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Interview with art collector, art advisor Sonia Borell

By /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich

Interview with an art collector Sonia Borell

Meet Sonia, a versatile individual who wears multiple hats in the art world – art collector, art advisor, and entrepreneur. Originally from Barcelona, Spain, Sonia’s educational background in Law from the University of Barcelona laid the foundation for her artistic journey that began in 2008.

Over the years, Sonia has meticulously curated the Tryson Collection, transforming it into a vibrant showcase of contemporary art that reflects her personality and tastes. What initially started with Spanish artists has now evolved into a diverse collection encompassing Pop Surrealism, Urban Art, and Contemporary works, with a focus on emerging talents from countries like Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, Indonesia, and her homeland Spain.

Join us as we delve into Sonia’s artistic insights, her international art scouting adventures, and her passion for propelling budding artists into the spotlight. Stay tuned for an intriguing conversation that promises to inspire art enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Can you tell us about the genesis of the Tryson Collection and its evolution over the years? How has the composition of the Tryson Collection shifted from Spanish artists to predominantly featuringPop Surrealism, Urban Art, and Contemporary pieces?

Art has always captivated me deeply. From my earliest memories, I harboured dreams of becoming an artist. Yet, the twists of fate led me to pursue a law degree and eventually brought me to London, where I met myfuture husband in 1995.

In December 2006, personal circumstances necessitated my return to Barcelona for a year. A family member’s health crisis sought my support in my hometown. Amidst the stress of medical consultations, Ifound solace and distraction visiting art galleries and museums. This became my sanctuary, my means ofemotional escape, and it was during this period that my passion for art collection was ignited.

The inaugural acquisition for my collection was a piece by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. Initially, my collection exclusively featured Spanish artists, bringing immense joy and positivity into my life as I adorned my walls with their works. This period marked the beginning of an ever-expanding collection that wouldcome to include notable names like Edgar Plans, Regina Gimenez, Claudia Valsells, and Miguel Macaya.

Upon my return to London, my fascination with Spanish art endured, compelling me to seek out galleries whenever I visited Barcelona. However, I soon discovered the vibrant and expansive art scene in London, particularly influenced by the flourishing street art movement led by figures like Banksy, Stik, Ben Eine, D Face, Dotmaster, etc. My collection began to evolve, embracing street art from the UK’s most renowned artists. My adventures took me through Nothing Hill, Hackney, Bristol, and later Penge East, documenting murals and connecting with the street art community, whom I found to be exceptionally humble andapproachable.

The year 2020 marked a significant pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the closure of physical art spaces and the temporary pause in street art creation, I turned to Instagram to stay connected with artists and their work. This period saw a surge in my collection, driven by the digital reinvention of artists and galleries. My interests broadened to include Pop- Surrealism, inspired by artists like Edgar Plans or Okuda San Miguel, who shared daily creations on Instagram, introducing me to a diverse array of Asian artists.

Today, my collection boasts around 450 pieces, each narrating a segment of my life’s journey. This collection, a mosaic of memories and experiences, is irreplaceable to me, embodying the lessons learned andmoments cherished throughout my life. It’s a testament to the belief that while we should learn from our past,we must never forget it.

What does contemporary curation mean to you, and how does it reflect your personality andpreferences?

Navigating the landscape of contemporary art curation in 2024 presents a unique and thrillingchallenge, as we find ourselves at a pivotal juncture in the art world.

Today, the art scene is vibrant and diverse, bustling with a multitude of artistic movements competing forrecognition. From digital art and performance pieces to photography, abstract expressions, manga art, anime-inspired creations, pop surrealism, street art, and naïve art— each genre seeks its place in the spotlight, despite scepticism from some traditional art connoisseurs.

What sets this era apart is the unprecedented scale of our audience. The younger generation is eager to explore and embrace new art forms, often weaving them into their personal identities alongside fashion and experiential living. This spirit of the time shapes my approach to curation, which I view as crafting a bridgefrom the 21st to the 22nd century. My goal is to curate not just for the here and now but for the legacy I leave behind for my children and grandchildren.

The context in which I grew up, in the post-Franco Spanish era, contrasts with the world we inhabit today.Conversations around the dinner table have evolved, with family members of all ages engaging as equals, sharing insights and perspectives.

Art has become a unifying theme in my household. Our collection is a living, breathing entity, knownintimately by each family member. Every new addition is a shared excitement, a collective moment of growthand discovery. This practice of inclusivity and shared passion is what I believe contemporary curation should embody—a celebration of diversity, a reflection of our evolving culture, and a legacy for the future generations.

Sonia Borell

What draws you to artists from diverse locations such as Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom,Indonesia, and Spain in your scouting endeavours?

 My collection is more than a gathering of art; it’s a mosaic of moments that have shaped me. Each pieceechoes a chapter of my journey: the vibrant culture I soaked up in Indonesia in the ’80s, the ancient mysteries of Egypt in the ’90s, a transformative year in Barcelona in 2007, and the gritty beauty of London’s street art. The pandemic, too, has left its mark, reshaping the art world and my place within it. As the years have rolled by, my role has evolved from a passionate art lover to an engaged full-time art collector since2018.

I’ve become a confidant and guide to artists, galleries, and fellow collectors, fully immersing myself in an art-enriched life. My social circle is a tapestry of those who create, collect, and celebrate art, and I treasure the journey with these remarkable individuals. Advising in the art world is not far from collecting when it’s drivenby heartfelt enthusiasm. My daily routine includes connecting with artists on Instagram or WhatsApp, offering them words of encouragement. Many don’t recognize the solitude that often accompanies the artist’s life— it’s a brave and solitary path, one that demands the artist’s very soul and often lacks visible rewards in our fast-paced world.

To the collectors reading this, I know you get it. You understand why I show up at openings, why I globe-trotto meet the artists, and why I advocate tirelessly for their recognition—they deserve that, a hundredfold. Reflecting on the joy that art has brought into my life, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. If I were to balance the books, I’d find myself deeply indebted to the world of art.

Could you share with us a memorable experience or discovery you’ve had while scouting for artists internationally?

Back in January 2022, Maison Ozmen, a Parisian gallery, unveiled the works of Vivi Cho, a South Korean artist who hadn’t yet made her mark on the international stage. The moment Sinan Ozmen, the owner of thegallery, shared the exhibition’s PDF catalogue with me, I was entranced. Every single piece spoke to me, and honestly, I would’ve acquired the entire collection if possible. Given the buzz around her work and my newcomer status at the gallery, Mr. Ozmen couldn’t guarantee I’d secure a piece. But I was determined not to take ’no‘ for an answer; the connection I felt to Vivi’s work was undeniable.

So, I launched into action, championing Vivi’s exhibition on Instagram tirelessly for weeks, hoping to catch both her and the gallery’s attention. Persistence paid off when Mr. Ozmen finally reached out, offering me a piece. I was ecstatic—it felt like it was meant for me. That was the beginning of my direct correspondence with Vivi via Instagram. A year and a half later, when she mentioned her upcoming exhibition at Strouk Gallery in Paris, my family and I didn’t hesitate. My husband, my youngest, and I jumped on a train to Paris. Meeting her was unforgettable; as a fervent admirer, it was a meeting I had long anticipated. We captured the moment in videos and photos, creating lasting memories. Vivi’s exhibition was a triumph, completelyenchanting the Parisian crowd. Next year, I am looking forward to visit Vivi in her studio in South Korea.Collecting art is about collecting memorable experiences.

