah Burton was appointed creative director of Alexander McQueen. Since then, her success at the label has been nothing short of a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Following the tragic and sudden loss of Lee McQueen, his design assistant for over 14 years was immediately thrust into the large gap that the English enfant terrible of fashion had left. Aside from the mourning of such a close friend, the expectations on Burton to continue his legacy were another heavy burden for the Manchester-born designer to carry.
But rather than crumble under the pressure, she excelled. From the delicate, earth motherly collection for Spring/Summer 2011 with which she made her debut to the futuristically astounding designs for this season, Burton has stepped out of the shadow of Lee McQueen to become a distinguishable design talent in her own right. Here is a woman who unarguably embeds the label’s DNA into every piece, but has considerably lightened up the overall feel of every collection from the at times dark and tortured soul that we knew and loved about the late designer’s collections to something softer, but equally breathtaking.
There is not just her accomplishments at the main line label to praise: having debuted the brand’s diffusion line McQ on the runway in a military and forest-inspired show this London Fashion Week, as well as establishing its first standalone boutique in the capital, Burton isn’t just continuing the brand founded by her mentor, she is reviving it. Managing to guide the label from a desolate tragedy into a bright future, it’s safe to say that Lee McQueen wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Read the full article here.

Alter Egos for Twin Magazine Blog

The metamorphoses of Cindy Sherman knows no boundaries, so it makes sense that an exhibition honouring her work is in a place as vast and all-encompassing as the Museum of Modern Art gallery in New York.
Looking back at her three decades and counting career, the just opened showcase contains over 170 of Sherman’s iconic pieces and portraits, witnessing her take on roles from cinema noir actress to Jean Fouquet’s Madonna of Melun. But Sherman’s countless transformations are beyond pure dress up and trying on a new persona; they are a deep questioning of identity, representation and the role and placement of women in society.
Rather than being solely retrospective, the exhibit is also the first showing of Sherman’s photographic murals from 2010 in America, as well as Carte Blanche: Cindy Sherman, a screening of films made and curated by the conceptual artist, which is fitting considering the strong influence of the medium on her work. The movies will range from horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to John Waters’ Desperate Living, whilst including Sherman’s short film Doll Clothes and feature filmOffice Killer.
The extensive display of her work shows that even under wigs, prosthetics and layers of makeup, the real Cindy Sherman is always unmistakably there.

Read the full article here.

Fashion Seniors for Twin Magazine Blog

Ari Seth Cohen’s blog, Advanced Style, has always been a standout in the online world thanks to its mantra of “capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set”.
A fresh departure from the often youth-orientated direction of most street style blogs, Cohen’s documentation of the timelessly stylish 60 years plus crowd has garnered him a cult following, so the news that his photographs are soon to be released in book form is sure to please both young and old.
With over 200 images of eccentric elderlies and interviews by the likes of Dita Von Teese, Advanced Style proves that aging doesn’t mean having to compromise. After all, like Yves Saint Laurent once said: fashions fade, style is eternal.

The full article is available to read here.

The Duffy Diaries for Twin Magazine Blog

From portraits to reportage and award-winning advertisements to Pirelli calendars, the images of Brian Duffy are an iconic documentation of decades past. Now the Proud Chelsea gallery is making a tribute to the photography legend, who passed away in 2010, by displaying a rare collection of his signed prints.
Starting his career in the Fifties as a freelance photographer for Harper’s Bazaar, Duffy went on to photograph the likes of Jean Shrimpton, John Lennon and David Bowie, most memorably for the cover of his Aladdin Sane album.
Duffy, alongside David Bailey and Terence Donovan – nicknamed the Terrible Trio by British press – innovated the style of documentary fashion photography by capturing the zeitgeist of Swinging London in the Sixties.
After making the decision to abandon still photography, the English photographer and film producer famously attempted to burn all of his negatives in 1979. Fortunately, a few priceless artifacts remain, making this exhibition both a poignant photographic homage and an unmissable visual experience.

