Seeing as this year’s graduates are about to showcase their final collections and leave behind the comfort of university, we’ve caught up with the graduates of 2014. They discuss their experiences, achievements, hopes and losses since graduating with us.
Middlesex university – fashion communication and styling – www.shaunevelyn.co.uk – email@example.com
Part-time image-maker, part-time exotic dancer Middlesex University Fashion Communication and Styling graduate Shaun Evelyn has travelled far and wide since graduation (in particular Honduras), he’s also started his own magazine SICK, which explores drag and character creation.
Volt Café: Sum up what you do in one sentence
Shaun Evelyn: I’m an image-maker, a filmmaker and an exotic-dancer.
VC: Honduras is quite an unusual place, what drew you to volunteering there?
SE: Mostly I just wanted to get away from here, from everything. After graduation it felt like the right time to put everything behind me and take some time out to refuel and re-centre. So I volunteered with an amazing charity called Progressio, they do really important work in developing countries to empower poor and marginalized communities around the world. You can look them up at progressio.org.uk – they sent me to this really small, rural community in Honduras for three glorious months where I worked with local young people, had cold showers, climbed mountains, waded through rivers etc. It was heaven. I strongly recommend volunteering overseas, for me it was the most transformative, energizing experience ever.
VC: You’ve worked with set designer and illustrator Gary Card for quite some time now, what do you find inspiring about him?
SE: I’ve been a huge fan of Gary’s work forever, I harassed him on Twitter for years before I even met him so it was a dream to be able to work with him on some of his projects over the last few years. I think I’m drawn to him because we’re both influenced by fantasy, sci-fi, comic books etc. We both use colour in a lateral way, and we’re both multi disciplinary. Gary can do anything and make it amazing; he’s a legit multi-faceted designer. And also just the nicest, kindest, most thoughtful person you will ever meet in the industry.
VC: Your publication SICK examines contemporary drag and performance artists as well as club kids, what do you find so interesting about this underground culture/club scene?
SE: I met Baga Chips in 2012, and became completely obsessed with her. She has this amazing presence and strange beauty about her. And then I bumped into her out of drag and barely recognized her, that division within her fascinated me. And so Sick Magazine was really about exploring that vague area between the performance character and the behind-the-curtain human being, what happens when those worlds collide and how living that lifestyle could potentially affect the mind.
VC: What kind of music did you listen to when you were 15?
SE: A very gay mix of divas and show tunes. Lots of Tina Turner and Les Miserables.
VC: How did your Rainbow Apocalypso film collaboration with cabaret duo Bourgeois & Maurice come about?
SE: I worship Bourgeois & Maurice and had done for years before that project came about. I’d been in touch with George (Bourgeois) while the first issue of Sick was in development and so I dropped some pretty obvious hints on Twitter that I was keen to collab. We arranged a meeting and the rest is history. We had a world of fun shooting, they are freakin’ hilarious. I would photograph them all day every day if they’d let me… if only they’d remove the restraining order.
VC: You’ve contributed to issues of Clash Magazine, how did you come to work with them?
SE: I worked for super-stylist Matthew Josephs for a chunk of 2013. With him I was involved with shoots for Clash Magazine, Wonderland, Korean W. We worked on Meadham Kirchoff, Alex Mattson and Shaun Samson’s LCM presentations. Matthew is the absolute best at what he does, I learned a lot about styling from him- essentially that styling is not my gig and I just can’t concentrate around male models.
VC: Your work is very hyper-surreal, why do you work in this style?
SE: In all of my work I’m trying apply my expression to a subject matter. Whether the subject is drag queens or Angela Lansbury or a Sibling collection or whatever- my mind is always inclined to a little crazy, and so that comes through when I work.
VC: What parallels can you draw between typical perceptions of grotesqueness and beauty?
SE: I think both are just concepts that we base on our own visceral reactions and so both are deeply subjective. I know that many things I find beautiful are grotesque to others and in a way that is why I find them beautiful.
VC: What do you like most about being able to warp visual elements in an image, such as colour, texture and form?
SE: For me it’s about rendering something that has already established its own visual purpose into something entirely new. By breaking down those visual elements, deforming them and putting it all back together in an original way- to create something with an inverted meaning.
VC: Avocados are addictive, are they your favourite food?
SE: Yes! I have recently taken a vow of celibacy. So basically, whenever I feel those ungodly urges I just pop an avocado in my mouth and hope for the best. It is so satisfying.
VC: If you had to pick one designer to wear for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
SE: Yves Saint Laurent bridal couture because, yes.
Words by Annie Lunnon & Danielle Westwood
TagsAnnie Lunnon, Clash Magazine, Colour, Danielle Westwood, Form, Graduation, Middlesex Univesity, Progressio, Shaun Evelyn, SICK, Styling, Texture,