Brigette In Bloom: An Interview with Brigette Bloom


With her trusty sidekick Leo (her beloved dog), Bridgette Bloom is a child of the wilderness. With a feral spirit and the abandon of a forest sprite, Bloom follows in the great tradition of American wanderers – documenting with her camera all along the way. Bloom's photographs are like a beautiful dream in someone else's afterlife – a cinematic elysium that explodes in cloudbursts of life altering reminders to never waste even a single moment. 


PAS UN AUTRE: When did you first discover photography?

BRIGETTE BLOOM: I've loved pictures my whole life. sometimes i'd find strangers old family photos on the street when i'd walk home from school and was so fascinated by the things other people took pictures of. I love the idea of photography; how you can hold a moment in your hand, it's like time traveling!

AUTRE: Can you remember the first image you ever took?

BLOOM: The first photo i took was probably of a slug, or my eye or something, but the first one I can remember is when I was very little, I lined up all my trolls on the table and took a polaroid of them, I loved it so much. I took it with me to school in my backpack and would look at it throughout the day. Another early one is one I took of my old hamster, cotton ball, right after she bit my brother on the arm.


AUTRE: You seem like a pretty fervent traveler - where are you now?

BLOOM:  I moved to Portland a few months ago from Alaska, but now that spring is here I feel the need to get up and leave again. I always like to be on the move, passing through, getting my feet dirty. I've had so many beautiful, growing experiences through traveling, I see myself doing it forever.

AUTRE: Who is Leo?

BLOOM: My heart, my gentle but very strong willed dog.


AUTRE: What are some of your biggest influences or inspirations?

BLOOM: I'm deeply inspired by animals. Everything about them is so mysterious and honest, I feel like an animal myself. But really, I am inspired by almost anything- looking into a strangers eyes, drinking fog, listening to the coyotes howl as I fall asleep, silence, intuition, eating good food, finding dog hair stuck to my shirt, courage, the seed of a peach, dripping honey, smile lines, blood, dreamers, cracked lips, whats natural and wild, how the body heals itself, raw feelings, the heart of the sun, self love, feeling connected to everything around you, i'm just in love with life.

AUTRE: Whats next?

BLOOM: I feel that I haven't even touched the surface of my photography yet, there is so much more to be created! Right now i'm just enjoying each day and we'll see what happens when it comes....

Follow Brigette Bloom's journey on her tumblr. Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre. 


Light as Air: An Interview with Gregory Aune

Gregory Aune is a photographer and collagist based in New York whose images are both dreamy and classical. There is also a unique confidence in Aune's vision throughout his ouvra making his photographs seem both effortless and light as air.  I caught up with Aune to ask him a few questions about his technique and inspiration behind his work. 

PAS UN AUTRE: When did you first know you wanted to become a photographer?

GREGORY AUNE: I grew up in a small desert town in southern California. I was always drawing as a kid and actually wanted to be a illustrator when I grew up. So I always had a love for the visual arts I tried all aspects but the one I couldn't shake was photography, It was just something I fell in love with and just made the choice to grow within that, and will be growing until I die.

AUTRE: Can you remember the first image you ever took?

AUNE: I wish, I do however have my first roll of film that I developed myself. Its a collection of out of focus flowers.

AUTRE: What goes through your mind when you look through the viewfinder?

AUNE: Trying to place myself within the picture not trying to be a voyeur or hide behind the camera. I rather feel Im there with the subject, not just within the frame but the world that it lives in.

AUTRE: Who are some of your biggest inspirations or influences?

AUNE: There is quite a lot ranging from music, film, art, dance, close friends, lovers, broken hearts, nature and of course photography. It can be from the simplest things to the most damaging of things. I couldn't really pin point one person. I guess with in a commercial aspect I would say people like Paolo Roversi, Sarah Moon, Deborah Turberville purely because there artistry was translated and used in a commercial world...

AUTRE: What is your ideal subject to photograph?

AUNE: I have my list of people through out time that I would have loved to photograph but I always enjoy a nice roam in a forest or along the coast.

AUTRE: You are also a collagist – can you describe the aesthetic and inspiration behind some of your collages?

AUNE: I enjoy collage a great deal. With a lot of contemporary collagist not saying all but there all compiled on the computer which it doesn't feel right to me. I enjoy the hands on approach and rather cut things out with scissors and paste with glue. I guess my aesthetic would be loosely based on the principles of photography that your capturing a moment. I enjoy extremely surreal collagist or others that use shapes and textures to mold into each other, but with my own work I just want to add a little more to everyday situations. For example I did a whole series of birds fly over structures or landscapes, theirs not much to it but the idea of what it would be like to travel the way they do and see the things they see. As far as inspiration it comes from everywhere could be a broken heart or based on a drawing I saw and my interpretation of it...Inspiration comes from everywhere.

AUTRE: Analog or digital?

AUNE: The great question. I learned on film, was kind of the last generation of students to completely learn on film so it will always be a part of me. Also with anything it’s the hands on feeling, its romantic and exciting. Digital however, is great in its own right…the turn around in a work environment is quick but I feel lacks that excitement, also at times everything is realized in post. I like both for different reasons and Ill hold on to film as long as I can but wont be fighting digital either.

AUTRE: Whats next?

AUNE: I just plan to keep creating and keep moving forward. Growth within myself and my work.

See more of Gregory Aune's photography on his website. Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre


“Living in New York City… has taught me to be extremely compact and intentional about the things I carry with me,” says Maximum Henry Cohen, the slight, unassuming 22-year-old mastermind behind Brooklyn-based leather goods brand Maximum Henry. “There’s a lot of baggage that we carry around with us out of habit.” Cohen is sipping Coca-Cola from a glass bottle, sitting in one of the sweeping factory windows of his Williamsburg waterfront studio, a loft space shared by a few other artisans and draftsmen. In the background, the dull hum of various machines cutting wood and shaping metal creates a strangely comforting white noise. Outside, a tranquil snow of the early-March variety falls on red brick scrawled with graffiti. One of Cohen’s goals in creating his own artisan leather goods brand was to downsize, to eliminate that unnecessary extra baggage, “to make something... that someone could carry and really consider their own.” Everything about Cohen—from his humble, down-to-earth personality to his streamlined workspace to his pared-down website to his handmade business cards— suggests an understated elegance. He pays the utmost attention to detail in the creation of his rustic yet sleek (and amazingly affordable) wallets and belts. “I was… that kid who would make duct tape wallets in the seventh grade and sell them to his friends,” Cohen remembers. Eventually, he set out to make the perfect leather wallet; a wallet that was just big enough to fit everything he needed but nothing more. Beginning in his bedroom with some scissors and a pair of discarded leather shorts that he rescued from their bleak thrift-store fate, he eventually moved into his living room and finally to his own studio, a modest space carefully curated in accordance with his taste for the basic and pure. A weathered steel architect’s lamp casts warm light over the dye-stained wood of his leatherworking table, over which a Singer sewing machine, a relic of vintage Americana, presides. Various tools are arranged neatly above the table, held upright by a homemade leather strap. He keeps his sheets of leather in a beautiful old footlocker and his finished belts, hung from hooks high above his drafting table, cast long shadows on the white walls of the studio. The objects Cohen crafts are simple, functional, full of charm and integrity—the kind of objects one wears or carries for years on end until those objects almost become a part of them. “I get the most inspired when I see something that’s been carried for more than half of someone’s life,” he says thoughtfully, “Once you carry something for a little while, you establish a connection to it.”

ANNABEL GRAHAM: Can you tell me about how you started making your own leather goods?

MAXIMUM HENRY COHEN: I’ve been making leather goods for... let’s see, five years now. It started when I would make duct tape wallets in the seventh grade and sell them to friends, but I don’t really count that.

GRAHAM: I remember those!

COHEN: I was the kid who would sell them to his friends, I made a lot of them. I stopped when I got a little more interested in film, stop-motion animation, and claymation, and skateboarding and things like that... until I started high school, which was actually a reform school in Montana for two years. I learned how to sew there, I made some pants and things like that, but I also made teddy bears and things to send home to my family. That’s where I really started to feel a little more comfortable with a sewing machine, creating things and turning flat fabrics into objects that had character and life and substance. My first leather wallet was in the summer of 2008. A friend of mine’s girlfriend was planning on donating a pair of leather shorts to Beacon’s Closet but she gave them to me instead, I just cut them up to keep the leather. I couldn’t find a wallet that was simple enough and didn’t have an obtrusive logo in it and I was going through a phase of just not wanting to wear or carry anything with anyone else’s logo because I didn’t feel like it reflected my own character. The only wallets that I could find that didn’t have a logo on them were really high-end, and it felt a little silly to me that the cheaper wallets were the ones that were overdesigned and too big… They were also covered in logos, while the really expensive ones were very simple. That was the premise, kind of my mission statement for my first wallet, to make something that someone could carry that had room to be really broken in and age well.

