Thursday, 23 June 2011

Q & A with Viv Albertine

Ms Albertine was of course the guitarist in the legendary punk band The Slits. You can find out details on Viv's latest releases and shows here:

1) How highly do you rate the Flesh e.p? Do you tend to think your most recent record is the best you've made so far?
"Well, it's hard to rate your own stuff and I haven't made a record for 25 years. I am happy with the songs. I could instrumentalise them a hundred different ways."

2) Do you think it's good that Mick Jones has reformed BAD? Will you go and see him play live?
"Not good to judge other people. I went to see BAD play and I thought they sounded great. Good songs. Good energy. If they keep writing new stuff then they are an evolving band. If they just keep playing the old stuff, best to only do it occasionally."
(Above: My photo of Mick from July 2009. Viv inspired Mick's London Calling song "Train In Vain")

3) Everyone seems to say nice things about Dylan Howe - is he all good or does he have a dark side?
"Haha. Well he is a sweetie and a very gentle person. He produced Flesh ' and saved me because I hadn't been in the studio for years. He took control which was such a relief and we worked really well together. It was a great session and a good re introduction to the studio for me to be in his capable hands."
(Above: The Blockheads. Dylan is on the far right.)

4) I read that you took part in the Stoke Newington Festival and that you talked about your love of ska. Was the event a success and what sort of thing were you saying?
"I was talking about how me Tess and Ari used to go to all night Jamaican sound system clubs in the 1970's. The only Whites there and girls too! No one gave us a hard time. We were left alone to enjoy the music. Not ska though, it was dub and sometimes in another room, lovers rock."
5) When Pete Waterman is asked what his favourite pop single is he always goes for Marvin Gaye's Heard It Through The Grapevine. Is the song perfect in your eyes too? Do you listen to much Motown music these days?
"I LOVE Motown. I grew up on it. I remember when I first heard grapevine and I can still see the original video in my minds eye of a cool black girl dancing, shot with a wide angle lens. A beautiful song. Our version is great too. I can't believe we had The nerve to cover such a great song!"

6) How many instruments can you play?

7) Tell me about the world of ceramics - are there any interesting young ceramacists out there that deserve a bit of praise? Do you visit all the degree shows?
"God no."
8) What is the most recent song you've completed and what is it about?
"I just recorded a song with Jenny Lee Lindberg from Warpaint. It is a beautiful wistful song. 6 minutes long. I am making a record of collaborations with bassplayers."
9) Do any films or records have the power to make you cry?
"I cry at almost every film I watch if that's what the director intended. I am a complete sucker. I recently cried all the way through an episode of Glee. There are songs that make me cry, like You're a Big Girl Now by Dylan. Young Girl by Union Gap is very uncool but my mum always used to say it reminded her of me. And, When She Loved Me, from Toystory. An absolute killer. About a girl who grows up and leaves childhood behind. Breaks my heart. Seems to be a bit of a theme here! I cried at every sad song after I had a baby because your emotions are heightened and you realise how profound but fragile life is. And I cry at records when I am heartbroken."
10) Are you a happy person?
"No. I am melancholic. I am a realist. But I have massive dreams and sometimes I achieve them."

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Q & A with August Kunnapu

(Above: Painting of the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer by August Kunnapu)

1) Has 2011 been a good year for you so far? What have been the highlights?

2011 has been a pretty active year for me so far. The highlight is probably a bike ride from mid-Tallinn to Paljassaare peninsula with my nearly 2 years old son Alberto. The wilderness was still there, although the place is getting more civilized.
I was also editing the 14th issue of the timeless magazine Epifanio with the main theme Space around us.
Most of the time I was preparing for the painting show ‘My Favourites’ for Gallery 21 in Riga, Latvia. I was portraying some of my favourite writers (Richard Brautigan, Daniil Harms), filmmakers (Kim Ki-duk, Michelangelo Antonioni), painters (David Hockney, Christian Schad), musicians (Devendra Banhart, Vashti Bunyan, Stuart Staples), architects (Alison Smithson) and sages (Dalai Lama, Amma). Some of them are set in specific surroundings, like the Russian avangard writer Daniil Harms is viewing the Nevski Prospekt from the balcony of the bookshop Dom Knigi in the late 1920ies St. Petersburg. The American writer Richard Brautigan is in harmony with the colourful geometric cityscape, which seems to be part of his inner world.

2) What is your personal favourite painting from the My Favourites show? (Please say why)

Usually when I’m preparing for a show, the very first or the very last painting tends to be the best one (I have noticed a similar phenomenon with film directors – their debut movie or the last movie is the best). In the particular case the last painting is my favourite – portrait of the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who is meditating with his UFO-shaped Modern Art Museum at the background. When I’m portraying a person or a house, I always try to paint his/her soul.

3) Do you contact all the people you do portraits of? Do you get good responses and reactions from them or their families?

I haven’t contacted any of the ‘models’ I’m portraying for ‘My Favourites’. Some of them are in another dimension, some of them live quite far away from Estonia.
But I have made quite a lot of commissioned works and usually the people on the paintings and their families love them. The last portrait I did, is a portrait of my client, his old-school BMW and a ship in the background. I just finished it yesterday, so I haven’t felt his reaction yet.
(Above: August's painting of Stuart Staples from Tindersticks)

4) Do you think your paintings are changing? Do you think you're improving with age like a fine wine?

I feel that I’m getting more skilful, but I hope not too skilful. But the essence remains the same – interest in simple images and bright colours.

5) Most people I know in London have been recession hit or are worried about money. How are things in Tallinn? Are you worried?

I feel that things are getting step by step better in every field in Tallinn. I have talked to several businessmen, architects, artist and gallerists – they all agree with me.

(Above: August's painting of Alison Smithson)

6) Which new artists have impressed you recently? Have you been to any good exhibitions?

I was impressed with the album of the Californian pop artist Wayne Thiebaud at a friend’s place in Riga. He has a good sense of ‘genius loci’ and colour.
For the same reasons I enjoyed the 1970ies paintings of the Estonian artist Ludmilla Siim in our art museum in Tallinn.

7) What do you love most about the life you live?

I like the people and the paradox of a soul being set inside a body.

8) What do you think of Miro? There is a big show of his work on in London at the moment? Were you ever a fan of his work?

I quite liked his show in our art museum in Tallinn. His sketches and watercolors were on display. I also visited the Miro Foundation in Barcelona during the high school time. I like his spontaneity and sense of colour.

9) Is it good that PULP have reformed? What is your favourite Jarvis Cocker song?

Sure it is good. My cousin saw their concert in the Primavera music festival in Barcelona recently – she liked it a lot. I listened to PULP a lot during my teenager years. There are many favourite songs. ‘Dogs are Everywhere’ comes to my mind, although I’m more a cat fan.

10) What was the last film you saw that made you feel either really excited or happy?

‘Howl’ about the famous poem by Allen Ginsberg was pretty exciting.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Review of James Jessop's exhibition at Charlie Smith

Bomb Chaser is Jessop's first one person show at the Charlie Smith gallery in 336 Old Street, London EC1V 9DR.
Visitors to the exhibition will get to see some very good new paintings and there is also a fantastic documentary being screened that fills you in on the artist's background.
James was born in 1974. In 1986 he recieved a copy of the seminal urban art book Subway Art as a birthday present and it blew his mind. The documentary film follows Jessop as he tours the Bronx with his graffiti hero Blade. You get to see some of the locations where Subway Art was made. Jessop's enthusiasm and excitement is infectious - it puts a spring in your step.
Since featuring in The Saatchi Gallery's New Blood show in 2004, James has shown his work all around the world with great success. I interviewed James in 2006 for an issue of The Rebel that was given away free to those who came to see an exhibition in Redchurch Street called People Like Us. James talked about growing up in Leighton Buzzard and being accepted by The Royal College and I asked him about how his work had changed over the years. James answered: "Well, other people will say that now it's more figurative and that it used to be more abstract. Or that it used to be more funky and rhythmic and now it's more crazy. To me it's just a logical progression and I still paint in oils and acrylics so it doesn't seem that different to me. I'm influenced by anything that grabs me... I like retro influences. I'm as likely to be influenced by a sexy 50's paperback of a horror story as I am by painters like Picasso, Guston, Doig and Ofili." I like this attitude and I think this way of thinking has resulted in some great work. I went to the opening of the show. It was very well attended, there was a good energy and lots of smiles. Shine on James Jessop.
Image Below: Curator of Unit 22 Gallery, Ania Cerelczak)
(Image below: James with the Daddy of the Charlie Smith gallery, Zavier Ellis)
(Image below: Artist and critic Olly Beck)
(Image Below: "Cheers")
(Image below: "The Three Amigos")
The Charlie Smith gallery is open Wed to Sat, 11am to 6pm. Bomb Chaser runs until Saturday July 2nd - Don't miss out.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Niven Govinden

Niven Govinden is a writer. His novels include We Are The New Romantics and Graffiti My Soul
. Last week he was on radio 3 reading out a new story and he was also hit at the recent Stoke Newington Literary Festival:
But the reason I know about him is because of the auction to help the brilliant radio station Resonance FM that took place on March the 20th. There were all sorts of prizes on offer including trips to Nepal and Cyprus, collectable prints by the cartoonist Glen Baxter, Lessons in how to play the bass guitar from John Paul Jones of Led Zep. Some people made bids for those things others made bids for things like The Tatler magazine to photograph their party or for a signed Rod Stewart record. Niven was the lucky winner of a portrait painted by Team Beswick and Pye!
We met when he came down to Gordon Beswick's studio in Old Street and we talked a bit about what writers and painters he liked. Gordon and I decided to do two portraits. The idea being that Niven could pick which one he wanted and the other could feature in an exhibition taking place at Jasper Joffe's new Shoreditch gallery in late July.
At the top of the page is a drawing I did with felt tip pens. Directly above is the Team Beswick & Pye masterpiece that Niven walked away with. He took the photo using the camera on his mobile. We've got some other snaps of him and the paintings which i'll upload later. Gordon and I are always happy to support Resonance FM - long may they continue!
(Above: Me on the steps of the Tate with Resonance FM host Bob & Roberta Smith and a Beswick & Pye painting that featured in the Frieze art fair)
(Below: Gordon Beswick hard at work in his Old St studio)
Below: Niven and me looking at both paintings.
Below: Niven makes his choice.
Below: Niven in Red.

Q & A with Andrew Petrie

You can find out all you need to know about musician and writer Andrew Petrie by visiting his splendid new website: Bad News Immediately
Andrew recently agreed to answer a few questions for me...

1) Were there lots of musical instruments in the house you grew up in? Who inspired you to learn the guitar and piano?

"Only one musical instrument: the piano my mum bought me in 1979. I didn’t need inspiring because between the ages of six and eight I shared my bedroom with it. You couldn’t keep me away. I first picked up a guitar in 1985 and like thousands of 12-year-old boys before me (and since) I was inspired to learn by the Beatles. Boring but true."

2) Which contemporary musicians do you rate and why?

"The Fall - for being The Fall
Sonic Youth - for not going crap yet
Rufus Wainwright - for being the greatest musical talent to emerge in the past 15 years
Deerhunter - for finally making the album I knew they were capable of
North Sea Radio Orchestra - for being really good live"

3) Why did you decide to start your website? How’s it going?

"I started the website because I finally had enough bits and pieces to share - photos, films, music. It’s going well so far, though some visitors haven’t got their heads around the concept of updates."

4) Which famous people’s deaths upset you? Did you shed a tear when Captain Beefheart passed away, for example?

