First things first,
are you over 18?

Artists, Makers, Thinkers

Noami Otsu

Tom Ravenscroft

Rajeev

Remy somehow finds a way to sleep anywhere and anytime. Even if there’s a lot of moving around, or noise. It doesn’t matter. If he wants to sleep, nothing is going to stop him. He is the inspiration.

Galih Richardson

I’m very much a spaghetti western hat guy, so anything you’d see in a Sergio Leone film I want to recreate - then set on fire - and then wear.

Lisa-Marie Harris

Flowers become part of our space in ways that make you completely forget their provenance and the immense politics surrounding their presence. The Arrangement for Something & Nothing comes from that notion. 

Camille Vidal

I love the way food and drinks bring people together I think there is something magical about it. I think 2020 reminded us how essential to our happiness socialising with a good drink in your hand is.

Charlotte Adigéry

Silence holds all the answers and all the frequencies so sometimes it can be an answer.

Charlie Sheppard - Rube Seltzer

I think people are at their happiest when making things with your hands.

Lou Hayter

I was a bit of a nerd in school and I find it easy to obsess over music.

Black Lines

It started with homes, and the importance of that place in my life... I love the timelessness of buildings.

Nature & Junk

William Bunce & Lisa Jahovic are creative partners who produce kinetically beautiful still life images and films.

Glimpse

Glimpse create campaigns that help people feel more positive about the world and inspired to change things for the better.

Acid Flash

Dj Ida Koskunen has created a brilliant ambient mix for us to soundtrack your summer. She talks about Tangerine Dream, Nature and The Fifth Element.

Tropic Light

Photographer Blake Fox talks to us about the solitude of living in a remote (but beautiful) place and the sense of isolation in his work.

Nurture Nature

Creative Becca Jones talks to us about bones, scanners and extinction rebellion.

Naomi Otsu started following us (on Instagram, not on our way to buy coffee). She said she loves our Yuzu Seltzer, and we said we love your illustrations, and she said why don't I create an illustration of your Yuzu Seltzer. Perfect.

Naomi is an illustrator based in New York, her work is uplifting and positive and puts a great big smile on your face. We talked to her about her love of lamps and the importance of music to her process. She also made a playlist for you guys - its perfect for working at home, laptop open, seltzer in hand.


NAOMI'S PLAYLIST


Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Naomi Otsu, I am a graphic designer and illustrator based in New York!

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Can you tell us a little about your history as an illustrator and creative. Where did it start and when did you decide this was your path?
My mother was an artist, and somehow that skill and curiosity for the visual was passed down to me. I always knew I would be in the art field from a young age. I do wonder sometimes what I'd be doing if I wasn't creative, but it's truly the only thing I know so it's hard to imagine.

New York, Tokyo, New York - how has growing up in Tokyo influenced your work?
I think living in dense cities my whole life has pushed me to strive towards creating the same characteristics of detail, grit and layers in my work.

There is a positive energy to your work and you talk about finding the fun and playfulness in everyday life (which we love) - what’s bringing you joy these days?
The warmer weather has brought me a lot of hope and joy for the future. I am VERY excited to be outside...

I love lamp, you love lamp - which is your favourite lamp?
I have a lamp problem. I love all my lamps. My most cherished lamp is this Italian Toucan lamp from 70's. Something that I've wanted over a decade and received as a present from my boyfriend this past year. I also love my Noguchi lamp, makes me feel like I'm back home.

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Some of your work is incredibly detailed, how do you stay focused? And are you good at jigsaw puzzles?
Music helps. Headphones always help. Sometimes I catch myself sitting in silence for hours as I work, promising myself I'll put something on in the next five minutes. I am very good at jigsaw puzzles, but I get obsessive about finishing them as soon as possible - so god forbid I start one, all my plans are out the window.

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Tell us about the playlist you created for us and how important music is to your work / mood / play?
I created a playlist that features motivating instrumentals, something that you can put into the background and not get distracted by when writing emails. (A problem I often have when I play my fave tunes).

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

What podcasts, albums, exhibitions, tv or books are currently inspiring you?
I recently went to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. They currently have a Yayoi Kusama exhibit there, and that was fantastic, especially when paired with the flowers that were in full bloom. I find that reconnecting to my surroundings and nature has always given me the energy and inspiration when I feel I need a little boost.

Noami Otsu - Something & Nothing Drinks

Tell us about something.
I used to have obsessive hobbies as a child. There was a period where I was an avid bird watcher - and as a result I have a nice drawer of facts tucked away in my brain when it comes to various bird species. I also obsessively collected stamps (I still have them) and then moved on to being obsessively online/learning to code (like many of us did) during the early aughts.

Tell us about nothing.
I like making playlists as a hobby now - but it's nothing serious... yet, but you can follow me on spotify as I curate more lists. :)

Time to belt up and strap in for a tour de Tom Ravenscroft. We sat down and had a chat with the radio man and dj, who not only made this playlist for us, from the depths of his vaults/mind, but also gave us a large slice of his interesting mind below. 

PLAYLIST: LISTEN NOW

Who are you and what do you do ?

I’m Thomas, a Dj & Radio Presenter. Sometimes I write things, I’m pretty cool.

Where are you and what are you doing right now ?

I’m at home in NE London, listening to a combination of heavy rain and some new records I bought. The laundry is on, there’s a sauce simmering.

As well as being long time fans of your music selections and djing, we loved your Peel Acres series. Fantastic guests and your laidback style and deep but humble knowledge created a really special space for discovery and connection with the the listener (check it out here). What did you take from the experience? and will there be more…?

The idea of being able to connect people I admired with a record collection I’d spent my whole life with was kind of magical. I felt incredibly spoilt to be honest. It was quite life-changing to have my dad's impenetrable record collection opened up in this way. I look at it quite differently now. There will definitely be more.

Any musical discoveries that you didn’t know before, that you have fallen in love with ?

I had listened to Ravi Shankar a little but I've given it much more time lately as his records where pulled by out by almost every guest. It's now on loop in our house. Also, Sylvester and The Hot Band thanks to Colleen Murphy

You said one of the coolest things we’ve ever heard “After Kurt Cobain died I stopped listening to bands and listened to Jungle music for 15 years” 

What are your top three jungle records ?

Dj Flash – Pulp Ficton (Easy Does It)

Rude & Deadly – Lightnin & Tunda

Dj Rap – Spiritual Aura

Peshay - Piano Tune

Special Request - Vortex 164 (Sully Remix)

(I know that’s not 3)

Any recommendations on non-music (podcasts, books, exhibitions, festivals, movies, restaurants)  

I’ve not been out in while but Bokman restaurant in Bristol, Nobounds festival in Sheffield has the most crazy good lineup for 2022. Boiling Point is the best film I’ve seen in while and Miranda July’s - The First Bad Man is my go to book recommendation.

Which djs/producers are you exited about at the moment?

The Manchester scene seems pretty abundant with talent at the mo;  Blackhaine and Iceboy Violet. I also get very excited when I see AYA’s name anywhere, everything she touches turns to gold.

If John Lennon used to sketch his nose on his postcards to your dad (so the postman would stop stealing them) - what would be your incognito icon be?

I’m not sure how you’d draw a monotonous voice but there must be a way…

Who would be your dream festival crew to get up to mischief with (dead or alive)

I’m not generally one for a big crew, herding humans to music isn’t fun. One solid, reliable friend who likes the same music as you and likes to stay up is the way. Having said that I reckon Jonah Hill would be great and Miranda July again. 

What did you think of our drinks? Any favourites? 

