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When Vincent showed me his “Faceless” project I immediately found it interesting and fresh. Shooting beautiful women and then covering their faces- an idea to concentrate on something else? I wanted to discover his inspirations and what drives this young artist. I’d like to introduce you to a young international French artist who after his US passage divides his time between his atelier in Switzerland and Paris.
What does photography represent for you?
This seems like an easy question to answer but it really isn’t. My views on photography have varied over the years as I have a slight thorn in my side with the direction the digital 21st century has taken the medium.I fell in love with photography at a relatively young age. I took my mothers Pentax 35mm on my first trip to India in the summer of 1995. I think I blew through a few rolls a day. I felt like I owed it to my family to document every single thing I saw and experienced as they could not be there with me. After returning from my trip the anticipation of collecting the developed film from the local drug store was like Christmas in the middle of the year. After flipping through the shots and seeing the whole trip again for the first time and explaining to my family what, where, how and why each frame was taken was just an amazing feeling it was inexplicable. I think that’s when I figured “I’d like to keep doing this..”I think that photography was a way of immortalizing my excursions and in turn, myself, “I took the photo therefore I was there”.It was just amazing to be a photographer carrying a camera around capturing moments, friends places….Now everybody is a photographer and everyone has a camera on them at all times wether they like it or not. This has now made the subject matter, common and completely redundant. If I happen to see something incredible in the street fifty four teenagers will have shot it, done some editing on it and posted it online before I’ve even taken my finger off of the shutter release.Getting back to the point…. photography is and always will be the romance of a still image, (as long as it is not manipulated to over steer the viewer into a marketing trap), telling many stories depending on the interpreter. It lays in that field of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” where one see what he needs to see and one sees what he wants to.To be honest i don’t know how to go about describing it to you. Photography is what i know best, its my first true love and i think that what i am trying to do is to redeem it from its recent past as a tool to misguide people. i am trying to make her honest again. Its a relationship i am trying to fix….
Faceless- a great project where you photographed well known personalities but you decided to erase their faces?
How did this come about and what was your inspiration?
Its something i have always done, painting on photos writing on them etc… but as i mentioned before in the previous question i feel that photography has lost a bit of its soul and purity. We are so busy swallowing what the photographer and label or marketing agency is pushing down our throats that we are no longer using our brain and looking at the rest of the image. the whole picture.. there for by photographing a beautiful person, model, actor, celebrity, then taking a can of spray paint and removing the intended focus of the image, the subject, the viewer has no other choice but to appreciate the negative space. By appreciating the negative space and working your way around to the center of the now painted over subject, your mind starts to imagine what and who could be under this coat of paint. Your mind wanders, your imagination is set free. Proust once wrote: “let us leave beautiful women to men with no imagination” now i don’t literally believe this saying but i think in the context of what i am doing i can agree. I remove the obvious beauty so that the viewer may appreciate what is not so obvious, the work, the colors, the hair, the shoulder the list goes on……
Paris is a city that I have spent time in every summer renting a flat and taking in all the culture, beauty and history. I have never lived there full time and I figured I am at a certain point in my career where I need to set some roots physically. My work and creativity will never have a real home. I know an artist usually does not have a country or a home but, I have traveled the world over and my feet are getting tired. I loved and lived in NYC, Miami, LA, London for considerable periods of time, each serving their purposes creatively and personally. Being French, originally from the south, I thought it time to come home, back to France. Paris is a city that I have always felt good in, about myself, my work and at times I even feel a little sexier there…….
What are your upcoming projects?
There are many things going on. As I am talking to you I am on a layover in Munich heading to Gothenberg to work on a 2m ceramic rhino for a charity ball in September. The charity is called “a perfect world” 2013 was focused on the rhino and it being poached, hence my working on a ceramic rhino.
We just had London 14 art fair with my gallery, Galerie frank pages out of Geneva. In Zurich I should be doing a group show with bolte lang gallery. May I will be in NYC for a week with my manager, Kipton Cronkite, we have a few projects lined up and a few meetings. One with a record label and two established designer labels with whom I may be collaborating, all the while checking out freeze. I collaborated with house of Meandher last summer, which is an awesome Aussie shoe label, where I had the privilege to shoot the campaign with the lovely and funny Poppy Delevingne. So I am looking forward to seeing that. Maybe we will do another campaign together.Then i am doing another collaboration with Nick Fouquet hats. A model buddy of mine launched it and they are amazing worn by all sort of cool people. thats gonna be fun. I am shooting the editorial for a Swiss magazine called Tribu magazine, where one of my faceless series will grace the cover. I am psyched about that because it is distributed in Colette amongst other places, but you know… it’s Colette……., so it will be nice to see something I’ve done in a magazine on display there. Also in may I will be doing a solo show at Galerie frank pages in Geneva with the faceless series and perhaps some of the, (mirror), you are pieces. That were featured in scope art fair Miami.Then Basel with my gallery then we will see where the year takes us. I may be doing a show in Istanbul in 2015 depending on the social climate.
