Leonard Mattis Blog

KUSHANA BUSH X SKARFE

June 15, 2015

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Recently shot here at the Studio. Sydney based boutique Skarfe (Brad McGlashan) are back with another collaboration, this time with acclaimed New Zealand based artist Kushana Bush.

Three of Bush’s intricate gouaches on paper have been transformed into an exclusive collection of wearable art. Each luxurious, lightweight silk scarf is digitally printed and finished with hand-rolled hems.

Artist Kushana Bush lives and works in Dunedin, New Zealand, and regularly exhibits throughout New Zealand and Australia. In 2009 she worked in South Korea at the National Art Studio, Changdong, Seoul. That same year she won the Art and Australia Contemporary Art Award. Since then she has been the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at The University of Otago and was awarded the Arts Foundation New Generation Award. The three artworks featured in this range were first exhibited at the 2014 Melbourne Art Fair and acquired by the prestigious Michael Buxton Collection.

The limited edition range is available now at www.skarfe.com, in store and from selected stockists from this Tuesday.

Photography by Byron Spencer.

Leonard Mattis Blog

CLEMENT LOUIS

June 12, 2015

Artist Clement Louis. By Benjamen Judd.

At first glance, the work of French artist Clement Louis proffers a macabre, almost grotesque interpretation of beauty.

Bone structure and facial cavities are exaggerated; flesh is bleached to a corpse-like pallor that is made the more shocking due to the juxtaposing colour palette. For anyone from the MTV generation they might immediately recognize the treatment of the human form as redolent of Peter Chung’s groundbreaking animation Aeon Flux, with a touch of Egon Schiele’s stunning skeletalism.

A similar haunted beauty operates within Clement’s photography (Clement is one of those rare artists with a genuine eye for both mediums). Stark and romantic, these images are as haunting as Louis’ paintings, and no less peregrine for all the visible flesh of his human subjects.

This affected gauntness, and delicate dance between revulsion and romantic in Clement’s art, may be what brought him to the attention of Rick Owens, for whom Louis was commissioned to photograph one the renowned designer’s most recent collections.

I got to chat to Clement and learn a little bit more about his art, his inspirations and the process of becoming a self-taught artist and what inspires him to create.

INTERVIEW WITH CLEMENT LOUIS

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Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up and what inspired you to become an artist?

I grew up in the north of France near Lille, it was the most inspiring time of my little life. I was a solitary child, always finding himself better in his mind than outside playing with other children.

I don’t remember deciding about art or to be an “artist”, it was just simple, it was me – I didn’t choose anything. My parents were very open about this and helped me this way. My sister is a photographer too so I think that’s the thing in my family – you can do whatever you want to if you do it good.

You have mentioned in previous interviews that you are mostly self-taught. Can you describe the process of how you honed your skill and developed your particular style of painting?

Yes true! I didn’t take any classes in drawing. I’ve always drawn, even as a child, of things like flowers or my mother. I’ve never not drawn, really. I tried to learn drawing and technique when I was in middle school with my best friend, trying to understand the style and the brush of artists like Hans Bellmer or Dali. I don’t’ really know where my style comes from, I think its more about an eye. I know what I like and want I can do. After that I just express myself with my influences and my inspiration.

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Your work is reminiscent of Austrian painter Egon Schiele and the illustrator Robert Gould – have these artists ever influenced our work?

I love Egon Schiele! I went to his museum in Vienna to see his paintings in person, he is amazing and I think he will always inspiring me. His brush is strong and bad. I love that. I’m trying to be more direct and brut too but I’m at that level yet.

Can you name some of your favourite artists?

As you said before Egon Schiele, Van Gogh, Hans Bellmer and a lot more designers, architects and even people from Instagram! I see so much talent there.

How would you describe the overall aesthetic of your work?

I’m trying to show the beautiful in the scary and disturbing things. I always loved villains, not for what they do but for the little beauty and magical thing you can see in their eyes. So…in a way strange, and not so much understood by word or concept but the little thing. You could say, “it’s ugly strange, I don’t understand it…but I like it”.

CLEMENTLOUISPATCHWORK2(Fashion Illustration. Fendi. Marni. Vivienne Westwood. Givenchy. Marc Jacobs)

Where else do you turn for inspiration in your work?

From many designers, from light? and my life everything can be inspiration if you know how to open your eyes.

You work across two mediums – photography and painting. Do you have a preference for one? If so, why?

No at all! It’s always a fight with myself about this cause I can’t choose, and in fact I just think maybe I will not – I love both of them, I find inspiration in both of them so I will just try to combine my two passion to become maybe stronger in both.

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What is next on the horizon for you?

I don’t know. I’m just about to leave London to go back to Paris. Let’s just hope more projects, more collaborations, more paintings, more photography. And just keep the passion intact.

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Follow Clement Louis on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram.

Leonard Mattis Blog

NATURE

June 11, 2015

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During the past year, my interest in 19th century philosophy has lead me to many great writers and their theories. I recently read the biography of infamous Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, where I came across a quote traditionally attributed to Goethe. Research however, proves the source to be otherwise.

