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Leonard Mattis Blog

M Global: The New Strategy Is No Strategy

May 23, 2017

From a personal and business standpoint the idea of confining myself to a linear plan no longer exists. My role is to create space – awareness creates space – to bring forth and nurture an environment conducive to growth and expansion; for myself and in turn others.

The new strategy is no strategy – a plan unfolds moment by moment; next steps are revealed, and patience is the pathway that leads to potential.

Check out this recent video from The Be Smart Club – ‘Living From The Overflow’ by Phill Nosworthy from Switch Inc.  A simple yet effective portrayal of the benefits of self-awareness and investing in yourself.

Leonard Mattis Blog

DUALITY

February 21, 2016

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‘Every aspect of business and personal development is for the greater good, and serves a higher purpose’ – Leonard Mattis

I’ve just returned home from two weeks of intensive study which formed the first module of my Global Executive MBA. The module was ‘Leadership’, and the various styles of.

From military to musical, philosophical to totalitarian. Leadership is an extremely rich topic, and one that plays a significant role in our culture, past and present.

I’m currently in the process of writing my reflective essay, and thought I would share an insight that has dropped in deeper for me. The Cohort spent day five of the program at Randwick Army Barracks, where we were lectured by a number of high ranking officers (including the Chief of Army) on military leadership and hierarchical organisation.

My insight derives from an interest of mine that began a few years ago. The concept of duality, and the role it plays as part of the human experience. Can we fully understand certain aspects of life without knowing its opposite or shadow side? For instance, how could we come to know hot without cold, light without dark, poor without rich, peace without war and so forth.

I find with deeper insights, a nimiety of questions come to the surface: Does duality exist for us to experience ourselves fully? To experience all facets of who we are? In particular our physical senses. Does duality play a significant role in the foundation of the human experience, a game of which we choose how we want to play? A game set up to satisfy our basic desire to fix, improve or change? What would life be without these opposites and without them would there even be a game to play?

I have come to realise that in truth, there are no answers. But only questions, and more questions.

Photographer: 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

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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

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Leonard Mattis Blog

BOOK LAUNCH

November 7, 2015

20johnny rotten photo#AFA2E

Leonard Mattis Studio presents a two day event to launch and celebrate a new book by legendary rock photographer Tony Mott.

Tony is regarded as one of the world’s best rock photographers. In the early 80’s he got his break with a photograph of Chrissy Amphlett, lead singer of the band Divinyls, and since then has had over 30,000 photographs published in 20 countries and his images have appeared on the covers of over 500 CDs.

His portfolio features the biggest and greatest names in popular music, such as the Rolling Stones, Madonna and U2 as well as the rich and varied Australian independent band scene.

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

HAND OF THE CREATOR

June 28, 2015

‘The hand grasps the world it creates. In serving its master, it reflects his being, as if through a mirror, in a thousand and one ways’ – Walter Sorell

Even before my passion for the craft of hairdressing began I had always been fascinated by hands. I guess with life in general I find nothing more intriguing than the hidden meaning of the most obvious, and our hands are certainly something we can often take for granted.

As the servant of our bodies and the instrument of our mind, the hand has always been part of our physical and intellectual life. Reacting to every tremor of emotion, responding to outside stimuli faster than we can speak, they are a mystery with which we live and a reality which we use as a tool, and a means of expression.

With hairdressing, like any artist; our tools become an extension of the hands, a channel for pure creativity to flow.

The images below are the outcome of a recent collaboration with Sydney based photographer Byron Spencer, featuring model Alex Thorn.

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Conception and hair: Leonard Mattis using Leonard Mattis products
Photography: Byron Spencer
Location: Leonard Mattis Studio
Model: Alex Thorn at IMG Models

Leonard Mattis Blog

FRIDA KAHLO

June 20, 2015

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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

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.

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