PLASTIK 34

 

When we launched Plastik Magazine in 2009, we were in the midst of the digital shift, unaware of its impending implications on society, culture and the arts. We found ourselves at the forefront of art’s democratization, redefinition, and expansion - a once elitist world now made accessible to everyone and anyone with a smartphone. A myriad of artists benefitted from unprecedented exposure and the countless opportunities that ensued. 

Today, art has found itself in a thankless place. Whereas anyone can fleetingly scroll, double click and zoom into the most pristine pieces, only a privileged few can truly experience contemporary artwork organically. Galleries have not yet been able to embrace the new face of art in the digital era: art that transcends canvases or 5-inch screens. After all, art is a series of encounters and most importantly, a dialogue that is best experienced up close and personal.

The release of our 34th issue marks the launch of Plastik’s latest venture: Plastik Gallery – a post-internet experiential art gallery that showcases neo-contemporary art, and that vows to be at the forefront of the evolution of art. 

 

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 
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DELANEY ALLEN

Interview

Blending landscapes, still lives and self-portraits, American photographer Delaney Allen forces the viewer on a journey through his personal universe, in which things are not necessarily what they may seem. Getting lost is a prerequisite for finding home.   

 
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POLLY NOR

Interview

Polly Nor is famous for her sharp and insightful digital illustrations about womanhood, inner-demons and the way our mind can play tricks on us in our digital day and age. Her knack of getting inside of all of our heads, and illustrating our struggles, insecurities and sometimes irrational behavior is particularly striking. What you may not know, is that Nor is a skilled multi-disciplinary artist, and after reading this interview, you will assertively agree that she also stands out as one of the most important and contemporary female voices in the art world today. 


 
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AURORA REINHARD

Interview

Aurora Reinhard’s work is a deep-dive exploration about gender identity, gender boundaries and gender elasticity. Often challenging, constantly eye-catching, and consistently thought-worthy, her work is a clear testament as to why art can bring society forward by encouraging conversation about pressing social issues, and finding beauty in their complexity. 


 

 
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SIMONE LUEK

Interview

American photographer Simone Lueck shot to fame with her series The Once and Future Queens. She talks about that and other beauties, including Minnesota, Cuba TV, the State Fair Dairy Princess and curling. Yes, curling. 


 

 
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Turning heads FEAT. SASHA VELOUR

Interview

Rather than following the beaten path of her fellow Drag Race winners, Sasha Velour has devoted her rise to fame to empower gay activists around the world, as well as to shed some light on other forms of Drag that the general public has not yet been exposed to.  A living and breathing art installation, she consistently pushes the boundaries of drag with each of her head-spinning designs, fueled by an undying vocation to ‘turn darkness into power’. Plastik took advantage of her iconic stay in Beirut to shoot and interview her. 

 

SILENT echoes

Feature campaign

A series of images by visual artist Eli Rezkallah.

 

MILK

Feature

A series of images by visual artist Eli Rezkallah, featuring Jermaine Browne.

 
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JOHN YUYI

Interview

John Yuyi’s work juxtaposes intimacy and sensuality with digital iconography – a daring combination that strikes a chord with an entire generation trying to find human connectivity within a hyper-connected digital world. Anyone who follows Yuyi on social media however, knows that her art is not only manifested through her photography, but through herself. Rarely will you find an artist as candid and open about her feelings, inner-turmoil, and every day struggles, making her not only one of the most relevant digital artists of our generation, but also a poignant digital performance artist. 


 

 
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JENNIFER NEHRBASS

Interview

Based in beautiful New Mexico, American artist Jennifer Nehrbass uses a photorealist painting technique to create amazing surrealist portraits and landscapes that come across as collages cut and pasted together from contemporary magazines. One of her main objectives is to examine and reinterpret how women have been portrayed in art, media and literature through the ages.

 
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RAED YASSIN

Interview

Lebanese artist Raed Yassin delves into pop culture to re-create memories. His work is rich, colorful and often funny, even though deep down it is rooted in a profound sense of loss.  

 
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DINA BROADHURST

Interview

While she has always been a creative child, Dina Broadhurst has worked in a wide spectrum of creative fields before finding her voice as an artist. Last year was arguably her breakthrough year with a series of exhibitions including Art Basel Miami. One thing is certain: the world has not seen the last of this Australian flower … 


 

 
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DANI OLIVIER

Interview

French photographer Dani Olivier uses the female body as a canvas to create the most sensual otherworldly landscapes with the light as his only brush. Who would not want to explore and get lost amidst his imaginary dunes?



 

 

Insta-Art

Instagramming is art. It requires the three Cs – Creativity, Consistency and Commitment. From photography to illustration, these young artists have colored our daily feeds with exciting visuals that sometimes evolved into work projects and opportunities.

Get your finger on the “follow” button right this insta!


 
 
 

PLASTIK 33

 

BINGE THERAPY

 

Imagine waking up one morning and finding out that the relentless barrage of happily-never-after news we’re constantly subjected to… was all fake? Such is our current state of affairs: feeling loveless in a hopeless place, and longing for that bubble of whimsical denial to shield us from a reality we can no longer avoid… California crass. 

We’re all aching for that Hollywood Hill obliviousness where opulence and mindless self-indulgence is life, and consequences are but an afterthought best kept for the afterlife. Say what you will about binging, let’s agree that it hurts so good. That fatalistic urge to over-indulge is uncannily liberating, and nowadays, there’s nothing more soothing than the perfect delusion of freedom. 

For generations upon generations we were taught that pleasure is a sin, that everything that tastes, feels and looks good is a threat… and yet, every second of the day we are reminded of impending doom. Everything and anything has become a threat, including our own opinion. If the world has nothing better to offer than guilty pleasures, then it’s time for a guilt-trip to the city of angels. 

 

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 
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HASSAN HAJJAJ

Interview

Hassan Hajjaj gives you the Orient In all its warmth and colors. Yet it is not a nostalgic Orient that somehow stood still in time. No, his orient has fully come to grips with modernity. His does not fear or resent it, but embraced it, enriched it, while fully standing its ground. Hassan talked to Plastik about Morocco, making movies, world music and “being Andy Warhol”.

 
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KOURTNEY ROY

Interview

Kourtney Roy’s photography intentionally look like still frames from a film. each photograph an enigma that triggers your imagination with visions of an untold story. Roy personifies a myriad of different characters in her work, each woman living a different life, lost in her own reality (or fantasy) and longing for a resolution.

 
Omar V Diop

OMAR VICTOR DIOP

Interview

Omar Victor Diop may be a photographer, a filmmaker, a fashion designer and an art director, but what defines him most is his passion for authenticating identity. With identity comes diversity, and Diop’s arresting visuals show that acknowledging and embracing diversity will ultimately bring us all together. 

 

 
OLEG DOU

OLEG DOU

Interview

Oleg Dou is essentially a portrait artist with a haunting twist. Fascinated by vintage child portraits, Dou’s work comes off as psychic x-rays of the human soul, exposing the monster lurking within seemingly innocent humanS. His subjects are both lively and macabre, charming and threatening, whimsical and dark. 

 

 
TONY KELLY

LOVE ANGELES BY TONY KELLY

Feature

Dive with us into a world that romanticises riches, ostentation and consumerism. The dichotomy of excess and emptiness is one that we deniably cherish and want to belong to: that's why we Love Angeles. 

 
MOTHER

MOTHER BY ELI REZKALLAH

A series of images by visual artist Eli Rezkallah, recreating visual memories of his mother and his childhood.

 
PARTY OF ONE

PARTY OF ONE

Interview

Anything goes as long as it works, even Cheetos, seems to be the motto for New York-based multidisciplinary design studio Party of One, which consists of not one but two crazy creative minds: Melissa Deckert and Nicole Licht. 

 

 

 
ED MAXIMUS

Ed Maximus

Interview

New York-based photographer Ed Maximus juxtaposed black females against bright colored backgrounds, turning bodies into sculptures. He called his project For Colored Girls. For, let’s face it, in the end there is no such thing as black or white. We are all variations of color. 

 

 
FILIP HODAS

FILIP HODAS

Interview

Filip Hodas AKA Hoodass needs no introduction. His stunning surrealist 3D renderings are consistently going viral and being shared around the world. His art, an astonishing blend of all things dystopian and whimsicaL resonates with a generation experiencing a new digital age that promises augmented opportunity for all, while living in a physical world that’s on the brink of collapse.   

 
SLIP

SLIP

Interview

Only graduating as a fine art photographer in 2010, Alma Haser has already won multiple awards for her work, which offers a whole new spin on the ancient art of portraiture. In addition to being a master with the camera, she is a master in origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.  

 
ERIC

ERIC YAHNkER

Interview

Looking back at Eric Yahnker’s earlier work, way before Instagram became an over-abundant barrage of satirical visual coincidences and puns, you’d think he saw the future. Armed with a wit that doesn’t quit, and a full load of lead in his pencil, Yahnker’s art, past and present, is authentication that being trendy and relevant doesn’t necessarily correlate with being in the now, but rather with being in the know.

 

Insta-Art

Instagramming is art. It requires the three Cs – Creativity, Consistency and Commitment. From photography to illustration, these young artists have colored our daily feeds with exciting visuals that sometimes evolved into work projects and opportunities.

Get your finger on the “follow” button right this insta!


 
 
 

PLASTIK 32

 

EVERYBODY IS WATCHING

THE NEW HORROR

 

As technology is getting smarter by the second, issues about privacy and concerns about the infamous ‘Big Brother’ have been tickling the inner conspiracy theorist in all of us. Pretty much every social media platform has been under the radar for infringing on people’s privacy. What will they know? Will they use this against us? Sir Alfred Hitchcock once masterfully said: “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it”. But are we still anticipating when Google ads are putting fortune cookies out of business and Facebook is determined to become that creepy stalker that knows what you did last summer? Let’s face it, we live in the “black mirror” age where all eyes are on us. Facial recognition, fingerprint/retina scans and voice recognition technology were once used by intelligence agencies to track terrorists (as Hollywood would like us to believe), now we use them to unlock our phones. But can we really complain? In a world where most of our manicured life is out there and the lines are blurred between who we are and what we share, do we really care who’s watching? The way things are going, we’re more bound to volunteer that information than having it stolen. I’m sure Hitchcock would agree when I rhetorically ask: who doesn’t love a good bang? The show must go on, hope they enjoy it. 

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 
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YOUSSEF nabil

Interview

Youssef Nabil left Egypt in 2003. yet somehow He never left. With his hand-painted photographs and videos he created his own personal iconography of the Egypt he loved, the Egypt that once was and he wishes to preserve. Inspired by cinema, it is an imaginary Egypt, yet perhaps real nonetheless.

 
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Weronika Gesicka

Interview

We’ve all fantasized with the idea of photographing our memories and saving them on a hard disk. Weronika Gesicka’s work is a study of what those memories would look like were they to actually be captured, and it’s simply mind-blowing. Each photograph is a disturbingly thorough display of how our brain can deceive us by filling those missing gaps in our memory, and fictionalizing something that once felt so real. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction, Gesicka’s work is bound to spark some thoughts about the role of memory in our lives, and how memory can shape who we are as a person, and who we want to become. 

 

Alma Haser

Interview

Only graduating as a fine art photographer in 2010, Alma Haser has already won multiple awards for her work, which offers a whole new spin on the ancient art of portraiture. In addition to being a master with the camera, she is a master in origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.  

 
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Arnout van Albada

Interview

Arnout van Albada’s studio is his kitchen. Quite literally at times, for the Dutch artist loves his food and loves to paint food, anything from raw vegetables and Spanish hams to sardines and cream cakes. In the history of art, food is a well known symbol of the “vanity of vanities” the simple truth that all creation must perish. However, more than rubbing our noses in deeper meanings, Van Albada aims to convey the monumental beauty of such a simple food item as fennel or a pudding. And he does so with such a photographic eye for detail, that it really makes you want to have a bite … 

 
Marius

Marius Sperlich

Interview

Marius Sperlich is mostly known for his macro photography on Instagram, however this 26 year-old German artist is also a designer, film director, musician and essentially a subversive rebel who knows how to work the system, but refuses to be run by it. Hungry to express himself and eager to unapologetically do his own thing, Sperlich has many surprises up his sleeves that are bound to provoke, strike a chord and inspire those who follow him on his reckless journey towards self-expression. 

 
Synchrodogs

Synchrodogs

Interview

Synchrodogs are Ukrainian photographer duo Roman Noven and Tania Oldyork who love nothing more than explore Planet Earth’s forgotten corners to produce their eerie dreamy portraits that seek to remind you that there is still a world out there and more than meets the eye. Certainly in 2018: The Year of the Dog! 

