Thursday 31 December 2009

Thurs Dec 31st: Magical New Year from ThreeASFOUR

Adi, Ange, Gabi

Thurs Dec 31st: Petra Storrs - Paper, Scissors, Paint

Its been an incredible year for Petra Storrs and in particular her long running collaboration with friend Paloma Faith.  I first saw the mirror dress Petra made at a performance in February 2008 and been a fan of their dream team ever since.  Most recently of course has been the whole set design of Paloma's debut for which Petra not only undertook the album artwork but also stage and costume design for the tour and the videos .............check it all out on her wonderful website (also check out Jool's Holland Hootenanny tonight as I suspect something might pop up!   This is pure conjecture, double guessing from tweets........not fact)
So here we take a little look back to a seminal piece and another lovely example of fashion film after yesterday's theme with Malcolm.  Here is "In All The World, I Dream In Paper" which is a MUST SEE for anyone who has missed out on this gem so far.  Petra has sent me some snaps from behind the scenes:
"These are pictures of the preparation for a stop frame animation I made, myself and Sarah Lloyd spent three days completely covered in paint up ladders on the third day, we had to soak our clothes and head scarfs off our bodies in the shower because everything had dried on (I thought I would end up bald)! I was really fun as where completely delirious though lack of sleep and paint fumes!!"
A film of Petra's work on the V&A Friday late fashion show i went to in Sept has also just been uploaded you can now all feast your eyes ........

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Weds 30th Dec: Interview with Malcolm

Malcolm is a name you will have seen in listings for  ASVOFFSHOWstudio and for collaborations with designers such as Jean-Pierre Braganza, Michiko Koshino and most recently the Illamasqua makeup campaigns.  We are still in the tentative first stages of fashion film making with only a handful of names exploring the before the industry blows up with dabblers, here is an insight into the mind of one of the initial pioneers who has been experimenting ever since his time studying Fine Art at UEA.  (On a personal note, Malcolm is wickedly dashing, sincerely polite and comfortingly charming...........whoever I introduce him to has to comment on this special combination!)

1)  What was your favourite book when you were growing up and was it illustrated?

I think I have more appreciation of children's books now then when I was young. I remember really loving the illustrations in The Divine Comedy by Gustave Doré, and later (when I was old enough to understand it) the poem by Dante Alighieri. The woodcuts that Doré created are so immaculately detailed.

2)  What is your favourite character from a film and you particularly like the art direction in this film?

That's literally impossible for me to say, I love so many films.

3)  What was the first moving-image piece that you made?

My first ever moving-image piece was for my a-level's I think, called "Lucid". It was about a girl who couldn't speak, so she'd wired herself into a HAM radio in an attempt to do so.

4)  You studied fine art and still create work that has a "painterly aesthetic".............who is your favourite painter from history and have you been moved by (made a connection) a particular work of thiers in a museum?

I love paintings in general, Francis Bacon, Frida Kahlo, William Blake, Fuseli...
But my absolute favourite is Heironymous Bosch. I remember seeing "The Garden of Earthly Delights" and being so overwhelmed I nearly cried.

5)  Do you keep a sketchbook?...........How do you collect and store your ideas?

I've always kept sketchbooks, They used to be more mixed media, especially when I was still painting, now they're all in black pens.
I always have it with me, otherwise I get really nervous.

"some old sketchbook pages."

6)  Do you have a muse that is often in mind throughout your projects?

I try not to, it depends so much on the mood of the project, the range is pretty massive.

7)  How do you go about writing a treatment to convey your ideas to a you make a story much does this change once you start shooting?

A lot of the time you have to change the way you convey your concepts to a client in order to make sure they understand it on their terms. Some people like drawings, some like written treatments, so it definitely keeps you on your toes. I try to storyboard for projects as long as there is enough time. I use it mostly as a structure to make sure we get everything we need to get, and make sure it leaves a lot of room to play, because you never know what's going to happen on a shoot.

"on a shoot."

8)  In fashion film, what is your unique approach to showcasing the clothes within the narrative you want to capture?