Most delish, we drank them all pretty quick. The boozy cucumber Spritz

Tell us about something 

I can’t throw

Tell us about nothing 

Laters!!

 Who are you and what do you do?

Hello, my name is Rajeev. I am Executive Creative Director at a new creative agency called Supernatural. I was previously Global Creative Director at Spotify. I make funny, interesting things for brands that help them get talked about. Outside of work I do lots of little side projects. In the past I’ve made a video game called Waiting in Line 3D that went viral a few years ago – a game where you wait in line, and punch yourself in the face to stay awake, but not too hard or you will die. I also play around making things for my dog.

Where are you and what are you doing right now?

Right now I’m in my studio in Greenwich village, New York. 

 Rajeev profile picture

Can you explain to people what you latest project Between Two Naps is?

Between Two Naps is a project where I make things for my dog, Remy. We adopted him about 2 years ago. He’s a mega mix of Chihuahua, German Shepherd, Pomeranian and lots more. I never knew dogs slept so much… he sleeps all the time. And I also noticed he gets cold a lot. And while there are a lot of products out there for dogs, I wanted to see if I could make things for him that were a little more interesting, irreverent, and with a sharper aesthetic. More of a Raf Simons, Craig Green, and OAMC vibe.

What inspired the idea of keeping dogs ‘nap ready’ at all times?

Remy somehow finds a way to sleep anywhere and anytime. Even if there’s a lot of moving around, or noise. It doesn’t matter. He’s so determined. If he wants to sleep, nothing is going to stop him. He is the inspiration.

Dog Nap Hat - Rajeev

We noticed that your designs have progressed from hats into other items like tiny puffer jackets and ramen noodle saddles. Are you starting a couture pet empire?

The projects are a fun way to spend more time with Remy and learn new skills I didn’t know before. And it’s nice to make things with your hands, especially when you spend most of the day facing a screen. 

Everything we make is handmade and 1 of 1. We source materials and fabrics from Japan and Italy. The hardware like snaps and zips, they’re the same ones you find on things made by Bottega Veneta and Balmain. It’s interesting to look at design and manufacturing for dogs with the same level of craft and detail we’d make things for ourselves.

We’ve been approached by some brands to do some collabs, but so far we’re just focussing on making the most interesting, fun things we can. But if anyone out there likes what they see, and is interested in commissioning something, we’d love to hear from you.

 Dog nap jacket

Tell us about something

If in doubt, do something stupid. 

Tell us about nothing

Listening is everything. 

Nap Jacket Black

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Galih Richardson, I work as a Brand Developer for hat makers Tom Smarte and Smarte Creative. I also have many fingers in many pies, involving hat making, and content creation.

Something & Nothing Hibiscus & Rose


Where are you and what are you doing right now?

I'm currently on the Chingford train heading home, looking out at East London, listening to Skinshape.

You are a man who wears many hats, and indeed one of the hats you wear is that you make hats (this sounded better in my head). How did you get into millinery ?

I worked in a hat shop for 6 years, and fell in love with hat people and hat culture. From there, i started to dabble in making them, and then started to make and sell one off pieces to friends, which started the whole snowball of getting into millinery. I’m very much a spaghetti western hat guy, so anything you’d see in a Sergio Leone film i want to recreate - then set on fire - and then wear.

Galih Richardson


I'm always impressed with people who wear proper hats, they look like they have a story to tell - who are some of your favourite hat wearers ?

Probably Townes Van Zandt and his many cowboy hats and Lee Van Cleef with that iconic moustache and glare. The original evil eye.

You have a great eye for style, for light, for authentic energy what inspired the shoot you’ve created for S&N ?

I currently live in Walthamstow, and its the most diverse local I've encountered living in London. Where else can you experience a Tudor house, a new high rise development, and Epping Forest all in one walk. During this year long lockdown, our daily walks have been our mental health's saving grace. We have read the headstones at St. Mary's Churchyard in the snow, and pushed each other on forest swings in the heat of summer. I wanted to share some of these sights with you guys at locations inspired by each flavour of Something and Nothing Seltzer.

Galih wood


I get the sense from your recent work you’ve been spending a lot more time in the great outdoors, how important is nature to your wellbeing ?

Nature is extremely important to me. Being able to ground myself surrounded by trees and the sound of rustling canopies brings me a lot of peace. There is a sensitivity there that we all need to be a part of living in such a heavy city like London.

Something & Nothing yuzu seltzer


You grew up in Indonesia how has its culture and attitude (if that’s the right word) influenced what you do and how you are as a human ?

Indonesia is a very kind and softly spoken country. Everything is done with the soft back of a hand. My grandmother represents the Indonesian temperament to me. Direct, self sufficient, humble, tender, traditional, and devout. It has given me sensitivity, and empathy, and I would move back there in a second. Hopefully that is on the cards sometime in the next 5 years.

3 men, 3 hats

What podcasts, albums, exhibitions or books are currently inspiring you ?

My reading list is a bit of a cliche. 'Ask the Dust', from the 'Bandini Quartet' by John Fante, which I recommend to everyone. And I love music with a folklore story, like F. J. Mcmahon, the Vietnam war vet who wrote one stoner folk record 'Spirit of the Golden Juice'; which garnered little to no attention until a recent three page spread in the Rolling stones 500 greatest albums of all time. - OR - Jim Sullivan who wrote two albums, one titled "UFO" and then disappeared without a trace in New Mexico. I recommend both these records.

Tell us about something

We have just finished watching every episode of Gilmore Girls, and we loved every second.

Tell us about nothing

Apparently if you took away all the empty space on the planet (the nothing) it would fit on the end of a pin.

Cucumber Something & Nothing seltzer

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Lisa-Marie Harris and I am an artist.

In truth, I am an itinerant Trinidadian woman of the sun who hates grey days and nonstop rain, but has nonetheless become a Londoner over the years. I play with my two kids during the day, and at night I make art before nodding off.

Somewhere in between, I steal away time to run Au Courant Studio, which is an independent publishing, art and design practice, whilst completing postgraduate research in Contemporary Photography & Philosophy at Central Saint Martins.

 Something & Nothing seltzer - Lisa-Marie Harris

Where are you and what are you doing right now?

Like the vast majority these days, I’m mostly indoors, touring the sights and sounds of my space for the umpteenth time. I’m in North London and have at least been able to continue walking the woods in this strange time, which I’m beyond grateful for. Too many people have been left adrift with no relief or coping mechanisms, and it’s been sobering to witness, to say the very least.

Can you tell us a little about your work as an artist?

I make installations, sculptural assemblages, photo narratives, publications and performance work across a variety of media, including the use of websites as a performance itself.

As such, I’ve been able to incorporate all the AV techniques I first began using almost two decades ago as a broadcast journalist and radio/TV producer across the Caribbean. Having studied aesthetics and media theory at The New School in Manhattan in my undergraduate years helps immensely for the practical aspects of making art work, believe it or not.

Something & Nothing seltzer - Lisa-Marie Harris

But at the heart of my work lies the fact that I truly am an itinerant being. I’ve had to migrate my entire family to new countries far too often over the last 15 years, sometimes very abruptly, because I come from the 'The Third World'.

We are supposed to dream in adoration about the supposed advantages in these countries, but we are not meant to actually come and partake and build anything here. So we have to find our own ways; one becomes exceedingly shrewd. You learn how to look, and then you dismantle and create exactly what you need.

Migration, home, spaces, and the body are always at play somewhere in my work. I often think about the body itself as the only space one owns, and even that is contested space. I treat the body as a thing to laugh at, to rearrange, depart and remove completely, and I enjoy picking apart those notions around how we dehumanize the body through my work.

What is Au Courant daily and studio?