 
Gabriel Isak

Gabriel Isak

Interview

Inspired by symbolism, the landscapes of his youth in Sweden and a particular dark period in his own life, photographer Gabriel Isak creates wonderfully still and surreal images that carry an almost painting-like quality.

 

 
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The drones by ELI rEZKALLAH

Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s haunting film “The Birds” this series is set in the (very) near future.

With computers accessing our locations, conversations, sensations, thoughts and wants and needs, we are more vulnerable now than ever. We are being watched, spied on and stalked by an unknown “force”: a group of marketers, brands, governments, establishments and even individuals.

We exist on data clouds as much as we do in the Real World. But What Real World?

“The Drones” is a modern day story heroing a Hitchcockian blonde, attacked by the same birds that attack us - indirectly - everyday.

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In a parallel universeby ELI rEZKALLAH

A series of fictional images, recreated from real ads in the Mad Men era, that question modern day sexism: showing it through a humorous light to spark a conversation through role play by visual artist Eli Rezkallah.

 
Neo Renaissance

PINK NOISE BY ELI REZKALLAH AND SIGNE PIERCE

A Behind the Screens look at the collaboration between artists Eli Rezkallah and Signe Pierce for Marzook’s FW18 collection.The series of images was inspired by the futuristic shapes, colors, and textures expressed in Marzook’s new line of handbags. 

 
Women on the Verge

women on the verge BY ALEKSANDRA KINGO

A Plastik collaboration with photographer Aleksandra Kingo

 

Insta-Art

Instagramming is art. It requires the three Cs – Creativity, Consistency and Commitment. From photography to illustration, these young artists have colored our daily feeds with exciting visuals that sometimes evolved into work projects and opportunities.

Get your finger on the “follow” button right this insta!

 
 
 

PLASTIK 31

 

INSTA-VAGANZA

The rise of fast-art in a digital era

 

Shortcuts: we use them on our keyboards, we use them in our chats (insert emoticon), we use them in our relationships and in life. Some old souls may claim it’s laziness or entitlement. The epitome of all things millennial. “Good things come to those who wait” they say. Truth is, nowadays life is on the fast track. Our days are a constant onslaught of data. It’s an A.D.D. world, whether we like it or not, and we just have to deal with it.

We were taught that Art with a capital A, when properly consumed, comes with contemplation. You have to seep it in, digest it, wrestle with it, and redeem its value from the process itself, rather than from the actual piece. This still stands true for some Art, but most of us simply don’t have the time nor the energy to consume that kind of art on a daily basis. So what’s it gonna be? We wait until we’re ready to jump off the fast track to consume art, or do we adapt the arts to our current lifestyle?

Cue Fast Art: art that you can seep in, digest and wrestle with in an instant. You glimpse at it, and you get it. Simple as that. Its relevance is momentary at best and its lifespan is dismal and yet the satisfaction that comes with it is monumental. It’s art that you can share, art you can comment on with an emoticon rather than a dissertation… art you can appreciate with a double-tap and scroll on.

Some Art enthusiasts may deny its legitimacy, but its presence you can’t deny.

 Fast art is here to stay, one glimpse at a time.  

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 
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ANDREA KOPOROVA

Interview

Self-taught Slovakian photographer Andrea Koporova only started making images in 2011, Yet she quickly caught the eye of curators and editors. At first dreamy and rather romantic, her work has gradually become increasingly urban and surreal, mainly through the use of bright colors and modern settings. Her main themes have remained the same: isolation, alienation.

 

Hugh Kretschmer

Interview

Born in a house of artists, Hugh Kretschmer did not waste any time in mastering his craft as a visual artist. From a very young age he harnessed his handiwork skills to create art, and consequently developed a very peculiar aesthetic. Never shying away from building his own sets and crafting his props, Kretschmer is one of those rare artists who has the freedom to recreate his vision with his very own bare hands, and the results are stunning. His imagery is surreal and yet grounded in thought-provoking social commentary, and his aesthetic is stunningly modern, despite its minimal digital enhancements. 

 

Evelyn Bencicova

Interview

A winner of the 2016 Hasselblad Masters Awards, 24-year-old Slovakian Evelyn Bencicova is taking the world by storm. Dividing her time mainly between Vienna and Berlin, she has found a delicate balance between aesthetic sensitivity and conceptual sensibility. One of her secrets? It is all about “fiction based on truth”. 

 

Prue Stent and Honey Long

Interview

Who would not want to spend a day with Australian artists Prue Stent and Honey Long? They are like the main protagonists in a fairytale of their own making. Their artistic journey seems like a wild never ending dress-up party. In this duo-interview, Prue and Honey talk about how they once upon a time first met, about playfulness and success, and about past, present and what’s next … 

 

Reine Paradis

Interview

Reine Paradis burst onto the art scene with her “Jungle” photo series: a fascinating showcase of a chromatic world that blurs the line between reality and construct. From its conceptual stage, to its multi-disciplinary execution, the project’s roll-out is captivating from start to finish, and promises a very bright future for this visionary artist. 

 
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Pip & Pop

Interview

Using up to 3,000 kiloS of sand and 800 kiloS of sugar, Australian artist Tanya Schultz, better known as Pip & Pop, creates the most fantastic hallucinatory dreamscapes. Inspired by old myths and folk tales, her utopias are deceptively sweet.


 
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Stefano Bolcato

Interview

As a child, classically trained painter Stefano Bolcato loved to play with LEGO. Imagining the strangest buildings and machines, the little colored bricks greatly helped the Italian artist to develop his creativity. In his most recent series of works Bolcato has combined his two passions, as LEGO figurines have taken central stage in some of the world’s all time artistic masterpieces.  


 
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Cristina Burns

Interview

Mixed-media artist and photographer Cristina Burns juxtaposes dolls, toys, candies, skulls and insects in meticulously arranged patterns. Like modern day cabinets of curiosity, her brightly colored works are a playful reminder of the vanities of life. Seeing her surreal streak, it is no surprise Hieronymus Bosch ranks among her favorite artists. Cristina talks about Bosch, Alice IN WONDERLAND, her beloved Naples and much more.


 

Blazé

A series of images, by visual artist Eli Rezkallah about contemporary fast-art.

 

alice in wondertan

A series of images, by visual artist Eli Rezkallah for Wondertan’s campaign.

 

Star struck

A Plastik collaboration with photographer Vijat Mohindra, featuring Jeffrey Star.

 

Insta-Art

Instagramming is art. It requires the three Cs – Creativity, Consistency and Commitment. From photography to illustration, these young artists have colored our daily feeds with exciting visuals that sometimes evolved into work projects and opportunities.

Get your finger on the “follow” button right this insta!

 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 30

 

THE CURRENCY OF CHANGE

 

I think it’s important to start this letter by stating the obvious: we live in a world of rapid change. Long gone are the days when you could map out your future for years to come and assess your success on whether you were able to stay on track or not. It’s time to say goodbye to the proverbial “straight line” and to embrace the fact that happiness and success is all about enjoying and adapting to the twists and turns that our rapid evolution is taking us on. The binary system that we inherited is no longer: black or white, male or female, good or bad, strong or weak… those labels are quickly becoming relics as the lines between them are being blurred with every passing day. The same applies to the Arts. While the definition and purpose of art will forever be the same, and as primordial to society as it ever was, the truth of the matter is that the platforms on which art is being showcased are swiftly mutating. Just like industrialization propelled society into modern times, social media will certainly be remembered as a phenomenon that altered media and the arts, and ultimately, altered reality with its inescapable immediacy and relentless timeliness. Reinvention is no longer an artist’s second chance at relevance, but rather an artist’s way of life. It is no surprise that artists are dodging labels and doctrines more than ever. Paris Hilton, once a reality star, is now a business mogul.

Saint-Hoax is counter-intuitively shifting from digital to traditional art. Del Kathryn Barton is venturing into the art of filmmaking and Signe Pierce… well… she pretty much changed the game, pun intended, by branding herself a ‘Reality Artist’. I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that while the notion of change still triggers most of us, change is no longer something that we can attribute to a certain moment in time, but rather to our everyday … Brace yourselves, change has come.

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 

Saint hoax

Interview

Saint-Hoax took the digital art scene by storm with his very first series, the eye-catching and controversial “War Drags You Out” featuring world leaders dressed in drag. Since then, he has taken Instagram by storm, garnering almost half a million followers and getting reposted by Hollywood A-listers including Madonna and Diplo. Although he quickly became a poster child for “Insta-Fame”, his work has also been featured in solo exhibitions around the world, cementing his legitimacy as an artist and an activist. 

 

signe pierce

Interview

Signe Pierce first burst onto the scene with the release of her 2014 short film American Reflexxx; a performance art piece featuring Pierce herself, wearing a mask and barely anything else, wandering the streets of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, waiting for something to happen. Little did she know that all hell would break loose as walkers by started attacking her both verbally and physically because of her hyper sexualized demeanor. The video went viral and toured galleries around the world, garnering acclaim for shedding light on the overall intolerance that lurks right below the surface of American society. Since then, Pierce has been relentlessly expressing herself on any medium she can find, branding herself a ‘Reality Artist’ and using her body, mind and soul as a platform to incite much needed self-reflection and self-questioning from her viewers.  

 

monica menez

Interview

German photographer Monica Menez’s work is at once elegant, sexy and tongue in cheek. A fan of Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, she likes to explore the familiar set in the unknown. In recent years, she has become a leading voice in fashion film. Her Precious shows how erotic something mundane as making a pizza can be, while Odditory offers a very naughty music class indeed. And all, of course, in gorgeous clothes!  

 

parker day

Interview

Under the title ICONS, LA-based photographer Parker Day portrays members of America’s modern day tribes. Urban freaks shown in bold colors, as if in an ad or a cartoon. Mind you, all is not what it seems. Partly staged, these portraits are often a combined effort between artist and model, celebrating originality and individuality, yet reminding us that a mask, any mask, is always but a mask.

 

ben thomas

Interview

Born in 1981, Australian artist Ben Thomas IS fascinated by cities and urban spaces. He first shot to fame with his miniature railway-like images of Tokyo. His more recent series change our perspectives on city life by using color, light and flatness, thus making the real look very surreal indeed.  A winner of the 2016 LensCulture Emerging Talents award, THOMAS recently completed assignments for The New Yorker, Sony and Penguin Books. 

 

MARIA SVARBOVA

Interview

What started as a hobby during her archeology studies six years ago is now a full-time profession complete with a contract for American Vogue. A 100% self-taught photographer and self-proclaimed workaholic, Slovakian artist Maria Svarbova says she does not like complicated things. She is inspired “by normal people in normal life”.   

 

PARIS je t’aime 

Feature

A series of images featuring Paris Hilton, photographed by Vijat Mohindra.

Produced by Plastik Studios, Los Angeles, 2016.

 

dreamboys

Photography Eli Rezkallah

Produced by Plastik Studios, Beirut, 2016.

 

ALICE HUTCHISON 

Interview

Australian photographer Alice Hutchison was born and raised in one of Melbourne’s most diverse working-class neighborhoods; an inner city enclave of European and Middle Eastern migrants. Weekend walks presented a smorgasbord of sights and sounds that inspired her young, creative mind. For her latest collection, she drew inspiration from the neighborhood’s kitsch, industrial past, and borrowed props from shops and friends across the city to create “a suspended reality”.

 

GERWYN DAVIS

Interview

Australian photographer and costume maker Gerwyn Davies stretches the boundaries of camp and fashion to explore the concept of identity. In his latest series Subtropics, he turns his eye to the hundreds of “Big Thing” monuments that lie scattered around Australia to mark tourist spots and entertainment parks: giant shrimps, pineapples, pies and koala bears. Here, in the all too realness of the absurd, his costume creatures suddenly seem a natural fit … 

 

CHRISTINA CORAL 

Interview

Italian photographer Cristina Coral’s images are not so much a reflection of a reality outside of us, but “come from the depths and mystery that is within each of us". The art of photography is about feeling, not seeing. Her view and way of working has already caught the eye of Vogue Italy and Maison Martin Margiela, and produced two gold medals at the 2014 Prix de la Photographie Paris. 

 
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OLIVIA LOCHER

Interview

It is a crazy world we live in and many people believe the only way to stay sane is to hold up a mirror and laugh. Young American photographer Olivia Locher is one of them. She is not afraid to use the word “sarcastic” to describe such personal work as " I Fought the Law and How To". 


 
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DEL KATHERYN BARTON

Interview

If you haven’t heard of Del Kathryn Barton, Cate Blanchett will make sure you will. A two-time Archibald prizewinning artist with numerous solo exhibitions under her belt, Barton is an artist whose body of work stems from her embracing and boldly baring her vulnerabilities as a mother, a woman, and a human being. Each figurative painting is an opulent mosaic of the human condition rendered timeless by its overwhelming minutiae and pristine craftsmanship. Always looking for new mediums to play with, Barton has just released her first live action short film RED starring none other than Cate herself. 


