The Second Self


The discrepancy between reality and what we see in well curated Instagram, Facebook and Twitter profiles is endless. More often than not, the real life individual barely resembles its online presentation. This digital version of our own person is what photographer Remy Holwick refers to as, “the second self”.

Holwick’s work is regularly featured in publications including VFiles, Purple Diary and Vice. In her upcoming show, We Can Be Afraid Together, she seeks to reveal what happens when you strip the physical self of the digital self to reveal what truly lies beneath.

Holwick specifically selected younger models that were born and raised in the digital era. Even though this generation makes their most private thoughts public on the internet, having their thoughts digitized rather than spoken creates a wall of safety and security, a wall behind which they can hide their deepest fears, insecurities and character defects. Holwick’s aim is to present the physical self, or what she refers to as the “first self”, stripped bare, in a moment of raw, emotional vulnerability.

Each subject was individually invited into a room with nothing but grey walls and a window. She asked for permission to shoot her models topless, and they obliged. Using a film camera and polaroid lighting, right before taking the photograph, Holwick asked, “What is your greatest fear?”  “Spiders”, “drowning” and “dementia”, were just a few of the answers received.

The concept of fear has been explored for centuries, yet the ever widening gap between our screen selves and our physical minds and bodies couldn’t possibly be more current. Using film to capture the selfie generation is no accident, as it leaves the subjects with a lack of control, unlike how we can manipulate our digital images to present to the world our best selves.

The end result is an entire gallery wall covered in a collection of life sized faces that stare at the viewer staring back at them. Not only does the beauty of the true self permeate in the purity and honesty of the photographs, but there is an interplay of anxiety and penetrating uncertainty in each image, between each subject, and between the gang of images and the viewer.

Holwick’s greatest fear? “An enormous letter falling off of a building and squashing me. That and the planet Jupiter. Because it’s huge and terrifying.”

We Can Be Afraid Together by Remy Holwick opens Thursday September 17th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Wix Lounge, 325 W 23rd St, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10011

Rules of the Game


A Throw of Fifteen-Love, by multimedia artist Ariane Schick, opened Thursday at 55Gansevoort, a project space known for exhibiting renowned and upcoming artists including Aaron Bobrow, Jeanette Hayes and Betty Thompkins. This latest opening comes immediately following Schick’s show, Casual Throws, at gallery Super Dakota in Brussels. While the title of her last exhibition referred to the comfy blankets that decorate the ends of sofas, A Throw of Fifteen-Love refers to score keeping in tennis. This serves as a reminder of the reciprocal, interdependent dynamics featured in her work, and perhaps even more so, it highlights the relationship of the work to the viewer, which bounces back and forth, much like the back and forth of a ball on a tennis court.

Like a spectator at a tennis match, a spectator of Schick’s show also looks on from the outside in. All exhibitions at 55Gansevoort are fully visible, at all hours, by peering through the windowed doors. Upon peeking in, one first notices a strip of printed organza at eye level that ribbons the room’s walls, doors, pillars and corners. It wraps entirely around the space, almost decoratively, enveloping it like a present. The continuous flow of images printed on the organza is a haphazard mix of interiors, exteriors and the human form. Gathered from Internet search results and personal pictures, they are lit up by rounded, store bought wall sconces, placed directly on the strip, obscuring some of the images and highlighting others. The sconces are placed at varied intervals, which sets a rhythm for the viewer’s eyes to travel around the room in a continuous loop.

Jeffery: Can you describe the images featured on the organza ribbon?

Schick: The ribbon features a still from the Japanese film Tampopo, in which two embracing characters tip an egg yolk back and forth until its thin skin inevitably breaks. Stills and posters from the French film Maitresse show the protagonist, who spends the film exploring the limits between her two very different personas, in moments of transformation. The still of her in front of her mirror, its bare light in the foreground, is a throwback to the wall sconces in the space. The panel also features images of clothing items found on eBay. A picture of a pair of semi transparent vinyl trousers and figure hugging swimwear are modeled by disjointed, static, headless mannequins, highlighting the fact that what is cut off or not visible is just as important as what is clearly available to the eye.

Other images pull the viewer into a more historical context. These include an inflatable finger by situationist group Haus-Rucker-Co., whose work explored architecture through installations that altered perceptions of space. The image of Elsa Schiaperelli’s trompe l’oeil gloves emphasizes the recurring theme of the boundaries between inside and out. There is a repetitive series of frames of a glass fence-like structure that holds back a hedge. Its green mass spills out over the top, while still visible through the fence’s surface, which reflects the trees and electricity poles that face it. There are images of birds in a cage and a snapshot of flowers with sun glares that interrupt it.

An image of a building that features a large hole through which you can see the sky allows the viewer to slide from outside in. A chest of drawers holding a bonsai tree plays with limits and boundaries. A CGI image of a single pistachio nut shows two shells neatly separated. And finally, the open pages of a book called Silent Back (Dog), features images of puppy dogs’ butts, held open by hands visible in the snapshot.

Jeffery: Can you describe the importance of the sconces sporadically placed on top of this imagery?

Schick: The sconces posit an air of, potentially, but not necessarily, domestic, casual informality. They push the image strip back to the status of a decorative element. They also play up the space, recognizing its needs, acknowledging both its specificities and its commonplace nature. They represent, in various direct and indirect ways, a blurring of perimeters and borders. They place the viewer at the center of a court of images and objects in which their display hovers between presence and absence in order to highlight the viewer in action.

The result of Schick’s show is a site sensitive experience as the wallpaper-like strip flows across the room. The viewer slips between layers of available information as the ribbon beckons the eye to follow the strip in its linear form. Overall, the images project an unreliable feeling and their accumulation heightens this by flattening out and cancelling their singular importance as readable messages. The sconces placed on top of the images interrupt their flow and remove the feeling of the typical ‘white cube’ experience, as they evoke a more residential space. The title, A Throw of Fifteen-Love, the linear form of the project, and its minimalistic simplicity, all hark on the experience of rules as a recurring theme in the artist’s work. Ultimately, if Schick’s goal is to put the viewer in a position where they question in what context they are seeing what is laid out before them and ask themselves, “How am I supposed to look at this?” then she has succeeded.

A Throw of Fifteen Love is open June 18th – July 12, 2015, 55 Gansevoort St, New York, NY, 10014,

Photographer Noah Jashinski’s Imperfect Perfection


For black and white analogue photographer Noah Jashinski, art is a physical manifestation of honesty. In his upcoming exhibition, Seventy-Two Hours, he portrays two parallel cinematic series of raw photographic images. His subjects, two different women, are stripped bare and intimately exposed in a way that would be shocking if it weren’t for the innate humility that radiates throughout the work. Stepping into his world, you can feel the adoration in Jashinski’s eye as he documents relationships, lust and human nature in their purest forms.

Jeffery: Can you give us a glimpse into your artistic process?

Jashinski: My focus when I walk into any project is building trust and making sure both the subject and I are in a positive mental state. It doesn’t matter if I have the best equipment, a huge budget, no restraints, or even the most gorgeous person in the world; if the bond and transparency isn’t there, it all becomes meaningless and borders on mundane. Pretty is pretty. There is no escaping that fact, but pretty for the sake of pretty is not only stale, but can almost become new form of “ugliness” because it feels like a lie. If there is no emotional connection or authenticity within the frame, it becomes unattractive, no matter how technically beautiful the location or person may be.

I want to make sure that whatever is being documented is coming from an open, real place. Ultimately, I usually only spend about 25% of the time or less actually shooting; the rest is spent bonding over cigarettes and coffee. Coming from a film background, I have a tendency to treat my camera as though I were filming a documentary. While we talk and throw around ideas, I usually keep the camera peeled to my face and walk around, waiting to be shown what I am not even aware I am looking for. Once I find the angle or the frame I want, I usually set up a tri-pod and proceed to treat the photo more like a painting. We continue to talk and laugh and converse and I just wait for that split second, that exhale, to show itself. It is then I that I will take a single frame, maybe two, and then start the process again. Shooting on film forces me to slow down and treat each shot with care due to its high cost, but I have become accustomed to and now embrace that restriction. It helps filter out the unnecessary.

Jeffery: What was your goal in putting this show together?

Jashinski: Los Angeles is an amazing city for art and culture, but photography, primarily, black and white film photography, is not something generally seen on the front lines as far as galleries and general attention. Outside of select places like Fahey/Klein gallery, finding a home for edgy, unedited photos, is not an easy feat. Whether it is stubborn or not, I refused to present this series if it had to be edited or changed for content. That is why I was so excited and grateful to partner with Art Share L.A. for “Seventy – Two Hours”. They not only allowed me to show my work as it was intended to be seen, but they are an amazing non-profit organization that supports youth and the arts. All the standard gallery proceeds, which usually go into someone’s pocket, go directly back into their programs.

Jeffery: Is each story of a girl completely different or are they somehow related?

Jashinski: Without a doubt there is a relation between the two vignettes, but I think more than anything, that relationship is coming from me and not from the women. Each of them has their own unique energy, vulnerability and strength that comes through.

Jeffery: Why did you decide to exhibit these two subjects together as one whole?

Jashinski: I chose to exhibit these two women together because I felt there was a certain aesthetic in each that truly exhibits the soul of the project. They are similar enough to not be jarring and seamlessly transition from one story to the next. I think both the woman and the location in each vignette significantly guided the trajectory. Working with Tate is Los Angeles yielded far different results than working with Remy in Oakland and San Francisco. Both women are over a decade apart in age, which I felt projected different stages of a woman’s emotion, comfortability, and strength. While in Los Angeles, Tate and I had more control over locations, it being our hometown. Though we primarily improvised and took a very “wing it” approach each day, we still were able to choose where and when we wanted to shoot. With Remy, in Oakland, we were completely at the mercy of the location, the weather and where we were staying. We shot in a loft that I had never seen before. I feel very fortunate to have ended up in the location we did, but I still had far less control. There is experimentation and quietness to the work with Tate. With Remy, there’s a sense of strength, sureness and raw emotion.

Jeffery: How do you hope to inspire others through your work?

