Artist Interview: Muhcine Ennou – Photographer

Muhcine Ennou PhotographyTell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?

I’m Muhcine Ennou, 23 years old, and I was born in Rabat and raised in Sale “Morocco”.

I do UI/UX Design and Photography as a “Freelancer”.

Muhcine Ennou PhotographyHow did you get started doing what you do?
My introduction to Photography was unintentional, when I went to study Graphic & Web Design in Rabat “Morocco”, I began taking pictures to bring texture into my design work. But before I knew it, I realized that Photography was my true passion. The camera has become a great tool for telling untold stories. In a relatively short amount of time, I have earned the respect of Artists, Photographers, and celebrities alike.

Muhcine Ennou PhotographyWhat’s your inspiration?
Life, Silence, Sea, and Architecture.

What is art to you?
My language.

Muhcine Ennou PhotographyHow do you keep motivated?
It’s just a state of mind, once you know how it work, it’s all your’s.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
never be afraid of doing things you like doing, just get out there and do it.

Muhcine Ennou PhotographyWhat’s the best advice you’ve been given?
It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. Dream big, work hard, think smart, and stay humble.

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Just do what you wanna do, it doesn’t matter what it is, just do it and keep doing it, and  someday you’ll become a master at it.

Muhcine Ennou PhotographyWhat are your thoughts on art school?
I’ve been in one before and it never gave me anything, just words on papers, there’s no better teacher than yourself, and there’s no friends better than great books.

What’s your dream project?
Travel the world, and meet people, discover cultures, and take pictures of course.

Muhcine Ennou PhotographyTell us about your use of triangles…
Its just a concept of showing the power of geometry in photography and sometimes you’ll see an upside down triangle, also known as the Karpman Triangle.

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Artist interview: Charles Mackenzie – Chronographer

Photogray by artist Charles Mackenzie

Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
My name is Charles Mackenzie, I am by definition a writer/poet/photographer/artist. All those labels are extremely specific and extremely superfluous. I’d rather like to refer to myself as a chronographer… because ultimately whatever medium or practice I engage myself in, it is related directly to ‘recording’ life.  My mother tells me I was born on earth… but I seriously doubt that.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I spent the majority of my life dazed and dreaming, pretending to live out other people’s lives whilst ultimately returning to my own. At first I started writing because I needed an outlet. And then photography… And now anything that immediately allows me to express myself.

Photogray by artist Charles MackenzieWhat’s your inspiration?
Expression. I am most free and inspired, when I am not thinking so much. When I am just ‘doing’. I can and have been inspired by generally anything and everything, but I find it’s more inspiring just to work with what’s immediately affecting you, because that’s where truth of expression lies.

I always slap myself in the mornings, at least 37 times and I drink milk and orange juice(morange juice) upside down. An absolutely fool proof technique for inspiration.

What is art to you?
Jonathan Meese put it better than I ever could. “Art is metabolic. It’s just like breathing, eating and shitting. This is why, any art that isn’t made purely for the sake of expression…isn’t art. Because if the piece isn’t immediately important to your life and your growth and even your understanding of the world(or non-understanding)…then it won’t be true.”

What does your typical day look like?
My typical day looks like a can of deodorant going to work with underpants on it’s head, running towards the office screaming:

“I’m alive! I’m alive! Look at me, I am a talking can of deodorant and I have underpants on my head!”

Photogray by artist Charles MackenzieHow do you keep motivated?
I keep a dream diary that I write in almost every day. It inspires me and keeps me in touch with the absurdity of life. I also read excessively. This whole “no thought is original” thing crops up a lot when I read, but then again one can’t have a thought until one has actually experienced it, so books are a nice way to get there and internalize other peoples thoughts and make them ones own. Especially if they have nothing to do with art, because it’s a nice way to remove myself from my work.

If I would recommend any book to a writer or artist it would have to be “Letters to a young poet.”. It helped me understand the importance and power of solitude, and it applies to every facet of life… completely.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?

I want to (with the help of other artists) free people from their own enslavement. I want to show people that life isn’t worth living unless they live it completely. I want to show people that there is no point in living, unless you live the life that you want to. I want to make the world more honest, and although there is no fucking way I can do it myself, I believe in the power of art and the internet, and I believe that we are heading towards an expressive liberation.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Be weird. Then be weirder. Keep dreaming. Dream more. Dream bigger. Trust yourself unequivocally.  You can waste your days half-heartedly pretending to be someone else, or you can be yourself… completely.  Also, “INVEST IN APPLE COMPUTING.”

Photogray by artist Charles MackenziePhotogray by artist Charles MackenzieWhat’s the best advice you’ve been given?
When I bumped into a  fellow ‘dreamer’/friend, and told him about all the epiphanies and revelations I had had about life, death and dreaming, etc, etc… he grabbed me hard by my shoulders and shook me whilst he screamed:

“Charles… there are no answers to life! ONLY MORE MOMENTS.”