GRAHAM: Did you make your first wallet for yourself or for someone else?

COHEN: I didn’t even know who it was for while I was making it, or what I was doing for that matter. I ended up giving away my first fifteen or so prototypes. I would carry it for a few days and if I liked it I would give it to a friend, then make myself a new one. I would do that with all different styles for a while. Sometimes I would make one and it would feel too big and clunky, or I would make one that would be too small, and couldn’t even fit money or a Metro card, so it would be pretty useless. Once I established the pattern that I still use today, I started taking it a little more seriously. The internal stitch was a big breakthrough for me. I realized that you could sew something inside out and then turn it outside in and the stitching would be on the inside, that way it won’t tear when you carry it through the years, because the stitches aren’t exposed. That was also exciting for me because I was still learning how to sew leather and I had to work around the fact that I couldn’t sew straight, the internal stitch hid my messy stitching until I learned how to control my sewing machine.

GRAHAM: When you started out, were you just making the wallets out of your home?

COHEN: Yeah, I was making them in my bedroom, with desk scissors, a box cutter and a ruler. There were leather scraps all over my rug, all over my desk, in my trash can, just everywhere, and it was really messy, but really fun and kind of... it felt really natural and homemade, because it was, entirely. In the beginning it was literally with things I found around the house, and I just figured things out as I went along. Then I moved into my living room and I had this little table, this really low table, and I was just hunched over it for what felt like five hours a day, just making all sorts of little things, little tobacco pouches, iPad cases, wallets, all sorts of stuff.

GRAHAM: So you’re from New York.

COHEN: Yeah. I was born on the Upper West Side, and then when I was nine my little brother was born and we moved up to Westchester County. I remember I had never really walked in grass without shoes on before, because I was a city kid, and the whole suburban thing was a big transition. It didn’t really fit that well, I didn’t really enjoy it very much and I missed the city a lot. I moved back at my first opportunity after graduating high school early. I was able to live in Harlem and to work for my dad’s company for a few months, then I started college, and I’ve been back ever since.

GRAHAM: Is there anything in particular that inspires you in your work?

COHEN: I get the most inspired when I see something that’s been carried for more than half of someone’s life. My grandpa’s possessions really amaze me, as well as a few pieces I’ve found at flea markets and garage sales, things that have stood the test of time. Not just because they haven’t fallen apart, but because they haven’t been thrown away. Once you carry something for a while, you establish a connection to it. I’ve always been intrigued by people’s wallets, I found it was an interesting way to connect to people, because most people have a very intimate connection with their wallets. Sometimes there’s kind of a strange story behind how they got it, or a happenstance kind of thing, like, “Oh, I got this because it was seven dollars at a garage sale in Missouri,” or something like that. And then they end up carrying that for fifteen or twenty years, and it transforms into a totally different object with different meanings. I found that a lot of people were just looking for something that was really simple, and there were so many brands that were over designing that I just wanted to make something that is simple and functional.

GRAHAM: It’s interesting, you carry a wallet every day, it’s just this one thing that’s always with you, it almost becomes a part of you.

COHEN: Yeah, and it wears in in different spots, depending on how many cards you have in it, or how much cash you carry, or if you hold on to receipts. It wears differently if you keep it in your front pocket or your back pocket, it’s very personal.

GRAHAM: How did you start making belts?

COHEN: It started with the first apprenticeship I did in the fall of 2010. I was working for a guy named Ryan Matthews, who is an oddities collector and leather smith. He collects taxidermy, old medical artifacts and some really beautiful antique lamps. He’s got the most incredible collection of weird stuff I’ve ever seen in my life. He used to do leatherwork for Polo and he would design belts for Double RL and Ralph Lauren vintage collection. He would make these Navajo recreation belts that would sell for something like fifteen thousand dollars at the Ralph Lauren store. He taught me how to dye and edge leather, how to attach buckles and to distress the leather to make belts that looked really old. My next apprenticeship was with this woman named Barbara Shaum, who is, I believe, 87 years old. She has a leather shop on East 4th street between 2nd and 3rd where she makes sandals and belts. It’s a really old-school business, and everything that’s made is made right there, either by her or by someone who works with her. There would be all these guys who would come in saying, “Hey Barbara, it’s time for me to get a new belt, it’s been forty years on this one,” and they would take off this decrepit, old, worn till the very end, belt… something that she had made in the 70s that had lasted 40 years. She taught me how to cut leather from the hide, how to mix dyes to get all different shades, how to attach buckles in a way that they’ll never fall off, and a bunch of other little tricks.

GRAHAM: You’re also interested in film, right?

COHEN: A little bit. My dad works in television and did throughout my entire upbringing, so I grew up visiting his production office on the upper west side all the time, and visiting his friends on sets in LA too. Most of my best friends now are people I met through the SVA film program. I’ve drifted in such a different direction from what they’re doing now, but because we have such different backgrounds, and we spend all day thinking about our specific crafts, we’re able to offer each other advice and insight from different standpoints. My friend Tom just started a production company called Yellow House Pictures, and they’re working on a lot of really cool, exciting projects. I feel like I’m been more in love with written stories than films specifically, just as a form of storytelling. I love reading and I love short stories... historical fiction is my favorite genre. If I were to get back into film I think it’d probably be from a writing standpoint. I dropped out of SVA after one year. I was really turned off because there were all these teenagers who had grown up in the suburbs and were so self-righteous and overly confident, myself included. [LAUGHS] I didn’t feel as though had enough life experience to be a story teller just yet, I was disgusted by how much money I was spending to not be taking school very seriously. I dropped out and started barbacking at a bar in Williamsburg called Hotel Delmano. I was working really hard mentally and physically, I would go home at the end of the day with some money in my pocket, feeling tired and good. It was really fun because while I was working I was also training to become a cocktail bartender. I was promoted to a bartender just after my 20th birthday. I’ve met more people through the bar industry in New York City than through any other social experience of my life. I was fortunate enough to work in three of the best bars in New York over a period of 4 years; Hotel Delmano (in Williamsburg), Elsa and Black Market (both in the East Village).

GRAHAM: All of those bars have a really cool worn-in, vintage-looking aesthetic that sort of matches yours.

COHEN: That’s not by accident. “Objects with character” is sort of a consistent theme... They were all built acknowledging things that have withstood the test of time. A few of the owners of Hotel Delmano are metal workers and furniture designers that make the most beautiful things. They have been and continue to be huge role models for me. I would constantly notice new details about the bar that I had never seen before, like, “Oh my god, I didn’t even see that little chandelier that’s hanging in that corner, or the way that they painted that pipe, how it’s a slightly different color than the wall, or how they distressed the whole room to simulate aging and water damage.” It takes you to a different place. Seeing the way those people have turned making beautiful things into their full-time living is so inspirational, because that’s really all I want to do, is make things that people admire and feel good about.

GRAHAM: You live in Williamsburg now. Having grown up in Manhattan, what’s your feeling about Brooklyn?

COHEN: I’m so happy to be here. It feels like home to me. I’ve made friends with so many people around the neighborhood, from the guy who makes my sandwiches at the deli to the shopkeepers at all of the cool little boutiques around here. I know the buildings so well, and walking down the street I almost always run into someone I know. It has a neighborhood feel that makes me really comfortable. There are so many inspirational small businesses. Sometimes on Sundays I set up a table and sell wallets on the street, which has helped me a lot to see absolute strangers’ gut reactions to what I’ve been working on. After you spend X amount of hours on something, you grow attached to it, almost the way a parent feels about a newborn baby. It takes you out of your bubble. It really helps me to see how differently people react. My products’ quality is a reflection of my level of craftsmanship, even looking at things that I made six months ago makes me shudder sometimes, because my work is constantly evolving.

GRAHAM: Going back to literature and writing, who are some of your favorite authors?

COHEN: I love George Saunders, Denis Johnson. I would say E.L. Doctorow is my favorite author, and Ragtime is my favorite book. It’s set at the turn of the century, and it covers both fictionally and non-fictionally what was going on during that time period, which is my favorite type of book. Before that, I read The Cider House Rules, which I really enjoyed, but my friends would make fun of me for it, ‘cause I guess it’s kind of a girly story. [LAUGHS] I also like some more spiritual pieces, Siddhartha is really beautiful and influential, about how one can live with absolutely nothing. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, has been a staple in my life. I wouldn’t consider myself religious in any way, shape or form, but I do try to stay in tune with my own integrity and karma, and that was a guiding light for me in my late teens. My ideal day would be cooking my own breakfast, riding my bicycle to the studio, working and making things all day, hopefully meeting with some clients who are really excited about the products I’m making, eating a delicious dinner at one of the amazing places in the neighborhood then going to bed to do it all over again the next day. That’s pretty much it.

GRAHAM: The books you named and even your ideal day all seem to go along with this theme of almost simple, Spartan existence—making things yourself and existing without all the “noise.”

COHEN: We’re living in the information era and there’s just so much everywhere, and it can be really overwhelming. To take a step outside of what’s going on and to look at what you connect with and why you connect with it... I don’t think you connect with things for the reasons you think you do right off the bat, there’s usually something underneath it. That’s what I strive for in my work, to make things that look upon first glance like something that’s almost normal, but then once you wear it and once it becomes a part of you, you fall in love with it. It has a much longer life span then something that is flashy and will end up falling apart one day.

GRAHAM: And the more you study one of your wallets, the more little details you notice.

COHEN: I tried to design them to be as simple as possible. I try to leave room for character to be developed, to just lay the foundation and then the rest is up to whoever wants to carry it. I have friends who have drawn on the insides of their wallets with Sharpies and things like that, and it’s the coolest thing because they’re taking something that I made and just transforming it into something that is theirs. I did start putting my brand on the on the inside of the wallets, but they are also available without them. I don’t want to throw my image in anyone’s face, you know, if they want it, they can have it and adapt it to their own style. The original concept for things without logos came from Hotel Delmano, which is really inspiring. They don’t even have a sign outside, they don’t have a business card, they don’t have coffee to go with their logo on the cup. There is no logo for Hotel Delmano. You can seek it out and go there, but you can’t take any of it out with you. That’s why people keep coming back, it’s because their product and experience stands on its own, not a commercial piece of branding. My favorite client is someone who has been referred by someone else who already has a piece and really appreciates it. I’d rather have those people tell their friends, or get them for their friends, instead of having advertising to bring in customers.

GRAHAM: So you don’t want your face on a park bench anytime soon? [LAUGHS]

COHEN: [LAUGHS] No, definitely not. That’s kind of the wrong idea... At least for right now.

GRAHAM: What’s your goal for the future?

COHEN: I’ve been in a developmental stage for a really long time, making different prototypes and styles and colors, and I would really like to go into production mode and be able to make ten times what I’ve been making in the past, and expand to make new products... eventually even a clothing line. For the time being, I’m just focusing on nailing down my craft and making some things that feel like they can be taken through anything. I’ve been working on some guitar straps and some small bags. I’m also looking for retail stores outside of New York to carry my pieces. I’d really like to see the wallets around the world, in France and London and Italy and Australia. It feels really local right now. I’ve already gotten them in pretty much all of my friend’s pockets, so I’d like to start moving on to other likeminded people that I don’t know just yet. I’m also really excited about a couple projects I’m working on with my friends that are using their skill sets and combining them with the things I’ve been working on. I just shot a look book with my friend Dave, and my friend Alex is putting it together in a little printed book that I can pass around to friends and shops around the world. Basically, this craft is so exciting for me because it’s given me the excuse to base a profession around the things that I like doing and the people I like interacting with. And to me, that’s what it’s all about—work that doesn’t feel like work. I look forward to coming to my studio in the morning, which is a sign of moving in the right direction.

GRAHAM: If you could be anywhere in the world right now other than New York, where would you be?

COHEN: There’s this lagoon in Jamaica called the Blue Lagoon, which is fresh water that comes from the center of the earth, so they say, and it tastes amazing. Swimming there is one of my ideas of paradise. It’s pretty easy to think about being other places when it’s wintertime in New York. [LAUGHS] But whenever I leave New York, I find myself missing it after just a few days. I guess it’s another implication that I’m going in the right direction, missing my home when I’m on vacation.

GRAHAM: Is there a way in which living in New York City and growing up here has inspired or affected your aesthetic?

COHEN: Most people that live in other parts of the world travel everywhere they go in a car that allows them to just throw things everywhere, and they have more space than they know what to do with. Living in New York City on a budget has taught me to be extremely compact and intentional about the things I carry with me, the things I keep in my home. A lot of people’s wallets are bigger than they need to be, because they’re carrying things that they don’t even remember they have in there. It’s essentially baggage from the past that’s unnecessary and weighs you down. Because my wallet design is smaller than the standard one, it almost forces people to downsize, to simplify their lives. There’s a lot of baggage that we just carry around with us out of habit. It’s pretty important to have a streamlined existence [in New York], because extra things just drag here, and that’s why I like the “no frills” design policy.

Text and photography by Annabel Graham for Pas Un Autre. Visit the Maximum Henry website to view more. 

Camelops Femina in Dubai: An Interview with Olaf Breuning

Olaf Breuning is one of those mystical artists with a gift that is both totally innate and at the same time seems to involuntarily possess the artist – as if he were haunted by the immense creativity that overcomes him. This is evident in the art that he has created and presented in over 250 exhibitions, either solo or group, since his professional career started in the late 1990s. The Swiss-born, New York based artist, has created everything from creatures made out of rakes and cardboard, to films that explore the thin line between reality and fiction, bizarre photographic explorations, and installations made from kitchen appliances. Now Breuning brings his phantasmagorical world to Dubai for the very first time with a striking and magical exhibition at Carbon 12 gallery. “Camelops Femina,” as the exhibition is called, is a fictional exploration of pre-conceived ideas and iconography that digs back 10,000 years in history to excavate an extinct species of Camel that once roamed North America. The images, which were created exclusively for this exhibition, are distinctly Breuning in the quotidian and strange manner of the composition of the photographs where models are dressed like desert sheiks or Bedouin gypsies to represent the imaginary extinct species of camel. This wonderful exhibition is on view now at Carbon 12 in Dubai. Pas Un Autre got a chance to speak with the artist himself in the following interview.

PAS UN AUTRE: You’ve had over 250 exhibitions since the late 90s and this is your first in the Middle East – do you have any expectations – trepidations?

OLAF BREUNING: Trepidations? Uhh…. I will have them if there would be a reason! And expectations? No never have them. The most important for me is that I do an artwork I like. And so far I love the "Camelops Femina."

AUTRE: Your work experiments with, or is a reflection of, popular culture – what are some of your predictions as to where pop culture will go in the next 10 years?

BREUNING: Haha, pop culture...I am not sure…if it still exists…the art industry is pop culture itself. For example Andy Warhol’s work in the seventies was something different because the self-awareness of art itself was still very conservative, but today there seem to be no borders…just different strategies produced and read by different groups of people. Random, like our time in general.

AUTRE: What are some of your favorite inventions of the last 10 years?

BREUNING: To be able to challenge my small brain and come up with always new ideas responding to me and the time I live in.

AUTRE: Have you always want to be an artist? Can you remember the first time you said to yourself: “I want to be an artist”?

BREUNING: I think I never said that, it was always a natural situation. Maybe I am just a natural self-centered person who cannot do anything else than speak about himself. No, no I am a modest person.

AUTRE: What is your ultimate goal as an artist – is there a specific message you want to communicate?

BREUNING: No, no message! I do art to go through this life on my terms. Sounds dramatic, but it is fun and addictive. I feel free as an artist and I hope I can do so until my last day.

AUTRE: Why is art important to society?

BREUNING: Well, I am not a politician, but would I would say: EDUCATION! Whatever that means, just to give different points of views to things.

AUTRE: Where do you find inspiration or creativity?

BREUNING: Mostly at Balthazar in New York, the breakfast restaurant I’ve gone to for 12 years from Monday to Friday. This is the time where I have my first coffee and make my drawings for new ideas.

AUTRE: Is art a product or can a product be art – or both?

BREUNING: Art is whatever you say is borders, just a matter of definition.

AUTRE: Your art deals a lot with the human condition in the 21st century – is there something unique about this time or perhaps different than other epochs?

