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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Alaska In Winter – An Interview

Out of the Alaskan wilderness and comes vocoder-glazed Balkan electro

Written by Katie Weatherall

Fashion exhibition.b

Tucked away down a backstreet in the genteel neighbourhood of Kennington, treatment The Camera Club is one of those gems that remind you why living in London is amazing and way better than anywhere else, ask especially villages. Villages may well have photography clubs, but they are almost certainly not as well-resourced as this one, and probably cannot be accessed by tube.

Fashion exhibition.a

A haven for photography enthusiasts since the early days of the medium, having been founded in 1885, the Club allows members to rent studios and darkrooms and to display their work in the cosy, exposed-brick surroundings of the gallery space, which is also lined with bookshelves with umpteen books on photography and other arts. It’s housed in a modern building filled with light and earnest people discussing exposure.

IMG_1448

There’s something special about a member’s club that everyone understands but it’s far better to be a member of a club that revolves around art than drinking, in my humble opinion. I definitely want to find some equivalent semi-secret space in my area, spend all my time drawing or taking photographs entirely for my own pleasure and hanging around with other artistic types more interested in perfect composition than self-promotion. You can join special groups depending on your interests! It will be like school again but without the emotional trauma.

IMG_1449

The current display is of the work of photographer Marek Neumann, whose hyper-real images of catwalk models at first seem like beautiful but par-for-the-course crisp images of runway shows. But something about the models made the pictures somewhat eerie – Neumann explores the strange, almost alien, quality of model looks by tweaking them in Photoshop. It’s refreshing to see fashion photography away from the conventions of magazine editorial or advertising. There are no prices or designer names here, just the images, fending for themselves.

IMG_1445

Their glistening otherworldliness is exaggerated with effects on the eyes, making them look slightly possessed and drawing attention to the weirdness of sending these creatures stamping down a catwalk in clothes no one could ever wear on a real-life street.

IMG_1447

Or you can just enjoy the shininess of beautiful models in amazing clothes. Neumann has an eye for colour, pattern and pomp and circumstance that is evident in the type of clothes he chooses to feature: from stiff white ruffs to slinky gowns to gold puff sleeves, there is no artful minimalism here, this is all about how wonderful and wacky fashion can be.

Fashion exhibition.b

Tucked away down a backstreet in the genteel neighbourhood of Kennington, visit web The Camera Club is one of those gems that remind you why living in London is amazing and way better than anywhere else, more about especially villages. Villages may well have photography clubs, but they are almost certainly not as well-resourced as this one, and probably cannot be accessed by tube.

Fashion exhibition.a

A haven for photography enthusiasts since the early days of the medium, having been founded in 1885, the Club allows members to rent studios and darkrooms and to display their work in the cosy, exposed-brick surroundings of the gallery space, which is also lined with bookshelves with umpteen books on photography and other arts. It’s housed in a modern building filled with light and earnest people discussing exposure.

IMG_1448

There’s something special about a member’s club that everyone understands but it’s far better to be a member of a club that revolves around art than drinking, in my humble opinion. I definitely want to find some equivalent semi-secret space in my area, spend all my time drawing or taking photographs entirely for my own pleasure and hanging around with other artistic types more interested in perfect composition than self-promotion. You can join special groups depending on your interests! It will be like school again but without the emotional trauma.

IMG_1449

The current display is of the work of photographer Marek Neumann, whose hyper-real images of catwalk models at first seem like beautiful but par-for-the-course crisp images of runway shows. But something about the models made the pictures somewhat eerie – Neumann explores the strange, almost alien, quality of model looks by tweaking them in Photoshop. It’s refreshing to see fashion photography away from the conventions of magazine editorial or advertising. There are no prices or designer names here, just the images, fending for themselves.

IMG_1445

Their glistening otherworldliness is exaggerated with effects on the eyes, making them look slightly possessed and drawing attention to the weirdness of sending these creatures stamping down a catwalk in clothes no one could ever wear on a real-life street.

IMG_1447

Or you can just enjoy the shininess of beautiful models in amazing clothes. Neumann has an eye for colour, pattern and pomp and circumstance that is evident in the type of clothes he chooses to feature: from stiff white ruffs to slinky gowns to gold puff sleeves, there is no artful minimalism here, this is all about how wonderful and wacky fashion can be.

Fashion exhibition.b

Tucked away down a backstreet in the genteel neighbourhood of Kennington, prostate The Camera Club is one of those gems that remind you why living in London is amazing and way better than anywhere else, stuff especially villages. Villages may well have photography clubs, but they are almost certainly not as well-resourced as this one, and probably cannot be accessed by tube.

Fashion exhibition.a

A haven for photography enthusiasts since the early days of the medium, having been founded in 1885, the Club allows members to rent studios and darkrooms and to display their work in the cosy, exposed-brick surroundings of the gallery space, which is also lined with bookshelves with umpteen books on photography and other arts. It’s housed in a modern building filled with light and earnest people discussing exposure.

IMG_1448

There’s something special about a member’s club that everyone understands but it’s far better to be a member of a club that revolves around art than drinking, in my humble opinion. I definitely want to find some equivalent semi-secret space in my area, spend all my time drawing or taking photographs entirely for my own pleasure and hanging around with other artistic types more interested in perfect composition than self-promotion. You can join special groups depending on your interests! It will be like school again but without the emotional trauma.

IMG_1449

The current display is of the work of photographer Marek Neumann, whose hyper-real images of catwalk models at first seem like beautiful but par-for-the-course crisp images of runway shows. But something about the models made the pictures somewhat eerie – Neumann explores the strange, almost alien, quality of model looks by tweaking them in Photoshop. It’s refreshing to see fashion photography away from the conventions of magazine editorial or advertising. There are no prices or designer names here, just the images, fending for themselves.

IMG_1445

Their glistening otherworldliness is exaggerated with effects on the eyes, making them look slightly possessed and drawing attention to the weirdness of sending these creatures stamping down a catwalk in clothes no one could ever wear on a real-life street.

IMG_1447

Or you can just enjoy the shininess of beautiful models in amazing clothes. Neumann has an eye for colour, pattern and pomp and circumstance that is evident in the type of clothes he chooses to feature: from stiff white ruffs to slinky gowns to gold puff sleeves, there is no artful minimalism here, this is all about how wonderful and wacky fashion can be.

alaska in winter

Alaska In Winter, discount the alias of Brandon Bethancourt, viagra got his name from the summester out of uni that he spent making music in a cabin in the aforementioned locale and season, information pills signifying the importance his surroundings have on his creativity. Growing up in New Mexico and previously residing in Berlin, his Eastern orthodox parents exposed him to an array of Romanian, Bulgarian and Byzantian music, which have all fed into his own blend of electro-Balkan dance music. Amelia’s Magazine catch up with the chap with a penchant for Russian hats on his UK tour, just before his gig at The Macbeth in Hoxton, which is raising money for WaterAid.

The culmination of the hiatus in the Alaskan wilderness and subsequent trips around Eastern Europe was debut album, Dance Party In The Balkans, a vocoder-glazed celebration of all of his cultural influences. Although he admits that much of what was produced in the cabin didn’t make the cut and is still a work in progress, “they’re impossible to listen to at the moment. They’re really lo-fi, but one day I hope to release them.”

Friends and fellow Albuquerquians, Zach Condon of Beirut fame and Heather Trost from A Hawk And A Hacksaw, both feature on his debut. There is obviously something about this remote state, of which he says, “I’m going to be polite and use the word slow. Both Hawk and Beirut and myself found inspiration in leaving New Mexico.”

alaska in winter 2

In contrast to New Mexico’s music scene that is “a bit bland”, Bethancourt eulogises about his time living in the artistic hub of Berlin – where he made second album, Holiday – “it is energy while New Mexico is lethargy.” A city that provides a 24-hour dance party Olympics, could certainly not be described as a bit bland, “I did about 17 of those. In Berlin, they mainly happen on a Monday night. When a bar called BAR25 closed down, there was a final 100-hour party for the last 100 hours of opening,” Bethancourt claims proudly.

Taking creative inspiration from “nature and other artists” Bethancourt says he thought about making music at the age of 15 and only made the step two years ago at the age of 25. Yes, that makes him 27 now! So was there a path that his life could have taken that wasn’t music? “ I studied photography and visual arts in New Mexico, so I always knew I’d do something in the arts, that didn’t make much money,” he says.

Producing electro music, Bethancourt shares the same relationship with computers as most artist do with their tools, “A love hate one about sums it up.” As well as the various locations he has found himself in, Bethancourt cites 80s metal and classical music as genres that have wormed their way into his sound.

Recalling his days in Alaska, Bethancourt talks about the sustainable lifestyle he had there, “I grew my own stuff. For a small portion of the year there’s light all day and things grow unbelievably.” And if you’re wondering, Brussel Sprouts are his favourite vegetable.

Amelia’s Magazine thrives on nice people, I wonder who the last really nice person Bethancourt met was? “In Iceland, while I walked out the door to pick something up from the store, two girls stopped me and said they were throwing a dinner party for strangers. I went to their house and there was all this free food and alcohol and everyone was really nice.” With the exception of our earth editor, whilst Amelia’s Magazine does not necessarily condone, accepting alcohol off of strangers from the street, we do like the sound of that brief encounter.

alaska in winter3

And the last record you bought and loved? “Stephan Bodzin,” Bethancourt imparts with very little hesitation.

Whilst chatting into the night is obviously a great thing to do, this guy really has a gig to play, so on one last note I’m wondering about his plans for the future. He kindly informs me, “To finish the tour and go back to the US, but maybe if I can sort out my visa, I’ll move back to Berlin.” His myspace informs me that he also plans to soon release a cassette tape of tunes entitled Space Eagle [the motion picture soundtrack], “but is having difficulty due to multiple hard drive failures, laptops dying and other technological disasters.” Hence the love, hate relationship with his computer tools.

Catch Alaska In Winter and its “virtual video orchestra” on his UK tour, before his impending battle with immigration.

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