Every experience has a visual and experiential representation through photography, illustration, product, video, digital, and physical environments. THE FIRST PROOF is another look at the formation of these experiences, focusing equally on creation and creator. It serves as an analysis of the creative inputs and outputs, and its influence.

Observations on fashion, art, design, and creativity. 

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Creative Inspiration

Gertrude Stein - the author of one of the earliest coming out stories, "Q.E.D." (published in 1950 as Things as They Are), written in 1903..

#GertrudeStein #equality #pride #creativeinspiration #creativity #words


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2017, Current Events, & Creativity

While we usually do not comment on politics and social issues, the events of 2017 spurred creative thinking and ingenuity. Specific events are too big to ignore, and while we live through them, the great work that has come from these experiences should be acknowledged. This article does not intend to be comprehensive or diminish two other relevant stories from the past year, #BlackLivesMatter, and Climate Change. We invite submissions, and as the year progresses we welcome any creative innovations around these subjects.
1. Immigration & DACA
2017 is a year where we saw the art world react to concerns about immigration policies and Dreamers. President Trump embraced a proposal to slash legal immigration to the United States in half within a decade by sharply curtailing the ability of American citizens and legal residents to bring family members into the country. His attempts have been focused on barring select Muslim-majority countries, limit refugees, and building a wall along the southern border. The Mexico wall, Dream Act/DACA, and the American government’s changing rules around immigration have been trending topics as it questions American values. 
Public art has become a way for the creative community to address the issue, taking work out of the gallery setting making it more accessible and impactful. 2017 saw two artists bring attention to the immigration dilemma - JR and Ai WeiWei, both known for their attention to social matters. JR previously developed experiences from tackling films on women and their place in society (Women Are Heroes), the Israeli and Palestinian conflict (Face 2 Face), and the transformation of neighborhoods in global cities (Portrait of a Generation). Ai WeiWei is a political activist and artist whose work has focused on human rights in China. Both artists presented large-scale public exhibitions addressing the United State’s stance on immigration.
From the New York Times, JR and the Mexico Wall: “At the site, JR developed two installations addressing immigration, a large child peering over the wall and a second of a dining table that crossed the wall. For JR, whose recent work has frequently dealt with immigrants and refugees, the Mexican installation is part of a continuing conversation. 'People will always migrate,' he said. 'When we built walls, people built tunnels. When we closed places, they went by the water. The history of humanity is the story of people migrating. Of course, that has to be regulated. But the idea that borders should close,' he said, 'for me, that’s not a discussion. As an artist, I try to bring back perspective. For this little kid, there are no walls and borders.' And though his artwork is not a direct response to the Trump administration, it has extra resonance this week as the White House moved to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation."

A post shared by JR (@jr) on Oct 9, 2017 at 3:43pm PDT


A post shared by JR (@jr) on Oct 8, 2017 at 11:18am PDT

A post shared by JR (@jr) on Oct 5, 2017 at 11:05am PDT

Ai WeiWei with the Public Art Fund developed the Good Fences Make Good Neighbors - a New York citywide exhibit of multiple executions from more massive structures in Washington Square Park and Central Park to street advertising banner takeovers. From "Ai Weiwei conceived this multi-site, multi-media exhibition for public spaces, monuments, buildings, transportation sites, and advertising platforms throughout New York City. Collectively, these elements comprise a passionate response to the global migration crisis and a reflection on the profound social and political impulse to divide people from each other. For Ai, these themes have deep roots. He experienced exile with his family as a child, life as an immigrant and art student in New York, and more recently, brutal repression as an artist and activist in China."
2. Women’s Rights and Equality
Women’s rights and equality immediately transformed from topic to unified movement following Hillary Clinton’s presidential election defeat, with a total of twenty women’s marches held across the United States. The Pussyhat™ Project, created by Jayna Zweiman and Krista Suh, was born and quickly made a simple knit cap a symbol of women’s rights. Their mission: "Provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard and provide people who cannot physically march on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and support women’s rights by creating and gifting Pussyhats™.” This simple accessory is forever transformed and now part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s permanent collection as well as the London Design Museum.
Fashion designers were not exempt from taking a stand on the issue. Prabal Gurung and Versace both had messages to share such as "Our Minds Our Bodies Our Power”, "We Will Not Be Silenced.”, "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like,” "Unified," "Courage," "Strength," and "Loyalty.” Missoni ended a show with models sporting pink pussy hats.