Meeting Japanese artists Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami in Switzerland was an extraordinaryexperience that I also must include among the many memorable interactions that have deepened and enrichmy odyssey through the art world.

What inspired you to transition from being an art collector and advisor to actively promotingemerging artists on an international scale?

The transition from being an art collector and advisor to actively promoting emerging artists on an international scale was sparked by a deep-seated conviction that the next generation of talent deserves aglobal platform. The vibrant energy, the fresh perspectives, and the bold innovation that emerging artists bring to the table are essential to the lifeblood of the art world.

Every day I witness first-hand the challenges and obstacles that these artists face in gaining recognition, I felta compelling urge to leverage my network, experience, and passion to amplify their voices and showcase their work to a wider audience. It’s about creating bridges where there were none, opening doors that might otherwise remain closed, and ensuring that the art ecosystem remainsas diverse and dynamic as the world it mirrors.

Sonia Borell

How do you see the role of art collectors in supporting and shaping the careers of emerging artists inthe contemporary art scene today?

Art collectors often play a pivotal role in the art community by supporting emerging artists. Their love for the art world goes beyond just owning beautiful pieces; they’re passionate about the stories and the peoplebehind the art. Typically, these collectors are philanthropic, not just investing in art for personal enjoyment, butalso to nurture and promote new talent. They understand that their support can make a huge difference in an artist’s career, providing them with the resources and exposure needed to grow and succeed.

Collectors might also actively engage with the artists, offering mentorship and advice drawn from their own experiences. By doing so, they help to build a vibrant and supportive art community. They might sponsor exhibitions, fund residencies, or purchase works to donate to public galleries and institutions, ensuring that the art is seen and appreciated by a broader audience. In essence, art collectors are not just acquiring art; they’re investing in the future of the art world, fostering a rich cultural heritage for the next generation.

In your efforts to bring international attention to emerging artists, what message or legacy do youhope to leave for the future of the art world and aspiring collectors?

 My legacy is about lighting the path for future generations. It’s not just about the art I’ve collected but the artists I’ve supported and the passion for art that I’ve shared. I’m not just collecting art; I’m helping artists togrow, to feel seen and believed in. When I mentor an up- and-coming artist, it’s a chance to pass on what I’ve learned and to keep the art community strong and connected. I like to think that one day, these artists I’ve supported will do the same for others, keeping the spirit of creativity and mentorship alive.

In building this legacy, I hope to inspire not just my children and grandchildren but also other collectors and art lovers to see the power of art as a transformative force in society. It’s about fostering a deep appreciation for art and its ability to connect us, reflect our times, and push us toward new horizons.

„Art is a bridge between people, a mirror of our world.“ – Sonia Borell 

connect to Sonia via INSTAGRAM or her official WEBSITE 

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Text by Lyubov Melnickowa

Interview with photographer Alexander Platz

Tell us a little about yourself. As an art photographer, you have a very unusual background. Please tell our readers more about it.

My name is Alexander Platz and I was born in Berlin. In 1984, when I was nineteen, I joined the Berlin police force. At the time, I had no exposure to art whatsoever. I loved the training and the job, because I enjoyed working with people back then, too.

My first encounter with creative work came in the nineties, when I wrote novels and short stories, as a kind of contest, with friends who worked as actors. This is also how I got started working as a consultant, training actors for their roles, while still continuing my police work. One of my friends was the antagonist in the police series “Die Wache”. Later, I completed a project on “Operational Training for the Berlin Riot Police”. Here, I was the idea generator, scriptwriter and director, and was responsible for the production and presentation of a 15-minute film about the results.

In the meantime, as a fully fledged police officer, I devoted several years to pursuing my conventional career with the police. In 2004, after a work-related accident (resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder), I found my way to photography, quite by chance. I fought against the trauma-related flashbacks by taking photos that formed new images in my head and helped me find my way back to my emotions. I had absolutely no idea about photographic techniques and wasn’t interested in them. I just wanted to take photos, and was on the „hunt for my inner self“. During this time, I only learned the techniques that I really needed. My pictures from this period always had a sombre aspect. My works included portraits, nudes, erotic studies, dance photography at the Friedrichstadt-Palast revue theatre in Berlin, and portraits of boxers. Sometimes, I think I’ve always been searching for human biographies, encounters and experiences through my work, to learn more about life.

Upcycling Fashion

In 2016, it occurred to me that with my people photography I’d dabbled in just about everything except fashion. I’m not a fan of talking about things that I’ve never delved into before. So the first thing I did was start researching, and I emersed myself in this via YouTube. I asked myself how I could combine fashion photography with my interest in people and their expression.

Because I want to be independent in my work, I decided to go against the traditional path of working with designers and stylists.  I wanted to develop my own interpretation of people and fashion in my photographic world and find my personal visual language.

By happy chance, I stumbled upon a documentary about “anti-fashion” and “grunge”. I’m also a big fan of the English “mod” subculture and its development through to today. There are many facets of the world of fashion that can be traced back to these influences. I could identify with a lot of this, since my own style of dress and my lifestyle are based on this subculture. And so, the idea of using this as a starting point began to grow.

As I browsed through Berlin’s second-hand shops and bought clothes; I learned everything I could about what interested me and about fashion. I used, and still do use, international magazines, YouTube documentaries, books and interviews. And then I started the photographic work. This is how the visual language and aesthetics that I still use today came into being.

At the same time, I was also working on my “My Japanese Faction” project. Here, I was able to process my fascination with Japanese aesthetics, my enthusiasm for Yoshi Yamamoto, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takeshi Kitano and the Japanese samurai period. My fascination is fuelled by the pervasive interaction between the exterior and the internal feelings in Japanese history and the present day.

All these experiences come together in my current upcycling project: “Fairy Tale Dreams”.

In 2010, I left the police force and focussed entirely on photography and art. 

As a self-taught artist, I was admitted to the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin (bbk) in 2019, and so recognised as a professional artist.

In the meantime, I find it artistically exciting and fulfilling to blend all aspects of photography, art and design.

My current project, “Fairy Tale Dreams”, is the canvas for this. Here, everything flows together. Photography, fashion, upcycling design, and painting for set design.

All of this is what led me to take part in the Haze Bazaar in March 2023.

Upcycling Fashion

From 1993 to 1996, you studied public law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Why didn’t you opt to study art? Do you have plans to do this in the future? Do you think that a photographer needs some kind of formal education?

My studies took place while I was still active in the police force and they served to advance my police career. I had no involvement with photography or art at the time. However, a lot of what I learned was, and continues to be, useful to me in my artistic development. Organisation, research and scientific work are all brought to bear in my development. I used these skills to work my way into every topic, and I came up with results on both a rational and emotional level. Actually, it was a self-organised course of study.

This has both advantages and disadvantages. The network and content that a traditional art course offers were missing. I work hard on this, however, in parallel to my actual work. On the other hand, my actual degree, and also my work as a teacher at the police academy, are an advantage when it comes to structured planning and communication with my project partners and the preparation of exhibitions.   

But doing a traditional course in art or photography was something that never occurred to me. My medium, photography, and the development of the internet made it possible for me to choose my own direction and to evolve. These days, I’m so deeply involved in my development that I won’t take a university degree course.

I think that training or a degree in photography can be important. It’s good if someone is interested in that and goes ahead with it. Photography and art are so extensive that you can learn many things that you won’t learn if you’re self-taught. On the other hand, teaching yourself allows you to determine everything yourself and to put all your energy into pursuing your own ideas and dreams.

But, whether you choose the classical or the autodidactic path, a good foundation of discipline is necessary to keep moving forward and learning. 

I think it’s great that today we have the option of choosing our own path.      

Your work depicts women. Why women? Do you think it’s easier to convey the beauty of a female image in photography than a male one?

I do photograph men, too, such as dancers, boxers, actors and other creative people. 

But my main focus in on working with women. For me, they symbolise the very origin of life. In many of my fashion works, you can see the female breast. This isn’t so much erotic as symbolic of this aspect of women’s lives as a beginning and as self-confidence, and it supports the overall expression of the works. Women are closer to their emotions and more courageous in interpreting and displaying them when working in front of the camera. Our work together is mostly a “dance”, in that there aren’t many set poses. In fashion photography, I apply the experience I gained in dance and boxing photography. For me, it’s a search for that “unexpected moment”.  We follow each other. And in doing so, we challenge each other in our respective roles. It’s a highly concentrated process. Quite often, I’m physically and mentally exhausted after a photo shoot. This way of working together so freely is what gives the photographs the special expression that reflects my idea of beauty, aesthetics and female self-confidence. I love this process.

With men, the projects are also very intensive, but working with women is closer to my heart and more fulfilling.

Upcycling Fashion

Your works have a certain style. How did this style take shape?

Because my first steps in photography were taken alone and without any rules, I was initially particularly fascinated by the Surrealists and Dadaists of the 1920s and their approach to images. The freedom of Dadaism and Surrealism gave me space to experiment and develop. The expression and effect of a work were more important to me than the classical photographic process. The camera is, and remains, simply a kind of pen or brush that I can use to capture whatever fascinates me. It was in 2007, when I worked on a project in the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin with the ensemble, that the idea of the “unexpected moment” took hold of me for the first time. That fraction of a second, in which you capture the perfect position in a sequence of movement. Thanks to my “stage photography”, I learned to “feel” or anticipate the moment just before this perfect position and to take that shot. I continued to improve this skill in my later work in boxing.

A further aspect, here, is my continuous learning. During my many years of research and image analysis, I found my own style. One of my self-selected “professors” was the celebrated Diana Vreeland. She said: “The eye has to travel!” To paraphrase: as a photographer, you can be anything but don’t be boring!

All these various aspects allowed me to find my style. I’m curious about how it will continue to develop and excited to see where the next few years will take me.

What’s the most important aspect of photography for you?

The freedom to realise and portray my ideas. To give them a material form. In preparation and implementation as well as in the subsequent retouching. It always moves me forward and allows me to learn more in order to express my feelings. Here, I’m guided only by myself. I reject all forms of dogma and ideology. I celebrate self-fulfilment through the freedom of art.

And I love meeting and working with people.

You teach photography at the Community College Berlin Treptow Köpenick. What motivated you to start teaching?

Since I’ve dedicated myself to artistic photography and have never undertaken any commercial work, ensuring the financial viability of my projects is a major issue. Teaching allowed me to earn part of my budget. I knew from my past endeavours that teaching was something I enjoyed. So, as well as benefitting from the financial aspect, I found the teaching very stimulating and a distraction from everyday life.

These courses also give me an incentive to keep learning and to keep evaluating the courses. My students include both amateurs and professionals. In the lessons, their thoughts also provide me with new perspectives. It’s a give and take situation for all concerned.

All this motivates me, time and time again.

What do you think is the most important thing students can learn from your lessons?

The world of photography and art is so multifarious. I introduce them to my world of photography, my ideas and my imagination, to expand their vision. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about their development. “Why do I take photographs?” “What subject really interests me?” “How can I follow my chosen path?” “How can I find and maintain enjoyment in it?”

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Text by Lyubov Melnickowa

Interview with photographer Alexander Platz

Tell us a little about yourself. As an art photographer, you have a very unusual background. Please tell our readers more about it.

My name is Alexander Platz and I was born in Berlin. In 1984, when I was nineteen, I joined the Berlin police force. At the time, I had no exposure to art whatsoever. I loved the training and the job, because I enjoyed working with people back then, too.

My first encounter with creative work came in the nineties, when I wrote novels and short stories, as a kind of contest, with friends who worked as actors. This is also how I got started working as a consultant, training actors for their roles, while still continuing my police work. One of my friends was the antagonist in the police series “Die Wache”. Later, I completed a project on “Operational Training for the Berlin Riot Police”. Here, I was the idea generator, scriptwriter and director, and was responsible for the production and presentation of a 15-minute film about the results.

In the meantime, as a fully fledged police officer, I devoted several years to pursuing my conventional career with the police. In 2004, after a work-related accident (resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder), I found my way to photography, quite by chance. I fought against the trauma-related flashbacks by taking photos that formed new images in my head and helped me find my way back to my emotions. I had absolutely no idea about photographic techniques and wasn’t interested in them. I just wanted to take photos, and was on the „hunt for my inner self“. During this time, I only learned the techniques that I really needed. My pictures from this period always had a sombre aspect. My works included portraits, nudes, erotic studies, dance photography at the Friedrichstadt-Palast revue theatre in Berlin, and portraits of boxers. Sometimes, I think I’ve always been searching for human biographies, encounters and experiences through my work, to learn more about life.

Upcycling Fashion

In 2016, it occurred to me that with my people photography I’d dabbled in just about everything except fashion. I’m not a fan of talking about things that I’ve never delved into before. So the first thing I did was start researching, and I emersed myself in this via YouTube. I asked myself how I could combine fashion photography with my interest in people and their expression.

Because I want to be independent in my work, I decided to go against the traditional path of working with designers and stylists.  I wanted to develop my own interpretation of people and fashion in my photographic world and find my personal visual language.

By happy chance, I stumbled upon a documentary about “anti-fashion” and “grunge”. I’m also a big fan of the English “mod” subculture and its development through to today. There are many facets of the world of fashion that can be traced back to these influences. I could identify with a lot of this, since my own style of dress and my lifestyle are based on this subculture. And so, the idea of using this as a starting point began to grow.

As I browsed through Berlin’s second-hand shops and bought clothes; I learned everything I could about what interested me and about fashion. I used, and still do use, international magazines, YouTube documentaries, books and interviews. And then I started the photographic work. This is how the visual language and aesthetics that I still use today came into being.

At the same time, I was also working on my “My Japanese Faction” project. Here, I was able to process my fascination with Japanese aesthetics, my enthusiasm for Yoshi Yamamoto, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takeshi Kitano and the Japanese samurai period. My fascination is fuelled by the pervasive interaction between the exterior and the internal feelings in Japanese history and the present day.