Au Courant Daily and Studio are my personal journal and thought/action space, respectively. I feel very strongly about artists having agency and ownership over their output, and directing the conversations around their own actions.

I find the idea of making a work and leaving it to posterity for someone else to interrogate without the artist’s voice and authorship being present to be outmoded, institutional nonsense, and a gross act of erasure.

Au Courant also allows for play and open collaboration with other, like-minded artists and designers across disciplines, and I really value having a space to share and discuss ideas in that manner

Something & Nothing seltzer - Lisa-Marie Harris

You seem to be creating a lifestyle brand (for want of a better description) but unlike most others out there you have created a unique balance of beauty, honesty, creativity and humour. It makes the whole thing feel more authentic - how does your work as an artist inform Au Courant?

Your words are kind. Thanks for that.

With Au Courant, I’ve found it more useful to have my own studio space to facilitate the making of work without stifling ideological or institutional restrictions.

I remember starting out on radio at station called 96.1 WEfm in Port-of-Spain as the co-host of a primetime Saturday night show. The concept was that myself and this other lady would dish on sex and generally be rowdy, like a cross between local Trinbagonian street-corner Jamettes and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Before the first live show, the station owner pulls me aside whilst holding my neatly typed up production run (which he proceeded to tear in half) and says, “Listen, nobody is tuning in to hear “Lisa-Marie” talk about culture and the arts, ok? Something more hot will appeal to the masses, so you should call yourself Cocoa Browning and wear sexier clothes for the promos. That will sell the show!”

I was like...”Ahmm, no thank you.”

I came up with another name, the show was eventually called The Ladies Room with Tusca and Deja, and it became an overnight hit. I bided my time making up all sorts of random shit ideas to produce for the show’s features; we interviewed local celebrities and spent hours talking all manners of rubbish.

Something & Nothing seltzer - Lisa-Marie Harris

 

People loved it. I hated it. Not because it had poor content – in fact, I thought the actual premise of the show was brilliant and I ultimately learned invaluable lessons and technical skills in that role. But I hated it because there was absolutely no space for different perspectives besides regurgitating that one fantasy of nubile sex kittens talking about 10 ways to please a man in bed.

Au Courant is a reaction towards the kind of compromises creatives are often forced to make.

For a lot of people your output would be intimidating. Where does your drive to constantly create come from?

I just try to let the work be made, without giving it valence or designations. I also make what I can, whenever I can. Sometimes that’s a print magazine. Other times, it’s a single photograph. After a while, you look around and realize that all these disparate things begin to coalesce into something larger, something beautiful.

What’s the thinking behind the shots for Something & Nothing?

Flowers become part of our space in ways that make you completely forget their provenance and the immense politics surrounding their presence. The Arrangement for Something & Nothing comes from that notion, and from memories of collecting wild flowers like Passiflora and the Orchids of the Northern Range above Port-of-Spain.

It’s really been a small treat to encounter similar flowers on walks to Hampstead Heath, Waterlow Park and all my favourite London haunts.

Also, my mum was a printer and bookbinder by trade, and for many years she would make flowers for weddings and decorative designs using her paper scraps. After school, I’d have to help roll thousands of little orchids and anthuriums onto the fronds of cocoyea brooms for her orders. It was quite fun to touch on that materiality from another perspective.

Any books, podcasts, music, designers, artists you are really into at the moment?

I’m one of those people who play the same five albums over and over. Anything Gorillaz, Tame Impala, the occasional Metronome, and Daft Punk (still processing their breakup).

My current favourite is probably Sweet Sweet Dreams, the debut album released in the 70s from the Tobagonian Calypso icon, The Mighty Shadow. It’s not classic soca or calypso, per se, and nobody in Trinidad remembers it, but it is beyond epic.

As for books, I generally read philosophy. Been chipping my way through Jean-Luc Nancy’s Corpus and revisiting some Baradian stuff mostly, but I also constantly pester the good folks at Magalleria in Bath for those hard-to-find international indie magazines, cause they always find the good stuff.

With design, I am forever in awe of the works and spaces created by the Dutch furniture maker and architect, Gerrit Rietveld.

Tell us about something

Nothing is more real than the things we imagine.

Tell us about nothing

Everything we imagine is nothing in reality.

 

Something & Nothing seltzer - Lisa-Marie Harris

Who are you and what do you do?

Im Camille Vidal, Im the founder of La Maison Wellness and Creator of Mindful Cocktails, most importantly I'm a Healthy Hedonist I live life well mindfully!

Where are you and what are you doing right now?

It’s January, I’m at home in London creating Mindful Cocktails and inspiring people to reassess their relationship with drinking for the better. As the new year starts I’m helping people navigate Dry January inspiring and guiding on what to drink so they can realise how delicious mindful drinking can be either with non alcoholic or low alcoholic options.

Can you tell us a little about your history with drinks, how you got started?

Food & Drinks has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, im originally from the south of France and I have vivid memories of aperitif moment with my parents, I love the way food and drinks bring people together I think there is something magical about it. I think 2020 reminded us how essential to our happiness socialising with a good drink in your hand is.

What prompted the transition into mindful drinking and low or no alcohol cocktail creation ?

Something & Nothing Hibiscus & Rose Martini cocktail

I wanted to show the world how to bring mindfulness into the glass, we empower our relationship with drinking, we reshape the language about drinking and we incorporate more options because tasty doesn’t have to be boozy and its time we rethink our drink.

Can you tell us about La Maison Wellness and what a ‘healthy hedonist’ is?

La Maison Wellness is a platform dedicated to inspiring people to drink well with delicious Mindful Cocktails, either alcohol free or low alcohol and always with good ingredients, as well as living like Healthy Hedonist meaning celebrating the everyday life in a way that feels good right now and tomorrow (hello hangover free life!)

You are also a yoga teacher, how does this inform your approach to life and work ?

I believe that everything start with awareness and that Mindfulness isn’t something you compartment in your life but rather sprinkle all over it. Life, like cocktails is about balance!

Are there any podcasts, albums, exhibitions or books that you currently getting a kick out of?

Im reading “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” by Robin Sharma right now and loving it. Next on my list is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I also love travel cooking show which pretty much combine everything I love travel, flavours, discovery, as we are unable to explore the world right now I more than ever find them inspiring even for my work creating Mindful Cocktails.

Can you tell us a little about this drink, the different components and what inspired its creation?

I love the beauty and simplicity of this cocktail, MARTINI vibrante is a brilliant non alcoholic aperitif with the classic Italian bitter component you will expect as well as bright citrus notes coming from the bergamot so adding Something & Nothing Hisbiscus & Rose was perfect to add a layer of floral notes as well as a touch of effervescent to lift all the flavour. The key in this recipe to take it from good to incredible is the orange juice not only you want to use freshly squeezed orange juice (always hello vitamin C & antioxidants) but you also want to make it fluffy either by juicing it in a high speed juicer or squeeze and place the juice in a blender to make it fluffy. Et voila!

ARANCIA

50ml MARTINI Vibrante over ice

Top up with Something & Nothing Hibiscus & Rose Orange Juice and a decent splash of fresh orange juice

Glass: Highball
T : Build
G: Orange Wheel

Non-alcoholic Something & Nothing seltzer cocktail

Tell us about something

Something & Nothing Cucumber Seltzer is my favourite. I really hope my work keep inspiring people to bring mindfulness into the glass and together we can change the drinking culture for the better.

Tell us about nothing

No.

Who are you and what are you doing right now?
I am Charlotte Adigéry, as far as I know! I make music, I tell stories and try to portray life through my eyes in all of the roles: as a black woman, as a Belgian-Carribean individual, etc. Right now I am in my car in Belgium recording this interview waiting to go on a tv show, haha. And probably more interesting: right now we're finishing our debut album!

Can you tell us a little about your history as a music maker and creative thinker.
My mom is a singer as well so music was always very present in our household. Music has always been a way to communicate for me: with my mom in a playful way but also later in life. At one point I was tired of trying to fit in the society, constantly looking for my place - while I knew music was what I wanted to do. It's not an easy choice but it was my choice and I decided to really explore that to the fullest. My mom was there throughout the full journey, supporting me in all of my choices. I started to do some backing vocals, studio sessions and what not. Around the age of 23 I wanted to make something myself so I started making my own music: very much a hit and miss type of approach, learning the ropes while playing around. I've been working on two projects ever since: WWWater, which started as my graduation project - I studied music - and then the project under my own name with Bolis Pupul under the wings of Stephen and David Dewaele (DEEWEE, Soulwax, 2manydj's).

French-Belgian-Caribbean, how do these different cultures influence your music?
It gives me a rich mixture of inspiration to dig out of. It's a lot of fun! Ironically, my mixed background and complex story made me very insecure as a child and now turns out to be a very rich and inspirational part of who I am. I started to consciously dig into that and write from the perspective of all of these roles, from all of these heritages. I write in English, in French, in Créole, maybe one day in Dutch, who knows! My Carribean music influences also seep through: rhythms, styles and so on. Plus: the intuitive approach to music, using music as a ways to communicate, that's very Carribean to me and the way I was brought up.

For the last 18 months we have been listening to 1,618 at least once a week - what does the name refer to?
Haha, I've seen my streams go up! Thank you for listening. It refers to the golden ratio, the perfect ratio that you can find everywhere in nature and beauty. It's my cynical way of finding beauty in imperfection, as I say in the song: " Have a look at my asymetrical face, admire my asymetrical gaze". That's real beauty, it's way more interesting than symmetry to me.

When did you become interested in meditation and what do you gain from it. How often do you meditate and do you follow a practise or method?
It's been a long journey! I remember going to the library as a 14 15-something year old and I remember an artist - I think it was Sting actually? - who said he was a buddhist. I ended up loaning some books about buddhism and that was a very interesting discovery. It felt very liberating. At that age, I was completely identifying with my thinking and felt very restless so being able to broaden the confinement of my brain really helped a lot. Through friends I then got into Edgar Tolle and that really changed my life - I know it sounds dramatic, but it's true. It took me quite a while to really dedicate my time and efforts towards it, it requires dedication, but I always felt it did a lot for me personally which is why I persevered. Now I do it twice a day and I feel closer to myself, I feel more present (not all the time, but more often) and feel like I'm living life more consciously. I always say your head and your thinking is the attic, but then you have the whole house underneath... so every now and then you need to go down and check out what the rest of the house has to offer. I do transcendental meditation - David Lynch has a couple of really interesting videos about it if you want to learn more about it. It's about transcending your conscious mind and going into your subconscious mind and also emptying your emotional luggage that you carry with you everywhere.

What podcasts, albums, exhibitions or books are currently inspiring you?
"Grand Hotel Europe" by Ilja Leonard Pfeiffer. Very interesting book about Europe is very much clinging to its past and is not as relevant as we as Europeans tend to believe. In terms of music I'm very much into the soundtrack for High Maintenance - I got into the series since they featured a song of ours (Paténipat) on their last season and I absolutely fell in love with the entire series including the soundtrack. Lots of greats discoveries in there! The last podcast I listened to was the talk between Louis Theroux and Michaela Coel which was really inspiring - I also adored This May Destroy You. "Invisibilia" is also on my to-listen-to list and Heavyweight is probably my favorite podcast ever. A series that I'm currently binging is "How To With John Wilson".



What’s next for you?
You'd have to ask Corona! I don't know... but what we would like to do is release our record and tour the world.. In the meantime I'll meditate and accept what's coming.

Tell us about something?
I really like flowers.

Tell us about nothing?
Sometimes when you don't know the answer to something, just be silent and it will come to you. Silence holds all the answers and all the frequencies so sometimes it can be an answer.

 

 
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Charlie Sheppard. My email signature says that i'm a ‘Senior Creative’.

I currently split my creative brain between working at Anyways Agency (with big brands), building Rube Goldberg Machines and workshops (predominantly with students and studios), and making mosaics under the name ‘Soller’ (for anyone who is interested).

Where are you and what are you doing right now?
Right now, i’m in my flat in Bethnal Green, London. I’m sat at the very table my Rube - Seltzer machine video was made on, answering these questions.

What did I do today? Umm, I spent the morning filming Paul Smith at his office for a fun festive project that’s coming out over Christmas. I spent the afternoon working on a branding project for something exciting. And I spent the evening making a mosaic, whilst simultaneously listening to podcast called Broken Record. (Would recommend). A pretty busy day all in all. 

Can you tell us a little about your history as a creative and maker. Tell us about Rube Goldberg machines and your interest in them.
I work at a creative agency and I love the work I do, but like most people in my position, a huge amount of that time is spent with my head down in my computer, writing and pitching documents. I think that is why I gravitate to mosaics and Rube Goldberg machines. They are a creative break away from my computer. Honestly, I think people are at their happiest when making things with your hands.

But what I really love is the creative problem solving side of making Rube Goldberg Machines. There are no rules, or good/bad practice, no weighty concept or message to convey. It’s just the joy of creatively exploring how to solve a simple task (be it getting a ping-pong ball to roll through a tube, or to pop a balloon).

I run Rube Goldberg machine workshops with university students and offices (I ran a particularly fun on with the It’s Nice That office a few years ago). The audience are split into groups and asked to create a machine that can solve a simple task (E.G. to pop ice cubes into a drink), but to do it in the most ridiculous and complicated way they can. I particularly enjoy these as it’s such a direct exercise in getting people to close their laptops and get stuck in. When creating a Rube Goldberg it might feel like playing, but you are creating narratives, working as a team, problem solving, editing, testing, and ultimately performing your piece to the group.

You built this seltzer ice dispensing machine with your partner Rosanna Webster, she is creative too, tell us a little about what she does. 
Rosie and I met at art school in Brighton over 10 years ago (!!!). She is infinitely more talented and respected than I am haha. She predominately works as a digital collage artist mostly working with luxury fashion clients like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry etc. In fact, her work is probably the exact opposite of a Rube Goldberg Machine, (haha) but she is partial to getting involved too.

In such a creative household, do you guys ever just stick on Countryfile and do your tax returns?
Ow man, I wish I had a much cooler response than this, but the reality is that far too much Masterchef and American Office are consumed in this household. But yes, around that, there is a pretty unrelenting creative output from the two of us, I think i’ve forgotten how to just unwind and relax. (Note to self: must work on that for 2021.)

You’ve also started creating mosaics, tell us what prompted this and what the attraction is.
There is a tiny bit of mosaic history in my family (that I won’t bore you with now), but i’ve been making, drawing, printing, mural-painting and generally obsessing over mosaics for the past four or more years now. I only recently thought i’d bring it together under the name Soller (@soller.mosaic) to see if I could turn it into something bigger. I’ve got some exciting projects bubbling away with it, which i’m really excited about, some of which will come too light in 2021. I absolutely love it.

What podcasts, albums, exhibitions, books are currently inspiring you.
Rosie and I are unhealthily obsessed with podcasts (way before they were cool yeh). Honest answer: I listen to multiple podcasts about rugby each week (between 2-3 each week, how sad is that). Slightly more interesting answer: I would highly recommend the Broken Record Podcast, with Rick Rubin & Malcolm Gladwell. (For all you music nerds out there.)

