Amelia’s Magazine | Swatch True Colours – A look at the entries

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Well things haven’t changed for me much over the last twenty years. I yearned for a Swatch watch when I was a boy, mind decease and I’m yearning for one now. I never actually got one – well, sickness visit web that’s what happens when you’re brought up in a mining village and there are more important things in life, here prostate like food, for example. Anyway, who cares? Swatch have recently launched their New Gent collection – a painfully sophisticated selection of watches for gentlemen who appreciate a discreet, slick timepiece with style.

Illustration by Antonia Parker

To celebrate the launch (and promote it, of course) the Swiss watchmakers have collaborated with some of the biggest fashion magazines to pitch stylists, photographers and fashion editors against each other. The result is a fabulous selection of shoots, published in said magazines, with readers given the opportunity to vote for their favourite.

Without any particular brief, the results are breathtaking and very, very different. Here’s a round up of my faves:


Wallpaper‘s ‘Hanky Panky’ shoot is inpired by the plight of 1970s gay casual-sex seekers to find an ‘appropriate’ match. A fascinating subject, I have actually no idea what the different placements mean (honestly, guv’nor – but Wikipedia does throw some light on the situation) but the team at Wallpaper, overseen by fashion director Sebastien Clivaz, have used the phenomenon to great effect.

This gent, on the left, apparently is a submissive gentleman who is fond of sexual practises such as fisting, piercings, S&M, military sex and masturbation only (somebody needs to make his mind up, love…) You can’t go wrong with a bit of camp cowboy styling.

Open Magazine

I love love love Open Magazine’s vibrant colours and hint of eroticism. A pair of flexible friends writhe on top of each other in various poses (but this ain’t gymnastics).

The watches on the models go unnoticed, but this is rectified with backdrops of said watches, blatant in the background. And if that girl can really get a Swatch around her neck, she needs to eat more.

Vice Magazine

In a shock move, Vice‘s entry is a little subdued, but I love their stark shoot featuring up-and-coming musicians. Lots of different photographs feature, from different angles, with Jeremy Shaw, Polina Lapkovskaja and Hugo Capablanca sporting a couple of watches each…

Cleo Magazine

Cleo’s option makes great use of wonderful illustrations. Chiho’s dreamy water-colours envelop their models, blending with body art influenced by the magazine’s Singaporean roots, photographed by Skye Tan.

Tom Magazine

Tom’s quirky offering is all about food. 6 models are pictured gorging on a selection of East Asian treats whilst nonchalantly wearing a variety of the watches. I really like the candid format and saturated colours of Dean Lee’s photographs.

WAD Magazine

I love WAD‘s quirky and eccentric shoot, featuring modern gentlemen in a mix of twee tweeds. These dandies wear a mix of Scandinavian and British tailored items. You don’t see much of the watches, but who cares? These photographs are great!

Kinki Magazine

Kinki‘s offering is probably the most unique, and utilises coloured powders that have been splashed all over models’ faces. It’s a really conceptual shoot and stands out from the rest.

ID Magazine

ID Magazine makes use of ‘streetstyle’ photography, using prolific fashion blogger Bryanboy and accessories designer Fred Butler as subjects. The layouts also feature this pair casually going about their businesses wearing armfuls of Swatch watches, as you do.

To see the rest of the entries and to vote in the competition, visit the Swatch website (where you can also check out some of the fantastic videos produced to accompany the shoots!)

Categories ,Asia, ,Bryanboy, ,Chiho, ,Cleo Magazine, ,Cowboy, ,fashion, ,Fred Butler, ,Gymnastics, ,Hanky Panky, ,Hugo Casablanca, ,ID Magazine, ,Jeremy Shaw, ,Kinki Magazine, ,Magazines, ,New Gent, ,Open Magazine, ,Polina Lapkovskaja, ,Singapore, ,Skye Tan, ,streetstyle, ,styling, ,Swatch, ,Switzerland, ,Tom Magazine, ,Vice Magazine, ,video, ,WAD Magazine, ,Wallpaper, ,Watches

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Redefining luxury in wax: an interview with artist Andrea Hassler

Andrea Hasler LV bag
Andrea Hasler is a London based artist dealing with the over consumption of modern times. Her recent exhibition at the Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles featured a riot of luxury goods, created in oozing wax that appears to mimic bodily organs. Here she explains the inspiration behind her work, and describes an interesting prophecy for the pinnacle of future luxurious desires.

Andrea Hasler JC shoes
How do you make your wax sculptures and is it a time consuming process?
After years of searching for the ultimate malleable material, I felt relieved to have finally found ‘my’ material the first time I worked with wax half way through Art College. For me, all the other sculpting materials feel limiting in terms of process and wax allows for flexibility: there is never an end-point, a piece can ‘rest’ for months before I warm it up to work on it again. Years later and I still greatly enjoy the ritual element of melting wax now deeply embedded in my sculptural practice. I enjoy the slow process, literally building up layer after layer. Saying that, there are also limitations as wax is not suitable for outdoor sculptures. I am currently working on a commission to cast one of my large wax pieces in bronze.

Andrea Hasler Irreducible Dual
Where do you find inspiration for the shapes and detailing on your wax accessories?
I spend a lot of time in medical libraries, as I have always been very fascinated by anatomical wax models used to illustrate various medical conditions. In the 1800s moulages (waxes showing injuries or pathological change in the body) often formed part of travelling shows across Europe; part entertainment, part public health education!

Which organs feature most in your bag and accessory designs?
The bags and accessories are not modelled with a single organ in mind… more a combination of ‘organ-intestine-brain-liposuction-waste’ all in one!

Andrea Hasler BE MC clutch
What led to your show in LA, and how does exhibiting there contrast with showing in London?
When GUSFORD | los angeles invited me to exhibit a Solo Show in West Hollywood, I felt it very fitting to show Burdens of Excess, which is an installation that resulted out of my long term project Desire. It’s a subject that resonates with so much that Hollywood stands for so I was intrigued by the viewers’ reactions in a paradoxical way. By bringing the deconstructed intestine bags back to their boutique environment and closing the circle, I feel the notion of this show has been brought back to its ‘natural habitat’ of Hollywood.

How did you set about creating a virtual shop in the Gusford gallery –  and what were the challenges with working abroad to install the exhibition?
In Burdens of Excess I play with the aesthetic codes of a chic, seductive luxury boutique, with its black walls, glittery flooring and the way the organ objects are presented on plinths, hermetically sealed behind glass boxes. The subject matters of both the desire for luxury items as well as the darker side of plastic surgery’s intestine-liposuction filled accessories are both synonymous with what Hollywood glamour represents for me in order to be accepted, to be part of the ‘tribe’.

Andrea Hasler Irreducible Com-Solo
How has your Swiss heritage affected your view of the world?
Growing up in Switzerland, famous for its understated take on ‘anything’, I was not prepared for the brashness and logo obsession in relation to luxury goods that I encountered when moving to London. Long limited edition waiting lists and queuing around the block for a pair of shoes where all new to me. So initially, Desire started by analysing my own growing obsession with luxury items and developed from there. Through this, I became fascinated with the psychological aspect of consumerism and its emotional link to ‘Abject’. I am intrigued by the borderline between attraction and repulsion, something that is aesthetically desirable yet revolting at the same time and where the viewer’s attraction is replaced by repulsion, power, control and impotence. In my work, I have always been particularly drawn to the body, how to depict the emotional body and working with skin as the physical element that divides the Self from the other, as well as the potential container for both and what happens if you open up those boundaries. All of this forms part of Burdens of Excess, where I play with visions of the future, scenes of surgical fetishes and glamour, unsettling the viewer with images of carefully staged and naturalistic wax reproductions of human organs in a form of luxury fetish.

Andrea Hasler McQ organ
What was the best thing about studying at Chelsea College of Art?
Prior to my BA/MA at Chelsea, I completed the international Baccalaureate at the bilingual Swiss-Italian Liceo Artistico in Zurich, Switzerland and after 5 years of copying Italian Renaissance masters, arriving at Chelsea College of Art was a breath of fresh air and symbolized sheer freedom!

Andrea Hasler, Burdens of Excess, 2013, installation image 1
You have some pretty extreme views of what luxury will mean in the future – can you tell us a bit more?
Luxury is an excess that holds a great fascination for me. My work poses new questions in relation to the craze for luxury and status: How much can our body take? – Will we sacrifice everything for beauty? – What kind of person do we wish to be tomorrow? – How much money will we spend on it? I honestly think that one day, it will not be the Rolex on your wrist that will be the ultimate luxury accessory but kidneys embellished with diamonds. As soon as the exterior has been completely moulded, plastic surgery of an internal organ is its logical consequence. This is the peak of the exclusive: The intervention is not visible – or only so on x-rays! I think we live in a nomadic society and the brands we choose are a reflection of the ‘tribe’ we want to belong to. More importantly they help us be identified by other nomads, to become part of the group. This notion is driven by a sense of desperately wanting to belong that the philosopher Julia Kristeva links with our desire to recreate the symbiotic mother-infant relationship and which stems from the consequent tragedy of the sense of loss when one realizes that they are an independent subject. So really, to put it simple: I think the craze for luxury is a longing for one’s nurturing mother!

Categories ,Abject, ,Andrea Hassler, ,Burdens of Excess, ,Chelsea College of Art, ,Desire, ,GUSFORD | los angeles, ,Hollywood, ,Julia Kristeva, ,LA, ,Liceo Artistico, ,Los Angeles, ,moulages, ,Rolex, ,Swiss, ,Switzerland

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Forests Rocks Torrents at The National Gallery: Review

Chalets at Rigi 1861 Alexandre-Calame
Chalets at Rigi 1861 by Alexandre Calame. Oil on Canvas. All photos courtesy of the owner, Asbjørn Lunde.

Forests Rocks Torrents is a rare opportunity to see a collection of magnificent paintings by some grand names of European landscape art – part of the privately held Lunde Collection. This is the first time I’ve been invited to an exhibition preview at the National Gallery, but what the heck, I liked the look of the image on the invitation so I thought I’d trot along and find out if the exhibition lived up to first impressions. Forests Rocks Torrents has been themed around the concept of similarities between paintings by Swiss and Norwegians. Well, I say, of course they are similar! They feature mountains and wilderness, and were all painted over a similar period during the 1800s. But that’s not to detract from my enjoyment, for this is a fine collection of realist landscape art. We were by turns guided through the paintings by curators Christopher Riopelle and Sarah Herring.

Scene from the Era of Norwegian Sagas 1850 Knud-Andreassen-Baade
Scene from the Era of Norwegian Sagas 1850 by Knud Andreassen Baade. Oil on Canvas.

The first room hosts the epic grandeur of Knud Andreassen Baade, who places a small figure with arm held defiantly aloft on a cliff top at sunset. It’s a mythical Wagnerian vision of Norway that conjures up the warriors of a bygone era. Many of these artists were intrigued by the past, and menhirs – the remnants of a Viking culture that live on in the pastoral landscapes where peasants eked out a living at the foot of mountains – feature prominently in the art of Johan Christian Dahl. The beauty of the rural life (hardship unseen) is idolised in the Hobbit-esque homes depicted in Chalets at Rigi by Calame (at top), the low slung dwellings seeming to mould into the rolling hills as if in harmony with nature.

Fjord landscape with menhir, 1837 Johan Christian Dahl
Fjord landscape with menhir, 1837 by Johan Christian Dahl. Oil on Canvas.

Robert Zünd was painting Switzerland at a time that tourism was yet to become a mainstay of the Swiss economy – as such the mountainscapes he viewed were something that people knew little about. Zünd used small amounts of red to draw attention to the tiny figures who would otherwise be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the surrounding countryside.

The River Lutschine near Lauterbrunnen Calame
The River Lutschine near Lauterbrunnen by Alexandre Calame. Oil on Canvas.

Alexandre Calame was a grand master of European landscape painting who had a most unfortunate childhood. He was born with a limp and then lost the sight in one eye. When his father, a marble carver, died early, he was forced to take a job in a bank to help the family finances. Luckily good fortune prevailed and a banker discovered his artwork. He is now considered one of the greatest artists of the European landscape genre from that period. During his life he was commissioned by a huge European clientele who wanted a slice of Alpine wilderness in their luxurious mansions. They specifically asked for depictions of torrential rivers and wild weather, as typified in Mountain Torrent before the Storm (The Aare River, Haslital) Alexandre Calame was intensely religious and believed in the innate divinity of nature.

The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss 1827 Johan Christian Dahl
The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss 1827 by Johan Christian Dahl. Oil on Canvas.

I was intrigued to note that these paintings all have very specific geographic labelling, a highly desirable feature for prospective buyers which made the actual locations reachable. It immediately made me wonder whether these paintings have been used by climate change scientists to track weather changes: after all, these paintings may be all we have as evidence of the breadth of glaciers two hundred years ago. The curators seemed bemused by my questions but I’m certain I’m onto something.

At Handeck about 1860 Alexandre Calamea
At Handeck about 1860 by Alexandre Calame. Oil on Canvas.

Trees, as might be imagined, feature strongly in these paintings. The exhibition notes attribute anthropomorphic attributes to these majestic sentinels, but I am sure it’s far simpler than that – they were magnificent specimens of nature that we are asked to look on in awe. Some of Calame’s close up paintings of rock formations are rendered in a peculiarly modern graphic detail that belies their age. Johan Christian Dahl too, was obsessed with intriguing rock formations – in his Study of a Rock from Nystuen on Filefjell the rock is everything, and he would go on to include studies like this in larger pieces.

Tree Study , by a Stream, Granvin 11 July 1839 Thomas Fearnley
Tree Study, by a Stream, Granvin 11 July 1839 Thomas Fearnley. Oil on panel.

Thomas Fearnley was a prodigy of Dahl who travelled widely. He was also obsessed with rocks. In Arco Naturale, Capri, the languorously fluid tower takes centre stage. Some of his work in the exhibition was created in the marble mining regions of Italy, where he found the weather much more favourable. Widely acknowledged as a master during his day he sadly died before his 40th birthday.

Seascape about 1860 Peder Balke
Seascape about 1860 Peder Balke.

Peder Balke travelled to the most remote stretches of Norway that he could find to locate vistas that were little known to public gaze. The Mountain Range ‘Trolltindene‘ reveals a mountainscape of bleak extremes – the jutting peaks towering over a roiling bay. Balke has an interesting story because he’s only of late become something of a cult figure – after his early artistic career failed to pay a wage he became a politician and then a real estate developer. Even in those days this was a far better and more reliable way to make a living! But he carried on painting in private and now his small experimental studies attract a large following.

This is a wonderful little exhibition that’s well worth a visit if you are in town with a spare half hour. Forests Rocks Torrents is quick to get around and offers a beautiful view of the European landscape when it was still pretty much an untamed wilderness, long before the days of ski resorts and Alpine hiking. Then, as now, it was something to look upon in admiration and awe, whatever your beliefs. Full information in my listings.

Categories ,Alexandre Calame, ,Alpine, ,Alps, ,Arco Naturale, ,Asbjørn Lunde, ,At Handeck, ,Capri, ,Chalets at Rigi, ,Christopher Riopelle, ,European Landscape Art, ,exhibition, ,Forests Rocks Torrents, ,Haslital), ,Hobbit, ,Johan Christian Dahl, ,Knud Andreassen Baade, ,Menhir, ,Mountain Torrent before the Storm (The Aare River, ,Mountains, ,Mountainscapes, ,Norway, ,Peasants, ,Peder Balke, ,review, ,Robert Zund, ,Sarah Herring, ,Study of a Rock from Nystuen on Filefjell, ,Sunley Room, ,Switzerland, ,The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss 1827, ,The Lunde Collection, ,The Mountain Range ‘Trolltindene’, ,The National Gallery, ,Thomas Fearnley, ,Viking, ,Wagnerian, ,Wilderness

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Beautiful Birds Colouring Book by Emmanuelle Walker: Colouring Book Review and Artist Interview

Beautiful Birds cover
I was aware of the gorgeous Beautiful Birds A-Z book before it was turned into a colouring book, so I was very excited to see that it had been translated into a new interactive version. I tracked artist Emmanuelle Walker down on Twitter to find out more about her spectacular avian friends. If you love birds or you’re just looking for a gloriously different colouring book to get lost in, this is one you should try.

emmanuelle walker
How did you first hook up with Nobrow/Flying Eye and how did your original Beautiful Birds book come about?
In 2013 I saw a tweet from them saying that they had a spare spread for Nobrow‘s annual magazine. I sent them a link to my work and they immediately sent me an email. They wanted to meet me.

Beautiful Birds 3
How did you choose the birds that are featured in it?
I worked from the text I received from Jean Roussen, so I didn’t get to pick the birds myself.

Flying Eye Books | Beautiful Birds – Book Trailer from Emmanuelle Walker on Vimeo.

You were a winner at the Smallish Design Awards this year, did the judges tell you why they liked it so much?
Yes it’s great! I don’t have any detail on how or why they picked Beautiful Birds but I’m pretty happy they did!

Beautiful Birds 1
Beautiful Birds  4
When and why was the decision made to do a colouring book version?
Nobrow/Flying Eye Books came up with the idea back in June, I guess it was a way to give the book a second life, push the idea further. It is also a perfect timing for it I guess, colouring books are getting more and more popular these days.

Beautiful Birds 13
What did you have to do to adapt the book? The full colour version is more obviously aimed at children but I presume the colouring book is for adults?
To adapt it I knew it had to be 96 pages, and the original version only had 56 pages so I had to find a concept that would allow to double the amount of pages. That’s why I came up with the pattern idea, because it would allow to repeat over the spread and actually double the amount of pages, but also because I absolutely love patterns and I have been working on some for my own pleasure, I thought it would be fun to colour in too! After working on small thumbnails of the layout, I started creating the patterns guide from the coloured illustrations. Then an assistant helped me retrace digitally the lines for the whole book. The colouring book is really for anyone who feels like colouring in, I wouldn’t say it’s strictly for adults :^)

Beautiful Birds  4
What has the reception been like so far?
I haven’t had much news lately, all I know is that they had to reprint 3000 additional copies just before the book came out. So I guess it’s going pretty well.

Beautiful Birds 17
How do you work? What mediums do you use, what is your studio like and what do you like to have close by?
I always start with a detailed spreadsheet, listing all the pages, and then I have columns for the thumbnails, rough, clean, final processes, when it’s still in progress the squares are yellow, when it’s done it’s green, it helps me track my work and to keep up with my schedule. Then I work on some tiny thumbnails for each spread so that the composition is perfect, working at a small scales really allows you to concentrate on the composition. Once all the thumbnails are all done and approved, I rough out every page on a small format, something like an A5 in terms of dimensions. I don’t like working on large scales. Then everything is scanned. In Photoshop I work out a general palette for the book, and then for each page/spread I do some very rough colour roughs again in Photoshop, trying things erasing, changing, tweaking the colours until I am satisfied. After that I start cleaning up the illustration, layer by layer.

Beautiful Birds 14
I have a desk space at Nexus Productions the company who represents me as an animation director. I work there on project with them sometimes and the rest of the time I work on my books and commissions from other clients. I don’t need much, the most important is probably my Cintiq (a screen on which you can draw directly) internet for references, paper, pencils, some nice things to listen to and a couple of amazing teas from around the world

Beautiful Birds 12
You’ve studied all over the world – how did you end up in your various locations and how did you end up in London?
I was born in Switzerland, when I was eleven we moved to Montreal, Canada with my family. There I studied 2D animation and started my carrer in the animation industry there. I wasn’t satisfied with what it had to offer and I knew that the Gobelins School in Paris offered a direct entry in third year if you had enough experience and passed the tests. I tried, and I got in. After a year working on our final year film, I thought I’d stay a bit longer, mainly because the winter was much warmer than the one in Montreal, but also because I felt the industry had more to offer. And then bit by bit I realised that Paris wasn’t for me for a lot of reasons but I didn’t want to go back to Montreal. I had been to London a few times for the weekend, when I was living in Paris, and I absolutely loved it’s vibe, I also knew that there were a lot of interesting companies in London, so I just made the move! It was very hard at first because I had no contacts at all and basically had to start my work network from scratch.

Beautiful Birds 18
How did you get from animation into illustration, was it a planned process or did it just sort of happen?
I have always illustrated for pleasure, and designing characters for animation series, ads and films so it’s always been part of my life, I wouldn’t put myself in the “animation-box” or the “illustration-box”.

Beautiful Birds 15
Beautiful Birds 10
What does your day to day job as an art director involve?
My work as a director is a freelance job, when I receive a pitch from Nexus I pitch an idea/concept/visuals for the project. Usually we pitch against 2 other studios, sometimes more. If I am selected I get to direct the project and start earning money. The pitches are very rarely paid… The rest of the time I am working on my books, sometimes I also freelance as an animator on 2D projects, or for other personal clients.

Beautiful Birds 5
You have a huge portfolio, what is your favourite commercial project so far and why?
I think that the Beautiful Birds book was one of my favourite projects. First of all my clients are the children, and when they appreciate my work it means more than anything. Also I feel free, I feel that my publisher trusts me and my ideas and they really let me do what I want.

Beautiful Birds 11
Have you seen any of your colouring pages completed and if so how did you feel about it? It must be quite a weird thing to see someone else’s creativity imposed on your own!
I actually haven’t seen much. I saw a few pages on Flying Eye‘s website, but not really. I am very curious though!

Beautiful Birds 9
Lastly, are there any more colouring or bird based books on the horizon?
No. Not for the moment, my next book will be about dogs, a loooooot of dogs!

The Beautiful Birds Colouring Book is out now and available here.

Categories ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Beautiful Birds, ,Beautiful Birds Colouring Book, ,canada, ,Colouring Book, ,Emmanuelle Walker, ,Flying Eye Books, ,Gobelins School, ,Jean Roussen, ,Montreal, ,Nexus Productions, ,Nobrow, ,Smallish Design Awards, ,Switzerland

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | A Review of ILLUMinations at the Arsenale, Venice Biennale 2011: part one

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review
During my recent trip to Venice I had the opportunity to visit the Venice Biennale. Even better, information pills as guests of the primary partner Swatch, erectile we had our own private tour around two major parts of the extensive exhibition. Here’s what I liked at the amazing old army dockyard, otherwise known as the Arsenale. ILLUMinations at the Arsenale was curated by Bice Curiger.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-song dong
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-song dong
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-song dong
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-song dong
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-song dong
Song Dong‘s massive Parapavilion installation greets visitors on entry to the Arsenale exhibition – part old Chinese Hutong, part wardrobe maze: a reference to the cupboards kept on streets in many old areas. An impressive piece to encounter straight away… and I particularly liked looking at all the details of the individual wardrobes, wondering what their previous lives were.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-456
Roman Ondak‘s eery artwork Time Capsule (2011) is focused on a replica of the rescue capsule that was used to evacuate the Chilean miners last year. Viewers approach it in darkness, only realising what it is when they are pressed up close to its narrow confines.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Mai-Thu Perret
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Mai-Thu Perret
Mai-Thu Perret‘s glossy sculpture wears a replica of Elsa Schiaparelli‘s famous Skeleton Dress. Behind it a neon pyramid glows in sputtering layers.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Andro Wekua
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Andro Wekua
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Andro Wekua
Andro Wekua of Georgia now works in Switzerland after he was forced into exile with the outbreak of war. Pink Wave Hunter is the odd title he gives a piece that is built on his recollections of important buildings from the city of his birth.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Rashid Johnson
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Rashid Johnson
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Rashid Johnson
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Rashid Johnson
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Rashid Johnson
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Rashid Johnson
Rashid Johnson examines the culture of the black diaspora in America. A zebra rug is laid on top of a woollen carpet. Artefacts particular to his upbringing, such as a book on childcare by Bill Crosby, are laid out on shattered mirrored wall mounts. Beautiful and affecting.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Birdhead
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Birdhead
Birdhead are a Shanghai collective who collect imagery that captures the lives of the modern Chinese.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Franz West
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-500
Franz West has relocated his kitchen to the gallery for his Parapavilion, complete with artwork from his walls – thereby creating a show within a show. And yes, a photograph proves that his walls are indeed painted in this crazy cross-hatched manner.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Dayanita Singh
Dayanita Singh‘s evocative collection of black and white photographs highlights the many many files sitting on shelves across India, which will soon vanish as the use of computers and hard drives become ever more prevalent.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Elad Lassry
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Elad Lassry
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Elad Lassry
Elad Lassry shows a video montage of catsuited dancers alongside colourful images of vintage ladies in big hats and pop art-esque mushrooms. No idea what it all means but it was fun.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Haroon Mirza
Haroon Mirza has created an eery installation – visitors enter a darkened box with walls covered in sound soaking points of foam. The combination of sound and blinking neon creates a discombobulating effect that leaves everybody giggling.

Next up: more from the ILLUMinations exhibition in part two.

Categories ,54th, ,Andro Wekua, ,Arsenale, ,Bice Curiger, ,Bill Crosby, ,Birdhead, ,Chinese, ,Dayanita Singh, ,Elad Lassry, ,Elsa Schiaparelli, ,Franz West, ,georgia, ,Haroon Mirza, ,Hutong, ,ILLUMinations, ,Mai-Thu Perret, ,Parapavilion, ,Pink Wave Hunter, ,Rashid Johnson, ,Roman Ondak, ,Shanghai, ,Skeleton Dress, ,Song Dong, ,Swatch, ,Switzerland, ,Time Capsule (2011), ,Venice Biennale

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Blues in my bones: An interview with Swiss Mauritian blues duo The Two

the two record cover
Every now and then you stumble across something really special. A music project that seems to capture more than a pleasing melody, some nice lyrics and good PR shots. Something that holds a certain magic you can’t explain. Yannick Nanette and Thierry Jaccard are the master minds behind the music project that is The Two. Based in Switzerland they hold an enthusiasm for music and life which is undeniably recognisable in their sound. Having won the Swiss Blues Challenge in 2014, reached the semi finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, USA in January 2015 and releasing their first album ‘Sweet Dirty Blues’ in November 2014, this duo are taking their world by storm.

The Two – Sky

Let’s start from the beginning. How did you guys meet and begin making this beautiful noise?
We met in a small city called Sierre. This is where I lived for the first five years when I landed in Switzerland for my studies. I was walking by a concert hall and heard some nice funky groove. The band, Brainless, was sound checking and believe me it was amazing sound. Nothing really happens in this town apart from bull fights, wine drinking and cheese making. So I sat there outside listening for a while until one guy from the band came out for a cigarette. I told him my appreciation, told him I played harmonica and asked if I could join for a jam at the end of the gig. He was stoned enough to accept! He knew nothing about me, never heard me play, but he said yes. I ran home, got dressed nicely, took my harmonica and raced to the venue. At the end of their gig they called me on stage and that is how things started. After that, I toured with the band as a guest during the whole summer. Thierry was one the guitarists of the band. This is how we met and how our friendship started. Thierry and I knew that we had something to work out together and then one day I was sitting on my balcony playing my guitar when a guy passing asked me if I played in a band and if I could play as an opening band. I said yes of course. We had no band, no song, but three months to build things up. I called Thierry and told him that we had a gig, and on the 5th may 2012 we played for the first time.

Interview at the Montreux Jazz Festival

Have you always been involved in music? Was there a pre music ‘safe’ job?
In a way Thierry and I we have always been involved in Music. Thierry started at ten, played in many bands and I started at fifteen and played in hotels for tourists, in Mauritius. We never really earned our living out of music, since Thierry had a 50% part time job as a social educator and I was working as a teacher, in Mauritius. Now, even though we are playing more and more, music is not really feeding our purse. Anyway if we wanted to make money we would have been Bank officers. Right now I am a studying for a Masters in Education and Pedagogy and Thierry just quit is job to resume his studies in Social Education Management.

The Two Yannick And Thierry
For two guys who are supposed to be playing ‘The Blues’ you both look like you’re glowing. What’s your secret?
The Blues in the beginning before being an aesthetic, before being taken by the capitalist music system, before turning it into some kind of entertainment Chicago soulless shit with a 1-4-5 music structure, was a cry from one’s soul. It was a cry from a community, a prayer for survival, a holy hymn, to have the strength to carry on, to have the force to support all the atrocities one was facing in these days. Black people were nothing but furniture, they had nothing and singing was the only way to expel their emotions. It was a cry for freedom, crying their right to exist and be treated as human beings. The Blues was the crude expression of their feelings. Singing to survive, singing to carry on smiling, singing to transform pain into joy though being enslaved.

Do we play the blues? I don’t know. The world works by categorising everything. So call it how you want to call it but the only thing we do in our music is to put all our soul and emotion in what we do. We try to be sincere. Slavery, the kind of slavery when white masters owned black guys, whipping them like hell to pick the cotton, is over. This form of slavery is over but slavery is still around in a way. Money is the new cotton. We are in some form of enslavement in a way. We are our own masters, we own the whip, we willingly whip ourselves. We whip others psychologically, for the sake of capitalism and consumption. We cannot fight back because the thing is really sneaky. Anyway! I might sound pessimistic but this is where our “Blues” feed itself somehow. It is a long story which we try to bring forward through our music. So the “glowing thing”! Our music can be sad, joyful and as I told you we try to put our faith and soul in what, we do, but have fun too. This is maybe what brings the glowing thing. Maybe it is the light engineer.

The Two on the road
Do you write the melodies and lyrics together?
We both write the melodies and I bring the lyrics, which is based on daily narratives.

You recently released ‘Blues In My Bones’, your first 45 record, via Rocafort Records. Have you got any future releases lined up?
We released our CD ‘Sweet, Dirty, Blues’ and the 45 record ‘Blues In My Bones’ in November 2014. The future is now and everyday. We try to enjoy every moment of it. As long as life will give us strength and faith to express ourselves through music and singing, allows us to feel free and at peace with ourselves, we’ll sing and play. This is the only release we can line-up.

The Two laughing
What are you most excited about this year?
We have dreamt of playing in nice venues and this year this dream is somehow coming true. Meeting people, taking them on our music trip, seeing their eyes glitter, hearing them sing with us, feeling this bond between the people and us. It is really an incredible feeling. Believe me everyday brings loads of excitement.

The Two International Blues Challenge
Yannick – You’re from Mauritius. How are you coping with the Swiss climate?!
You have no choice than to cope. When the music is on you have to dance, when winter freezes your ass off you wear two pairs of gloves, and leggings under your two pairs of jeans. It was exciting in the beginning to discover the snow, the country but the climate is not really the issue. Some people can be cold sometimes and having dreadlocks and being of a different colour can be problematic. Sometimes if you smile to someone he might think that, ‘What does this guy want from me?’ I am an open kind of guy who likes to talk and meet people, but believe me it was tough in the beginning to be a foreigner, until I met Brainless. These guys warmed things up. Music really helped to pull down these barriers of fear for the other and made the Swiss experience an incredible one.

TJ Sessions ‘On and On’

When can we anticipate your arrival onto British shores? Where will you be touring?
We would love to come up there, but we need to meet the right people who would want us. Any help would be appreciated.

The Two currently have no UK dates set but are playing a series of dates across Europe you can find via their website. You can also check out and buy their incredible music via Rocafort’s bandcamp page and keep up to date with them via Facebook.

Categories ,blues, ,Brainless, ,International Blues Challenge, ,interview, ,Mauritius, ,Rocafort, ,Sierre, ,Sweet Dirty Blues, ,Swiss Blues Challenge, ,Switzerland, ,The Blues, ,The Two

Similar Posts: