Written by Pari Damani

    Georgie Greville grew up all around the world, having a father who had a job that required travelling and a lot of moving to new exciting places, entitled Georgie to explore and develop her creative mind. She finally settled in New York and continued her work as a creative for many different lines of jobs including MTV and within fashion until she started working with Milk Makeup.

    PD: What is your title at Milk Makeup?
    GG: Co-Founder, Creative Director

    PD: Tell me about the name of the Brand, Milk Makeup, for people who are confused about the name and that it is Vegan and cruelty-free.
    GG: Milk Makeup got its name from being born out of Milk Studios, a cultural hub in NYC that has been bringing together all sides of the creative community for over 26 years. Since Milk has always been at the forefront of culture, it only makes sense that we would have progressive NYC values. We are all about good ingredients and epic payoff. Being cruelty-free, 100% vegan and non-toxic are givens for us as a modern, conscious brand. Milk itself is an inclusive space with a vibrant creative community, so we naturally wanted our products to be able to speak to a wide range of people. We hope that by promoting that inclusive spirit and representation, more brands and people will do the same.

    PD: Please tell me more about yourself, where you are from, where you have lived, career, work, and done up until the moment you started a beauty brand? And why you choose to join a beauty brand.
    GG: I grew up overseas moving around from Australia, Singapore, London, New York, and Boston because of my (British) father's international banking job. My first jobs were working for fashion/culture magazines and then being a writer/director in the MTV On-Air Promo department from 2001-2007. MTV was my marketing and film school. I learned how to combine pop culture with modern values that resonate. From there, I co-founded Milk's in-house, multi-media creative production company called LEGS Media where I directed and creative directed a variety of work from music videos for Florence and The Machine and Selena Gomez, to fashion films for Rag and Bone, advertising for Evian and Paco Rabanne, and interactive installations for Target and Made Fashion Week. It was a wild ride, and I learned so much from each different job, but I yearned to spend more time bringing one vision to life- to create something over a longer period of time where I could really nurture it and bring it to life. That is when I joined forces with Milk to think about what Milk would do if it had a beauty line. I had worked so closely with Milk, that it was second nature to me to intuit both the Milk values and what a savvy, modern customer expects in a product. The rest is history…

    PD: When the idea was born, to start a makeup line, what did you see was missing in the industry that needed Milk Makeup?
    GG: There was a real void between efficacious color products like MAC/NARS and more hippie natural brands. We wanted to be the holy grail of color and skincare products that combined both clean ingredients and great efficacy so that you didn't have to sacrifice anything for the looks you want. We also weren't seeing many gender-neutral brands — everything was still very binary in terms of packaging and marketing. We wanted our product design and ethos to be chic, minimal and truly inclusive (genderless). Not only is the product design more aesthetically relevant and chic, but there’s also no one telling you who you need to be in order to use the products. I wanted to demystify beauty and make it as approachable as art supplies while also delivering clean, high quality, unisex products. Products that are as highly functional, spontaneous and fun as New Yorkers are. The thing that really sets our products apart from other than the gender-neutral packaging is the quality — they’re ingredient-conscious (non-toxic, cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan), user-friendly, and deliver an instant payoff.

    PD: I absolutely love the cooling stick, which Milk product can you not be without?
    GG: KUSH Mascara!

    PD: Your beauty routine and favourite products of all time?
    GG: My beauty routine starts in the shower. I will cleanse skin with our amazing, gentle ‘Vegan Milk Cleanser’ and do one of our mask sticks depending on what my skin needs that day — usually the ‘Watermelon Brightening Mask.’ Then I apply ‘Matcha Toner’, ‘Vegan Milk Moisturizer’ and ‘Hydro Grip Primer.´ I wait 1-2 minutes for the primer to set, then apply ‘Sunshine Skin Tint’ in ‘Honey’ under my eyes and my T-zone, blending it out with my fingers. I then apply ‘KUSH Mascara’ ‘KUSH Brow Gel, Lip + Cheek’ in ‘Rally’ on the apples of my cheeks, a bit of ‘Matte Bronzer in Baked’ on the cheek contours, again blending it all in my fingers. Finally, I will apply a coat of our Lip Color in ‘Hype’, ‘OG Red’ or ‘Wifey’ depending on the outfit.

    PD: What inspires you the most, in your work as a creative director?
    GG: The vibrancy of New York City's creative community. I love meeting new people in the city and constantly challenging my perspective on art, aesthetics, beauty, philosophy etc. I ride my bike everywhere, which is super inspiring.

    PD: What is your first beauty moment/memory?
    GG: Pinching my cheeks to flush them before going into a middle school class to see a crush. I later got the same effect by using a cherry flavoured chapstick or a red lollipop.

    PD: As a creative, is there a dream project you would like to do?
    GG: I would love to direct a TV show and/or feature film.

    PD: If you would choose a different line of work, what would that be?
    GG: Holistic Wellness Guru

    PD: Do you have any tips for someone who aspires to work as a creative director?
    GG: I think being a spiritual person and being constantly curious are huge factors in doing good work as a Creative Director. If you develop your spirituality, you can truly tap into your unique POV on the world and hone your unique style from there. I also constantly read and experience live art.

    PD: Were there any products that were difficult to produce?
    Dianna Ruth (COO): KUSH mascara was the most difficulty, based on packaging and formulation.

  • photography by JÖRGEN AXELVALL

    In Yuki Harada’s Spiritual ‘Cave’

    Written by Ksenia Rundin

    Quoting Ludwig Feuerbach, Susan Sontag once argued in her essay ‘In Plato’s Cave’ that our age prefers the photograph to the real thing, the appearance before existence. Sontag claimed that photography has an unlimited power in modern society by replacing reality by virtue of being not only a mirror or interpretation of it, but also a relic of reality, something that is taken straight out of it. The philosopher could not even imagine how right and how wrong she was at the same time. Photographic image, indeed, has an unlimited power today but it does not seem to be a relic of reality anymore. It is the reality itself, bringing meaning to our existence by not mirroring it but rather building it up.

    Brought up with the ‘Abanga-do’ spirit, the Japanese contemporary artist Yuki Harada explores the reality constructed by photographic images, taken by himself quite recently or by someone else a while ago but now placed in his numerous cluster. Re-examining the visual culture of a spiritual photograph, the artist attempts to frame his experience into an artistic endeavour. ‘Living’ a photograph by looking at it during a longer period, the artist establishes a relationship with it by participating in the event the image depicts without being a part of it. While a spiritual photograph contains a captured moment with a distinctive meaning, Yuki Harada tries to explore the moment on his own conditions within his own contemporary context. While capturing his own photos, whose amount could reach a thousand per day, Yuki Harada seeks to step into the unknown and spiritually capture the moment of ‘now’.

    Seemingly, the artist travels between realities — form the one he observes before taking the photo to the other, which is ‘captured’ by his device. Is there anything in the juncture between these realities? Are we able to grasp it? Which of the realities is real? The questions are difficult to answer without bringing a deep philosophical discourse with an unequivocal metaphysical note in it. Another alternative is to creep in into Yuki Harada’s ‘cave’, to behold the artworks and perhaps, to ‘live’ the moment of your own ‘now’.

    Please, tell us about yourself? Who are you and what is your professional activity?
    I am contemporary artist based in Tokyo. I was born in 1989. Worldwide, this year is generally remembered as the end of the Cold War, meanwhile in Japan it also symbolises something else. It was the year when the long Shōwa era, which was named after the the reign of Emperor Shōwa (1926-1989) came to an end. On 7 January 1989, the day after the Emperor Shōwa passed away, the Chrysanthemum Throne was succeeded  by Crown Prince Akihito, marking the start of the Heisei period, which would last till 2019.

    Besides, Japan at that time was in the middle of the so called “bubble economy” caused by inflation of the real estate market and stock market. It was an era when urban culture with such movements as city pop and New Wave was booming. Furthermore, many of the motifs that I am interested in were also inspired by the visual culture that flourished in the “laboratory” of Postwar Japan.

    Since 2012, I have been working on two projects. One is related to painting, the Lassen Project, studying Christian Lassen’s art, and the other one is about photography, the Ghost Photographies project. Through these two projects, I re-exam the part of the visual culture which influenced me and put it into a new form as my own representation. 

    Where did you study photography and/or art?
    In retrospect, although I have studied art in many places, one of the room at my house was the initial direct impact to me, neither Museums nor Universities. In that room, there was a reproduction painting of an American painter Christian Lassen, depicting a dolphin. As a child, I was looking at this painting almost every day. Lassen’s name may not be that familiar to readers of this interview, but he actually was famous like Van Gogh or Picasso. His artistic fame could at that time be compared with one a rock musician would possess in Japan. 

    However, the painting appeared to be very strange, rejecting any of my empathy. I felt the gaze toward the picture bounce off like a mirror. I couldn't feel any empathy at all. But, for some reason, I was attracted to the painting and not being able to ignore it. Glancing back now, this seems to be my formative experience of art.

    What do you consider to be the essence of contemporary art?
    As a child being enchanted by Lassen's painting without understanding the meaning and having no logical explanation to that, I could not help but think about it. Finally, I understood the reason of the process of that constant thinking, what might, in my view, be the essence of contemporary art.

    In one of your interviews you mentioned that photography had never really been your interest but rather a part of your personal life. Could you, please, develop it further and say how you became engaged with the art of photography and how photography is tied to your life?
    Taking photos in my private life, sometimes makes me feel that my life is ‘irreplaceable’, but in fact it is just ‘commonplace’. For me, while my private photos are ‘irreplaceable’; the photos of someone else or of myself are merely ‘commonplace’. I feel that coming and going between these contradictory sensations will create a parallel imagination for ‘my or someone else's life that could have happened’.

    You take about 500 to 1000 pictures a day. What are those pictures? How do you choose your compositions? Why so many? 
    I take an enormous number of pictures on my own account. When I feel like I am retaining ‘meta-data’ in digital data rather than taking any image, perhaps then I am in the zone of digitally stamping of the moment of ‘now’. Why? Probably because of anxiety.

    What is the main idea behind your photographic voice?
    In the realm of photography, I have only senses of 'I do not know’ or ‘I understand’. The former photos include those that are important in history, those that are artistically renowned, and those that are rare. The latter ‘known photos’, which are often relevant to me, are private images. Strictly speaking, it is often impossible to objectively prove that I am ‘related’ to a certain photograph, therefore, I might temporarily forget that the image is not ‘understood' but 'not known’ to me. Thus, for me, every picture is something unknown. I am worried about seeing any photo. Dealing with such unrecognisable, anxious, awe-inspiring feelings is what I face with photography.

    Ghost Photos and Unsigned Photos, what are those? How did you come up with those ideas in your art practice?
    My project, Ghost Photos, is based on the occult boom that occurred in Japan between the 1970s and 1990s. It was extensively featured on television and in magazines, and served as captivating entertainment.

    Globally, the history of Ghost Photos dates back to the 19th century, but all psychic photographs that appeared in Japan during this period are characterised by being produced in the form of unsigned amateur photographs.

    It is crucially different from Ghost Photos, which were made by professionals in the 19th century, and were based on the fact that beholders gave ‘excessive' meaning to casually photographed images. In a way, I thought that it had a structure similar to art photography, and became interested in the phenomenon.

    Please tell us about your collection of unknown photos. What was the idea behind it and what has happened to the collection today?
    Initially, I began researching amateur photography, which became a resource for psychic photography in Japan. My research embraced museums, library archives, flea markets and online markets, but I could not find any amateur photos taken relatively recently in any place.

    Nevertheless, while continuing my research without giving up, I begun to understand that a large amount of these photos are discarded from ordinary households every day, and there are the garbage sorting companies who separate ‘sellable photos’ and ‘unsellable photos’. The former photos, such as those taken during the war, can be found in archives and markets. The later type of photos was taken relatively recently and was deemed to not having any rarity or market value.

    Finally, I came to a conclusion that a large amount of ‘common images’ had been discarded, what made me think through the project and start figuring out how to save such ‘valueless information’ in the world.

    What is Spirit Photography and how does it expand the photographic expression?
    Spirit Photography has a similar meaning to Ghost Photos, but there is a linguistic nuance in the terminology of ‘Shinrei Shashin’ (’Spiritual Photography’). At the moment, it is difficult to accurately translate the Japanese words into another language, so I feel the need to create a new term.

    I also am not too particular about expanding the expression of ‘photography’. Rather, I am interested in re-editing the possible connections between images and humans, just like considering how to deal with the ‘ordinary  images’ mentioned earlier.

    Could you tell us about the logic behind your exhibits, e.g. ‘Psychic Photography’ (2012), ‘Author Unknown’ (2017)?
    When viewing Psychic Photo (or Ghost Photos), the spectator finds the spirit as an unknown author, who should not be there, while reading the meaning and story out of the image. These actions have a structure similar to when beholding fine-art photography, and I think that Psychic Photo might be in a sense an ‘alternative form’ of art.

    Could you tell us about one of your latest exhibits ‘One Million Seeings' (2019)?
    I started collecting the ‘unsellable photos’ that I mentioned earlier, and now the number of the images, which I temporarily store, is reaching about 100.000. Most of them have lost meta-data such as the photographer, subject, location, motivation, and timing, and the images are meaningless — hard to know how to start getting a clue about them. Therefore, they are photos that are difficult to ‘view’ on the one hand, but on the other hand, they must have been ‘irreplaceable’ for somebody. Hence, through this work I tried to perform intimate ‘appreciation’ of those photos by playing the eyes of that someone. In that case, I imposed on myself the rule of ‘seeing until I could establish a relationship with the photo’, ongoing for 24 hours without sleeping or resting, 7 days a week with the non-stop video without editing. In the video work I try to record the ‘relationship between the image and a human’ instead of exposing the image on its own.

    Do you do collaborations with other artists or maybe across industries?
    I cannot go into details in this interview, but in the art project on Christian Lassen I felt like I was collaborating with the artist in a way. I am currently working on a visual book that looks back on the graphics of the ‘Heisei’ era (1989-2019) based on Lassen’s work.

    I have been thinking about making art works like movies for a long time. Especially in commercial films created by a large number of people. There are cases, where smaller frameworks such as ‘movie scores’ and ‘movie picture arts' co-exist within a larger framework of the 'movie work'. In the same way, I would like to focus on art as a project with a larger framework, instead of limiting myself to the old, small-framework.

    What are your future projects?
    I have talked a lot about the project I have worked with so far—besides all above, good balance is important—and most recently I am focusing on creating works with a small framework—One Million Seeings is an example.

    However, when it comes to new projects, we have focused on two main ones since 2012. Soon we will start a new project with the theme of ‘island'. To prepare for this, in 2019 we went to Hawaii, a neighbouring island about 6.500 kilometers east of Japan. In 2020 we plan to conduct research and exhibitions in Taiwan which lies 2.000 kilometers south of Japan and is also a neighbouring island.

    Until now, we have taken up motifs that are culturally positioned on the ‘periphery’, but now we are focusing on the space that can be positioned on the ‘periphery’ in a literally geopolitical sense, what will be our third project then.

  • Reflections of Philip Warkander

    Written by Philip Warkander by Sandra Myhrberg

    The corona crisis has so far led to the cancellation of fashion shows and major events: The Couture Week (Paris), Men’s Fashion Week (Paris), Chanel’s cruise collection show (Capri), Dior’s cruise collection show (Lecce, Puglia) and Hermès resort show (London) have all been either cancelled, postponed or shifted to online presentations. Gucci has stopped all production and in many major cities, stores are now closed. Small, independent brands, without the financial security of the conglomerates, are particularly vulnerable and are risking immediate bankruptcy.
    Even before the corona virus struck, people were well informed that the current culture of consumption was not only unsustainable but a direct threat to civilisation as we know it. Contemporary society has been driven by the mix of urges, needs and desires, transformed into a society of commodities. Granted, many of the things we buy we have a basic need for. Without food, we not only go hungry but actually die. Without garments we lack shelter from both the cold and the sun. Without travel beyond the places we already know, our imagination would lack inspiration. But these needs have been fuelled by our wants, and in tandem with industries that profit from our desires, this has created a viscous cycle that will inevitably lead to the destruction of the very lifestyle these objects symbolize.
    In the same way that we know smoking is bad for us, we know that it is bad for the environment to buy too many garments and to eat too much meat. Yet, most people do it. Why? Because it’s fun and gives our existence a silver lining. Buying stuff creates a sense of reward for working. It’s tangible evidence that your work has paid off. Even though we know that on a larger scale it is bad for us and will affect future generations negatively, we still buy the clothes we want, go on the vacation we have planned, and eat the meat that we have selected at the local supermarket.
    The lockdown being enforced in many countries has led to a strange and unfamiliar quietness. The skies are bluer, the noise from the traffic has lessened and cities are calmer than usual. Articles on the subject are being shared and discussed optimistically on social media, as if a few days without tourists in Venice and Sardinia will undo decades of daily damages. In media – fashion-related and otherwise – people are engaged in daily discussions on the dramatic effects of the current pandemic. Will the corona virus finally be able to stop us from destroying our societies and help us slow down climate change? Is the tipping moment we have been waiting for?
    In many ways, the questions are reasonable. In the past, pandemics have indeed brought with them a long-lasting impact on society. But it is also naïve to wish for the change to be brought to us from an outside force. By hoping that the pandemic will bring changes to the international fashion system and its horrific over-production, use of toxics and exploitation of the workforce, we are attempting to free ourselves of responsibility and instead handing over agency to a faceless virus. This situation illustrates in a nutshell why fashion will never become sustainable: we are constantly hoping for someone else to do the work, so that we don’t have to. As soon as the most acute crisis is averted, business will in all probability return to its usual intensive pace and reckless promotion of constantly new stuff for people to buy, use and discard. It will take some time to rebuild, but in time, there will be very few traces left of this temporary respite from overproduction and mindless consumption that we are now experiencing.

    /Philip Warkander