Browsing Tag

art

Leonard Mattis Blog

THE DANCE

December 14, 2015

IMG_4073 (2)‘The Dance Has Many Faces’ – Leonard Mattis

To capture the spark of creation that the hands pilfer from its creator.  To observe the beauty as well as the intricacy with which they become involved in their own creativeness.  Eloquent and silent, restless and in repose.

Words by Leonard Mattis. Photographed by Johnny Diaz Nicholaidis

Leonard Mattis Blog

TONY MOTT

November 11, 2015

Photographer Tony Mott. By Benjamen Judd.

Coinciding with the opening of his latest retrospective, What A Life! Rock Photography by Tony Mott, rock photographer Tony Mott has released his third book A-Z: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photography.

One of the most comprehensive collections of Mott’s work throughout the years, A-Z is “a monster book of just about everybody” he’s ever photographed.

For more than thirty years, Mott has been at the heart of the music scene’s maelstrom. Untold magazine covers, candid portraits, album art – Mott has captured the raw energy of the world’s most iconic performers as they themselves were lost in their moment.

A native of the UK, Mott came to Australia at the beginning of the 80s where he found work as a chef in The Gazebo Hotel, sitting at the fringe of Sydney’s Red Light district in Kings Cross. It was while working here that he found his calling, at the foot of a stage and during the early days of one of Australia’s greatest performers, Chrissy Amphlett.

Since then, Mott has worked with the likes of Midnight Oil, The Angels, Madonna, Sonic Youth, Marilyn Manson and Bjork – just a casual glance at Mott’s resume reads like an honour roll of music’s history.

To hear Tony speak of this era is to catch a glimmer of the energy that propelled it – the decadence, the raw talent and their determination to succeed. His fast-paced, only slightly accented voice carries you with him – it’s a frantic pace, but with all the enthusiasm of someone still very much passionate about what he does.

INTERVIEW WITH TONY MOTT

6804954-3x2-940x627

You came to Australia as a chef – where the did the photography career begin?

I was a huge music fan and a photography hobbyist, mainly because I had been travelling the world and capturing that, but I was also in love with black and white portraits so I got an art student friend to teach me basic black and white processing and printing. Then one night, I was in the Picadilly Hotel, and Chrissy Amphlett was on stage – this was long before they were really famous – and I was thinking “god, that must be really difficult to shoot with all those lights going on and off”. From there, I started practicing my photos on Chrissy Amphlett.

As muses go, you picked an amazing one.

Absolutely! And I wasn’t aware at the time that I was shooting the greatest female performer I have ever come across and that’s how I started.

90481765e8648572cc867f03ed0aa08d 3(Chrissy Amphlett, 1980s)

What was it like to be in Sydney, working in Kings Cross, in the 80s?

In the early 80s, Sydney’s live music scene was unbelievably vibrant. You could go see a band seven nights a week in whatever suburb you wanted to. Every single suburb had gigs!

I guess, though, that it’s like everything in hindsight – you don’t realise how great it is at the time. Everyone was living, everyone was into music and the inner city particularly had this huge culture.

The Trade Music Club on Foveaux Street was somewhere that everyone naturally gravitated towards every Friday and Saturday night and you could see six different bands on three levels there and it was guaranteed packed every Friday and Saturday night.

At the time, I wasn’t wondering around going “oh god how lucky are we, this is fantastic!” but I look back on it now with exactly that emotion – my god, how lucky was I? It was a fantastic time and I just loved that culture.

During this time, also, street press started and it was revolutionary – no one else was doing it. Free music newspapers every week and every venue had it and it was like the bible of gig guides. I literally wandered into their offices early on and flaunted my services.

Back then, they didn’t pay much but that wasn’t the point – it was just a passion. I look back on it with huge affection but I really had no idea at the time just how special this period was. And this time, that scene, produced Australia’s greatest ever exports of live and recording artists and bands.

What do you think was happening at this time that really made Australian scene so alive in comparison to the UK and US?

I think a lot of the pubs in Australia at that time had these big beer barns off to the side. So landlords had this enormous amount of space they needed to use so it became that putting in a live rock and roll band was the thing to do. In the early days, this was why it was called Aussie pub rock. The Angels, Rose Tattoo – these all came out this time.

Funny story, The Cure came to Australia in 1981 and toured Sydney for three months and never played the same suburb twice. Robert Smith was quite demoralised when he first got here, saying “ergh are we doing a pub tour” but of course he had this image of English pubs with maybe 50 people in the corner. They performed at Selena’s in Coogee and they got 1600 people attending and at the time this was The Cures biggest ever gig …and they were playing at a pub.

ed4b923f6dd163dffe76032346883727(Chrissy Amphlett & Band, taken at the Bexley North Pub, typical of its time at the height of the Sydney pub live scene)

You’ve been in the industry for a long time – you must have seen some enormous changes to the way things operate in the industry?

That’s the other golden era! When the 80s arrived, MTV culture came out and the videos along with it. But the record companies didn’t get involved in the beginning, they basically said “oh look MTV sells records so we better make a video”. But all the directors were jumping at the chance and the imagination was just amazing.

But slowly but surely the clips now have become very clichéd and record companies have all got involved. But the early filmmakers were really just given this blank canvas and it was fantastic – it wasn’t necessarily with a big budget, it was just big imaginations.

My best friend, Paul Goldman, who started out in Melbourne, he did Elvis Costello’s “I Want To Be Loved” video and it’s literally just Elvis Costello in a photobooth with strangers kissing him on the cheek and it was shot on a budget of $500 – this still wins awards today!. But MTV really did change everything because people started to look at music instead of actually listening to it. I mean, the Spice Girls are a direct result of “looking at music”.

The other massive change was of course the digital age.

I was dragged into the digital age kicking and screaming. I stayed on film for a long time and the first time I shot on digital I had a sense of cheating because it was so easy. The problem after digital was that lots of people suddenly became photographers. And of course then there was the iPhone. But this isn’t a whinge – this is just the natural attrition of life, this is just how things happened. I have twins now who are four and a half years old and when they were born I took a year or so off so I could help look after them full time. When I went back there really was a vast change. I used to have 182 magazines on my books and of those 182 magazines, 160 of them didn’t exist. They had all gone online and people aren’t paying the same for the photos and with the record companies – there were once fifteen majors based in Sydney and now there are only three.

Music also used to have a huge left wing element to it, which is great. Bands like the Clash, Midnight Oil, Red Gum bands that were really pissed off with the world. I still cant believe that Tony Abbott didn’t produce a punk band that were angry and this is another thing that has changed.

midnight oil by tony mott20johnny rotten photo#AFA2E(Midnight Oil, Homebush, Sydney 1986 and Johnny Rotten, The Hordern, Sydney 1985)

You’ve worked with and met a huge spectrum of artists – has there been any particular band or sound that stands out as a favourite?

I shot everything that moved, there wasn’t a band or gig I wouldn’t shoot so I can’t really say I had a favourite – I really did shoot everything.

For example, I was on the road with Sonic Youth and I shot Sonic Youth’s EP Cover and that for me is the height of cool. Then, within 24 hours I was on the road with Michael Bolton. It doesn’t get much more contrasting than that. This didn’t bother me either, because it was all entertainment and it was always interesting seeing different things that might not be your cup of tea.

Music also used to have a huge left wing element to it, which is great. Bands like the Clash, Midnight Oil, Red Gum bands that were really pissed off with the world. I still cant believe that Tony Abbott didn’t produce a punk band that were angry and this is another thing that has changed.

06-David-Bowie(David Bowie)

Have you ever been surprised by the artists you have worked with?

Not really…but I always found it peculiar that heavy metal bands, these men all dressed in leather, were all quite shy. I had one band, I cant remember their name it might have been Iron Maiden or something and they were dressed up in their leathers but then they were all saying “oooh no I don’t want to go outside, what if someone sees us?” There was a lot of bravado going on.

Also, you always find that people who have bad reputations aren’t like that at all. I worked with Prince and he was an absolutely normal and pleasant chap; Marilyn Manson couldn’t have been more articulate and pleasant and dare I say a gentleman. A lot of them are thespians and what you see is a performance.

Lastly, what do you think makes a great photograph?

The thing about capturing something live is that it is all about that split moment and getting a performance when all the elements are in place.

For a portrait, it’s a different kettle of fish. Its easier to take a photo but harder to capture their essence. I go into every photo session and try to do my very best and the ones that work – they just work.

01de1e7284ad4a4da2f45ddacb37dd35(Mick Jagger, SYS, Sydney 1985)

Leonard Mattis Studio presents, A-Z: Rock ‘n’ Roll Photography

LAUNCH NIGHT: Friday 20th November, 6-10pm

The studio will be transformed for a live four hour experience, with art installations and performances by:
– Lexi Land
– Matt Format
– DJ Suzie Q (Longrain)
– Simon Rosa (Musician/Guitarist)
– Matthew Gode Matthew (Choreographer)
– Erica Stubbs, Ashleigh Tavares, Shivawn Joubert (Dancers)

Please forward your rsvp to leonard@leonardmattis.com

EXHIBITION: Saturday 21st November, 11am-5pm

A selection of prints will be on display, with a live stream of music from the launch night providing an aural backdrop for the visuals. Tony will be presenting and story telling from 3-4pm.

Signed limited edition copies of the book will be available for purchase on both days.

Proudly sponsored by Two Birds Brewing and Grandeur Wellington

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Leonard Mattis Blog

FRIDA KAHLO

June 20, 2015

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Self-portrait with cropped hair, 1940.

Frida Kahlo’s first self portrait after the divorce from artist Diego Rivera. In place of the feminine clothes seen in most of her self-portraits, Frida appears in a large, dark suit, and has cut off the long hair that Rivera once admired.

The song verse above her head reads: ‘See, if I loved you, it was for your hair; now you’re bald, I don’t love you anymore’.

Leonard Mattis Blog

KUSHANA BUSH X SKARFE

June 15, 2015

b62c251d1612486f890bc552436da91f

4f6306026a094f2391c711111f1f5fd6

flogging-20141

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

1532133_10201827547622773_237464011_n(Artist portrait by Julien Martinez Leclerc)

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.

10648267_10203897632853610_2506047324435845509_o10620315_10204112519345638_442772106725364166_o(Dame Au Bouton and Untitled)

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.

10365592_10202893614273773_4607092492519905168_o(Twins)

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.

tumblr_n7sdibWEpC1qzxuzqo1_1280tumblr_mtr2er1HYG1qzxuzqo1_1280(Photography for designer Rick Owens)

Follow Clement Louis on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram.

Leonard Mattis Blog

INBETWEEN

January 19, 2015

10848740_857428900986405_7593981192975159585_o


‘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 LOCKS

January 7, 2015

6a014e863885b2970d014e884aa844970d-800wi

McQ.3018_McQ1110_Sav_mind_MAshow92_Look2_026-f2LOWRES.AV0.EL

6381509545_1bf049a9d3_b

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.”

Leonard Mattis Blog

THE MUSE

August 25, 2014

LMS001LMS002LMS03LMS04LMS004LMS005

‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.  They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts’ – Extract from ‘As You Like It’ by William Shakespeare.

Throughout history The Muse has been the constant companion to The Artist. Kiki de Montparnasse, Patti Smith, Edie Sedgwick – all contemporary embodiments of this elusive spirit.

For some time, good friend and Sydney based artist Lexi Land has been my own muse.  A dynamic heroine with a flamboyant style and her own fiery talent.

For me, the creative process is about nurturing and bringing to life what comes through me.  There is no set agenda or outcome.  It’s a feeling.  A feeling that moves me and has to be set free.

Lexi’s process holds a similar philosophy.  A  few months ago I asked her if she would be interested in being the subject for a concept I had been working on.  She agreed and the collaborative process began.

And so here are the results.

Photographed by Kiki Sjoberg at Leonard Mattis Studio

Corsetry by Joucelen Gabriel

Lexi Land’s annual solo exhibition opens at the studio in October this year.