Friday, 30 August 2013



In honor of R. Crumb's 70th birthday I have posted the trailer of 1994 documentry about Crumb directed by Terry Zwigoff. This documentry is a very intimate, irreverent, and often disturbing portrait of Crumb and his work as well as the an amazing cast of characters of friends, family and fans around him.

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Tuesday, 02 July 2013

Mathieu Bitton By Aradna Sharma Photos by Mathieu Bitton and Julien Bitton

“ Like a little brother, it is a real pleasure to have him in my life. I am very touched and impressed by his passion and talent.” These are the words of the great Quincy Jones describing Los Angeles based  2010 Grammy nominated artist for classic interpretation of Jane’s Addiction Cabinet of Curiosities and the recipient of France’s highest decorations the 2012 medal of  Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from French Republic) among many other awards.This is Mathieu Bitton,  an Artist, a photographer, a film maker, a director, a producer, and a designer.


This  multi-talented French born artist moved to United States when he was 14 Years old bringing with him curiosity, passion and determination. Young Bitton brought  with him love and admiration for  art and R&B, the Dada surrealism movement, 1920’s Jazz age art. The influence of the first real French rock star Serge Gainsbourg and rocker Prince  was and still is undeniable for Mathieu.

I came across Mathieu Bitton’s work about two and a half years ago while in NYC and I have been following his inspirational work  ever since. I could not have been happier when I got a rare chance to ask a few questions via email to this  brilliantly creative man and a loving father of two  beautiful boys.



When did you discover your passion for the art of  photography and music?

As far as I can remember from going to flea markets in Paris and exhibitions as a kid, I was hooked on art and photography. Music started with my parents records, Cat Stevens, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens and Serge Gainsbourg

 When you are taking photos, which is more important to you the subject or the way you execute it?

 It's a combination of both but of course the subject is the most important aspect. ModelMB

Mathieu Bitton captures  the raw naked  truth with his lenses. Each photo whether it is a photograph of musical and Hollywood icons, nature, or nudes, all seem to evoke a certain emotion within. His first ever travelogue exhibition of photos from his travels of many years are on display in Hollywood in  the famous Sheats/ Goldstein mansion.   One of my  favorite  photos of his is in the “After Dark” series  which shows a nude female subject  in bed with warm glow of yellow light, with a man’s mask on. For me, personally, the photograph had soul and  and I could feel the vulnerability. The most intriguing aspect in the photo is the  mask that the subject puts on as if she  is trying to elude the pain of the world and assume a different identity. 


Does your audience influence how you take your pictures or do your ideas alone drive your work? 

Ideas come to me and I execute them from instinct.


Does what is going on in your life at that particular time play out in your images?

Very often yes. Lately I have been doing "darker" things.

 How do you pick your subjects?

Instinct and feeling. I'm very picky. I get a lot of crap from people asking me to shoot them and me being unresponsive. Has to come from within.


Over the span of  his career, Bitton has designed more than 700 albums covers and has worked with who is who of cinema and music world  from Miles Davis, Sting, Quentin Tarantino, Prince to name a few and most recently his collaboration with  the rocker Lenny Kravitz .  His directorial debut documentary “Looking Back on Love” , a journey behind making of Kravitz’s   last studio album “Black and White America” was a huge success.


Which one of your many works has brought you the greatest satisfaction?

 As far as design goes, definitely the Jane's Addiction "Cabinet Of Curiosities." Photography wise, the New Orleans impromptu shoot at Preservation Hall in 2010 and the Mark Gonzales shoot in Paris last year. Both seen in my travelogue exhibition. 

When you look back on the photos you have taken over the span of your career of 20 years, does any particular photograph comes to mind that you wish you could go back and relive that moment again?

Maybe shooting Mick Jagger in New York CIty in 2009. I wish I had shot more.


 In Addition to being a renowned photographer, Mathieu Bitton is also known for his love for Blaxploitation genre films, collections of original movie posters and the collections of rare records. Bitton’s personal collection has been used many times for a reissue or a box set or compilations.