You studied Fine Art photography at Central St Martins in London. Why did you decides to study photography and why there?
First and foremost, London, one of my favorite cities most of my favorite artist hail from there or have lived there. Actually I did my foundation at saint martins. I later went to the London college of fashion, part of the London institute, where I studied photography. It was the first year the course was launched in 2001. As for choosing central saint martins, well, that’s a particular story. when I was filling out my Ucas application I did not have the courage to tick the saint martins column as I had only done A level art, most applicants had done GCSE through to A-level. I had done GCSE music instead. In reality it was my high school art teacher that went ahead and check the box without my knowledge. While visiting other sub par art colleges in London my father called my mother and I during my interview and told us to stop whatever we were doing, to politely excuse ourselves and return to our hotel at once. In a panic we followed his instruction to the letter and when we arrived a fax awaited, subject heading ” unconditional offer central saint martins college of art and design London institute” So mom and I spent the rest of the time in London “touristing” it up as I immediately cancelled all of my other interviews and appointments.
But at the end of the there reason why I chose Saint Martins? Well it is an excellent school and I could bore you with the details on their approach to artistic formation, but bottom line, it’s Saint Martins, who in their right mind would not want to study art there? There is not enough space to list the talent that school has birthed, raised and guided.
You have lived in America and India as well-what were the essential experiences you draw from these two countries?
I try to visit India every year or two years i was offered a two year studio residency in Mumbai that i had to turn down, due to a personal matters. However when i do go i do spend a month or so, sometime even longer. I first went when i was fourteen years old and with my friend i met a a spiritual leader which changed my life. An eye opener of sorts, a peace within. India has changed quite a bit over the years but there is a certain peace you find within the chaos. Its like fractal geometry its a mess yet it has an order to it. Unlike the U.S. where there seems to be order but there is an underlying mess. I love the states for one particular reason, as there you feel the presence of hope all around, “yeah its gonna happen for me too, i am gonna make it”. Even if it does not, there is that energy, its presence is undeniable. The American dream….and what not.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
Marcel Duchamp -Mr. Duchamp experimented with different techniques. His conceptual approach to the art making process and especially his conception of the ready made and what constitutes a work of art. He refused to conform to the standards set by the arts “society” and was truly in, my opinion the true founder of what I have come to call the individualist era of today. A chess playing rebel in a suit.
David Hockney-Since i started to study photography his photomontages have always inspired me. My mock a-level final was a life size painted photo-montage, of myself.
Helmut Newton- as far as fashion photographers go….. it’s Newton…. no need to say more………
Where have you exhibited your work?
Stephan Stoyanov gallery NYC
Galerie Frank Pages geneva CH & Baden Baden Germany
Galerie de l’europe Paris FR
Gallery Gothenberg SE
Sakshi Gallery Mumbai, IN
BrickLane gallery London, UK
Scope art fair 2013
London ’14 art fair
Metropol hotel Monaco
artist space Stockholm SE
mercedes benz fashion week VIP lounge nyc
If you could be any person from a historical period- who would that be?
I would love to introduce you to Anouchka Blatnik, the owner of Vision of Splendor blog, http://www.visionofsplendor.com/ and someone who I really look up to and share the same aesthetics. I look at her blog a lot as it really inspires me. She posts about visually sophisticated items and shares with us her refined taste in design, fashion , jewellery and travel. I wanted to find out more about her inspirations, background and the vision behind one of the most authentic blogs out there.
How did you come to the idea to create your blog?
I always wanted a site where I could share all the experiences of my daily life, in my work, my travels, my childhood, and the other things that influence me. But I wanted it to be a visual journey, so Vision of Splendor has been years in the making.
My previous ideas were way too big. They include a TV channel, for which I have all of the programming already set up in my secret folio, as well as another site completely different to this one. But I started Vision of Splendor because I was getting ahead of myself and imagining things from a large scope instead of smaller ideas that could grow immediately. I am actually a detail-oriented person, so I stuck to the one that would translate everything I do, like, have done, or will do. I decided that for the moment, blogs and online diary’s are to be the containers in which I pour the vast contents of my mind. I think Vision of Splendor fulfills me in many ways.
It’s a very cool name- indeed everything that I see on your blog is outstanding- where do you get the inspiration from?