‘Nature’ is an essay by Georg Christoph Tobler (1757-1812), which is often incorrectly attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). It was first published in 1783 in the Tiefurt Journal. Tobler wrote the essay after repeated conversations with Goethe.

Read the full essay here

Leonard Mattis Blog

THE CREATIVE MINIMALIST

May 10, 2015

DSC_4752 - Version 2INTERVIEW: With Zoe Porter from Iconic and Vintage.

Leonard Mattis has the sexiest hands on earth…

He also happens to be a highly regarded Sydney hair stylist with a super cool studio space that has become the local hub HQ of artistic show-casing. This entrepreneurial, softly spoken creative has some exciting irons in the fire and it seems like the boy from London’s East End won’t be twiddling his thumbs any time soon.

Read the full interview here

Leonard Mattis Blog

LAY OF THE LAND

April 10, 2015

Artist Kiki Sjoberg. By Benjamen Judd.

Art, and in particular photography, is an interpretation of reality. Or more appropriately, reality as we see it.

Susan Sontag once wrote, “photographs are a way of imprisoning reality, understood as recalcitrant, inaccessible; of making it stand still…One can’t posses reality, one can posses (and be possessed by) images”.

In Kiki Sjoberg’s latest exhibition (running as part of Head On Festival) , ‘Lay of the Land’, reality becomes something that is both personal and alien. Inspired by the work of British painter William Turner, Kiki presents a series of emergent landscapes that sit somewhere between dark and light.

Much like Turner’s paintings captured the beauty of the sea through the violence of brushstroke, Kiki’s work draws out the beauty of the Australian landscape by highlighting the vast and sinister emptiness that open space possesses.

We sat down with Kiki to chat about what inspired her latest collection of work.

INTERVIEW WITH KIKI SJOBERG

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You’ve said that you have had a passion for photography from a young age – what first drew you to this medium?

My father was a very keen photographer, and because of this I grew up being photographed often.

I have five sisters and he documented our childhood with his beautiful photographs. In my parents home there’s a huge bookshelf filled with boxes that are organised into years and events, it is such a beautiful keep safe to have in the family.

I got my first camera when I was about ten years old. When I turned 18 and graduated from high school all I wanted was an analogue camera. My dad brought me a second hand Nickon fm2, which I still have today! I can honestly say that my father has been a huge influence for in foray into the world of photography.

Looking back at your portfolio it’s not hard to miss how incredibly diverse it is – everything from intimate portraiture, fashion to now a more abstract approach to landscape. Is there a subject that you are particularly fond of capturing?

I have always felt drawn to the more abstract visual. Capturing life the way I see it. I feel that photographing landscapes allows me to do that more.

I love to capture beautiful places but from my perspective.

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In your latest exhibition, you drew inspiration from English painter William Turner. What drew you to reinterpreting his work?

I remember my first year in art school and every Friday afternoon was art history – the first time I saw a Turner painting I was touched.

At home I tried to paint landscapes the way he did but with no success. Since photography comes more naturally to me, it allows me to use his paintings as inspiration for my work, especially in regards to this current body of work.

How did you choose your locations?

Some of he places I have visited before, like the Snowy Mountains. Others, like Tasmania, were places I was instantly drawn to while scouting for locations.

I was looking for places that both represent the unique Australian landscape but that also had that wild beauty I hoped to capture.

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From my own experience back in art school, when people discuss Turner, they tend to do so in terms of light and how he captured that in his painting. But, I admit to being more interested in the way he portrayed darkness, such as his 1842 work ‘Snow Storm’ or even his earlier work ‘Wreckers Off the Coast of Northumberland’. The same quality is something that, I feel, you captured in your own photographs. Was this deliberate? And what was the process behind selecting the tone of the images?

I’m pleased to hear that. I am also drawn to his darker paintings, although I enjoy his lighter works too. While travelling, I realized early on that this body of work was going to be about the beauty of drama and darkness, but still capturing that liquid light.

During the process of working on the images in post-production I found myself experimenting with depth and tone. My background in art, especially oil painting certainly helped me achieve that painted feeling to the photographs, using my camera and post-production as my brushes.

Lastly-what do you think constitutes a good photograph?

For me, a good photograph makes you feel something. Whether it’s joy, sadness or anger. It’s a feeling that draws you to return and look again and again.

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‘LAY OF THE LAND’ A solo exhibition by Kiki Sjoberg.

Inspired by the poetic and luminous landscape paintings of William Turner. Kiki traveled to the Snowy Mountains, the Blue Mountains, Tasmania, Kangaroo Valley and the Hawkesbury River region. Each image tells a story and captures the essence of a land that offers such beauty and diversity.

‘Lay of the Land’ opens at the Studio on Tuesday 19th May, 6.30-9pm.

Exhibition: 20th May-1st June.

Proudly sponsored by Two Birds Brewing.

