With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, romance is definitely in the air. Get in the mood for love with these heartwarming photos we found on the web.
Model, photographer, entrepreneur: no matter what you call him, Brent Chua is an artist at heart. We tracked down our talented (albeit elusive) friend to see what he’s been up to.
two + seven: After our last interview with you at Table 12, your photography seemed to take precedent over your modeling career. What projects have you been working on since the last time we saw you?
Brent Chua: I’ve been shooting photographs like a madman and it makes me incredibly happy, what can I say? It keeps me moving, like a fire begging to burn out but never burning out. Not yet.
2+7: What drove you to the other side of the camera?
BC: The need to see things. Isn’t it great to be able to see things? After a while you get the feeling you just want to create your own stuff. And modeling, I mean, it is what it is. So I suppose what drove me was a strong desire to see things in a different way.
2+7: With a background in modeling, do you feel like more you are more forgiving and patient than other photographers?
BC: I would hope so! No, but, yes it does seem that way. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I fancy myself someone quite easy to work with but surely there must be one or two who would not think so. But in general, I really do find the chemistry. Chemistry is something really important. Of course it doesn’t have to exist, for most people, but for me, it makes the time spent worth it.
2+7: What do you look for in your models?
BC: I like when someone can be present yet also when someone can have an imagination. Patience is always great. A virtue, they say. Usually if we are both patient actually it seems to go by much faster. Though I can’t stand when someone isn’t willing to work. I hate laziness. Unless I ask you to be.
2+7: If there was something about the fashion industry that you could change, what would it be?
BC: It is difficult when everything, in anything- from fashion to art to cinema, all seems to reflect our generation now. It all moves a bit too fast, especially fashion, and it would be nice if some things could just be absorbed.
2+7: Why are you always MIA?
BC: Because of the fire [passion]! I can’t help it really.
2+7: Finally, have you taken a shower yet?
BC: Actually, no. But that’s because the model I shot today arrived only ten minutes after I woke up. But I will shower now, don’t worry.
Credits: All photos were taken by Brent Chua. Special thanks to Dmitry Brylev & VNY Model Management, Taylor Edward Freeman and Elena.
From the sidewalk to the catwalk, CATWALK/SIDEWALK is the exhibit of the season! Sponsored by Wix.com in the Wix Lounge until May 3rd, this fashion photography collective features the work of photographers Liam Alexander and Galo Delgado in a presentation that compares and contrasts runway and street style fashion. two+seven caught up with the talented photogs in an exclusive interview:
LA: Well, we all know that runway style historically trickles down into street style. But now, in the world that we live in, in 2013 there is so much more of a dialogue between the two—the distance between the runway and the street has been seriously diminished by the interconnectivity of the world. While there are still a few autonomous designers handing down style from an ivory tower, in most cases, the fashion you see in the shows comes right from the streets. We live in an interesting time where we are crowd sourcing everything and the masses decide what’s good. It’s the same with fashion, so it really blurs the lines between street and runway.
Liam, what is it about friend & collaborator Galo Delgado’s streetstyle moments—or what he thought about your industry shots)—that made you think “wow, these would really compliment one another?”
LA: It actually came from Wix giving us so much freedom after inviting us to have the show. They basically said “hey guys do whatever you want” and it was serendipitous that two of our strengths complimented each other in such a relevant way (street style/ runway style) You know, Galo and I work together all the time, and for many years, so I think both of our styles and techniques are a lot of times informed by each other anyway. We had been wanting to do something together again, since our photobooth event last summer and Wx wanted a fashion themed show for February. So it was perfect timing, and the idea was born from work that we both love to do, so it was just great.
Galo, What is it about friend & collaborator Liam Alexander’s runway shots that made you think “wow, these would really compliment each other?”
