Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Digital Dadaism from Matt Wisniewski for District MTV

Using Tumblr and Photoshop as his version of a colour palette and paint brush, Matt Wisniewski is something of a 21st century-style Dadaist, minus the anarchy. Desolate winter forests stretch as vast landscapes across the face of black and white portraits, whilst side profiles become fantastically distorted through swirls of breaking waves. Things that should not fit together, strangely and beautifully do in the work of the Brooklyn-based artist.

"I don't care at all about a blend of human and nature. I just play around with combining things and it just so happens that a head provides a nice discrete canvas. I use a lot of painting, drawings, really whatever I can find," Wisniewski is quick to admit however. It seems then, that behind his complex imagery, there lies a more instinctual, subconscious and ultimately emotional way of working. An interesting anecdote for those that argue the 'coldness' of digital artwork is incomparable to the physical medium of canvas and paint. "Realistically, I don't see any reason why future tools couldn't match the feel of their analog counterparts. For collage, digital tools open up a lot of possibilities that just can't be accomplished with traditional cut and paste methods," Wisniewski says.

Having used Photoshop since his early teens, the Philadelphia-native reflects on his work as becoming increasingly refined, but not without a price. "From experience I tend to experiment less; there is sort of a downside there from my perspective. Previously it would take forever and it would look awful, but it would be fun and I'd have a new idea out there. I still do that sometimes but it's harder when you know how it's going to turn out," the web developer adds.

Having created series' with titles such as Wreckage, Five Minutes to Live and Cold Embrace, one could read a variety of apocalyptic theories into his work, but the artist himself appears to have a deep and forgiving love for the process of creation. "I've done some terrible collages. But it's out there, and I couldn't destroy most of it even if I wanted to. Some of my most popular work would have been deleted by now if it was just sitting on my computer," he explains. Instead, as Wisniewski reflectively says, "Once I'm done working on something, it doesn't really have anything to do with me anymore. I had my fun, now everyone else gets to have theirs."

Read the full article here.

Claire Barrow 'All The Good Old Drunks' for District MTV

For most people the word alcohol conjures up memories of a stumbling, drunken stupor. For Claire Barrow, it translated into a collection of finely illustrated and hand painted silk shift dresses, rubber pieces, Pollock-esque cigarette trousers, and of course her signature, the leather jacket. This season she produced them bearing ghoul faces and otherworldly creatures, applied with a swirly brush stroke that in itself denoted an intoxicated experience. "I was looking at all the old good drunks, like Charles Bukowski. The regality of alcohol packaging directly inspired all of the prints," the designer said backstage at her S/S 13 show and official London Fashion Week debut, presented as part of the Fashion East lineup.

Barrow's unique vision, be it this season's inspiration or the Surrealist movement and promiscuity for her graduate collection, has not gone unnoticed. There are the pieces she created for Rihanna's Loud tour on one hand, collaborations with the likes of Joseph and Underground on the other. What marks Barrow's work as especially refreshing is the handcrafted aspect of it all, a return to a punk, DIY aesthetic, but with an added finesse. There may be the raw, in your face energy and attitude about her creations, but at the same time an appreciation for something more delicate. An ode to art forms of the past and a certain sensibility that is often overlooked in the genre of safety pin earrings and slashed trousers that her aesthetic is often associated with. In the same way that Barrow doesn't fully commit to either womenswear or menswear in her collections, neither does she allow herself to be pigeonholed into a certain category of fashion design.

"I like the aspect that at this point, having just graduated, I am really in touch with what I am making, it is all very hands on," says the 22-year-old, who completed her Womenswear degree at University of Westminster. That approach extends to her carefully painted name on the back of every leather jacket, giving each design the feeling of being produced by an exceptionally talented friend, rather than a fashion brand. Her intimate mode of creation presents a comforting antidote to the ever-quickening pace of the fashion industry's mass production methods. Barrow sums up the raison d'être of her young label by passionately stating, "This is my artwork. It's great to see people wearing something that I have had such close contact with". 