EVENT FACEBOOK PAGE

Leonard Mattis Blog

YOU

April 8, 2015

Artist Byron Spencer. By Benjamen Judd

One of the fascinating side-effects of living in a digital age with a social media generation is the experience of watching someone grow-up. This is most often in a literal sense, as we witness the very physicality of a person change before our eyes.

But it can also be in a more nuanced, philosophical sense, such as the case with Sydney-based photographer Byron Spencer and his exhibition running as part of Head On Festival – ‘You’ at Leonard Mattis Studio.

Better known for his documentation of Sydney’s music scene and street-style images for the Sun Herald, Spencer’s ‘You’ is an exercise in maturation.

Paired back and raw, ‘You’ takes a look at the narrative that occurs between model, camera and photographer. By focusing on those details that fascinated him – be it their lips, the outline of a shoulder or the contrast of flesh – Byron exposes himself through his images as much as he exposes his subject.

We sat down with Byron to chat about his latest exhibition.

INTERVIEW WITH BYRON SPENCER

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In your bio it states that you’re mostly self-taught when it comes to photography. Can you tell me what inspired you to take up this medium?

I have always been inspired by taking photos.

My background is in theatre and classical music so I think there is a lot of the essence from that training comes to life when I take a photo.

I also tend to live a lot in my imagination so I think photography was a real escape for me to physically create a lot of those fantasies!

What other photographers inspire you?

I love listening to interviews and documentaries when I am in the retouch stage.

Years ago I was influenced by classic artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmet Newton.

My transition into hyper-colour surrealness saw me inspired by lots of other photographers. I love the theatre of David La Chapelle, and appreciate his journey and career; I also loved Tracey Moffat in high school. There was so much animation and colour yet was still so emotive.

I love and find inspiration in paintings too!

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You are probably better known for your pop-art style editorials and capturing the Sydney party scene – What lead you to the more intimate and sombre tones we see in ‘You’?

This project is still developing a lot as I write this. I won’t be surprised if colour pops back into these works.

When I first started experimenting with more stylized photography, (I was previously shooting street style for the sun herald and various parties around Sydney) I was shooting very simple, classic nudes.

It was a project I had always wanted to do and I guess in a way a bit cliche. But going through all the experimentation I have tried in my work there is something quite nice about stylistically pulling it back and returning to where I started. A lot of the works are black and white but a lot of the subjects are super colourful human beings!

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Can you talk us through the process of your images in ‘You’? What kind of relationship did you develop with your subject?

For ‘You’, I am shooting people that have inspired me and intrigued me on some level. I am fascinated with how the internet has made so many people consciously (or even sub consciously) place themselves on a platform for others to view.

I guess in turn, it has deepened my intrigue with these people more as ‘characters’. I have tried to ‘amplify’ and celebrate an element of them that has fascinated me, whether it be a girls lips, or a dancers hands. It’s my view of them.

But I am super intrigued about keeping it feeling raw and true to their personality, so I make sure it also feels unique to them. I am intrigued by self-view versus an outsider’s perspective – “how we see ourselves? How do others see us?” Y’know!

Lastly, and probably the most difficult question – what do you think constitutes a good photograph?

Hmmm. A story. An emotion. It needs to make you feel something in some way. But that is so broad because everyone’s tastes are broad?! What is a good photograph?

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‘YOU’ A solo exhibition by Byron Spencer

An intimate moment with one subject, and a celebration of collaboration with a creative team to capture a unique portrait.

‘You’ opens at the studio on Wednesday 6th May, 6.30-9pm.

Exhibition: 7th-18th May.

Proudly sponsored by Two Birds Brewing and Stolen Rum.

EVENT FACEBOOK PAGE

Leonard Mattis Blog

INBETWEEN

January 19, 2015

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‘In Between’ is the debut EP from Parisian artist Ambroise Willaume. He records under the pseudonym Sage. The video was shot by fashion photographer Ismael Moumin.

Leonard Mattis Blog

HAIR BRUSHING

January 18, 2015

FullSizeRender 4Regular brushing plays an important part in the condition of your hair. Brushing cleans the hair and stimulates the scalp, increasing the blood flow to the roots.

Sebum – A natural conditioning oil, comes from a gland at the base of every hair. Brushing spreads this natural oil along the length of your hair, giving it strength, volume and a healthy shine.

Image: Actress Gena Rowlands on ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’ (1964)

Leonard Mattis Blog

HAIR LOCKS

January 7, 2015

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I recently got my hands on a copy of the new Alexander McQueen biography, by Judith Watt. Reading through I was not only reminded of his fashion genius, but also how heavily hair was a feature throughout his collections. One of my personal favourites being his 1992 MA Graduate Collection ‘Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims”, where garments featured encapsulated human hair.

In McQueen’s words:

“The inspiration behind the hair came from Victorian times when prostitutes would sell theirs for kits of hair locks, which were bought by people to give to their lovers. I used it as my signature label with locks of hair in Perspex. In the early collections, it was my own hair.”