GD: Well, it was pretty simple. Ashley Williams approached me on putting something together at the Wix Lounge for NYFW. Being that Liam had a strong focus in fashion, I had to approach him with this opportunity, to see if he was interested in coming onboard. I knew he had a ridiculous body of work. Homeboy had been shooting runway for years; it just made sense to me, for him to be involved. We had a five minute discussion over the phone and BOOM, the idea of CWSW was born. Strangely enough, its kinda always been our process when working together. We start out with hearing each others ideas and opinions, then take it to the next level. We spent countless hours refining this show. Liam, cover your ears…There isn’t a person out there that I enjoy working with more.
When preparing for this exhibition, what was the image selection process like? Are there specific moments/feelings that you look for in a shot?
LA: We both worked so intensely and closely together on this show that the body of work kind of merged into one. Personally I had a tremendous body of work from fashion weeks from shooting for so many seasons, and I wanted to show stuff that people hadn’t seen before that was a bit more fine arty than editorial. I cut it down to about 200 photos, and then I kind of just dumped them on Galo. It was really refreshing to get another set of eyes on the body of work. It was interesting to see what he liked compared to what I liked—it was super collaborative. In the end what was or wasn’t in the show was determined not by who was famous or what designers were featured, but by what images worked together visually and compositionally and how the pieces related to each other, complimented each other, or spoke to each other. We wanted to present a show that was above all else visually and conceptually engaging.
GD: 200? You dumped on like 300+ on me! And of course they were all pretty sick- not to mention super artistic. In my head I was like “Fuck, I got less than 25 days to complement this” I was a little freaked out. His subjects were all flawless runway models with full make-up and hair, dressed in the latest fashions. I decided to look at it from the other direction. I wanted to make sure all of my subjects were not models. No pulled clothing or hair and make-up. With the help of friends, and friends of friends I persuaded 21 subjects to participate. It was during the coldest weeks in January, and it wasn’t easy. However, the subjects fell in love with the idea and toughed it out. I wanted it to be as realistic as possible. Real people, as themselves on the sidewalks of New York. Then came the selection process—we wanted to focus on the juxtaposition. Originally we agreed doing eight pairings each. That idea went out the window pretty fast. We couldn’t ignore the fact of how great many of the photographs worked with each other. The show kept growing, we ran out of wall space at the Wix Lounge. Ashley stepped in and helped us with the final decision process. We ended up with 14 pieces each for a total of 28.
As an artist and photographer, what does all this fashion business mean to you?
LA: Oh Jesus… What does all this fashion business mean… I don’t even know. I don’t know anything about fashion. I just like taking pretty pictures. I am lucky and happy that I have beautiful subjects to photograph, but beyond that, really I could care less. That’s probably why everyone in fashion hates me, everyone is on an ego trip about people and stuff that won’t be relevant in two years, and its all about being really up everyone’s ass and I’m not really interested in that. I do allot more than fashion; I work in film, and make fine art collages. I find a lot of rich and wonderful ways to be creative across a lot of platforms and at the end of the day, fashion doesn’t play a tremendous role in my life. I just shop at thrift stores and buy sweaters for $4 – Although, now, I’m gonna have to start wearing Gucci again or something because now the thrift store thing is “en vogue” (thanks Makelmore) so instead of just getting a bargain, now I’m “one of those guys” haha…ugh.
GA: Ha! Liam that was pretty funny, I got plenty of Gucci that should fit you, just let me know when your ready make the transition. Aside from the fact that I like to dress nice, the fashion business doesn’t mean a whole lot to me these days. However, I do have a history with it. Let’s just say I got a thing for models, designers and the occasional publicist.
Can we look forward to another Catwalk/Sidewalk exhibition for Spring 2013 fashion week?
LA: I don’t think so. I think you can certainly look forward to something new and exciting from both me and Galo, and we will definitely be collaborating continuously. I’ll have a private salon of some of my fine art work in like a month, and I for one really look forward to collaborating with Galo again—it was one of the greatest joys of my life to make a show with one of my best friends! We’ll see what we come up with next, stay tuned!
GD: Dare I say “ditto” without all of you thinking that I’m making a Ghost reference? (Smile)
Catch the exhibit at the Wix Lounge, 10 West 18th Street until May 3rd! These are the last weeks of the show. The show will be open to the public from 9-5 and Galo and Liam are doing private showings in the final week of the exhibition!
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Liam has been photographing the inner workings of New York Fashion Week for various media publications and private clients for over 12 seasons. His backstage photographs have been featured in magazines, editorial features, and gallery shows; including his first solo exhibition “Behind the Curtain” at Envoy Enterprises Gallery in the Lower East Side. Liam’s fine art and photography have been shown throughout the United States, and internationally as a part of the second annual Toolkit Festival in Venice, Italy.
Award winning photographer and New York original Galo Delgado has photographed fashion, portraiture, and commercial work for over 10 years. As a native Manhattanite, he was always inspired by the visually charged chaos that is New York City. Galo became deeply engaged in capturing that chaos and beauty in his street photography, which today remains his true passion. His style and composition capture a unique image of NYC and its eclectic population. Galo’s work has graced the cover of a New York City paper, several exhibitions, and is privately collected across the globe.
“Galo Delgado and Liam Alexander, friends and collaborators for over 10 years, proudly present two distinct visions of fashion in New York City. Juxtaposing the runways of New York Fashion Week with the New York streets, these photographers have created a compelling series of work that encompasses New York fashion from the catwalk to the sidewalk.”
All event images by: Lexi Namer
Curator, Ashley GallmanWilliams
Liam Alexander: Website, Facebook + Twitter
Galo Delgado: Website, Facebook + Twitter
From the sidewalk to the catwalk, CATWALK/SIDEWALK is the exhibit of the season! The exhibition is sponsored by Wix.com and designed by fashion photographers Liam Alexander and Galo Delago. Starting tomorrow the exhibit opens with a private reception that you must RSVP to attend (RSVP@catwalk-sidewalk.com)! However if you can’t make it tomorrow – it will be going on February 5th thru March 1st 2013!
As two + seven’s man behind the scenes, photographer Liam Alexander is primed and ready for Fashion Week. With exclusive coverage, Liam gives us a glimpse into the glamorous (and not-so-glamorous) world of backstage shows. To kick-start the week’s festivities, Liam presents a black and white collection of past fashion week photos. Stay tuned for more candid shots, street style, and more: only on two+seven!
Want more of Liam Alexander?
At two + seven, we love reconnecting with old friends. It’s been a while, so we thought we’d play catch up with a few of our favorite features. See what photographer Josh Farria, jewelry designer Irene Wood of History + Industry, and designer Michelle Weisman of 81Poppies have been up to!
Photographer Josh Farria
The Brooklyn Circus introduce its “The Beautiful Struggle” pictorial. Photographed by Josh Farria
“As of now im working hard on my book which I’m hoping to release in September, along with a few features over the past few months. I’m also working on a bunch of collab projects with my friends all throughout San Francisco. Much love…”
Josh in the news…
See the two+seven feature on Josh Farria
Jewelry Designer Irene Wood of History + Industry
Most notably I just released a Midsummer’s Lookbook. My move to Brooklyn has kept me pretty busy this summer, so I’ll keep you guys posted of future news!
See the two+seven feature on Irene Wood
Designer Michelle Weisman of 81Poppies
We have had some great press since we last spoke! We were featured in Redbook, More, Glamour, and Pregnancy and Newborn. We also had Giuliana Rancic on E! News wear one of our dresses from Fall 2012. And our Jewelry collaboration that we did for Spring/Summer was worn on the Bachelorette and Gossip Girl.
We are currently designing our Spring 2013 collection and about to start shipping our Fall 2012 collection to stores. As I mentioned above we did a collaboration with a local Texas Jewelry designer Micah Yancey and created a unique collection of semi precious jewels to be worn with the Spring/Summer 2012 81 Poppies Collection. And we are working on a new collection for Spring 2013 right now.