What’s next for you? Tell us about something. Tell us about nothing.
Rosie and I are getting married in July, so yeah, planning a wedding… during a pandemic. Bit of an interesting one, but we can’t wait (whatever size, shape or form it ends up taking). One thing I can categorically confirm is that Rube Goldberg machines have been banned from our big day. There will be no over the top devices involved in cutting the cake or delivering the rings (haha).

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lou Hayter and I make music and DJ.

Where are you and what are you doing right now?
I’m in London in my flat, in bed.

Can you tell us a little about your history and how you ended up making and playing music?
I just loved music since I was a little kid, about 5. My brothers and sister were always playing records around the house and I picked up on it and started playing piano. My parents nurtured me to take lessons and keep it going and then I started collecting records properly in my teens. I was a bit of a nerd in school and I find it easy to obsess over music which is good for learning stuff. I started DJing when I went to university and running nights when I should’ve been studying. Then started DJing loads at warehouse parties and clubs when I moved back to London. It was such a fun time. I worked at Output records and Nuphonic and from there joined the band New Young Pony Club as their keyboard player but at the same time started making my own music and it just grew from there.

With New Young Pony Club, Tomorrow's World and now as a solo artist you clearly have a deep understanding and appreciation of music from the past. Do you have a favourite decade and associated artists and producers?
Hmm that’s tough. I guess 80’s wins because it’s when I grew up and absorbed everything. Also some of the best pop music got made in the 80’s. But these days I listen more to 70’s maybe. Like Marvin Gaye and Steely Dan and Timmy Thomas. A softer sound. I love them both though.

Does being a DJ inform the music you make?
Yeah I guess it does but I don’t feel that aware of it. Sometimes when I’m mixing stuff together I come across things that work together and record it in my phone. I also sing ideas in my phone over the top sometimes which makes me look like a crazy person.

Are there any albums that you have listened to on repeat during the various lock-downs?
Jon Carroll Kirby - My Garden, Sault- Rise , Donald Fagen- The Nightfly, Jeff Phelps - Magnetic Eyes, Marvin Gaye- Hear My Dear, Prince - Sign O the Times reissue, Beck - Hyperspace, Stevie Wonder - Music of My Mind, Tyler the Creator - Igor, Personal Space compilation, Eddie Chacon - Pleasure Joy and Happiness, Joni Mitchell - Hejira, Timmy Thomas - Why Can't We Live Together, Moodymann - A Silent Introduction, Milton Nascimento - Clube de Esquina, Thundercat - It Is What it Is.

How important is art and culture in your life and work? Any exhibitions you’ve visited recently, books or podcast you would recommend?
It’s so important to me. I really feed off it, I’m a bit of a dreamer and have been going to galleries and shows since I was a little kid with my parents. I spend hours in galleries and when I come out I feel really inspired and calm, I love the space of a gallery and switching off my phone and getting immersed in it for a while. The last show I saw was Michael Clarke At the Barbican on the day before lockdown 2. Really recommend it and it’s on til January.

 

What’s next for you? 
Next for me is a new single coming out in the new year. Then we’re leading up to my album coming out in Spring on Skint records. I’m really excited as it’s my first solo album. It’s all finished and I’m so happy with it so I can’t wait for people to hear it! Also DJing will start back in December.

Tell us about something...
I’m watching Broad City in lockdown. I’m very late to the party cause they’re on season 5. But if you haven’t seen it it could be the perfect lockdown remedy. I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, it makes me cry with laughter. Also Suzy and Wanda from Curb are in it.

Tell us about nothing...
Deepak Chopra says it’s good to do nothing sometimes. It helps you come up with ideas and process things. Like the uptime doesn’t happen without some downtime. I think he’s right so I don’t feel bad about times when I feel like doing absolutely nothing.

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lucy Mahon and I draw pictures! 

Where are you and what are you doing right now?
I’m currently in the front room of my East London flat, where I draw at a big table. It’s covered in reference books and pots of pens. I’m having a break from packaging up a couple of commissions I’ve just finished.

Can you tell us a little about your history and how you ended up becoming an illustrator?
I’ve always loved drawing pictures, ever since I was little. Loads of ‘dream houses’ with hanging baskets in the 90s. I considered studying practical art but ended up doing History of Art & English at Leeds, while taking up as many drawing electives as I could. I spent a decade in the advertising world, in the more commercial side of art and brands and with some wonderful people. 

After a bit of a break from drawing, I started to illustrate my old houses, then my friends’ houses, and it went from there. Every holiday I went on I’d draw. Then people started commissioning me. After a few years of doing both advertising and illustrating, eventually I took the leap to illustrate full-time last summer. It was a pretty scary decision in many ways, but the right one.

 

 

Your work predominantly features buildings, what is it that fascinates you about architecture?
It started with homes, and the importance of that place in my life.

On a broader level, I love the timelessness of buildings. I read a David Hockney quote in a book the other day which explained that if you’re always replacing old buildings with new ones, a place can become like “a human being without a memory”. Which is one of the reasons I love London - its layers and layers of different buildings from different eras, a pic n mix of architecture. Some you might like, some you might not, but they’re there.

You focus on the outside of buildings, this gives a sense of untold stories held within the walls – would you ever explore interiors and characters?
Never say never, but drawing people hasn’t been a focus for me. Interiors are definitely something I’m starting to do more of. I’m also exploring things that signify a place, like a sea of palms = Palm Springs. 

Which other artists do you admire and find inspiration from?
I get so much inspiration from architects, like the late William Krisel who helped make Palm Springs what it is today. I love Fee Greening’s work (@FeeGreening) - she does amazing quill and ink drawings that manage to be modern but also timeless. I love experiencing Yayoi Kusama’s work and her autobiography was brilliant, her relentless creativity and production really inspiring. The RA’s recent ‘Picasso On Paper’ exhibition reminded me that it’s ok to evolve, experiment and change your style without the burden of feeling inconsistent. 

Do you work listening to music and if so do you have recommendations for music to help you focus?
I’ve recently gotten into listening to true crime podcasts while drawing (am about five years late to that). Otherwise, I used to listen to Friends, but I was going through those too fast. 

Any buildings or places you would love to illustrate but haven’t yet?
There is a never-ending list! Illustrating all of the Barbican buildings is high up there. And I want to do a series of the ‘Dingbat’ apartment buildings of LA.

 

 

Your images are often urban, do you ever feel the need to escape to the countryside, or do you feel relaxed in the city?
I love working and living in London and never really tire of it. I’d actually say I feel the urge to explore different parts of London more regularly, rather than escape it. It’s truly an amazing city. I do travel a fair amount, so I try to keep some of that tourist curiosity while I’m at home.

The most switched off I’ve been was during an Airbnb stay in the middle of a redwood forest in Elk, California. Four days with no wifi or signal (a pack of cards and a record player) was great for the mind. That place was @ElkCaliforniaForestRetreat.

What’s next for you?
I am working on some bigger pieces, looking to partner up with like-minded brands and am planning a solo show. 

Tell us about something
I launched my website lucymahon.com a few weeks ago. Prints! Commissions! Partnerships! Events! You can also find me @lucyjmahon.

Tell us about nothing
Nothing is as refreshing as an outdoor swim in the local lido.

 

 

William Bunce & Lisa Jahovic are creative partners who produce kinetically beautiful still life images and films.

Who are you and what do you do?
We are William Bunce - Photographer / Director, and Lisa Jahovic - Set Designer, Sculptor, Art director.

