Friday, 31 October 2014

FASHION DESIGNER LAETITIA TROUILLET







Bordeaux in France is not where Laetitia Trouillet wanted to spend her days. After studying art history there she packed her bags and went to live in London. During this time Laetitia went on holiday to Morocco and struck on the idea to create a range of leathergoods and accessories. And so Lalla was born. At first she sold her range in Portobello Market and a range of boutiques, including Paul&Joe and CocoRibbon. But after receiving a large order from Topshop, Laetitia made the decision to move to Morocco. She’s been based there since 2005. While her wares are available at her boutique in Marrakech, Lalla is stocked in a range of stores around the world.

Which five words best describe you? Happy. "Bohemian". Mum. Lalla. Marrakech.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I've never thought about my work in terms of career... it was more like: “What could I do to live in an exciting place and have the best lifestyle!?!” After studying History of Art in Bordeaux, I moved to London seeking adventure. A holiday trip to Morocco inspired me to produce my own bags and accessories that I sold at Portobello Market every Friday. Quickly after that, my label was born: “Lalla”. Lalla means “Madame” in Arabic. A big order for Topshop got me to move from London to Marrakech where I’ve been based since 2005. My agent at this time, the clever Margot Davies, suggested that I set up a “Sourcing & Shopping” service for people such as fashion buyers, interior designers or stylists. My new activity as Shopping Consultant got me very well-known as Marrakech is such a fantastic shopping destination. I really enjoyed meeting and helping all my clients, but I had neglected my Lalla designs a bit. So in 2009, I decided to open my own Lalla boutiques and Studio in the Red City. Today, after years of consulting for other people, I am concentrating on my Lalla label again with lots of exciting projects coming soon.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Believe in yourself. Make it happen. Be optimistic. Learn from your mistakes. Be nice to people. Listen to wise advice. And more than anything, don't take yourself too seriously, and have fun!

What’s your proudest career achievement? A few years back, seeing my Lalla bags worn by strangers in the streets of Paris or London and thinking, “Oh, so there are people who actually bought my bags and they’re not my mum’s friends. They didn’t buy my Lalla bags just to be kind to me.

What’s been your best decision? Leaving my hometown Bordeaux and following my instincts.

Who inspires you? People who follow their dreams.

What are you passionate about? My family. Travelling and discovering new places and cultures. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'm lucky to meet a lot of interesting people through my job and lifestyle. I would like this to continue.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? That my children become happy and open-minded grown-ups.  

What are you reading? For the last five years, children’s books every night.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

ARTIST GEORGE RAFTOPOULOS







In 2011 George Raftopoulos made a brave decision for an artist. He walked away from representation at leading commercial galleries in Sydney and Melbourne. The Sydney-based artist wanted to approach his art practice differently. "Now I have utmost freedom and I do not adhere to any other person's agenda," George says. "Not that I ever did, but having my freedom took a lot of courage." Since then his work has been flourishing on many levels. "I am actually enjoying what I am doing, and best of all I do not have to answer to anybody but that little voice of creativity in my head." Just in the past few months George has unleashed a series of works that have made a big impact in new spheres - from Mclemoi Gallery in Chippendale, Sydney, to the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne and the Bega Regional Museum. George is also scheduled to exhibit at Chasm Gallery in New York next year.

In July George created a series of works in David Bromley's Melbourne studio, ahead of the opening of a Bromley & Co retail and gallery space in Windsor. The session was captured by photographer Sarah Mackie.

Which five words best describe you? Mad, passionate, active, occasionally funny, driven.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? By sheer accident I landed into art school. I had desires to be an architect, however, found this notion far too contrived and driven by too many parameters - and there were far too many years of study to wear the architect’s robe.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I have far too many to list and I continue to get the occasional slap to keep me motivated and alert. And thank goodness for that - who wants to meander through life being numb and asleep? However, the best lesson is if you can’t say what you are about to do - then don’t do it.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Being included in the Year 12 HSC Syllabus in NSW. It is amazing to think that these kids are studying my works and my concerns. Who knows, I may inspire one kid to not become an architect and become an artist instead.

What’s been your best decision? To follow my direction and never second guess it. When I walked away from the commercially-driven gallery world where I was showing in some of the best Australian galleries and producing show after show year after year I became resolute to the fact that I needed a pause and to become in touch with my inner painterly soul, and what it is that fuels me as a painter and an image-maker. When you are always “on” and reaching and moving and never stopping the concerns of an artist can get lost and blurred behind the notion of “success”.