Read the full article here.

Black Lights for Twin Magazine Blog

This weekend, Twin’s art editor Francesca Gavin opened up her exhibit The Dark Cube at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. An experiment combining static art and UV light, the literally ‘glow in the dark’ experience applies neon colour and an innovative viewing experience of every artwork from Kasper Sonne’s Untitled (carpet) No. 3, which is given a colour kick thanks to luminescent paint, to Scott Treleaven’s painting The Body Electric, with five of the piece’s six floating bodies immersed in a neon orange glow for a further intensification of its dreamlike feeling. Like all good things subject to limited availability, the exhibit runs until next Monday.
Twin spoke to Gavin about modern-day psychedelia, electronic nature and teenage memories of Camden market’s Cyber Dog…

From disco to rave, UV lighting has had quite a history in it its own right. What made the time ripe to do this exhibition now?

I think it’s to do with our relationship with technology. Many of my exhibitions in the past have explored that relationship – how we look at screens, the psychedelic experience of going on the internet. This is actually my least high tech exhibition but I think that this now old fashioned technology feels very relevant in terms of contemporary feelings about the world of wires, electrics and Wifi around us.

How did you go about choosing which artists to display?

A few artists I know had worked with UV in the past – Jeremy Shaw, Jeremy Deller and Thomas Dozol. Many I had worked with before, others I had seen work that I felt would fit. It was very organic. A number of the artists – Oliver Laric, Anne de Vries, Juliette Bonneviot – were part of that Berlin post-internet scene which I felt really connected to the idea.

What was the process of putting it all together like, for example where there any changes in vision throughout the project?

In a way it was like putting on an exhibition in the dark! It was impossible to know the results until I turned on the black lights and saw the works glow. A lot of the artists were making things partly in normal light and at night with hand held small black lights. It felt quite risky compared to a normal exhibition when you just have to work with the hang and hope the screens work okay!

A large part of the exhibition aims at literally looking at things in a different light. Would you say that it is a reaction against the times of our short attention span digital generation or is it something else?

I think because we are so used to seeing the entire world through a screen that the process of looking at objects, at images, at things in real time is really important. Arguably something with political undertones. Thought it was fascinating see many of the hundreds of visitors who came during the opening on Nuit Blanche immediately want to engage with the work through their camera phones. UV also ends up being an interesting metaphor for the electronic nature we give to the world in our screen culture.

On a more personal note, what are your own fondest black light memories?

I grew up near Camden market and when I was at the end of my teens it was the early days of techno. My sister was going to free parties and was part of the whole Spiral Tribe scene. Very hardcore. She was obsessed with reflective materials and circuitry. We used to go to this T shirt stall in a sort of cave-cellar there by a label called Cyber Dog (which over the years turned into a crazy huge techno mecca) and I bought a shirt with a circuitry star on it that glowed in UV… For a brief moment it was the epitome of cool.

What future projects do you have lined up?

No shows lined up quite yet – I’ve done three this year which feels like a lot! Possibly an exhibition at a project space in Belleville in the spring. And of course the acres of writing for Dazed, Twin, AnOther, Sleek and the rest.

The Dark Cube is on display until October 15th at Palais de Tokyo.


Read the full article here.

The PFW Lookback Part II for Twin Magazine Blog

In Part I, we covered what the one and only C trio (Chanel, Christian Dior, Comme Des Garcons) churned out, but from Haider Ackermann’s dreamy midnight-coloured collection to Marc Jacob’s retro mania, Paris Fashion Week still had a wide array of other intriguing collections to take in. Read on for Twin’s final list of favourites this S/S 13 season…

Stella McCartney
Considering the fact that she has collaborated with the likes of Adidas, no one does sporty quite like Stella. Energetic bursts of neon orange peaked out underneath a sheer silk sweatshirt whilst black and white printed strapless jumpsuits and oversized shirt-dresses were given an easygoing slouch thanks to a dropped waistline, all topped off with surprisingly wearable Lucite platforms. McCartney described the collection as “a conversation between a man and a woman” and thanks to the relaxed and loose-fitting silhouettes, there was something there for the elegant tomboy in every one of us.