Where are you and what are you doing right now?
In the studio labouring over a composition, slowly slipping a refreshing S&N seltzer.

Can you tell us a little about your history and how you ended up becoming a photographer and an art director/set designer, now specialising in still life.
Lisa studied costume design then sculpture at Wimbledon, before embarking on a career in set design, Will Studied Photography at Falmouth and assisted for a few years, finding Still Life along the way.

What made you guys start working together?
We had noticed each other’s work and got together for a meeting to discuss working together, after a few further meetings we decided to make a short film,- it ended up being about a ball, and its journey through an impossible house.



You have a very specific style, creating the extraordinary from the ordinary, can you tell us about your approach and inspiration.
We are both very influenced by the world around us, nature and junk, by textures and naturally occurring colours and often these elements find their way in to our work. From old mattresses to decomposing plaster.

You recently created a brilliant film for Glossier by creating a Rube Goldberg style machine. Can you tell us about this shoot, how long it took to plan and build.
The glossier film required a fairly quick turnaround, we had about a week between it being commissioned and us starting shooting. Which was pretty crazy given the number of ‘actions’ required to bring it to life. It was pretty challenging as we had to work the product in to the set - and they had to take and active role in the film, so the was a lot of testing and working out. The key theme was that it had to look like one whole take - in actual fact it was a few different takes that seamlessly blended in to one.

Can you recommend any photographers, stylists, music, art, podcasts to check out.
We recently discovered the artist Takis, who recently had an exhibition at the Tate, having kinetic sculpture already plays a big part in Lisa's work and we both find it a really exciting way of bringing ‘still life’ to life! - something we frequently do with our moving image work.



Tell us about something.
‘There was a young lady from Dallas, who used a dynamite stick as a phallus, they found her vagina, in North Carolina, and her arsehole in Buckingham palace'

Tell us about nothing
Nothingness, like emptiness, is perhaps the most powerful chaos. It is filled with the unspoken, all the ideas that never made it out in to the world, patiently, waiting to emerge. It is filled with all the life that has yet to begin, and the life that is no more. Filled with the potential for new life, and the decay of what once was.

Who are you and what do you do?
We are Edie and James from Glimpse. We create campaigns that help people feel more positive about the world and inspired to change things for the better.  

Where are you and what are you doing right now?
We recently moved into a new office space. We’re trying to figure out if there is such a thing as ‘too many’ plants. 

 

 

What is Glimpse?
Glimpse is a collective of creative people who want to use their skills for good. We run independent campaigns and we work with charities, grassroots activists and brands. Our work seeks to show a ‘glimpse’ of what’s possible if we can fix some of the big problems we’re facing. 

We are a collective of over 2,000 people across the world, mostly from the creative industries and quite a few cat lovers who may or may not be creative. 

Can you tell us a little about your approach and some of your projects?
We want to imagine what a better future could look like. So many of us feel gloomy and depressed about the world, but there are tons of alternatives out there - and we want to celebrate them. We want to make this positive future feel desirable and aspirational. 

With this in mind we’ve run some of our own campaigns. The Citizens Advertising Takeover Service, or C.A.T.S, replaced all the adverts in a London Underground station with pictures of cats. We wanted to take back some of our public space, usually dominated by advertising, and imagine it with things we like. Like cats. 

We also run independent campaigns for NGOs, brands and organisations. We came up with an idea for the UK charity Help Refugees where we opened a shop that did the opposite of what a shop is supposed to do. You can’t buy anything for yourself, you can only buy stuff for people who actually need stuff (refugees). It’s called Choose Love and it’s been really popular. 

More recently we have been working with Patagonia, helping them launch their ‘action works’ platform online. We created a coffee shop with a range of action cards, helping people learn about local environmental NGOs and do something active to help them. Why aren’t all coffee shops like this? We want to make it as easy as possible for people to make an impact, to make it part of everyday life. This feels like this is where things might be headed, and that’s brilliant. 

 

 

Greta Thurnberg has become a guiding light for future generations and is making global leaders feel very uncomfortable. Extinction Rebellion is galvanising people to get involved. You guys are making people think differently about challenges our planet and people are facing. It feels like there is a positive shift in public opinion and behaviour – is something big about to happen? 
The world is definitely approaching a real moment. People have been making noise for a while, trying to push through. But now we have these real forces, like Greta Thurnberg and the student strikers, and XR. They’re all making serious waves and you can hear the world waking up. As much as this is a scary time, it’s also hugely exciting. We are living through a great cultural moment and none of us really know where this will end up.

That’s why it’s so important not to give in to despair. We’re at this incredible tipping point, where humanity either wakes up in time to create the better world we know is possible, or we slide into a disaster while scrolling through Instagram. Cynicism and gloom are energy sapping. We have to act. 

The young people at the climate march the other week were so passionate and informed. They are hopefully our future leaders – do you see a place for the political system as we know it, or do you think it will look totally different in 10 years time?
We’re watching a whole new generation growing up who collectively are much more politically engaged and passionate than we have probably seen before. And they’re (rightfully so) dissatisfied with the people in charge. That in itself is nothing new but mobilisation in such numbers among the youth certainly is. It would be great to think that they could uproot and redefine the system we have, but we need people to step up. How many of us are willing to stand for election? To get involved in politics? It feels like we need more passionate, real people not just as activists but as our MPs. Will you stand?

Do you look at the future of the planet and society with positivity or great concern?
A yoyo-ing, oscillating, irrational mixture of both. Of course there are things to be worried about, and anyone who is reading the news can see those trends. But what the news doesn’t tell you is that millions - if not billions - of people are rethinking these stories they’ve been told: “Greed is good, stuff is happiness, it’s us against them”. 

Despite what you might think, the dark forces we’re seeing in our world right now are a reaction to this awakening. They are (we hope) the last lash of the dinosaur’s tail, not the first fire of the dragon. We are so close to humanity discovering a new story - of interbeing and cooperation, of love and compassion. It is a privilege to be alive during this moment, to have a chance of shaping the outcome. 

What do you do to switch off from it all (if you do)
We believe in the beauty and wisdom of nature. Connecting with nature is one of the core values of Glimpse. Spending some time outside, surrounded by trees and far away from noise and devices is a brilliant way to unwind, and also the key to helping us become a society better connected to each other and the world. 

 

 

Do you have any books, music, art, podcasts you would recommend to people who want to live in a more positive and conscious manner 
Beats in Space for music and podcasts 

Richard Long for good in nature art 

On Being - a podcast hosted by Krista Tippet. Conversations around spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, community, poetry, and the arts.

Olafur Elisasson’s current exhibition at the Tate is a joyful exploration of living a more conscious and environmentally aware life. 

Hope in the Dark - Rebecca Solnit. A handbook for hopeful activists that celebrates uncertainty as an opportunity for change. 

Tell us about something
The US has a micronation called Molossia run by a dictator called Kevin who hates spinach and onions so they’re banned there, they have a population of 34. 

Tell us about nothing
Nothing = space = tiny tiny tiny tiny quanta that make up gravity so nothing doesn’t actually exist imo

Then you can't tell me nothing, right? 

Uh, uh, you can't tell me nothing (ha, ha!)

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Ida and I’m a Finnish DJ / Promoter. 

Where are you and what at are you doing right now?
I’m based in Glasgow and currently, I DJ, promote (Acid Flash) and work full-time at a marketing agency in Glasgow. 