Jashinski: I hope to inspire other artists, as well as women and people as a whole. On an artistic level, I want to show that you don’t need to control and micro-manage every bit of your work. That you can let go and embrace what the world provides. You don’t need expensive or equipment or a ton money. If you can build trust and authenticity, especially in collaborating with another person, your work will go further than you could imagine. Also, all of the photos are completely untouched; no photoshopping or retouching. I want everyone to see the beauty in the real and the beauty of imperfections. The texture, movement, and folds of the skin, the strength of presenting yourself to the world as you are and loving yourself for it. I find both these women, in and out, to be some of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. They are both very different body types and have different energies, yet that has no bearing on how uniquely gorgeous they are. That is what I want people to take away from this. The real is beautiful. Morning face can be the most captivating thing you have ever seen. I work a lot with water, whether it be a bathtub or a pool, and I think the reason for this is my desire to wash away all control; wash away the makeup or the hair products. I just want to be left with something and someone who isn’t lying to the camera in any way.

Seventy-Two Hours opens at Art Share LA, Friday May 22nd at 8:00 pm, 213.687.4278, 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90013,

It’s a Wrap


Designer Nazanin Rose Matin is coming off the tails of launching her brand new eponymous scarf collection, which is now available internationally via the website We spoke to the designer about inspiration, the importance of a powerful print and the challenges of running a luxury accessories business.

Jeffery: What inspires your designs?

Rose Matin: I was interested in working with traditional craftspeople and artisans. I was inspired by Persian Nomadic tribes and decided to work with them on my embroidered scarves. I wanted to use traditional techniques in a modern way so that they could be worn in the city, creating an authentic product that supports and showcases the work of these amazing craftspeople. My concept is for the local, global, urban and ethnic to coexist. Most of my designs are symbolic to my Persian heritage, whether it’s inspiration from literature, architecture, poetry, science or landscape and nature.

Jeffery: What made you chose the scarf over other accessories and what is it that you love about prints?

A scarf is a blank canvas. I like to tell a story through my drawings and prints, which have a whimsical, ethereal feel and are collectible pieces to be treasured for years to come. Developing my brand has allowed me free reign in prints and textiles, which is liberating after having worked for other companies in the industry for several years. The scarf is the ultimate accessory. You can wear it in so many ways. It’s perfect for a desert island escape!

Jeffery: What can you tell about a woman by her choice of scarf?

Rose Matin: Scarves allow the wearer to make a statement. They add color and print with one simple accessory and make even the most basic outfit stand out and look effortlessly cool. The women I design for aren’t looking for trends but rather that special, timeless piece.

Jeffery: What is the most challenging aspect of running your own business?

Rose Matin: The most challenging part is being the creative driver of the business and simultaneously running the operations on a day-to-day basis. The best part is being able to deicide on the creative direction of the brand in order to shape the business to match my vision. Nevertheless, being a small business owner means that I need to play several different roles and be very hands on.

Jeffery: How do you feel about the ever-increasing presence of new technologies in the artistic world?

Rose Matin: It’s really exciting as it opens up more and more possibilities for designers. However, I think it’s important not to forget about the craft. Digital technologies shouldn’t be a replacement for what can be done by hand and should instead be used to enhance and compliment traditional skills to do things that weren’t possible before. Personally, I think that something that has been created digitally doesn’t have the same essence and soul as something that has had a human touch.






Post Perception


Remi Paringaux, co-founder of creative agency Meri Media and Post, the first iPad only fashion magazine, discusses photography, issues with advertisers and the future of fashion and print media in an increasingly digital world.

Materialist: What kind of imagery inspires your art direction?

Paringaux: The images that I love are those of Nick Knight or Solve Sundsbo. My ultimate hero is Erwin Blumenfeld, a photographer from the 1930s or 1940s who did stuff with his camera, way before photoshop, that just blows your mind. I like images that stage a whole scene and make you dream by tricking the lights.

Materialist: Are you thinking of an art photographer like Jeff Wall?

Paringaux: I love Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson. But even in Nick Knight’s images there’s this fantasy world all around them. You can look at them for hours and just imagine all the different things going on within.

Materialist: Your first job as art director was at Dazed & Confused. What is it about the first cover you created there that’s emblematic for you?

Paringaux: It is my first cover but it’s also my favorite. Mariano Vivanco shot it. We had to sit down and have this guy painted completely in white and then completely in black; it’s good to have that level of art direction. The idea comes from Batman’s Two-Face. The team gave me the framed print when I left. They knew it was my favorite.

Materialist: Do you think all creative people are inherently collectors like yourself?

Paringaux: I guess it helps people feel a bit nostalgic every now and again. It’s good to have a flashback. I don’t collect things in the way people collect stamps or old coins because that’s much more like archiving. Everything I collect has sentimental value: it’s a journey through my past. And they just look cool.

Materialist: Do you collect anything that doesn’t look cool?

Paringaux: I collect a bunch of magazines, for instance, this independent publication called, Ocean Paddler: it is an open water kayak magazine. And it’s the geekiest thing but I love it because it’s such a focused publication.

Materialist: It’s interesting that you created Post, the first iPad only fashion magazine, but that you also collect print media.

Paringaux: I’m completely a print media person. That’s where I started my career and I still do print occasionally. You can’t really collect digital media. It just doesn’t have the same physicality.

Materialist: What do you think of the future of print media for fashion? Do you think people are going to follow suit with what you’ve done with Post? Is print going to die out or it just going to have to become really special?