Who inspires you? My wife and children. They are my greatest supporters and bastions of reality. They do not fudge the truth.

What are you passionate about? Honesty and personal growth. I believe people must push in order to grow. I know this can sound a little etherial, however, I believe we all must grow and keep growing both spiritually and mentally.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Picasso to tell him his womanising really sucked.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Moving back to New York, and showing my work to a world audience.

What are you reading? I don’t. It bores me senseless. I am a visual person. I concoct imagery and story on the canvas therefore this is my visual dialogue.

images courtesy of george raftopoulos, sarah mackie and bromley & co

Monday, 27 October 2014

PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD GLOVER







Australia’s Richard Glover has been exposed to some amazing opportunities through his career as an architectural photographer. He was chosen to document the transformation of the Bankside Power Station into London’s Tate Modern - a commission that spanned six years. And while living in the UK, he also worked regularly for a range of renowned architectural firms, including Foster & Partners and John Pawson. Now back in Australia he continues to work for leading practices such as Cox Richardson, Tzannes Associates and Bates Smart as well as emerging firms such as Luigi Rosselli and Collins & Turner. Richard has also become a regular speaker on architecture and photography. He is teaching architect students at UTS and last month spoke on Radio National’s By Design program on Architectural photography - does it exist any more - in an age of instagram? Richard’s personal works are held by Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The Royal Mint, Art Gallery of NSW and ArtBank Australia, among others.
Which five words best describe you? Honest. Empathetic. Diligent. Generous. Handsome. Witty. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Having worked in the advertising industry for several years before deciding to be a professional photographer I had a good understanding of the photographer’s role in the business of visual communication and gave me confidence to tackle several different industry fields. After a few years developing my skills and portfolio I moved to London and it was there that I began to focus on architecture and interiors as the principal subject matter for my work.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Certainly, exercising your natural creative talent is important but not as crucial as being patient, determined and prepared to work hard for many, many years. It is a tough gig but very rewarding.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having the opportunity to photograph the transformation of the former Bankside Power Station into Tate Modern - the world’s most popular modern art gallery - over a six-year period. It was a “big” project in every sense and gave me great satisfaction.

What’s been your best decision? Moving to London. It gave me the opportunity to test myself in one of the world’s great creative centres and presented a never ending path of commission possibilities in several different fields: architecture, design, art, publishing and presented the opportunity to work with some of the best creative people along the way.

What are you passionate about? I am still very passionate about photography, though the "business" of photography is hard graft (like all business). But, the making, disseminating, discussing, teaching of photography is still fun, stimulating and rewarding. Besides photography, I love being a happy husband and father of two children, and in particular a proud supporter of my son’s football team - go Glebe Greyhounds!

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My grandfather. He passed away when I was still a boy and I never really got the chance to know him. He was a keen amateur photographer and I would have enjoyed talking with him about our joint passion.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Retiring.

What are you reading? Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - a fictitious account of the life of Thomas Cromwell.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

CERAMICIST LEAH JACKSON







After a few years of working for a commercial gallery Melbourne’s Leah Jackson felt a pull to what had drawn her to the arts in the first place - ceramics. It was her major during her Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) degree at the ANU in Canberra. And she had immersed herself in that world before then too, studying up on The Journal of Australian Ceramics while at high school. Since returning to the wheel she has been exhibiting regularly. “I love the exhibition process,” Leah says, “as it always pushes my work into a new direction and challenges me to take a fresh perspective.” She is also stocked in retail spaces, and is about to participate in the Markit design market at Fed Square on November 24. Leah also runs the occasional workshop at Northcote Pottery. “It is a fun, day long event that encourages play and irreverence while providing some staple hand building and simple mold making skills,” she says. “They are fun days which yield a surprising amount of work.”

Which five words best describe you? Always hungry for more everything. (That “everything” initially read “cake”).

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied ceramics at university, but left it alone for a few years while I worked in the arts. Working at a public contemporary gallery was like undertaking a second degree - I learnt so much. Eventually the want to be making took over and I left my job to return to the studio - via some more travel, living in some different places, and generally just finding my way.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? My Grandfather gave me simple but effective career advice once: "You just figure out what you want to do, and you work hard at it". That statement really seemed to consolidate my dedication to my career path for some reason. Sage (simple) advice aside, the most important lesson I have learnt is time management - it is essential for ceramics when you are working towards a deadline! You have to allow for drying time, firing, glazing, re-firing - and hope throughout the entire process that the kiln gods will smile upon you.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Being featured in The Journal of Australian Ceramics was pretty exciting. I have been geeking out over those magazines since I was at high school, so that was a very big career achievement tick.

