26 June 2017

Less Done Well Equals More

This transient world that we find ourselves on spins at as rapid a rate as we live. We rush through our day when there’s not always the need to do so, we acquire possessions and things that we don’t really have use for, we exhaust our environment’s offerings mindlessly and we take up excessive physical space that we simply don’t need. A number of trends in society have generated the notion of mindfulness – from Buddhist beliefs and traditions of detachment, to extreme movements in Japanese aesthetics that favor clean-cut minimalism beyond our comprehension. Countless best-selling books tell tales of embracing mindfulness and minimalism in combination across all aspects of living from simplistic interior décor to satisfactory eating habits as though a potential stepping-stone to mass-minimalism. In discussion with TreeHugger founder and entrepreneur Graham Hill, it became clearer and clearer why people believe that a life with less possessions and less space is a life with less obstacles and more freedom.


19 June 2017

A Moment for Magazines

There’s a precise power in combining words and imagery in aesthetically pleasing/engaging proportions in print that can evoke an almost hypnotic sensation in readers. Publications that have a knack for this more so than others are independent magazines, which seem to be crafted with more attention, care and invigorating design than mainstream publications. Despite it being an industry all-too-often pronounced dead, independent magazine publishing is in having a moment of impassioned output as the photography, graphic design elements and interviews that aren't published online have us flocking to our reliable mag dealer as soon as they hit the newstands. From travel to fashion, art to politics, magazine makers are producing important and beautiful work with a physicality that the internet simply can't provide and these are some of my favourite right now.

12 June 2017

Good 70s

Mike Mandel is an American photographer, based in Massachusetts, who uses the camera to create curious, innovative documentary-style images that double up as intriguing works of art. Many of his projects are some of the most selfless, fascinating research-based works of the seventies in which Mandel set about casually snapping people in cars as they drove by while he was standing at the side of the road. The Southern California native was able to document the real lives of ordinary passers-by in a unique and candid way for perhaps his most well known series People in Cars. All of the reactions were natural and the images are full of such humour, laughter and frivolity, that they create a timelessness that makes it extremely easy to forget which era they were taken. 

5 June 2017

Style and Sustainability

Giving emerging fashion designers a platform to showcase their work, Nu Blvck turns the traditional fashion system on its head and breaks down the barriers between designers, artisans and customers.  Since its launch in August 2016, the crowdfunded brand has been selecting a new designer each season to create a limited run of made to order accessories with a transparent supply chain that produces lust-worthy pieces without compromising on quality or the sustainability of their system. I spoke to the brand's founders, Rebecca Flory and Andrew Vincent, about everything from making ethics the norm in fashion as opposed to the exception, to the fearless Scottish creatives who are getting the international recognition they deserve.

29 May 2017

Illustrating a Modernist Marvel

Since its auspicious beginnings, Villa Cavrois has endured quite the turbulent life, involving occupation by German forces during the second world war, internal remodelling in the 1950s and the threat of destruction when it was bought by a property developer in 1986. An architectural manifesto, the chateaux was designed and built in the Lille suburb of Croix between 1929 and 1932 but maintains an uncompromising modern character that makes it look like it could've been built last week. Originally created for Paul Cavrois, a textile industrialist from the region, it's a building that encapsulates the progressive ideals championed by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens and other exponents of the International Style – with obvious nods to the Austrian modernity of Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffman.

   

22 May 2017

Europe's Most Interesting Concept Stores

Whilst my time living in France has reached its inevitable end, it's been the perfect location for scouting out the concept stores of neighbouring countries. I'm sure there are a fair few that are more than worthy of a place on this list that aren't there but these are just my absolute favourites of the many I got around to visiting over the past five months. For me, concept stores serve as the perfect landscape for brands on the niche side to put into practise their adoption of specific subcultural values and test the validity of these values on a more than willing market. Most (but not all) of the concept stores on the list are pretty specified in terms of their aesthetic, so it's a platform for the smaller brands that they carry to position themselves on a level playing field with the brands who've come to dominate the high-end concept store sphere.

15 May 2017

Finding Muses in Unexpected Places

Ellannah Sadkin works with cartoons as her central point of inspiration as for her, they not only represent simpler elements of society but there's the comfort of always having an end result or mystery solved. Her work has developed into an interactive dialogue about the human psyche, unravelling familiar characters as a relatable means to delve into inner emotions, anxiety and sense of purpose. Her pieces range from recognisable characters and deconstructed abstractions, to the reduction of well-known characters to energetic lines and bright colour fields. Ellannah also uses an unexpected muse in the form of brain scans as she's created works that are colourfully reimagined scans of a brain experiencing an anxiety attack. I spoke with Ellannah about why cartoons are so prominent in her work and her own ways to try and find order with an inner world riddled with disorder.

8 May 2017

Lessons to Learn from Rei Kawakubo

Even if you do live under a rock, you probably still heard about last week's Met Ball and the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”. Whilst the lead up to a Met exhibition in your honour would usually prompt a wave of everywhere-you-look press coverage, mountains of magazine covers and Instagram takeovers aplenty, we've been treated to little more than a whole two (hurrah) interviews this year with notorionsly press-shy Kawakubo. That said, the Japanese designer has probably only given two interviews in the five years that preceeded this one so let's not complain. I've given the "Lessons to Learn" treatment to Raf and Hedi over the past few years so it's about time that I have a little pry through the limited information we have to try and figure out what goes on in the signature bob-enveloped mind of the Comme des Garçons creator.

1 May 2017

Manipulating Stereotypes

Tschabalala Self's work reflects her own attitudes towards gender, race and the fantasies surrounding the Black female body. Her figures, or 'avatars' as she calls them, boast exaggerated characteristics and a disorientation that provides an alternative to the highly sexualised imagery churned out by a range of sources; from pop culture to the classic male perspective. Starting out manipulating magazine cut-outs and reworking stills of the 'video hoes' from music videos like 2Pac’s “I Get Around”, the artist recently earned herself a place on the famed Forbes 30 under 30 list and looks to be on the verge of taking the art world by storm. We talked about everything from the gentrification of Harlem and her current project at the Red Bull house of Art, to the current fascist state of America and whether it's the responsbility of artists to change racist and sexist stereotypes.

24 April 2017

Detroit Through a Throwaway

Once the fourth largest city in the states by population, Detroit went from just under 2 million inhabitants in its prime, to the now dwindling 688,000. In the late ‘50s and into the ‘60s, the city with an endearing commitment to singing the praises of its auto industry was silenced by an unwillingness to diversify into other industries. Detroit became a victim of its own success and as technology advanced and auto jobs moved elsewhere, the city had no backup industry to step into the oil-stained shoes that now laid empty.