See the two+seven feature on 81 Poppies
Naked. A completely natural, yet inexplicably feared state of being. We are born and bred sans clothes, yet live within a culture that subdues and censors. We are mortified and shocked by the exposure of the anatomy that we all possess. Photographer Zach Hyman is no stranger to this paradox, and bases his artwork on the very feeling it evokes. Drawing the attention of art critics, media, and mere observers, Hyman showcases the natural human body in all of its glory: in the middle of a busy street, on a deserted mountain top, and even on a crowded New York City subway car. “I think it’s the idea that underneath all of the insecurities and knowledge we wall up in front of us, all the fashion and objects we use to build our identities, there is the same composition of humanity,” he says, referencing the appeal of his subject matter. In a revealing interview, Zach Hyman talks to two + seven about his past, his work, and what it really means to take it all off.
Photo: Israel 2010
two + seven: You went to school for theater arts and left to pursue photography. Ever think of going back?
Zach Hyman: I had been interested in photography since a very early age. My grandfather and uncle were huge hobbyists and I considered them very interesting people and still do. I think I got my first camera when I was around 8 or so. It was one of those long Kodak cameras with the wide format double spool film. You could shoot three sizes: 35mm to Panoramic. I left it at a wedding in Carmel. I was crushed.
But to answer the question, no. I never think of going back. I think of it as more of a hiatus, as I studied photography throughout high school and for some reason decided to go the acting route. I have recurring dreams in which I am about to go on stage and have no idea what play I’m in, or have completely forgotten all my lines, but that’s about it. I don’t like to be told what to do, and during the conservatory theater training there was a lot of that. I realized that if I were going to be an actor I would have to deal with not getting tattoos, cutting or not cutting my hair; just having someone else dictate my appearance and actions on a regular basis didn’t appeal to me. I do, however, keep finding the parts of performance art that I do enjoy showing up in my photos and artwork.
‘El Parque’ Taken in Parque de Mexico, Mexico City. A man in the iconic crucifixion pose is doused in the colors of his native flag. 2011
2+7: You must get this question a lot: why naked people?
ZH: The nude works are representative of my past and present concerns and ideas. My aim at the start was to symbolically scream out in a moment of silence by placing the nude form in a public setting. Although I continue to work with nude figures, my work has moved into a realm containing more specificity pertaining to relevant worldly issues as well as personal struggles, victories, and dreams. My continual work with nudes, both portraiture and self portraiture, is derived from the desire to promote a more open, honest, and vulnerable society through imagery.
Many of us are taught from a very early age to bottle up our emotions and hide away our thoughts unless they align with a certain school. I feel that by disrobing we can metaphorically shed the preconceived thoughts and ingrained ideas that have been fed to us over the years, while at the same time become more readily available to receive new and important insights as to who we are as a world society and to the relevance of our existence. When these moments are photographed the energy and concept of the image are more easily received by the viewer. Because the nude form is considered to be taboo, the desire to continue on looking and interpreting for one’s self is simply human nature.
After finding this means of transmission I began to delve into the experimentation process of abstractly representing the multiple crises apparent in the world as well as within myself. While still retaining cohesiveness with the previous work, I explored ideas such as war, greed, depletion of resources, the artists struggle etc. Interestingly enough, the subjects are beginning to become less and less visible underneath the other mediums. Using materials or methods to change the shape or color of these figures have become an interesting way to relay the concepts that are of most importance to me as an artist and world citizen.
Studio 2012 – Work in Progress
2+7: How do you avoid the police? Any close calls?
ZH: Avoiding the police was something more relevant in the beginning, but I would ask friends to be look outs and just find the right moment to give the go… 15 to 30 seconds tops. There was a shoot planned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We went for it and the model (KC Neill) was arrested, charged with indecent exposure, endangering the welfare of children, and lewd conduct. All of the charges were dropped. I have close calls all the time. It seemed that a cop car or police unit would roll or walk by very soon before or after almost every shoot. The scariest times seem to be when I’m out of the country. There were a few times in Israel, India, and Mexico when I felt very much out of my comfort zone, especially when I was the one posing.
