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Right - Mineral Foundation by Tromborg, Nourishing Lip care by Chanel, 5 Camouflage Cream Palette Color Correct & Concealer and Flash Color Palette Mutli-Use Cream Color Palette by Make Up For Ever, Shadow Extreme by Tom Ford. Earring by Julie Thevenot.
Left - Mineral Foundation by Tromborg, Nourishing Lip care by Chanel, 5 Camouflage Cream Palette Color Correct & Concealer and Flash Color Palette Mutli-Use Cream Color Palette by Make Up For Ever, Nourishing Lip Care by Chanel, Aquacolor by Kryolan. Vintage tops by Comme Des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, stockings worn as tops by Falke, Fogal and Leg Avenue.
Video artist and body positive model @iceicebabyspice walks us through her beauty rituals and being an artist in the digital age.
She's Like A Rainbow
Makeup artist Helen Marie creates intricately beaded beauty looks and fights to change industry stereotypes for women of color.
Rise of the Weirdos
Enter Day’s hypnotic universe of wide-eyed comic book fatales--some drenched in Cup Noodles while posing naked next to a giant cockroach, others painted head-to-toe while sporting a house for a mask. We’re talking John Waters meets Cirque du Soleil, seasoned with some Antichrist surrealism. Shocking and mesmerizing all at once, Day’s photography is exceptionally fusing the weird shit in life with the can’t-take-your-eyes-off awe of beauty.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I'm a photographer in LA shooting fabulous freaks both found in nature and conjured up and costumed for my camera. How would you describe your style of photos? Garish, loud, seething.
How did you discover your signature style of photography?
When I started nearly 4 years ago I knew I wanted to forge a style that was mine so I dug deep into what I was attracted to and what I had to offer, and worked at creating the photography that I wanted to see but wasn't seeing anywhere else. I was sick of pretty, dreamy photos, sick of slick, Photoshopped fantasies, sick of quiet, moody photos and models with a stale air of disinterested cool. What I've always loved is the loudness of comic book characters, the lurid beauty of old silver-screen star magazines and glamour shots, and the lost and found satisfaction of once discarded snapshots.
Why film over digital photos?
It feels more real.
How do you choose your subjects?
I find virtually all of them on Instagram and look for people that pique my curiosity. That's really it. There's no formula. People are always like "you should shoot this person or that person" and very rarely do I agree. It's like, why are you attracted to who you're attracted to? Who knows! It's unreasonable.
Who have been some of your most memorable models so far?
In terms of the experience of shooting with them, The Abhora is wonderful. First she got tarred and feathered naked in my living room and then we did a faux RUSH poppers ad and both got pretty twisted off the fumes. And my bud for life, Molly Milk, is a delight and a treasure. I hardly even need to direct her, she's a living cartoon with a silly putty face. My favorite collaboration with her was a video I directed for Nvdes' "On My Magic" where she plays a cheese ball munching, tabloid-reading, giant cockroach smoochin' shut-in who is inspired to step out into the world by a strange man who lives in her closet and helps dress her in a fanciful party frock.
If you could shoot with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Really I just want to shoot with Riff Raff.
What’s it like being a photographer in the age of Instagram?
Ping pong-ing back and forth between liberation and oppression. On the one hand, it allows weirdos to rise to prominence and make a living out of nowhere which is phenomenal! But then on the other, psychologically it can be very challenging as I feel this pressure to crank out work for the ever-hungry content machine. And there's a lot of pressure to build your brand and stay on brand and pander to the likes which is not conducive to good art making.
What do you do when you’re in the need of some inspiration?
Meditate and google what interests me, fall down the rabbit holes I find.
What inspires you in terms of styling and makeup?
I like things to be slightly off. No immaculate blending or flawless contour for me, no ma'am. When I'm thrifting for wardrobe to add to my costuming collection, I'm always looking for color, texture, and pattern. I'm maniacally fast flipping through racks and racks of clothes. My motto is, "if you've never seen anything like it before, buy it!"
I need to add more movies to my watch list. Any recommendations?
I really enjoyed Lars von Trier's latest, The House that Jack Built. It's not everyone's cup of blood though. Two of my all time favorite movies are both black and white though, Down by Law and The Night of the Hunter. I can watch those again and again.
What are some of the recurring themes in your work?
Identity creation and expression. Performance for others/the camera. And I strive to achieve tension between attraction/repulsion and beauty/ugliness. How would you define beauty? That which gives you a feeling of awe. The appreciation of beauty can be very pure or it can give rise to a desire to possess. Beauty isn't something static and objective, it's all a game of perception. Culturally we can agree that this is beautiful or that is beautiful, and agree that we have the same response to the same thing, but these perceptions can shift over time.
What role does beauty play in your work?
Beauty is love. I love what I create and find my subjects and the characters we create together to be very beautiful. Yes, there's aspects of "ugliness" in them too, but that's what makes them human.
What’s on the horizon for Parker Day?
I just directed a video that I'm very proud of for The Venus in Scorpio's song "Retrograde." I'm looking to do a lot more music video work in the future where I can bring the characters in my head to life and give them a storyline to expand in.
In inflatable red and white costumes, these surrealist characters are slowly taking over the underground scene in Stockholm with a project that merges different disciplines to create something we've never seen or heard of.
With the slogan, "Not Art Not Music Not Fashion Not Performance," it can be hard to define exactly what Grebnellaw is. But office sat down with the brains behind the operation to learn more.
Tell me a little about yourself—how did you become a performance artist?
I think by accident. I started out making music because it was always easy to find dancers but there was always problems finding musicians who wanted to play. Then it gets a little bit more complicated than that because I’m also a visual artist and I wanted to create. So, basically what I did was that I planted the ‘New Population’. Grebnellaw for me is a population and it’s a performance art project. Really, I play God and I create these beings—I just want to have millions of them everywhere. We are very far from that right now, but maybe the technology will help us somehow in the future.
Is that the concept behind your creation of the ‘New Population?'
Yes exactly, those were the first ones that I did. Now I make the Grebnellaw characters red and white but basically it was just because I was a little bit lost in my own creation. Everything was all over the place and I needed to have something that brought everything together. So, I was noticing that a lot of things were actually red and white and I needed something—You know when you go into a place and there are just so many choices and it’s just overwhelming—I just wanted to reduce the options and make it more easy. I stock to red and white and I’m coherent with that because everything else is not. The people who perform with me can do whatever they want on stage, I don’t care as long as they wear red and white.
So, you don’t prepare a specific dance for each performance?
They have their own practise. The Grebnellaw’s can be dancers or performance artists but they have their own practice. I try to give them a space where—I mean this is so cliche because no one is really free—but I think I give them the freedom to do whatever they want. If freedom is possible.
Do you always perform together as a group?
Yes, but it’s always different people. There are people who have performed with me for quite some time now, but the way it all happened was actually a self creation, I didn't create it myself. I just did it towards some people and then they came to me and said that they wanted to be a part of it the next time. Then the whole thing continued growing and more creative people with different skill sets joined. Then I started to make more costumes because that was the way to become a part for it.
What goes into the process of creating your costumes?
I’m just really obsessed with inflatable things and I really like the feeling of being big and powerful and take a lot of space. I imagine preparing to be in outer space or even in subatomic space inside atoms with a soft armor around you that makes it possible to float on water. Sometimes, I also perform almost naked. I’m either half naked or I’m just completely inflated—not so much in between.
So, you dress after how you feel that particular day?
It’s just a feeling you have. Today I want to be naked or I want to be inflated. I think the official costume is almost like a uniform. So, in the performance somebody always has to wear the inflated costume or else it’s not a proper performance.
What are you trying to express through your art?
It’s almost like a fertility ritual. I have a narrative about us coming from subatomic space and a seed. But the seed is also a subatomic particle and it’s also sperm because all of those three things are kind of linked. So really, what I do is that I just want to give birth to my population like in a fertility ritual where you dance to have a nice offspring. You dance and the seed sprout and gives birth to new plants and forms and beings.
So, that’s how you would define what you do, if it’s possible to define?
I think so yes. It’s a fertility ritual so that the cosmic seed will sprout and give birth to new things. But it’s also linked to nanotechnology. You know, in supertonic particles in nanotechnology there’s a lot of hope for mankind. Because when we build with these elements, we can create new materials. Even potentially have air filters that can soak up smoke or pollution. I’m not saying this is now but I think it’s a world that is unexplored. I think that there could be solutions to our problems.
Would you say that your work addresses contemporary issues in society—if so, what’s the message you are trying to send?
I don’t think that is actually that. I think it’s about something else, but I’m not really sure—maybe I should go to therapy. No, I think if I knew what it was maybe I wouldn't be doing it. Maybe I’m doing it to find out exactly why. It’s not something I can really say. It’s like when I was a child I didn’t have one imaginary friend, I wanted to have many, not just one but 100.000 of them. But it’s a little bit like imaginary friends. It has been with me always.
Where do you usually perform?
I would say it’s quite underground. When you think about Stockholm, you think of a clean and minimalistic city where everybody is well behaved—that’s a little bit true. I haven’t been traveling for a year but usually I’m travelling a lot and I have been in Asia. Outside of Sweden I kind of feel a little bit more home. At the same time it’s a crazy thought, I live here so I should be able to do something. But here in Stockholm I mostly stay underground but I also perform at bigger things such as galleries and museums. I like another type of feeling from my performance, so at our performances we always come out as a surprise. Sometimes it says my name but we always appear out of nowhere. I don’t like too much to be on stage, I like to be straight on the floor.
I guess it also the thrill of the unexpected.
Yes I think so. I wouldn't think it was fun if someone had to introduce us. I like to just come out do my thing and sort of leave. When we perform in clubs you can really get the feeling that you are immersed with your audience in a way that you can’t have in a theater—there’s no expectations.
How does performance art connect with your personality?
I think, for me it’s a lot of organization really. Which I don’t know if i’m actually so good at. I love to be around people and I love to collaborate. I think collaboration is probably one of the best inventions. It’s always fun.
What’s your source of inspiration?
I have so many. I’m inspired by science, my friends and virtual.
Who’s the first person that comes to mind?
Oskar Schlemmer! He was a costume designer from Bauhaus and he made an oprah called the Triadic Ballet in 1922 with very amazing costumes. He was also a big inspiration on Leigh Bowery who was a big inspiration to the Tranimal drag movement. I’m also a big part of the drag scene here in Stockholm. We don’t have a big drag world, but together with two others I organized the International Drag Festival called STOCKWIG which was initiated by DJ, George Chamoun. We filled up a very big venue which was amazing, I couldn’t believe that it could happen in Stockholm. There was so many people who came from all over the place because we had the euro pride here. We also did a big new year’s eve party and we will do a big festival this summer, as well.
Can you walk me through your creative process combining the elements of art, pop music and performative elements. How does it come together?
I’m going to do a performance soon where we are going to be nine people in a space in the meatpacking district at a venue that kind of looks like a church. To this, I have a violinist, and I have four people who we are making into otherworldly type of Grebnellaws—and then we are going to do it all live. So, the dressing is not going to happen before, it’s going to happen during the performance where they will create each other directly on the floor. We are going to build each other. I always sing at the performances. I produce the music. I write all songs, but I never release the material. I have written so many songs, but I work in a more site specific way so I change the songs all the time. Like gabber music which goes from 300 bpm and up—so it goes so fast that I can barely sing it. But it makes it very crazy.
It’s not like that all the time, but with this performance I took a song that was slow and made it very fast. So, I change my songs all the time which I also do with everything else. There is never a point where I go like ‘ok now I am going to sit down and make an EP’— I’m always performing live. That’s what I like to do. So I have a lot of songs, but you actually have to come to the performance to hear it, because you can’t hear it anywhere else. Everything is unique. It’s always one time and it will never be repeated the same way. You can’t say if it’s good or bad. Sometimes it’s good sometimes it’s bad, it depends who is on stage and how everything came together at that time. You don’t know exactly what's going to happen.