Haider Ackermann
This S/S 13 season, man of the moment Haider Ackermann gave us something to dream about. Sheer silk and lace were wrapped around the body with the designer’s trademark fluid draping, in nighttime sky colours of ivory, midnight blue, black and a shimmering dark grey. A first was the use of geometric prints and polka dots, but even these rather atypical elements were melded into the harmonious collection. It’s safe to say that there are countless more breathtakingly beautiful collections like this one to come on Ackermann’s horizon.

After an eighties, sci-fi flashback, this season saw a more formal Balenciaga woman come to the forefront. Nicolas Ghesquière may have constrained his colour palette to mostly black, white, nude, and charcoal colours but thanks to ruffled thigh-high cuts and plenty of upper midriff exposure, the sex appeal was as much there as ever. From the first pair of front-pleated, high waisted trousers to the last coated guipure lace dress, it  was a testament to the fact that even without the futuristic drama, Ghesquière is more than capable of getting, and keeping, our attention.

Louis Vuitton
Marc Jacobs has become the designer of Paris you can count on for a complete fashion 180, and this season was no exception. In an ode to Diane Arbus, Marc Jacobs sent his Sixties styled models in pairs of two down the escalator and runway, matched up in Vuitton’s signature damier print. The silhouettes were streamlined, the hemlines decade-appropriately short and the fit body skimming. The main inspiration of the collection may have been from another era, but Jacobs managed to successfully reincarnate the look for 2013.

Read the full article here.

The PFW Lookback Part I for Twin Magazine Blog

The S/S 13 season was eventful to say the least: Twitter feuds between Hedi Slimane and NY Times fashion critic Cathy Horn, Ready To Wear debuts at the houses of Saint Laurent and Dior, and between it all, some wonderfully accomplished collections.
Twin looks back at which collections made us say je l’adore.

Presented in a setting of solar panels and wind farms instead of a crystal landscape, Karl Lagerfeld went a bit more down to earth this S/S 13 season. A-lines, bolero jackets and rounded silhouettes with floral embroidery  in every colour under the sun were topped off with oversized pearl necklaces. Like its staging, the collection was the perfect mix of technological linearity and natural materials and forms.

Christian Dior
Raf Simons may have already shown us his haute couture offerings for the house of Dior, but nonetheless there was still a great anticipation for what the Belgian designer would bring to the Ready To Wear table. The answer? Expert tailoring mixed with modern femininity. Pleated office attire was given metallic panels, sequined evening gowns a sheer overlay and nude shift dresses an exposed neon lining. With so much love for detail, it’s hard not to give Simons a congratulatory thumbs up for his efforts.

Comme des Garcons
In fabrics of toile and velvet, Rei Kawakubo crushed, sculpted and draped an intriguingly beautiful collection. Save for a flash of royal purple or fire red, the collection kept mostly to CDG signature colours of black and white. While the surrealist-style crowns designed in collaboration with artist Graham Hudson and linear white make-up may have given the models an otherworldly look, there was still something beautifully fragile about the body — and person — in these clothes. As with all things Kawakubo, this collection is definitely worth a second look.

View the full article here.

A Sauvage x Dr. Martens for Twin Magazine Blog

Dr Martens is shining a more polished shoe these days, thanks to the brand’s collaboration with menswear designer A. Sauvage.

The  two-years-young label created a more elegant take on what is perched atop those famous, light air cushioned soles: colours of midnight blue, white and black, in fabrics ranging from patent leather to woven kente silk.

A very street venture for the Mayfair-based label and a rather high-end approach for the punkish footwear brand, this unisex range is a prime example of what happens when you think outside of the (shoe) box.


Read the full article here.