Paringaux: Print is always going to exist but it’s going to have to fight harder for its existence. Bi-annuals will still be printed because bi-annuals are like books. What I think will disappear are the throwaway things like weekly magazines. And for them, doing a transition into digital media would open so many more doors and revenue streams from new affiliates to a wider distribution network. Everyone who has created iPad magazines so far that are just a slightly enhanced version of the print have failed miserably. It’s about embracing new technology and not doing so halfheartedly. Yet there are things that will remain in print because the physicality of a print magazine gives it its purpose. Think of an in flight magazine. That could never be digitalized.

Materialist: Did you hear that Quantas is implementing iPads on the backs of all their airplane seats?

Paringaux: The designer for Quantas is Marc Newsom. He’s a huge Apple fan and his best friend is Jonathan Ive, the head designer of Apple. They must have been plotting something.

Materialist: With this rapid proliferation of the iPad, do you think magazines will still be around in a few years?

Paringaux: It’s such a big topic and it’s obviously not like I have the answer. I hope they’ll still be around. I really do. I’m a big magazine freak. I collect so many print magazines. In my office I have ten times what I have here at home.

Materialist: Do you actually go back and refer back to the physical object of the magazine?

Paringaux: Weirdly enough, not really. It’s almost like a bulimia and I just want all the magazines. But I do occasionally. I started out collecting magazines of my time. A lot of Dazed & Confused and a lot of AnOther magazine. But recently I started collecting magazines from the past. I bought all the old, original Interview magazines. And I discovered this magazine while I was in LA last summer – It’s called West and it’s the weekend supplement of the Los Angeles Times. I’ve never seen such incredible covers. They’re all illustrated with a The New Yorker vibe: really good stuff. The problem is that once you start collecting those, it’s a weekly magazine, so there are thousands of them.

Materialist: What are your thoughts on the publication as a piece of art, like Six by Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garcons?

Paringaux: In a way it was always intended to be a piece of art. It was so outside the box and there is no text. It was not trying to sell anything or include any celebrities. When Kawakubo worked on Six it was the early 1990s. That started the whole biannual thing. It’s all about that full page of fashion photography. And you can disassemble the publication so they’re almost like posters.

Materialist: What kind of media criticism inspires you?

Paringaux: There’s this one magazine that I would love to collect because it was so attached to a critical movement and a revolution, not only in media but in society. The guys who started May 68 in France had this magazine called The International Situationist Movement. It’s a movement that changed society forever. They basically perverted media by transforming it and flipping it on its head by doing things called, ‘detournements’ where they took a cover of a magazine and painted over it or cut it up and reshaped it to create an alternative meaning to what it was actually supposed to say. So with these existing political images they were essentially creating the opposite. There was a beautiful exhibition at The Centre Pompidou in Paris about ten years ago and I saw the International Situationist Movement magazines there under glass. There were only a couple of hundred copies printed and they had every single issue – I think it was only eight – just the dream. But already that sense of aesthetic and that sense of continuity was a great thing. Media in general is such a massive topic. It’s everywhere.

Materialist: In terms of fashion media specifically, is there a position for fashion criticism in print media?

Paringaux: We celebrate independent publications and self funded magazines because they don’t have advertisers. I’ve always thought it was really important to try and self-publish and be as free as possible of commercial obligations. If you look at mainstream magazines they have a very strict agenda. They can’t talk about anything other than the advertisers who actually buy serious advertising in the title. If not, advertisers complain. Not only in fashion but in every single print and television media industry. It’s absolutely the way things function now. You cannot have an objective opinion. If you hated the Prada collection then you’re not allowed to say so. There are only a few journalists in the world that can get away with dissing a collection.

Materialist: Who do you think they are?

Paringaux: Suzy Menkes doesn’t censor herself. But her newspaper, The International Herald Tribune, doesn’t run on fashion advertising so she’s much freer. Magazine journalists cannot say anything because they live off of advertising. When Tom Ford was on the cover of French Vogue’s December/January issue no 913 with him curating it, there were no Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Yves Saint Laurent products featured. Tom Ford is a rogue guy. He’s my hero because he doesn’t play by the rules. He was at Gucci Group and then went out on his own to build his namesake brand that’s worth a fortune by now. But these big advertisers want to see their product on the editorial pages. In public relations they go through magazines and count the number of times their product appears throughout an issue. And if it doesn’t appear more than 10, 15, 20 times… They’ll cut advertisements the next month. They’ll punish you for not including their products.

Materialist: Why did you choose to create a fashion publication in particular?

Paringjaux: It’s what I know how to do. But Post is more than a fashion publication. It’s an art magazine. It’s not about showing the clothes because I’ve never been a garment person. What I’ve always been interested in is the image of things and the story behind them. A lot of people look at what we do and they’re confused. It touches upon many media outlets and disciplines. But the people who look at it and get it really respect it. For us it’s a front of shop thing. At the end of the day we’re a creative agency, we’re not publishers. I use fashion as a vehicle to show my ideas, concepts and aesthetics. But I could be shooting still lives of flowers. I could be shooting architecture.

Materialist: Do you find that fashion is sexier than those other fields?

Paringaux: Arguably architecture is very sexy. If I knew how to make a building express my aesthetic I would love to do that. But right now the media that I know how to maneuver is fashion imagery so I use that to express myself. The stuff we do in Post is not sexy in any way. It’s actually pretty cold and experimental. It doesn’t put the model or the clothes for that matter on a pedestal. If anything I cut them up, distort them and change the colors. I allow myself a lot of freedom.

Materialist: How do the developments in new media function in terms of retaining an audience?

Paringaux: Each media has its own way of retaining people’s attention. When MTV came out in 1981 they used to ‘cut, cut, cut’ much more like a film. A film used to cut an average of every seven seconds. MTV brought it down to cutting every two or three seconds and then cut to something else. This stroboscopic editing threw your retina and challenged your brain to keep you excited. Now with touch screen media the way to retain people’s attention is to have a finger on the screen. Where it becomes even more powerful is when you allow the user, through the medium of touch, to modify the content so they’re not just swiping pages, they’re actually affecting the shape of something. Post Gravity was so successful because you could change the state of the girl on the cover. And that’s where most magazines fail because touching the screen to swipe the page is not good enough. The new issue is called Post Performance because on every page, in every advertisement and in every editorial, we try to involve the user on a proactive journey of affecting the content.

Materialist: Is reading on a touch screen also more interactive because you don’t have the extra element of separation in the form of the mouse?

Paringaux: For me, what it boils down to is the addition of another sense. When you look at a print magazine, you’re only stimulated visually. If you watch TV you’re stimulated visually and through your hearing. When you’re interacting on an iPhone or an iPad, you’re touching something and modifying the content. It’s audio, visual and tactile. If you have three of your five senses involved in an experience, you’re going to be pretty captivated. Touch was never involved previously and is now involved in the whole reading experience so you’re completely consumed. If three of your five senses are involved, that media owns you. It’s short of the iPad putting something in your mouth. You can’t really get more immersive than that.

Materialist: How does this new technological medium work with existing codes to create a fully immersive experience?

Paringaux: Television derived from the medium of cinema and it had to reinvent it’s own code. Now shooting something for TV and shooting something for cinema is completely distinct. In the beginning TV just reused a list of codes from the cinema until it managed to stand on its own two feet and create tailored content for that media. Today with touch screen media we’re using a lot of codes and queues from other media. Print is obviously a huge influence. Online is obviously a huge influence. And the way people edit their videos for iPads is very close to what MTV would do or what television would do. It’s about evolving things in a very empirical way with one layer on top of another. When enough devices are out there, it will become its own language with its own sets of codes, it’s own way of editing, and its own way of writing for it.

Materialist: How do you apply these codes to Post?

Paringaux: With Post we explore and breakdown the codes. It’s basically a ‘tableau au hazard’ where we try not to copy other existing medias but rather create something tailored for the device. (Theorist) Marshall McLuhan said ‘We shape our tools and in turn our tools shape us.’ The best analogy is that humans created the car and the car created the suburb. So in a way humans, or Apple, created the iPad and it’s going to become its own category. It’s just going to take a while.

Materialist: Is touch screen media going to become increasingly about audio with the invention of Siri?

Paringaux: I’ve got big theories about Siri. For me Siri is the way for Apple to absolutely penetrate your lifestyle. With Siri you don’t even need your iPhone in your hand. You can just walk around your house empty handed and talk to Siri. People always criticize the mouse because the mouse is such an alien thing to access information with. The iPhone is pretty alien as but talking to an iPhone is the most intuitive thing. The most primary way of interacting is through your voice. Siri doesn’t work very well at the moment but I think if they manage to nail it it’s going to be nuts. There are speculations that Apple is going to do a television this year. It’s huge because that’s about penetrating your home, not only through your home office, but your living room and your bedroom. That’s a pretty big deal.

Materialist: What are your plans for the upcoming issue?

Paringaux: It’s going to be a really dark issue like Blade Runner, which for me in terms of aesthetic, is everything that I love. It’s going to be dark, dystopian and full of doom and gloom.

The Colbert Report


Photography by Simon Archer Hurlstone

Words by Jocelyn Jeffery

Philip Colbert created fashion label The Rodnik Band, which plays with pop art to create dresses that replicate artwork like Marcel Duchamp’s Urinal. He talks about the tendency of fashion to take itself too seriously and describes discussions of collaborating on a philosophical fashion line with Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton.

Materialist: How did you decide to incorporate pop art into your designs?

Colbert: It stemmed from the fact that pop art contains bold, bright colors and ideas; it’s about communicating to people in a very direct way. I like that approach to clothing because the meaning of fashion can be hard to ascertain. Fashion can take itself very seriously so to make something that has a more humorous impact can result in a wearable item that has intellectual value. A satire with a Claus Oldenburg sculpture as a dress makes it accessible for anyone outside of the fashion clique. There is a fun art history reference there, whereas when it’s playing on the trends of fashion it is hard to put your finger on what the actual value is. Satisfying trends for trends’ sake is not particularly meaningful.

Materialist: One of the main problems with fashion and fashion criticism is the fact that it can be too self-referential so it’s refreshing to take fashion outside of the box. Do you view pop art as an easily identifiable branch of art for people without a depth of knowledge in the field?