The full article is available to read here.

Present & Correct for Twin Magazine Blog

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present is a powerful documentary which takes its viewer inside the mind of one of the Twentieth Century’s most provocative performance artists.
Directed by Matthew Akers, the film is an account of Abramović’s three decades and counting career, her both professional and personal relationship with Uwe Layseipen, and a behind the scenes look at the emotional journey leading up to her extensive 2010 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
At the three month-enduring retrospective, the Belgrade-born artist engaged her viewers in a performance piece which entailed a varying audience member sitting across from her at a table in silence, solely staring into the 65-year-old’s eyes in an attempt to question the concept of art becoming life.
Marina Abramović has always been a fascinating creative force, but this documentary will be the first opportunity to see the woman behind the legendary artwork. It might just be her most inspiring performance yet.

The full article is available to read here.

Ben Watts + 3x1 for Twin Magazine Blog

As if skateboarding wasn’t cool enough, bespoke denim label 3×1 has added an extra chill factor to the sport through its collaboration with NY-based photographer Ben Watts.
Founded by Scott Morrison of Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn, the brand has created Ben Watts + 3×1, a collection of limited edition skateboards with designs featuring Jessica Hart, Lake Bell, Elsa Hosk, Behati Prinsloo and Chanel Iman in the label’s tailor-made pieces on Watts’ signature diamond motif and Hipstamatic lens backgrounds.
With all proceeds going to charities such as Studio in a School, Food on Foot, Polaris Project, Goods for Good and Keep A Child Alive, there’s no excuse not to add to your collection of decks. Even those of us with two left feet needn’t miss out; these skateboards also make for a pretty stylish wall decor.

The full article is available to read here.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Interview With Saga Sig For A Shaded View On Fashion

Check out my interview with Saga Sig in its entirety here, but read on for the written interview.


 Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,

When it comes to Icelandic photographer Saga Sig, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. From capturing the throes of teenage romance to ethereal landscapes, Sig’s photographs are a unique exploration of the genre through colour, subjects and composition.

Even with a signature style of vibrant and visually strong images, there is still room for the manifestation of dreams and nostalgia in the London-based photographer's work, with series ranging from Last Days of Summer to Garden of Enchantment. Having already shot for publications including Dazed & Confused and Vision, and labels such as KronByKron and Nasir Mazhar, the future is only looking bright for Saga Sig.

Your interest in photography started at 8 years old, capturing the national parks and historic places of your hometown Thingvellir in Iceland with a 35 mm camera. How has your approach and view of the artistic medium changed since then?

My approach back than was innocent and naive, I took up a cameraand just captured what I saw, I took images to capture the beauty of nature around me. My approach back then was to collect memories, or moments so they wouldn't fade away. It was a fascination with the play of light and shadows, how the national park Thingvellir changes with every minute that passes and transforms the incredible natural landscape. Ever since I was young, I have always had a great imagination and saw characters and creatures forming in the lava rocks. I am a collector at heart and feel like I am still collecting memories and moments.

I think my approach is still the same, I still capture and collect memories and moments, however my work is more informed and controlled now. I still want to photograph the beauty of people or surroundings, even what some would consider ugly things, I try to see the beauty in it. Wether it’s a trash park or beautiful flower garden, a person crying or laughing, I want to capture a beauty of the moment.

How would you say has the combination of growing up in Iceland and living in London shaped your aesthetic?

My roots can be identified in myphotography, the mystique, the love of nature, the love of storytelling and the fairytale themes. When you grow up in the countryside of Iceland, it's difficult not to see ghosts or feel the energy of nature and the mystique in the air. My work is feminine, magical and colourful. I like to portray femininity and I am really interested in the history of women and the archetypal portrayal of women throughout history – the goddess, the femme fatale... I like magic, the unknown and the unexpected, and I like to make places or everyday surroundings magical.