 When did you realized that you were drawn to the Blaxploitation genre ?

Very early on. It started with the soundtracks and then the films. I was a kid in Paris and snuck into a triple-bill Blaxploitation feature when I intended (and told my mom) I was going to see 101 Dalmatians.

 Why did you decide to direct a documentary? Isn’t it a departure from what you have been doing or do you like feel there is a overlap between music, art and movie?

It's all the same to me. Still and moving images. It just happened out of necessity and being in the right place at the right time. 

Would you be directing more movies/documentaries in the future?

Yes I am working on another one now. More shall be revealed.

 It seems like the talent  gene runs in the  Bitton family. A few months ago,  photograph taken by  Bitton’s   young son Julien Bitton was published in the Rolling Stone Russia magazine. 

 Have your sons taking  after you artistically?

 They really are their own persons but they do follow in my steps with music and taste in art. They like to do photography as well.

 What is the one piece of advice that you would want to give to your sons?

Always follow your instinct and never compromise your art.

 If you were not not doing what you do right now, what would it be?

I don't really think about stuff like that. I am who I am. But I would love to be a painter or Jazz pianist.

 Do you make goals? Where will you see yourself in 5 years from now? 

I always set goals yes. I would like to be a feature film director.

 Where do you think future of Art and music is going in this digital age?

Music has become a free commodity, as kids don't connect with the financial value of it. I think special packaging will continue to sell for people like me who love to hold a physical product in their hands. But artists will never stop making music. So they better be able to tour and entertain people if they want to keep their mansions. 

Can you give us a preview on your future projects?

I am really intent on directing a film on the history of Dada, the surrealist art movement. The 100th anniversary is in 2016. That's coming up fast. We already have a script. Aside from that I am working on a new Earth, Wind & Fire album right now. And producing (and designing) the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Lenny Kravitz's breakthrough album "Are You Gonna Go My Way." Also planning on doing a photography book and taking my exhibition across various continents. Just finished designing James Brown "Live At The Apollo" 50th Anniversary CD and Jane's Addiction "Live In NYC" DVD, CD, BluRay, LP and CD-DVD sets. 


Here are fun/random questions I asked Mathieu Bitton with his answers..

Your  dream is to work with...

Kanye West and Jay-Z

 Prince is...


 Serge Gainsbourg for you is..

the beginning of everything

 Fashion for you is...

the cherry on top

Your boys are ...

my life

A woman’s love  is...

my armor

Your favorite movie...

Orfeu Negro

Your favorite song...

Day By Day by Jimmy Scott

Fatherhood has made me...

A man


 I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Mathieu Bitton. 

Aradna Sharma.












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Tuesday, 25 June 2013


As someone who has been fan, proponent and originator of independent publishing in the past (The Key, STOP & CSNA) I'm very excited to announce the launch of my on-line & limited print edition art & literary journal VACCINE. VACCINE will feature a varied assortment of photography, multi-media art & collage, graffiti, short stories & broken werd. The extremely talented & visionary art director Frank Gargiulo will be in charge of the design and visual presentation. The early roster of contributors is nothing short of stellar, including Scooter LaForge, Dietmar Busse, Gazelle Paulo, Bubi Canal, Joel Handorff, HOMO-RIOT, Walt Cassidy, Paul Wirhun, Ethan Shoshan, Honey McMoney, Brett Lindell, Benjamin Fredrickson, Nicholas Gorham, Jonathan Daniel Federico, Chick Byrne, Marne Lucas, Richard Schemmer, Allen Todd Yaeger, Derek Dewitt, Natasha Gornik, Max Steele, Maria Pineres, Bj Dini, Muffinhead, Lee Baxter, Dick Mitchell, Ben Copperwheat, Clint Catalyst, Jeff Silverman, Simon Crawford, Shain Kish, Michael Alago & more to come. I am currently accepting submissions for the first edition which will debut in December 2013 at
No censors. No limits. Ain't no stopping us now. As always, come correct or don't come at all.
Original VACCINE Logo by Mike Lohr @


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Saturday, 01 June 2013


Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,



Last evening I attended the launch party of Topman and Agi & Sam collaboration at Apartment 58 in London.


Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton, the british duo behind Agi and Sam, met while working at Alexander McQueen and started their menswear label a few years ago. Their collection is know for the vibrant prints on sharp-tailored pieces with a great sense of humour, which makes modern charming men. They have already showed 3 collections at MAN, and their first solo show is scheduled on SS14 London Collections: Men on next month.


Inspired by last year's Olympic Games in London, this collection for Topman is titled 'The Owls', whch is a fictional football team by Agi and Sam, and has more sporty feels with iconic prints.


Here are snaps from the playful party.

Sam Cotton and Agi Mdumulla













The 20 piece capsule collection is launching on 4th June.








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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Colour Of Doing Fashion | N° 3

Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers // 

Along with Shoji, I spent this last weekend reviewing the graduating collections from the Institute of Fashion Design Basel. In lieu of writing a review, i'd like to share a clever initiative coming from the academies Creative Director Priska Morger, highlighting the works of past and present students. This being the Doing Fashion Paper project, now in its third edition.


Hard-bound and subject based like a book, yet editorialized like a magazine - each cycle of Doing Fashion Paper has its own distinct personality, spanning topics such as: experimentation, body perception and now coloration.  

N°3 hosts the collections and graphic ideology of each graduating designers (12 in total), by challenging and exploring their final academic concepts and silhouettes, aiming to communicate a visual reflection of the young talents coming from the region.

On Saturday; friend, collaborator and true inspiration - Anja Aronowsky Cronberg of Vestoj Journal hosted a roundtable moderating the importance of Doing Fashion Paper regionally and abroad. 


I invite you to discover the paper on your own at

Please feel free to leave comments, as I will read and respond. 

For show reviews and P-O-V check out my column on 


best, Kristopher Arden-Houser 








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Monday, 04 February 2013

Octo – A Global Pipe Dream Come True - Transmediale report by Filippo Spreafico, Berlin

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Odd vibrations all around. A quick look up, and we see 7-meters-per-second speeding capsules through yellow tubes hanging on the walls of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. The 2013 edition of Transmediale, the festival dedicated to digital cultures, is characterized by a sardonic twist on its own themes, hyperconnection and social media, through the tentacular multi-installation perfected by the German art collective Telekommunisten. OCTO, "A Global Pipe Dream Come True" and "official miscommunication platform" of Transmediale 2013 is physically pinpointing the entire festival, starting from the official opening, in which written messages sent via this 'novel' pneumatized mail communication system are integrated to the inaugurating ceremony, focused on the shifting paradigms of contemporary communication.

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Dedicated to Pluto, planet of the solar system up until 2006 and since then declassified to "dwarf planet", Transmediale's leitmotifs are in fact based on the ambiguity surrounding our time's attitude to communication and progress. On the one hand, the festival's consecration to Pluto's 'deplanetarization' after 76 years in our system hints at the paradox of science and of classification practices, while on the other hand, the Telekommunisten ironically promote reliability of "global vacuum-speed delivery of physical materials" in spite of the staggering proliferation of social media.

Photo 24
The capsule is inserted into the system and will be soon vacuumed to another station.

The art installation invites the general public to send messages across the various locations through a capillary air-induced system that is rigorously humanly supervised and furnished with a telephone to ensure message reception. Alongside visitors sending random messages through air-propelled capsules, various artists participate in the collective performance by sending out messages inviting the audience to perform simple tasks, such as sharing some of the items found in the capsules with other people. Consequently, the artists' capsules are sent back to the 'main station' where the contacts of the participants are stored.