I think the great thing about fashion film is it has it's own set of rules compared to shooting a short film. Most of the time showing the product is so important, and that's the element of fashion film that I enjoy the most; coming up with new and exciting ways to show off the clothes. That being said, I've done projects for designers that are meant to be more like mood pieces, setting an atmosphere, made long before the clothes are finished.

9)  How did the CCTV / night vision idea come about for Hannah's film?

Hannah had already come up with her concept for the collection, which was a great help. I had a look at her reference material, which included lots of cctv cameras. I was determined for it to be quite high contrast black and white and quite moody, but I didn't want us to lose any of the details of the clothes. I wanted the girl to be like a large cat almost, and so I started drawing her with glowing eyes, which lead me to night vision.

10)  You have a close working relationship with Alex Box which is did you first meet and can you tell us a little bit about how you collaborate?

I consider Alex a kindred spirit in the truest sense, she is one of my closest friends. Having her on shoots is invaluable, as she brings so much to projects, not just from the makeup side. I usually start by meeting up with her and showing her my drawings and references, and she can immediately come up with something that is perfectly in tune. We first actually met backstage at a show of Gareth Pugh's in London, but we'd been speaking online, both being graduates of Fine Art from Chelsea.

11)  What would be your dream commission?

Every commission is a dream commission!

"where to crash after a long day of editing."

Monday 28 December 2009

Tues 29th Dec: Annie Collinge Blogging

Although I'm (obviously) a manic blogger I actually don't officially follow that many......I think my dashboard blog roll is currently at 17.  One of them is the photographer Annie Collinge whose work I love for its strong considered identity with a sense of humour.  Her blog is nothing to do with this work in content but its sensibility is the same..........its quirky sightings condensed into bitesize portions of pictures.  The peculiar moments we all see on a daily basis but don't record........meanwhile Annie is there remembering to can it!
To begin a few days of nostalgia on the blog and a kind of "review of 2009" I have asked Annie to pick her own personal fave posts from her back catalogue so far and recall the scenario (check out the Ghostbuster pooch!):

This is a photo of my sister, Miranda when we were on our way back to London at JFK airport. I have put this in, only because I'm always a fan of the novelty snap shot. 

This is one of various snaps of dog Halloween in Thompkins Square park.  It happens the weekend before Halloween and is my kind of fun, however,  I'm not entirely sure if its sure cruel or the dogs are actually enjoying themselves.
Was a very strange day which culminated in my friend having an argument with photographer Mary Ellen Mark about who was taking a picture of what.  I sort of cowardly hid in the background and couldn't quite believe that the person I learned about in A-level photography was now trading insults with my friend over a German shepherd dressed as a first world war soldier. 

This was taken at a Halloween party in a Masonic temple in Fort Greene Brooklyn, this year it totally pissed it down so the parade was a bit of a write off, so many soggy costumes and unintentional panda eyes.
There is actually a man inside this costume and its actually home made, if you look closer the eyes are made out of brown paper circles.

We decided to take the train from Penn station to Montreal, it takes 9 hours (I think) and goes all along the Hudson River so its very beautiful.  The border patrol was totally terrifying however, I think I assumed that because we were on a train we would not be interrogated and just cruise through, silly me.   I liked Montreal but it all seemed very deserted at night, this was taken on a midnight walk through the empty streets.

One weekend we decided to hire a car and have a little trip to Dia Beacon, we stopped at a town called Cold Spring for lunch.  Its sort of a rich old hippy town, a bit like Woodstock and I found this guy outside one of the junk shops.
It sort of reminds me of Quentin Blake's illustration of The Twits.

This was the view from the park where my apartment was in Brooklyn, I just found this rusty bit of wire on the beach (if you can call it a beach).

Okay, although this is not the greatest photo, it's the subject which is interesting.  I saw Linda in the street and followed her round Home Depot until I plucked up the courage to ask if I could take her photo.
I am generally pretty terrified of doing this sort of thing and am still not quite sure what came over me.  Since then, I have photographed her quite a bit, in and outside her apartment in Manhattan. She wears these amazing bright colours every day, and totally hates wearing black.  I love the contrast of her sort of Gothic look with these mad bright colours.  She is also a very interesting and lovely lady and I hope to put together a little exhibition of these pictures soon.