The Beauty Love-In for Twin Magazine Blog

Don’t think the collaborations were just left to the fashion industry — collections between beauty brands and creative visionaries are now popping up left, right and centre. Twin rounds up our favourite new arrivals in the cosmetics world…

M.A.C Illustrated

These days, the exterior appearance of your bag is just as, if not more important, than what’s inside. So why resort to flinging your favourite lipstick, mascara and eyeshadow into a dingy, dirty and outdated old case? In a bid to rescue us from boring cosmetics carriers, M.A.C teamed up with illustrators Julie Verhoeven, Francois Berthoud and Nikki Farquharsson for a range of bags bearing each artist’s signature stylings, be it art deco, graphic or abstract. Mission accomplished.

Karl Lagerfeld X Shu Uemura

In the past, Lagerfeld has been known to use Shu Uemura’s eyeshadows to colour in his fashion sketches. Now, unstoppable Karl teamed up with the Japanese brand for a 17-piece collection of make-up, false eylashes and of course, the brand’s trademark, an eyelash curler. All emblazoned with the Karl-ified mascot donning a Rei Kawakubo-esque haircut and the Uncle’s signature high collar and tie, its a kooky take on Uemura’s high-quality products.

NARS X Andy Warhol

NARS took Warhol’s love of glitz, glamour and decadence as a starting point for a Swinging Sixties bright cosmetics collection. The brand even extended their love for all things Andy to a recreation of his self-portraits and flower paintings in their eyeshadow palettes. Instead of simply slapping a name onto their products, NARS clearly made a genuine dedication to the artist with this project. The ode may solely consist of shimmer sparkles and neon brights, but Warhol wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.


M.A.C X Carine Roitfeld

The former editor of Vogue always had her laid-in smokey eye makeup down to pat, so a collaboration between the stylish image maker and a company renowned for their high-quality eye shadows was only a stone’s throw away anyhow. Expect shadow and blush palettes to recreate smouldering Roitfeld eyes and defined cheekbones, vampy red nail varnishes and to top it all off with a seductive French pout, barely-there nude lipsticks.

View the full article here.

The Ryan Lo-Down for District MTV

After a rocky start which included dropping out of his BA Fashion course at LCF during the first term of his final year and a "more difficult than anticipated" navigation through the fashion industry, now, it seems, there is nothing that could possibly keep Ryan Lo down.

Aside from being shortlisted for the G-Shock Spirit of Toughness Award, features in the likes of LOVE Magazine and artistic collaborations for the Serpentine Gallery's Dreamy Awards, there is that not-so-small thing called Fashion East in the 22-year-old's life. "The second time I went back to college and graduated, I said I wanted to do Fashion East. When it finally happened, it just felt like a dream," Lo says, the astonishment in his voice still hinting at his slight inconceivability of it all. Born and raised in Hong Kong before moving to London at age 16, he recounts his way into fashion as something that "happened spontaneously, one thing led to another". Yet one can't help but get the impression that his career path is the result of predestination rather than pure coincidence.

His first on-schedule show as part of the Fashion East line-up this London Fashion Week was a reminder of why he, despite only being three collections into his own label, is a name to be reckoned with. Lo's S/S 13 range— a colourful mix of lace, polka-dot print and corseted gowns — presented a sexier take on the designer's signature technique of tight smocking. Not only is he bringing an intriguing textural aspect to the stereotypically 'cashmere twinset' genre of knitwear, there is also a refreshing intelligence behind his designs.

"I design for a woman who is between intellectual and ditzy. I'm interested in the idea of broadening that conceptual range instead of it just being 'pretty'," Lo explains, adding that for him, designing is "all about femininity". "There is something epically powerful about being womanly, a kind of sexy, non-sexy" he says. This female prototype especially becomes evident in the subversiveness of the young talent's multifarious designs. His graduate collection toughened up traditional female prototypes, A/W 12 took his aesthetic for a more tomboyish, youthful spin. With this collection, despite its strong doses of pink, Lo again seemed to be questioning and exploring. Rather than reinstating and taking at face value preconceived notions of what today's modern woman wants to wear. But all theoretical interpretations aside, in the end Lo humbly admits, "I just want women to be themselves". 

View the full article here.