Moving to London was at first a great shock to me, but also a new inspiration. I live in the north-east and when traveling home on the bus you see all kinds of things I would never ever see in Iceland. Yesterday a woman sat next to me, she was one of the unlucky ones in life, her head and eyes were deformed, she told me that she had been punched in the face by a former boyfriend leaving her eye paralysed and damaging a part of her brain. Moving to London made me realize that life is not all about the softness of beauty but ugliness and sadness as well. In the harshest circumstances the beauty comes so intensely. London's strength is the people, emotion and their stories. I love the greyness of the city that meets the colourful personalities of the people. Moving to London gave my work an edge, an edge I needed to inspire me to step out of my comfort zone.

In what ways has your background in art history helped your work?

As I grew up in the countryside of Iceland, in very isolated places and before the internet, I didn't know anything about the history of art, or fashion. Everything I knew was what I learnt from my parents. When moving to Iceland's capital Reykjavik at the age of 15, I didn't know anything about Michael Jackson or Britney Spears or the things my peers were inspired by and I had no idea about great photographers or artists. So from that moment on, I took it all in. I completed a year in art history before moving to London. I am really thankful for that, as it give me the basic knowledge I needed about art and that has inspired by my photography ever since.

You have spoken about how important the play with light, colours, textures and patterns is for you. How do you go about creating an image, what is the first element that you think about when starting on a new body of work?

This depends on what I am working with. When planning a fashion editorial a story is important. It can be a simple story, inspired by real life, a story I make up by reacting to something I saw, either art or real life adventures.

I think my first inspiration often comes with colour and colour combination. I am fascinated with colour and how our brains react to different ones. I like to look at how my subject, most often a person, interacts with its surroundings. Framing is important to me, I like  images to be balanced. An image full of various textures, colours and patterns can work if you get the balance in the image right. I like graphic images and symmetry. I want my images to tell a story. All these things are important to me.

Who has been the most inspiring person you have photographed and why?

I am inspired by all the people I photograph and I have been fortunate to have photographed so many amazing people. I have an introverted personality, but I am very good at reading other people and seeing how they feel. With every person I meet, I learn or discover something new. I like photographing people that have a story to tell.

Having experimented with fashion film, how does working with the moving image compare to photography for you?

Photography and film to me are very different. A lot of photographers have been trying out fashion film with the new technology, me being one of them. I find it so different, being able to tell a story with one frame of a photograph, whereas I think it is important to structure a film into a beginning, a middle and and end. Most fashion films are not structured in that way and therefore I get bored after about 10 seconds. Fashion films can surely be beautiful when they are visuals for 10-20 seconds but films longer than that, in my opinion, need to have a strong storyline. I really like what Showstudio have been producing and I think fashion film in the future is going to be a big part of the fashion world.

You count art, fashion, music and film as your main sources of inspiration, what are your favourites in each category?

A difficult question to answer as I tend to see beauty in everything, both my best quality and my worst as well. One of my all time favorite photographers is Araki, who deals with life and death, sex and love.

I think the artists I am inspired by often deal with feelings and emotions, like Tracy Emin, Louise Bourgeois, photographers such as Nan Goldin or Lina Scheynius, and painters like Marlene Dumas.

In what direction would you like to take your work in the future and which new technology as well as techniques are you looking forward to trying out?

The past three years I have worked in fashion. Fashion for me is one way of escaping reality. Fashion encourages people to dream. I like how fast the fashion industry goes, there is always the idea of new, new, new — new dreams, new goals, new season, new people to work with, new places to visit and so on.

I always have dreams, but I think in future I will be working more with truth and reality. I am sensitive and a lot of things I do are shadowed by fear — photography has been my escape. I think in future I would like to face all my fears and deal with reality and real feelings and situations.

What projects, both actual and aspirational, do you have lined up for the future?

I'm planning on doing my MA in 2013, either in interdisciplinary studies like art and science or even visual arts. I have an exhibition in the spring with my project called Threads, and am working on a book project I hope will come out later this year. I would love to exhibit my work around the world and publish my own books.