Mon 28th Dec: SHOWstudio Season's Greetings

Not only was I lucky enough to get to take charge of the Christmas Tree for the SHOWstudio SHOP this year also lead to being asked to illustrate their Christmas card.  Its funny really, because sending them my Christmas cards might just be how I first made creative contact with the team!  After doing so for a couple of years, I was invited to take part in the "12 days of Christmas" Swarovski project  in 2006.  It was such an amazing honour to be included as an unknown entity, and that is an example of their all inclusive practises at SHOWstudio.   The novelty still hasn't worn off, and I was again duly honoured to be given responsibility for this task..........I took a deep breath and set about a signature paper cut, incorporating photos of the accessories from the tree and my print design by Brie Harrison.  
My card arrived through the door on Christmas eve and it was as if Santa had come early..........I can't believe they had time to write them all after the whole month spent shooting 100 portraits and then the imminent dismantling of Fashion Revolution.  I'm wondering what fashion week will be like at Somerset House in February without it?  I'm really going to miss it!  

Sunday 27 December 2009

Sunday 27th Dec: Luke Fenech

From my interview with Elisha Smith-Leverock to another that I answered about our work together from the premiere issue of Sketchbook Magazine - "The Blogger Issue"........which has obviously been much blogged about........but I have only just received my issue due to multiple address mix ups and general British Postal Service glitches.  To accompany the written body, Sketchbook commissioned artist Luke Fenech to illustrate my designs which you can see above.  It was such a sweet surprise to see my stitching reinterpreted into a 2D artwork so I wanted to locate the hand responsible for the doodles.  Thanks to Kate Bones for replying to my blog call out, we have been put in touch.  Being an avid cut'n'paste collage fiend myself, his jumbles of delicately placed paper really resonated, so I wanted to find out more ......... 

"I'm still doing my 3rd year of graphic design at university in Nottingham and when I'm not there I'm either travelling the city on a 1950s bike, dreaming about folk stories and Land Rovers, having impromptu adventures in the countryside (with a picnic and/or a flask of gin!) or enjoying an early morning walk after a night of disco! Either way I'm constantly observing and recording the world, people and my thoughts. 
Clients include Habitat, YCN, Exalt Exalt, The Social, Punk, Sketchbook Magazine"

"I'm also part of the Just Us Design Collective and am represented by YCN. 
I was recently commissioned by YCN to produce a collage for their 2009-10 annual, where each of the 109 commended students were asked to email in a photo of themselves, and from those I compiled a collage of an old school hall, using 1950s imagery to make a massive celebratory image. 
My favourite project is called New Habitats, in which I re-imagined interiors catalogues by collaging different pages of imagery to create new structures that transcend momentary trends and stand up with a bit more longevity. I'm hopefully going to transfer these into 3D forms soon. 

As you all know, I ask featured artists to send me a picture of thier work place.........I love a snoop at people's different abodes full of bits and is Luke's lovely looking safe haven and its fittingly festive to keep the Christmas vibe going on the blog.............Thanks Luke!

Sun 27th Dec: Happy Christmas from........ Part 6

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Weds 23rd Dec: Elisha Smith-Leverock Interview

Elisha hardly needs an introduction here as one of my most prolific co-conspirators and imagists. Elisha is responsible for both my moving and still work of which the latest has just been launched in the format of my look book. In just one day Elisha shot the whole of my collection into a set of prints that I couldn't be happier with. This is it. She has catalogued the whole thing in the most beautiful way that gave me goose pimples as they individually materialised before my very eyes. So without further a-do, I hand you over to an initial interview to find out a little bit about how her vision was accumulated and cemented:

*  For more exclusive images from the shoot go to a new article on the collection at Dazed

1) When did you first pick up a camera and how did it come about?
I decided one day out of the blue that photography was it for me without even ever having really picked up a camera. It seemed instantly accessible to me although getting to a point where I was happy with the outcome wasn’t easy or instant at all.