A post shared by Prabal Gurung (@prabalgurung) on Dec 31, 2017 at 12:41pm PST

A post shared by VERSACE (@versace_official) on Sep 11, 2017 at 10:45pm PDT

A post shared by Petra Winter (@madamewinter) on Feb 25, 2017 at 5:04am PST

But the conversation took a turn following the sexual harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein opened the floodgate of claims against prominent male figures and the abuse of power in the workplace. The #metoo hashtag was established and to date has been used over six million times. When the attention moved from entertainment to fashion, the modeling industry was the first to react. Model Cameron Russell made the most innovative stride by rethinking the purpose of a platform typically focused on selfies and visual expression. Ms. Russell's Instagram feed took on a new reason, turning into a sounding board to capture stories of abuses of power, she started a conversation, and many others joined in.
The art world was not far behind. A significant number of galleries focused on women artists. Some of the highlights:
AIDS is a topic that might have normalized, but the fact is that it continues to be an unresolved issue and recent reports indicate that medical solutions that showed promise in the mid-90’s may not be as effective as expected. A team of experts now warns that the global HIV pandemic continues and is at risk of expanding, given the worrisome global rise of HIV resistance to antiretroviral (ART) medications. President Trump's Oct. 26 declaration that the opioid crisis is a federal health emergency, without allocating additional dollars to address the issue, may ultimately result in a cut to spending on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatments, some experts fear. Today, The Washington Post reports that President Trump terminated the remaining HIV/AIDS advisory appointments. In the report adding “Activists claim that much of the progress in the global fight against AIDS was made in part because of the support from the Oval Office. Trump's approach leaves those concerned about the future of the disease with more questions than answers. And at worst, these questions appear to stoke fears that progress could be undone without the support of the White House.”
All of this makes the work of one Instagram feed even more poignant. The AIDS Memorial - #WhatIsRememberedLives - is a feed that highlights all the stories of loss and courage due to the disease.  We only know the name of the creator, Stuart who is from Scotland. From Hiskind: "So many of the stories I have received tell of those who succumbed to AIDS being scared that they would be forgotten. This makes me so sad. Everyone leaves behind a legacy after they die. Leaving behind a legacy is important even if you have died of AIDS. “What is Remembered Lives” is just a perfect caption. It evokes the comfort in knowing that once we are gone, we will not be erased from the memories of others. Every time I post, the memories or legacy will be remembered far and wide and in turn hopefully, influence the lives of others.” The feed has gained 38.1K followers and partnered with the CFDA for World AIDS Day. Stuart writes, "I have always been fascinated in the lives of those who have sadly succumbed to AIDS – not just by the famous names that have been covered extensively in the media, but also the unknown names cut down before they could ever reach their potential. The secrecy, the guilt, the shame, the bravery and tragedy that surrounds the AIDS epidemic, all this recent history with so many gone but forgotten…I wanted to instantly share the stories that I knew about but at the same time learn and uncover more about those whom I did not know about. Instagram seemed to me to be the perfect medium in which to achieve this mainly due to its accessibility and reach."

theaidsmemorial “In honor of my daughter's birth mother, Tadelech, who died of AIDS on March 25, 2005. Sadly, we only have this one picture of her, but in this one picture, we see so much of our beautiful daughter. Tadelech would be so amazed by her daughter. She's about to finish her sophomore year of high school and is incredibly kind, smart, funny, and as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Because of the advancement in HIV medication, our daughter is now undetectable and very healthy. She will live a very long life. I'm so sorry Tadelech didn't get to.” - by Steph Smieja