 

Insta-Art

Instagramming is art. It requires the three Cs – Creativity, Consistency and Commitment. From photography to illustration, these young artists have colored our daily feeds with exciting visuals that sometimes evolved into work projects and opportunities.

Get your finger on the “follow” button right this insta!

 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 29

 

A Drag Queen is more than just a man in a dress spouting insults in a dive bar. A Drag Queen is an entertainer, a stand-up comic, a costume designer, a make-up artist, a performer and an ambassador to all things queer. Although this may come as no surprise to some, drag as an art form is just now finally being legitimized. RuPaul’s recent Emmy win for outstanding host of a reality or reality competition series is the ultimate testament of that. When RuPaul’s Drag Race first aired, it was dismissed as a satirical reality competition series; a Frankenstein of many reality show formats (Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, American Idol, to name a few) blended into one for all to hate-watch. It stood as the underdog of reality television, which is in itself the most thankless of all television formats.

How the show ever made it on the air to begin with is mind-blowing, but what took everyone by surprise is how quickly it gained popularity, and how viewers wholeheartedly embraced its characters and their craft. RuPaul’s Drag Race will always go down in history as the show that exposed the ART of drag to the general public, and it’s about time. Drag is nothing new: it has been on the outskirts of pop culture for generations. The fact that drag is currently inching its way towards the proverbial mainstream, however, is something that everyone should celebrate and be proud of, not just the LGBT community.

Drag is the ultimate barometer of a society’s open-mindedness. The more mainstream drag is; the more inclusive society is. Long gone are the days when men in drag were portrayed as having acute psychotic disorders (Psycho; Dressed to Kill), or as misunderstood outcasts (Pink Flamingos; Priscilla Queen of the Desert; To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything!; Flawless).

Drag Queens are now award winning, chart topping, multi-faceted artists, and that says a lot about us. There may be global warming, there may be terrorism and war, there may be a cataclysmic economic crisis, but we’ll be damned if we’ll judge anyone by their gender, sexuality or race. In celebration of that, Plastik is releasing this issue with five alternate cover pages, each featuring one of the best Drag Queens in the business: Alaska, Violet Chachki, Detox, Katya Zamolochikova and Kim Chi.

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 
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dean west

Interview

Australian photographer Dean West meticulously constructs his images. In his older work, history and mythology were a major influence. These days he creates his own myths that are based on his own or friends’ memories that somehow got distorted over time. The essence is still there, but details changed. Just like stories change every time they are told
by someone else. In the end, you ask yourself: “what’s real?”

 
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EMMa HARTVIG 

Interview

To Emma Hartvig, photography is all about the art of seduction. Greatly inspired by cinema, she carefully stages her Images, which not so much tell a story as hint at the bigger picture. They are like the opening paragraph of a book or film Stills that make you want to watch the whole movie. Based in Berlin, the young Swedish photographer has won numerous International awards and her work has been widely published.

 
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CAROLINA MIZRAHI

Interview

Born in Rio, Carolina Mizrahi is a photographer and art director based in London. One of the main themes in her work is color. “I think you can say a lot through colors. It's a powerful communication tool specially when aligned with other visual signs. I like to play with the different meanings associated with each color.”

 
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brent estabrook

Interview

Born in 1985, Brent Eastbrook did art before becoming a dentist only to do an immediate u-turn and become an artist. If looking at teeth taught him one thing, then it is to follow one’s heart and true passion in life, for life is just too short not to! Brent’s paintings of toys, teddy bears and skulls are but two sides of the same coin really.

 
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ALASKA THUNDERFUCK

Interview

"In gay culture throughout the generations, we have used our wits and language as protection and armor against and oppressive mainstream world. We cut each other down to the core as a sign of respect and camaraderie, and top keep our teeth sharp. I say the rudest, most vile things to the people I respect and admire most deeply. Reading is a language of love, however it also a magic power that is to be used responsibly by people who have learned how to use it.” 

 
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katya ZAMOLODCHIKOVA

Interview

"I'm not a dragtivist , but I am an actress , an activist , and a mother." 

 
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detox

Interview

"I think it’s just easier to get away with things when you’re 8 feet tall and have 20lbs of makeup on."

 

 
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KIMCHI

Interview

“I like the transition of being in the spotlight then having the ability to blend in with the rest of the universe when i’m not on stage.” 

 

 
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violet Chachki

Interview

“I’ve always been inspired by mysterious and intimating women that had a strong sense of self” 

 
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b. Åkerlund

Interview

B Åkerlund, also known on social media as b completed, has built up a résumé as a stylist/costume designer that most People would die for. Her magnetic creations have been donned by the biggest names in the music industry including Madonna, Beyonce, Rihanna, and Britney spears, just to name a few, and yet, even after 24 years of hard work and notable Accomplishments, Åkerlund is just getting started. Rebranding herself a fashion activist, Åkerlund’s relentless passion
For the art form has fueled her with an undying sense of purpose, and led her to a vast array of creative projects that
Are bound to captivate and leave their mark.

 

 
 
 

PLASTIK 28

 

When we first created Plastik, our aim was to build a platform on which we could showcase art that pops - a visual platform for artists that never give up on their glittery dreams. It was our way of reacting to the fact that we were living in what felt like a stagnant environment of faded dreams in dire need of colors.  As years went by, I traveled around the world where colors never seemed to fade and collaborated with artists of all disciplines hoping to seep in some of that vibrant goodness and yet, to my surprise, each and every one of them was on a quest to find their own rainbow. From California dreaming New-Yorkers to Londoners pursuing the warmth of the Catalan sun, it became clear that colors always seem to shine brighter on the other side. Luckily, the elegant and chic world of print was being out shined by a younger and juicier digital platform, where the proverbial rainbow was no longer across borders but rather at your fingertips. Could this digital platform be our yellow brick road? With Instagram came a whole new set of rules to play with... and so we did. We walked into that club, posting inspirational artwork of our idols while showcasing our own - whenever we wanted, however often we wanted and from wherever we wanted.

Artists that we once admired from afar were now a swipe away and soon enough it became clear that the world was but a small town and that it was time to paint it pink. In comes a certain unicorn with a country twang, a mythical figure from tinsel town with bright red lips and a reckless tongue, contacting us on Instagram and asking to collaborate  a moment that dreams are made of. The Miley cover was more than a milestone, it was a validation of the fact that nowadays, if you set your mind free, do good work and put yourself out there, you will eventually get recognized and rewarded, no matter where you are from. Glitter sticks to anything but it’s your light that makes it shine. 

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 
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BAMBY

Interview

It was not easy being a woman in 1950’s America. The ideal was to be a devoted mother, cozy homemaker and obedient wife on heels mopping floors with a radiant smile and of course dinner would be ready when daddy came from work. A post WWII vibration on the classic three M’s a woman ‘needs’ to embody: the virgin mary, mother Mary and Maria Magdalena. The seemingly perfect world of “female caricatures” in small town suburbia is the main inspiration for New York-based fine art and fashion photography Bamby who mixes the theatrical with a hint of irony, lynch with a touch of Hitchcock.

 
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MATTHEW QUICK

Interview

By placing a mundane everyday item in a very classical context, award-winning Australian painter Matthew Quick in his latest series “Monumental Nobodies” forces us to look with a pair of fresh eyes at the notions of past and present, creation and destruction. “the motivations between the creators and destroyers of artifacts are actually the same. Each is trying, in very opposite ways, to say: ‘I exist.’"

 
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Andrew soria

Interview

American artist Andrew Soria creates vibrant and colorful urban landscapes using photographs and photoshop. Soria’s skyscrapers, fast food restaurants, pawn shops and neon lights have an almost cartoonish quality, yet offer a critical view on the deeply flawed American dream today. In January 2015, Soria’s series "America the beautiful" won the best in show award at the la baton rouge gallery surreal salon, which every year highlights the growing pop surrealist movement in American contemporary art.

 
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sAndro giordano 

Interview

In his series "Bodies with no regret" Italian photographer Sandro Giordano portrays a wide range of characters going down head first. Some of the falls seem truly terrible and painful, fatal even, and yet the viewer will struggle not to smile. Giordano’s orchestrated choreographies pay great attention to detail. Clothes and props hint at the character’s role in society before his or her fall from grace. A farmer’s daughter, a religious woman, a boxer or a man in a kinky leather outfit: a sudden fall can happen to us all …
 

 
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Steven popovitch

Interview

" When I was only a little boy I was crying at a camera store ... I always wanted a camera but my mother thought I’d never use it. How ironic ! "

 
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romina ressia

Interview

Born in 1981 in a small town near buenos aires, Argentinean artist Romina Ressia nearly lost herself in the hardboiled world of money and finance, but thank god in her late twenties decided to follow her creative dreams. Reminiscent of classic renaissance portraiture and still lifes, her images use such modern day items as a tennis racket, chewing gum or soft drink can to make a comment on contemporary society. Her series "Not about death " shows elderly people dressed up as a superheroes lying in a coffin to confront us in a playful manner with such notions as heroism, death and decay.

 

 
 
 

PLASTIK 27

 

HIGH ON MILEY

There are a few moments in the history of Plastik that I consider highlights in my life. My surreal journey working on this issue is definitely one of them!

Thanks to the power of social media, I found myself putting together a Plastik issue with one of Pop culture’s biggest icons Miss Miley Cyrus. The past two months were all about discovering Miley, not just as a musician, but also as an artist, activist and exhibitionist. She gives the universe everything she expects to receive. She is fueled by her passion for life and this passion is visible in everything she does. Since positivity is contagious, I found myself more hyped than ever. I was high on art, music and colors. I was simply high on Miley. This issue is an ode to libertarianism and “doing whatever the fuck we want.” It is everything Plastik promised to be ever since its launch in 2009. Actually it is beyond a mere milestone in the history of the magazine. It’s a Miley-stone!

 
 
 

MILEY GOES PLASTIK

Feature

A series of images featuring Miley Cyrus, photographed by Vijat Mohindra.

Produced by Plastik Studios, Los Angeles, 2015.

 
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NADIA LEE COHEN

Interview

Intoxicated with the iconography of modern day America, Nadia Lee Cohen portrays sultry housewives with 50’s hairdos in motel rooms and neon-lit theaters to create a staged
lynch-like world, in which nothing is quite what it seems. Nadia allows a look behind the scenes, as she talks about her background, inspirations and 100 names women,

 
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clemens ascher

Interview

The award-winning Austrian photographer Clemens Ascher creates a reality that is so calm, clean and picture perfect it almost feels oppressive. His is a deceiving sense of beauty,
as it is injected with a subtle and surreal touch of irony. In his series on pleasure grounds, for example, we see seemingly happy tourists admiring wild animals and deadly weapons in what must be the world’s weirdest entertainment park.
 

 
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mathilde crÉtier

Interview

Mathilde Crétier has managed to turn her passions into her profession. Ever since childhood, she has loved to draw. As a teenager, she went on to study fashion. Today she is a leading fashion illustrator based in Paris. With a few lines, an almost cinematic feel for light, and generally not more than three colors, she creates a classy world reminiscent of roses, heels, Hepburn and cocktails – stirred not shaken! Some of her past clients include: Elle, Elle paris, Azzaro Hommes, Renault and Chanel.  

 
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DEAN BRADSHAW

Interview

Born in South Africa, Dean Bradshaw grew up in Australia where he spent much of HIS childhood catching lizards and other reptiles. Having obtained a degree in zoology, he worked as a field biologist before moving to California to become a full-time photographer known for his skills in lighting and Photoshop. While Dean does a lot of commercial work, all images shown here belong to his growing personal body of work. 

 
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COLIN CHRISTIAN

Interview

Born in London in 1964, yet based in the us, sculptor Colin Christian creates female figures and heroines made of fiberglass and silicon. He is inspired by pin up, pop and comic book art, Ridley Scott’s alien and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a space odyssey, yet most of all by Swiss artist H.R. Giger and American author H.P. Lovecraft. 

 
 
 

PLASTIK 26

 

A momentary qualm in the belly. Not even the racy nightlife of Bangkok could stuff it. I was about to strip down the past seven years of my life in one place, and bring Plastik to Bangkok! Having grown up in the middle of war-torn Lebanon, I was surrounded by the apathy of women who turned a blind eye towards the country’s turbulent social-political situation. Today, I find myself capturing these very women, who, in denial, found a way to escape reality and recreate their own. Pristinely alluring, yet stoic and empty, my  subjects are paralyzed souls lost in a most imaginary world. “Life in Plastik” was an invitation from the Adler Subhashok Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand, to feature my collaborative work, as founder of PLASTIK, with all the creative talents from all around the globe since 2008 and my collaboration from 2010 till 2014 with my creative partner Ryan Houssari, with whom I was lucky enough to share my most memorable and enjoyable projects. This exhibition came to life after being scouted during the Beirut Art Fair, last year, by the  Adler Subhashok Gallery curators who cultivate my work now. It makes me ecstatic to prove that in today's world, no matter where you come from, if you work hard enough, you can make your way to places beyond* your expectations!

— Eli Rezkallah

 
 
 
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malika favre

Interview

Born in Paris, Malika Favre has been living in London for over a decade. Having worked for the illustrious airside design studio until 2011, she is today one of Britain’s most
sought-after graphic artists and illustrators. Her distinct, minimal style has been described as “pop art meets opart” and clearly betrays a love for the classy 50s, paris and graphic novels. Malika’s clients include the New Yorker, Vogue, Bafta, Gucci and Penguin books. Malika talked to Plastik about the art of illustrating, her career and inspirations, London vs. Paris, and much more.

 
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juno calypso 

Interview

Juno Calypso loves to dress up. She always loved to take self-portraits, but recently gave her work a different swing. By creating Joyce, a deadpan blond looking pretty in pink. In many ways, the young British photographer is more than merely a photographer, Juno looks for locations, builds sets and designs scenes for “her” Joyce to shine. Imaginary bedrooms and office spaces. in which Joyce honeymoons and works, allows Juno to explore concepts of beauty and femininity, often with the aid of such strange objects as an electric anti-wrinkle mask and vibratory face massager : consumerist symbols of progress used as tokens of Nihilism and oppression. Juno talks to Plastik about her first camera, acting, the honeymoon hotel, Cindy Sherman and of course, Joyce… 

 
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joe webb  

Interview

Curvy Models set against the backdrop of a mushroom cloud or walking alongside African villagers fetching water, stargazing in a cup of coffee, vacuum cleaning the great Sahara desert or a child on a swing attached to the moon: little is impossible in Joe Webb’s creative universe. Having worked as a graphic designer, the 39year old is today known as one of Britain’s leading collage artists. Propelled by the Internet, where his work was ‘liked’ and ‘shared hundreds of thousands of times, the London Saatchi Gallery earlier this year hosted a solo show of his collages, while the Royal Academy exhibited a selection of his silk screens. Webb generally uses two or three images from vintage magazines or other print material to create an altogether new and surreal reality. All of his images are handmade, as photoshop is not allowed. The artist is critical of the explosion of new technologies. “Although I now promote my art on websites, own an iPhone and use Facebook,” Webb claims on his website, “it’s confusing. I wish I had been born 100years ago”

 
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Miss Aniela 

Interview

It all started at university and on Instagram. While studying english and media Natalie “Miss Aniela” Dybisz started posting self-portraits on the popular picture site which rapidly attracted huge following. Even there her love the surreal was evident as, for example, she portrayed herself in her room floating in midair. Today in her late twenties Miss Aniela has published two books and is working on a third “surreal fashion”, her delicate mix between fine art and fashion photography , was exhibited in London and Vogue Italia in Milan. Nathalie works closely together with her partner Matthew. 

 
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nico therin

Interview

Born in a tiny village in the southwest of France, Nico Therin followed his heart to be with his beloved Mel in California’s city of angels. Naturally, America’s “golden state” being a surfer's paradise helped Lure Nico, a wave rider since childhood, to head west. However, let us be clear about this: his love for  Mel came first, his board second, and that should tell you something about Mel! Meanwhile, Nico become a professional photographer who is quickly carving out a name for himself. He does so with commercial work, still lifes high on pop art, as well as street photography. He most recently visited the Tokyo fish market, which is the world’s largest, and flew to Bali to capture Calungan, a Hindu feast in honor of the world’s creator. “I grew up in France, then grew out of France, and flew to la to follow the sun, surf, and Mel, Nico wrote on his website. “happy with the now, but always ready for the next, we’d rather be surfing, skating, creating, and planning tomorrow’s adventure. Professional people watcher, amateur botanist, and a dedicated father to two imaginary pets. I believe in simplicity and I have fun because it’s always worth it.”

 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 25

 

BEIRUT AN ODE TO A CITY  

 

There is something about Beirut that pulls you back whenever you decide to leave. A force that whets your appetite and keeps you wanting more. We don’t love to hate it, but we hate to love it. Every time I go away, I lock my feelings in my Tumi and lose the combination. Because our love for Beirut is like that of an ex-lover’s – it is dormant, but it never dies. It somehow wakes up when you distance yourself from it. But you’re always very careful that something might trigger it. A visual recollection, a song by Fairouz or that feeling of ease you never get elsewhere – you get an over flood of emotions when you think about Beirut. No matter how far you travel, what you achieve or how much money you make, to be at home and lie down without a care in the world – that is luxury. A drag queen once said, “if you don’t like it, throw some glitter on it.” We have thrown so much glitter on Beirut that we ourselves became the drags. Everyone here is a Dorothy looking for their Rubys. Some 3 million people, 18 religions and over 25 years of war have made it hard for us to see its real beauty. In MINIMAL BEIRUT, we dusted off the glitter and stripped down the city to show its true colors. We celebrate its diversity and the real people, among who are seven of the most talented Lebanese actresses who shed their PLASTIK TEARS on our pages. Beirut is a diamond in the rough. It’s how you look at it that you see the sparkle. THIS is how we see it. Don’t leave Beirut. Because it will never leave you. 

 
 
 
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ALEX GROSS

Interview

If someone from the far future had to pick a painting that best depicts our time, it would be that of Alex Gross. Be it a teenager playing candy crush on her phone, a couple of Chinese housewives drowning in LV or an iPad-clad nation taking a selfie, the American pop surrealist has crystallized a visual recollection of a vast world made smaller with a click of a button. Touching upon themes like consumerism, industrializationn and self consumption, his paintings can be dubbed ironic, alarming yet surreally real. 

 
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dina goldstein

Interview

With her perfect golden locks, long tanned limbs, and a boyfriend that gives Chris Hemsworth a run for his biceps, barbie might seem like she struck gold. But Canadian photographer Dina Goldstein has defied the common notion of perfection and challenged the true meaning of “happily ever after.” in her photographic series in the dollhouse, she reenacts barbie’s life with ken in human sized-proportions and draws a perfect image of what we don’t see beyond the pantone pink walls, proving that life in plastic may be after all not so fantastic.

 
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DAN LYDERSEN

Interview

In the world of Dan Lydersen, the beautiful and the gory, the pop and the neoclassical, the fictional and the real all come to interplay - somewhat forming a utopia where all these elements live in harmony. His paintings are more like a visceral moment or a dream that you don't have a recollection of: that playdate you had with Ronald Mcdonald, that never-ending stroll through the park, or that time you built a sand castle on the beach.

 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 24

 

"Scotch tapes EVERYWHERE!!!", screamed Mr.B incessantly – in his ever melodramatic tone. It took 243 Campbell soups, 68 pills, 10 inflatables, 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio and a countless number of Scotch tapes to recreate the works of famous pop artists, for our second edition of The Art Issue. In the art world, there's a very thin line between art and reality. In museums, this line is actually drawn on the floor, watched heavily by security cameras, mounted by a "Please Don't Touch" sign and a black security girl. By laws of human nature, we are always tempted to poke. What is it made of? What does it mean? What the hell was the artist smoking? Our doll has broken outside her box and crossed all the lines. Not only does she break the art, but – like a caterpillar – she also takes its shape and blends with it until she becomes it. Yet she is made of Plastik*. And if PLASTIK breaks - there's no amount of Scotch tapes in the world that could fix that.

 
 
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EUGENIA LOLI

Interview

As paper, glue and scissors made way for cut and paste I digitalized tools, collage art has made A striking comeback in recent years. California based Eugenia Loli is one one of the genre’s most successful representatives, Plastik interviewed the queen of collages to ask her about her work, the revival of collage art and much more.

 
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Haruhiko Kawaguchi

Interview

Haruhiko Kawaguchi, better known as photographer hal, has traveled the world with his intimate images of young couples happily in love. We see them cramped together in bathtubs or vacuum-packed in plastic. Hal’s work is all about love, yet at the same time, offers a wonderful cross section of Tokyo’s young, vibrant and very colorful club scene. 

 

GRAY MALIN

Interview

American Photographer Gray Malin adores snow and sand. So much is clear from his hundreds of images showing golden beaches, turquoise waters and white ski slopes that are brought to life by brightly-colored jackets, bikinis and umbrellas. For his series A LA PLAGE, he traveled across six continents to photograph life at the beach from the air, while more recently he set sail the Antarctic.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 23

 

I still remember that night in april 2009 like it was yesterday. It was 2am, I was back at my old place in Gemmayze with two of my best friends at the time to celebrate the launching party of Plastik. As they recalled earlier parts of the evening, I was mainly feeling happy to have started something I was passionate about. So passionate in fact, that I had spent my 22nd birthday on indesign. A year later, Plastik came to life; I was 23 and that first issue was the end of my life as a young boy. From collecting magazine cut outs as a child and wondering about being part of that world, to thinking local magazines can be done differently, to actually doing it. It wasn't planned, but it happened, and kept on happening... It was the first edition of plastik when candy* joined this journey. Five years on, through the ups and downs of the industry and regional upheavals, we both remained loyal to our love for Plastik. It is that common dedication, and the support of an efficient team, that kept fueling our vision. In 2012, plastik went global, reaching audiences all around the world. But I hope our biggest achievement was inspiring the younger generation and helping create a ripple effect in the local scene, proving that creatively satisfying. careers can be home grown.

 
 
 
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DANIEL GORDON

Interview

The Amsterdam photography museum (foam) in march selected Daniel Gordon as the winner of the 8th paul huf award, which is handed out annually to an exceptional young photographer under 35 years old. The award comes with €20,000 in prize money and a solo exhibition at the museum later this year.
 

 
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rYAN HOUSSARI 

Interview

Earlier this year, Plastik's Eli Rezkallah and Ryan Houssari launched their fashion brand. Ryan Houssari's collection for fall/winter 2014 - 2015 hovers between the mary and the marilyn in every woman. Inspired by a virtual escale of the virgin in sin city, the collection of 16 looks features body-con, Scuba dresses and neoprene skirts juxtaposed with silk bomber jackets with prints like “god’n’gosling” and “the fabulous Mary in las vegas.” think Almodóvar heroines by-way-of-miles aldridge – offering drama with attitude. In his usual quick-spirited flair, Ryan Houssari, the designer behind the brand, shares with us some of his inspirations and all of his favorite things.
 

 
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SAINT HOAX

Interview

In the past few months, the social media platform has been buzzing with images of political leaders dressed-up as flamboyant drag queens. The visual artist behind the controversy remains anonymous, conducting worldwide interviews under the pseudonym Saint Hoax. Plastik interviewed him to get a deeper understanding of his pop-political message and discuss his latest projects.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 22

 

There is an art to being particular*.Ever since I’ve learnt how to master it, it makes me feel like I am one step ahead of everyone. As an editor, you develop a razor-sharp eye and an ability to capture l’air du temps. In today’s world of excess and access, finding the devil in the details seems harder than keeping up with everything that’s going on. During “the festive season,” your job gets even harder. You are overwhelmed by a sea of collaborations, bombarded by an ocean of promotions, brainwashed by notions of what you think you might need.

Christmas is the new Mardi Gras –we feed on it like no-one’s business. Santa is getting fatter each year. They have not only invented the means but also the needs: the wish list, the gift guide, the limited-edition-this-and-that, the Black Friday, the Cyber Monday…retailers would do anything to get you spending your hard-earned cash. Sales people spot you from afar with their laser-beam eyes, and just as they are coming towards you (tense music playing) you ward them off with two brutal words: JUST. LOOKING. Done! And if there is a chance for Round 2, you are protected by one lethal weapon – the customer is ALWAYS right. It is in our nature and psyche to be repelled by an act of desperation. Yet, in the midst of all this madness, HOW DO YOU PRESS THE PAUSE BUTTON? In the old days of VHS and Walkman, we had to push Pause before we hit Play. The tape or cassette needed its time to digest the command before it executes it. This seems like a privilege today. We eat up words, fast-forward through films, and if there is a slow song once in a blue moon, we remix the hell out of it.

“Work hard, earn big” does not apply to this day of age. Success is measured by the amount of likes you have on Facebook, the followers on your Twitter account or if you become an overnight Instagram sensation. We have created a million ways for exhibitionism, but not one system that governs the social decay. Yet ART remains the only cultural arbiter of our time. In this issue, we question its endurance against the nuisance of politics and commercialism. But then there is the art of choosing what to take in despite all temptations and all sorts of pollution. Being particular has always been the cornerstone of our magazine’s vision. We CUT, EDIT and SELECT for you to enjoy the finer things in life. Just like a simple chemical equation, we SEPARATE the nylon from the fiberglass…and all that remains is PLASTIK*.