2) What model camera was your first love and what was the first image you took that you were most proud of............a turning point?
My first true love was my Haaselblad before that I was infatuated with my Olympus mju. I used to take her everywhere and I have extensively documented the nightlife of electro era Berlin. I’m planning to exhibit those pictures at some point.
But the turning point for me was my final project at schooI, a series of portraits of female guitarists. I finally found my style and it got published in full by Bon Magazine.

3) You now use a HassleBlad...........why is that your weapon of choice?
The Hassleblad I use is special to me not only because Hasselblad's are excellent cameras, it’s the camera I have been using since I was a student. It’s vintage from the 60's and my dad acquired it as a gift to me form a pawn shop in D.C.. It’s now like an old friend because I know it inside out. Unfortunately I am sometimes forced to use digital nowadays, shame.

4) You are also a keep Polaroid'er............. how do you decide what event/subject requires that do you keep all these portraits.......any plans for an exhibition?
I love Polaroid I like to use it when I want to add some softness to a subject. I also like the fact that you get some thing special, unique and non-reproducible. Of course you can scan it but that’s not the same.
I chuck them all in a drawer -I’m not very neat. Sometimes my medium format ones will still be wet and the chemicals will cause them to stick together then I get really interesting results. I think they will all make for a great exhibition or a book one day.

5) Whats your favourite Polaroid you've taken and why?
My favorite Polaroid is a beautiful black and white double exposure of a girl in a garden with a horses tail. I love it because it’s very ghostly.
6) Your signature style is making magic using natural sunlight. Where would you most like to shoot in the world if Conde Nast gave you an unlimited expenses trip to a location of your choice to shoot?
Marfa Texas no doubt.

7) You have quite a feminine soft touch to your aesthetic which is very refreshing. Which other female photographer's work do you admire and why?
This is a tough question because all my favourite photographers are men and the type of photography I like to look at might not necessarily reflect in my style. I must say I do love Harley Weir her work is inspired.

8) You spent time in Berlin before settling in London. Can you tell us a pro and con for working/living in each city?
I’m afraid I’m not impartial on this one because I’m German and I really miss the food and being close to my family. My time in Berlin was really fun and as mentioned I documented a lot of it. I think things have changed there tough and it seems a lot more settled. London has always been exciting and exotic to me but I could do without the completely extortionate cost of living.

9) At that time you were also a musician?! A large portion of your film work is within music video. What would be your dream project past or present? (e.g Jimi Hendrix Foxy Lady...........)
I would like to go back in time and do a video for my band Disco Arms Disco Legs. We had a massive radio hit with a song called ‘David Has Chlamydia’

10) We have ventured into fashion film together had a great time in doing so! Recently Chris Cunningham has made a beautiful advertisement for Gucci perfume and Jean Pierre Jeunet for Chanel No.5..........what brand / product would you like to get your hands on?
As you yourself once suggested Fred, I really do think we should do something for Swarovski together. It would be so lush!

"Hibiscus Ridiculous" S/S 2010
Photographer: Elisha Smith - Leverock
Stylist: Kim Howells
Hair: Aimee Robinson using Phyto
Make Up: Yin Lee @ Premier using MAC pro
Stylist Assistant: Reuben Esser
Hair Assistant: Brady Lea
Models: Ashleigh @ Profile
Petter Anderson @ D1
Body Suits: Sarah Magnay

Tues 22st Dec: Happy Christmas/New Year/Birthday/Thankyou Susie Bubble

Here is what you get for being a staunch ambassador for fredbutlerstyle.............and a generally lush Susie Bubble.   An elephant never forgets........and I will never forget the few people that helped discover me and helped to spread the I like to keep the karma flowing and those angels in good stead with some of my samples.  
Thank you to Jessica Meek for helping me with the accessories for SHOWstudio by making a) these necklaces b) the boxes c) sticking letters to my latest look-books d) hand delivering them...........which I will cover in an imminent this space........

Tues 22st Dec: Christmas Shopping Ideas...........

Here's Fred with a quick can purchase the special accessories that I made to decorate the tree over at SHOWstudio this more via the or Disney Roller Girl......