"I was sadder when Billy Mackenzie died in 1997. The Captain was obviously a great loss, but we’d had a while to get used to the idea of him not creating anymore. My immediate response was to play The Past Sure Is Tense at top volume."

5) What are your memories of the Simmerdown night at The White Swan in Pimlico?

"Bob and Roberta Smith abusing my electric piano. Swedish girls performing a song using two pine cones on a ribbon as a percussion instrument. Some bloke doing bird whistles while playing Blackbird on the guitar, then refusing to give me a lift with the aforementioned electric piano even though he had a van, meaning I had to take it home on the bus."

6) Was it a better or worse night for you than the Forest Fire sessions in Coldharbour Lane?

"Better, as shortly before taking the stage at the Sun & Doves I’d been informed that an old girlfriend had killed herself."
(Image above: Andrew taking a break from performing at The Sun & Doves in South London)

7) Does life seem good at the moment or are you a bitter man?

"I’m quite bitter, but that isn’t stopping me from enjoying life."

8) Do you have a hungry heart?

"This had better not be a Bruce Springsteen question."

9) Do you think you’ll always live in London?

"As long as the work’s here. I don’t fancy the idea of long commutes with their early starts."
(Above image: Andrew in the video for Trojan Horse by The Values)

10) What’s your favourite film and why?

"A tough question. I’ll say Metropolitan because it’s witty and charming and has a great score. On another day I might have said La science des rêves or Rushmore or The French Connection or All The President’s Men or L’année dernière á Marienbad or Serpico or Far From Heaven or Three Kings or Close Encounters Of The Third Kind or Dog Day Afternoon or Robinson In Space or In The Line Of Fire."

Monday, 6 June 2011

Kevin Eldon live in Crouch End

Last week I went to Club Senseless at Downstairs at the King's Head, Crouch End. Since 1981 the venue has put on great variety nights - Julian Clary, John Hegley, Paul Merton, Alexei Sayle and many other greats have performed there.
Club Senseless is run by Ronnie Golden who has rounded up some very good musicians to play in the house band: Ronnie & The Rex. On the first friday of every month (apart from July and august) you can see Ronnie & co do their thang. There's a spot called "challenge the band" where you can request the band play any song in any style you like.
I've been a Kevin Eldon fan since the 1990's when he appeared on BBC2's Fist of Fun alongside Stewart Lee & Richard Herring. I was delighted to see him in such an intimate venue.
Kevin's short but sweet set was a delight from start to finish. We were treated to great material about catchphrases,impressions of The Fonze, splendid piss takes of actors who take themselves too serioulsy and bad comedians who have to rely on embaressing people in the front row of the audience in order to get cheap laughs. The talented Mr Eldon can also play the guitar and one of the many highlights of was when he perfectly re-created the sounds of records getting stuck on a scratch and CDs jumping. Who else could turn the sound of a scatched record into pure comedy gold?
I spoke to him for a few seconds during the interval. In 1997 he'd answered some questions about his Fist of Fun characters for my fanzine Frank. Apparently there is a possibility that Go Faster Stripe are going to bring out a DVD of the series and that Kevin, Richard and Stewart will record some commentaries and bonus material. Since 2002 there has been a website devoted to the show: which has guides to each episode and plenty of treats.
Anyway, here is my very old interview with Kevin...

Harry Pye: Whenever you appear on telly, living rooms up and down the land are instantly filled with laughter. But, are you laughing along with us or are you an unhappy clown?
Kevin Eldon: "Oooh I'm happy - I often find myself shivering with contentment and then stomping one foot on the ground in front of me. Like a horse would."

Harry:I understand you're currently working on a new show called "Club Zarathustra" what's that about?
Kevin: "Hats."
Harry: Have you ever heard of a man called Michael Gira and his band The Swans?
Kevin:"No, but I'm willing to bet his voice is a keening contralto that soars effortlessly into falsetto, still retaining power and epression before swooping down to a low mellifuous hum which could almost be the soul of Gira. Or is he just not very good?"

(Above: A photo of Michael Gira who I interviewed for the same issue of Frank that Kevin's answers originaly appeared in.)
Harry: If I were to write about the comedy actor Gene Wilder I could say something like "I'm just Wilder about Gene" or say that he was "a Gene-ius". However, your name creates problems. How would you like this feature to be titled?
Kevin: "Just put..."Kevin Eldon - this man is obviously a cunt"
Harry: How happy were you with the pilot episode of "Cows"? Do you think it could have done with a bit of editing?
Kevin:"Not happy. You can't do Eddie Izzard lines properly through latex. Yes, it could have done with editing. Never took off really. Shame, but there you go."
Harry: And what about "London Shouting" with Alan Parker (Urban Warrior)?
Kevin: "The BBC comedy boss fool didn't listen to the fact that we all recognized that the (spoof) "Word" format wasn't perfect for the Alan Parker character, and that if Simon Munnery had been given a series it would've been fab cos that would've been changed from that, to something more Urban Warriory."
Harry: Have your skits on Fist of Fun recieved any response from "The Real" Rod Hull?
Kevin: "Yes. He puts on a false pair of lips and goes about insisting he's the real Kevin Eldon."

Harry: What are the chances of your hobby obsessed Simon Quinlank character getting his own half hour show?
Kevin: "It's not my hobby obsessed character. Rich and Stew write it and I am their comedy whore. They feel they've gone about as far as they could with Quinlank. They reckon it gets harder and harder to write and keep fresh. I can understand that. I think a one off half hour special could work but it's up to the boys."
Harry: Why weak lemon drink?
Kevin: "I think a lot of people's mums used to put that in their flasks when they went out on a school trip or to the Cub's Jamboree. Mine did anyway. It's such a bland an irritating drink I think Rich & Stew recognised the comedy potential in it. The twats."
Harry: Do you take your characters home with you?
Kevin:"No. It's a small flat."
Harry: Which products would you consider advertising on telly?
Kevin: "Bras and cat litter."
Harry: You're currently working with Chris Morris on Brass Eyeis it true that in real life he is alarmingly like the characters he plays on screen?
Kevin: "Chris Morris is a charming fellow. He reminds me of a fine and decent officer in the British Raj."
Harry: What thoughts would you like to leave us with?
Kevin: "Suffering is inherent in existence, but there needn't be such a thing as suffering needlessly for the sake of it. Problems are symptoms of happiness being looked for in the wrong places. Cup-a-soup isn't as bad as you think."

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Q & A with Martin Fry of ABC

I found my old Smash Hits sticker book recently. ABC sold more than 2 million copies of their Lexicon of Love album and they were proper pop stars. In case you can't read the tiny type it says: "Martin Fry born 9/3/58 in Manchester has an English Literature degree from Sheffield University, is careful planner and enthusiastic ABC propagandist. Set very hight standards and fulfilled them with the Radical Dance faction's series of finely crafted singles. Understands value of presentation and production."
(Last week Martin kindly answered a few questions via e-mail for me...)

The Rebel: What were the best things about growing up in Manchester? What places in Manchester brought you the most happiness?
Martin Fry: "Getting the bus into the city centre , daydreaming about Bowie, buying suedehead clothes from Ivor's and Justin's. Manchester is a big city. It makes you feel big.The twin cathedrals of Manchester.Old Trafford and the Hacienda are the places that brought me the most happiness."
The Rebel: What kind of a student were you? Did you enjoy being at college?
Martin: "I went to Sheffield University and enjoyed every minute of it. I lived on Hyde Park Flats and read William Blake.I thought I was the only person in Yorkshire who loved punk. I was probably wrong."
The Rebel:What do you remember about the night in 2007 when you performed in front of 15,000 people in the Hollywood Bowl?
Martin: "I remember there was a clock on stage and you were fined if you played for more than 60 minutes. It was a beautiful night.
Steve Coogan was there."
The Rebel: "I remember Frankie Goes To Hollywood being the biggest band in Britain.They had your mate Trevor Horn producing them and Paul Morely was writing their sleeve notes – do you remember being a bit jealous or were you a fan?
Martin: "Are you kidding? No never jealous. They sang on an ABC tune called SOS. I met them in Sarm West. I introduced Trevor Horn to Paul Morley all those many years ago."
(Above: Trevor and Martin)

The Rebel: What was Julien Temple like to work with? Is he one of the good guys? Did you like the documentary films he made about the Sex Pistols and Wilko Johnson?
Martin: "Julien Temple was brilliant. He’s a very patient man. He directed our movie Mantrap and the clip for Poison Arrow. I loved Dr. Feelgood as a kid.I just checked out Vintage Trouble and they remind me so much of them. I’ve bought Filth and the Fury a few times."
(Above: Mr Temple)

The Rebel:Which of you recent songs are you most pleased with? Are there any of your lyrics that make you swell with pride?
Martin: "See Through You and Love Is Strong."
The Rebel:Have you ever met Kevin Rowland? Did he seem a rival around the time of Come on Eileen or were you pop pals?
Martin: "When I got married I invited Kevin Rowland to my wedding. We were pop pals . He lived around the corner from me. Dexy’s were a stunning band."
The Rebel:There’s a photo of you with Glen from Heaven 17 on one side and Phil from the Human League and the other. Were they happy for you to go in the middle? Do you ever meet up with them just as mates?
Martin: "Steel City Tour December 2008. Glenn Phil and me. They played down each flank and I was the central target man."
The Rebel: Are you excited about playing at the Isle of Wight Festival next week? And does your life in general seem pretty good at the moment?
Martin: "The Isle of White show will be brilliant.We played a show on Sunday and are match fit and raring to go."

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Q & A with Aleksandra Wojcik

The Rebel: Can you talk about where you grew up in Poland? What are the best things about your home town?
Aleksandra Wojcik: “I grew up in Cracow (south Poland). For the first 10 years of my life I lived in Nowa Huta surrounded by Soviet architecture. Later my family and I moved to central Cracow- untouched by the war. I love my home and I miss it so much. Cracow is a very bohemian place, there is always something going on. I used to live next to the Jewish district. Place full of cafés, cultural centres, antique shops. I experienced different cultures. My parents as art conservators introduced to me the world of history and art. I love Cracow and everything about it. It is hard to describe the spirit of that place in just few words . It is a\really magical and different place. Time goes slower and I love the surreal spirit of Cracow during the night.”
The Rebel: How much does it cost to do the photography course you do here and has it been worth the money so far?
Aleksandra: “I am lucky, I’d started my course two years ago and I pay £3,200 a year. For sure you need more than that to survive in London and photography is very expensive. I choose the right place to study. I am really happy with my university and it's program. The course itself is editorial but students can work on fine art projects and teachers help us to develop our ideas. Is it worthy of this money? I am sure it is. At my campus we have very good facilities both in the traditional and digital darkroom. I know how expensive scanners, cameras, films, photographic paper are. Universities need money to provide this stuff for students. I don't mind paying the fee when I see that this money is being invested well.”
The Rebel: Are Londoners how you expected them to be? Has you experience of life here been mostly positive? Do you get fed up with the weather? Have you experienced any misogyny or racism since moving here?
Aleksandra: “I came to London to find out what I want from life. I was 23 and lost. Dreams which I dreamed in Cracow didn't come true. I was disappointed with the reality and with myself.I wanted to be independent so I had to leave Poland. Friend of my brother had a spare bed in her room in London so I asked her to keep it for me. In one week I packed my suitcase, bought a ticket and moved to London. First 2 years were really hard, I blamed the city but now I think it was more complicated. I was looking for my identity and I couldn't identify with Londoners and the Polish community either. Language barrier was a problem and I felt sad that I couldn't express myself, I felt lonely but today I think it was my choice. I worked a lot and didn't have a free time. That period of my life was a big lesson, but it made me stronger and less naïve. After 2 years I realised that life is not about earning money - Well, mine isn’t. I can't compare London to Cracow. Life in here is quicker and there is no time to make proper friendships. People live their lives and are less aware of others. It is unbelievable that every day you pass on the streets thousands lonely people.I feel a big difference in our cultures but in the art world borders seem to disappear. I've met both nice and horrible Londoners. I've never been a racist and I believe in individuals. Yes I experienced racism and misogyny and it hurt my feelings but I'd rather see it as a lack of education than hate itself. I quite like English weather, is always green and winter is not as cold as in Poland. In London you can do million things while is raining.”
The Rebel: When you were growing up were you taken to see photography exhibitions or were there many art books in the your house? Can you remember the first photo to really make an impact on you?
Aleksandra: “Yes I was always interested in exhibitions. Since I remember I never missed any of the big shows. We had lots of books about art and I used to spent all my pocket money on books and albums. The first photographs which I saw were in my family album I loved looking at them and I liked when my mum was telling me stories about people from those photographs.When I was growing up I was more interested in drawing, painting and theatre. I engaged with photography here in London.”
The Rebel: Who are the best photographers around at the moment? Do you rate the famous ones like Annie Leibovits?
Aleksandra: “I don't have just one master. I am inspired by many photographers. I always try to learn from the masters being at the same time aware of the contemporary art. I love Nadav Kanders landscapes , Antoine D'Aagata for his fine art touch in documentary photography. I don't believe there is one and the best photographer. They all use photography as a language to tell us different stories, they are all fascinated with different subjects. I respect Annie Leibovits, I would love to get to that point in my photography one day where she is at the moment. She is a very creative person and I admire her work for her huge control over her images.”
The Rebel: How many cameras do you own? Do you have a favourite?
Aleksandra: “I have 6 cameras but I only use 2 of them. I have 30 years old Practica PL3 . My mother bought this camera when she was my age. Zorky, which doesn't work, was my grandfathers camera. I love my medium format camera Mamiya RB 67 and most of the time I work with that kit. I prefer shooting on film and I use the digital equipment only if I need to work quick and in a low light conditions. I would love to get a large format camera one day.”
The Rebel: How many images have you made this year that you're really proud of?
Aleksandra: “It’s not how many you took or made it is more about the final edit, final story. This year was really productive and I completed 5 projects. I am proud of two. ''The sound of Emptiness'' was short-listed for Sony Professional Awards this year and was shown in Somerset House from 27 of April until 22 of May.”
The Rebel: What do you love most about photography?
Aleksandra: “I work with this medium in the same way I used to work with painting or drawings.I always observed and analysed and that is what I basically do with my photography. I come back to the same places over an over again and wait for the right moment for the right light. I photograph the same object over and over again, using my images as sketches for the final picture. Photography is my language, is a tool which helps me to share myself with others.”
The Rebel: Are you ambitious? What are your art dreams for the future?
Aleksandra: “As I said before I am less naïve nowadays. I want to keep going. My dream is to produce bodies of work which won't be just hidden in a drawer. I am ready to dedicate my life to it, I have done it already. I would love to continue my education and be able to afford the Masters degree. I appreciate that in this current climate continuing my education might not be that easy.”
The Rebel: What keeps you awake at night?
Aleksandra: “My ideas.”
The Rebel: When was the last time you felt really content or happy about life?
Aleksandra: “It was in December last year when I went back to Poland to complete my religion project. At this time I was reading a lot about Buddhism, Zen and pantheism. I was more aware and I was calmer. Photographing this project was like a balm for my soul. I felt that almost everything in my life was going the right direction. I also went to Cornwall in May. Staying in close relationship with nature makes me calm and happy, I feel like I belong to it.
The Rebel: Do you know any good jokes?
Aleksandra: “Sometimes I think that I am a big joke. I laugh a lot at myself.”