Wednesday, 30 March 2011
NVU with Andre Walker and a chat about his Object-zine TIWIMUTA,
Dear Shaded Viewers,
Andre and I go back a few decades we've both experienced NYC in the 80's and moved around the same time to Paris. He is back in NYC now and I was really happy to talk to his fearless self about his new Object-zine Tiwimuta.
Let’s talk about TIWIMUTA, the acronym for “this is what it made us think about”. What made you decide to put together your Objectzine?
I've always loved magazines and have been collecting them since the age of thirteen. I started officially consulting with Marc Jacobs in 2005 and by 2007, it was clear to me that what I was doing was editorializing content and translating ideals in aid of yielding a physical manifestation. Whether it was sketches, magazine imagery or text, at the end of each season I would be left with a record of my proposals and would file them away. I'd been bumping into a great friend, Carlos Taylor, an awful lot during this period and was looking to further our mutual presence. At that time I'd also been collecting magazines from the 20s and 30s like "L'illustration", "ModeAvantgarde", and "Gunnars", amongst others. One day, outside of Whole Foods in Chelsea I asked Carlos if he wanted to make a magazine. It started that spontaneously.
As a designer, consultant, stylist…you’ve been in countless magazines over the years. What did you feel that they were lacking ?
This is such a great question. It forces me to submit. I have loved most of the magazines that have employed the use of my services and/or product/productions. It’s quite obvious to state that some magazines become stale over time and might possibly lack depth or innate excitement due to a number of relative issues. Sometimes the direction becomes too insular, familiar, or formulaic. At other times there might just be a general discord with the prevailing status quo that puts one at arms length with the full embrace of a given title. None of the aforementioned is really important to me because it's always changing. I've always felt that the practical organization of the independent magazine structure in regards to human resources can always use an update. It helps when a certain percentage of funds are allotted to production from advertising and similar forms of external support. It’s so bizarre that there is never any money available for production. Meanwhile…
Anton Perich, Charles James
You’ve always been fearless - what do you attribute that to?
My fearlessness comes from uncertainty. Not knowing will always allow me to act, to take a look, to assert that visceral curiosity that exists outside of form. How dull it would be for me to always know! Presumption is always dishonest somehow.
Is Shirley Walker your mom? I remember seeing her years ago walk in one of your fashion shows, curved skirt, higher in the back with, I think, white Brooks Brothers shirt…what have been the most important lessons that you’ve learned from her?
Shirley Walker is my mom. She taught me never to listen to your Mom when she doesn’t want you to go to fashion school due to a fear that it will make you gay. She taught me to go for the best you can get and that love is deeper than opinion. She taught me that ambition/obsession can sometimes distance you from friends/family/colleagues.
What was the last thing that you whispered and to whom?
The last thing I whispered was to Carlos and it was a quote from Catherine Baba: "Did you just Farce?"
Anton Perich, Charles James
When I google your name I keep coming up with Andre Walker, hair stylist to Oprah - any relation to you?
He is of no relation, Zarleegh! He used a hair story of illustrations I did in a 90's interview. The rest is his story. ;-)
How did you choose your creative soul mates? If I understand correctly, the only restriction you put on them was not to tell you what they were going to do… were all surprises good ones? What was the best surprise or 5 of the best?
I'm very ambient in my selection process. That might be another way of saying lazy. I look for immediate engagement, super talent, personality attraction, intellectual stimulation, and that effortless follow through! Nothing kills the spontaneity faster than indecision. Honesty is also sought-after in all forms. 5 major surprises? Marc Jacobs enticing Jean Paul Goude, Bob Recine's art work (which he made outside the knowledge of our themes), Jonathan Newhouse being the first to send in his piece (within the deadline - unlike almost everyone), Beat Bolliger and Nathaniel Goldberg's “Faust” and Lenedy Agnot's Vietnam pics.
Anton Perich is a big contributor to this issue, how did you meet him and was their a parallel in your lives?
Anton Perich was headhunted by Carlos. Carlos had this secret meeting at a gallery and somehow materialized Anton into participation. I was more than delighted and within our first meeting I found myself mock-running on the floor, pretending to be Billie Blair in a Scott Barrie Couri Hay video with Andrea, a friend of the Anton's joining in the fun. Anton approved immediately! We progressed to reviewing his work (press, photographs, artworks, video, painting machines) and invited him to join Volume II. We sent him the brief and he welcomed to us a huge selection of his favorites. We fell in love with his painting machine portraits and were impressed with the fact that he'd engineered/constructed a pre-digital printing technique; a machine with cartridges that distributed the ink in almost the same manner that a television/video screen's image is composed. Each fragmented line contains a color of his selection and is a vehicle to illustrate his image of choice. Carlos knew I would fall for his imagery because of my undying love for the life and work of Charles James. We took way too many images and Anton's work took on the form of an exhibition. The fact that Anton has as many canvases as photos and videos egged us on even more to take it to print. We lucked out with the unfamiliarity of the images.