Tell us a little about how you find tracks and then decide which ones make it into your record bag / USB.
The process of organising playlists for gigs is not always very straightforward. I prepare for every gig individually depending on the vibe of the party and how I feel like during the week of preparation. Sometimes it is really hard to know what kind of crowd or party to expect to be playing at, especially if the party is somewhere outside Scotland. Even though I often have a very good idea of what to play at each gig, I end up evading the plan. I always try to read the crowd and base a set on them, which is when I use old playlists. Particularly the big annual playlist including different folders (genre-wise) that I make every year for new music and old tracks gets played a lot. 

A huge passion of mine are vinyl records and I always take a selection with me that I can play in case I get stuck/records that I haven’t had time to rip. Playing records feels somewhat easier as you don’ have too much time to overthink the record you have selected. You can just pick something you think is right, and play it. 

 

 

The mix you created for us is very different from what you play in a club. How does the music you listen to at home influence what you play in the club?
The mix I have put together includes a lot of the ambient trancey stuff that I collect in order to play warm-up sets / quieter sets that every DJ has to do from time to time. I also love listening to ambient records at home when doing housework, for example. I don’t always just listen to chilled out beats at home and therefore I can’t say that what I listen to at home would influence my sets too much. I tend to play records that I’m currently feeling, unless the gig is very different and special. For instance, I recently warmed up for the legendary Tangerine Dream, which was an honour but also a fairly challenging gig for me as I had to keep the energy very tamed during the whole warm-up. I’m very used to playing up-tempo +130bpm sets that often build up to sometimes very high tempos.  When warming up for Tangerine Dream, I went for the same vibe as the mix I recorded - ambient and downtempo and trance. 

Being a promoter (Acid Flash) is quite a different headspace to being a DJ, to a degree both are curatorial, but there is a lot of practical hard work and stress in promoting, whereas djing is a more pure expression of the music you love. Where are you happiest, playing at your own nights or being booked to play at others?
This is a great question. As said, being a promoter involves a lot of (financial) stress and making sure every other aspect than djing is all on point before the guest arrives and plays the gig. There’s a certain pressure involved when promoting parties. Firstly, the parties have to be busy and well-promoted on social media as you don’t want to disappoint your guests when they travel a long way to play at a party organized by you. Secondly, the parties must be financially worthwhile and you want to make the money back that you have invested on bookings. However, with the current trend that’s not always possible as it seems like the competition between promoters is flourishing and everyone is trying to go bigger and larger with the line-ups. But I find it very rewarding when a party you’ve organised is busy and you receive good feedback from guests. 

However, I’ve always strived to become a DJ and a producer rather than being a promoter. I felt like organising parties has really let me showcase my musical taste which seemed like the right thing to do alongside DJing. I managed to build something exciting and unique that has definitely been a great experience and has let me express myself. But personally, I enjoy spending more time on finding records on Discogs or visiting record stores… Which can also be very time-consuming! Also, I’m planning to start a label very soon, which has been in the works for a while now... But I think most important is to find the right balance between organising parties and Djing for other people whilst maintaining good health and doing things that you love (other than music).

You’re from Finland originally but promoting and playing in Scotland, both have exciting cities and clubs but also have wild countryside on their doorstep. How important is nature to you?
Nature is extremely important for me as I have grown up by the sea. My parents were born in East-Finland close to the Russian border in a town called Kotka and I used to spend a lot of time there at the summer cottage. My whole childhood was mostly spent being outdoors - swimming, fishing, playing basketball, skiing or doing other outdoor sports. The fresh air, the woods and the coast is definitely something I miss whilst living in Glasgow. It takes a while to get yourself out to the countryside especially if you don’t own a car. But I’m planning to travel to Highlands for a hike sometime soon hopefully. 

Who or what are your influences?
One of my absolutely biggest influences is definitely the movie called Fifth Element by Luc Besson. I discovered this movie when I was 9 and once I watched it, I literally couldn’t stop watching it over and over again. I still put the Fifth Element on at least once every two months because every time I watch it, I discover new inspiring and futuristic scenes that keep impressing me! Obviously, the other Luc Besson movies are great as well: the Big Blue, Lucy, Leon etc. But this one particularly makes me feel alive reminding of the big galaxy and outer space surrounding us. The soundtrack for the movie is my absolute favourite as well.

I still can’t believe Fifth Element was made in 1995. I actually have been so obsessed and impressed by this movie that I wrote a movie review about it at school when I was 10 years old... Didn’t get a very good grade though! Bummer.

Artist-wise my biggest influences are Geir Jenssen aka Biosphere, Woody McBride, The Advent, Cari Lekebusch, Richie Hawtin, Luke Slater.. the list goes on. I’m really into early 90s techno & trance so these artists and their records have certainly had a huge musical influence on my taste.

Any recommendations of DJs and producers we should be looking out for at the moment
There are so many! I’d recommend looking out for DJs such as Boston 168, Courtesy, Eluize, Nightwave, VTSS, Rosa Terenzi as well as Reptant, Ryan James Ford.

Tell us about something
I’ve recently discovered that I have a real addiction for olives! I eat at least one if not two packs a day... I just can’t get enough of them!

Tell us about nothing
Nothing exists!

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Blake Fox and I'm an artist and art educator. Like many artists, I started drawing and painting at first, but photography feels like home to me now. I currently use a Nikon D5000 and an iPhone. Sometimes I write about art too.

Where are you and what are you doing right now?
I’m sitting at my desk at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) where I’m the Education & Administrative Assistant. I just started in April and it’s been good to meld two important aspects of my world—art and education.

Your photos have a biopic feel, sort of like a chronical of where you live, how important is the Bahamas to your work?
I think I would agree with that. I tend to take a documentary approach with my work and my environment has a significant impact on my work. I definitely have a special connection to nature. I grew up on Long Island, which is a small island in The Bahamas that has a population of around 2,500 people. As you maybe can imagine, there’s not a huge social life to be had there, so beaching, boating, and nature exploration are all a part of who I am today. There is also a certain solitude about living in such a remote place for a long period of time. I think there’s a sense of isolation that can be seen throughout my work.

Many of your photos have a tension and feel like they have a hidden narrative. Do you capture images quickly or spend a lot of time setting them up?
My photography is almost completely spontaneous. I’ll have an idea of where I want to go to take photos, but the environment leads me once I’m actually there. I spend a lot of time looking, seeing, and pondering. My gaze is drawn to the quieter moments that may be overlooked in a big environment. What I choose to crop out says just as much as what I choose to focus on.

We looked through hundreds of photos before we found yours and then just couldn't look beyond it. It’s simple, but really captures a feeling of tranquillity yet has a fresh energy. Can you tell us a little bit about the moment the photo was taken?
It was a Sunday and my family and I were about to have lunch at this restaurant on the water. There’s something about the tropic light that is just bright and crisp. It makes for clean and distinct shadows which lends itself to graphic images like this one.

Once we had fallen in love with your photo, you were then a very tricky man to find because you had stopped posting photos for a couple of years. You've now started again, what prompted the hiatus and the welcome return?
I had moved to Nassau from Long Island and I didn’t know where to go to take photos. I had also started school again and it was hard to find the time to take photos. I guess that’s the surface answer. Even deeper than that, sometimes as an artist it’s hard to find the motivation to make work—whether it’s a fear of failure or criticism, a lack of confidence, insecurity, uncertainty. Those things are hard to juggle and can make you feel inadequate. I was still taking photos here and there, just not posting them. It wasn’t enough to just take photos, so I just made the decision to start showing them again. Just putting my work out there again is empowering and boosts my confidence. I am looking forward to sharing more.

Who or what are your influences?
I have this list of artists that I started years ago and I just add to it when I find someone new. Not every one of them directly influences me, but some of my favorite Bahamian artists are Tessa Whitehead, Heino Schmid, Kendal Hanna, and Melissa Alcena.

