Day 2: The Director and Illustrator Talks Superpowers and Brilliant Inventions with the Creative Class
Purple magazine publisher Olivier Zahm, curator and filmmaker Aaron Rose and music video director Floria Sigismondi are among the creative bigwigs who are quizzed on everything from their fantasy powers to favorite smells by British filmmaker Quentin Jones in today’s short film. Each of them took part in last month’s LA-centric Semi-Permanent event–a traveling global conference of multidisciplinary exhibits, talks, and workshops designed to foster creative thinking–when captured on camera and grilled by the Cambridge philosophy graduate. London-raised and recent New York transplant Jones is a multifaceted filmmaker using her talents as illustrator, director and sometime model in her imaginative and visually arresting films for publications including Vogue and AnOther and clients such as Chanel and Kenzo. Here, we reverse the interrogation and turn the director’s questions back on her.
What do you find most inspiring creatively about LA?
Quentin Jones: Could LA be the opposite city to London? Maybe not quite, but something about being in a place so different to your hometown is freeing. Londoners in LA can re-invent themselves and shake off the cynicism that comes with Tesco and wet streets. I also find the emerging art-scene in LA really interesting too–mainly because I don't associate easy living with artistic hubs. I am curious to see the collective progression of ideas from LA artists in the next decade. I wonder how my work would change if life were a sunny blur of low-rise buildings, chopped salads and highways.
What do you consider to be the greatest invention?
QJ: Peanut butter. Or am I confusing addiction with admiration?
3 words to describe your current state of mind?
QJ: Rendering, excited, and inky.
Which actor (dead or alive) would play you in a movie of your life?
QJ: River Phoenix.
What is your favorite drink?
QJ: A gin dirty martini, extra dirty.
What's your earliest creative memory?
QJ: My dad taking me to draw cacti at a museum in Toronto.
Which animal would you least like to look like?
QJ: A sheep. It would be really hard to focus if my eyes faced opposing walls.
The name of your autobiography?
QJ: Diaries of the accidental.
QJ: The stems of tomato plants.
What's your creative comfort zone?
QJ: Definitely editing on After Effects. But it is also pretty tedious. Oh and making images with black ink and white paper. I could do that forever and not get bored.
If you were a superhero what would your power be?
QJ: My superpower would be a driver. With a selection of shoes in the boot.
The next Semi-Permanent conference will take place in Sydney, May 24-25.
The French Activitst-Photographer Transforms the Streets of Los Angeles for Paris Photo LA
Works by Man Ray, Robert Capa and Helen Levitt are reappropriated–blown-up, cropped and exhibited on anonymous city walls–in French street artist JR’s new work, being shown for the first time during the debut Paris Photo Los Angeles this weekend. Having gained acclaim for projects such as ‘Women are Heroes’ in which he photographed women in areas of conflict and posted their portraits throughout their communities to raise awareness of their dignity in the face of hardship, JR has also recently collaborated with artist José Parlá on a Havana edition of The Wrinkles in the City. His latest LA endeavor saw the artist abandoning his camera for the first time and delving into the archives of the Lausanne Musée de l’Elysée to rediscover the gems now transforming the city into a huge open-air museum.
The Hardcore Vision Behind the Cult Director's First Digital Release
The ever-provocative photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark delves into the making of Marfa Girl, his first feature in seven years and the winner of the Marco Aurelio Award for Best Film at the Rome Film Festival, in today’s video by NOWNESS regular Matt Black. Set in the eponymous Texas desert town, the new work focuses on the culture clash arising from the area’s mix of Mexican Americans, ranchers, border patrol police and a creative scene founded by minimalist artist Donald Judd, who moved there in the 1970s. Starring a cast of mostly non-actors, Clark’s latest film returns to his signature themes of adolescent sexuality, the dark side of American youth and its unseen subcultures. The 69-year-old maverick achieved notoriety with his seminal 1971 black-and-white monograph Tulsa. His raw, intimate debut feature Kids – the controversial tale of a handful of nihilistic New York skaters – shot him to international fame in 1995, simultaneously launching the careers of Chloë Sevigny, Harmony Korine, Leo Fitzpatrick and Rosario Dawson. “He has a very authentic way of documenting sexual freedom, drug abuse and darkness,” says Black, Clark’s Tribeca neighbor. “When you pick up fashion magazines today, so much of the editorial is done in Larry’s street style. His visual codes are part of our language now.” While Clark’s documentary aesthetic has inspired generations of artists and filmmakers, in Hollywood he remains an outsider. Ratings and censorship led him to the decision to bypass distributors completely this time, making Marfa Girl available exclusively to watch online via his website larryclark.com. “Larry’s in a special position,” says Black. “He’s hugely respected in the fashion industry, the art industry and by young people. Heavyweight artists like Richard Prince and Christopher Wool love him. He can put this film online and everyone will want to see it—whether they like him or not.”