Thank you very much! The name encompasses everything we see if we look at the world with our eyes filled with beauty, although I do not mean this in a superficial way. Beauty can move you deeply, it can make you smile, it can make you cry, it can inspire you, open up your senses, and I believe it can heal you. Because there is a lot of sadness, pain, and ugliness in the world, I thought, “Why not try and see the Splendor in everything you can?” Whether this is a place, a flower, a piece of music, or a piece of delicious cake, a scent, a colour…I can go on and on. There is such a vast amount of things that inspire me! I also love sharing all the incredible talent of artists and artisans, some of those who I feature on Vision of Splendor are still using traditional methods, while others are trying new methods to create. But mostly, they’re sharing with us their dreams, which they are turning into a reality for us to enjoy.
I am constantly inspired, whether I’m sitting at my desk at home or travelling across the globe. This is a big passion of mine and I actually have to reign myself in because the ideas in my head are constant. I love to read, see, learn, and experience. Vision of Splendor is my outlet, my “visual diary” as I like to call it, and I want it to inspire everyone…or at least to allow the visitor to have nice break from his or her daily life. Instead of “have a break have a Kit Kat,” I want you to have a break, have a 5-minute Vision of Splendor. Haha!
Did you study interior design? Your knowledge in this field is really exceptional.
I love your compliments Sara! Well, I always had a love affair with interior design, although I never formally studied it. I do have a couple of certificates in different areas that have helped me a long the way to open my mind up, but honestly, I feel it has a lot do with instinct, because interior design has many layers! I guess I see myself as more of an “interior stylist.” It’s hard to find the right word. But I was previously a sourcing agent and a jeweler, so I find that I can pick out things quickly, whether it’s furniture, fabrics, or soft furnishings. I feel as if I know where to place things so the energy of a room changes. I practice this a lot when I rent an apartment or stay in a hotel for a long period of time. I think about how can I make my surroundings more comfortable, homey, cozy, more ‘me’! Again, this comes from traveling, reading, and research, research, and more research in books, magazines, museums, and in practice!
What does fashion represent for you?
Fashion was very present early on in my life. I did two years of fashion design in London and worked numerous jobs in that field. I really thought I was going to be a fashion designer at one point, but life had other plans for me.
It is really wonderful how Art, Architecture, Culture, and History inspire fashion designers. This is the side of fashion I love: the storytelling and creativity. It is very hard to come out with so many different collections year after year! Now, the pressure is vast for them, everything is moving so quickly, and the volume being produced is enormous. Boy, I am so glad I am not in that field as a designer. So I applaud them and thank them for bringing us such wonderful work and I hope my site helps them get inspired in some way.
Where were you born , what did you study- tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ahhhh…the long version or the short version?
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and lived there till I was 13. My father was born in Maribor, Slovenia to Italian-Slavic parents and during World War II they immigrated to Venezuela, via Austria.
My mother was born in Cairo, Egypt to an Egyptian-born mother of Russian-Ukrainian heritage and a Italian-born father of Syrina-Italian descent. They too left Egypt during the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and moved to Geneva, Switzerland. I mostly lived between
Caracas, Geneva and Gstaad, then, later moved to London, where I still live.
I studied many places, started out in JFK School in Saanen, then went on to Aiglon, then ended up for a small amount of time in Dobbs The Masters School in New York. After that, I moved to London were I did one year in a very British Bohemian Art School until I applied to the American College in London. This is where I studied Fashion Design and Business Administration. By the age of 20, I already had three jobs working on the weekends, in fashion of course, but, as I mentioned before, it did not inspire me as much as I thought. But, out of the blue my destiny changed when a friend told me of a job opening as a “temp” in a small PR and publishing company. The minute I met the owner of the company, Tina Cooke, I knew I would work there for a long time! She was my first mentor and later on became one of my closets friends. I learned so much from this woman who is completely self-made.
My first project after working there for only two weeks was based in Abu Dhabi. This was in the early 90′s and, luckily, I had a few very good friends who were from there, so it was “kismet” as they say in the Middle East! Again the learning curve I had there was immense, as this was a new country almost the same age as me! I became the head of the our Middle East Office, there, mostly staying in Abu Dhabi but also travelling to Oman, Qatar and some of Asia. This involved so much, putting together a national Team of Polo Players, building the Polo Club, getting the sponsors,creating the events, the Uniforms, the prizes with Garrards and so much more. I worked out on the filed a lot in the middle of the Desert, there was nothing then and nobody had done this before. It was lot of work but i manged and since I spoke a little Arabic, and my other great skills it helped!
This experience became my foundation. From that moment and even up to now, I have had several of my own businesses and I also became a jeweler for a couple of years. This is where I learned that I was good at spotting talent! I always studied something new, as I love to learn and improve my skills, but I did not have the time to pursue any other degrees, however. I better stop here, as this is the short version!!
Favourite travel destination?
This is a hard one as it changes all the time! However, I am very fortunate to be able to travel and I really try to see somewhere new every time I go!
One of my favourites is, of course, Bali, Indonesia. I have been going there for over 17 years and for me, this place is just pure magic. Capri has great food, romance, and still one of the most elegant places in this world! In the Middle East, it has to be Oman. This, to me, is true Arabia: kind people, incredible landscape, charming, and quiet.
Another place that I found to be incredible is Russia. I had a fantastic trip there several years ago and all I did was experience culture and more culture! It was just incredible! I went towards the end of May, just before the White Nights, and the light was magic! It gives off an ethereal quality. I took about 5000 pictures and so far, I’ve only posted 20 on the blog, there is more to come. All I can say is go visit and be charmed, as the Russians are great hosts.
In America, I love Arizona, California, and New Mexico! It’s another great country full of surprises and beauty!
There are still some more places am dying to go to: Bhutan, Burma, Mongolia, Peru, Madagascar, more of Africa, and my motherland, Egypt, which I’ve never been able to see fully. I really need a good travel partner!
Name 5 favourite hotels and restaurants in the world
Peninsula Beverly Hills for the best service I’ve ever had and the kindest Staff!
Como Shambala Estate (formerly called Begawan Giri) in Ubud, Bali which, to me, is the most incredibly designed hotel in the world. And not only because of the decor, it’s the setting, the sights, the sounds, everything! Once you get there, you wish you could just buy the room…complete with all the wonderful Staff! It is my healing place!
My other hidden gem is not a hotel but a spa/health retreat called Mii Amo in Sedona, Arizona. This place changed my life in one week! Yes, really! There is something very special there, and even skeptical people who go come back feeling transformed in some way or another. It leans a lot on the spiritual side of life, but they do it in such a great way that it isn’t intrusive. And the Red Rocks! I mean, wow! Your mouth is hanging open all day long! When you look at them, they’re just spectacular. It’s also a great place to hike.
I also love the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland, because I grew up going there. And there are still a lot of people working there who have know me since I was born. I find this to be very comforting. The service and food are impeccable and there is so much history in this hotel. It just turned 100 years old! The other hotel I love there is The Olden, where I also grew up before we had a home in Gstaad. I used to stay at The Olden with my father and siblings.
This ties in to restaurants, as I think the food in Gstaad is delicious: La Fromagerie, The Olden, and Sonnenhof. This is closely followed by the food in Capri: da Paolino’s in the Lemon Grove, Aurora for pizza, L’Aqua, and just anywhere on the island! The Amalfi coast, Naples, Rome, Tuscany…the whole of Italy!
In London, I love Amaya (Indian), Cecconi’s (Italian), Lima (Peruvian), Kateh (Persian), Ishbilliah (Syrian)…god, the list can get long with me!
Favourite designer ?
Well, they are all on your fantastic blog! I love all your posts! Aquazzura, Elie Saab, Haider Akerman, Mara Hoffman, Ulyana Sergeenko, Alessandra Rich…I should say that I am more of an accessories person in every way!
If you could be transported into any historical era- which one would it be?
Any time between the late 1920′s to the 1960′s. Art Deco is my favourite style of all time in clothes, jewelry, furnishings, and architecture. Those 30 years to me are the strongest of all!
I discovered Delpozo in december 2012 and have been a fan of this brand for quite some time. Since I followed their work exclusively online I was very excited to visit their HQ during my stay in Madrid. I found out that in fact Delpozo has quite a heritage since its a renowned Spanish fashion house founded in 1974 by the Spanish designer Jesús del Pozo. His work and his collections stood out due to their strong personality and the undeniable style of the designer inspired by Haute Couture.
Following the death of the founder in August 2011, Grupo Perfumes y Diseño acquired the brand. Months after, the fashion company took on the name DELPOZO, with the internationally known Josep Font as its Creative Director. After seeing the Fall 2014 collection in person I noticed the incredible level of high quality craftsmanship and the resemblance of certain items to sculptures or architectural masterpieces! The collection really resembles Haute Couture at its best. Lots of structuring for example in the form of sheer, structured petticoats underneath the dresses (red dress below). I find something that appeals to the subconscious in Josep’s designs, I can’t put my finger on it but all I know is I am sooooo hooked.
The RED Piece de resistance below
The most elegant cloak
Softness of clouds
A sleevless sculpture of a dress below
Possibly my favourite two pieces
A piece of architecture below
The attention to detail is incredible, everything is stitched on by hand
I wanted to go for a saturday run in the forest of Fontainbleau located 50 km from Paris and discovered the most charming French village Barbizon. This quiet village of north -central France became famous because of the pre-impressionist painters that made it their home, notably Theodore Rousseau and Jean Francois Millet. The art movement in 1850 that was focused on realism in art was named after this incredible little village and now we have the world famous- Barbizon school of painters. Of course no excursion would be complete without the very important gastronomic factor. I ate so well at the “Le Gaulois sur le Grill” that I am still fantasizing about the meal. The meal was very simple and we know that it is the most difficult to make simple things taste good. Half a roasted chicken with morel mushroom sauce and a fondant au chocolat that can not compare to any I have tried so far. Pure bliss – a day for not only visual hedonism. Of course the running gear was Nike shoes, Gap sweatshirt and leggings, Moncler jacket and Persol sunglasses.
Instead of figuring out the music that is playing by sound recognition and downloading it now you can visually recognise clothes and own them! You simply have to photograph the object of your desire and then shop it or similar “inspired by” items. An inhouse team of personal stylists will find the item for you. God bless. According to ASAP54 founder Daniela Cecilio, “I was looking for a simple way to be connected to what my friends and style muses were coveting. I loved the idea of a sneek peak into other peoples fashion searches that I can turn to for inspiration.” I have been testing the application and it is spot on and an incredible personal stylist for all fashionistas!
ASAP 54 is available to download for iPhones from the app store.
In Paris I attended the show of my favourite designers- Valentino. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have an incredible approach to this iconic brand and from season to season produce pure art. Romantic and their red carpet dresses have something regal and ecclesiastic about them.The first part of show was all about pop Art. Italian pop art. A homage to the Italian artist Giosetta Fioroni. I absolutely loved the beauty part of the show in particular the geometric braids.
I wore a soft blue tunic from the Valentino collection with a a Valentino bag to the show. Merci Valentino for dressing me!
During Paris fashion week I popped in to see Serafina Sama, designer of Isa Arfen as am a big fan of her classic but fun clothes. The coats were the first items that caught my attention followed by the incredible grey suit. Influenced by the 1970s fashion icon Tina Chow the collection is very wearable and has a magic touch that the clothes will never get tired of and can be quite timeless.
The Film Noir Persol eyewear collection pays homage to the icons of 1950′s film scene. Think Steve McQueen, think Marcello Mastroianni. Oh , terrible things to think about- the lack of sex appeal is evident- is it not??? In fact the message of the Film noir is the mystery, the uncontrollable attraction to danger and the seduction at its best. The Gangster, Femme Fatale, Detective and Reporter make up the cast of the “Film Noir Collection,” and take us back to classics such as “Double Indemnity” , “The Killers” “The Third Man” and “Gilda”. Recent film noir masterpiece “L.A. Confidential” should have had all their cast wear Persol’s new collection.
Milan. Hailed by Suzy Menkes as the “Celine moment” of Italy, Alessandra Facchinetti’s second Pret a Porter collection for Tod’s was consistent in excellency . My eyes were definitely set on the voluminous coats and mushroom shaped hats. The colour palette varied between regal purple and soft blue with sudden bursts of patterns. A luxurious , classic collection – Alessandra seems to understand how modern women want to dress- combining masculine tailoring with softness. Really loving the combination of dresses and boots , thought it really brought a whole new element to the show.
For the ones that dare to say “I do” the French Delphine Manivet is already a household name. More bohemian , less structured it is ideal for the the woman that does not crave a wax museum wedding. In fact a chic Spanish girl asked me the other day where she should look for wedding dresses in Paris and since I thought I discovered America I could not wait to tell her that she should listen to my “oh so up to date” advice. She replied that this was the obvious first choice and would love to see if there was anyone else as good. Ouch. Who turned on the cold shower, it sucks down here. I am very glad that this is the scenario for Manivet’s sake. During the Haute Couture shows I had the pleasure of visiting Delphine’s incredible atelier in the 8eme arrondisement in Paris. Upon entering one is first struck by the sheer beauty of the the architecture. The high ceilings, interior classicism and the harmony of the essentially French palette are an amuse bouche to what is to come next. I find out that Delphine was the designer for Rochas before setting up her own brand of wedding dresses in 2005. Lately Delphine has branched into proper Haute Couture and has been making wonderful pieces for French actresses. We can now also acquire ourselves this piece of heaven. I browsed through the rails of meticulous garments and took a couple of snapshots for you to savour! Delphine Manivet, 93 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris