A chit chat and a glimpse of her cat.
Meet Nadine Schemmann - Berlin's busiest bee.
Most Likely to Succeed.
Curiosity, creativity and carisma. Lily Qian means business - artistic business.
Illustrators, artists .... take good notes.
What techniques did you start to develop?
I think that its just a natural progression. I love it.
Im constantly working. I don't think about it too much. I've always painted, and drawn and made art. Before I used to paint the nude a lot, so I did figure painting.
So it occurred to me to start adding clothing. Dressing these figures, and really deciding how the clothing could really define them in a certain context.
I just love it.
What designer influences you?
I illustrate fashion, but the drawing comes first, and that sort of decides the clothing. Its not really the other way around. Sometimes it is, I look at a collection and think 'oh I'd like to draw that'.
I sit down and I draw, look through all of his collections until I find a look that sets my mood. Or the mood that I like to inquire to that subject. So I can't really say specifically which designer gives me that influence..
What do you love most about illustrating?
It takes me out of the every day, which is kind of ironic because I do it everyday. Its an escape for me. I feel very peaceful when Im drawing, creating something really beautiful. I don't always feel that way.
Sometimes its frustrating, and I don't think like I am making anything worthwhile whatsoever. But those moments which I feel like I should change to something aesthetically is just so rewarding.
I think in a way there is a lot of illustration that sort of focuses on a very representational approach to the clothing where into the figures. Where everything is very precisely rendered.
They sort of forgo expressiveness in favor of the technical representation of the clothing and I guess I tried to veer away from that.
Is there some obstacle that, when you are drawing keeps you from moving forward in your work?
For some reason or other, I am always trying to make my paintings as flat as possible. And so a trap that I fall into sometimes sort of like adding volumes or details where I shouldn't. That could sometimes be a short coming. I just have to stop myself from doing it. I have this tendency that I have to overwork a certain area.
Sometimes with those drawings that would be my practice. And then Ill do the entire thing all over again trying to remain aware of those certain areas.
85% of the art I make ends up in the trash. Its like a musician practicing a classical piece, overtime you practice a piece over and over again.
Any favorite museums?
Barnes Museums in Philladelphia. Also medieval art, decorative objects.
I do go to museums, to the library .. just looking for inspirations, and just a new way to see things, deal with maybe colors, techniques.
I like to be in quiet surroundings, where there are no distractions. I find that the library gives that to me even though at the Brooklyn library I like the atmosphere.
Have you ever thought about designing your own line?
I would love it, but I think that I have to choose my focus, and choose. Someday, you never know, its definitely crossed my mind.
What moment did it hit you that this was finally your career?
Actually, just recently.
You always make decisions on whether you are going to continue maligning art. Because its a sacrifice. Specially in a society like in NY, where you have to make ends meet and there are easier ways to do it. You have to be always prepared for the sacrifices that you make. I just sort of decided that there was no way that I could do anything else. I know that, so I am prepared to take whatever comes.
I know that I have to do it no matter what, and that's what I will do.
You have to trust yourself too. If you know that you are good at something and you love it, you have to trust yourself.
When you are not drawing you are found doing?
I go out and enjoy the sunshine, ride my bike all over the city.
Making art, you spend a lot of hours by yourself. You are totally immersed in what you are doing. Not talking to anyone, not seeing anyone. So when you are not working you have to relax.
New York is great for exploring, and even if you've been here for so many years, you always end up finding something new. Its all about having an open mind.
When is the best time for you to draw?
I work best in the morning, early everyday. I make my coffee, and I go right to my drafting table and begin working. I am usually there until the late hours of the afternoon so I spend a lot of time there during the day. At night, I can if I am working in like eye contrast black and white drawings. But its difficult to work with drawings. I try to work as much s I can during the day and in the morning.
Any tips or advice for starting fashion illustrators?
The best recommendation that I could give anyone, is also a recommendation that I have tried to take is to just follow your instincts and be unique and don't try to paint like anyone else. You need to have your own style and interpretation of the world and what's around you.
Apart from social media, what is the best way you would recommend promoting your work?
I wouldn't say that I am great at promotions… But if there is a better way let me know haha.
Instagram is great though, because it allows you to reach so many people. And its great for artists because imagery.
I want to post enough but not overdo it…. because I am more of an introvert. Its like when you are sort of a you keep things to yourself, you wonder, do people really want to see this?
When I first met Denise Elnajjar, she had just quit her full time job. The 27-year-old Middle Eastern fashion illustrator decided to expand her passion for art, and she did this by registering her work now more than ever onto her daily life.
We first met at a lovely cafe by Chambers street, and even though the light was very dim and I could hardly read her facial expressions and notice her wide whitened smile, I did apprehended her interest in this particular subject and realized her bolder than 'print media' technique.
A combination of fashion and travel is what made the illustrator develop her own style. Architecture and a embellished garments drove Elnajjar convey all these emotions and moods. A genuine message that life should be a celebration of different cultures and traditions.
Coming from a family that was originally artistic, having a father as a pattern maker and artist, it was easy for Elnajjar's technique to become a very organic one.
"I wanted to go to art school, but then I said, Im just gonna try this on my own," she continued, "then I tried other things, and I'm glad I did them, but I came back to my art."
It just goes to show that no matter what path you might take, if something is truly yours, it will eventually catch up on you. But its all about acting on it, and about mending ourselves to cope up with what we were meant to do in life, just as Elnajjar realized in her own case.
"I don't really say something until I start doing it. I believe in action over everything else," she said, and as she said it, she reaffirmed herself about it. "Go after what you want in life. If there's something you want to do, drop everything and do it."
I couldn't agree more. Its motivating to talk to her, its a contagious sense of drive towards what you really want to get out of life. And that yes, despite the fears and hardships in order to get to that 'magical place', its truly all about taking our daily battles as lessons. For that matter, Denise agrees by saying that, "in the past few years I've just come to realize that if you don't go after what you want, everything else is pointless."
She pauses and realizes it has been a roller coaster as she adds that, "there are other things that you learn on your own that you wish someone could have told you ahead of time in terms of logistics in freelance."
"A few years ago I started reading up about how to be a self starter. But, there are things you only learn through trial and error. You make so many mistakes, and its frustrating because at the end you have no one to guide you. But its OK, because at the end of the day you just learn."
She learns and sinks in inspiration wherever she goes as she is mostly enamored by Japanese art, Toulouse Lautrec, La Belle Epoque, and Belgian tapestries.
"There's a ton of fine art that has shaped my mentality," she says.
But its not just regarding these pieces that keeps her creativity moving forward, but also, her family and her own culture. She's come to realize that her father originally taught her the beauty in the Degas' complex techniques, or the amount of mixed emotions you can get out of Picasso's cubism.
Over the years, her drawings have ended up to be a collection of art, fashion, travel, and also - food. As much as she is crazy about illustrating a world, she is also about tasting it.
"Its very much like art," she says. And after having had shared her whole list of different type of international dishes she enjoys cooking, she said she can't compare anything to her experience on tasting the tapas from Spain.
But what really keeps her going? "My own culture. My own roots." This is what makes her not just any illustrator, but a diverse character full of positivity, full of passion to live and love.
She's a risk-taker heading overseas both through her own imagination and literally, just to share her vision. And as she does so, we're predicting big things.
n a Wednesday morning, I wake up after having had only three hours of sleep. As I lied awake at around 2 am, I wondered, wrote and rewrote questions for Strala Yoga creator, Tara Stiles. Pure excitement was running over me, and hours later I couldn't help but smile as I made my way down to the R train. I was in the edge to experience my very first Strala class. Tara, originally known as a yoga Youtube sensation, greeted me possibly in the warmest way ever. Not only did her welcoming words made me feel less nervous and more at ease, but also more focused for the upcoming interview and the overall experience. Her goofiness and genuine smile made the class both special and a fun one too. Throughout the whole interview she made me truly understand that nowadays there are other kinds of ways to look at yoga. Posing, snapping, and sharing is something fun, but she reassured me that it wont make you be fully present.
The virtual world intertwines with yoga in a way that it has made it be very accessible, yet not so as a way of living, like yoga should be.
Just take a look at the actual Yoga definition: A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
Yes you heard it, a simple meditation, where all of our thoughts and worries disappear for a while.
Tara makes believe this through her own yoga community. She continuously writes down words of inspiration for her followers while still remaining active and true to her own routine, to her own beliefs. Its easy to get overwhelmed with any kind of thing surrounding you. Whether its the internet, movies, books and basically within our own daily lives.
This is why, when I ask Tara what she does besides yoga in order to remain focused and grounded, she tells me she just sits in bed for a few moments and focus on her breath. This is what a modern yogi at heart practices, and her discipline turns out to be nothing but contagious and motivating for others. Alongside having control, her six foot tall modelesque physique and perky sense of style can carry probably the silliest sense of humor too.
As she chats with other students and teachers after class, she unconsciously makes a tree pose instead of just standing on her two feet. Seems she already has that inner and outer balance in her blood. Her body language tells a lot about not just who she is, but what's inside of her as well.
Her youtube videos say only half about her genuine persona, about her one-of-a-kind healing and energizing Strala routines. And with any given performance, she makes you wonder: What will Tara do next? This is why, I'm inviting you to meet more of the yogi herself through this interview. Enjoy!
The technique of illustrating, style and education are rarely seen together. But when Bil Donovan, fashion illustrator and sculptor, discovered that fashion could lead him to the path of drawing, he outgrew his vision of timeless elegance through the art of creating the ideal elegant woman and lifestyle through paper, some ink and a brush.
"Vogue and Harpers Bazaar inspired me," the illustrator said, "it was at a time when fashion illustration still held sway in the editorial markets."
It was not just illustration from works of Dorothy Hood and Kenneth Paulthat inspired him from the very beginning, but also photography from the well known artists Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
"I wanted to capture the photograph moment too, but with line and shape," said Donovan.
After more than four years of creativity and drive, Donovan hasn't stopped developing projects of creating billboards, brochures, cards, and window displays for companies like Lancôme and Dior Beauty. And although he mentions he is still in the process at making it big, one of his most cherished accomplishments isn't really fame, but giving people a love for his work and style.
"If someone wants all of my items," says Donovan, "I take it as a good sign. It changes my thoughts about my own work."
Confidence and working in a friendly environment is what keeps Donovan moving at a faster and more enjoyable pace. As his talented companion illustrators are not only generous and gracious, but also interesting individuals.
"They are all amazing," he says.
By the time Donovan was introduced to the art of Couture, he already had different designers who helped him through the process. Kenneth Bonavitacola, Roberto Codina and Ralph Rucci, were one of the designers which inspired Donovan on how to draw, drape and leave his comfort zone.
Mr. Donovan, known for his professionalism and common courtesy, gets to work. And even though he might struggle at times, with the illustration of a black dress, he lacks no patience.
"What I lack is having no high tolerance for incompetence in a professional environment," said Donovan.
Within the fulfillment of a life long dream, Donovan is still on the road of success not just by illustrating, but by mentoring students at The School of Visual Arts and The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), just to name a few.
"I chose illustration as a way to live, to breathe," said Donovan, "to do something else was out of the question."
Despite the fact that artistic journeys are one of the most difficult and complicated journeys in a professional life, Donovan is aware of how its all about gaining your own confidence and listening to yourself.
"The inner voice of 'Am I good enough?', are the challenges most artist struggle with", said Donovan, "But those factors are the ones that force you to defend your own choices and decisions."
Donovan's illustrations, patience and advice for students, are things he has gained on life experiences. Demonstrating that no matter how challenging something may seem, you have to own up to it.
An illustrator, worth not losing sight of, not letting his inner voice leave his thoughts. An inner voice worth knowing about through the means of an illustration.
An impulsive tenacity and a gain in control are one of the few things you get after speaking to Donald Sultan. The way the 62-year-old American artist creates masterpieces that are inspired on how the natural environment could be and feel like, interpreted in the most modern and artistic way. In his studio Sultan brainstorms, and comes up ideas of texture. He aims to make the natural environment and art go together by showing us the feeling of old Fall leaves and soft petals.
"'Echos' refers to the effect of 'Flowers'," he says "and their return meaning of industrial made objects that reverberate in a softer and softer meaning." Sultan makes flowers be interpreted as a sense of poetry or the lyric of a song, the perfect sense of equilibrium in art expression. "They just have heavier architecture, like a rain on a pond, over lapping ripples on which the softer meaning rests," said Sultan.
With his round shaped glasses, lively personality and warm sense of humor, Sultan still carries his highly self disciplined side as soon as he steps inside his studio, "its one of the ways you can move forward, just by thinking of this relationship between you and your work, no one else."
As Sultan puts himself first in his creative thoughts, he also finds there are a bumpy roads in the process of completing the oeuvre he is aiming for. "A struggle with one self, one's sense of purpose, of possibility, of capability," said the artist. But as Sultan speaks about the downs, he brightens up the question with a positive ending by saying, "just as if it was a struggle for putting one's own socks." We agree.
On October the 10th, Sultan opened "Echos" at Galerie Piece Unique in Paris. A small historic gallery near St.Michel, that has exhibited works from Andy Wharol to David Bowes.
"Our gallery aims to touch a new world and give opportunity," said director of the gallery, Marussa Gravagnuolo, "but mostly to transmit our emotion while we do so." Sultan fits perfectly with this. As they also share the same mind set of that goes, 'time is precious'.
Sultan has had an incredible past, as he was part of the 70's European art era in New York City, the 80's revolutionary social movements and the 90's exchange between mainstream and underground cultures. Throughout the years, he has gone more further out of his comfort zone, as he designed the Budapest hotel and Centre Pompidou's beauvoirian Paris rugs and china sets.
"All my work is a journey to fulfill an idea," he says "one may recede from you as you close in on it, which might be challenging and physically frustrating, but it is never less a part of being an artist."
Photo Courtesy of Rupi Kaur
How did photography start for you?
It could sounds like a cliché, but i've never wanted to become a photographer when I was young, it was so far from this. But I think I had this in my blood because in my family there has always been photography around, so it was something very familiar for me. I got my first camera at 10 I think it was a present from my sister for my Birthday, but at this time I wanted to be a scientist or a surgeon.
The things became clearer when I was 16-17, I was taking pictures of my brother in law while he was surfing, I was standing on the beach and I got like a revelation, I said yeah that's what i want to do. I want to be a extreme sport photographer, so since that happened I never changed my mind.
After I finished high school, I went to Paris to study art and photography in order to be a sports or news photographer. When I graduated from art school I decided not to die stupid and to try to be an intern in a fashion magazine, and then be in a big studio for a short time. Then I realized, I loved the way of working as a team, so I decide to try to do it my way.. and here I am.
How would you describe your style ?
I see my work as an intimate diary, the stuff I do is a kind of private documentary photography. A diary of my life which is running, it’s a way to exorcise my fear of the unknown, my fear of life, of the death and fear of myself. I shoot pictures which have to make you question rather than answer.
Is there any particular film or photograph that has change the way you look at things, or did that begin naturally?
I'm inspired by lot of different things, it could be by a color, a situation a special feeling, by a movie or an exhibition I saw recently. Or by people i've met, by a girl I love or hate. I think we are inspired by everything around us, consciously or unconsciously.
Who is has been a big influence in your photography ?
The photographers or artists who inspire me are from different horizon..if I have to give you some of them i would say Eggleston, Moriyama, Stephen Shore, Nan Goldin , David Armstrong, Ari Marcopoulos, Bourdin, Teller and of course Avedon and Newton.. but I'm also inspired by people as Jackson Pollock, Lucian Freud, Mozart, Bukowski, Kerouac, Larry Clark.. and so many others.
All of these people are a big influence in my photography, in my personal work and in my fashion work. They help me to grow up and to find my real me and my real style.
But the ones who really change my way to look at things for my work is Eggleston he has such a unique way to play with the composition, the colors and details, he makes me see the photography in an other dimension.
Newton and Teller I look up for fashion. They make me realize that fashion photography could be more than a fashion photography, but a real relation with the women or men you have in front.
What inspires you mostly?
I work really in a real instinctive approach , almost in an animal way . i take pics with my heart, my feelings not with my brain..i’m more intuitive.For me photography should be something visceral and passionnate..I really don’t care about the technics or the camera i’m using, i just let my animal feeling speak. I can be attracted by a color, a special situation or a special feeling ..that’s what makes me shoot with my camera.
Who is has been a big influence in your photography ?
Photographs as a memory of life, it’s not only about photography but it’s more about myself , trying tounderstand my real me, all the characters i am Inside me. Each photograph is a part of me , a part of who i am and who i’ld love to be : kind of a selfportrait. I try to take pictures everyday even if the pics turn out shitty, it’s just something I need.
What has been one of the things in your career you have felt most accomplished and proud of?
I could be a bit narcissist , but I would say the things i'm the most proud of is the small book/fanzine a German publisher did with some of my personal work. In fashion the things I feel the most accomplished by is that I have been featured in Pop Magazine (a dream since I started to shoot portrait/fashion). Some French magazine didn't even give me a chance to work for them, so this was kind of a nice revenge.
What is a tip you would give to the aspiring photographers out there..
I'm still a young and aspiring photographer after all, but to the younger or beginners I'd say, be yourself and stay faithful to who you really are, don't think too much and just let your heart speak; don't take this seriously it's just a game, life is a game so play it and never give up.
When you take a photograph, what is really what you aim for? What is the vision you want to interpret to the viewer?
I'd say the most important thing is the right combination of shapes in the frame. Then I try to be honest and look for a certain "truth" that goes beyond that actual truth of the situation in a given moment. It s an effect of truth I'd say.
I'd like the people to think I m honest with what I do, I d like to show them some "affinities" in reality, giving them a certain statement on beauty. I m just a fashion photographer but this is what I have in mind when I think of my approach to images.
How did you start?
I started with the idea of creating images, but that it was long time ago and I never thought I had to take the pictures myself, I just wanted to conceptually work on them. Then I spend some times in Paris and in order to move there I had to find something to do and I decided to follow photography classes. Then fashion cause I thought you could be creative without the pression of being ethically involved but there s lot of wrong ideas in all this. So, not a poetic start at all!
Has the talent of photography ever been something you struggled with since the beginning of your career?
I struggle like many others cause things don't go as fast as you want. It s frustrating when you think you deserve more than what you get, but then you realize it s not always true that you were that good and it s surely helps you to get better. But then I had parents that always helped me economically and always supported me psychologically so the real strugglers are others and not me. The good point maybe is that I struggled and I m still struggling to do what I like and to be glad with what I do. Off course It d be better if I were an accomplished artist, but I try to find my way pleasure in fashion too. I have few years on front of me, lets see what happens.
Who have you been influenced by in life?
My mother, she is a Jeohva s witness and this influenced me a lot. My father cause he's really different but his honesty always struck me. My friend Federico was an influence in terms of discovering things. Nothing fancy, family and friends plus a multitude of artists and intellectuals like; Abel Ferrara, Luigi Ghirri, Robert Bresson, Mike Kelley, and many others.
What has been one of your biggest accomplishments based on the world on photography?
My biggest accomplishment is a eight page interview of Sophie Calle for Flash Art International, just the fact that I was asked to do this. I write less and less but it was preparing articles that I felt the most accomplished. Then there are random images in every shooting that are good accomplishments to me.
In three words, how would you describe your photographs?
I hope Curious, honest, slightly compelling (conceptually)
What is the hardest part in writing?
The memories that flood back some nights, or mornings, or afternoon that cause you to feel the need to write are the hardest. I think that everyone is a poet at one point or another. Some stay poets, while others move on to a different type of writing that suits them and their feelings and thoughts better. When you, or anyone really, is writing, there is some sort of reasoning behind it. I think coming to terms with the reasoning and the ideas behind one's writing is the hardest part of it all.
Do you think that saying the things out loud would change things for the better? Have you tried to?
Speaking truthfully and openly has always been hard for me. I'm not some shy purple haired girl who sits in the corner of a classroom, though. I'm very verbally active in school and in life and I know how to communicate in a positive way when I need to. However, speaking about what causes my writing to be the way it is has never been very positive for me. I think that speaking out loud about everything; and saying them our loud could change my life in a very big way. I am not sure if that change would be positive, or negative though, I'm working on finding out. I don't think a human being should every be fully exposed- However, some people do not feel exposed when every part of their being is shown, and others feel exposed when hardly any of their being is shown. It's all subjective.
When you write, do you have someone in particular you'd like to be reading?
Not necessarily. Some of my writings, like "Ignorance to pain behind words," were written after someone said something specific to me. However, others are me trying to come to terms with specific situations. I write for myself. I would be writing even if no one were there to read what I produce. I am very lucky however, that people like what I write.
Has writing helped you express yourself better through talking?
Definitely. I think that writing gives me a general security in the way I speak. My writing is very similar to my way of verbal communication, and being able to express my thoughts on paper before letting them progress any further has helped me filter my words when speaking; as well as not filter my words and ideas when speaking.
do you feel that by writing your mixed feelings start to make sense, or the opposite?
When I begin to write about something; It doesn't make any sense to me. I'm freaking out, or I'm upset, or I'm pissed off, or I'm happy- or sad. Often, I write for the purpose of figuring things out. When I finish a poem, I look back at it and I understand why I began to write it.
And sometimes, it doesn't make sense, but at least then I have a new piece to work on.
The age of fourteen is specifically a very young age to start a project like this, how did the people around you react towards that? How have they reacted now?
I didn't mean for it to become what it has. I started the file out as an e-book, so my followers could have a cheap way to get many of my poems together. However, it became much more than that. When working on it, I didn't inform anyone who I knew in person about it. I had two of my friends who I met through the internet helping me out with motivation to do it, though. One of which drew the art for the cover, Tiffany Tremaine. Now, my family and some of their friends are aware of it. I think it's still a shock to them that I was able to do this all mostly on my own. They're proud though, and happy for me.
What books - if any - made you realize you wanted to write?
I don't think any books made me realize I wanted to write, but a lot of books have influenced my choices since I began writing.
My favorite books are probably: The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt), He's Gone (Deb Caletti), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), The Catcher In the Rye (J.D. Sallinger), and Girl, Interrupted (Susanna Kaysen).
These books have largely influenced my mindset and ideas, which is a huge part of my writing. Without having read these, I think my writing would be very different than it is today.
What's your first thought when you wake up?
It varies. Could be about school, homework I haven't done yet, a deadline I have to meet, or about how beautiful the sun looks shining through my window. I honestly think about my succulents very often though, (succulents are plants).
How do you handle bad critics from your book and what do you do to fix the way you feel towards them?
The only bad critics I have gotten in a direct manner (meaning I have seen what they said about my book), are ones saying "She's so young, she couldn't have possibly experienced enough to write about all of what her book touches on."
I don't necessarily think these are bad critics, they're just bored people. In terms of a response tactic, I don't really respond. And if I do, I mention that 1) You don't have to go through everything in order to write about it, and 2) Maturity and experience doesn't always come with age.
Any tips for young writers? Any tips for writers that are stuck on continuing to write?
The best tip for anyone wanting to pursue any trade is to make sure you love it, and are doing it for yourself. If I was writing for other people, then my writing wouldn't be real, or very appealing. For writers that are stuck: I understand. I get writer's block so often. However, I carry a notebook around with me and have a pen handy, so if I hear a quote I love, or overhear something from a conversation I find interesting, or suddenly get an idea, I can write it down.
The title of a book can be one of the most important things in publishing.. Who came up with the idea 'All the Things I Never Said', are you happy with the results its given?
I came up with the title myself. Essentially, the book is a compliance of poems representing things I did not say out loud, that sometimes I wish I had. I think that the title makes the book seem more relatable and interesting, and I love the result it's helped achieve.
What's the best compliment you've gotten from your book?
People telling me it changed the way they think about life. Or about mental illness. Or self harm, or relationships, or anything really. Just the idea that I can influence someone's idea through print on paper is incredible to me, and it continues to be every single day.
Magazines or Newspapers?
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee in the morning to stay awake, and Tea at night! I can't choose!