‘Untitled’ After experiencing a week in northern India, a self portrait was taken in a small town in Phalodi, Jodhpur. 2011
2+7: Would you (or have you) ever posed nude yourself?
ZH: After my first Series of nudes I began to pose in my photos, it moved to collaborative work, and has now taken on a life of it’s own. A majority of my work is now based on nude and implied nude self portraiture.
2+7: On a deeper level, what is about the human body that inspires you to create art?
ZH: I think it’s the idea that underneath all of the insecurities and knowledge we wall up in front of us, all the fashion and objects we use to build our identities, there is the same composition of humanity…and when we look past all of those walls and barriers we come to a whole new set of problems concerns and ideas that are ACTUALLY relevant. The body interests me because it is always so covered up. Not just in clothing, but in its seeming knowledge of self. I believe in the “don’t know” mind. When you don’t know there are infinite possibilities. When you know everything your scope is narrowed and leaves you stranded.
‘Chinatown‘ The first shot taken in the “Decent Exposures” series. 2009
2+7: Tell us about your upcoming exhibitions/body of work. What can we look forward to?
ZH: I’ve recently been working on some large scale installation/sculptural pieces. Some are photographed and some are the installations and sculptures themselves, but all rely on some sort of self representation. The new work is all about process; both artistic and humanistic. I plan on finalizing all concepts and work by the end of the year and finding a home for it in early 2013.
Zach’s studio space, East Williamsburg
2+7: When you’re not shooting on city streets, where do you set up space?
ZH: I have a studio space in East Williamsburg.
To rent Zach’s studio space for photoshoots, yoga, events etc., click here
Contact him at email@example.com
Being bold and fearless goes a long way. Just ask art director, Sarah Bassett, who earned a coveted spot in Fashion Week’s front rows simply by asking. Don’t believe it? Read the recount of Basssett’s projects, philosophies, experiences and opportunities that have come her way in this cut throat industry.
two+seven: What projects are you currently working that you’re most excited with?
Sarah Bassett: I am currently working on the new and very first Rag and Bone collection campaign which is super exciting. They are such an amazing company that I love and are just really great people. They are down for anything and willing to try new things which is an amazing opportunity. I also have a book project coming up for a recognized costume designer, can’t say who just yet, as it is a surprise, but she designs the costumes for one of my favorite bands! Super excited about that because it’s even a surprise for her!
2+7: What kind or projects do you normally take?
SB: I prefer to work on projects where I have the most creative freedom, obviously, and get the opportunity to try new things, use my hands and steer away from anything super commercial. My heart will always be in editorial and book design.
2+7: What do you think is unique about your work?
SB: I really aim to create work that is fun, and exciting and a little different to everything else. Because I never studied design, I am not confide by the ‘rules’ of traditional design and how things ‘should be done.’ It’s great because, when left to my own devices, I make stuff I like, not necessarily technically perfect. I am not a graphic designer, I don’t want to be a graphic designer and don’t claim to be a graphic designer. I like pretty things and making things look good, simple. So I focus on the overall look and feel as apposed to the pixel space between a letter. Although this may mean that I am not always mathematically perfect, I make fun stuff that I like to look at.
I always think something that sets me apart, is the level of respect I strive to uphold in any work situation. This is something, as a young person that is super important to me. After interning for years etc. the way I have been treated at times, I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Just because someone is young, doesn’t mean they can’t do the same level of work as someone older. I really hope to eventually change this cut throat, aggressive mentality that many people within the fashion industry have. I know it seems like a big goal, but by simply showing a level of mutual respect for everyone you work with – whether above you or below you, I hope to change peoples attitudes along the way.
2+7: What’s your creative process like?
SB: It varies for every project and every company, depending on how they work. But usually it involves image research to start with – pulling ALOT of images to try and find that one that captures what you’re trying to say. Easier said than done
I like to uses other avenues for inspiration though too – like food, film and using my hands. Doing these simple things will inspire me more than looking through 300 books at times.