All these experiences come together in my current upcycling project: “Fairy Tale Dreams”.

In 2010, I left the police force and focussed entirely on photography and art. 

As a self-taught artist, I was admitted to the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin (bbk) in 2019, and so recognised as a professional artist.

In the meantime, I find it artistically exciting and fulfilling to blend all aspects of photography, art and design.

My current project, “Fairy Tale Dreams”, is the canvas for this. Here, everything flows together. Photography, fashion, upcycling design, and painting for set design.

All of this is what led me to take part in the Haze Bazaar in March 2023.

Upcycling Fashion

From 1993 to 1996, you studied public law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Why didn’t you opt to study art? Do you have plans to do this in the future? Do you think that a photographer needs some kind of formal education?

My studies took place while I was still active in the police force and they served to advance my police career. I had no involvement with photography or art at the time. However, a lot of what I learned was, and continues to be, useful to me in my artistic development. Organisation, research and scientific work are all brought to bear in my development. I used these skills to work my way into every topic, and I came up with results on both a rational and emotional level. Actually, it was a self-organised course of study.

This has both advantages and disadvantages. The network and content that a traditional art course offers were missing. I work hard on this, however, in parallel to my actual work. On the other hand, my actual degree, and also my work as a teacher at the police academy, are an advantage when it comes to structured planning and communication with my project partners and the preparation of exhibitions.   

But doing a traditional course in art or photography was something that never occurred to me. My medium, photography, and the development of the internet made it possible for me to choose my own direction and to evolve. These days, I’m so deeply involved in my development that I won’t take a university degree course.

I think that training or a degree in photography can be important. It’s good if someone is interested in that and goes ahead with it. Photography and art are so extensive that you can learn many things that you won’t learn if you’re self-taught. On the other hand, teaching yourself allows you to determine everything yourself and to put all your energy into pursuing your own ideas and dreams.

But, whether you choose the classical or the autodidactic path, a good foundation of discipline is necessary to keep moving forward and learning. 

I think it’s great that today we have the option of choosing our own path.      

Your work depicts women. Why women? Do you think it’s easier to convey the beauty of a female image in photography than a male one?

I do photograph men, too, such as dancers, boxers, actors and other creative people. 

But my main focus in on working with women. For me, they symbolise the very origin of life. In many of my fashion works, you can see the female breast. This isn’t so much erotic as symbolic of this aspect of women’s lives as a beginning and as self-confidence, and it supports the overall expression of the works. Women are closer to their emotions and more courageous in interpreting and displaying them when working in front of the camera. Our work together is mostly a “dance”, in that there aren’t many set poses. In fashion photography, I apply the experience I gained in dance and boxing photography. For me, it’s a search for that “unexpected moment”.  We follow each other. And in doing so, we challenge each other in our respective roles. It’s a highly concentrated process. Quite often, I’m physically and mentally exhausted after a photo shoot. This way of working together so freely is what gives the photographs the special expression that reflects my idea of beauty, aesthetics and female self-confidence. I love this process.

With men, the projects are also very intensive, but working with women is closer to my heart and more fulfilling.

Upcycling Fashion

Your works have a certain style. How did this style take shape?

Because my first steps in photography were taken alone and without any rules, I was initially particularly fascinated by the Surrealists and Dadaists of the 1920s and their approach to images. The freedom of Dadaism and Surrealism gave me space to experiment and develop. The expression and effect of a work were more important to me than the classical photographic process. The camera is, and remains, simply a kind of pen or brush that I can use to capture whatever fascinates me. It was in 2007, when I worked on a project in the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin with the ensemble, that the idea of the “unexpected moment” took hold of me for the first time. That fraction of a second, in which you capture the perfect position in a sequence of movement. Thanks to my “stage photography”, I learned to “feel” or anticipate the moment just before this perfect position and to take that shot. I continued to improve this skill in my later work in boxing.

A further aspect, here, is my continuous learning. During my many years of research and image analysis, I found my own style. One of my self-selected “professors” was the celebrated Diana Vreeland. She said: “The eye has to travel!” To paraphrase: as a photographer, you can be anything but don’t be boring!

All these various aspects allowed me to find my style. I’m curious about how it will continue to develop and excited to see where the next few years will take me.

What’s the most important aspect of photography for you?

The freedom to realise and portray my ideas. To give them a material form. In preparation and implementation as well as in the subsequent retouching. It always moves me forward and allows me to learn more in order to express my feelings. Here, I’m guided only by myself. I reject all forms of dogma and ideology. I celebrate self-fulfilment through the freedom of art.

And I love meeting and working with people.

You teach photography at the Community College Berlin Treptow Köpenick. What motivated you to start teaching?

Since I’ve dedicated myself to artistic photography and have never undertaken any commercial work, ensuring the financial viability of my projects is a major issue. Teaching allowed me to earn part of my budget. I knew from my past endeavours that teaching was something I enjoyed. So, as well as benefitting from the financial aspect, I found the teaching very stimulating and a distraction from everyday life.

These courses also give me an incentive to keep learning and to keep evaluating the courses. My students include both amateurs and professionals. In the lessons, their thoughts also provide me with new perspectives. It’s a give and take situation for all concerned.

All this motivates me, time and time again.

What do you think is the most important thing students can learn from your lessons?

The world of photography and art is so multifarious. I introduce them to my world of photography, my ideas and my imagination, to expand their vision. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about their development. “Why do I take photographs?” “What subject really interests me?” “How can I follow my chosen path?” “How can I find and maintain enjoyment in it?”

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Text by Lyubov Melnickowa

Interview with photographer Alexander Platz

Tell us a little about yourself. As an art photographer, you have a very unusual background. Please tell our readers more about it.

My name is Alexander Platz and I was born in Berlin. In 1984, when I was nineteen, I joined the Berlin police force. At the time, I had no exposure to art whatsoever. I loved the training and the job, because I enjoyed working with people back then, too.

My first encounter with creative work came in the nineties, when I wrote novels and short stories, as a kind of contest, with friends who worked as actors. This is also how I got started working as a consultant, training actors for their roles, while still continuing my police work. One of my friends was the antagonist in the police series “Die Wache”. Later, I completed a project on “Operational Training for the Berlin Riot Police”. Here, I was the idea generator, scriptwriter and director, and was responsible for the production and presentation of a 15-minute film about the results.

In the meantime, as a fully fledged police officer, I devoted several years to pursuing my conventional career with the police. In 2004, after a work-related accident (resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder), I found my way to photography, quite by chance. I fought against the trauma-related flashbacks by taking photos that formed new images in my head and helped me find my way back to my emotions. I had absolutely no idea about photographic techniques and wasn’t interested in them. I just wanted to take photos, and was on the „hunt for my inner self“. During this time, I only learned the techniques that I really needed. My pictures from this period always had a sombre aspect. My works included portraits, nudes, erotic studies, dance photography at the Friedrichstadt-Palast revue theatre in Berlin, and portraits of boxers. Sometimes, I think I’ve always been searching for human biographies, encounters and experiences through my work, to learn more about life.

Upcycling Fashion

In 2016, it occurred to me that with my people photography I’d dabbled in just about everything except fashion. I’m not a fan of talking about things that I’ve never delved into before. So the first thing I did was start researching, and I emersed myself in this via YouTube. I asked myself how I could combine fashion photography with my interest in people and their expression.

Because I want to be independent in my work, I decided to go against the traditional path of working with designers and stylists.  I wanted to develop my own interpretation of people and fashion in my photographic world and find my personal visual language.

By happy chance, I stumbled upon a documentary about “anti-fashion” and “grunge”. I’m also a big fan of the English “mod” subculture and its development through to today. There are many facets of the world of fashion that can be traced back to these influences. I could identify with a lot of this, since my own style of dress and my lifestyle are based on this subculture. And so, the idea of using this as a starting point began to grow.

As I browsed through Berlin’s second-hand shops and bought clothes; I learned everything I could about what interested me and about fashion. I used, and still do use, international magazines, YouTube documentaries, books and interviews. And then I started the photographic work. This is how the visual language and aesthetics that I still use today came into being.

At the same time, I was also working on my “My Japanese Faction” project. Here, I was able to process my fascination with Japanese aesthetics, my enthusiasm for Yoshi Yamamoto, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takeshi Kitano and the Japanese samurai period. My fascination is fuelled by the pervasive interaction between the exterior and the internal feelings in Japanese history and the present day.

All these experiences come together in my current upcycling project: “Fairy Tale Dreams”.

In 2010, I left the police force and focussed entirely on photography and art. 

As a self-taught artist, I was admitted to the Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin (bbk) in 2019, and so recognised as a professional artist.

In the meantime, I find it artistically exciting and fulfilling to blend all aspects of photography, art and design.

My current project, “Fairy Tale Dreams”, is the canvas for this. Here, everything flows together. Photography, fashion, upcycling design, and painting for set design.

All of this is what led me to take part in the Haze Bazaar in March 2023.

Upcycling Fashion

From 1993 to 1996, you studied public law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Why didn’t you opt to study art? Do you have plans to do this in the future? Do you think that a photographer needs some kind of formal education?

My studies took place while I was still active in the police force and they served to advance my police career. I had no involvement with photography or art at the time. However, a lot of what I learned was, and continues to be, useful to me in my artistic development. Organisation, research and scientific work are all brought to bear in my development. I used these skills to work my way into every topic, and I came up with results on both a rational and emotional level. Actually, it was a self-organised course of study.

This has both advantages and disadvantages. The network and content that a traditional art course offers were missing. I work hard on this, however, in parallel to my actual work. On the other hand, my actual degree, and also my work as a teacher at the police academy, are an advantage when it comes to structured planning and communication with my project partners and the preparation of exhibitions.   

But doing a traditional course in art or photography was something that never occurred to me. My medium, photography, and the development of the internet made it possible for me to choose my own direction and to evolve. These days, I’m so deeply involved in my development that I won’t take a university degree course.

I think that training or a degree in photography can be important. It’s good if someone is interested in that and goes ahead with it. Photography and art are so extensive that you can learn many things that you won’t learn if you’re self-taught. On the other hand, teaching yourself allows you to determine everything yourself and to put all your energy into pursuing your own ideas and dreams.

But, whether you choose the classical or the autodidactic path, a good foundation of discipline is necessary to keep moving forward and learning. 

I think it’s great that today we have the option of choosing our own path.      

Your work depicts women. Why women? Do you think it’s easier to convey the beauty of a female image in photography than a male one?

I do photograph men, too, such as dancers, boxers, actors and other creative people. 

But my main focus in on working with women. For me, they symbolise the very origin of life. In many of my fashion works, you can see the female breast. This isn’t so much erotic as symbolic of this aspect of women’s lives as a beginning and as self-confidence, and it supports the overall expression of the works. Women are closer to their emotions and more courageous in interpreting and displaying them when working in front of the camera. Our work together is mostly a “dance”, in that there aren’t many set poses. In fashion photography, I apply the experience I gained in dance and boxing photography. For me, it’s a search for that “unexpected moment”.  We follow each other. And in doing so, we challenge each other in our respective roles. It’s a highly concentrated process. Quite often, I’m physically and mentally exhausted after a photo shoot. This way of working together so freely is what gives the photographs the special expression that reflects my idea of beauty, aesthetics and female self-confidence. I love this process.

With men, the projects are also very intensive, but working with women is closer to my heart and more fulfilling.

Upcycling Fashion

Your works have a certain style. How did this style take shape?

Because my first steps in photography were taken alone and without any rules, I was initially particularly fascinated by the Surrealists and Dadaists of the 1920s and their approach to images. The freedom of Dadaism and Surrealism gave me space to experiment and develop. The expression and effect of a work were more important to me than the classical photographic process. The camera is, and remains, simply a kind of pen or brush that I can use to capture whatever fascinates me. It was in 2007, when I worked on a project in the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin with the ensemble, that the idea of the “unexpected moment” took hold of me for the first time. That fraction of a second, in which you capture the perfect position in a sequence of movement. Thanks to my “stage photography”, I learned to “feel” or anticipate the moment just before this perfect position and to take that shot. I continued to improve this skill in my later work in boxing.

A further aspect, here, is my continuous learning. During my many years of research and image analysis, I found my own style. One of my self-selected “professors” was the celebrated Diana Vreeland. She said: “The eye has to travel!” To paraphrase: as a photographer, you can be anything but don’t be boring!

All these various aspects allowed me to find my style. I’m curious about how it will continue to develop and excited to see where the next few years will take me.

What’s the most important aspect of photography for you?

The freedom to realise and portray my ideas. To give them a material form. In preparation and implementation as well as in the subsequent retouching. It always moves me forward and allows me to learn more in order to express my feelings. Here, I’m guided only by myself. I reject all forms of dogma and ideology. I celebrate self-fulfilment through the freedom of art.

And I love meeting and working with people.

You teach photography at the Community College Berlin Treptow Köpenick. What motivated you to start teaching?

Since I’ve dedicated myself to artistic photography and have never undertaken any commercial work, ensuring the financial viability of my projects is a major issue. Teaching allowed me to earn part of my budget. I knew from my past endeavours that teaching was something I enjoyed. So, as well as benefitting from the financial aspect, I found the teaching very stimulating and a distraction from everyday life.

These courses also give me an incentive to keep learning and to keep evaluating the courses. My students include both amateurs and professionals. In the lessons, their thoughts also provide me with new perspectives. It’s a give and take situation for all concerned.

All this motivates me, time and time again.

What do you think is the most important thing students can learn from your lessons?

The world of photography and art is so multifarious. I introduce them to my world of photography, my ideas and my imagination, to expand their vision. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about their development. “Why do I take photographs?” “What subject really interests me?” “How can I follow my chosen path?” “How can I find and maintain enjoyment in it?”

I try to expand their outlook, to arouse their curiosity.

To link everything together and not to think one-sidedly in genres.

I’d like them to leave the course with a sense of great curiosity and freedom and to follow their own personal path.

As I’ve been teaching since 2018, I’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the years. My students love this approach. Some of them keep coming back to my courses because they can’t find anything with similar content and they want to keep learning.

Do your works have a message? What thoughts do you want them to evoke?

That’s a difficult question. Because my works are always a result of my current thoughts, feelings and inspirations. And the interpretation of the performer is usually a factor, too. 

I don’t think I aim to evoke any particular thoughts. It’s more a matter of emotional reactions and interpretation. Thoughts tend to take second place here.

Each of us has a different biography, world of experience, and interpretation. This is why I’d like viewers to feel an emotional connection to the work in the first instance. This could be positive or negative. The most important thing is the emotional reaction.

Here, too, I work from the premise of the freedom of the individual. I’m always delighted when viewers share their reactions with me and we can discuss them.

Tell us about your creative plans for the future? 

I want to continue developing my “Fairy Tale Project”. There’s still so much to discover there. At the moment, I’m working with Islamic women on a project about Islamic fashion and the “hijab”.

Every day, a new idea materialises, and I write it down in a small book. 

I’m also heavily involved in the current discussion about nudity in art and the public arena. For me, a tendency toward restriction is emerging, moving toward a “phase of apparent moral prudishness”.

I have a project in mind, which would involve exploring this and would bring together and interpret the aspects of nude photography, erotic photography and pornography on an artistic level. 

The working title is “Por-nu-graphy?!”, derived from the terms pornography and nude. But these works, too, will take a subtle rather than an “in your face” approach.

And then, I’m always busy interpreting my ideas on the English subculture of the sixties and seventies in photographic terms.

So, I still have quite a lot of plans and hope to be able to bring them all to fruition.

Giulia Casci | DIURNA

By /FASHION/, /NEWS/

DIURNA

Photographer  Giulia Casci @giuliacascii
Fashion Elisabetta Carchedi @elisabettacarchedi_
Makeup \ Hair Asia Mentil @asiamentil
Producer Palazzo Incubator @palazzo.studio
Model \ Agency Vittoria Gallione @vittoriagallione Fashion Art Wise @fashionartwise

Dress – Maison Luigi Borbone @maisonluigiborbone Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official

Dress – Maison Luigi Borbone @maisonluigiborbone Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official Dress – Maison Luigi Borbone @maisonluigiborbone

Dress – Maison Luigi Borbone, calzedonia, ovyé @maisonluigiborbone, @calzedonia, @ovyebycristinalucchi @teresalafosca_pr Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official

Dress – Cristiano Burani @cristianoburani Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official Dress – Migale Couture @migalecouture Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official

Dress – Cristiano Burani @cristianoburani Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official Dress – Migale Couture @migalecouture Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official

Dress – Giulia Gagliardi, second eye vintage, calzedonia, ovyé @ HYPERLINK „https://www.instagram.com/_giulia_gagliardi__/“_giulia_gagliardi__, @second.eye.vintage, @calzedonia, @ovyebycristinalucchi @teresalafosca_pr

Dress – Second eye vintage, dolce amore intimo, calzedonia @second.eye.vintage, @dolceamoreintimo, @calzedonia Chiara Bcn Jewelry @chiarabcn_official

Dress – Giulia Gagliardi, second eye vintage, calzedonia, ovyé @ HYPERLINK „https://www.instagram.com/_giulia_gagliardi__/“_giulia_gagliardi__, @second.eye.vintage, @calzedonia, @ovyebycristinalucchi @teresalafosca_pr

Interview with fine art photographer Xinyu Gao

By /INTERVIEW, /NEWS/

Text by Irina Rusinovich 

Interview with photographer Xinyu Gao

Discover the creative world of visual artist, photographer, and researcher Xinyu Gao as she discusses her innovative approach to fine art photography and experimental image-making. Having garnered recognition in renowned international competitions, exhibitions and festivals, Xinyu shares her unique perspective and experience since graduating from University College London. Join us as we delve into her journey through the lens of artistry and research in the realm of contemporary photography.

How would you describe your overall artistic vision and what drives you to create?

From the sensitivity of senses and aesthetics, I am obsessed with visibility and invisibility, and the possibility beyond. The aesthetic and cultural diversity are my original pursuits throughout my creation.

Inspired by echoes from pictorialism in initial exploration, I constantly pricked from the perception of embodied senses, experience, emotion and memory. As I break the boundaries of categories and dive into fine art and conceptual photography, my work grows in observation, perception and reflection around critical issues. Recently, I have been thinking about the way of seeing in an era of attention and spectacle and keeping changing the point of view from viewfinders to conversations, from scenes to thingness, to any possibility.

Can you talk about any specific artists or photographers who have influenced your work?

It is quite difficult to mention a full list.

I admire pioneers including Eva Watson-Schütze, George H. Seeley, Jane Reece, and Claude Cahun, Sara Moon. Work by Paul Cupido, Constantin Schlachter, Alexander Tkachev, Laura Makabresku and Masao Yamamoto inspired me in a very early stage, especially in atmosphere, emotion and conceptual mind. Moreover, I am deeply attracted by diverse vitality from masterpieces by Alex Prager, Neil Krug, visual artist Stephen Mackey, and other masterpieces beyond the mentioned above.

I am so fortunate to encounter the pure aura of art in my journey. It is lucky to grow up as their audience.

How do you approach the process of creating your photographs, from conceptualization to execution?

From the beginning, instinct is everything, as the aura, the haze, even no consciousness and no method to learn. In most cases, inspiration comes at random moments.

Exposure to talents and masterpieces drives me to touch the world and gradually learn where I am. Based on observation and perception, I attempt to absorb multiple spirits from reading, and artwork without limitations. Meanwhile, the process of academic research at college in anthropology and media study influenced me to develop critical thoughts with a solid background.

My experience in ethnographic research takes me to fields to connect to the real world and the diverse cultural meanings behind it, which take me close to the earth instead of staying with structure. However, these are the only paths that build and support my mind in realistic aspects.

The most essential thing is, to keep the sensitivity, instinct and insight forever, and keep the initial hope and passion, no matter what kind of experiments of methodologies, reality and adventures.

The project „The Night We First Met“ focuses on underground ballroom culture. What drew you to this subject and what is the message you hope to convey through your photographs?

Influenced by my field experience rooted in anthropology spirit, diversity led me to queer communities, where individual representations are the most unique and sparking, in pure love and support from each other.

This project comes from the night when the most beautiful souls of humans and nonhumans meet each other in the first voguing ball open to the public in Beijing, embracing everyone and every difference, without judgment and limitations. The senses of materials in leather and feather, metal and skin reflected under the disco ball bring me to the imagination where subjective creativity grows from nonlinear time and broken spaces.

It is a remarkable honour to create a conceptual series with unseen stories in highlights, celebrating freedom and love as the never-ending light above us. Through these moments, I also hope to reflect on how images serve as anchors for archives and history, as well as the invisibility and appearance of images in the public domain.

The First Night We Met © Xinyu Gao

Your series „Beyond the Borders“ showcases scenes from different corners of the world. How do you capture the diversity and fusion in these images?

 How to make something different in both the aesthetic and conceptual aspects is always my study and thoughts around this cultivate my curating mind that is never satisfied with presentations that already exist. I started my adventure with traces recorded during my journey and found the magical connection and echoes between corners, where the possibility of fusion became visible. Initially, shapes and colours spread and overlap with each other, as images speak for themselves, in the spirit of celebration of diversity. I am touched to keep the image in the state of self-telling, my pursuit as always, and to present aesthetic perception and humanistic spirit.

Your project „EastCoastRide“ explores the perception of memory through images. How do you convey the emotional structures and aesthetic atmosphere of memory in your photographs?

It is a kind of instinct that I can’t help to immerse myself in the perception of embodied senses, experience, emotion and memory. The specific moments inspired me to create the abstract and universal representation, in a tension between every touch and the infinite distance out of imagination. In this way, I try to reflect the alienated texture of perception in contemporary contexts, especially influenced by time and space tension.

The series ‘EastCoastRide’ constructs the landscape based on the shading and shaping of memory. From the most familiar places in sensory perception rooted in daily experience, images reach the geographical and environmental atmosphere, with distant and intimate, obscure and detailed, alienated and mutual touch, to present the perception of memory in emotional structures and aesthetic atmosphere.

East Coast Ride © Xinyu Gao

Could you discuss the inspiration behind your series „Blue Lullabies“ and „Scenic Poem“? How do these projects explore the themes of childhood, emotions, and nature?

During that period, I was obsessed and influenced by pictorialism and willing to present the aesthetic scenes and lands in my mind. Observation and immersion of scenes and landscapes evoke my initial inspiration for stories in a way of visual painting, for pure aesthetics. The picturesque nature of Tokyo Garden and Kew Garden in London bring me to distant and surreal dreams.

In the project ‘Scenic Poem’, the silence of pine trees and rock, and the flowing of water drops present the metaphor of oriental philosophy, in the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

‘Blue Lullabies’ starts from the blurry atmosphere of girlish memory, the gaze and whispers behind the gauze, with shadows in the breeze floating on it. From the senses between visibility and invisibility, images take us back to the pure emotion and innocent touch of summertime memory.

What is your favorite project so far and why?

I think there could never be a clear answer to this. However, thanks to this question, I am encouraged to look back and think about the truth and the core spirit of my work.

For me, every project is my exploration in diverse stages. It is closer to the reception of my journey and traces of growth, from the inner self to the observations, and conversations inspired by our living and creating environment.

Blue Lullabies © Xinyu Gao

What are you woking on at the moment?

 I am currently developing my conception project ‘WindFall’ accumulated for years with a draft shaped during my study in London. I hope to present it in a photo book, also for the potential opportunity of exhibitions.

This project explores the ordinary secrets and secret ordinariness in stills of everyday life and the existence of pieces influenced by how the way of seeing changed in the era of attention and spectacle.

As the viewfinder turns from scenes to thingness, this series could be regarded as a fight against society gradually shaped by accelerationism. Escaping, retreating, seeking and hiding into the details of everyday life, by breaking the speed and concreteness, texture and image, the image seeks to immerse and resist the ever-increasing sense of temporal tension and information implosion through perception, in softness and sharpness.

I am confused about this alternative way between photography and collage, especially because of its unusual and surreal presentation. Enjoying the sharpness and softness on the same surface, it easily falls into to boringness of format. I wish I could keep experimenting and share it with you in the near future.

Follow Xinyu Gao

on Instagram here 

her website 

and LensCulture 

Alain Egues | VIVID CHIC

By /FASHION/, /NEWS/

VIVID CHIC

Photographer Alain Egues @alainegues
Model  Clara Nehls @her.management
Make Up Sharbel Hasbany @sharbelhasbany
Hair Stylist Asier Aguiriano @asier_aguiriano @blossommanagement.gmbh
Stylist Natalia Mueller @nataliamueller_
Photo Assistants Maren Nordtorp @marennl Photo Assistant Natalia Ruiz @natruizga

Dress: Matsour`i

Shirt: 7Studios  Gloves:Agnelle

Dress: Aline Celi Bomber: Aline Celi Earrings: Perlensau

Blouse:  Vintage Earrings: Ofcao Harness: Perlensau Choker:  Perlensau

Top:  Leya  zu   Stolberg  Corset:Studio ID Bike Shorts: Moschino

In Focus | Özlem Sorlu Thompson

By /ART/, /NEWS/
In Focus Özlem Sorlu Thompson @ozlemsorluthompson

In Belsize Park, Özlem paints in the house where Piet Mondrian and Ben Nicholson both worked, just before the Second World War. Originally from Istanbul, Özlem loved to paint from an early age and was deeply influenced by the variety and depth of artistic creativity throughout the cultures of the Mediterranean region, from the ancient monuments of Ephesus to the colourful traditional woven handicrafts from the East of Turkey.

Moving to London in 2015 she began to refine her artistic style, while her background in Biology, Botany and passion for science provided a broad conceptual palette.  Always curious about and inspired by nature, Özlem focused on the joy of works featuring natural scenes and imaginary worlds.  She creates an idea, mixing it with her feelings and daily experience of life in which she is constantly exploring her love of classic cinema and literature, resulting in works with boundless vitality and joy.

Since 2018 Özlem has taken part in various exhibitions around the world, in New York, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK among many others and also appearing in print and online.  Her publication include in Capsules Book, ‘Leaders in Contemporary Art’, (Australia), The Art Folio Annual Art Book ‘World’s Most Exciting Artists’ (USA), House and Garden Magazine, and the ‘Covart’ Project in the Copelouzos Family Art Museum (Greece), 365artplus Magazine (Japan).

Recently German art historian&critic Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich wrote an article including her work in Art KunstMagazin. Her awards include ‘Best in Show’ in Texas, ‘Honourable Mention’ award in Tokyo and Precious magazine ‘Top Ten’ awards in Hong Kong.

In 2022 she participated as one of seven artists selected to create giant fibreglass eggs to celebrate the late Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Silver Jubilee by Elephant Family, a wildlife charity run by the Royal Family.

Özlem is constantly creating and sending her work to global collectors. Collectors include Anita Dobson&Brian May, Maria Friedman, Andy Nyman.

copyright Özlem Sorlu Thompson

Exhibitions

2023 Times Square Digital Showcase, HMVC ‘Vibrant Visions’, New York City

2023 Solo Exhibition, Hampstead School of Art, London

2023 Boomer Art Prize 20 Finalists Group Exhibition, Boomer Gallery, London

2023 HMVC Gallery New York, Vibrant Visions Online Group Show

2023 Secret Postcard Auction by Combat Stress, Bankside Gallery, London

2023 ‘Arts To Hearts’ Project, Emerging Woman Artist Award Virtual Exhibition

2023 Swiss Art Expo, Switzerland

2022 ‘Eggs of an Era’ by Elephant Family, 7 artists public show for The Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, Sloane Square, Chelsea, London

2022 Secret Postcard Auction by Combat Stress, Bankside Gallery, London

2022 Art on a Postcard, The Bomb Factory, London

2022 ‘To Me, To You’, The Artist’s Workspace Gallery, London

2022 London Coffee Festival, Coffee Art Project

2022 Virtual Artists Summer Art Festival, London

2021 Into the Cosmere, group show, London

2021 Swiss Art Expo, Switzerland

2021 Secret Postcard Auction by Combat Stress, Bonhams Auction House

2021 Keats House Museum, Hampstead Summer Art Fair, London

2021 Copelouzos Family Art Museum, Covart Project, Greece

2021 Virtual Artists Summer Art Festival, London

2020 Boomer Gallery, London; ‘Colour Boom’ Group Show

2020 Online Solo Show by Artists’ Circle Gallery, Texas, USA

2020 Madrid, ‘Summer Tracks’, Spain

2020 Frikifish Barcelona, ‘The Confinement Chronical’, Spain

2020 Talented Art Fair, London

2020 Florence Contemporary Gallery ‘Far But Close’ Group Show, Italy

2019 ‘The Night Collectors’, Group Exhibition, Bateman Street, London

2019 Red Art Gallery, Group Exhibition, London

2019 Creates Gallery, Emerging Artists Prize Group Exhibition, Wales

2018 Group Exhibition, Van Der Plas Gallery, Manhattan, NYC, ‘Call of Walls’

2018 Group Exhibition, Vagabond London, ‘Prints and Patterns’

copyright Özlem Sorlu Thompson

copyright Özlem Sorlu Thompson

Frances Rou | COMPRIMIDAS

By /FASHION/, /NEWS/

COMPRIMIDAS

Creative Direction Gerard Angulo @gerardangulo and Sergio Valenzuela  @sergio.valenzuelach
Photographer Frances Rou @frances.rou
Grooming Iris Roxanne @irisroxanne_
Styling Vanessa López @vanecl.__
Model Markus Lamar @markus_lamar for Wanted Bang @wb.mgmt
Production Step On Fashion @steponfashion

Total Look, Dolce & Gabbana @dolcegabbana

left Total Look, High Life @highlife_mx Rings, Elisheva & Constance @elisheva.and.constance Ring (left hand, index finger), Uno de 50 @unode50 right Total Look, Fendi @fendi

Left Total Look, Gucci @gucci Chair, Taller Batán @tallerbatan Right Total Look, BOSS @boss

Left  Pants, Carlos Pineda @carlospinedamx  Jewelry, Uno de 50 @unode50 Right Total Look, Alfredo Martínez @alfredomartinez_brand  Necklaces (Top to Bottom), Elisheva & Constance @elisheva.and.constance and Uno de 50 @unode50  Boots, Fendi @fendi

Left Total Look, Dolce & Gabbana @dolcegabbana Right Total Look, BOSS @boss

Basile Crespin | SILENT BLUE

By /FASHION/, /NEWS/

SILENT BLUE

Photographer Basile Crespin @basilecrespin_
Stylist Marie Revelut @therealmarie_revelut
Makeup artist & Hair Rafael Pita @rafaelpitamua
Model  Affy Talo from Silent Agency in Paris.
Agency : Silentmodels IG :silent_paris/ Website : https://www.silentmodels.com/

 

Emmanuel Ungaro emanuelungaroparis/ Website : https://www.ungaro.com/fr/ Esther Bancel IG : esther_bancel/ website : https://www.estherbancel.com/ Ambasitalie IG : ambasitaly/ website : https://www.ambas.it/ Morfium IG : morfiumfashion/ Louboutin louboutinworld/ webiste : https://eu.christianlouboutin.com/Noémie devime IG : noemiedevime.paris/ webiste : https://www.noemiedevime.com/ Falk : falke lm lulu : IG lmlulu.official website : https://www.lmlulu.net/

Emmanuel Ungaro emanuelungaroparis/ Website : https://www.ungaro.com/fr/ Esther Bancel IG : esther_bancel/ website : https://www.estherbancel.com/ Ambasitalie IG : ambasitaly/ website : https://www.ambas.it/ Morfium IG : morfiumfashion/ Louboutin louboutinworld/ webiste : https://eu.christianlouboutin.com/Noémie devime IG : noemiedevime.paris/ webiste : https://www.noemiedevime.com/ Falk : falke lm lulu : IG lmlulu.official website : https://www.lmlulu.net/ Bombers Original @bombers_original

Emmanuel Ungaro emanuelungaroparis/ Website : https://www.ungaro.com/fr/ Esther Bencel IG : esther_bancel/ website : https://www.estherbancel.com/ Ambasitalie IG : ambasitaly/ website : https://www.ambas.it/ Morfium IG : morfiumfashion/ Louboutin louboutinworld/ webiste : https://eu.christianlouboutin.com/Noémie devime IG : noemiedevime.paris/ webiste : https://www.noemiedevime.com/ Falk : falke lm lulu : IG lmlulu.official website : https://www.lmlulu.net/ Bombers Original @bombers_original

Emmanuel Ungaro emanuelungaroparis/ Website : https://www.ungaro.com/fr/ Esther Bancel IG : esther_bancel/ website : https://www.estherbancel.com/ Ambasitalie IG : ambasitaly/ website : https://www.ambas.it/ Morfium IG : morfiumfashion/ Louboutin louboutinworld/ webiste : https://eu.christianlouboutin.com/Noémie devime IG : noemiedevime.paris/ webiste : https://www.noemiedevime.com/ Falk : falke lm lulu : IG lmlulu.official website : https://www.lmlulu.net/

Emmanuel Ungaro emanuelungaroparis/ Website : https://www.ungaro.com/fr/ Esther Bancel IG : esther_bancel/ website : https://www.estherbancel.com/ Ambasitalie IG : ambasitaly/ website : https://www.ambas.it/ Morfium IG : morfiumfashion/ Louboutin louboutinworld/ webiste : https://eu.christianlouboutin.com/Noémie devime IG : noemiedevime.paris/ webiste : https://www.noemiedevime.com/ Falk : falke lm lulu : IG lmlulu.official website : https://www.lmlulu.net/

Emmanuel Ungaro emanuelungaroparis/ Website : https://www.ungaro.com/fr/ EstherBancel IG : esther_bancel/ website : https://www.estherbancel.com/ Ambasitalie IG : ambasitaly/ website : https://www.ambas.it/ Morfium IG : morfiumfashion/ Louboutin louboutinworld/ webiste : https://eu.christianlouboutin.com/Noémie devime IG : noemiedevime.paris/ webiste : https://www.noemiedevime.com/ Falk : falke lm lulu : IG lmlulu.official website : https://www.lmlulu.net/ Bombers Original @bombers_original

In Focus | Ronja Chlebowski

By /ART/, /NEWS/

Photos by Cicci_photo

In Focus | Ronja Chlebowski

“Energy is everywhere. I see it. I feel it.I transform it. I transform energy into art. “

Ronja Chlebowski is a German artist. She lives and works in Berlin.

She comes from a family of art teachers and her art education started really early.

She studied art and art education in her Bachelor and Gender Studies with a focus on Sociology in her Master. After afew years as a diversity manager in one of the biggest companies in Germany she followed her dream to workfulltime as an artist.

Today she is known for her abstract artworks. She likes to combine several materials, such as high pigments, spray paint, oil markers or sandpaste. For her paintings, she uses raw cotton and her canvases are handmade.

She finds inspiration in everything that owns energy. She combines her art with spiritual elements and is influenced a lot by her daily yoga practice.

Ronja Chlebowski

Follow Ronja on her Instagram