 
 
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Paul thomas

Interview

Tall, tanned, young and not-so-lovely…Cameron Diaz’s femme fatale character in Ridley Scott’s the counselor demands a matching “killa” wardrobe. Creative director at Thomas Wylde, Paula Thomas, jumped to the mission, with scissors in hands and a lot of Hollywood flaire, creating some of the most iconic looks in the history of modern cinema..

 
 
 

PLASTIK 21

 

There is a moment when you board a plane on the way home from a long summer holiday, you take your seat, buckle up, lights are dimmed for takeoff, and you gaze through that tiny hole at the bottom of the window in utter silence. Your fate is in the hands of the pilot, while you are devoid of everything – all you have is residues: the tan you got in ST.TROPEZ, the postcard you purchased in BARCELONA, the sunset you watched in MYKONOS, and the tunes that got stuck in your head from the closing parties in IBIZA. It was the summer we stayed up all night to GET LUCKY, blasted off to bed and all we could see is BLURRED LINES before the fiesta turned into a siesta and we thought to ourselves, “WAKE ME UP WHEN IT’S ALL OVER.” It is the very moment when you realize that the fun time is over. FALL is when things fall back into place. You will sit at your desk the next morning and tell your stories to your coworkers, while everything would seem so diaphanous, so distant and surreal. All the I MISS YOUs and WISH YOU WERE HEREs are only encrypted in your memory. You were on a virtual flight to LA LA LAND. I’ve always hated that moment. Some call it SUMMERTIME SADNESS, others call it POST-HOLIDAY BLUES. But I’ve also learnt to live with it. Because once you’re up in the air, there is a certain feeling of closure – and that in itself is comforting. The lights will be on again, you’ll be free to leave your seat, have a little chitchat with the stranger next to you – and when you run out of things to say about the war or the weather – you’ll reach out for your carry on and pull out votre plaisir coupable: the latest issue of PLASTIK. It is that moment. 

 
 
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IGNASI MONREAL

 

Interview

Spanish-born Ignasi Monreal will only turn 23 by the end of august and yet he is already one of the hottest and most sought-after fashion illustrators and graphic designers in the world today. His work appeared in, among other publications, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Spain, V Magazine Spain, Candy and Dolce & Gabbana’s online magazine swide.

 
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GREGOIRE GUILLEMAIN 

Interview

As spiderman puts his teeth into a Hamburger, the mighty hulk rolls a Joint, and wonder woman is going to the Loo, batman and robin do what everyone Thought they would do when not fighting Evil: making love! In the secret life of Superheroes, french artist Gregoire Guillemin offers us a glimpse of the Superhero’s life that normally remains. Behind closed doors in the marvel and dComic books. Greg guillemin is a french illustrator In his 40s who is not afraid to listen to his inner geek. While most people would  consider the latter a negative term, Guillemin cherishes it. To him, it refers to Any adult who has not yet lost the ability To play, and who dares say so. While the secret life of superheroes Represents his biggest success to date, Guillemin has a whole range of other Works that can be admired on his website. See for example his rather minimalist Series of film posters and his series of Capsules that, in a few lines, capture The essence of such icons as che, dali or Ghandi. Guillemin also draws his own Cartoons. Plastik* asked the creative genius about Being a child, a geek, a superhero and An ‘eclectic graphical gamer,’ as thatIs what Gregoire Guillemin likes to call himself.

 
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CHRIS BRACEY 

Interview

For some 20 odd years, britain’s neon man Chris Bracey created the designs that lured customers into the red light district of soho. Today, his work adorns paris catwalks, Hollywood movie sets, hip art galleries and just about every self-respecting celebrity’s bedroom

 
 
 

PLASTIK 20

 

Beirut, may 28th, 2013 –every editor has His fix. After closing each issue, I would Divorce myself as a reader from myself as An editor. Then I would anxiously wait. For that pink elf – that’s how I’ve always Imagined him – travelling from a magical place far, far Away, to place it on my doorstep, or hotel room, fresh Out of print, and enclosed with a note: “to candy*, who’s Been keeping me on a sugar rush since we first met.” The fresh smell of ink, the weightlessness of the paper, The whisper of a page flip, and the power of the visuals– Everything about it was intoxicating. This was my candy. But I wanted more. The taste was still bitter. I wanted You to try it and tell me how it is. Then I watched as we Grew wider on your shelves and higher on your coffee Tables. I saw how we lived in the back of your minds And on the walls of your bedrooms…and I wondered if You had a pink elf too. I love what I do. After 19 issues and 19 notes, I have Learned to rise above the quest to finding the complete Taste. I know now that candy can be rock-hard, but once you’ve crushed it, boy it can be very sweet! To the pink elf…

 
 
 
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MARK RYDEN

Interview

Fans of Mark Ryden’s fantasy world featuring fuzzy animals, big-eyed girls, meat and big daddy Abraham Lincoln will be delighted to learn that taschen has now published a popular, and more affordable, edition of his “carnival of curiosities.” first issued in 2011, the big-format and limited edition of pinxit was gorgeous, yet came with a hefty price tag of close to $1,000. With an eye on the new book, Plastik* asked the celebrated American artist about Abraham, Alice, raw meat and other major sources of inspiration.

 
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JEAN-MARC GADY

Interview

To stand out amidst the over saturation of sameness, one must confront the system–of monotony, that is. We all know that, but what we do not know is the process behind it. In an interview with Plastik, the up-and-coming parisian designer Jean-Marc Gady tells us how he transfers all the inspiration running in his stream-of-thought to reality.

 
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MARWAN CHAMAA

Interview

Marwan Chamaa’s la dolce vitaco nsists of 12 paintings, of which each can be admired as an individual work of art, yet really should be seen as one. As such, measuring some 22 meters in length, it must be one of the world’s largest art works. La dolce vita is like a visual novel on billboards. “it’s a synopsis of this generation’s fascination with a glamorous and materialistic lifestyle at all costs,” said  Chamaa.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 19

 

How far would you go for fame? We spend our childhood years collecting cutouts of our favorite stars, thinking that "someday, I'm going to be there too." They lived on the walls of our bedrooms for as long as it took us to realize that we shall never be like them. In Hollywood, there is always a story of a small-town girl who waited at a diner or that one who crossed the border from Mexico on a small boat to pursue her dream- the dream. Our girl is different. She whores her way up to the fame game. Nothing can stop her. At night, she lives in the bedrooms of her favorite stars, and in the day, a figure of James Dean beams through the light and haunts her like a ghost. Here, your dreams are either shattered or manufactured. There is nothing "holy" about Hollywood. It's a town based on the art of make-belief. And we will always believe. To the child in us who still
collects cutouts. 

 
 
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Liu bolin

Interview

While scores of people around the world have tagged walls with an “I was here” slogan, Chinese artist Liu Bolin has continuously made a point of not being there. By painstakingly disguising himself in the colors of his surroundings, the 40-year old simply vanishes, as he becomes one with a wall of magazines, a grocery store or a shop selling panda dolls. 
Liu Bolin is china’s invisible man, known around the world as the “human chameleon.”

 
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OLGA RODIONOVA & ELLEN VON UNWERTH

Interview

Following the overwhelming success of the book of Olga, russia’s answer to Greece’s very own Aphrodite, Olga Rodionova, has teamed up with german Photographer Ellen Von Unwerth for yet another journey into the realm of beauty and desire

 
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LINDER STERLING

Interview

As punk rockers cut up clothes and called for radical change, inder sterling’s collages of cut-up images challenged die-hard archetypes of sex, sexuality and the female body as
a lustful object.

 
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KASIA DOMANSKA

Interview

Polish-born Kasia Domanska’s hyperrealist images depict a colorful world of bright blue skies, flowers and bikinis. Plastik talked to the New York-based artist about fact and fiction, beauty and the things that move her. Arnout van Albada’s studio is his kitchen. Quite literally at times, for the Dutch artist loves his food and loves to paint food, anything from raw vegetables and Spanish hams to sardines and cream cakes. In the history of art, food is a well known symbol of the “vanity of vanities” the simple truth that all creation must perish. However, more than rubbing our noses in deeper meanings, Van Albada aims to convey the monumental beauty of such a simple food item as fennel or a pudding. And he does so with such a photographic eye for detail, that it really makes you want to have a bite … 

 
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YUE MINJUN 

Interview

When confronted with the madness of the world, what else to do but smile? Is laughter not said to be the best medicine?

 

 
 

PLASTIK 18

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RUUD VAN EMPEL

Interview

Dutch artist Ruud Van Empel creates photographic images that come across as both idealistic and realistic, and yet they really are collages painstalkingly constructed out of thousands and thousands of snapshots. Life has been busy or late for the 54-year-old. In late 2011, his latest book Ruud Van Empel, photo works 1995-2010 was published, while currently the San Diego museum of photographic arts hosts a major retrospective of his work. Plastik talked with Van Empel about his world and work, his views and visions.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 17

 

We choose to live in a parallel universe, in the everlasting quest for a beauty devoid of vanity, untarnished by the horrors of everyday reality. And if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then what we see is beyond what this universe holds. We have been dreaming of a beautiful future since the first break of dawn. And now that we have stopped dreaming, we ask: if this is the future, then why isn’t it beautiful? So we persevere with the same mindset, watching windmills going in circles and clocks ticking backwards, hoping to get us back to a time when we used to dream – le temp du rêve. But in THE SECOND COMING, we will not have planted seeds of malice or lost our innocence, nor will we have the pleasure of ruining what is beautiful again.

 
 
 
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EUGÉNIE VeRNIER

Interview

The photographs of Eugénie Vernier Femininity First. It is an example of Europe at its best. German publishing house Hirmer in September released Fashion, Femininity & Form, the first ever book on “forgotten” french photographer Eugenie Vernier, who became famous for working for Vogue in the UK in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The book brings together over 100 images that wrote fashion history. 

 
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JOANNA VASCONCELOS 

Interview

Versailles has ventured into contemporary art. following, among others, Jeff Koons and Takashi murakami, it is currently the portuguese artist Joanna Vasconcelos who has livened up the palace’s lavish rooms with her fantastic and colorful creations. however, she did so not without problems, as some of her works were deemed too sexual. strange, as sex was one of the royal french court’s favorite pastimes.
 

 
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EDWARD HOPPER

Interview

One of America’s all-time great artists, Edward Hopper painted the rise of urban America, in which the individual seems totally out of place. he thereby had a particular interest for in between spaces, such as hotels, offices and bars, places that are inhabited by people passing by.
 

 
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MARTIN PARR 

Interview

British photographer martin parr does not tend to make life more beautiful than it Is.He documents reality around him, yet does so with an eye for all things off and odd. Not the designer dress takes center stage, but the champagne stain above the Belly. "With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality,” Parr once said. “I try and do this by taking society's natural prejudice and giving this a twist."

 
 
 

PLASTIK 16

 

we love ldn

 

There is the home you were born to, and the home you make for yourself. And then there is London*. It is where the heart belongs. Every corner is a chance for magic to happen: a whiff of an idea, an inspiration, an opportunity. It is the hub of the world that makes you want to grab life by the horns, and not let it go. You can be yourself, you can be someone else, but you can never be “different.” There is no other place on earth that has changed the course of history as London. From punk to dubstep, the Beatles to the Spice Girls, Mary Quant to Mary Poppins, Queen to McQueen… this is where it all happened. And this summer, this is where ALL is happening. This issue is an ode to the city that we can call home. London - we love you, baby!

 
 
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rankin x ayami nishimura

Interview

For the past ten years, Ayami Nishimura has shaped the pages of the world’s most famous fashion magazines and the looks of the prettiest models with her paint brushes. Meanwhile, Rankin was one of the most prolific photographers of his generation, shooting the likes of Madonna, Adele, Marc Jacobs and LindsAy Lohan. But deep down, both of them confess to beING mostly “fascinated by faces.” After having collaborated on different projects including Dazed and Confused covers, Rankin and Ayami decided to fuse their talents once more, but this time into a book. The story of this unique moment of artistic symbiosis is available worldwide alongside exhibitions at THE Annroy Gallery in London, The Rankin Gallery in LA, and Diesel Gallery in Japan. Pushing the limits of makeup art and photography, the book presents a series of close up beauty shots using as little special effects as possible. Ayami Nishimura completely redesigned her models'  faces as if they were a sculpture or a landscape. For inspiration, she plunged into her childhood memories of Japan, the sceneries and special sense of femininity. Plastik met with the artists to find out more.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 15

 

spring has sprung!

 

There is something in the air this time of year. A feeling that heralds energy, excitement, and “newness.” But this feeling isn’t exactly new; we portrayed it in drawings as little kids, recited it in poems in school and heard Frank Sinatra hum about it on the radio as adults. Spring has sprung! After odorless, drowsy weeks, we see the first rays of sun and catch the first glimpse of color everywhere around us. It is a new energy that pumps life into PLASTIK*.  

This issue is buzzing with new collections, new art exhibitions and lots and lots of inspirational guests – many of them have been our heroes all along. From Terry Richardson and Michel Haddi, to Damine Hirst and Christian Louboutin, we celebrate the world’s most genuine visionaries that keep us thriving for a beauty far from being manufactured. In fact, “manufactured” is a word that has been linked closely to girl of the moment Lana Del Rey; and in that respect, we decipher the phenomenon that she is now and the fashion world’s obsession with her in Vintage Americana. Her music and style have been adopted on most runways for this spring, prompting nostalgia to 1950’s Americana and the optimism of the tailfin era. It’s spring, alright! It is no time to reflect, it is time to push the refresh button and set new goals. It is a sugar rush –like a kid who got high after eating too much candy, and boy, we have lots of that!

 
 
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neelanthi vavidel

Interview

With larger-than-life designs, captivating story and highly talented cast of dancers, Cirque du Soleil’s longest running masterpiece Saltimbanco continues to mesmerize audiences from all continents of the world after 20 years of touring. Today, and for the first time ever, this visual extravaganza will stage its magic in Beirut. The show’s artistic director Neelanthi Vavidel gave us a rare glimpse into Cirque’s vision of an urban metropolis, its flamboyant inhabitants and language of colors. Saltimbanco will make your heart skip a bit. 

 
 
 

PLASTIK 14

 

auld lang style

 

AAnd so it is a new year. Just like the backside of a can, our world is processed with an expiration date. We get told to “use by” and “best before” since the day we first open our eyes to this universe. And every now and then we press the “refresh” button to start brand new.  Our resolutions are only but goals we put on the shelf for some time and yet they seem to linger on our to-do list every year hoping that this would be the time. After three years of living in a parallel world, we decided that this is the time the outside world fitted the universe we inhabited. For three years, we have been the protagonists in our own fairytale, the sailors of our own ship, but we have communicated through channels of visual and visceral emotions. Now is the time we sail our ship and tell our tale to the whole world. In Plastik’s first international issue, we take a look back at the key moments that shaped the year before we move on and explore exciting new things to come. And throughout this journey, we persevere with the same grain in our voice and the same convictions. For the power of words and the power of images have no shelf life. Neither do our dreams. 

 
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MR. brainwash

Interview

HAS THE ART WORLD JUST DISCOVERED ITS GREATEST GEM SINCE PABLO PICASSO, OR IS MR. BRAINWASH THE LATEST PRANK BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WORLD´S GREATEST UNKNOWN ARTIST, BANKSY?
  

 
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walter van beirdock

Interview

IF YOU WERE TO BUMP IN TO WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK ON A BACK STREET OF ANTWERP, YOUR FIRST REACTION MIGHT BE TO JUST TURN AND RUN. WITH HIS SHAVEN HEAD, LONG BEARD AND RINGED FINGERS, THE BELGIAN DESIGNER LOOKS LIKE A HEAVY METAL BIKER FROM HELL. WALTER LIKES IT THAT WAY. WHEN PHOTOGRAPHED, HE MAKES IT A SPORT TO LOOK AS MEAN AS MEAN CAN BE. IN REAL LIFE HOWEVER, HE’S A SOFT SPOKEN (TEDDY) BEAR, WHO LOVES A LAUGH AND YEAR IN, YEAR OUT SIGNS FOR SOME OF THE MOST THEATRICAL AND CUTTING EDGE COLLECTIONS ON THE EUROPEAN CIRCUIT. 

 
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craig redman

Interview

ONE OF THE HOTTEST NAMES IN THE WORLD OF ILLUSTRATION AND GRAPHIC DESIGN TODAY IS NEW YORK-BASED AUSSIE CRAIG REDMAN. THE MAN FROM DOWN UNDER CREATED THE ONE-EYED AND EGG-SHAPED DARCEL, WHO COMMENTS ON LIFE IN A VERY COLORFUL AND YET MISERABLE WAY.
  

 
 
 

PLASTIK 13

 

the hero & the hoe...

 

When Marilyn stood in Madison Square Garden In front of 15,000 people including John F Kennedy, ex president of the United States, at his fundraising birthday party, it was merely an act of charitable nature. She wore a skin-tight flesh-colored bomber with shimmery beds(and nothing under!), and in her heathy, sultry voice, she hummed “Happy Birthday, Mr President!” - the bedtime version. She looked butter-wouldn’t melt-in-her-mouth, but it would in his. They were the two most powerful people in the world. He was the hero and SHE was the whore. It is a story as old as time - a man with all the power in the word is helpless under the spell of an enchanting woman. And a woman with all the beauty in the world is pulled, by nature towards a powerful man. It is as if the universe conspires to create this balance, when powers collide and one is bound to wipe the other out. Even in Marvel’s universe - a comic depiction of our world - they created Superheroes with chiseled abs, death-defying skills and paranormal strength, but they also had to create the sexy “whoresome” siren to humble them down. But would Superman ever divert his powers and use them against Lois Lane? No. It is a natural progression. We spend our whole lives in the quest for money for growth and for power. Yet once we see what we need the most in another, we give our power away. To every young boy who dreams of being a Superhero, and every young girl who dreams of being Marilyn Monroe. 

 
 
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nadine labaki

Interview

Triggered by the clashes of May 2008 on the streets of Beirut, Nadine Labaki decided to keep her bitter emotions locked down and turn them into a storyline that questions the world we live in today. Her award-winning new film Where Do We Go Now? is a tale about mothers and their struggle to maintain peace in a wholesome Lebanese village torn by concurrent religious feuds. After several screenings at international film festivals, the film reaches its home turf and faces a tough audience that is also the protagonist. labaki is An artist that communicates on a high level of sensitivity, with a tear in her eye, and hopes that her film might somehow make a difference. 

 
 
 

PLASTIK 12

 

Vampires of beirut

 

And so it is summer in Beirut! The Skybarellas and Capitol­ists are on full power, ready to spend their GCC-stamped paychecks popping Moets and hopping from one rooftop bar to another. But who cares if a year's worth of salary earned in Dubai evaporates in a few hours, so long as you "grab somebody sexy tell em hey!" It is a quite an adventure, from one concrete jungle to another plastic jungle. They are the creatures of the night. They go around us in daytime, locked up to their Blackberrys and Cartier "Love" bracelets, flashing the latest Vilbrequin tropical prints (Just be careful they don't "ping" you!). Come nighttime, they have sucked up all the Red Bull in their sole mission to dance the night away. It is as if there is a virtual code to finding each other; a program they all stick to.

Oh, everyone knows the program: sunset at Iris, dinner at Mama's, warm up at Capitale, pass by to say "hi" to your friends at Whiskey Mist - wait we haven't reached the good part yet - sneak your way up to Sky Bar, tally up the drinks at Pier 7, before you find yourself watching the sunrise at BO (skip "1B11 - it is sooo last century!). But before the birth of the so-called II Happy Nation, 11 there was a time in Beirut when nightlife had a genuine meaning. It was the 1990s - the time of short skirts and underground "Super Nightclubs" - we used to walk down the stairs, get blinded by the "crazy" lights, before we sipped a whole bottle of J&B on the rocks. Today, the whole focus shifted upwards - and I'm not just talking about the skirts - but instead of the stairs, we go up a lift, and instead of the crazy lights, we have people going crazy for the fireworks in the sky. It was a time before Facebooking replaced the art of 3-D conversation, when TV was our YouTube, and when Maria Mercedes was our Hanna Montana. We devoured on watching beauty pageants; "Miss Lebanon" was a national pride, yet today, it is believed that 1 in 5 girls in Lebanon holds a title. Before they became BBMos, they were Bimbos. Here is to the Bimbo Years!

 
 
 
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paul smith

Interview

After 32 years since the opening of his first shop in London’s Covent Garden, Paul Smith has built a global brand upon traditional notions of design with an unexpected pop twist that speaks to our time. At the event of a traveling exhibition showcasing his stamped objects in Beirut, Sir Paul talked to PLASTIK* about the mystery artist, his future collaborations, and how important it is to maintain the brand’s core philosophy in this ever-expanding market. 

 
 
 

PLASTIK 11

 

chic shack shock!

 

I was in my hotel room in Paris during Fashion Week, when I saw a footage of Lady Gaga opening the Thierry Muglar show on CNN, fittingly cinched somewhere between Seif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s notorious speech and the recent developments on the Libyan frontier. I stood transfixed in front of the TV screen for three minutes, but I didn’t know what news struck me to the core the most. Somewhere in between Gaga and “Gadda” –the former parading her claws on the runway, while the latter self-righteously flaunting his to the whole world – it suddenly hit me that fashion and politics are even more correlated than you could ever imagine. In the past 24 hours, John Galliano’s anti Semitic proclamations had made it to “breaking news,” and so did Christophe Decarnin’s disappearance at his show for Balmain after allegedly checking himself in to a mental institution. Needless to say, Galliano was dismissed from Dior, and Decarnin from Balmain. It was a “chic” shock  – sans the grotesque and bloody package of your average news story - but still has all the ingredients that make it eligible to infiltrate your home and shake your very well being.

The fact that such stories warrants that amount of exposure during prime time at a powerful news agency, in the midst of all the turmoil around the world, shows that the word “fashion” is only sugarcoating for a political scheme. The big fashion corporations are playing a game of Monopoly; they are ruthlessly taking acquisition of everything on the board, and they are willing to bend the rules in their conquest. No one cares about the butler in the hotel, or the poor worker on the railroads. They can even take hold of your name. Because fashion as we know it is no longer regarded as a form of fine art; it is a business that has its roots deeply planted in the political mud. Only the pure, creative minds can lift it up. There has been a major shift in the system over the past couple of months alone, yet someday they will hold the system together. But until that day comes, we will have our shares of “chic” shocks.

 
 
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peter marino

Interview

Emerging from Andy Warhol’s circle of trust in the 70s, peter marino put his stamp on the world’s most coveted retail spaces, including the newly opened Chanel store in Beirut’s central district. The starchitect talks to Plastik about his love for renaissance sculptures and his ideal escape on a motorbike.

 
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rabih kayrouz

Interview

Rabih Kayrouz recently opened a new boutique in the Beirut port area. Plastik sat down with the celebrated fashion designer and asked him about the location, his earliest fashion memories, the ins and outs of his latest collection, his fantasy of being an “aesthetic dictator,” and much, much more.  

 
 
 

PLASTIK 10

 

while the iron is hot

 

I am sitting in my bedroom, and next to my bed, there is a MacBook, an iPad, a Blackberry, and three remote controls: one for the TV, another for the DVD player, and a third for the iPod dock. With a touch of a button, I would be involuntarily yet knowingly transformed into another world. We are a generation raised by the power of the remote control and taken by the theory that everything is within our grasp, thus our control. We want everything the way we expect it to be, and whenever something goes wrong, we panic, we malfunction, just like a machine.  It is an idea that has been planted in our heads by the monsters of technology – this delusional custody of power. The power of now. So we strike while the iron is hot, as if we are in a constant battle with time. It has taken hold of our life, so much that we don’t recognize the joy of life anymore. Because we are not human beings, we are consumers. We are always on the lookout for the new cell phone model, the new it-bag, the new it-story (…). Our time is lost in the pursuit of things. None is left to process them. For before you know it, there is a new “it” item just around the corner. And if you snooze, you lose. We strike while the iron is hot. That is exactly what is happening to the world today. The domino effect. One move triggers another. One uprising fuels another. Systems are falling with a touch of a button. Facebook and Twitter are more powerful than any political structure. Groups form online before they assemble on the streets, provoked, not by a “cause,” but by this very delusional possession of power. And with this power, they seek even more power. Until the day comes when they realize that the iron was so hot they burnt themselves. We are slaves to the rhythm: the “tick” that buzzes from our Blackberries, the “tweet” that peeps from our iPhones. The art of conversation has lost itself to the art of BBMing. The Hannah Montana generation has their thumbs always on the go. Like a synchronized event – heads down, eyes spinning left and right, back and forth – today’s kids learn texting before their ABCs. Their actual expressions are replaced by emoticons, and their smiles by LOLs (God forbid there is too many “O’s” in this one because that, my friend, is truly hitting rock bottom!) It really makes you wonder if they will ever stop and enjoy the essence of life, while they are Tweeting their way to college. If necessity is the mother of invention, how did we invent that many needs? So what if we don’t get 3 million “likes” on our profile picture? Would it kill us if we don’t Tweet Lady Gaga’s new video or Anne Hathaway’s dress at the Oscars just as she is stepping out of her limo? But then I look again at all the buttons in my bedroom and contemplate my options: I could escape, or I could live the now, “my” now, liberated from the chains of electromagnetic waves. With a touch of a button, I could escape. Yet instead, I lose my self to the good old-fashioned joy of reading a magazine. There is my power. The power of words. And there is nothing delusional about that! 