Colbert: I love pop art in general but I do get slightly sickened by an Andy Warhol screen print. It is heavily repeatable so there is a lack of contact from the artist. But what I do love about pop art is the fact that it engages with the pop culture that we live in, which is without question the biggest influence in modern day life. I very much like things that have a sense of language and communicate directly. There are so many amazing pop artists like Claus Oldenburg whose work has complete intellectual value but also brings an element of surrealism and fantasy into everyday life. Simple things like his oversized cherry in the center of a city or a giant ice cream cone on top of a building, melting, play on perspective. This handling and translating of ideas allows for cartoonlike sets. It’s a nice mix of reality and animation and I like the sense of escapism that pop art can have.

Materialist: Do you find it important to merge art and fashion because they are both extremely reflective of the society that we live in?

Colbert: I was always more interested in art than in fashion and by getting into fashion in a random way I used the platform of clothing to express artistic ideas. It was my way of making it interesting for myself and also for the sort of woman whom I want to dress. I very much like the idea that my clothes are wearable art in a tongue in cheek way. Fashion obviously has a value and an allure but I’d rather it have a more artistic identity than a fashion identity.

Materialist: How did you get into fashion?

Colbert: I did philosophy at university and one thing lead to another and I found myself doing clothing. I was very much out of my depth to begin with because I had never trained in it. The more I got involved in creating a brand and selling clothes, the more I started developing my own thoughts on what I wanted the brand to be. If I can run a fashion label, anyone can do it. And I like that spirit because fashion can take itself very seriously. It’s a cliquey world so to come at it with a hyper whacky attitude, when things actually go well, is a powerful combination.

Materialist: Can you describe the collaboration you were in talks of working on with Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton?

Colbert: We did a series of interviews together for Vogue and we talked about the idea of doing a philosophical fashion line. It was a fun idea but it didn’t get beyond the conceptual stages.

Materialist: What does a philosophical fashion line entail?

Colbert: That was the challenge. The idea was to create a language of union in clothing. Clothing does already have a meaning, socially and historically. In a social context it represents several important ideas and movements. But I always assume that clothing is very psychological in the sense that people wear things to express certain ideas about themselves. Let’s say you did a lecture series of clothes and you created a building block, millions of different outfits. Say you had some template outfits in black and they were cut with a certain silhouette to represent seriousness and you’d wear those on a serious day. Then you could potentially accept certain additional ideas that would help you refine your mood that day. The challenge with the project was to map out a meaning, a language of clothing. Once it has been mapped out then one could have more fun with building a narrative.

Materialist: It’s challenging to translate that idea into the literal sense.

Colbert: Yeah for sure. In art, people do it all the time, create their own language. But clothing always has that challenge of having a practical use. Obviously fashion is an art but the reality of fashion is that it’s a cynical, hardcore business. To exist it has to operate in a very crude world of selling things in numbers and appealing to generic markets, which don’t necessarily always understand a sophisticated idea. People can definitely do very sophisticated things and be successful but not always can such things find a commercial audience. Whereas with art, you come up with an idea, and if people buy it once, the buyers buy it, and it doesn’t have to be resold 1,000 times. But with clothing there is always the need to be ultimately commercial. It makes it slightly more of a business challenge.

Materialist: From where does the British vibe of the brand originate?

Colbert: Even though I was born in Scotland, I still feel British in a way. I love Scotland as a country but I’m not a hardcore Scottish nationalist. London is an adopted home and what I love about England is that abstract cartoon-like language of the buses and The Queen. It’s a fun brand world – it has a strong identity internationally. When I was selling in America being from London was definitely the brand identity. So I thought well I might as well embrace that. Britain is easy to feel even when you’re abroad. There is a history of satire and humor in things so it’s nice to play on that. I like to playfully reference things like The Sex Pistols because they’re a fun example of a fashion/music cross over. It’s quite a progressive concept of creating a band and a brand together. So the joke band that I have alongside my fashion label plays on representing fashion in a more lighthearted way and breaking the mold slightly from the conventional approach.

Materialist: Can you explain the concept of the joke band further?

Colbert: The band concept came after I was selling at the store Barneys and I was like, ‘how do I make the label compete when it’s not known in America? How do I bring it to peoples attention in a guerilla fashion?’ I’d been thinking about the band as this amazing vehicle of travelling, touring and taking the dream and the lifestyle on the road. Fashion can be quite cynical in the sense that it’s often fake and contrived. So I did a world tour in 2009 of all the stores. I played in Barney’s, stores in Japan and in Comme Des Garcons. It was quite funny taking this spinal tap-like fashion band on tour and playing in dry environments like department stores. It’s definitely comical. There was genuine laughter at this gig (at Scotch in London) last night because I made a big step by getting a Japanese pop group to become my band. Previously my band was always just fill-ins: people helping out as the backing instruments. But because of that it never felt like a real band, it was more of a joke. So last night, even though it was still a joke, it was actually fluid and real. Also these guys brought a lot to the table because they were very funny. They’re kooky Japanese girls and they had pink wigs on and were wearing crazy sequin crab and beer dresses. One of them even did a back flip on stage. It was like a comedy show. They were coming up with all sorts of funny stories and their songs themselves were quite amusing. They’re about banal things like toothpaste and scotch tape and they sing in Japanese accents. It was definitely a funny marriage between the Rodnick world and these guys. What I liked about last night is that it wasn’t just dressing a conventionally pretty pop group through their record label for X Factor, which is all very contrived and boring like Blackberry communication. These were genuine girls with personality and spirit. They’re not conventional but they’re definitely cool, quirky and inspiring in fashion because they’re real characters.

Original Femininity


Photography by Christopher Gabello

Words by Jocelyn Jeffery

Brooklyn based fashion designer Suzanne Rae’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection is encapsulated by head to toe monochrome black or white with the occasional pop of a head to toe painterly print. The collection captures a women’s ability to embody both the delicate and the strong in one simple look.

From what does the designer draw her inspiration? for Rae it’s all about vintage, a refreshing scent and a good read.

“I can’t live without a vintage dress that I found for $10.00. I wear it all different ways in all different seasons. To me it’s Poiret meets Denise Huxtable. A copy of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran is always the best go to read when lacking inspiration. I like to stay minimalist when it comes to products but Santa Maria Novella’s Aqua di Rose face toner can also be used as a linen rinse. The scent is refreshing and calming in the loveliest way.”

In Transit


Industry insider Adam Fields seeks to facilitate the world of art shipping through his new business, Arta.

You left the online auction house Artspace to create Arta, a business addressing the inefficiencies in art shipping. Can you tell us more about that?

Definitely. While developing the operation and logistics for, it became obvious that the process of getting quotes and connecting with art shippers was problematic for both online and offline purveyors or art along with collectors, museums, auction houses, etc. My new business Arta aims to address these inefficiencies. Arta is a city in Greece that in ancient times was the centre for mercantile shipping.

What inspired you to make this career move?

I’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and enjoy solving problems. I think the art world is a bit antiquated and there are many problems that can be solved via technology and innovative thinking. It’s fun to take it on and think I’m positioned well to do so.

How important is shipping to the art market?

It’s super important but at the same time it’s a part of the art world that isn’t really sexy and doesn’t get that much attention, unless something bad happens. Pieces are shipped for a variety of reasons, not just because of sales and transactions, and always need to get to the destination safe and sound. This creates major headaches for registrars, collectors, museums, etc. who have a lot going on and really just want the trade to be complete.

Is there a niche in the industry that you are trying to fill?

The shipping industry is already a robust and profitable industry, but one that is quite fragmented. I’m trying to help bring it online and consolidate everything.

Are there certain companies that are easier to work with than others?

Each entity in the artworld presents a new set of challenges, but it’s more about what is being shipped that who is shipping. We welcome the opportunity to work with every company.

Do you still have to follow the art market itself?

I’m still involved in the art world on a personal level and enjoy collecting, attending openings, etc. It’s a little harder now that my day-to-day is less on the market and more on the logistics but I still have a decent handle on what’s going on. With that said, things happen so quickly that it can be difficult to stay plugged in.

What artists inspire you the most?

All artists inspire me. I’m continually amazed by their distinct visions, creativity and attention to detail. There’s nothing better than visiting an artists studio and hearing them describe their work and process.

Do you collect art?

I do. I started collecting a few years ago and am focused on Chicago artists, which is where I am from, particularly those that are exploring their medium and process. My collection features Chicago artists Rashid Johnson, Tony Lewis, Paul Cowan and Angel Otero. They are all young as every artist I collect is under 40.

Is there anything you collect other than art?

Not really, but I still have time. At least I graduated from collecting Absolute Vodka ads in my younger years to collecting contemporary art.

How do you perceive the art shipping market evolving over time?

I compare it to the air travel industry but it’s about 20 years behind. It will eventually evolve to a point where it is all online with more transparency and efficiency along with better pricing and service for everyone involved.

Inherent Vice


Photographed by Nick Walker

Jocelyn Jeffery talks to Danny Gabai, Executive Creative Director of Vice LA about his penchant for objects, lists and theorists.

What’s an average day at Vice like?

There’s lots of meetings. And conference calls — it’s an incredibly collaborative place so everyone’s always bouncing ideas off each other. Periodically I get to lock myself in an editing room for hours and give notes on videos. I just started producing a feature documentary so at the moment I’m looking over a lot of cash-flow schedules.

How would you describe your role in the company?

I help oversee our film and tv business. That includes everything from creative development, making deals, producing, overseeing edits and working on marketing. Sometimes I do other stuff. Sometimes things get interesting…

I see you collect Moleskines… What kind of notes do you keep in there?

It’s not just Moleskines — it’s whatever notebooks I can get my grubby paws on. I write everything down, but I seem to have a special penchant for lists and charts which I save and shove in a box and have absolutely no practical use for later. It’s a sort of embalmed archive of my brain that exists (to paraphrase the Kinks) to prove I’ve really existed.

Here’s some lists I wrote down that begin with the letter ‘F':









As a creative, which objects bring you the most inspiration and why?

Blank pages and pens — that’s where I get my best work done. And books — they’re full of other people’s good ideas. I like old-timey stuff like telescopes and ragtime cartoon characters that sing and dance and play the ukulele. Mickey Mouse has been a recurring motif in my life. He was originally a bastion of metaphysical chaos. For all intents-and-purposes he ceased to exist after 1940 when they gave him pupils and cut off his tail. As Kenneth Anger eloquently put it: “they castrated the poor fellow.” Some other old stuff I like: Marcel Proust, Walker Evans, Hoagy Carmichael, oscillators, Bringing up Baby, Robert Frank, Robert Crumb, hand-drawn maps, Lenny Bruce, Campari, The Night of the Hunter, Wally Berman, steak-au-poivre, Krazy Kat, Anna Karinina, Exile On Mainstreet-era Rolling Stones, the former Yugoslavia, George Plimpton, Georges Perec, the twist, The Marx Bros, Paris in the 20’s, New York in the 70’s (the late 70’s), Prince.

Who are your favorite theorists and what is it about them that you admire?

Roland Barthes, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard Feynman, Susan Sontag, Brian Eno, W.G. Sebald, Geoff Dyer, Tom McCarthy. I like them for their elasticity of thought. I used to be really into Heidegger but he turned out to be an asshole.

Do you think semiotics is relevant in this day and age?

Yes — the more we immerse ourselves in a virtual representation of reality, the more important signifiers become.

Vice is such a rapidly expanding media outlet, what do you forsee the company doing next?

Becoming ubiquitous.

The Art of Beauty


Julie Dickson photographed by Jocelyn Jeffery

Words by Jocelyn Jeffery

Julie Dickson, owner of Fox & Boy salon in New York City, shares her style inspiration and beauty secrets with us.

What inspired you to open Fox & Boy?

In New York there is a great divide between uptown and downtown salons. Typically uptown salons provide great service but tend to be a bit uptight. Smaller downtown salons tend to be more relaxed but the quality of the work can be questionable. I wanted to create a place that not only did great work but provided a cozy, comfortable, inviting environment. A salon has to have sinks, chairs and mirrors but the rest can be more exciting. We have a mid-century modern cocktail cart that we use as a magazine stand and antique music cabinets that we use as stylist stations.

How did you come up with the name?

Names are so difficult. I wanted something simple and personal but I didn’t want to put my name on the door. Fox & Boy is a game that my kids played. The little one would pretend she was a Fox and the older one (boy) would chase her around.

How would you describe the Fox & Boy concept?

It’s my goal to provide people with what they want. I concentrate on giving cuts and promoting hairstyles that work with people’s face shapes in addition to working with their natural hair texture. A perfectly cut accent piece can beautifully give the illusion of opening someone’s eye or lifting a cheekbone. For color, I always look at the eyes, skin tone, etc. For example, if someone has cool blue eyes and a warm pink skin tone, it’s an indication that they need both warm and cool tones in their hair color.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like discord. Classic and elegant mixed with a bit of counterculture. I’m tall so I have a lot of my dresses made, which I think can come off as a little stuffy so I always keep something amiss; a homemade up-do, a bra strap showing, or scuffed flats. My favorite flats are 5-year-old Pradas that are scuffed up beyond belief. I also love tomboy style but I’m curvy so I have to be careful. There’s nothing better than a good pair of trousers with a perfect crew neck or button up. When I wear labels I don’t like them to be immediately identifiable. For example, one of my favorite day bags is Celine but most people wouldn’t know it because it’s not one of their classic bucket bags.

How, in your opinion, do art, design, fashion and beauty play off of each other?

I think that design follows fine art, fashion follows design, and hair follows fashion with some obvious political and musical variables factored in. For example, the minimalist art movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the era of Frank Stella, co-existed with minimalist furniture and design. When post-minimalism came onto the scene, fashion really started to follow suit with the high fashion public embracing Halston and Calvin Klein in the early 1970’s. With wash and go fabrics so popular in high fashion, hair was soon to follow. Women no longer wanted to get a weekly wash and set, they wanted to be able to shampoo and style their hair at home, therefore more natural hairstyles became popular. The same thing happened in the 1980’s. Artists like Basquiat were using bright colors and textures, which inspired a mish mash of over the top furniture design, then crazy cartoony clothes followed with over accessorizing, which were finally followed with the big 1980’s hair. Especially in New York city, I feel like I’d really have to have my head in the sand not to know what was going to happen next.

Are there any artists that you particularly admire?

I love Cecily Brown because she’s a smart and complex woman. She’s not afraid of sex, darkness, light, or showing the sweetness of being a mother in her work. I have a wonderful signed lithograph of hers and every time I look at it I see something new. I’m also into David Shrigley. We have a lot of examples of his art in the salon in addition to a few of his books lying around. He’s simultaneously dark and hilarious. I could picture us being friends. He’d be the kind of friend I’d lie around with eating cereal all day.

Tell us about a few of your favourite things.

Mason Pearson brushes, brussels sprouts, Bill Beauford’s book – Among The Thugs, Pellegrino by the case, my daughter’s face drawings, my BLK DNM motorcycle jacket, eyeglasses, Cartier, discord, scuffed shoes, beautiful coats, Ike and Tina, good umbrellas and people who are unapologetically honest.

Do you consider yourself a collector? If so, what do you collect?

I collect glasses and sunglasses. I love that everyday I can convey a completely different look.

Where do you find your beauty inspiration?

I look at the classics. Patti Boyd, Brit Eckland, Catherine Deneuve and Lauren Bacall. I also love wonderful rock and roll girls like Joan Jett, anything Grace Coddington, girls from the folk music era with their simple skirts and loafers, red headed children, city parks, old ladies hanging out on the stoops on Mulberry Street in their housecoats, and those wonderful foggy greenish mornings in brownstone Brooklyn after the rain.