TOP OF THE CHERRY
Wallenberg, Grebnellaw or Kirri-Kumma…the identities differs but they all arise from the universe called New Population – and they are all on Top of the Cherry!
You work between visual and performing art and create a world of your own – where are you taking us?
- The lyrics for my last song are taken us to the Top of the Cherry. It’s definitely the place where it all can come together…thinking about it I am very pleased that my subconscious mind has manifested such optimistic words. Top of the Cherry is like the philosophers stone, an elixir of life, a cosmic orgasm of words, music, sound, and performance. So yes, I would like to take you all to the Top of the Cherry were these elements come together and are transmuted into gold.
Wallenberg is a performance act as well as vocals - is one of them leading or how do you define the concept?
- Probably, it’s fair to say that the concept is my imaginary universe named New Population where I create a collection of characters out of elements from popular culture such as photography and mass-produced objects. Observing these static and silent characters I was playing with the idea if there was a way to breathe life into them. So then I became fascinated by the simple idea of activating them through sound and music. Wallenberg and my other musical wanderings KirriKumma and Pinky Lizardbrain are all in many ways a continuation of New Population on stage.
How do you travel between your identities?
-For every Wallenberg concert or performance I take on a new identity. You could say it’s a creation ritual. Until now many of the characters on stage have had historical identities and have been female archetypes like heroines, warriors and high priestesses. Recently Wallenberg has become two faced and a forceful alter ego has emerged that demands more space than the others. It’s Grebnellaw!! Wallenberg and Grebnellaw are two sides of the same coin; a Janus face. Wallenberg looks back into the past where the ghosts of Surrealism, Dada, Bauhaus and Commedia’dell Arte wander and Grebnellaw gaze into the future towards gene technology and new human hybrids. Wallenberg is the YIN and Grebnellaw is the YANG. Wallenberg is classic and Grebnellaw has a more raw approach. Wallenberg is Rome and Grebnellaw is Stockholm.
Your costumes are conceptual and seem to have a certain theme: red and white, round shaped objects and inflatable dresses – when and how did your visual identity start developing?
- Yes, it’s true that I have used spheres but the classic geometric shape of Wallenberg is really the triangle as in the Harlequin and diamond pattern. It’s interesting that the Harlequinis actually the Devil. I just made a one of a kind red and white Wallenberg dress that sort of sums up an esthetic that I have been developing over the past years. I created the fabric for the dress out of 3000 hand cut triangles and then made an irregular diamond pattern. The Wallenberg silhouette is very much defined by the torus around the waist in combination with oversized shapes adorning the head and other parts of the body. The red and white color combination is very important but I also incorporate white, black, silver and gold. I am pleased that it is this way as it limits the choices, and sometimes you have to let the fiery senses rest. It’s hard to put a date on this development but certainly my performances on places related to water pushed the volume of the dresses, as they needed to be able to float. It’s also where the red and white color scheme became solidified.
Wallenberg is an ongoing collaboration and includes other artists as well – how do you select your partners in crime?
- Anybody who wants to do a bank robbery with me is of course welcome :). Other than that I wouldn’t say that there is a particular selection process. It’s more like you meet someone and you feel some kind of sparkle ignite. It’s very spontaneous!
Your lyrics are suggestive and poetic - how would you describe your music genre?
- As electronic Pop, some kind of folk music. I spend a lot of time on the songwriting and the lyrics. In the beginning it was more fluid, now I often struggle with the words. At this time I think it would be productive with some kind of collaboration. I like to keep things fairly accessible and universal musically and lyrically, but of course that’s pretty much a contradiction, as the poetic in the romantic sense, is very much endangered specie today.
And what is happening next for Wallenberg?
- Wallenberg will develop a performance for Karin Victorins new project “Drag as Art” that will debut at Södra Teatern on the 13th of June. I will create a new set of gender bending post human characters and show them as projections while I perform a new piece of music. Wallenberg has also been included in an exhibition about stage fashion called “Staged Fashion – Designed Identities” at Falkenberg Museum that opens on the 25th of May. You get to meet the designers behind the Hives, the Knife, Yohio, Roger Pontare and many others. Other news is that a new song by Wallenberg will be uploaded at wallenberg.bandcamp.com very shortly. It’s a sort of Dance Macabre, a flirt with death, called Dark Cabaret. I think it’s one of my favouritet songs so I am very curious how people will react to it. I recorded it over a year ago so it’s about time that I open up the gates and let it fly….
Konstantin Gayday is a Russian designer with eclectic headpieces as specialties. The themes and inspiration comes from religious views like Christianity, Hinduism and even Paganism and Shamanism – often created with nature close to heart. Grand Russian celebrities have worn his pieces and he won the title Best Designer 2012 selected by GQ Russia. Decadence with religious outlooks is certainly his homeland!
The Chicago based Nick Cave is renowned for his so called Soundsuits: a mix of body sculpture and flamboyant animalistic costumes created from flea market bargains and antique objects. The movement in his costumes are a part of the construction and you can tell that he’s a trained dancer and has a background as a performance artist. He is working between the visual and the performing art and the sculptural forms are his element. It’s all about making a second skin, camouflage race, gender and class just to force not to judge the person behind. Great thoughts and artistic fashion as its best!
AMA AWE IS AN ONGOING CONVERSATION
Designer Amandah Andersson – or now AMA AWE – was recently nominated to Elle Style Awards – New Nordic Talent of 2014 in collaboration with MUUSE. Her collections transform her illustrations in to a so-called reality– a world we want to visit.
Your collections and your illustrations work side by side – but in the same time they melt together perfectly – do you see it like one concept or two different worlds that is having a chat?
- The illustrative part of my work is always the source from where my world is built up, while the collections transform the illustrations in to a so-called reality. They have different strengths and different communicative assets but need each other to continue to develop – and they are constantly having an ongoing conversation.
The colors you often favor give the feeling of beautiful floaty watercolors even if the patterns are distinct – tell us a bit about the thoughts behind?
-Color for me is a way to load things with symbolic values. There is a color scale that has followed me around for a while based on blue, red, coral and purple, which all has emerged through my work about the subconscious. Blue as the symbol of the intellect and the analyzing and controlling part of us. Red stands for the chaos and the revolutionary. Blue and red is racing against each other and the human body contains of both. Coral for the physical body and its meaning. Purple for the spiritual and faith in the higher powers but also as a symbol of the meeting between blue and red.
And how about the technique?
- By using myself in print I can download the garments with a more dramaturgical story, clarify the concept while giving space for personal interpretation. To work analogue and then add elements with a collage technique digital is one of several methods I use. It’s important that my prints are not too “digital”; you must feel the human hand even when it’s digital printed.
Your creations are often as soft as safeguarding – and follow the body as much as it protects – what’s your inner message?
- I love volume and garments that have the ability to take a lot of space, while there must be a conversation with the body and its shape. I see the skin as the innermost layer of a physical constellation of materials. It’s fundamental in my way of putting together collections and ideas while it’s related to man’s natural way to show off some sides of him or her, but also hide the others. There is always a psychological aspect in the garment I create.
We would say your esthetics are slightly Asian influenced - is it subliminal or is it an attraction?
- The Asian influences have subconsciously emerged in my work. I haven’t been aware of that before though, but because I noticed that lately it’s something I started to draw inspiration from in a more conscious way.
You have done some mind-blowing collaborations with grand Swedish artists like Frida Hyvönen, Maia Hirasawa and Linnea Henriksson - how do you get your esthetics come together with the artists present appearance?
-I keep trying to listen to what they’re looking for or what kind of characters they have as an artist but also as individuals. It’s fun and challenging and my own style improves by crossing it with someone’s personality. It has really developed my own creations in a positive direction.
You work on a new collection – can you reveal anything about what is happening in your studio right now?
- Right now the studio is full of deconstructed maps on printed silk, several meters of pleated organza and a lot of glitter. This collection is the first I will release under the name AMA AWE and the contrast between total darkness and the “a la Barbie sweetness” is a fact!
THE FANZINE FOR THE FUTURE
Tråd is a fanzine all about sustainable fashion for the future. The editor Jennie Johansson has a background in fashion business and is now launching the first issue of the fanzine. A publication with innovativeness and precision.
The new fanzine Tråd (thread in English) is all about sustainable fashion - what are the thoughts behind the initiative?
-TRÅD is a project that has been growing for a long time. During the last couple of years I have developed a great interest for sustainable development, especially in the fashion business. In this project I wanted to gather and display all great, progressive and creative persons who I’ve met or recognized over the last years.
What’s the concept of the first issue?
- Thirteen Swedish artists, designers and entrepreneurs are interviewed or tell us about their work in the fanzine. They have in common that they all work with fashion and sustainability by using sustainable materials and methods or by offering a different approach to the mainstream fashion system.
Tråd is a local project by the independent non-profit platform and network Future Threads Project – what is the vision of the network?
- It is a non-profit organization, platform and network aiming to inspire a more sustainable attitude towards fashion. We want to explore the reasons why sustainable fashion is still considered a marginal part of the industry, what the hurdles are for implementing a more conscious attitude towards fashion in the mainstream, and how to work around these challenges in an engaging, creative and innovative way.
The first issue presents entrepreneurs in fashion and textiles – do you think small actors or underdogs in the fashion industry are relatively more proactive when it comes to sustainability?
-There are no doubt passionate people in most organizations, but it may take a lot more effort for committed individuals to promote sustainable thinking in large or deep-rooted organizations than it is for a smaller actor who even might have started out with a sustainable business model. Sweden has a growing scene of small fashion labels, designers and artist right now and I think that big companies can learn a lot from them.
The contributors for this issue seems also to be more artistic than straight commercial – is it your belief that creative in this area are more aware of a sustainable thinking?
- Art is a way of picking up low-key signals of societal tendencies and express them. Their artistry also allow them to express more controversial opinions, which in some cases, companies or employees of companies can´t .
Some hints from the first issue of Tråd?
- Erik Annerborn forecasts the death of dinosaur’s aka the big old fast fashion companies. Deadwood Leather tells us about how they make classic biker jackets in a non-classic way and the artist Maria E Harrysson, who made a special print that comes with the fanzine, invited us to her studio, showing us the process of her work.
And where can you buy the first issue of Tråd?
- You can find the fanzine in a few selected fashion shops in Stockholm, for example LIND Store, or send and email to email@example.com.
Ps. The founder of Démode is also featured in the first issue of Tråd and is talking about “ how to let your passion grow slowly”.
Cover by photographer Emilia Bergmark- Jiménez
The work of the Chinese artist Lin Tianmiao might not relate to fashion but nevertheless the female body. Traditionally items associated with women such as spoons, teakettles, bowls etcetera are returning in her work as well as the threads symbolizing the impossible escape for the women. The message is clear and sent to “the age-old patriarchal traditions” and the feminist aspect is fronting. Her art is a statement and the silhouettes, shapes and feelings are for us truly inspiring.
The aw 14/15 collection Candy…Darling? by Ziad Ghanem was all about….Candy Darling, the American actress and drag queen more known as Warhol Superstar. She starred in films like Women in Revolt by Warhol and was muse of the protopunk band The Velvet. The collection was a tribute to her look and personality. And yes, the punk and cross-dressing references was all there just like the exquisite fabrics and the brashy colors. Her aesthetic just run the catwalk!
Children from another biosphere – the land of “wild beauty – entered the catwalk or more the landscape from the fairy-tail formed by feather moss and moonlight. The aw 14/15 collection from Alexander McQueen was all about the elements and the silhouettes – even for the show. The appearance gave us trapeze shape, dramatic smocks, trimmed organzas and the feeling of nocturnal insects as beautiful as heroic. A world for fantasies and fascination.
Gypsy goes manga at the aw 14/15 collection from Yohji Yamamoto. All with the feeling of “warrior hobbits on acid” dressed in cocoon-ish sheets of extravagance. A pixel-perfect mishmash based on a dramatic atmosphere and a vibrant soul. The colored cotton candy coiffures also added that extra sugar to the inspiration rush.
With the mindset of the 1920-30s dadaism and surrealism Tomi Kono creates pieces for tomorrow’s fashion. The Japanese New Yorker started his mission in London and was soon discovered by the fashion stylist and his head props went speedily on the list for desired fashion gears. Tomi Kono plays with striking or interesting material and put them together to distinctive pieces – for art, fashion, music and performance. Regardless the scene the beauty of the headpieces is the center of the attention.