Anton Perich, Charles James
I never saw Volume I, how did the 2nd edition differ? Are you going to produce an issue a year for as long as it feels relevant?
Volume I was very elaborate. There were more than 15 paper stocks, a printed/embossed tin cover, detailed embossed renderings of some of the contributor's offerings (Marc Jacobs by Jean Paul Goude, Jonathan Newhouse by Scott Schuman and Kim Hastreiter by Richard Phibbs) and also of childhood mentors like Thierry Mugler, Anne-Marie Beretta, Gianfranco Ferre and John Fairchild. Carlos and I have been laughing hilariously at how long those bloody embossed portrait/renderings took to finalize. The tissue paper in Volume I was the kind used in retail and the printer absolutely hated us for insisting on using it.
Volume I as you know was a total "Do as you wish and keep me uninformed" proposition. It was fun to see how people responded, with a variety of dispositions and temperaments.
Volume II saw me wanting to continue with a new desire to verbalize with more depth our raison d'etre. It was our wish to avoid long talks and explanations, so a brief was conjured. We also wanted to keep the extremely tactile presence that initiated the series. The selection process was less disparate than the previous effort and the presence of the artist’s work more prolonged where it was possible. My editorial was an unedited ramble of direct impulses and information surrounding the questions TIWIMUTA was asking; “The weight of Paris; the combined weight of all the clothes in the world; the origins of the whisper and its first master.” In short, questions of infinity juxtaposed with the contemplation of geophysical theory, consumption/construction and material/numerical accumulation etc.
A consecutive yearly gets a bit slippery and sometimes extends to two years (Volume I) or 14 months (Volume II). In a sense, it takes more funds to inhabit a productive space for sustained periods of time. I wanted Volume II to be more direct and spontaneous than Volume I. The brief helped us focus on the essentials.
I love the white bride, it’s like a geyser and does remind me of Iceland, no idea why, also no idea why you have Siggis yougart…Can you tell me more about ‘Long Live the Bride’? --what is the story behind the art?
I perceived ‘Long Live the Bride’ as this spectral presence of an eternally whispering ceremony and tradition of marriage. The artist’s intentions and motives were surprisingly different from what I thought at first but they resonated with each other. The artist was inspired by the fishermen community in Normandy who gave her the net that she then cleaned for three months. She was interested in the representation of both the virgin and death as the fishermen pray for protection every morning from the virgin to stay alive at sea. Alice wanted to portray the female figure in her sculpture because of its links with protection. On pondering how to make such a figure with the net she found that it assumed the shape as it so poignantly stands in the church much without her will.
I love the expression ‘the nearsighted misreading of inspiration and content gain recurring form’, advising me of the proposed idea. Can you walk me through one such incident?
The reflection of a car driving by on raindrops.
The imagery in TIWIMUTA is very stimulating from the video stills to a nude and flocked Catherine Baba and everywhere in between. I loved the flocking technique used as well in Overdressed/Underdressed. How important is the sense of touch to you? You could be blind and still enjoy bits of this book, at least the cover and the flocked.
I love the fact that TIWIMUTA is a real world experience and not only a virtual one. Touch and scent are two sensations that remain outside of the digital experience. In this sense, they are a vital component of TIWIMUTA’s raison d’etre.
I do not remember, did you go to Pratt? And if so were you involved in their cable TV program on Charles James? Did you ever meet him? I was really happy to find him opening your book/object. In the world of fashion it seems so few people even know who Charles James was , happy to see him here and also sited as an inspiration this season to another one of my fave designers, Rick Owens. I think it was even the image on page 23 that inspired the beautiful shoulder in Rick’s current collection. How perfect is that piece on page 30? Timeless.
I went to Brooklyn Technical High School and studied Architectural Rendering and Industrial Pattern Making. I dropped out, went to City-AS-School where I got the chance to go to Parsons to study fashion illustration (which I did for 6 months) and F.I.T to study Pattern Making, which lasted for 6 weeks LOL. I wasn’t aware that there was a cable TV program on Charles James, did Anton Perich produce it? I never met Charles James; in 1991 I did meet Brian Rushton who was managing the estate when its residence was the Brooklyn Museum. He furnished me with a signed copy of the Genius of Charles James. He came to know about me through an article in “Details” magazine by Bill Cunningham reviewing a 1985 fashion show I did at the High School of Fashion Industries. Bill referenced Charles James in that review.
What is the story on SIGGIS?
SIGGIS was the official sponsor for TIWIMUTA volume II. We were short on internal staff and decided to target one support that could help us produce the magazine. Obviously it was elated that they so benevolently provided their support as it’s one of the staples of my diet. I love SIGGIS yogurt.
As far as a fashion film for your festival, of course! Let me know when, as you know I take forever.
ASVOFF 4 deadline June 30th 2011....keep it in mind Andre.
Posted by diane pernet at 12:05 AM | Permalink
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