2+7: Fashion and design is such a fast paced environment, how do you manage to come up with such brilliant concepts under pressure?
SB: A lot of people like to look to other designers or designs or whatever for ideas, but I seem to find the opposite. If I look to others work first, I end up subconsciously copying them in some way. That’s why I prefer to look at pictures only and will always try and go with my gut reaction for a project. My mind works in strange ways most of the time as my friends will tell you, so coming up with original ideas comes quiet fluidly.
2+7: What’s the worst idea you’ve ever heard of?
SB: Curlz font. I was going through 90′s Italian Vogue’s the other day and found this editorial where it was covered in CURLZ. You know, that ghetto font that came with the Windows computer your family bought back in 1999. God it’s ugly. I don’t know how it ended up in Vogue but it reminded me how bad of idea that was. That’s such a geeky design thing to say, but come on, SO UGLY!
2+7: You’re one of the youngest photographers in New York Fashion Week, can you tell us the story of how you landed that gig and what did it feel like?
SB: When I first moved to New York I started doing some work for a photographer named Jodi Jones. She introduced me to her mentor – a wonderful soul by the name of Ron Michaels. He was one of the first photographers to shoot New York Fashion Week. Being the sassy kid I am, I just walked up to him, told him I wanted to shoot and that was it. He didn’t even question me. The next season I had an all access press pass and was sitting front row at over 70 shows. I had never really shot anything like that, photography had always been a hobby and I loved fashion, so it was really just a great excuse for me to have the best seat in the house for all the shows.
It became a matter of learning how to shoot professionally in 5 minutes sitting in the pit. It was funny actually, there is a huge heirachy amongst the fashion photographers in the pit, and etiquette and ways you go about things so that everyone can survive the week and get their shit done. I’m not an idiot and caught onto this quickly but most are not so quick. So the first show I ever went to, I had a personal email from the Tommy Hilfiger PR department granting me access to the show and I rock up, a 19 year old girl dressed like the guests of the show – no one knew what to make of me. I think they all thought I was either sneaking into the show or some E grade fashion blogger. I got a lot of slack, but after they saw the letter and realized I was supposed to be there, they calmed down a bit. Now, 4 years later, they know me, they know I’m there doing a job, I’m professional and I’m supposed to be there. It’s a pretty cool feeling proving that you can be young, a woman and not dressed in dad jeans to get the same shots as those guys who have been doing it for 15 years.
2+7: You’ve been everywhere around the world since you were growing up from living in South America back when you were 17 to backpacking in Europe. How do you think all your travel has helped you both as an artist and as a person?
SB: I have been traveling alone extensively since I was about 16. It is kind of built into the Australian mentality. It takes 20 hours to get anywhere decent, so if you’re going to go, you might as well go for a while! It is the most important thing for me as a person by far. I can’t even explain the experiences I have had and the insanely incredible people I have met, that have shaped me into who I am today. I don’t think I would have half the idea of who I was as a person with those experiences. You kind of have to grow up pretty fast and figure things out in the real world, which for me, was invaluable. I don’t understand how people don’t have any desire to see things outside the world they live in – even if to simply get a different perspective, a breath of fresh air and be inspired by the unknown. I make it a priority to travel as much as possible – to me, it’s invaluable inspiration.
2+7: You’ve done so much at such a young age, do you have any advice to other young aspiring artists to help them hone their skills?
SB: Know what you want. Be respectful and understand that you’re going to have to put in your time and it’s not always fun, but if you have a solid understanding of what you want, where you want to go and the best way you work, then you will already be miles ahead of anyone else your age. I think people respond really well to someone who knows how they work best – it’s not something most 23 year olds really understand.
2+7: Lastly and most importantly, what’s your favorite Motown song?
SB: Ain’t No Moutain High Enough – but the version from Sister Act 2 when Whoppi Goldberg and the nuns break it down.
We’ve had our fair share of featured photographers here on two + seven, and we must admit that it’s difficult not to be enamored by a man with a keen eye wielding a camera. Oliver McAvoy is no exception – captivating us with his photographs, film (and, albeit, a subtly-sexy English accent). Did we mention he also speaks French? N’en dites pas plus! But we digress…
Infusing fashion photography with a fine art aesthetic, Oli’s work is both dark and intrinsic, yet altogether, candidly beautiful. As one reviewer describes, his artistry is a “contradiction between unearthly light and mundane places…the figures that inhabit these spaces give raw energy to his narratives.”
With names like Marc Jacobs, Italian Vogue, Ann Yee, and Volt magazine (just to name a few) under his lens cap, it’s no wonder this Brit has such an acute eye for style. Having shot our Ryan Jordan interview, as well as the lookbooks for featured designer Megan Marie Dodge’s Sobotka, McAvoy is no stranger to two + seven, and (somewhat) willingly obliged to an interview. Oli sat down with us, answering our probing inquisitions, and leaving us with only one question: please sir, can we have some more?
two + seven: What inspires you?
Oliver McAvoy: I connect with most things that are uncomfortable and heartbreaking. When I take photos, I like the subject to go to a place that’s very sad, a place when they were unhappy, lonely, etc. I try to find that, so I can capture it. I try to make it as awkward as possible, so they really find something in themselves. It’s in this place of discomfort that they really come out of their shell and do something different.
2+7: You went to film school in Paris. How did this affect your approach to photography?
OM: Because I went to film school to study cinematography I defintiely have a cinematic apporach to my images.
I love that isolated, abandoned feel that Gus Van Sant has in his films and have always loved Wong Kar Wai’s style and approach. I hate strobe lights! I hate that I can’t see the light before and I think that is why I will always be comfortable in shooting constant lights and that certainly helps to add the cinematic aspect to my images.
2+7: Tell us about We Were the Lights in the Desert. What was this for, what was your inspiration?
OM: We were just messing around in the studio, conceptualizing, seeing what would happen. It took on this womb-like element, in the dark, secluded… we didn’t know what we were doing, we just want to see where the day would take us, and what we would get. I get really excited about these types of projects because when the outcome is unknown and out of your control you get something genuinely pure.
2+7: What is the story behind your project, Mandragoras?
OM: Mandragoras is an organization of young entrepreneurs dedicated to the research, experimentation, and promotion of new approaches in performance. It focuses on exploring the medium of theatre beyond it’s entertainment value. At first, it was just a project that I supported with friends, but after paticipating more recently I have been getting involved and experimenting with bringing the exploration of performance to the camera. I think capturing an image based on performance is unique, as there are no rules.
2+7: You’ve done lookbooks, editorial work, and of course, stuff for two + seven. Is there a favorite type of project you prefer to work on, or do you like having a mix of different things?
OM: Although I love conceptualizing an idea, I love to work on a project that presents a real challenge. There are too many people out there that do projects just for the sake of being done and I don’t think anyone really challenges themselves anymore. The internet has become so accessible for artists and because of this everyone is now a photographer or film maker. Unfortunately that means a lot of crap is out there and we have to be careful that we don’t miss something genuine.
2+7: A lot of new photographers assist established ones. Do you have any advice for novice photographers?
OM: I wish we could go back to the ‘apprenticeship’ means of working with a photographer. I think having someone that will teach you not only about the technical aspect but of the business side is very important. You can only go so far relying on artistic and technical merit. I have always believed that you should not assist someone you admire. I think that it’s important, if you are going to assist, to work with someone that has a completely different style from your own, so that you don’t end up emulating their work. You don’t even have to like their style, just do it. It’s easy to get caught up in and influenced by this person that you respect, and to lose all sense of individuality.
2+7: What is the one thing people should know about you?
OM: Let’s keep a little mystery here.
As a photographer, videographer, and musician, Nicky Nylon is an artist, in every sense of the word. This Jersey-bred multi-talent man studied photography out in San Francisco and traveled throughout Europe before finding himself back on the East coast, studying at Parsons in Manhattan. Enticed? Read on to answer the question, who is Nicky Nylon?
two + seven: Tell us a little about your work. Video, music, photography? You seem to do it all.
Nicky Nylon: My art is my escape. As long I can remember I’ve been intrigued by the creative process. What makes people tick? When I ride the trains, or even walk down the street I scan faces. I’m so curious as to what goes on inside the mind. It’s another world. I want to show people that world. All of my work is heavily influenced on mystery. It gives you something to think about, it makes you wonder.
Photography has always been a great way to project my vision. I am basically creating a memory, a memory through my eyes. Even though the picture is clear, only I know the real reason behind the subject matter. I’m still able to have a bit of privacy, as well as sharing a piece of myself.
I would say those same rules apply to my music. I’ve always kept journals and written to myself. As a kid my friends and I would record demos in my basement over instrumentals and just have fun with it. It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I decided I would start sharing my music with the masses. It started as just a personal hobby. I’ll rap on anything honestly. I am influenced by so many types of music. Amy Winehouse, Adele, Gnarls Barkley, AIR, Lupe Fiasco, and The Carpenters, to name a few. I hate calling myself a rapper because I’m also a photographer, I shoot my own album covers and I also direct my own music videos. I am an artist.
2+7: What is your favorite image?
NN: My favorite image is of my friend Kristina. She designed the neckpiece. I did the hair and make-up. We headed out in The Panhandle neighborhood of San Francisco and made magic. The shot come out beautifully. The shoot was super impromptu and it just showed us what we were capable of doing. I also used the shot for my first EP. It will forever be a classic to me.
2+7: Where do you see your work going?
NN: My art will be international. I won’t stop working until that happens. And when I do have recognition, I STILL won’t stop working. Sounds cliche, but its the truth. Some things in this world choose you. Its out of my hands. This is my calling, I’ve been chosen. If i’m not creating, I feel like im not living. Its the ony release I have. I put my heart and soul into everything I do because this is how I would like to be remembered. As an inovator.
2+7: What’s next?
NN: I’m currently working on my third EP which is being produced by a New York based producer by the name of Catamaran. He’s a super great guy, its always great vibes when we are working so I know the end product will be fantastic. Art needs to become present in Hip-Hop. I just feel that there is a lack of creativity, so I stepped in. That’s going to be my mission.
2+7: What has been your favorite project?
NN: I have two. The first one would have to be my latest EP “#nylonmovement.” I love it, its symbolic. The whole CD makes me happy. I lived all over Italy, Spain, and San Francisco, moving around for the last three years searching for something I had the whole time. I was running from home; I didn’t want to go back to New Jersey because in my eyes that meant taking a step backwards. It wasn’t until I came back home that I had the epiphany. I’m supposed to be here. Everything feel into place and the ball just started to roll organically. #nylonmovement is my arrival; I’m letting the world know that I’m here and im not leaving anytime soon. I make music for me. If you can relate and enjoy, great. If not, turn on the radio.
My second project would be the photographs I took while I was in Venice, Italy. It was such a beautiful experience, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Its something I’ll remember forever, which is why I made my album cover the photo of the church. Both of these changed something in me so I felt it was only right to combine them.
2+7: What three websites do you visit daily?
Nicky Nylon: I’m not really a huge “surfer”. I casually browse the web, but lately I’ve pulled back. I’m a huge fan of anotherfashionbook.com. There’s always good content, and something to catch my attention. I also like gizmodo.com, as well as booooooom.com
2+7: What hobbies do you pursue in your free?
Nicky Nylon: I love cooking!! I really do. When I was in Italy I learned a lot of recipes and different ways to cook. It definitely stepped up my chef skills. I could make a mean cookie! Nature is wonderful. Being outdoors lifts the spirits. I like to walk around. Even if I dont have a destination, its just nice to move. I’m always writing, my iPhone notepad its full of notes! I’m constantly jotting down notes, and ideas. I have to stay busy. The machine never stops, so I embrace it.
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