 
 
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BERNARD KHOURY

Interview

One of Lebanon’s most celebrated architects, Bernard Khoury, does not just talk the talk, but puts the money where his mouth is with cutting edge designs that at once blend in and stand out. Plastik asked him about the state of architecture within the rapidly changing landscape of modern day Beirut. A pretty picture? 

 
 
 

PLASTIK 09

 

and then there was elissa

 

Yes, she is a diva. Yes, she is not exactly “easy” to work with. Doubt them no more, the legends are true! But, then again, would we ever look up to a star* were it not so high and far from within our reach? For a second year in a row, Elissa has embraced our December cover and graced our editorial pages to herald the festive season. But a lot has changed since last year; to say the least, she has added another multi-million selling album to her repertoire and a third World Music Award to her library shelves. To crown a glorious year in her life, Plastik* decided to showcase Elissa out of her usual photographic context. In “The Lady Who Stole Christmas,” (page 142) she plays a rather strong young woman who, despite her wolf-whispering skills, is susceptible to a vicious circle that conspires against her well being (not so far a cry from her reality..). But far from this dark Christmas fairytale (with arguably a happy ending), she gives a sensual, breathtaking performance in “Cry Me A River” (page 160.) Torn by her lover’s incessant betrayals and negligence, watch her float across life as she helplessly struggles to stop the waterworks and plot her escape. A melodramatic take on Roy Lichtenstein comic clichés crossed with a Guy Bourdin aesthetic, “Cry Me A River” depicts the Lebanese singing star as you have never seen her before. To learn whether fiction imitates life, discover things you may not know about Elissa on page 154. We heard it all since the dawn of time: Christmas is about giving, sharing, and all that jazz. This is the time when we call in Plastik* Santa (yes, he is real – he runs around in a pantone pink beard et al.). He has enclosed a 2011 PLASTIK* CALENDAR free with your purchase of this copy. Sponsored by Absolute Vodka, this marks our magazine’s very first calendar with 12 months to feast your eyes on all-time favorite Plastik* visuals, taken from past issues. We also heard this one: Christmas is a time to dream. But if there is any one who has been more capable of selling us dreams than Christmas, it is Walt Disney. Read about the man who turned a product of fantasy into a fantastic product, on page 128.But this we may have heard the most: Christmas is a time to forgive. And “forgive” is what they do on Desperate Housewives- of course, after dishing each other’s dirt, sleeping with each other’s husbands, and setting each other’s houses on fire. Wisteria Lane’s dirty laundry is all hung up on page 64. Yet after all what you heard, may we add this:  Christmas is a time to wish*. And so WISH UPON A STAR. For no matter how far it may be, once in a blue moon, it falls to remind us allThat sometimes it needs to be grounded. To make your wish come true.

 
 
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rana salam

Interview

Under the telling title “Capturing Culture,” Rana Salam on November 24 opened BAC Design, a program dedicated to promoting creative products made by local Lebanese designers. Usually concerned with contemporary art only, it is the first time the Beirut Art Center (BAC) focuses on design, thus recognizing it as a fully grown and respectable member of the
arts family.                                                                      

 
 
 

PLASTIK 08

 

the father, the son and the holy fairouz

 

A few days before the magazine went to print, I felt a deep urge to write out of anger and disappointment about what we have turned into. Sadly, I realized that I have been living in an environment where I have kind of obligation to spend my Sundays at “La Plage” not only pressing the flesh with the who’s who in Botox society, but also helplessly overhearing “the young and the restless” crowd (a.k.a the “4pm-ers” or the “happy nation”) complain about how much they hated “White” the night before (knowing that deep inside – trust me - they had an amazing time!). In other words, classic Lebanese “Je l'aime, mais je ne peux pas montrer.”But the topic du jour revolved around – as always – status symbolism in Lebanon. I listened in to two guys argue over how much one should pay a valet at “Al Mandaloun” in order to get his car parked at the entrance and guarantee an evening full of stares and endless “oohs!” and “ahhs!” by the unfortunate ones who - God forbid - have to “wait” for their cars. It is not enough that valets have become more powerful than the President – it seems like every 10 meters one pops out of nowhere to prevent you from parking because they have confiscated that space earlier and claimed it as their own; but they are also the most tipped. So,I couldn’t help but be intrigued to hear the ending of this intense two hour conversation.

Apparently, “the head of valets” classifies people into two categories named after famous Lebanese family names: “Shehade” (translates into “beggers”) are those who pay 20,000 L.L max, and “Karam” (or “generosity”) that pay up to - gasp - $100 to get their exclusive spot near the entrance. I did not know what bothered me the most: the fact that two well educated men spend their precious Sunday lunchtime mingling over a valet’s worth like watching a lousy episode of “Gossip Girl,” or the fact that their story is unfortunately true. And then it hit me: if every single Lebanese were born with a survival manual of the city in hand, we would not spend our times trying to decipher the codes of status and prestige, or even worse, abide by them. When will we stop buying into this “purchased” joy, and find genuine happiness in simple matters? Who are we trying to impress?

 
 
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LESLIE ZEMECKIS

Interview

Earlier this year, the documentary “Behind the Burly Q” was released in theaters. Its director, actress Leslie Zemeckis, talked to Plastik about the art of burlesque, striptease, and the reason for making the film, which received great reviews in the US. 

 
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KAREN KARAM

Interview

Since escaping the war in Beirut as a child (“by jumping into a painting!”), the London-based designer has been busy pumping life and cheekiness in an industry that takes itself a bit too seriously. Her quirky numbers, tainted with hints of surrealism, have adorned the hottest A-list bodies and were featured in fashion’s most coveted bibles. Read as she talks about bringing her joie de vivre to McQueen and creates her very own wonderland.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 07

 

THE lipstick era

 

 “La mode et la musique.. c’est identique!” ’s witty remark could not be more fitting a description of the genuine love affair between fashion and music. And since PLASTIK too is a firm believer in the art world’s most sacred liaison, we decided to honor it with the release of our  very first CD compilation. is not your usual music album, for it is simply a pure PLASTIK* product. Each melody is immortalized within the soundtrack of time; each lyric is engraved so deep in your mind it has become part of your daily lingo; and each track is haunted with the memories of an image that once lived on our pages, and thus your walls or creative subconscious.

 “Diamands et Macarons” is that music box from your childhood that got lost in your adolescence. But most of all, it is the soundtrack that has inspired our ideas and nurtured our process of building visual stories for your viewing pleasures.  Diamands - with a “d” - because it is an eclectic fusion of Anglo-Franco hits that have earned PLASTIK’s stamp of approval. Whether you install  it in your car’s CD box, or download it on your , this selection is guaranteed to be the mantra of your day and the radio station of your thoughts. Find “Diamands et Macarons” CD inside your copy of PLASTIK for a chance to listen to our favorite tracks including “Betty Davis Eyes,” “Foule Sentimentale,” and Lagerfeld’s “Something A La Mode.

 
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ZIAD GHANEM

Interview

London’s hottest fashion designer and talk of the town is Lebanese. With his seductive, theatrical and innovative designs, the 34-year-old Ziad Ghanem has taken the British capital by storm. His latest conquest occurred during the most recent edition of the London Fashion Week, where he stole the limelight with his “green” and “recycled” collection and called upon the audience to break free from consumerism with the slogan “I lost my head the day I found my heart.” Ghanem spoke to Plastik about being Lebanese, living in London and (green) couture.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 06

 

because sometimes enough is enough

 

A few days before the magazine went to print, I felt a deep urge to write out of anger and disappointment about what we have turned into. Sadly, I realized that I have been living in an environment where I have kind of obligation to spend my Sundays at “La Plage” not only pressing the flesh with the who’s who in Botox society, but also helplessly overhearing “the young and the restless” crowd (a.k.a the “4pm-ers” or the “happy nation”) complain about how much they hated “White” the night before (knowing that deep inside – trust me - they had an amazing time!). In other words, classic Lebanese “Je l'aime, mais je ne peux pas montrer.”But the topic du jour revolved around – as always – status symbolism in Lebanon. I listened in to two guys argue over how much one should pay a valet at “Al Mandaloun” in order to get his car parked at the entrance and guarantee an evening full of stares and endless “oohs!” and “ahhs!” by the unfortunate ones who - God forbid - have to “wait” for their cars. It is not enough that valets have become more powerful than the President – it seems like every 10 meters one pops out of nowhere to prevent you from parking because they have confiscated that space earlier and claimed it as their own; but they are also the most tipped. So,I couldn’t help but be intrigued to hear the ending of this intense two hour conversation. Apparently, “the head of valets” classifies people into two categories named after famous Lebanese family names: “Shehade” (translates into “beggers”) are those who pay 20,000 L.L max, and “Karam” (or “generosity”) that pay up to - gasp - $100 to get their exclusive spot near the entrance. I did not know what bothered me the most: the fact that two well educated men spend their precious Sunday lunchtime mingling over a valet’s worth like watching a lousy episode of “Gossip Girl,” or the fact that their story is unfortunately true. And then it hit me: if every single Lebanese were born with a survival manual of the city in hand, we would not spend our times trying to decipher the codes of status and prestige, or even worse, abide by them. When will we stop buying into this “purchased” joy, and find genuine happiness in simple matters? Who are we trying to impress?

 
 
 
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SONIA RYKIEL

Interview

Sonia Rykiel , the flame -haired grand dame of Paris fashion , launched her own label on the romantic district of Paris ’ Left Bank in May 1968, amid outbursts of student protests and general strikes . Her penchant for making clothes was purely derived from a necessity ; she simply needed soft maternity sweaters when she was pregnant with her daughter , Nathalie . “I imagined kangarooclothes,” she says . “Stackable , collapsible , movable , with no right side , no wrong side , and no hem . Clothes to be worn in the daytime I could refine at night .” Unable to meet her demands , Sonia created her first knitted sweater for a bouti que called “Laura ,” owned by her husband Sam Rykiel in 1962. The design proved so successful that it was featured on the cover of Elle , which urged Sonia to produce many thereafter. Ironically , that very sweater became her most iconic creation that crowned her the title “Queen of Knits ,” and that very daughter would later take on the family business and expand it into a global fashion Empire .

 
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Mel ramos

Interview

Inspired by comic books and the all American art of Pi n-up, Mel Ramos’ work is at once a celebration of the female form and a playful critique on the increased use and sexualization of women in ads and publicity since the 1960s.

 
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nick knight

Interview

One of Britain’s most innovative photographers, Nick Knight has come a long way since his first publication “Skinheads.” From the raw and direct photos shot on the streets of London he moved to masterfully manipulated images for some of the world’s leading designers, musicians and magazines. Yet one thing remains: Knight always aims to push the limit, be it by glamorously portraying disabled people, the elderly, Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine” album or by establishing SHOW studio, one of the world’s leading art and fashion websites.

 
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hayao miyazaki

Interview

Film maker Hayao Miyazaki hates the nickname that has been pinned on him in the West, “the Walt Disney of Japan”. He may have teamed up with Disney to translate and distribute his movies, but Miyazaki is certainly no Walt. If any moniker should apply it is the “Akira Kurosawa of animation.”

 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 05

 

the story of n0.5

 

AA secret blend of roses turns into a few drops of gold. An element of “je ne sais quoi” tells a story never told. Every 55 seconds a bottle is yet to be sold of the best-selling perfume in the world. A scent that has long surpassed the test of time. Where “just yesterday”, “today” and “tomorrow” seem out of line. A smell of luxury  worth every single dime. Marilyn herself wore it in her private shrine. A bottle designed to look larger than life. You can drown in its smell, but you can never dive. And so to keep Mademoiselle’s legend ever so alive. We celebrate our 5th issue with, but of course, Chanel No. 5.

 
 
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KARL LAGERFELD

Interview

It is hard to think of modern fashion without Karl Lagerfeld in the picture. He is arguably the most prolific and obsessive designer of our times; reigning over three fashion empires - Chanel, Fendi, and Karl Lagerfeld - with 11 collections per year, myriad ad campaigns, and countless creative collaborations. No wonder they call him “The Kaiser.”



 
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RICHARD PRINCE

Interview

That is arguably a question asked ever since the first Stone Age bison was drawn on a rock. Is a drawing art? Is a drawing of a drawing art? A painting of a painting? A photo of a photo? Most people will argue that a reproduction is not art, as it does not require a creative, inventive spark. But what if the photo of the photo would be retouched? Given another title? Would it then be art?



 
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PATRICK DEMARCHELIER

Interview

Whether portraying a cheetah in the African savannah, a pool-side nude or an Argentinean ballet dancer in New York, a photograph of Patrick Demarchelier is all about grace. A master of light and composition, and without the use of props or extensive stage designs, he has sculpted an oeuvre of deceiving simplicity and timeless beauty.



 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 04

 

the curious case of tavi

a girl growing up backwards!

 

“Who the hell is this..Tavi??” inquires Mr.B* out of nowhere, somewhere in between the Gare du Nord and the English Channel. I choked on my Grazia. Usually after a hectic week of couture traumas in so-cold Paris, I find great pleasure in treating myself to some trashy fashion reads (Oh, look that Gaga in Armani at the Grammys! And what on earth is Kesha wearing??..) But I have to say, the editor-in-chief’s inquiry was by far the biggest trauma of my week. Of course, Mr. B was referring to the 13 year-old fashion blogger seated in the front row of Chanel couture show like she is the Queen of England (if Her Majesty ever decided to attend a show other than the marching of the guards at her palace). Flaunting a short Twiggy-esque haircut, a thick-framed transparent eyeglasses, and a grandma’s pussy bow with layers on top of layers of her trademark “Clashing Prints Digest” look at its best, Tavi surely put an end to the curiosity surrounding Benjamin Button: a girl growing-up backwards, defying time (and style!). If Shakespeare was alive, I say, he would devour on assigning metaphors and similes to that girl. Well, thank God he is not, for I have tons! Did someone lose her way to the next auditions of the Golden Girls? Snap. “Come on, let’s not trash her,” said Mr.B showing remorse, somewhat putting me off. “On second thought, let’s do it!” Good, Mr.B is back in the game. Hate her/love her Tavi is the self-taught fashion bloggerista of stylerookie.blogspot- her Internet space in which she gives away her opinion on collections, and sometimes feature photos of her wearing them- Quaker style.

Just last year, her blog had a following base of over 3 million worldwide blogees, if we may call them. And she is one of those whom you suddenly see everywhere without knowing why; on the cover of POP, the muse of Rodarte, the arm candy of Proenza Schouler, and most recently, King Karl’s. As always, fashion loves extremes. Tavi has surely raised a lot of eyebrows that insiders in fashion have started questioning her power in the industry over Anna Wintour’s. “Déjà?” claims Mr.B in awe. But, Tavi is not the only one who is out there with a keyboard and an opinion to share it with the world. It all started with Perez Hilton, the “Queen” of celebrity gossip. Inspired by a caricature version of Hilton (the ho, not the hotel), Perez is the surf-to website where you can find the dirtiest celebrity laundry hanging online. Or, take Bryan, for instance; that Pilipino guy always pictured standing by Marc Jacobs dressed in Marc Jacobs for Marc Jacobs (I know! I could go on..). And so can the list of bloggers. So what does veteran fashion-editor Suzy Menkes have to say about that? “Anyone can blog and anyone can have an opinion.

But traditionally we have referred to ‘an educated opinion’ or ‘an experienced opinion’. Some people do have tremendous fashion instinct, and blogging can throw up people who are very good writers, so in that way, it’s very positive.” But back to Tavi, the teen fashion prodigy. Is she the next Suzy or Anna? “She is the Drew Barrymore and Macaulay Culkin of the fashion world,” said Mr. B in conclusion to my story. “She will probably crack under the pressure.” Hold that thought. As we reached our final stop at St. Pancras in London, I sipped the last drop of my complementary Bordeaux wine, reached for my luggage, and held so very tightly to my Herald Tribune. We jumped off the train like two fleeing criminals. Maybe, after all, Mr.B and I did just murder someone.. on the French Express.

 
 
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PIERRE ET GILLES

Interview

Once upon a beautiful day in 1976, Pierre Commoy met Gilles Blanchard. And the rest, as they say, is history. Pierre was an aspiring photographer, Gilles an upcoming painter. Together they became known as “Pierre et Gilles.” Inseparable both as lovers and artists, they have since created a modernday iconography of saints, stars, sailors and sinners. A fusion of painting and photography, their work is inspired by everything from French pop, Bollywood and Lourdes to communism, gay eroticism and Buddhist monks.




 
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MARC JACOBS

Interview

My very first memory of Marc Jacobs is probably an old shot of the fashion guru pinning up Kate Moss in some backstage photo book by Mario Testino, or it might be an Interview party from the magazine’s early 90’s archives, caught-up in a “loving-drunkie” situation, looking all cuddly yet scruffy with a cigarette in one hand and Naomi Campbell or Christy Turlington in the other – I can’t remember.  But the hey-days of wild partying and geek-heroine-chic look are far behind the 45-year-old designer. 

 
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MILES ALDRIDGE

Interview

When asked to describe himself in three words, British photographer Miles Aldridge replied: “colorful, sunny and dark.” It is these very words that arguably best describe his work as well. Realistic, yet characterized by the use of bright, neon colors, Aldridge’s photos possess a surreal quality that hints at some of life’s darker and often erotic dimensions. While his work until 2004 mainly featured in the world’s leading glossies, it has since increasingly been exposed in art galleries and books.

 
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ROY LICHTENSTEIN

Interview

One of the founding fathers and leading figures of the Pop Art movement, Roy Lichtenstein is mainly known for his paintings of enlarged comic book scenes. Yet he did many other things as well, including sculptures such as “The Head,” which was unveiled at the 1992 Olympic Games and still adorns the city of Barcelona. While he regards Picasso as his main inspiration, he never dared comparing his work to that of the Spanish master.



 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 03

 

To elissa or not to elissa

 

Just yesterday Plastik was a product of pure imagination. Upon a shooting star, we hoped that Santa would make our wishes come true. Little did we know, that we were left amidst the darkness of an empty wonderland, armed with nothing but a dream. But today Plastik is a pure imaginative product. We have climbed up the stairs of our creative bubble, and tip-toed on the clouds fogging our vision. The play field is now lit. The merry-go-round is filled and the rollercoaster is ready to roll. But Santa is not invited to the party. And tomorrow you will jump aboard the carousel and ride the rollercoaster. You will join the circus of high-heeled jugglers and bespoke clowns. Tomorrow you will live to tell your own fairytale of a vision. And your “once upon a time” will be your “happily ever after”. 

 
 
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GUY BOURDIN

Interview

GUY BOURDIN WAS A COMPLEX AND DISTURBED MAN. WHILE HE CREATED TIMELESS BEAUTY, THE LEADING FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHER WAS IN FACT OBSESSED WITH DEATH, AND ALWAYS HAD A DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN. ABANDONED AS A CHILD BY HIS MOTHER, HE OFTEN MALTREATED HIS MODELS, WHILE AT LEAST TWO OF HIS FORMER LOVERS COMMITTED SUICIDE.

 
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TOM FORD

Interview

THERE IS ALWAYS THIS ONE PARTICULAR DAY OF THE YEAR THAT YOU FIND YOURSELF ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. FOR KIDS, IT IS CHRISTMAS. FOR MOVIE STARS, IT IS THE OSCARS. FOR HOUSEWIVES, IT’S WATCHING OPRAH GIVE AWAY HER FAVORITE THINGS ON NATIONAL TV, BUT FOR FASHIONISTAS, IT WAS* THE GUCCI SHOW.

 
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jeff koons

Interview

Jeff Koons was asked to exhibit at the Versailles Palace last year. He could not have been offered a better venue for his first European retrospective: the ultimate Baroque French palace for America’s King of Kitsch. Visitors were able to admire fifteen of Koons’ trademark works, including sculptures of a giant red lobster and Michael Jackson hugging his pet chimp Bubbles, amidst the usual curly-curvy furniture and portraits of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

 
 
 

PLASTIK 02

 

SUPERMODEL AND SUPERSIZE IT PLEASE!

 

It’s a thin line, really, between being a real and a faux Plastik. In the fickle world of fashion, this line is getting even thinner; it takes as little a gesture as the way you nibble on your canapes in a Marc Jacob’s after-show party and come the morning review, you instantly have another label on you. Either you’re one of those who pretend to ignore the shrimp bisque, or those who gracefully indulge in a spoonful of gaspachiio before lighting a cigarette and stumping it in a half-full. But, Lara Stone has never been a gal who would turn down a foie-gras for a fag; not so much for the horror of having some un-masticated parsley dwelling in that infamous gap between her front teeth, nor for the notion that it might turn up as extra meat on her thighs the next day. She is real. And judging by the fashion menu of late, reality is the plat du jour. Welcome to the Stone age.

 
 
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TAKASHI MURAKAMI

Interview

“Many people wonder if his work can be considered art. Murakami himself could not care less.”




 
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ZOREN & MINORI

Interview

No, Mi-Zo has nothing to do with the secluded hill tribes living between India and Burma, but everything with Zoren Gold and Minori Murakami. The former is a German photographer; the latter a Japanese graphic designer and illustrator. Together they are the most sought-after photographer duo in the world, which produces some of the most progressive and eye-catching imagery that can be found today. 




 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 01

 

Just yesterday our fathers stood lost in the middle of the information highway,  blinded by flashy technology and overwhelmed by the speed of the flow, completely oblivious of an imminent future. But today we know that the world is changing faster* than our fathers would like to admit. Today we understand that is us who are changing the world. Creativity is our only driving force. And Ideas are our most valuable currency. The deaf and dumb consumer is dead. We are the world’s new emerging figure, the Prosumers: producers and consumers of information. We bring back the world’s true beauty. And tomorrow we break down the imaginary boundaries we have set up for our minds, and we set each other’s imaginations free.

Tomorrow we stand witnesses to the strange death of the commercial brand. Tomorrow only Brand Me shall prevail. We all have something to say. And we will make ourselves heard. You are imaginative happy people. Persistently inspired by your changing worlds. You know that there os always something better around the corner, and instead of waiting for it you go out and get it. You have your heads high up in the clouds, but your feet are always on the ground, wether you are wearing hot-pink sneakers or drop-dead designer heels. You have grown up but never stopped playing. You are the fairies of the law firms and the Peter-pans of the business world. You’re the girls who break hearts, and the boys everyone wants to handcuff on their bed. You are the brides who run away with their bridesmaids and the grooms who end up marrying their best man. You’re the high school sweethearts who live happily ever after.

 
 
 
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Yasmine hamdan

Interview

On June 8, the world witnessed the long awaited release of YAS’ debut album Arabology. The result is a dozen of upbeat electronic dance tracks that no d oubt will do well in the club circuit, and have the potential to propel Arabic pop to the top of the western charts for the first time in history. YAS consists of Yasmine Hamdan, the female half of former Lebanese cult band Soap Kills, and Mirwais, a leading member of the French electronic scene and known as a producer of the Madonna albums Music, American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor. A few days after Arabology’s release, Plastik spoke to Yasmine in Paris. She had just finished rehearsals and enjoyed a coffee in a café near Metro Parmentier. She was in a good mood, enjoying the first rays of sunshine following three weeks of rain and grey skies..
 

 
 
 
 

PLASTIK 00

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of Plastik, Plastik with a K that is, a new bi-monthly magazine published by Beyond Productions, a dynamic collective of young and creative Lebanese. Proud to be from Beirut, yet not necessarily a publication on Beirut, Plastik is a celebration of beauty and creativity with a global perspective.  Loosely based on a theme, every issue offers a series of original photo stories and a healthy mix of talented and more established names from the international world of art and culture. Critical, at times ironic, though not afraid to offer praise when praise is due, Plastik is always on the look-out for the thin line between the real and the fake in that ever more global world of ours, which seems to turn faster by the day. In the year that iconic all-American doll Barbie turned 50, Plastik presents The Dolls Issue, as we ask ourselves: is the doll a reflection of society or has society increasingly become a mirror of the all-plastic world of dolls and puppets? While we do not pretend to have the final answer in store, such modern-day giants as David LaChapelle, Yayoi Kusama and Victor & Rolf present their point of view, as they have all playfully tackled that most essential of questions: What is real? In addition, when reading about the lives and careers of the featured artists, one could argue that a second theme emerges from in between the lines. All these creative souls, from Banksy to Elie Saab, believe in the power of imagination and share an incredible will to fight and succeed, at times against all odds.

 
 
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DAVID LACHAPELLE

Interview

“The people that look the most artificial are often the most real”

 
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YAYOI KUSAMA

Interview

Although she has lived in a mental institution since 1975, Yayoi Kusama is still regarded as Japan’s greatest living artist today. With solo exhibitions in major museums in France and the United States, Kusama has become a well-respected artist worldwide. Playful and childlike as her works may seem, they are the result of a journey that led the now 89-year-old to the edge of insanity and even suicide. 






 
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BANKSY

Interview

Traveling around the globe and leaving behind a trail of thought-provoking images, Banksy is without a doubt the world’s most famous graffiti artist. Having worked the streets for years, Banksy has also produced works on canvas worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fanciest of galleries. And yet, apart from a small circle of close friends, no one knows who Banksy really is.