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If Transmediale 2013 openly questions the future of social media and its apparently inexorable pervasiveness, the OCTO prototype attempts to offer a radical response to the increasing state of anxiety revolving around modern communication. You can support and invest in the Telekommunisten project here. Whether this innovative and sustainable project will break into our proximate future is luckily also up to any of us.

By Filippo Spreafico



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Friday, 01 February 2013

TRANSMEDIALE 2013 Festival for Arts and Digital Culture - GEERT LOVINK KEYNOTE, BERLIN


Last night I went HKW (Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt) to attend TRANSMEDIALE 2013 Festival for Arts and Digital Culture, being held here in Berlin from Jan 29th - Feb 02. On their website Transmediale say this about the festival:

"traversing thematic threads, professions, panels, exhibitions, film screenings, performances, and workshops; the one Pluto long day and Earth week will present visitors with diverse events re-enacting not-so-distant pasts and half-forgotten places. We will explore unrealistic and poetic modes of cultural critique—as if BWPWAP."

I had originally planned on attending the LET THERE BE LIGHT AND SOUND performance but was encouraged by Filippo to check out keynote speech by Geert Lovink, "BWPWAP Networks with Geert Lovink Social Media: From Complaints to Alternative Tools". Was quite funny timing as I have recently (with great reluctance and hesitation) joined one of the "social networks" (more about this later). The past couple of days as I have slowly explored the brave new world (for me) of social media I found myself confused, disorientated, and overwhelmed to say the least. Attending Geert talk was quite enlightening (possibly even therapeutic), as he pushed for consciousness rather then fear, as well as advocating (by subtle introduction though the talk) many alternative movements in social media networks, methods of protecting and reclaiming your data and ways of using "the networks" in more "healthy" way. Some how the talk made me feel better about the whole thing...well sort of.



Rather then then telling you all about the talk in more detail, I thought it would more effective to share its contents via a series of links and key concepts I gathered from notes on "BWPWAP Networks with Geert Lovink Social Media: From Complaints to Alternative Tools". I hope you enjoy this information as much as I did.

Institue of Network Cultures
Unlike Us
The Video Vortex
Zero Comments
The Unbound Book
Society of The Query
Europe Vs Facebook
Social Network Awareness Blog
Facebook Cheating
Give Me Data
Web2.0 Suicide Machine
Account Killer
Dark Side of Social Media
Andrew Keen
Does the Internet Make you Dumb?
Taking Care of Youth and The Generations
W3C Federated Social Web Incubator Group
Federated Social Web
Peter Sloterdijk
You Must Change Your LIfe
Robert Pfaller
The Information Diet - Introduction - Video
The Information Diet
Net Smart
Henry Jenkins
Smallest Federated Wiki Videos

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Tuesday, 08 January 2013

Calepino NY 2013 treat from L'Appartement - Sophie Trem

Dear Diane, Dear Shaded viewers,

I felt like sharing this great new year present from my best friend Romain Lazurowicz french design agency L'Appartement.

They made a personnalized set with the great Calepino notebook.

I just love the idea of Calepino making simple, nice and 100% made in france + recycled casual what else?

Thank you L'Appartement for this thoughtful and conscious gift!

PS : dearest Diane, a set is waiting for you :)

Take care,

Sophie Trem

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Photo(17) Capture d’écran 2013-01-08 à 11.35.05

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Saturday, 17 November 2012


Madrid based fashion agency turned publisher Simplyprorsum launches a new magazine! Issue #0 - a tribute to Newton and Hepburn! SIMPLY THE MAG is born from the desire to editorialize our vision of fashion. The result is a mismatched set of stories that attempt to extract the essence of each contributor, under the same creative direction. The proposal for this issue #0 encloses twelve editorials divided into two acts, three art pieces and a main interview. Editors in chief & Creative Directors: Luciana Mazza & Chalo Bonifacino Cooke Art Direction and Design: Pablo Abad Cover: Javier Garceche Simplyprorsum Simplythemag love cakemachine_

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Monday, 08 October 2012



Love, Vincent

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