Juan died in 1989 almost exactly a year before Keith did. I attended the funeral. Then Keith and I were asked to attend the burial with the family and the reception at Juan's Mother's apartment in the Washington Carver Projects in East Harlem. It was the first time I noticed a Kaposi's sarcoma lesion on Keith's neck.
At Mrs Dubose's home she gave me three of Juan's Master tapes. I was moved to tears and played them until they snapped. Keith also had many of Juan's session and would play them in his Studio while he painted. Keith also was the one who paid for Juan's hospital bills and funeral.
Juan never did stop loving Keith and I know Keith felt guilty pushing away the one relationship with a man who was sensitive and truly loved him.
Keith died almost exactly a year later." - by Timothy L
ee Dean @timmydeanlee
#whatisrememberedlives #theaidsmemorial #aidsmemorial #neverforget #endaids
I can’t begin to explain how @theaidsmemorial has changed my life and my perspective. It is the best site I follow on instagram. Every day @theaidsmemorialallows me to see the faces and read the stories of men and women who were just like you and me, men and women who had their lives cruelly cut short. Maybe more people don’t follow it because they think it will be depressing. I certainly have cried reading it, but I have also been inspired and changed by the people whose names I’ve come to know. Ron Werner wrote of his first boyfriend, Wayne Emerson Black, “Gone. Dead. Forgotten in the invisible war, HIV/AIDS, that so many Americans at the time refused to see or acknowledge. He was here. He was important. He was incredible.” Wayne Was Here. They All Were Here. Help Remember Them. Every Day. Always.
2017 has been a year of reassessment of how the world communicates, and inspired creative communities to find a way to respond. Leaders from the worlds of art and fashion opened up to include broader topics that connect to the real world. Individuals are challenging the purpose of technology as a means of self-expression. While these were not born of the best circumstances, the results are inspiring, and we only hope to see more of this ingenuity in 2018.

Creative Inspiration: Richard Branson

“The most talented, thought-provoking, game-changing people are never normal.” - Sir Richard Branson

@RichardBranson is an English business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies. For his work in retail, music and transport, his taste for adventure, and for his humanitarian work, he became a prominent figure. In 2002, he was named in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

#creativeinspiration #words#richardbranson


(Un) Still Life by Mathieu Trautmann

Can a story be told with a minimalist still life photograph? Mathieu Trautmann proves this to be true. With his attention to composition combined with a modernist approach to realism, he achieves something new while still feeling familiar. Think of a modern day Johannes Vermeer or Simon Renard de Saint-André with Mr. Trautmann’s object configurations.
From his bio: "Obsessive with the image and its composition, Mathieu Trautmann has become a photographer to express a singular point of view. His sensitivity is affirmed through the light that brings to his work a softness. This identity values the subject by inscribing it in the heart of a neat world of refined elegance.”
With his client roster of Dior Perfums, Chanel, Givenchy, Shiseido, le Bon Marché, Perrier-Jouët Champagne his audience may be more familiar with his commercial work. Specific details make his work distinct: the product constructions are deceptively uncomplicated having very few elements in place. The light and shadows are more critical to the process. With soft lines and a well-curated palette, he brings a purity to the image, a painterly quality that is rare in a time where so much post-production manipulation is prevalent. "I draw my inspiration in painting, and as in painting, I use only one source of light (there is only one sun, right?). But all forms of poetry are important to me, and my photographs must convey them” says Mr. Trautmann.
With the completion of a show at Galerie Diane de Polignac & Chazournes last November, Mr. Trautmann releases his first book entitled “(Un) Still Life.” In his word: "This series of images is entitled (Un) Still Life, a wink to nature that I don't want to be frozen. It was born from the black and white pear that the luxury leather goods brand Faure Le Page noticed. This old brand publishes today a collection of books around seduction. They left me carte blanche to realize this series. Sensuality, eroticism, sometimes tragedy and even a certain violence, all this accompanied my approach with my constant obsession: giving life to the still life."
The images are deceptively quiet in their seduction and require a longer glance. Unlike most of his previous work, Mr. Trautmann limits the vision to one object, which pushes his eye to determine the proper framing of each shape to complete the story. With the limits in place, the objects move past a portrait to something that is full of life and pushes the provocative nature of what the viewer is allowed to imagine. But it is best to avoid explaining what they may conjure and leave this for the viewer to interpret.


Photo Layering

If there is one go-to technique that is currently popular with most art directors it is photo layering. By combining one image over another, photo textures are created. But in 2017 this reached a tipping point. Once a signature of Coach and Calvin, an execution adapted by Miu Miu in 2017 - with a slew of other brands and editorials adapting the technique, it has reached saturation.
Take a look at the examples below, and you will see what we mean.




Editorial Excellence: Straight Up Vogue Italia December 2017

Vogue Italia continues to celebrate every woman. Ashley Graham is featured in the editorial "Straight Up". While Ms. Graham has appeared in US Vogue, the edition has never given her an exclusive story or solo cover. She has been the cover of British Vogue, Canadian Elle twice, British Elle, Glamour, US Cosmopolitan, Mexico Cosmopolitan, British Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, to name a few. 

Maybe it takes a foreign fashion publication to lead the charge in the body diversity conversation.



Publication: Vogue Italia December 2017
Model: Ashley Graham
Photographer: Nathaniel Goldberg
Fashion Editor: George Cortina

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