Two of the most influential photographers for me are Wolfgang TIllmans and Viviane Sassen. I’m also really into new and emerging photographers. I like how culturally relative the work is. Some photographers that I have virtually met through Instagram and were instrumental for me when I was just getting into photography are: @seanlemoine @maryavocado @cassidy_araiza @gilleamtrapenburg @thisisnow_here @adelezubrzycka
I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but those names stick out for me right now.

My boyfriend’s hard work inspires me to be better. He also recently surprised me with a photobook Neue Welt by Tillmans and I’m enjoying that.

Any recommendations of photographers, artists we should be looking out for at the moment?
I’ll recommend an artist that someone recommended to me today: Tessa Mars.

Tell us about something
I like to challenge the notion of what’s beautiful. Being an artist in The Bahamas, there’s often the expectation that work should be traditionally beautiful—picturesque, bright, colourful. I try to show my environment in a less quixotic way that feels more genuine to my experience.

Tell us about nothing 
I’ll sometimes take ten photos that are exactly the same—just for good measure.

I’m into striped and patterned shirts.

I have over 18,000 photos on my iPhone.

I prefer to text rather than talk on the phone.

My phone is always on silent mode.

I will eat a whole box of Cheez-Its in one sitting.

I test layouts and sequencing before posting to Instagram.

I have a bit of a rebellious streak.

Who are you and what do you call yourself
My name’s Becca and I’m a young creative with a love for analogue techniques, music and bones.

Where are you and what at are you doing right now?
I’ve been living in Leeds for the past three years whilst doing my degree, which I’ve actually just finished! I’m hoping to stick around up North and get a job in a studio. As a Southerner I feel like I’m betraying my people saying this but I have just fallen totally in love with the North, Leeds especially. Can’t see myself moving back down South anytime soon.

We love your stuff, can you tell us a little about your creative process.
I’m in love with anything creepy or weird so my work tends to reflect this by being quite dark, both in colour but also in the way I put things together. I like to create an eery undertone so I basically take any opportunity to chuck a skeleton into a piece of work. 

Although creepy things have quite a big influence on my work, my main source of inspiration comes from researching into a project. For someone who is a creative I actually feel like my brain works a little weirdly. Instead of starting a project with lots of ideas and sketches, I prefer to thoroughly research the topic so I can pinpoint an interesting fact or area and then I’m able to come up with lots of ideas. My research then keeps guiding the project all the way up until the finished piece. I like hiding little nuggets of information in a project, like when I made a publication based on funeral flower traditions from around the world, the book actually opened up to be the same proportions of a standard coffin. Just a little something most people probably won’t notice but it keeps me happy.

Oh also I have a slight obsession with scanners. I don’t know what it is about them but the texture and quality they give images is just so good, I can’t get enough of it. I tend to use scanners when documenting my work but also to add texture to pieces.

The piece you created for us, Nurture Nature, is clearly a comment on the state of our planet, is this something you feel strongly about?
Yes and it’s something I think everyone should feel strongly about. There are so many amazing things in this world, beautiful plants, crazy animals, yet I’m dumbfounded that it seems like the majority of the world doesn’t care that they’re disappearing. Nature has always been a great source of inspiration for me and it’s something I want to protect and preserve for future generations.

What do you think about Extinction Rebellion?
I think it is the only logical step in making meaningful change when it comes to this global emergency. For far too long people in power have been ignoring the issue and it’s about time they are forced to listen.

I was watching a news piece in which a woman proceeded to complain about the way in which the Extinction Rebellion had conducted their protests, comparing them to a ‘festival’ like atmosphere. This infuriated me because not only were they missing the point completely of people trying to draw attention to the fact we need to change the way we are living now otherwise the damage we are causing will soon become irreversible, but they were also inferring that a peaceful protest was not the way to go about it and undermining the cause. Would they rather people were rioting in the streets and destroying property? It seems like madness that it’s even had to come to something like Extinction Rebellion, but when MP’s refuse to listen to their constituents or even turn up to environmental talks, this is the action that needs to be taken.

I’m overjoyed that the movement has managed to achieve their first goal of getting the government to announce a climate change emergency and there seems to be some more action around the legislation being put in place to combat climate change. However, there is so much more still to be done and I hope the Extinction rebellion will be leading the way in getting the changes our world so rightly needs.

Who or what are your influences
There are so many things that influence my work, from other artists to even something as simple as the way sunlight falls through a window. This is why I think it is important to stay forever observant, take time to look at your surroundings, enjoy the little moments in life, you never know when inspiration will strike.

Something that never fails to inspire me, however, would have to be music. Although I have never been amazingly musically talented (still pretending I can play guitar from that one week I took lessons when I was 7), I always find music wriggling its way into my work. It’s always been a reassuring presence in my life and there’s just something about music that helps me see what I’m thinking in a more visual sense. I actually found out recently that there’s a term for people that see sound, it's known as synesthesia. People that have it can also sometimes taste words, mad! But coming back to the point, I’ve found that I really can’t work without having music on in the background, I end up getting too caught up in my own thoughts.

My other main source of inspiration would have to come from the people around me. I know so many insanely talented people that never cease to amaze me with the pieces they produce. Seeing them make crazy work inspires me to be more experimental in my own work and pushes me to keep bettering myself. (Was that a little too sappy? Ah well.)

Other influences:

OK-RM (Design Studio)
— NASA (and anything to do with space)
— Raman Djafari (Artist)
— Aardman (the most beautiful stop motion)
— Kyle Platts (Artist)
— North or Nowt (Print maker)
— Rabbit Hole (Design Studio)
— Anyways Creative (Design Studio)

    Any recommendations of people, culture, stuff we should check out
    There's so much good stuff about at the minute, although I’ve been really into an older film, ‘They Live’. Craig Oldham recently made a book called ‘They live: a cultural awakening’, it’s a really good read and the film itself is so interesting because even though it's over 30 years old, it seems so relevant for the consumer society we live in today.

    Another great read would be Suspira magazine (www.suspiramagazine.com) if you like anything horror. They’ve given the horror genre a really interesting approach, discussing its relevance within things like mental health and other, not so obvious, areas of culture it has impacted.

     Other good stuff:

    — Sophy Hollington
    — Nasal Warts: A cool guy with some cool drawings
    Zero Waste Club
    — Love, Death, Robots (on Netflix) Amazing series with some amazing animation
    — Modes of Criticism
    — In loving memory of work: A beautiful book that is sadly out of print but you can still have a look at the link
    — Intern Magazine

    Tell us about something
    Okay, I’m going to tell you about something I think people should know. Whilst doing a project based on the micro-genre of Skinhead Reggae I got to find out a lot more about the foundations of Skinhead culture. A lot of people would associate this subgroup with violence and things like the national front. But in actual fact, Skinheads had a much more peaceful start. In the ’70s there were a lot of immigrants coming over from Jamaica bringing with them their culture and music. British and Jamaican people were united through a shared love for reggae music and a new culture was born known as Skinheads. Some of the leading musicians at the time were The Specials, The Pioneers and Rudy Mills. One of my favourite songs has to be ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials, a song which is said to have captured the atmosphere after riots related to the culture perfectly.

    So the something I want people to know is that most Skinheads are actually very accepting and peaceful people, it’s only a small few that have become radicalised and ruined the reputation of the subculture.

    Tell us about nothing
    Songs I like with the word Nothing in the title:

    Money for Nothing - Dire Straits
    Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control - Tame Impala
    Nothing Breaks Like a Heart - Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus
    I Have Nothing - Whitney Houston
    Nothing Compares 2U - Sinéad O’Connor