Some time back, I did some work for a womenswear fashion brand, prints.
These are some of the tryouts I liked best but weren’t picked! There seems to be a revival of floral prints right now. I love flowers, they’re endlessly inspiring. And I particularly love floral print for men, or for tattoos. I find a very masculine man hotter with a flower tattoo.
this is a horiyoshi III tattoo website from that nowness website
Haaa… I fancy a transparent floral printed shirt, Dries Van Noten style.
I love this title.
I sometimes used to feel like my life was a still life. Not so much anymore. This usually happens when you’re a teenager.
What I mean to talk about in this post is this film, Still life, from Jia Zhang-ke.
A while ago, I had a job interview at a luxury company which name starts with an H. I created a mini project for them, based on this film. I certainly didn’t feel like they got it, but I really liked it. For sure it was a “creative” idea, what a shame it didn’t get me further in the recruitment process.
One of my favourite images from the film.
Do you know Jia Zhang Ke?(the spelling of the name is inconsistent, it changes between Jia Zhangke and Jia Zhang Ke so I’ll use the one I prefer)
He’s a chinese director, and I think he started to really produce films towards the end of the 1990s. Jia Zhang Ke jas become somewhat of a controversial figure, as he’s one pf those chinese directors who has received official gobernment backing. What could thos change? Probably financial, distribution and production help, but also maybe a compromise with the censorship bureau. This being said I don’t find his films to be particularly showing the gobernment policies in a favourable light. Maybe a more knowledgeable critic would discern.
The first film I really saw of him was The World世界, a grim realistic story about an employee of a Beijing theme park, called Beijing World Park. What it’s really about is her struggle to live, to find contentment and interest in her life. The whole thing is very slow-paced. It was really interesting because it felt really genuine, the actress being really believable. And obviously the actual theme park is an amazing setting.
Another thing that was interesting (but didn’t impress me) was little animated scenes used as transitions between scenes. I’d seen the same process in The taste of tea by Katsuhito Ishii, and I found it much more successful and adapted to the ambiance of the film. This being said, it DID brighten the story and provide something of a buffer against what could be overall a very depressing story.
Of course I was intrigued. So when I heard about Still life, I decided to give it a shot.
Notice the great colours
Say hello to the two characters of Still life, man and woman.
Obviously, they have got names, Han Samning and Shen Hong; but I personaly felt they were irrelevant. Maybe there are some cultural undertones to their names but I didn’t get them.
Starting with a search, the story slowly unfolds around the main characters. They evolve in the area surroubding the blablabla of the three gorges dam; Cities that are gping to be submerged, semi urban areas in a slow agony. Both protagonists are looking for someone and this search will be the reason for the director to show the eerie landscape with its last remaining pockets of human activity.
The views of these destroyed and empty panoramas are amazing. Scale seems to increase tenfold the emotional factor of every scene. When Shen Hong sits down to have a drink, the nackgrpund gives her wariness and despair epic proportions. This balance between the incredible set and the restraint in the actors game make it feel really authentic, maybe justifying the term “social realism” for this film.
I haven’t posted in a while, again. However I have a bit more time and headspace and therefore decided it was time to add a new post.
So I went for a motivating topic : my friend and favourite jewellery designer, Zohra Rahman.
We met in Central Saint Martin’s while studying. I took an immediate dislike of her at first that then turned into a great fondness. So a while ago, when I did my “Perfect Blue Tamara” collection, I asked her if she could help out, and design pieces. Which she did and the pieces got a lot of attentiion, sometimes more than my own clothes. The accessories director from Hermès was particularly impressed.
Here’s in particular the ring she designed. I think it’s beautiful :
It’s a great design, basically she takes all these different metals, like copper, gold plated metal, silver, etc… And then she traps a jewel in the middle of all these layers. And then it is all riveted together. What’s really fitting with the collection is the fact it creates a lot of overlapping geometric shapes, angles, and almost layers of transparency and shine which was a central theme in my collection.
Also, Zohra’s been working mostl on women’s pieces before this, but she found just the right scale and width for these pieces. With the Tamara de Lempicka inspiration, the rings must be anything but discreet, and be rough and sharp.
You can see more of these pieces in the “Perfect Blue Tamara” collection section.
So this riveting technique was sort of developped as a signature, on following pieces. I think it is extremely successful and more developped on this necklace, a comission for a friend.
The lines are strong and sharp still, but the colours and curves, and the smaller stones make it somehow softer. Aren’t the colours beautiful? And the pearl chain, it’s a nice detail, one that I’d not seen before. The format of the pendant reminds me of the japanese inro, which were hanging from a kimono’s obi and used to carry valuables, money etc..
Altogether, what’s really remarkable is that she has a style. Bigger pieces, with angles, depth and an overall rawness in the finishing. For sure they’re not your daily pieces, but they carry a strong statement and intent, and maybe that’s also due to the fact they’re all comission pieces.
They sort of remind me of the sixties early seventies Dinh Van pieces which have a smiliar strong, uncompromising and slightly androgynous look to them(see Dinh’s square ring, 1966). I reckon that’s what makes them contemporary.
Here’s a few more examples and a photo of her (she’s the girl on the right).
If you feel like contacting her you can find her in my facebook friends, or I think she even has a tumblr page.
Actually it’s her website, right HERE.
I haven’t posted here for a while.
I was ill AND it was the ever busy fashion time of fabric fairs.
So, here are some of my favourite and I think most exquisite cosmetic films I’ve seen.
During the 1980s, Shiseido hired Serge Lutens as their creative director.
This collaboration gave birth to some beautiful films which are more extreme in their sets and stories than what you’d expect for a cosmetics brand. You could say that they gave him a lot of creative freedom and resources to properly lead these projects.
Eventually, I am not sure, if I were a woman, that I would feel compelled to buy this make-up, but I certainly think I would remember the commercials.
These two following videos are Shiseido NOT by Serge Lutens, but I love them. They feature beautiful traditional japanese sceneries, with a superb soundtrack. They both feature Sayoko Yamaguchi, who was a definite idol for a certain crowd, being the one huge japanese model at the time. It’s easy to see why people got so interested in her : she has a style and personality clearly visible beyond the part she’s playing in these commercials. Sadly she’s dead now, so this kind of a tribute to her.
Oh and I just love how this ad really “climaxes”!
Do you know the miao?
Well i didnt until i picked up this funny image book about them on a stop whilst travelling on the highway. Tvey’re an ethnic group from China from primarily in the southern provinces (or so Wikipedia says). The book is really evasive about any political issue(not very surprising!) but shows very nice pictures about their costumes, and impressive headpieces. The sleeves and colours are particularly interesting, such vibrant combinations. I wonder whether these colours result from natural dyes pr synthetic dyes; does it look natural to you? Not really…
BONUS: isn’t this bag crazy? It comes from a mail order catalog. Im thinking a few tweaks and it would become a nice design, like removing the crafty handle details.
so online I found two things that I like.
The first one was something lost, or maybe something that I could never read the name of, because of japanese script. I found it on a web magazine (or a very evolved form of a blog) spoon and tamago. His name is Akira Yamaguchi, he’s an illustrator that worked, amongst other artists, on a set of jap books, that were called “horror dragonia”. The name sounds stupid but actually they edit some texts from Marquis de Sade. It’s unclear whether all the books are from the same Marquis de Sade (I don’t think so), but all are lavishly printed and illustrated in really different styles. I’ll do a post about them some time in the future.
But this guy’s work stood out.
It is superb, detailed, and you can tell his technique is very high. The colours are applied very minutely in transparent layers. The buildings are extremely detailed, and his graphic style in terms of colours, and this light and curved touch in the lines is very recognizable. When he draws people I personally find he manages to give them a lot of sensuality, he has a knack in drawing beautiful bodies.
And then obviously there’s all the cool anachronistic stuff he’s doing, drawing planes and modern buildings in the japanese isometric perspective, with a lovely outline and a colour cartridge with the title of the illustration. He really is a perfectionist. His book can be bought on amazon. I’ll get it as soon as I have money to spare!
Then this other guy: Shen Wei (the photographer, not the dancer)
I found his work online while looking for bases for some of my prints. I’m not very knowledgeable about photography, nor am I extremely interested. However, I think that, just like painting, portraits are always interesting and compelling. Hence that’s why I was interested in this guys work.
His bio is pretty dry and doesn’t give you any clue on him as a person:
Born and raised in Shanghai, Shen Wei is a fine art photographer currently based in New York City. His work have been exhibited nationally and internationally, with venues including the Museum of the City of New York, Griffin Museum of Photography, Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall, the Harn Museum of Art and the Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His photographs have been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, Aperture, ARTnews, PDN, American Photo, and Chinese Photography.
(it goes on about his achievements)
I find his portraits beautifully, insightful, poetic. The light is delicate, and the settings of anonymous hotel halls and the scale of chinese infrastructure are giving his work an bigger emotional scale. The fact that I read Factory girls by Leslie T Chang, helps me get into the mood of this picture. I think of Chunming, one of the young women who work of these factories, and I imagine fragments of her life.
His autoportraits are nice too(this one’s called PISS haha)
But they make me wonder, why there are so many male nudes in his work? And they’re displayed in a very sensual, sexual way too. I wonder if it’s this guy’s desire; or maybe it is another view he’s airing in this manner. He has a good physique though, so I wouldn’t complain anyway. But still, I’d love to find out more information about this guy.
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.