Original Femininity

Suzanne_Rae_Materialist_Magazine_Jocelyn_Jeffery_Christopher_Gabello

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

Adam_Fields_Arta_Materialist_Magazine_Issue_01_Jocelyn_Jeffery_Nathan_Perkel

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 Artspace.com, 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

Danny_Gabbai_Vice_Materialist_Magazine_Issue01_Jocelyn_Jeffery

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':

FILMS I’D CATEGORIZE AS BODY HORROR

FURNITURE STORES IN JAPAN

FAVORITE ALBUMS 2005

FAMOUS JEWS

FINNEGANS WAKE: RECURRING MOTIFS

FREQUENT FLYER ACCOUNTS

FAULKNER’S SOUTH

FAVORITE BRITISH COMEDY SERIALS

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_issue_01_Materialist_Magazine_Jocelyn_Jeffery_Fox&Boy

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.

Fragments of Femininity

An Illustration of the Artist Kiki Smith by Miriam Ivanoff for Materialist Magazine Issue 01

A comparative analysis of the work of Tracey Emin and Kiki Smith

Illustration by Miriam Ivanoff

Words by Jocelyn Jeffery

Tracey Emin and Kiki Smith have starkly different visual approaches in their art yet thematically their work is inextricably intertwined. Both women eschew the expected and express different aspects of both the feminine psyche and life itself in unpredictable ways. Emin is radical about love; Smith about life and death. Their work is often both precious and difficult to stomach (think Emin’s blankets and Smith’s statues excreting beads). They are provocative, evocative and not afraid to expose themselves – a raw honesty radiates throughout their work that is rare to find.

This honesty manifests itself as Emin cries out for intimacy by exposing details of her private life that others wouldn’t dream of revealing. In a letter that accompanies My Abortion 1990 she recounts the moment when, in a London taxicab, her body expelled a second fetus, overlooked during the initial procedure, “I had killed the thing which I could love the most. Forgive me, tiny little thing… Forgive me – leave me.”

Smith is honest in her portrayal of the female form in unconventional ways – often from the inside out, neutralizing it so that it stands for mankind as a whole, challenging the tradition of male artists to paint the female in an erotic light. In How I Know I’m Here, a massive linocut, Smith depicts several internal organs, including a heart, brain, lungs, and reproductive systems splayed out around etched lines that represent her own feet, face and hands. Although Smith’s work can be seen as rather feminist, honing in on this as a political statement can be a mistake, or at least a dangerously narrow view. Her approach is far more personal – she explores the significance of how the body functions systemically in order to gain a stronger grasp on reality.

Smith’s probing stops at no bounds and delves into the human body’s most intimate inner functions – urination, menstruation, reproduction, and so on. She creates statues excreting bodily fluid in the form of beads. By making urine or menstrual blood beautiful, Smith probes at our societal reaction to such things. She also emphasizes the lack of importance we normally attribute to these fluids by placing them on an altar in jars with gothic lettering, each fluid in equal standing.

Emin does not shy away from the exploration of the significance of bodily fluids either, confidently displaying used tampons alongside her sketches giving the two equal importance. In My Bed, Emin displays her bed after a depressive episode, covered in suspicious stains and leaked menstrual blood in all its glory.

For Smith and Emin, the body is in perpetual motion. Neither artist has any shame in laying the ghastliest aspects of femininity stripped bare. This introspection strips their work of pretense down to an almost primeval level. The exposure of the self creates a vulnerability that leaves the work open to interpretation.

This vulnerability is also reflected in the use of humble craft materials. Smith uses papier-mâché for many of her sculptures and Emin uses appliqué techniques and household fabrics to create her patchwork quilts. The lack of durability of these materials as compared to that of objects like bronze sculptures creates a sense of urgency that reflects their need to create their art – to express something physically that has been building up inside. Emin’s tapestries show fragmented sentences; often just words, names or phrases. Smith’s works consist of fragmented body parts, with no logical context in the body from a biological standpoint, with the spleen and bladder displayed next to the more socially glorified heart and brain. These fragments add to this sense of urgency, as both artists emphatically express that nothing lasts forever.

The exploration of the ephemeral is so honest and pure in Smith’s work that her art can be difficult to write about. She is not trying to make a statement. Instead she follows whatever is preoccupying her at the moment without necessarily knowing why. “I don’t want to be trying to do anything,” Smith says. “When I was younger, people’s work was so expressionistic that to me it felt indulgent or self involved.” Based on this view Smith may not be a fan of Emin’s work, which is often self-indulgent. Emin is this big, booming voice that is deliberately loud because she desperately wants to be heard. Yet the honesty still permeates through Emin’s willingness to be open about a past as she sees it, inspiring the viewer to look back to the events that brought them into their present state of existence. Smith may be better at playing the innocent, but she also questions the nature of our existence through her exploration of life, death and the existential.

The autobiographical component in both artists’ work allows them to question our existence from a personal level, where they each recognize their own struggle. Emin uses her confessional art to deliberately bare her soul on canvas so that the spectator feels that they immediately know her on an intimate level. Her honesty supersedes the unfamiliar and this is what makes her art beautiful. Smith often features her self in her work, literally and physically. She is the first to admit this: “My work was very autobiographical. In the pieces about birth I was trying to reconcile an ambivalent relationship to being here on earth because earth is a difficult place to be sometimes.” Emin and Smith both create art through this therapeutic method of working out on canvas whatever is preoccupying their minds at the moment. Smith has said, “I’m just trying to make my life okay. I’m just trying to have a good life; that is my ambition: to be better at being here.” Emin speaks of art as her raison d’être, as something that has saved her life many times. To this, Smith would agree, “You know, we’re not doing research; our lives are at stake.”

Collapsing Boundaries

M0_Cover_image

Isabella Huffington, artist, Yale graduate and daughter of Arianna, takes us through her visionary creative process.

What inspired you to get into art? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I always did art when I was young, but it was more as a hobby. I did more classical things like figure drawing, and I was never that into it. Then I remember in a figure drawing class I started working this modern background and I thought, this is actually enjoyable. So I started focusing on that more and it instantly captured me. After that I started working with Sharpies. I just had them around. I don’t think I would have gone and chosen Sharpies, but the medium works.

I love the Sharpie pieces that look like jellyfish. What are they meant to be?

They’re flowers, but they could be umbrellas or anything. I like the different interpretations. I just started doing three-dimensional flowers, which has been a lot of fun.

Other than nature, what objects inspire you to create your art?

I really like the idea of collapsing the boundary between fine art and everyday objects. Even Orbit gum wrappers – I just think they have the coolest pattern, and so do tissue boxes. We put so much effort in making these beautiful pieces to go in museums, but people generally don’t put in the same amount of effort for the things we see day-to-day. In Japan there is no boundary between the two. Even the wrapping paper there is special. So I’m interested in breaking down the boundaries between art and the everyday. One of the artists who does this, and who really inspires me, is Keith Haring. I created a piece that I based on his designs and his objects. Another artist that does this well is Yayoi Kusama. Those are the two artists I absolutely love.

What was it like studying art history at Yale and how did you find the time to work on your own art simultaneously?

It was good the first three years, but the fourth year was hard because I wasn’t an art major but an art history major, so there was a real divide between what I was studying, which I find incredibly interesting, and what I actually do and want to do. I just want to stay home and work on my art. I work in six-hour blocks, which was really hard when I had class. So I went to class, obviously, but getting myself to go was very difficult because I just wanted to work on my art. And at Yale they want people to stay on a certain track. The other side is always telling you to go into consulting or banking, which I think is unfortunate because when you don’t 100% know what you want to do, then you end up going on one of those tracks, which may or may not be right for you.

Do you know with certainty that you want to be an artist for the rest of your life?

I do, and I also want to do more decorative arts through working with companies and putting my art on objects because, again, I am really interested in collapsing that divide and making art accessible to a greater audience. I don’t think you should have to go to the museum to see beautiful things.

You helped collapse the divide between fashion and fine art with your collaboration with the fashion brand Ports. Can you tell us more about that?

That was fantastic. It was a lot of fun. My art was up in the New York store for two weeks. I had an opening show and then we had a big party, which was funny because I’m a big introvert, so at first I didn’t want to do it. But once you get there, it’s fun and it’s exciting. It’s always fun to hear other people talking about your art because they give it such better meaning than you ever could.

Bendigo Babe

Zinzi Edmunson reports on young Hollywood’s essential retro accessory.

When a costume designer, especially an in demand and talented one, tells us about a single item that will elevate any outfit from the depths of dullness, we tend to perk up and take note. Between film and TV jobs over the past two years on the sets of Bridesmaids and 90210, costume designer Mirren Gordon-Crozier created a line of sunglasses inspired by the tree-lined streets where she spends her summers in the serenity of Eastern Long Island. “Clothes are so everyday,” she says, “I wanted to create something fun and cool; that an L.A. girl can throw on with no makeup or a simple outfit and still feel glamorous.” The result: a line of wood grain acetate sunglasses that hit all the marks in two styles and five color ways. As intended, Bendigo Frames are a surefire antidote to even the worst case of sartorial doldrums.

www.bendigoframes.com

X-ray Vision

Nathan_Perkel

Photography by Nathan Perkel for Jalouse

In the six years since Nathan Perkel left Northern California for New York, he has produced a vast and successful body of personal and commercial photography imbued with a playfulness and energy that affirms the rapid success he has achieved in his field. His commissions have taken him into the bedrooms and closets of fashion kids such as Dylan Kawahara, associate designer at Opening Ceremony and blogger Leandra Medine, otherwise known as The Man Repeller. Perkel’s lens has animated and elevated their everyday objects, proving them worthy of their illustrious owners: bracelets, bongs and tiny toy dinosaurs radiate the eccentricity of their collectors and elbow for Perkel’s focus, angling to be brought to the attention of a larger public. Perkel is interested in photographing people above all else and his interest is so intense that these still lifes become convincing mirrors and extensions of their collectors, like a bionic part of the whole. Materialist commissioned Perkel to shoot his own most inspiring objects. Our writer Arianna Jacobs sat down with him over drinks near his East Village apartment to discuss the possessions that compel him to create.

Do you have a certain object – the camera would be an obvious one – that epitomizes your personality?

I can think of a bunch of them, for example this old blanket I pulled out two days ago to watch a movie in McCarren Park. It’s pretty awesome. It’s a felt blanket with images of Snoopy all over it. And I have all these trinkets because my father passed away when I was young. Every year my Mom pulls out this big box and it’s full of little things of his and she lets my sister and I take one of the things. It’s really cool. Also, skateboards are important. I collect all the boards I’ve ridden since I moved here. I have a stack. I’m thinking I will take them to a spot where people skate and give them away and photograph the kids I give them to.

Are there any skate photographers you admire?

There’s a bunch of people like Atiba Jefferson at the forefront of skate photography. When I grew up looking at skate magazines I always looked at Daniel Harold Sturt who would print his own photos. I was also inspired by Brian Gaberman, he would take this unconventional approach – doing platinum prints – this old method of photography and incorporating it into skate photos where it wasn’t used. Nowadays I don’t look at skate magazines much, but I definitely watch all the videos. Oliver Barton is another really good photographer. He’s from England, used a Hassleblad and brought European skate photos into America. With traditional photography, I also have so many influences and things I look at. Every week there’s another thing that I think might be some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen.

What have you seen recently in terms of non-skate photography?

There’s a book that’s been on my coffee table for the last month that I look at all the time, Atlanta by Michael Schmelling. He’s inspiring in the print aspect because he’s been so adamant about making books. He had access to southern rap culture, which at the time hadn’t been photographed as much. It’s this beautiful book of portraits of rappers and really niche things.

Why did you decide to move to New York when you did?

I graduated from school and was assisting a bunch of photographers in San Francisco and I set a date for myself. I always do this – set long-term goals. If I say to myself ’I want to move to this place in four years’, then you’re putting it together and if you have your eyes open to an idea – and that goes with anything – if you’re thinking about it, the opportunity will present itself. It’s when you’re not aware of what you’re trying for that it goes right by you.

For the full interview, order your own copy of Materialist here.

For more of Perkel’s images please visit: www.nathanperkel.com


Editors Letter

Caroline Tillette photographed by Lisa Roze
Fashion by Louise Hall-Strutt
Dress by Paco Rabanne

Materialist is a magazine stemmed from semiotics its angle is to use the lens of the object as a means to discover the personalities that drive the fashion industry. The main criticisms of fashion are that it’s both too self-referential and too superficial.

The objective is to obliterate these stereotypes by redirecting the focus towards other material items. As creative-types are inherently collectors who form attachments to unique material things, whether it’s art, design or other eclectic tchotchkes, the goal of Materialist is to establish a deeper connection with people in fashion by getting to know them through their most influential possessions. Our hope is that this inaugural issue of Materialist proves to be an inspiring object in and of itself.

Jocelyn Jeffery
Editor-in-chief