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Forget about everything and everybody else. Leave judgements and opinions outside when you enter your work. It’s very easy to believe that other people’s opinions and criticisms matter… they don’t. Art is expression, expressing yourself is all that is required. Once you have created something… regardless of if it is ‘good’ or not…YOU ARE DONE. Move on, and captivate yourself with the next thing. You get to decide who you are and what it is you do. Everything else is white noise, block it all out and you will be totally free to realise your potential. I think that thought process is becoming more prevlalent with regards to art (thanks to the internet)… but writing is still evaluated by an iron clad rule book of bullshit. Just do whatever makes you happy, because if you are serving other peoples’ dreams, ideologies and so forth you will never be able to create and capture your own truths.

What are your thoughts on art school?
I have always been jealous of people who study art, because I only discovered/accepted it into my life so recently, and my university courses have very little to do with it. With that said, the only benefit of art school is networking and technical ability. You can’t teach somebody to be an artist, you can’t even teach somebody to express him or herself…all that stuff comes from within. But if you want to be hired by some shitty restaurant to make some shitty canvases to pay for your shitty apartment, maybe it’s worthwhile. If you want to become an artist… just be one. That’s what I did. I woke up one day and decided: “Today I am an artist.” And if it’s true to you then that’s all that matters. A piece of paper won’t serve as any kind of  proof, and as a matter of fact if that’s what you use to justify the title ‘artist’…. then you may not yet be one.

Photogray by artist Charles MackenzieHave any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I believe in having goals and so forth, but I actually don’t believe in the future (or the past for that matter). It is an unrelenting quicksand that prevents people from being immediately concerned with the present. Ultimately the present is ALL that matters (because it’s all that exists), and it’s all I have the capacity to concern myself with.

If you buy me a beer and some dinner maybe I will talk your ear off about what I think about the past/future.

What’s your dream project?
I want to photograph a bunch of absolute strangers naked in public (without ever meeting/interacting with them). The trust that would be required would be hard to gain, especially if the subjects have never met me… which is a challenge in itself.  But doing such a thing would put so much more power into the role of a photographer. I generally hate that title and all it’s connotations, because in the art world, photographers are generally ‘passive’.  Which makes no sense, because photographs are captured moments of ‘the real thing’. So that would be my first dream project, which is more of a social movement than anything. I just want to show people that the limitations that they oppose on themselves are actually opposed by other people.  I want to show them that complete and unyielding solidarity exists… it just needs a little fire. Basically what I am saying is… I want to start a naked revolution.

What art supplies do you use?
I smoke.
I drink.
I think.

Charles Mackenzie PhotographyPhotogray by artist Charles MackenzieHow could the art industry become better in your opinion?
It should just stop being a fucking industry. People should just create for the sake of creation.  Expression should be free. Art shouldn’t be graded in school.  Children should just be given an hour a day to themselves, to do or say whatever they want. If they spend that time drawing 3 legged horses and large dicks with moustaches and top hats- so be it. The problems start there in school, but they also exist elsewhere. Art shouldn’t be made important because of reputation, or scale… or because it’s placed in a big fancy gallery somewhere, art should be important upon itself- no strings attached.

Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
Two massive inspirations in my life (very recently as well) have been the alt lit poet Steve Roggenbuck and German artist, Jonathan Meese. I gobble up their every word.

Also a good all rounder is Terrence McKenna. His ideas about life…truth… our minds… etc. Every single word is profound and laced with lifetimes of experience and perception condensed into one human being. He helped me understand, that at the end of the day, the only truth you can completely accept is the one that you shape yourself.

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Featured Project: Faces of N.

Tell us about yourself, who you are, where you’re from and what you do…
When I look at an object, like a dress or a shoe, I don’t only see a piece of clothing – I see an instrument. When that piece of clothing is moved through the video frame the movement becomes choreography. When I create new audiovisual work this is my perspective on the world. It’s a transformation process which reveals music and dance beneath the surface of mundane reality.

Tell us about your friend, Nicole Roscher…
Nicole has an avant garde aesthetic which is simultaneously androgynous, feminine, brutal, baroque, goth, trashy and haute couture all at once. She is my personal style guru. The week I met her she appeared on The Sartorialist wearing a signature oversize pullover she designed herself. Nicole is impulsive, daring and fearless.

What inspired this project?
I am interested in the idea of hypercubist identity – in the notion of a multifaceted self. In Faces of N. I wanted to create a portrait which shows how clothing can alter how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. I also found it interesting to show Nicole, who is a professional model and fashion designer, in her own wardrobe. It became a puzzle: what does this outfit sound like? What does that outfit sound like? In the end it’s as much about depicting Nicole’s many sides as it is about my interpretation of her various identities through music.

Can you tell us a bit more about how you managed to create the audio entirely from the sound of clothes?
The sounds in Faces of N. are made 100% from the sounds of Nicole’s clothes. I developed my own granular synthesis technique to create the synthesizer tones. Percussion sounds involved some serious EQ work and ADSR envelope modulation.

How long does the average song/video take to create?
Faces of N. was recorded in March 2013. The EP was finished in early 2014. An additional several months were needed to build out the website, complete color correction, and finish audio mastering. Big thanks go to Cameron Askin who did an amazing job building the website. The Prelude to Faces of N. launched in March 2014 with the full website launching in August 2014.

Do you have any other projects by other artists that you’d like for others to check out?
I can imagine fans of this work will appreciate finding out about Nicole’s professional modeling portfolio as well as her label Von Bardonitzand her Berlin studio CAKE. The first collaboration I had together with Nicole was in 2012 when I created the 5-channel video installation The Tosso Variations. The Tosso Variations features the performances of my friend Shingo Inao on his self-made instrument wearing the Von Bardonitz “Oswald” pullover.

Check out the rest of the videos on Faces of N. and follow Gabriel Shalom on, Twitter and Behance!

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Artist Interview: vivaUltra – Fine Artist & Printmaker

vivaUltra artToday, we’d like to introduce you to artist, vivaUltra!

Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?

I’m 36 and I was born in and am based in Milan, Italy. As a daily job I am a freelance graphic designer. I’ve work as an art director for a few agencies in the last 10 years, and now I work for myself. I keep my digital work strongly separated from my artistic work. I don’t use the computer for art.

In 2011 I started Terracava, a home-publishing project, with the intent to produce stuff by people I like. Now we are two running the project and we’ve taken part in zine fairs all around Europe.

vivaUltra artHow did you get started doing what you do?
I’ve been addicted to drawing since I was a child, my mother usually put paper and pens in my hands when she wanted me to stop whatever I was doing. I grew up on a skateboard so seeing all the graphics everyday kept me in the art world in some way. It’s sort of a daily habit for me.

What’s your inspiration?
First, music. I really enjoy drawing spontaneously and music is really important in this. Quite often I try to represent a certain feeling I had from someone or some situations. Not the person or the scene itself but my feelings from it.

Usually the weirdest dudes on the bus come to talk to me, so I feel lucky about the amount of stories I have to think about.

vivaUltra artWhat is art to you?
Authenticity and naturalness in what I see or hear. I don’t like to study art much at the table.

What does your typical day look like?
I wake up around 9 in the morning, I do my graphic works until the middle of the afternoon and then I start drawing. I prefer to draw in the second part of the day and quite often at night.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I just hope not to stop one day just because I’ll get old or because no one will look at my work anymore. Drawing lets me feel good and to empty my head so I just hope to never stop.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Stay gold.

vivaUltra artWhat’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Let people know that you draw!

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
If people can’t understand what you are doing you are probably on the right path.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I would like to spend time with a band to draw during the entire conception of an album. I don’t mean the recording of it but the whole conception time so I can produce something related deeply to and inspired by the music.

What art supplies do you use?
Inks and nib, staedtler fine liner 0.05, chalcographic inks, watercolors, acrilyc colors, oil colors, coffee and bleach. I usually use rough papers.

vivaUltra artAny other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
An Italian photographer: Marco Marzocchi

Follow vivaUltra on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Behance!

Artwork by vivaUltra will also be featured at the exhibition, “Stream of Unconsciousness” until the 27th.

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Artist Interview: Gaëlle Legrand – Illustrator

Gaëlle Legrand IllustrationTell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?

Hello, my name is Gaëlle, I am a young illustrator and video maker from France, I am currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

What is art to you?
The world we live in is pretty incredible. Beauty is everywhere ; in the way the moon is lit, in the colours and reflections of 20,000 years old stalactites, in the shapes of petals and flowers, or in hanging fabric blown by the wind… To me, Art is somehow a way to pay tribute  to the Universe.

Gaëlle Legrand IllustrationWhat does your typical day look like?
No typical day, although I like starting my day by looking at art blogs or by going to the Art Gallery of Ontario, a great museum close to my place, to get inspired.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I hope to bring something different, new or interesting in people’s life. And to make a living, doing what I like to do.

Gaëlle Legrand IllustrationWhat’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“Don’t forget where you come from”. In my opinion, Inspiration that comes from our childhood is the best inspiration an artist can have. Childhood is a time where the mind is  free, where the social rules and norms are not fixed in one’s brain yet. I think we need to get back to these childhood memories to make true and sincere art.  And as Pablo Picasso said:All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up’.

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Same as previous question!

Gaëlle Legrand IllustrationWhat are your thoughts on art school?
I have not been to an art school. Learning from scratch how to make illustrations, or film, or edit, or animate, works for me,  you just have to be really motivated and to find ways to get in touch with other artists. If an artist likes what you are doing, they will spend some of their precious time with you, to help you.

Gaëlle Legrand IllustrationWhat’s your dream project?
4 years ago, I decided to live in an English-speaking country to improve my English.  I chose to come to Canada, and more particularly to Omemee, Ontario,  because I am a huge fan of Neil Young ( Omemee is a town where Neil Young grew up). So, my dream project would be to work with Neil Young.

If that ever happens, it would be a “full circle kind of move” from Destiny, and that would be really nice.

Gaëlle Legrand IllustrationAny other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
Christopher Mills, Eleanor Davis, Dan Mcpharlin, Matt Connors.

I am listening to Angel Olsen and The Weather Station A LOT  these days. Great music to listen to, while working.

Gaëlle Legrand IllustrationFollow Gaëlle Legrand on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr!

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