DP Luis Perez on 'Empty' and working with Kevin Abstract

If you haven't already watched Kevin Abstract's music video for 'Empty' (such a broad term for the content that's out there nowadays) you should try to do that as quickly as possible. You might get the same sense you get from watching one of your favorite films; this isn't a production made for money, this is something bigger that digs at you feelings. 

As a huge fan of not only Kevin Abstract and the rest of Brockhampton team, I was lucky to be able to ask director of photography Luis Perez , who's also worked with a roster of amazing talent such as Anderson .Paak and Tyler, the Creator, a few questions on the process behind the art. 

(In your own words) who are you and what do you do?

I’m just a simple guy who loves to take photographs and occasionally they happening to be moving as a director of photography. ­­­­­­

 How would you personally describe the mood or the feeling that the ‘Empty” video evokes?

The feeling is one of love postponed. You have a love triangle play out in a very direct manner. You have a boyfriend not coming to terms in time with himself to tell is girlfriend who he really is and in the process hurting people who care for him and ultimately himself.



What was it like working with Kevin Abstract who directed the video and obviously has such a strong creative vision of his own? What was the process of brainstorming to creation like?

Working with Kevin was very easy due to his ability to articulate what he visually saw for the story and his concise reference library of movies that helped shape our approach. I first got a call from his management Chris and Brian of 4strikes who I’ve worked with before since they also manage Tyler and a few other oddfuture artists. They went over whom he was and what he wanted to do. I immediately loved what Kevin wanted to do and the ball rolled from there. They sent me the treatment, which was basically a few picture references, and lines that outlined the narrative. From there we corresponded by email and ultimately a meeting face to face.  Once we met we vibe’d and expounded a bit from the original idea to include a few set ups that help create a level tension and emotional impact.

Was there a specific way you captured the suburban and adolescent feel of ‘Empty’ through the aspects of cinematography?

Well Kevin being a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson like myself we agreed it had to be shot with anamorphic lenses.  With shooting anything with anamorphic lenses there is a really soft and textured way light and color is picked up by either film or chip.  Being that we were going with and Alexa as our camera it was a perfect mix of old glass with new technology. This allowed for the moments when lit by the sun not feel over whelming and the softly lit intimate moments feel more pronounced. Kevin insistence in shooting his bike ride with the boyfriend at dusk kept the warm tones of the bedroom continuous until the end



How do you create a piece of work that accomplishes what the artist wants visually while at the same time making something that you love yourself?

Filmmaking is a collaborative process. No one gets what he or she really wanted no matter how much money is being spent. As a filmmaker you have to be able to compromise along the way in order to do what’s best for the project. There are times as a creative you are allowed to be selfish and get something that you can point at and say that’s me but that’s not something I look for when taking on projects. I would like to think that anyone who hires me hires me because they saw or see the potential in collaborating with me and entrusting me with their vision. Your name ultimately will be attached to the project you are creating so you will always need to find something to love about it regardless big or small.

·Do you take on most projects you’re contacted about or do you prefer to work with people who’s own artistic ideas you admire?

I’m not allergic to money lets start by saying that but I do feel at this point in my career that if the projective doesn’t peak my creative interest I find it hard to accept. 

 If you could give someone looking to get into cinematography/film making one piece of advice what would it be?

Be yourself and find your voice in your approach. There is only one you so why try to be someone else.


Follow Luis to stay up to date on his projects:





Defining Jirawadi.

Jirawadi says she's an 'earth based photographer' but she could really be from another world. Capturing girls as goddesses of sorts, she realizes the power of imagery without ever making it seem forced. Coming from Florida (where Franklin is also from) she utilizes the surrounding environment and diverse population to create photos that feel much of the time. Here's a little bit more:

Describe yourself in one sentence (think Tinder but also 100% not like Tinder):

Oh man, I don't know how to answer questions like these. If I could phone-a-friend I would.

 I like how you focus on details in your photography, from the subtle poses of hands, to color coordinated outfits in a girl gang, do you have this in mind when you take photos or are you looking at the bigger picture (maybe the feeling in an image)?

Thank you, I'm thinking I like the idea of several well-composed parts coming together into a scene or a photo to form a perfect and balanced "unity" 

 I think its hard to delve deeper into thought with the distractions we face in modern times, how do you stay connected to yourself spiritually?

