Danny Roberts is a a very inspiring young man. At the age of 13 he was already creating his own t-shirt line and by the time he was 23 he was already making collaborations with brands like Lancome and Harajuku Lovers. Not many with twice his age have.
I was fortunate enough to interview him for Look Books and you can read the result right HERE.
Dreaming Awake: An Interview with Danny Roberts
Hailed by magazines like Elle, Teen Vogue, Vogue Italia and Vogue Spain as "the one to watch" in fashion illustration, Danny Roberts is very humble about his accomplishments. To him, being recognized by something he does purely out of love is surreal and a blessing, but to the fashion world, it is seen as well deserved.
A talented artist from a very young age, Danny always had an interest for fashion and art, which he put to use for a small line of t-shirts he created when he was only thirteen. The t-shirt line continued to exist for another seven years, paralleled with Danny's incursion in fashion design school and his production of drawings and paintings that were inspired by his favorite muses: the models in the fashion campaigns and magazines.
Fueled by the likes of Gemma Ward, Ali Michael, Tanya D. and Polina Kuklina, the artist produced hundreds of portraits which were then sent by him to his subjects as a way of thanking them for the inspiration. By word of mouth his work spread through the internet via his blog Igor and Andre and became a sensation. Collaborations with designers like Rachel Antonoff and brands like Lancome, Forever 21 and Harajuku Lovers (owned by the pop star Gwen Stefani) have been added to the long list of accomplishments that this young man has accumulated.
Here, Danny Roberts shares with us his thoughts on art, the future in fashion and the things that make his life more like a dream.
Your work is very romantic and ethereal; would you say that your inspiration comes from a "dream world" or perhaps a vision of what you would like things to be like?
Yes, my inspiration comes most definitely from places outside of this world, or by images or models that look other worldly. I've always been a bit of a dreamer, and as far as I can remember, throughout the days I daydream about the imaginary world. I am really drawn to images or pictures, and I try to create images that remind me of that world.
In your work I see a little bit of Francesco Clemente, as well as Egon Schiele. Are you familiar with their work?
I am not familiar with Francesco Clemente, but I am familiar with Egon Schiele's work. I actually first found out about Schiele in my first drawing class at The Academy of Art. It was a figure drawing class and my teacher told me she thought my drawing looked like his. So I looked him up that night and fell in love with his work, I am a big fan.
Your work as an artist has brought you closer to an industry which you admittedly admire and want to be a bigger part of. Was that your intention when you started drawing and painting?
No, actually I went to school for fashion design, and I was planning on being a fashion designer. It just so happened that my first few classes were fashion illustration, and my teachers told me that I should pursue Fashion Art & Illustration for a career, so I took their advice figuring I could always do fashion design at a later time.
How was your reaction when you were approached by Harajuku Lovers for a collaboration?
I remember it was early in the morning when I read the email, and I read it over like three or four times before it sunk in that Gwen Stefani had seen my artwork before. Then I spent the rest of the day with a big childish grin on my face. It was an awesome feeling.
What do you consider to be your most significant collaboration thus far?
The cover for The Sunday Times Magazine from London was definitely the most special collaboration. It was the biggest honor to have my tribute portrait of Alexander McQueen in the cover of a magazine in his home town. He was by far my favorite fashion designer.
Do you see fashion as a form of art?
Yes, most definitely, because it takes imagination to design fashion.
How do you see the future of the fashion industry with so many technological advances?
I think the technological advances are going to make the fashion industry more open to its consumers. Already, I've seen a few brands launching ways for their customers to customize their clothes to fit the individual. I also feel new technological advances will allow a next level of access and interaction with every area of the industry.
Vogue Italia on-line said "One may get lost in wonder observing as He proceeds to give shape to his illustrations - and I believe artist Danny Roberts is perfectly aware of that, considering the countless videos on YouTube showing the artist in the act of painting." - now, are you aware of that? And how did the idea for the videos come to be?
(laughing) Well, the whole idea of time-lapse videos of me drawing came to me one day when I was thinking that if my favorite artists were alive today, what would I like to see more than anything from them? I thought it would be amazing to see them painting and drawing, and it would be great to see their process from start to finish. So I thought it could be something that my blog readers would enjoy.
What is your ultimate dream as an artist?
To be able to create the things I dream of without any limitation.
Follow Danny Roberts on twitter at @danny_roberts
You can also follow his blog, Igor and Andre at @igorandandre
In my comings and goings in the fashion industry I meet many interesting people, and Nick Turner is one of them. He is a photographer, a painter and an illustrator with a passion for horses, women and the nature.
Rather young but with a truly moving body of work, Nick never ceases to amaze me.
Have a read at THIS interview I did with him for Look Books.
Nick Turner, His Horses and His Muses
Born in a family where the matriarch was an artist and in which both parents also had the artistic vein, Nick Turner was surrounded by art and artistic expression, these are the things that make him who is is today. Born in Boston, Nick grew up in Maine and was home schooled until the age of fifteen. His next adventure was to be in France to continue his studies, where he remained until he concluded his Baccalaureate at the International School of Toulouse.
Nick was fortunate enough to be accepted into Parsons Paris campus so he packed his bags and moved to the city of lights. During his attendance at Parsons, Nick developed a long and debilitating depression and found solace in his art work. It was at that time that he came to meet the photographer Francois Rousseau, who was then working on the book called “Atelier”, inspired by Patrick Grainville’s novel “L’Atelier du Peintre”. Rousseau cast Nick as one of the main characters in this photography book, playing the role of the tortured artist, which was a natural fit for Turner. Rousseau and Nick developed a great friendship/mentorship that made Nick realize that art was a passion that should be seriously pursued.
Shortly after that, Nick moved to New York to conclude his studies at Parsons. Arriving in the Big Apple was a shock, Nick had never set foot in the city and was impressed by its speed, with cars, lights, people and noises coming from all sides, he recalls “walking in the shadow of so many tall buildings and places only seen in films”; his life felt like a movie.
In New York Nick’s work took flight and and caught the attention of the right people. Nick started shooting models in the style he likes best, raw, natural and most of the time, surrounded by nature. In constant development, his work continues to move and attract the eyes of the most influential people in the city, like the Clic Gallery, who currently holds some of Nicks photographs in their Manhattan and East Hampton locations.
Mr. Turner is currently working on his second solo exhibition and his first book project, all raw and natural, as he likes best. Here the artist shares a little more about his passion.
Who are some of the artists that influence your work and why?
I grew up around artists, my grandmother was a painter and I spent a lot of time watching her work, as I'm getting older I can definitely feel her presence in the way I’m working or thinking. Of course there are some of the more well known artists I really love, Jenny Saville is by far one of my favorite painters, I recently saw some of her work at the Gagosian Gallery in NYC and was blown away by seeing her portraits in real life. I also am very inspired by Peter Lindbergh’s photographs. Its more real to me, often very documentary feeling and I love that. I also really admire Russell James and how he shoots women, think there’s something so clean and elegant about his photographs.
I see in your work a very intimate and loving relationship with horses; why horses?
Yes, well, I grew up riding horses in shows in Maine. I have always been very calm around horses and share similar instincts with them. Things affect me very much from people or situations I’m around; horses are very sensitive creatures and sense other people which is what they react to, I feel connected to them. When younger I would ride in a saddle and be very appropriately dressed for riding. I now ride bareback most of the time, to me theres nothing more inspiring then the feeling of the power of a horse beneath you and feeling every movement it makes when on its back. They also symbolize something I am searching for in other aspects of life as well, purity, truth power and beauty all combined. Theres a quote by Winston Churchill that always makes me smile when I say it in my head because it feels so true to me: "there’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man".
What is the relationship between the women you portray and the horses?
I think us humans are not as evolved as we like to think we are, we are still animals by nature. I think women and horses share the same attributes, beauty and strength, power and sensitivity. I am constantly looking for that when I am shooting women and horses, even as separate subjects. I want to portray them in a certain light. Finding the connection between the horse and woman together has been driving me for a while in my head. I think its hard to explain in words sometimes the emotions I am seeking in the images I am striving to shoot.
You seem to be most comfortable with painting and photography - are there other forms of art that interest you?
Indeed there are,I actually was educated in drawing and painting, photography just happened naturally over the last few years. Film is what I really would like to do. Short films at first but down the road I would like to work on much larger projects. When I am working especially on location I always see things in a very cinematic way, not just one still photo.
You have set sail to secluded beaches in Iceland and Scotland, what made you chose these places?
I am always drawn to desolate, raw, empty spaces, the energy there is always so peaceful and inspiring, I feel alive in locations like that, to see and feel nature in a "real" untouched fashion, without much social interference. The environment I think is very important and I think even when looking at it from a "beauty" or "fashion" perspective, the savage, natural or raw beauty in humans or nature is always the most powerful and inspiring to me as an artist and a man. Nature has already created so much beauty on its own. In the ocean, the black beaches in Iceland, mountains and volcanos, you can feel the power of beauty in these locations not just see it, thats very important to what I want to portray in art. I think depth in art is important, beauty should be limitless and fearless. I tend to get very claustrophobic in studios and in cities if i stay for too long.
What is it that you look for when you are shooting your models?
Sincerity, honest and real moments, I try to keep things as natural as possible not too much crazy posing or models trying to be models. I really am interested in shooting the real women. I get frustrated easily sometimes when shooting if I feel the subject isn't being completely open to me or trusting me. I feel what the subject feels through the lens and it is very important to have some kind of honest connection between the subject and photographer. I like to work very organically and let the shoot naturally evolve. I think shooting is very similar to painting, it’s a process that isn't something forced or else it tends not to work.
If there was one woman you could work with as a subject of your photography and painting, who would it be?
Lara Stone, her face and body are the most animalistic I think of any women I have seen. Especially with the project I am working on about horses and women portraying this strong and very raw beauty I think she inspires me the most.
What is your biggest dream as an artist?
I really just want to be able to create the images and projects I have in my head. To have freedom to make the work you are inspired to make and hopefully touch people on an emotional level, thats really the best thing I think.
Do you think there are limits to our dreams?
Absolutely not, only the ones you set for yourself but I do think there is a lot of patience to be developed if you really want to achieve your dreams, thats something I am learning very slowly myself, patience and learning from each experience to make the next one better and more productive. Constant improvement and change, I always think things can be better or I could have done a better job shooting. Theres a consistent need to be better and that seems to push my dreams further and further past the previous "limits" or images I had envisioned.
Visit Nick Turner's website to see more and follow him on twitter: @nickodt
Smart Magna has also reposted this same interview, and you can find it HERE.
Jeff, who lives at home, is a stoner, a lazy ass, a failure in many different senses of the word, a sci-fi geek and also a grown up. Jeff, however, is also passionate, kind-hearted, a dreamer and a believer. Jeff believes in destiny, he believes life has something special in store for him. He just doesn't know what it is yet.
Driven by his ideals and beliefs, Jeff picks up a random sign given to him by "destiny" and chooses to follow it. He knows in his heart that the clue he was given will lead him to his purpose in life. There are no half measures with Jeff, he will not stop until he has achieved his goal.
From the less than average life that our anti-hero lives, in a household in which his mom (played by the ever so brilliant Susan Sarandon) could not be less supportive and understanding, Jeff finds himself in a less than fortunate situation. To make matters worse, Jeff's path crosses with his prick of a brother, here embodied to perfection by none other than Ed Helms. From here on, the two brothers embark upon an unexpected adventure filled with inexplicable accidents and coincidences, each searching for his own unique goal. Their mother, oblivious to her boys' shenanigans, sits at work dealing with her own mystery: a secret admirer that appears in her instant messaging service in the midst of a terrible personal crisis.
And so our characters go on their search for something; something that is not yet immediately clear to them, or the audience, but one that certainly becomes more and more intriguing, like in a good mystery that yearns to be solved.
I had the opportunity - via the kind invitation of Gen Art, to meet with one half of the Duplass brothers, Mark Duplass, who brilliantly co-wrote and co-directed the screenplay with his brother Jay.
Mark displayed nothing but fascination for Jeff's unique way of embracing destiny and awe for the actors with which he and his brother were working. Mark explains: "This movie is more heavily plotted than our previous ones, it has many ins and outs, like a good detective story, but it still maintains a sense of improvisation, because the way the actors say their lines is totally their own, they recreate the lines, the script here works merely as a guideline to what is happening in their story, but the way they say it comes from their heads, and this is what keeps the movie exciting and fresh, and this is why we needed to have the help of these guys, Ed, Jason and Susan, who are so brilliant in what they do.". Taking from cinema verite influences, the Duplass brothers continued to create freedom even in the way their scenes were shot, allowing their actors to perform without boundaries, much like a documentary, where a camera follows the subject and not the subject following the camera.
But the movie, which at times can take a few steps too far into its own charade, takes flight in its quiet metaphors for life that become more and more compelling towards the end - the metaphors that show us that there is after all a method to this whole madness, and that life has beauty in its system of working things out. The plan is often unclear, but the ability to enjoy the ride and appreciate the ups and downs is what makes the difference. To learn from our own mistakes, to grow and to graduate from them is the great accomplishment and, in some cases, the better-diploma.
Ed Helms, also at the event, had similar feelings about this movie. "At first I did not like this character, I thought he was a dick and I did not want to do it (the movie), but towards the end of the script I realized that Pat (his character) didn't like Pat either and that he wanted to become a better person, that he saw where he needed improvement, and that made me want to be a part of this movie.".
"Jeff, Who Lives at Home" is one of those movies that makes you feel, even at the worst of times, like there is always room for improvement, and that the possibilities in life are endless. As long as you trust fate and read the signs (whatever you think they may be), it is never too late to allow yourself to learn and pursue your own destiny. You still have, at any given time, a chance to make it in life.
The Armory Show is on and kicks off another art marathon that will populate New York with several gallery and museum openings from here on. Last night wasn't an exception and Hauser & Wirth took the opportunity to show new work by the celebrated Delhi-based artist Bharti Kher. The show is riveting and you can read my impressions in THIS article on Look Books.
The Warm Winds of Art on a Cold New York Night
In an evening when the art world had its eye looking to the Armory's Gala Benefit; Hauser & Wirth Gallery managed to attract a very selective crowd to the opening of Bharti Kher's exhibition entitled "The Hot Winds that Blow from the West" where five new pieces by the admired London-born, Delhi-based artist are now in view.
Welcomed by "A View of the Forest" a beautiful multi green-toned piece composed by Kher's now famous bindis, we are ushered through the hallway to meet "A line through space and time"; a staircase in an empty room that leads up to nowhere, a remarkable piece of work covered by sperm-shaped bindis and that could be an invitation to a more fertile time in life, or perhaps the opposite, we wonder. The bindis, more than a fashion accessory in the Indian culture and constantly present in Kher's work since 1995 are as she explains "meant to represent a third eye - one that forges a link between the real and the spiritual-conceptual worlds."
The heavy weight radiator-composed piece in the back room gives name to the exhibition and could probably benefit from a larger space, but it is an astonishing work of art none the less. For this piece the artist sourced 131 radiators from the United States, the west, over the course of six years and shipped them to India, the east, where it was assembled.
The title of this work references The Loo, a fiercely hot and occasionally fatal summer afternoon wind that blows across North India and Pakistan. "We think of winds as harbinger of change, carrying voices of transformation", Kher has said. "From where I sit, the winds blowing nowadays from the west - from the places that were the seats of power and authority throughout the 20th century - are no longer as strong or reliable as they were." Traveling east these radiators, symbol of domestic comfort in the west, lost its purpose and the artist continues to offer explanation; "I suppose I am sending them back to the West as messenger and, perhaps, warnings. Other voices are changing the landscape now and political uncertainties have put the world in flux.".
On the second floor however comes the most brilliant and breathtaking piece, shown last spring at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, "Reveal the secrets that you seek" throws us in a room of wonders composed by 27 shattered mirrors covered by bindis, this entire room feels warm and inviting, and the broken mirrors, which to general belief would symbolize bad luck, in this case are binded by the bindis that call out just the opposite and show us that even when shattered to pieces it is possible to find beauty and reconciliation.
The last piece, "The messenger", shines on it's own, in a striking yoga position, balanced by it's own weight, as a yogi would, this fiber glass sculpture is described by Kher as "an urban witch, a woman of both mythology and everyday life, a hybrid" and the effect is haunting. This sculpture is the most recent in a series of figurative works in which Kher has presented hybrid beings that conjoin contradictions of gender, species, race and role. For this work the artist has drawn upon the attributes of the Hindu goddess Dakini, who is considered the manifestation of energy in female form, which in this case is also partly animal.
An astonishing accomplishment for Hauser & Wirth, this show is overall a breathtaking display of Bharti Kher's brilliance.
Many years and many models have gone by, but not many remain as active and inspiring as the lovely Ms. Claudia Mason, whom I had the pleasure of representing during my time working at Elite Models.
Claudia doesn't settle down, she writes, produces plays, directs, wins awards, shoots movies, dances and in whatever time she has left, she models. It's breathtaking.
Allow yourself to be taken out of breath too in this week's model musing column, just follow THIS link!
Model Musing: Claudia Mason
With a passion for the arts, Claudia Mason is one of those girls that rose to stardom in the supermodel era, alongside names like Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell; Claudia had her brand established in the fashion industry right from the start. Discovered in a music store at the age of 13 she was attending New York’s prestigious School of American Ballet and was a very serious student. It wasn’t until she was 15 years old that things became really serious, and from that moment on she didn’t stop. Claudia’s first booking was for Vogue, and from there on Elle, Wand Bazaar followed, always shot by names like Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Arthur Elgort, Patrick Demarchellier and Steven Meisel, to name a few.
Long and languid, Claudia was a queen of the runways, and soon also became a must-book for top campaigns. One of Gianni Versace’s favorite models and repeatedly used in his campaigns, she also modeled for Fendi, Valentino, Christian Lacroix and many others.
Claudia then went on to host MTV’s Fashionably Loud, starred in an Enrique Iglesias music video and caught Hollywood’s attention. The pursuit of the acting career lasted a few years in Los Angeles until fashion took her attention once more. In the same year she was receiving awards for her theater production of Tennesse Williams’s Orpheus Descending and superstar stylist Katie Grand repeatedly booked Claudia for Love Magazine and Vogue Russia.
Here, Claudia reminds us that acting, producing and writing are still the leading roles in her life nowadays. Duly noted.
Why do you love this picture?
I love this picture because it's old school movie star glam! It is from a LoveMagazine spread last year, and it's one of my favorite recent pictures of myself.
Who took it?
David Hughes was the photographer and Phoebe Arnold was the stylist! Great team!
How was the shoot like?
It was a one day shoot in London, and it was freezing cold and snowing outside! December 2010 I was relieved to be shooting inside, with heaters around.
What were you thinking as you were shooting this?
I was thinking how uncomfortable I was in that position, as my neck was 'resting' on a concrete sharp edge. Ah fashion!
Did you receive any direction from the photographer?
The photographer wanted 'relaxed glam'.
Were there any wardrobe malfunctions?
My nipple popped out a couple of times - nothing major.
What was the theme for this shoot?
It was a jewelry story, so it needed to have an expensive air to it. Relaxed decadence.
What was your biggest challenge as a model?
Biggest challenge as a model is to not take my career for granted, as it has been so good to me.
Are there any regrets?
I would have liked to have had more fun when I started modeling.
Was there a modeling job that was so incredible that looking back it almost feels like a dream?
I've had so many great modeling jobs, but one that stands out is when I shot an Anne Klein campaign with Steven Klein, and there was an elephant in the studio!
What is your dream modeling job?
My dream modeling job would be to have a cosmetics contract. Also the Bulgari campaign. I love that they use actresses such as Rachel Weisz and Julianne Moore.
What have been your most recent dreams?
I currently have nightmares only! But, a current dream would be to work with Woody Allen or Alexander Payne. Also, to be performing my one woman show that I'm currently writing.
What was your love at first experience; modeling, acting or dancing?
I fell in love with ballet as a little girl. But then again I fell in love with being in front of the camera and on stage as well. I used to perform at home in front of the mirror as a child.
You can follow Claudia Mason on TWITTER @ClaudiaMason1