What’s been your best decision? Setting up my current studio at Northcote Pottery - working away from home has made such a difference to my practice, as has having multiple kilns on site.

Who inspires you? My friends. They are incredible. They open galleries, write articles, create beautiful clothes, buildings, jewellery, products, props, exhibitions... The list goes on. Dynamic, ambitious people with strong vision and direction who it is a privilege to spend time with, and I learn so much from.

What are you passionate about? Equal love. Hand moisturisers (ceramics is very hard on the hands). And people enjoying my work in their domestic space.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Gore Vidal, circa 1960s. Even though his intelligence would have been horribly intimidating. I could watch him making clever, witty quips on YouTube all day.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have dreamt this so long it almost feels silly now, but I would love to live in America for a time - perhaps I will retire in Florida?

What are you reading? I am just starting on The picture of Dorian Gray - literally the first pages of the introduction.

images courtesy of leah jackson; photography heather lighton

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

STYLIST JACKIE BROWN







Three years ago Jackie Brown didn’t know her job existed. But assisting interior stylist Sarah Ellison changed all of that. “Since then my career has escalated quite rapidly and, seemingly, effortlessly, which I take as a message from the universe. Yes. You are exactly where you need to be,” she says. And so where is she? At the moment Sydney-based Jackie is styling interiors for Real Living magazine every issue. Landing covers. Working for advertising clients. A long way from her days as an actor, massage therapist and bus driver, although she says, it’s all been part of the fun.

Which five words best describe you? Fortunate, happy, dorky, strong, hungry - I’m always hungry. For knowledge, love, words, experience, beauty, Cherry Ripes...

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I am a bit of a late starter, actually. I was many things before I was a stylist. I was fortunate enough to spend several years travelling the world doing all sorts of things for a buck- I worked as an actor and a massage therapist and a bus driver! I had a lot of fun doing all these different "jobs" but was a bit lost in terms of a "career". A few years ago when I returned to Australia, I went back to school to study interior design, and whilst I was studying I took it upon myself to organise some work experience at Real Living magazine. Whilst I was there, I did some writing for the mag and Deb mentioned she'd love to have someone who was passionate about writing and interiors on the team. A couple of months later, an opportunity came along for me to take on the role of editorial coordinator. I let Deb know I was interested in the styling side of things and she took the risk and gave me a shoot. It snowballed from there. That first shot is still one of my faves. I eventually left the role as ed co to pursue styling, was freelancing for a while, and now am back on the wonderful Real Living team where I started. Lovely how these things come around.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I'm learning every single day. Most recently I learned that you always need to counterweight a boom arm... Boom: 1. Jackie: 0. Ouch!

What’s your proudest career achievement? I am always really chuffed when I see images I have styled crop up on a blog or in a mag or on an Instagram account belonging to someone on the other side of the world. I am still pinching myself that I am getting to do what I love, so it’s always lovely to see other people - near and far - are appreciating what I am creating.

What’s been your best decision? Making the call to try and take on the styling thing full time, and put all of my energy into it. If I hadn't done that you would still know me as the girl who processes your invoices! Haha!

Who inspires you? I am inspired by, and incredibly indebted to the lady who taught me all I know about styling, the inimitable Sarah Ellison. Before I met Sarah I didn't even know my dream job existed. I was fortunate enough to be able to watch Sarah in action quite a bit when I was starting out in this industry and she is so exceptional at what she does, and was so generous and giving with her time and knowledge. I am also inspired by the Real Living team who are busting their balls at the moment churning out three magazines and who still manage to keep smiles on their sweet sleepy faces.

What are you passionate about? Interiors and food and my love. Disclaimer: Not necessarily in that order.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Author Nikki Gemmell. I want to pick at her brain! (Not in the Hannibal Lecter with a cocktail fork sense.) Her words are like little songs; she writes how I long to write. I reckon once I recovered from my initial star-struck awkwardness, we'd have quite a giggle.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'd love to be able to combine all the skills I have picked up along the way and do something involving interiors on TV. I would still love to do some more travel, and it would be amazing to be able to work doing what I'm doing oversees for a bit.

What are you reading? These days mostly Ikea assembly instructions. I have a Tom Robbin's (another of my faves) on my bedside, and looking forward to hopping on a plane and having a few hours to gorge on his sentences without interruption. 

images courtesy of jackie brown, maree homer, scott hawkins (portrait) and real living magazine

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