b e b o p
Right now I’m sitting outside showered in blue neon lights, listening to Radiohead’s ‘Just’ in the midst of sipping on this excruciatingly tangy “Wellness Warmer”. There’s a big square fountain within arm’s reach, scarcely surrounded by people indulging in their last hellos and goodbyes before Christmas calls. In the last ten days of 2016, I suppose now begins the annual review of what we’ve achieved, and fell short of. The years certainly feel faster as one ages, but in hindsight an awful lot can be crammed into 365 days.
It hasn’t been an overwhelmingly positive year, as anyone with an access to anything digital could tell you. There’s no need to go over the beaten donkey of Donald Trump’s controversial campaign and election, nor this over-reacted doomsday feeling that Brexit has left half the UK population with. We’ve heard it all before, in every platform where one could possibly have a voice, and while I believe discussion is a vital part of human interaction, people seem to be better at throwing their opinions loudly into the void, with no interest to delve into the other side. I think 2016 has shown more of that than anything – that we’re all very opinionated individuals, who now have the glorious spotlight of social media, to zealously stand up to those who look to belittle our important lives, or at least for the 30 seconds that people deign to care.
2016 feels a little like a manic piece of Mozart. It’s been a cyclical year, with troughs to every peak. Creatively it’s been brilliant. I started the year producing a lost-in-translation exhibition called ‘Punk in Translation’, toiling over a mixed bag of communications from here to Tokyo, and then went on to work under my friend/mentor Harris Elliott through various lookbooks, catwalk presentations and concert performances. There’s been styling, writing, photography, art direction and production scattered throughout the year, of which has built upon the foundations of my work today. I’m quite privileged in that regard, there’s been no shortage of good experiences from working with Kate Tempest to creating my own god damn installation/exhibition. All stressful headfucks (there is no better word I apologise) in their own regard, but equally rewarding if you allow them to be.
I suppose the real bitterness comes with any turning of a new year. Expectations – a whole ‘nother year of expectations o look forward to. For some reason we find it challenging to be complacent with what we have achieved, and instead we are driven to look forward because “that’s what success means”. Pressure pressure pressure. You did that in 2016, now do it better in 2017. You made this much money then, you should be making more now. You created a sculpture of a human body, now you should be creating a room full of Antony Gormley-style corpses. Do better you foolish dolt. I met some friends (yes I have a few friends) earlier this week who have gone on to achieve brilliant things, yet the main thing we shared in common (not the brilliant things) was the fact that we did not know what the hell we were doing or were going to do. I’ve never really talked about my work within the blog, and most people simply refer to me as a blogger. I dabble a little in art direction and through whatever medium I can use to exercise the concept – in non-pretentious creative lingo that basically means I’m a glorified moodboard, and we all did moodboards in secondary school. I love doing what I do, as the nature of the job is that every job is different. That is however, a double-edged sword. You don’t become a go-to guy for a certain aesthetic, because the nature of your role is to be diverse. This then leads to confusion for both parties until you’ve worked together more than once, because only then can there be some malleable definition applied to your body of work.
The creative outlets I previously mentioned have been great, exciting, and provide the sort of inspiration that keeps you up at night. Inspiration seems to be the only fuel that “creative individuals” rely on, other than money, which I would refer to as the nitrous oxide of this world – a rarely-found, short-lived burst that gives you a bloody good kick. I think what’s lacking, which could be found in my old realm of business, is a pyramid to climb, where one opportunity leads to another, and hardwork & dedication leads to a promotion which leads to a bigger paycheck. I’m finding it hard to find resolution. Maybe that’s because I love all the things I do. Perhaps in 2017 I should be less worried about what I’m going to do, and instead just do the things I’ve been doing all along. Fuck it. Wishing you all a better, more successful, money flooded, opportunity ram-packed 2017.
Pictured is Tomo, a Japanese model who was one of the first models I wanted to shoot. Years later, we fatedly met while on another shoot at a skatepark where he was having a day off. Here he is, bandaged and ragged in the winter. He’s got this real noir look about him, and he’s actually a very nice polite guy despite the badass bastard he might seem in these images. Thanks Tomo.
Modelled by Tomo
Images by Karlmond
Assisted by Devon Greene
Tomo wears Our Legacy, Norse Projects, Tourne de Transmission, Maison Kitsuné, Bedwin & the Heartbreakers, Nanamica and Etro