BREUNING: Yes! THE INTERNET, it changed the way we see the past, the now and the future…so long we are online.

AUTRE: What can we expect from your show Camelops Femina at Carbon 12?

BREUNING: I show with my kind of humor and I hope people in Dubai like my humor.

AUTRE: What’s next?

BREUNING: One day New York, one day Toronto, four days New York, one week Japan, one week Switzerland....and after that I have to focus on a show in August at the Paul Klee museum in Switzerland.... have to make some art!

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper. Camelops Femina will be on view until April 30, 2013 at Carbon 12 Gallery, Warehouse D37, Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1, Dubai contact for all inquiries

Southern Gothic: An Interview With Bradley Bailey

Visit artist and musician Bradley Bailey’s bandcamp page for his one-man band, oxymoronically called Platonic Sex, and you’ll find a single song tiled Sweet Nothing available for download for $1000. Watch a youtube video made last summer in Brooklyn and you’ll find Bailey playing a fifteen minute long, psychedelic and cacophonous set with a human femur. The Atlanta, Georgia based musician doesn’t have much of an online presence, but what he does have so far is a curious teaser for what might be to come, or not to come. Bailey seems content just figuring out who he is an artist and making music. Autre contributor Abbey Meaker got a chance to catch up with Bailey where he is currently in Atlanta thinking things over. 

ABBEY MEAKER: How are you doing right now and where are you? Describe the environment in which you are sitting.

BRADLEY BAILEY: Things are this way and that, I am doing fine, I am sitting in a facet of the broken home of Atlanta, Ga. for a visit, figuring out where to go and what to do with myself next

MEAKER: How old were you when you were compelled to write your first song and what were the circumstances?

BAILEY: I wanted to be a songwriter for as long as I can remember, when I was a little child I loved pretty much all music, practically absent of discernment as children can often be... I would often come up with songs in my head and always write and improvise a little bit on my grandparents piano while visiting, until getting SHUSHED! It was when I was ten I began writing songs and really learning the guitar, bass and keys.

MEAKER: How would you describe the music that you're making now? Has it changed over the years?

BAILEY: The music I'm making now is and has always been eclectic, though it has undergone many twists and turns, many things have remained the same since always, some sounds and emotions continue to show through many very contrasting styles... The difference is that now I feel I have reached and transcended many of the the goals I've had in the past... Where some things were desired they are now manifested and enjoyed... For example the inspiration to really express the vast music that exists within a single sound used to be a fleeting and very personal accomplishment at best, mostly a dream, however now I have developed methods of expressing that in ways I only hoped and dreamed I could... Namely what I've been doing with strings and objects...

MEAKER: Is there a particular recent performance that stands out as being more interesting than others? If so, why?

BAILEY: Lately what stands out as being more interesting than others would be the bone song... I've been bowing strings with a human femur. I started with some kind of animal bone but the size, shape and weight were not ideal. The human femur is the perfect bone for it functionally and also provides for a profound example of the fact that music is vibration and with its creation carries with it destruction, its a very natural phenomena, it courses through us at all times and extends beyond our very perception and sensory experience of it.... In performance I have generally been using an acoustic guitar because I like to keep the method organic, keep the effect of it unaffected by even amplification and at the same time non verbally express that no effects are being used, no tricks, which people still think there are unseen amplifiers and effects... Though many wild sounds can be made with this technique I keep it simple and repetitive live, very zen, as I often do alone, expressing how the dynamics of the method can change so vastly in doing so, that one thing can sound so many different ways, actually unearthing the many sounds within a sound that this method can provide... I gently rub the bone on the strings in one place a certain way that makes it vibrate, then I focus on maintaining and expanding that vibration... In doing so, just one string can move through a great spectrum of notes tones and sounds and harmonize with itself... with the 6 strings of a guitar I can even get limitless orchestrics, choirs of shifting harmony that really sound like voices to the naked ear... and because the technique is so delicate, the very subtlest change in motion changes it, thus it becomes like a narrative of my very experience, my very physical emotion, its like improvising from the soul but having a whole ensemble of selves following every nuance of conduction... its very execution is very personally expansive and rewarding. I've been experimenting with friction in music since my teenage days and i now feel it has more than paid off creatively and existentially... I simply discovered it while doing what I do at a friends house that had some animal bones... I have discovered many special ways of making music using objects on strings, the bone just works so well. Also shells work very well in their way, they have an amazing percussive element with their textures and resonate like bone because I suppose the material is practically the same, but the size, shape and weight are not as dynamic... Clay and such materials wail, theyre really hot and easily screech, but they wail... I imagine there are some stones and crystals that will work as well as bone, probably selenite... that will be my next venture with it.

MEAKER: Do you have any philosophies - spiritual or otherwise - that influence your music or any other medium you might use to express yourself?

BAILEY: There are so many inspirations that influence all of my mediums of expression, philosophical, existential, even spiritual... Most simply and basically the notion that whatever medium it is bears wonderment beyond what one could ever perceive, as do our very selves and I like to treat them as such, purely as such, solely undergoing the wonderment of what they are, enjoying them, not taking them for granted, always a gift, of expression, joy, healing, catharsis, insight, interest, mystery, twerk, etc... and total wonderment.... And the notion that we can really have a very great time together as people, ya know... It boils down to expressing inspirations of how manifesting a very great time in this crazy world and actually undergoing the experience of its wonderment even beyond only a contenting extent is entirely plausible... Within that, much philosophy, spiritual and otherwise is to be expressed...

MEAKER: When we spoke, you said that "Sweet Nothings" is a sketch - do you know what you plan to do with the song?

BAILEY: "Sweet Nothings" was a sketch when I recorded it, I hadn't even played it all the way through before I recorded it but I like the sound of it so I kept it. Fresh, raw, new material, when undergone willingly and passionately always has substance that can't be found further in its evolution and I, as many others do, like to capture that and often prefer it, though there is much to be had with polished work as well that can only be achieved through its evolution.... "sweet Nothings" was released on the album "Advances" by "Platonic Sex", an ongoing and thus far very loose and open ended project of mine... "Advances" was a very loose and open ended, somehwhat experimental project of an album that I felt was good for such a raw performance as "Sweet Nothings". It was released on Atlanta's "Big Blonde Records" alongside a diverse mix of awesome Atlanta musicians. I'm touching the album up a little bit and putting it up online soon and printing CDs... As far as what's to come with the song, it will undergo various arrangements that I have conceived in my mind and also have yet to imagine... The first verse, which is in the format of simple love poetry, changes often where the last verse always stays the same "We're always whispering sweet nothings... and little phrases we repeat ... how could they be sweet if they are nothing? How could be nothing if they're sweet?"

MEAKER: Any upcoming projects or plans for an album?

BAILEY: I have so much material and so many albums and projects planned out in my mind, circumstances have been so very difficult, I've hardly done any of it, that's a whole collection of long stories.... I hope you can expect a broad spectrum of things....

MEAKER: Where can we hear more of your music or see you perform?

BAILEY: I hardly have anything up online right now, mostly its just random things people have captured and posted on youtube, check out "Bradley Bailey-Bone Song" on you tube or "Platonic Sex" on bandcamp for now and hopefully in the next year I will have more material available... In the meantime I play live in many facets regularly and randomly around the US.

Intro text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper and interview by Abbey Meaker. First three photographs by Bradley Bailey. Photo below by Ryan Callahan

Kourosh Nouri of Carbon 12 Gallery in Dubai

Out in the exotic, desert landscape of Dubai a blip is growing ever larger on the international art world’s radar. In the cosmopolitan metropolis that is Dubai, the second largest city in the country known as the United Arab Emirates, which sits southeast of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, a host of galleries, artistic institutions (such as Art Dubai), patrons, and local artists are making their name known in the international and local art market. Dubai might have a few more years before a certifiable recognition as such, but with galleries such as Carbon 12 and about 20 other galleries who are setting up shop in the revitalized Al Quoz industrial zone, the contemporary art scene in this distant Middle Eastern locale is growing fast. Carbon 12, which opened its doors in 2008, was co-founded by Kourosh Nouri who always dreamt of opening a gallery and Nadine Knotzer. Carbon 12 represents established and emerging artists and major artists like Olaf Breuning. We got a chance to speak with Kourosh Nouri, director of Carbon 12, about his gallery, his thoughts about the art scene in Dubai, and his incredibly ambitious plans for the future. 

PAS UN AUTRE: Can you remember or talk a little bit about your first introduction to the world of art?

KOUROSH NOURI: Professionally, it was when I started to collect (very) modestly in the mid 90's. I started in Iran, with "super emerging" Iranian artists, at a time no one was even looking at this country/region...My first significant professional steps where in 2007, even though in early 2000 I was already following super closely the art scene, where the idea of wanting to open a gallery was growing in my mind. I have spent altogether over a year and half of intensive research, and heavy benchmarking before I even set a date (nov. 2008) for the opening of the space. The whole adventure started in 2007... and, it was hard to keep my mouth shut!

On a personal basis I fell in love with Brancusi's muse when I was in my early teens... so, my love of art started already more than 20 years ago. I also remember the first art book my parents offered me when I was 6, "history of modern art" by Arnason and in English. I still have the book in the gallery's bookshelves...

AUTRE: Why did you want to become a gallery director?

NOURI: It is much worse, I wanted to own a gallery, and that already since 10 years! The why is, I guess, for the passion I discovered for contemporary art. Now that I look back, I am proud to say that not once I regretted my decision. So far, except commercially maybe (!), everything is going according to plans... I have the most beautiful profession in the world, despite all the ups and downs, and I am surrounded by magnificent artworks of amazing artists I am proud to represent.

AUTRE: Can you talk a little bit about Carbon 12 Gallery?

NOURI: Carbon 12 opened its doors in November 2008. We started the concrete planning of the gallery, with my partner Nadine (Knotzer) already in 2007, and in January 2008 we decided to open the gallery in Dubai. The choice of the artists was a bit surreal in a sense... we listed our "dream team", from museum shows, art fairs, books, and gallery shows. From very early stage we wanted to have a wide program, in a way very painterly, but comprehensive and rich... hard to get bored with all those amazing artists. The process was beautiful and organic...Earning money is a must, but a must for the big picture, the big picture being this fabulous work we are dedicating ourselves to. The name Carbon comes from the most widespread element in nature, the common element to all living being, loved the name for decades, and in French literature Edmond Rostand in Cyrano de Bergerac named the captain of the musketeers Carbon de Casttel-jaloux... This masterpiece of literature was always in my eyes the reference in arts in general. That's how the name came to me, and since it is super catchy and I didn't want to call my gallery Nouri Falegari-Knotzer contemporary arts or projects (We avoided that one!!!), here we are with Carbon 12, and 12 as the non-radioactive isotope of Carbon.

AUTRE: Carbon 12 represents a lot of emerging artists as well as established artists – what do you look for in an artist or what is the X factor an artist needs to be represented by your gallery?

NOURI: Here again, we are really blessed by the artists who have decided to trust Carbon 12. I like the notion of x factor for artists... well, never thought about it that way... now that you put it, yes; crazy talented, professional, multi-layered, and so different one from another, yet a very thin hair connects all our artists together.

AUTRE: I don’t know if you want to talk about this, but art can at times by seen as subversive by some creeds and religious beliefs – do you ever run into any restrictions or censorship when putting on a show?

NOURI: Never faced anything similar here. Having said that, we are also extremely respectful of all cultures and believes, and we don't work with provocation, pure and stupid without any fundament. All our artists have so much more to offer than provocation, so that we face any censorship. Dubai and the UAE is a great country where over 170 nationalities coexist peacefully and harmoniously with each other.

AUTRE: How would you describe the artistic atmosphere of the United Arab Emirates – is there a large “art scene” in Dubai?

NOURI: The art scene is small... still waiting for the real "birth", however there are about a hand full professional and amazing galleries in the country, and these galleries are as well among the top 10 in the region.Naturally, the number of private collectors is relatively small and mainly consisting of expatriates, the few emerging collectors are not enough to be considered as a growing trend... There are no institutions, and corporate collections are totally absent! Fortunately there are a few experts and Artdubai who do an amazing educational job, almost like the missing museums. This will pay off for sure in the next 3-5 years.

AUTRE: Do you have international collectors or is it mainly local connoisseurs of contemporary art – would it be impolite describe or elaborate upon a typical art collector in Dubai?

NOURI: I love the polite way you pose that question. it almost forces me to be rude and provocative...the collector of Carbon 12 based in the UAE, can be described as follow: under 50 years of age, highly qualified and Europe/US educated professional, with a decent net worth, collecting art since less than 5 years, and very open-minded to any artistic approach, and working tightly with us, and following in average 3-5 of our artists. Many of them, follow us in art fairs, and know the mechanics of a gallery. Dubai art scene & the middle east is very fortunate to be on the radar of lots of international Museums. Many artist represented in the Region or from the region have been selected by famous Museums over the last few years. Our aim is to bring more and more people to Dubai and make them discover the small but amazing art scene we have.

AUTRE: Who are some of your favorite artists working today and why?

NOURI: I genuinely love and respect dearly all the artists we work with... sounds maybe strange, but the roster we have is the "dream team", and in my list I can mention all the artists we represent. This is the magic of contemporary art, the favorite works change, rotate, let you discover more layers...

AUTRE: Carbon 12 visits a lot of the art fairs – why are art fairs important and how would you describe the general milieu?

NOURI: We need to reach out, the art market in the region is too small, a "Waiting for Godot strategy" is not a solution. Also the culture of collecting is still very weak in the region. We also like to put Dubai on the international Art map and make people discover more about it. So far we had great experiences in the past, Art Cologne last year was amazing, "our" Art Dubai is gradually becoming the "Basel" of the region, abc in Berlin was great, and here and there in Viennafair little things happen. Of course we want to start going to our fair wish list, but considering we are turning 4 years old on the 28th of November, we need to be patient.

AUTRE: How would you describe the art market right now and how to do your see it evolving in the future?

NOURI: Slow at this very moment!!! The future is bright, and beautiful though! My gallery opened in 2008, after the financial meltdown... so, euphoria, commercially, is an unknown thing to us. We never faced the heat of 2007-2008 where collectors would fight for every artwork, and galleries were counting sold-out shows one after the other. So, for Carbon 12, every week is a move forward, every acquired collector a blessing, and every exhibition an achievement on out path to become a highly respected international art gallery.

AUTRE: What is the next show on view at Carbon 12 Gallery?

NOURI: We have opened on the 5th of November the fire with James Clar's "Iris was a Pupil"... an incredible show, and the public's as well as the collectors feedbacks has been incredible. In December we will continue with Hazem Mahdy, one of our emerging artist, and January will see the well expected first solo of Anahita Razmi at Carbon 12. This will coincide with her solo show at the Stuttgart museum of art. Olaf Breuning promised us a "Dubai" show for March. A lot of good things ahead then...

AUTRE: What does the future look like for Carbon 12?

NOURI: Shiny and warm like the weather here! Our program is always set two years ahead, and we will have many exciting shows. We want to make out of every single exhibition the best possible one, in terms of quality, content, and critical value... We really aim to make sure that every artist who leaves Dubai, sits in the plane thinking about the next exhibition with us at Carbon 12. We also hope to connect more and more with international institutions, and place our artists in museum shows, and museum collections. So far, we are really happy about our regular fairs, the top ones being Art Dubai, and Art Cologne, and maybe in the future we will be adding a few more on our list of international participations.

Preschool Tintoretto: An Interview With Adam Green

Adam Green is standing under the fluorescent pink glow of the Veniero’s Pasticceria sign on East 11th Street. Lanky, shaggy-haired and clad in olive green corduroy pants, a red paisley 70’s Western shirt and a somewhat ironically ostentatious two-toned fur coat to fend off the icy December air, he could almost pass as another twenty-something traipsing about the East Village—yet I immediately recognize him as the anti-folk wunderkind. Most know Green as one half of the Moldy Peaches, the quirky indie duo that achieved sleeper mainstream success via the Grammy-winning soundtrack of Diablo Cody’s Juno (2007). Green met Kimya Dawson, the other half of the Moldy Peaches, in the 90s in Mount Kisco, NY, where they both grew up. “She worked at the record store, and I worked at the pizzeria, so I would come to her on lunch break and I’d bring my guitar,” he recalls. At seventeen, Green moved from Westchester to Manhattan and began following the path of the New York troubadour, playing his guitar and singing on the street and in subway stations. “For a time I almost became one of the kids that’s just sort of like at Astor Place near the cube,” he laughs. Green has come a long way since then—between releasing seven solo albums in just eight years, exhibiting his paintings and drawings both in the U.S. and abroad, and releasing his first feature film, which was shot entirely on his iPhone—the “screwball tragedy” The Wrong Ferrari, which he wrote, directed, produced, and acted in (along with Macaulay Culkin, Devendra Banhart, BP Fallon, Alia Shawkat and Sky Ferreira. In just a few weeks, Green’s duet album with Binki Shapiro (of Little Joy) will be released. The album, which Green describes as “a nighttime album,” is sweetly melancholic, a fluid indie-pop mélange of the two singers’ styles.

Green, who describes himself as “basically an adult who likes to draw with crayons,” is pensive, focused and effervescent. As he talks, sipping peppermint tea and twisting the various silver rings on his fingers, he radiates enthusiasm and passion. He possesses an endearingly neurotic, Woody Allen-esque demeanor and an offbeat, deadpan sense of humor. He shows me a photo on his iPhone of the engagement ring he designed for his fiancée, using one of his own cartoonish color-block paintings as inspiration. Later on, at his covetable Gramercy Park studio, strewn with oil pastels, tubes of paint, guitars, books, records, paintings and playful set pieces from The Wrong Ferrari, he shows me a framed drawing that Pete Doherty did of him, using, of course, his own blood as ink. What’s next for the charmingly unpredictable Adam Green? Anything is possible. “My next venture is to make my own [film] version of Aladdin,” he says. I’m going to play Aladdin… I already have the lamp.”

ANNABEL GRAHAM: My first question is about 3 Men and a Baby.

ADAM GREEN: 3MB. [laughs]

GRAHAM: 3MB. Can you tell me a bit about that, how it started, what your most recent projects have been?

GREEN: Yeah. It was an extension of The Wrong Ferrari. I made this movie, The Wrong Ferrari, and it’s an iPhone movie, and it stars Macaulay Culkin. And Toby Goodshank, who I used to play in The Moldy Peaches with, he was the cameraman on The Wrong Ferrari, and he helped me to build the sets of the movie. So I guess me and him and Mac were working pretty closely at that time, and I think as an extension of that, we began to treat his house as an art studio. At first it was because some of the sets of The Wrong Ferrari were in his house—for example, in the corner of the room—and they would become like an installation, kind of. I remember we were shooting a scene from The Wrong Ferrari around the time of Halloween a couple of years ago, so the set from that scene sort of became a part of a Halloween party. And I think that he liked that, he liked the idea of having art in his house, and installations… so it grew from there. Mac does a party at Le Poisson Rouge called “Macaulay Culkin’s iPod,” so he has a relationship with that club. So they asked him if he’d like to do an art show, hearing that he was doing paintings, and he said that he would, and that became the reason why we did that show. Because they asked him to. I think it’s kind of funny, I guess almost in a way… you know, people would do lots of stuff, but it’s just that no one ever asked them to.

GRAHAM: So you’ve been painting for a while.

GREEN: I was always really interested in art history. When I was young, I read art history books. Even when I only did music, I would still continue to read art history, and I was a frequenter of museums and exhibits. But for some reason I just hadn’t really had the confidence to make my own artwork. It was actually a weird situation where I got divorced, and I returned back to my old house and found a huge stack of paper, and so I started to paint on the paper, and I kind of made the house really messy, I think I wanted to… mess up the house, and make it my own again, or something… so I think that’s how I started doing artwork. I’d always sort of done drawings, I’d even had an exhibit of drawings at a Swedish gallery called Loyal, back in 2005. Also, I guess I could say when I was a kid I did comic books; I was interested in comic book art and cartoons.

GRAHAM: Your prints are reminiscent of comic book imagery.

GREEN: I was interested in it, but I started to take it more seriously, and I think definitely making a movie, which was largely… the sets were made out of papier mâché, and they were sort of my own visual aesthetic… I think that was my introduction to really doing visual art, and then I guess I really concentrated on it for a few years, probably the last three years, I did mostly visual art, except I did the duets album with Binki [Shapiro]. But besides that, I mostly painted. I made so many paintings… I had three art shows.

GRAHAM: Making music, making films, painting… do you feel that you get something different from each of those forms of expression?

GREEN: I like painting because I almost attribute it to having a social element… I like to just listen to music and hang out with friends and paint at the same time. I like that I can sort of zone out and do it. I think painting, for me, is in the category of something I’ve been doing the longest. I’ve probably been drawing pictures since I was five or something, so I feel really comfortable… it’s relaxing to me. But I guess I was looking for a way to connect all of those different things. I’m obviously always looking for a way to paint the way that my songs are, to sing how my paintings are… I want to all sound like part of the same universe, and I think The Wrong Ferrari was a good attempt to fuse those worlds. It’s written in a half-poetic style, almost like song lyrics, and the script is much in the same pool of writing that I’d write my songs out of. The difference is that songwriting for me is special, because it’s very soothing for me. It’s almost like a meditation, I can kind of walk around and… I just sort of, I guess maybe at my core I think of myself as a singing man, maybe like if there was a circus attraction, or something, I’d be the “singing man” in the tent. I guess I grew up wanting to be a folk singer, and now that I have so many different songs… this is my ninth album, so I guess I’m more of a folk singer now than I was when I was a kid, and I was just thinking of it more as just a style or something. I do think that my songs are kind of like cartoons. I also feel like maybe my artwork is a little bit like a preschool Tintoretto. [laughs]

GRAHAM: A preschool Tintoretto. That’s great.

GREEN: I guess ultimately you just look for fulfillment in any creative area. My next venture is to make a film, my own version of Aladdin. I’m going to play Aladdin. In doing that I think I can write the music and combine my music with the film.

GRAHAM: Would you shoot it yourself as well?

GREEN: I don’t know if I’d shoot it, but I want to direct it, I want to have it look like my paintings, to have my music in it… it’s a cool chance, to have the wishes and stuff. I already have the lamp, so…

GRAHAM: Oh, wow. Where’d you get it?

GREEN: Antique store.

GRAHAM: Have you tried rubbing it?

GREEN: I haven’t rubbed it in a while. [pause] So, the unifying theory of art, music, writing… I think I’m pretty close to being able to do it. Sometimes I think when I’m at my best is when I’m tracing exactly what’s in my head and just making it real. I feel like there’s a world inside of me and I’m just pushing it out through my skin. So I’m taking an inside world and pushing it into the outside. And that’s a good feeling.

GRAHAM: Where can we see The Wrong Ferrari?

GREEN: It was released in a weird way. I wanted it to come out with a bang, and I guess I wasn’t even really sure about the protocol of how to release a film, because my background is in music… and I thought it’d be cool to do it over the internet, and to release it as a free movie. Even though it’s really long, it’s 72 minutes, so it’s a feature-length film. I decided to have the premiere at Anthology Film Archives on 2nd and 2nd, and I decided to release it on the internet the following morning. So I got to have the premiere, and then they released it to the whole world at the same time. And that actually worked pretty well, I think the movie got 300,000 downloads in entirety, which is really cool. So actually a lot of people have that file of The Wrong Ferrari. At the time it was up on, but I took it down because it was really expensive to host it, and now if you go to the film section of my website, there’s a link to download it. You can stream it. But anyway, as it was, the movie got… I don’t know how I feel about the way it was released. I went to Italy and did a screening of it, and I played it in Mexico City, and I played it in LA. But aside from that, I didn’t get to do as much traveling as I wanted to do to promote it. Because of the method that I chose to release it, it was ineligible for any film festivals. So basically, I released it, and a bunch of people downloaded it, and that’s what it is. My intention wasn’t to make it an internet movie at all. I didn’t want people to watch it on their computers, I want people to put it on their TVs and watch it in groups, or to watch it in a movie theater. I think it’s an unnerving and tense movie that I think is interesting to watch in groups. The plot is… we take Ketamine and turn into pets… and I think that’s well-suited for a midnight movie demographic. On a broader spectrum… I really thought that the whole point of the movie was that, you know… the movies we see in movie theaters, like romantic comedies, are so old-fashioned. I thought that all movies in the future would be things that people would make on their phones. I’m surprised that now we go and there’s a new 40-Year-Old-Virgin type movie in the theaters right now. I thought that was over… I don’t understand why the world always stays the same. Have you ever had a friend who was in a bad relationship, but they stay in it for like five years? That’s like our culture with movies.

GRAHAM: So you grew up in New York?

GREEN: I grew up in Mount Kisco, which is a small town about an hour away, in Westchester. It was nice. My parents lived in the city and they moved to Westchester to raise kids, which I think is really noble. I think it’s really good to grow up around trees, parks, fields, fresh air… I think that’s nice. I just got in an argument with this lady who was like “It’s perfectly great to raise kids in Manhattan.” I was like, “Yeah, you’re saying that ‘cause you have some nanny or something…” I think my parents made the right decision, they were pretty selfless in doing that. I think my parents were pretty good. I’ve got a high opinion of them.

GRAHAM: When did you move to Manhattan?

GREEN: Well, my parents moved back when my brother and I grew up. When I was about seventeen, they moved back here, and I just kind of started wandering around. I became a folk singer.

GRAHAM: Did you ever play in the subway?

GREEN: Definitely. I played in the subway, on the N R train, on the 8th Street stop, quite often. Sometimes by myself and sometimes with Turner Cody, who’s a really great singer. We would alternate. I also played on the street. I guess for a time I almost became one of the kids that’s just sort of like at Astor Place near the cube. For a little while I was kind of a cube kid. But then I also found my way to the Sidewalk Café, which is a folk club, and I started performing there. I think I was a decent subway singer, and I played mostly original material… I think that was cool. I don’t know why, when I get on the train, I don’t see as many people doing it. Maybe they’ve cracked down or something. I definitely think I wrote some pretty barbed lyrics to get the attention of people walking by. It was cool, because I met the local peers of mine in the subway… they were my first friends.

GRAHAM: Is that when you realized you wanted to make music a career?

GREEN: I really, really didn’t want to work at McDonald’s or something, and I didn’t have any training to do anything but fine arts, so I knew I had to do music or something like that… and I guess I got cracking really young, I was just everywhere. I was always on the street, and I always had a bunch of CDs and flyers, I was just on a mission. Maybe also because I think my parents didn’t really want me to be a singer, so that helped to motivate me. I feel like for years, my dad really couldn’t look me in the eye because he thought I was delusional.

GRAHAM: Doesn’t it feel good now to prove him wrong?

GREEN: Sometimes, and then sometimes I feel like they were right. [laughs]

GRAHAM: How did your first album come about?

GREEN: Well, I recorded a set of songs around the same time as The Moldy Peaches album came out. The Moldy Peaches is a collection of different home recordings that are mashed up together. I think the main difference between my first album and The Moldy Peaches is that it’s just songs that Kimya [Dawson] didn’t sing on. I think I’d probably offered or showed

GRAHAM: How did you and Kimya Dawson meet?

GREEN: She’s from Mount Kisco… from a neighboring town, Bedford Hills. She worked at the record store, and I worked at the pizzeria, so I would come to her on lunch break and I’d bring my guitar. I met her at a poetry reading at the art center in Mount Kisco. She’s a lot older than me, and I think at the time everyone thought we were really an odd couple. She was like 21 and I was like 14… She’d come over to my house, and my parents would think, like, “Who’s your older friend…?” But that seems to be in keeping with me. I’ve always been friends with whoever I thought to be friends with, and I never really cared if people thought they were the “right” friends that I should have.

GRAHAM: Can you tell me about your collaboration with Binki Shapiro? Your album’s going to be released next month, right?

GREEN: It was my idea to make a duets album with her, just because I thought she was really talented, and I really liked listening to her sing. I thought it’d be fun to try to write with her, and work with her, and we’d known each other as friends for a bunch of years. I’d toured with Little Joy in Brazil; I was a supporting act. Little Joy is really popular in Brazil. I think [Binki and I] had kind of bonded on that tour, and then a couple of years later the idea popped into my head… it wasn’t like there were a bunch of other people I wanted to work with, she was really my first choice. So I just went with it. I think I also wanted to write with somebody because I’d just done something like six or seven solo albums that followed The Moldy Peaches. That’s like a decade of having no one ever give their opinion about anything I did artistically. So it was pretty fun to work with her creatively, because I hadn’t let anyone in for a long time. GRAHAM: I read about it being a breakup album of sorts… can you elaborate?

GREEN: I definitely think it’s a nighttime album. I would encourage people to get the vinyl and listen to it like that. It’s far from a collection of pop singles, it’s much more of an album –album. It’s not very long, only about ten songs. I think in my head I can sort of piece together a narrative about a dysfunctional relationship inside of the track listing. The track listing was one thing that Binki and I really agreed on, so we must see some sort of picture of the album as a whole that we share. But I don’t know, we both were going through different kinds of weird relationship stuff during the writing of the album. I think when we both started writing, she just came over to my house… we drank a bottle of wine, we were writing a bit, we went out and got Chinese food… maybe it was our third writing session that we started to realize that we were in some really messed up relationships. We didn’t even really talk about it, but during the course of writing the record, we found that our relationships fell apart. So we were using each other as confidantes in the writing process, and it was great to be making these composite situations, sort of Frankenstein-ing together different things… also putting ourselves in the head space of each other, so that we could know or at least propose things for each other to sing, which was interesting, and I liked the result of it. We did a lot of articles and interviews on it, and really now we’re just waiting for it to come out. I just feel like… are the people that are reading the article ever going to hear the thing? So that’ll be cool, when it comes out. I feel like it’s a bit like Groundhog Day, it’s like every day of the year I wake up and think, “Oh, this album’s not out yet?” It’s been pushed back quite a bit. We recorded it without knowing what was going to happen, we just made it to make it. And then we both had to change management during the course of it, so it slowed everything down, which was kind of annoying. But I’m really proud of it, and excited for everyone to hear it. And honestly, people have been so kind about it. I think most of my things have a punk element to them that is distasteful to many… People brush off a lot of my stuff immediately, but people seem to be acting kinder about this album. Maybe they’re able to hear it because they think I’m not trying to be a punk about it. I guess my natural inclination’s always been to punish the world until they learn to love me for who I am.

GRAHAM: Do you think you’ll stay in New York forever?

GREEN: I’m certainly not tempted to spend any more time in LA if I can help it. When I was there, I found myself to be really isolated, because I don’t drive, so I was kind of at the mercy of anyone who had a car. I think I’ll probably stay here, but you know, you have fantasies, touring around… But this is how I know that they’re fantasies, essentially that whenever you tour anywhere vaguely vacation-y, like Italy or Spain or something, I think to myself, “Oh, it’d be so nice to live here,” but I probably need the hustle and bustle of New York to feel good. I spend almost every weekend at the Met, or somewhere, and it would be really disappointing for me to not have access to the things in New York that I like. It’s also the only place I know how to get around. I don’t have a good sense of direction, and I’m actually starting to feel confident that I know how to get around everywhere in Manhattan.

GRAHAM: What inspires you?

GREEN: Probably the same things that inspire everybody… definitely love, sex, anything romantic… seeing visual art, anyone that’s interested in analysis, I love critical thinking. I hate when people are like, “Oh, you’re overthinking that,” that’s the worst thing you could say to me. I love when someone wants to go straight in, really deep on something. In art, I love when something’s so mind-blowing that you don’t even have to question how amazing it is. Something like Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain.” I really, really like him. When you see something that is unquestionably so amazing. I think I’m basically an adult who likes to draw with crayons, I guess I’ve accepted that I’m sort of charmingly a man-child. I think I’m basically a naughty boy who’s grown into a man.

GRAHAM: Who are some of your favorite artists and musicians?

GREEN: I like visual artists like Georges Rouault and Erich Heckel. I like Jodorowsky a lot. I like that new Dirty Projectors album, Swing Lo Magellan. I’ve been listening to that a lot. I’ve been listening to George Jones, Nick Cave… I really like that album Let Love In, I’ve been listening to that a lot lately. Shirley Collins, just because I think she has a really natural voice, I love that album Oar by Skip Spence. Eddie Martinez… and George Condo.

You can purchase limited edition artwork prints by Adam Green by going to Exhibition A. Adam Green and Binki Shapiro's album will be officially available on January 29, but you can preorder here. All photos and text by Annabel Graham for Pas Un Autre

Automatic Assembly Actions: An Interview with ANAHITA RAZMI

Anahita Razmi is one of those artists that are tough to define, but all the same make shock waves that force us to take a deeper look inside ourselves. Ramzi, a video and performance artist based in Stuttgart, makes work that deals with issues concerning identity and gender by employing objects with a national and cultural significance; sometimes borrowing and citing the work of other high-profile artists. Working within the tradition of appropriation and re-enactment, Razmi detaches cultural symbols from their established meanings by employing them in unexpected situations and contexts. Her works, like the tongue-in-cheek Burquini which was designed for the swimming activities of Muslim women and the more serious Roof Piece Tehran, where she had 12 dancers dancing on the rooftops of different building in Tehran in a county where dance is illegal and artistic performance is forbidden. Ramzi, whose father is Iranian – her mother German – has a special connection with Iran and it’s panoply of struggles. On view now at Carbon 12 Gallery in Dubai, Ramzi’s solo exhibition Automatic Assembly Action, which opened with a performance RE / CUT PIECE, a modfied appropriation of Yoko Ono’s 1964 performance Cut Piece, will be open until March 14. Pas Un Autre got a chance to ask Razmi a few question about her artistic practice, her current show at Carbon 12 and what she has planned for the future. 

PAS UN AUTRE: When was the first time you realized you wanted to be an artist?

ANAHITA RAZMI: For me there was no decision of becoming an artist, it was more a progress within time. I studied media arts before continuing in fine arts, but  never became passionate about just editing or designing stuff. For me being an artist means dealing with a lot of risk, but also with an incredibly multifaceted field of themes and references. I don't think one can become tired of it.

AUTRE: What does it mean to be a female artist in the 21st century?

RAZMI: I wouldn't choose to speak generally, but at least for me I feel and hope that categories like male - female at least for artists working conditions become more and more irrelevant these days. My work still often deals with these categories in a broader sense, but I am trying to question stereotypes and preassigned images, rather than determining them.

AUTRE: Can you name some other female artists who inspire you and why?

RAZMI: My work is often referencing other female artists work, - for example I recently quoted Tracey Emin and Cindy Sherman. Anyhow, I am quite amenable for inspiration, I never choose to sit in my studio and work from a blank sheet of paper.

AUTRE: What do you think is the biggest spiritual quagmire for people in todayʼs times?

RAZMI: Dependancy on questionable values and rules. That deserves a bigger discussion however.

AUTRE: Is art important in politics….how can art spark political discourse?

RAZMI: I don't think art should at all be considered as something with a function. Anyhow, I still feel that it can be an independent factor questioning political situations and conditions within a society by activating discussions, thoughts and possible reconsiderations.

AUTRE: Some of your work has dealt with the politics and restrictions imposed on people living in Iran….is religion a problem or is it how people use it?

RAZMI: A lot of my work is making reference to the current situation in Iran. Anyhow I am never choosing to explain about the country, - I am more making reconciliations between existing images that are shifting between the Middle East and the West.

AUTRE: Your work is extremely multifaceted and people seem to have a plethora of ways to describe it – how would you describe your work?

RAZMI: I am happy to hear that, as I don't like my work to be pigeonholed. I am using different kinds of media and am not sticking to one method of producing my work. Still I think, one can find repeating conceptual strategies within my practice: appropriation of existing works and images, certain themes (like contemporary Iran) that repeatedly are dealt with.

AUTRE: Can you talk about what we can expect at your upcoming show at Carbon 12?

RAZMI: The show is my first solo exhibition at Carbon12 Dubai, so I am quite excited. It is titled Automatic Assembly Actions and features two new video installations, one photoseries and a textile work. I also did a performance during the opening, which involved the audience.

AUTRE: Whatʼs next?

RAZMI: My show Swing State will open mid february at Kunstverein Hanover, which will be accompanied by a publication. From april on I will be in residency in Los Angeles for 6 months working on a new project - really looking forward to that.

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper. Anahita Razmi Automatic Assembly Actions will be on view at Carbon 12 Gallery until March 14, 2013, Warehouse D37, Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1

An Interview With Christian Bland from The Black Angels



The sprawling, dilapidated Seaholm Power Plant on the southwestern edge of downtown Austin, Texas is an ideal venue for a haunted house—or, incidentally, for the purpose it served on the weekend of April 29th; the creation of a dark, otherworldly atmosphere to celebrate the current resurgence of psychedelic music and commemorate its Southern roots. The vast cement edifice, its original purpose defunct since 1986, now serves as a occasional venue for performances, festivals and other events, resting dormant for the remainder of the year. For this year’s Austin Psych Fest, the Seaholm plant housed two stages, a sweeping bar, a band merchandise area, several local vintage clothing and record-vending stands, an outdoor food court where one could procure face paint, henna tattoos, feather jewelry or a massage, countless mazelike passageways leading to various vacant, roped-off chambers and a private upstairs area decorated with giant dream-catchers, draped string lights, communal hookah pipes, plush fur rugs and sunken couches for artists, their guests and members of the press to unwind in.


Upon entry, we descended into a hypnotic, cavelike haze of smoke, fog and ethereal technicolor lights. The immense, dimly-lit industrial space was interspersed with mind-expanding, optical-illusion-inducing installation art pieces by Austin-based contemporary artist Jeremy Earhart (a collection of moving images projected onto a “wall” of moving mist, several arrangements of meticulously carved, seemingly undulating mirrors and transparent, fluorescent-colored acrylic and plexiglass lit with strobe lights). Over the course of the three-day festival, we met some fascinating characters and listened to an array of incredible music performed by an eclectic mélange of bands hailing from all over the country—ranging from Roky Erickson, one of the founding members of original 1960’s psychedelic band 13th Floor Elevators, to cult experimental Spacemen 3-offshoot Spectrum, to sugar-coated electronic psych-pop-synth group Black Moth Super Rainbow, to breakout neo-psych bands such as Crocodiles and The Soft Moon.


The Black Angels

Christian Bland, lead guitarist for Austin-based headlining band The Black Angels, founding member of the Reverberation Appreciation Society and creator of psychedelic art & design collective Bland Design, was able to answer a few questions for us about his fourth year curating and participating in the burgeoning festival.

ANNABEL GRAHAM: The Black Angels curated Psych Fest. It seems like you guys had a significant impact on the aesthetics of the festival. Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement? What was your experience in curating the show this year and in forming such an environment for your music?

CHRISTIAN BLAND: We started the festival in 2008. After touring the US, Canada, Europe and the UK since 2005, we've met hundreds of like-minded bands. We figured what better place to bring all our friends’ bands to town for a psychedelic weekend than the place where psychedelic rock was born. The first 3 years I did most of the booking, but this past year we've been so busy touring that Rob Fitzpatrick (one of 4 members of the Reverberation Appreciation Society) did 90% of the booking for APF 4.

GRAHAM: As demonstrated by the festival, the genre of psych-rock is undergoing a major reemergence. Psych Fest is one of the only modern-day festivals dedicated purely to the genre of psychedelic music. What are your views on the manner in which the genre is reemerging in relation to its past (similarities/ differences)? What are your predictions on the future of the genre?

BLAND: It seems like psych rock is gaining more popularity than it has since the late 60's. Hopefully it'll take over the radio waves; then we can start the revolution. I honestly don't think the masses are ready for psych rock to hit the mainstream. It almost seems psychedelic rock is meant to live underground. Maybe one day it'll boil over and take over the world, but I think it'll take a re-awakening of some sort.


Crystal Stilts

GRAHAM: How did this year’s Psych Fest compare to previous years? It’s definitely grown in size and notoriety since its founding in 2008.

BLAND: This was the biggest year yet. Every year it’s grown more and more. It seems to be a testament to the rising popularity of modern psych rock.

GRAHAM: I’d love to know a bit more about your solo endeavor, Christian Bland and The Revelators. How is that developing, and how is it different from your work with The Black Angels? What new avenues or directions has it allowed you as an individual musician?

BLAND: If the Black Angels could put out and album every year, then I probably wouldn't have a side project. It's really an outlet for me to put out as much music as I possibly can. I'm constantly writing new songs, so I need different avenues to release my music other than The Black Angels. I've got another project called The UFO Club with Lee Blackwell from The Night Beats as well.


GRAHAM: The city of Austin has a rich history in the realm of psychedelic rock. In your opinion, in what ways is Austin a prime environment for the reemergence of the genre? Do you think that Psych Fest’s location has contributed to its success?

BLAND: Yes, for sure. It’s the reason we have Psych Fest in Austin, and the reason The Black Angels started there. We owe it all to the 13th Floor Elevators.

GRAHAM: I’m sure you’re still cooling off from this year’s Psych Fest, but any ideas brewing for next year?

BLAND: The 5th anniversary’s gonna be the best year yet. Hopefully we can get all the bands we've wanted over the past 5 years, but haven't been able to get.... Clinic, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Zombies...

Text byAnnabel Graham

Color photography by Annabel Graham

Black and White photography by Sebastian Spader