 You have to form a habit of reminding yourself to return to Self. Everything comes smoothly after that, everything just comes to you naturally, it's really crazy and it feels like jazz music.

It’s also no secret that even in 2016 its not easy being a girl (or I guess a woman), have you learned anything over the years that you’d perhaps pass along to the younger generation?

You aren't defined by anyone but yourself and that is your power.

Finally, what’s one thing you hope to accomplish while continuing your photography?

I want to travel the world, manifest my destiny, work in fashion, be the head of a charity organization, feed my family, and own homes in several countries.

Don't forget to follow Jirawadi to see more of her amazing work and her future endeavors:




Atlanta's Next Up with Gunner Stahl

photo by pizza slime

photo by pizza slime

We all know Atlanta has (and continues to be) a major player in the current hop hop scene, with a multitude of rappers and producers out of the city leaving their mark on the global industry. But not only are there artists bringing the city's culture into the mainstream, there's also those capturing this phenomenon.

Gunner Stahl is one of the photographers giving us a look into a world we otherwise wouldn't be able to. With a portfolio of subjects from Metro Boomin, Young Thug, and the West Coasts's Kendrick Lamar, you could say he's doing big things. Read the quick interview below to get a little more than just the visuals.

In your own words, who are you?

Hi. I'm Gunner. I take cool pictures of people I like. I love Broad City & Girls

What do you think is the key to capturing an artist, whether it be a musician or a style icon of the moment, how do you get their personality to show through just one image?

The key is to get them as they are. Never plan anything. It will hurt the photo. Try to show them you have a personality as well.

What was it like having shot for Fader and having it be an artist from the same place you’re from?

 It was amazing. Metro’s a friend of mine so I was happy I got the opportunity to shoot it with him.

In your opinion, who’s the next big thing we’re going to be seeing come out of Atlanta?

21 Savage. Playboi Carti & of course Lil Yachty.

Is photography the main art form you’re pursuing right now or do you do anything else in your free time that could be considered creative?

No I wish. I’m so one dimensional. Im just good at taking pictures :(

Has there been a specific photo that you’ve taken this year that you consider your favorite visually or even just as a memory?

Mmmm probably the picture of Tyler The Creator’s chains. I didn't want a portraits once I saw his chains. Felt like that would be a better pictures.

As someone who’s young I often question what I’m going to be doing when I’m say 40 just because I change my mind about a million times a day, where do you hope to see yourself in the future either personally or as a ‘brand’?

I want to become a teacher. I’m going back to school next year to get my degree.

Finally, if you could say anything to young people out there feeling stuck and like they’re not going to be the ones to make it in the industry what would be your #1 advice?

Be yourself. People attract faster to personality.


Follow Gunner for the new new:



Fucci; Pop Art's Next Killer Artist

They say sex sells. 

"No one knows what it means, but its provocative."

Both of these statements meld perfectly into the world that is the internet, and 5 second attention spans. But eye catching doesn't always mean good (although that is of course subjective).

Luckily, I happened to cross paths with some fresh visuals that I immediately fell in love with, even past initial glance. With pieces that don't take themselves too seriously, Fucci is taking pop art into the new age. Combining bold graphics and bright colors into modern art pieces, you can't help but pay attention.


In your own words, who are you and what do you do?

I go by Fucci. I'm an illustrator and painter living in Toronto. I make female-centric pop art.

In terms of creativity a lot of amazing people have been coming out of Toronto in the past few years, as someone who has never visited I’d love to know the vibe, how would you describe the culture & atmosphere of the city?

Yes, lots of names coming out of the city. Toronto is the fastest growing city in North America and it's a great spot to be a young creative. History is being made here right now. Toronto is a young city with a completely different vibe than somewhere like NYC or LA. Things aren't pushy here. We have so much talent but we need to work on supporting and working with each other rather than competing against one another. There's room for everyone to grow.

I also think the fact that it says you’re partly Finnish in your site bio is interesting, I was actually born in Finland myself, do you think being Finnish-Canadian has had an impact on your ability to express yourself as an artist? 

I don't think so really. But us Finns are known for good design so I'll try to live up to that!

As sex is a recurring theme in your work, what do you think specifically about it is so inspiring in terms of making art?

I wouldn't say sex inspires me to make the work. I love the female form and try to add some humour or relatable innuendos into the picture. I had some blog call my work misogynistic the other day but I think the writer didn't know the meaning of the word. My work is meant to empower women and be appreciated by both sexes.

Would you say you have any specific artists who've inspired you to start creating your own work or was it something that happened more organically? How did your style come to be?

Piet Parra was definitely a prominent influence in the development of my style of drawing. I learned how to draw the female form from looking at Wonder Woman and Vampirella comics and old pin up poses. I've spent like hundreds of hours just flipping through comic books and looking at old animation cels. I was working on this endless project when I was working as a graphic designer and I realized art wasn't fun or therapeutic for me anymore so I started putting some random drawings on Instagram in late 2014 and it got way more attention than I expected. By mid 2015 I decided to buckle down and take my art more seriously and work on some paintings and higher quality releases.

 Finally, whats you next move in 2016? For example any merchandise or more events that you’re looking to be a part of or create?

2016 is looking to be a great year. I decided I wanted to start doing group shows this year and I'm working on some t-shirts and stuff. So far plans are being made to show in NYC, LA, and Vancouver and I will have my first solo exhibition in Toronto this summer.

All images via: https://www.instagram.com/fucci/

And check out Fucci's website here: http://www.fucci.ca

Ian Woods on Making Art & Not Drama

Art isn't dead in 2016. No matter what your relatives or Twitter timeline states, creativity is very much alive. Although the art scene and its mediums have changed tremendously over the past few years, and new content is debated every day (ahem that Kanye cover), countless individuals are still putting their viewpoints and visions into thought provoking material. Because of this I decided to ask Ian Woods, who's  the topic of much discussion at the moment, a few questions about what it really means to be creating right now, enjoy:

 In your own words, who are you:

Ian Woods and I draw on my i-pad.

Thugger at Yeezy Season 3 by Ian

Thugger at Yeezy Season 3 by Ian

 Have you always been into creating art or has it been something you’ve discovered recently?

I've always been into creating ever since I was in kindergarten, but I got into soccer so I just did that till high school, and I got serious about it again when I was a freshman.

Are there any specific people, works, or maybe even places that you feel inspire you on the daily to make moves more than others?

Looking at other peoples art inspires me to work harder and create more. Also shoutout to AWGE, Isaiah, Kuest, Kourtland, Kolt, Nick, Crystalmeth, Craigxen, and Orhan!

Yamborghini High cover art

Yamborghini High cover art

As a big fan of hip hop myself, its been amazing watching you work with these influencers. How has it been like working with the A$AP Mob & Ian, and how did that come about in the first place?

It's been surreal. I've been a fan of them since Rocky's first project and Ive always looked up to Ian. But I guess Ian or Carti showed Rocky my artwork and Rocky really liked it so he messaged me on Instagram saying he liked my aesthetic and within a week he flew me out and the rest is history.

 Do you think cover art is as important now as it was before, since almost all music is digital (no vinyls, cd’s etc.)?

I think it's very important now and artists are getting more well known for it.

A$AP x Drake cover art

A$AP x Drake cover art

Also, with all the clutter and frankly haters of the internet, I think artists face more scrutiny than ever, as well as an urge from the public to explain their pieces and creative process. What do you think about ‘art’ in 2016 & what influence do you think social media and the internet in general has on it?

I think it's more of a competition now and it sucks. Instead of supporting each other they try to put each other down saying someone's art isn't art or it isn't good enough, its very sad to see.

'the life of pablo'

'the life of pablo'

 If you had the chance to collaborate with anyone right now who would you pick?

 I wanna collab with Supreme. That's it.

Finally, what are your goals for the year, not in the sense of resolutions obviously, but what are you hoping to accomplish to feel content?

Have my first art show, work with bigger names in the industry, keep perfecting my craft and improve, and keep myself relevant.



An Update on the State of the Youth with Titus Gilner

Mediocracy is the new norm. From never ending list articles stating “top 10 this” to “look at what female celebrity posted a butt pic on Instagram today,” the quality put on the internet seems to dwindle every day. But in the sauce of Buzzfeed articles and Complex written pieces (ahem talking about that Kendrick Lamar write up) there are a few winners. One of these young individuals is Titus Gilner, found of course through my routine web stalking of so called cool people, I was immediately impressed by the honesty found in his social media postings and musings. On his newly launched site a little while ago Titus posted an opinion piece entitled The State of the Youth.

Full of relevations I agree with, I found comfort in knowing that someone else was looking in at our generation while simultaneously living in it. Delve into generation y:

As a member of generation y and a society that is constantly pressuring us to make decisions, how would you describe yourself right at this moment? (Perhaps an “occupation” or just student or something way different)

Stuck in a vacuum. Stranded on an island. Lost in the desert. Falling perpetually. All of those cliches about feeling uncomfortable in life's current stage. I don't have a job and I am not in school. I'm probably going back to school sometime, though. I am just as confused and unsure about the future as anyone else my age, I think the only thing that separates me from a lot of people is I at least recognize that this feeling is wrong and not the way it should be. When people ask me what I do I tell them "I'm always just chilling."


Was there a particular event or sudden thought that inspired you to write state of the youth?

 I was at my brothers apartment and he was taking gravity bong hits with his friend that neither of us really like and I don't smoke weed. I felt like I was some cliche character in a coming of age movie sitting on the floor in college apartments watching my friends mindlessly take gravity bong hits and I had to do something to snap myself out of it, so I wrote state of the youth for myself because it is everything I needed to hear at the moment. I write exactly how I think. 

In your opinion is there a recipe for staying true to yourself while growing up or is it more about (hopefully) learning to cut through the bullshit?

 There is no right way to be yourself. There are only wrong ways to be yourself. When you try to be or do something that you really don't give a fuck about you are being yourself wrong. I think the most affect thing is BALANCE, you gotta allow yourself to be comfortable in your own skin while at the same time adapting to your surroundings so that you can strive in the world a little easier. People that figure out how to get to the top before they have ever been to the bottom don't last long. I strongly believe that if you want to be the best you that you can be you first gotta know what its like to be the worst you that you can be


Who are some of the individuals you look up to for creativity/paving their own path?

Kris Kidd, Ernest Baker, Nok from the Future, and all of my homies from BROCKHAMPTON. I wanna look like Kris Kidd, act like Ernest Baker, think like Nok, and be as respected as Brockhampton.

(If you know) what do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

 I just want a nobel peace prize. :-(


Is the internet more positive or negative in the sense that it has almost entirely consumed our day to day lives and turned us into half virtual creatures?

Like the internet my answer is not black and white. the internet does not make people virtual entities anymore than real life makes people physical entities. What makes people who they are is the combination of things that go into their personas. Someone that plays baseball, listens to Rat, wears Lucky Brand Jeans, thinks that weed is bad, and really enjoys the Avenger movies is someone that plays baseball, listens to Rat, wears Lucky Brand Jeans, thinks that weed is bad, and really enjoys the Avenger movies. They are not just a baseball player. The internet broadens the spectrum of individuality more than ever. The person that i just described is subscribed to TheNeedleDrop on YouTube, follows Lebron James on twitter, reads the Onion articles, really enjoys WSHH Vine Comps, and only follows people that they know in real life. So maybe they are a half virtual person, but then maybe they are a half physical person too. Instead of the negative connotation that goes with people having essentially two different lives I think we should look at internet use as an extension of the self rather than an obstacle. Besides, having too much of a real life can cut into your virtual life and having too much of a virtual life can cut into your real life. Some of us need to find balance. I need to find balance.

What will we learn in 2016?

 2015 really wasn't $#it

Don't forget to hit that follow for the #newnew:




Flaws and All

As a writer its really exciting to get the opportunity to express your own opinions and ideas without being limited, or having to stay conformed to a certain mold. So when I recently got asked to create a personal piece for a start up magazine you can imagine how liberating this concept was. It was even better when I learned more about this publication and their message of self love and empowerment. Considering how refreshing this thoughtfulness is in a world full of plastic and photoshop, I dug deeper into how Flaws got its start by asking Editor in Chief Kyla Spencer a few questions. Read below and check out my features tab for a link to my article!

What inspired you to start this magazine? Just generally the lack of realism in magazines and media or a specific event?

For me growing up I never felt a desire to look like girls in magazines because I knew my beauty was completely different from theirs. I also think that my friends in high school were a huge key factor in the way I looked at beauty. Many of my friends never cared about makeup- damn they didn't care about what they wore, they cared about their sports and friends. It truly gave me a different outlook on female beauty and empowerment. Beauty shouldn't be defined by this ideal shown in advertising, but rather the beauty of how we are as people and our actions. It sounds cliche but their isn't anything more beautiful in this world then not defining yourself by your flaws but rather embracing them. So I came up with Flaws with every intention to help shape the future of publications- I don't want to be a stepping stone in change, I want to start the revolution.

Flaw’s motto is “Changing the perception of perfection,” is perfection a real thing?

We find perfection to be interesting because each person will have their own idea of what "perfect" is. Perfection is this ever evolving idea, evidence has shown that what the times show as beauty changes not just decade to decade, but also country to country. I always found that interesting because how can a single publication tell me that my hair will look flawless if I do those 10 steps? It sets my expectations high, and when my hair doesn't turn out how they tell me it will I am irritated how we can throw words like flawless around like it is nothing. Don't get my wrong, I will still song Beyonce's flawless song, but Flaws wants to change what perfection means. Who knows, maybe the dictionary will change it in the future?

Artwork by: https://instagram.com/ommmrose/

With today’s society being deeply routed in appearance, with everything from the selfie stick to the obsession with Kylie Jenner, how do you think girls can avoid the trap of self-scrutiny?

 Even though I see Flaws as being the change in the fashion industry for self acceptance and peer acceptance, we as humans will always naturally be creatures of habit. We will always have a hard time with dealing with the way we look, hell even the way we act. That it can often seem near impossible to block out the words of others- especially when those words at the moment seem like the most important thing in the world. I think this "trap" isn't just about yourself but also the way in which we treat others. If we can find it easier to accept people for their Flaws, then we can only hope others will do the same. It is like cause and effect- so I guess my point is is to realize that if we can look at ourselves and be able to understand our Flaws our apart of our character and that our character is special, others will notice and get trapped in our self-love.

Who are some millenials who you personally appreciate for their genuine character (be that in fashion, music, or art)?

Amandla Stenberg, while I may not fully agree with her position on things, she isn't afraid to speak out. I find it fascinating that even though she is a teenager she isn't afraid to speak out against the pack. That to me is a good leader for the millennials- because she can show that opinions are valid if you are just brave enough to speak out against it.

If you could pick anyone to be on the cover of your magazine right now, who would it be and why?

I honestly don't think I can answer that question because who I would choose to be on the cover has to not only be right for our vision, but also for the concept of that current issue. And Khalifa (Creative Director Khalifa Flowers) and I haven't figured out what the next issues "theme" if you will will be. I hate when a publication just throws someone on the cover because they have a movie coming out that month but then you will hear nothing about that person because they were just in the moment. I want people on the Flaws cover eventually that have a strong message to share with the world, they can't just be the face, because at the end of the day we should remember them by their impact on the world.

What do you think about the phenomenon of social media as a millennial (just right or over load)?

Regardless if people want to admit it or not, social media is able to accomplish many issues on things on such a grander scale. Companies are able to essentially have "free advertisement" to get their products out there, and their name more known to a younger audience. A younger audience who has great buying power. I am nineteen years old and when I see on my Instagram a celebrity that I follow post about a product and tag them- I click on the company. I do it because I am curious with what product they are selling and the fact that I go to their Instagram says a lot for what the future already has in store for consumers.

Describe a perfect day in Los Angeles:

Well my version of a perfect day (since every single one of us will have a different answer) is to sleep in and begin watching a TV show to get my morning off to a good start. More then likely I will probably have something funny like Dance Moms to make me realize how blessed I am to not have Abbi Miller yelling at me haha. Oddly enough shows like that inspire me to do more. Then hunger begins to take over me and when this happens, everything else in the world is at a stand still. So I go on Yelp and literally will find a random place once in a while, or grab Jack-in-the-box. Yes, that is quite unhealthy of me, but I love that place. Then I just work on the magazine and do research and hang out with my friends. I am young and I still want to be young and have fun experiences.

What can we expect in the future from Flaws?

My only wish I have for Flaws is for it to reach an entirely new audience of people that would've never imagined a magazine like it. I find it essential to in the success of Flaws for it to not only look visually appealing, but for it to have a strong voice. Like I said in my first Editor's letter, "I can't promise that we will get it right right away, but we will try our very best."

Keep up to date with Kyla and Flaws: