Tuesday, March 27, 2018

meet Reed Evins ... YES of the shoe Evins'


In today’s world of fashion there are so few who can rightfully be deemed or described as multi-talented. Reed Evins, although no longer utilizing fashion as his primary means of expression,  remains one of those who I can honestly say is/was a designer who designed meaning he did it all. Reed was not one of those “pointers”, as I call them, who expected everyone else to do his bidding, he did it himself since in fact he was more than well equipped to do so.
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Today he has turned his attention to a sort of literally more artistic method of using one of his many abilities that he retains in his skillset. I called it “art for the masses:” which means affordable art that appeals to a more general public and more recently he has taken up custom pet portraits by means of collage. As most anyone will tell you, pet owners are prone to love their animals as if they are indeed their blood offspring, Reed now gives them the opportunity to capture these pampered members of the family in a sort of moment frozen in time; actually rather ingenious when you think of it.
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At any rate, I have known Reed or known of him for decades as we frequented many of the same notorious dance clubs and events that we boomers of New York City did starting in the 70s.  I am always mindful and thankful to the internet for the opportunity to be reunited with so many who lived through some of the best times in NYC as well as survived some of the worst times that ensued.

So now you get Reed Evins in his own words…..
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you please give us a brief rundown and how you arrived at this point in your career?

 Reed Evins: I graduated from Rhode Island School Of Design. Having always painted and drawn, I opted for the most obvious career ambition which was to follow my destiny in becoming a shoe designer. As a shoe designer, I always sketched my own designs and followed in the footsteps of my illustrious bloodlines by training at Rayne in London and eventually starting my own shoe  company, “Two City Kids” with my sister Melissa as my partner.
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 Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, Reed. I first met Reed on East 58th St ...we were new neighbors.....he was wearing FIVE cashmere berets...all different colors...all staggered so that he looked like rainbow caterpillar....brilliant boy…. Michael Vollbracht:  designer, artist, friend
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JF: Let’s speak of present tense... how did you get involved in this sort of “art for the masses” arena and why?

RE: I have always been intrigued by Warhol’s concept of “Art for the Masses.” Warhol’s first job in Manhattan was illustrating David Evins shoes and as if by some odd quirk of fate, twenty years later Andy would choose me to be his first INTERMAN  for INTERVIEW magazine which was the “it” publication of the era.
Affordable art for everyone was always a dream of mine and it has taken a somewhat circuitous path for me to arrive at this “destination.”
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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?

RE: Dinner for 5 would include the greatest Collection of shoemakers in history:
My uncle, the world famous and legendary David Evins. Sir Edward Rayne shoe maker by appointment to the Queen and the Queen Mother, Royal Shoemaker. Roger Vivier while he was designing in the  Dior years,  Charles Jourdan who was one of the great French shoe designers who catapulted to fame in the 70s and lastly Andre Perugia, the great Italian shoemaker who was probably the greatest shoemaker of them all.


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We still laugh about this today: Dawn Mello had just offered Reed a hat boutique at Bergdorfs. Michael Vollbracht called and asked if he could stop by. “I need a hat!” and arrived within 5 minutes accompanied by a very petite woman. Michael starts with “I made this coat for Elizabeth to wear to the inauguration, and your violet mink hat would be perfect; it matches her eyes "... the petite lady sitting on the edge of Reed’s bed was Elizabeth Taylor! Mom called in the midst of all this and when Reed told her who was here she simply said “oh your such a comedian call me later.” In the end Reed made a magnificent violet "Russian style" mink hat with tassels. The hat and its wearer were widely photographed resulting in Bergdorf’s getting over 200 requests for the hat. Reed had finally "arrived” as the “it” milliner. Melissa Evins: sister, co-designer, confidante
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JF: Did you or do have any style icons or mentors from the past or present that influence your mindset and why?

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 RE: Annette Evins (mom) , when your husband makes all the shoes for Galanos, Norell, Blass, Beene and Herm├Ęs. She was surrounded by only “the best” and they all wanted to know her opinion on everything.
Marilyn Evins (aunt)  who was on the Best -Dressed list for 45 years, Hall of Fame. As a PR giant, she was responsible for bringing Valentino and Lacroix to the US. She was also responsible for putting every “First Lady” from Eisenhower to Clinton in Evins shoes 

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JF: Lastly since you are from one of the great bloodlines of the shoe business, do you miss it? Would you ever return to it? And what was the one big lesson you learned from your uncle (David Evins) who was indeed shoe royalty?

 The Evins mantra: “it’s not what you put on a shoe that makes it chic, it’s what you leave off.”
I have never stopped designing shoes, just stopped manufacturing my own shoes. Now I design for others, without the responsibility and headaches of making and shipping orders.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

meet Robin Broadbent... the common becomes uncommon

read the story here at THE KINSKY...  www.thekinsky.com/conversations/meeting-robin-broadbent-and-his-photographic-works/

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As I have previously stated countless times, the internet is just this phenomenon that has literally changed my life. Meeting Robin Broadbent took a far more circuitous route than most due to how exactly we found each other.  Before I ever knew of him by name, I was in love with his work; it positively fascinated me, it intrigued me and it was somewhat reminiscent of Penn’s still life work as well as that of Mocafico. 
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With that said, his latest book (The Photographic Work of Robin Broadbent) arrived at my door for reviewing purposes for The New York Journal of Books (www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/robin-broadbent) and then suddenly I was enamored with the man and his oeuvre. Before even reading the book I did some “googling” and the more I read, the more I saw, the deeper I was drawn into his sway. He unique vision has been utilized and recognized by some of the most notable and prestigious international brands such as Cartier, Bottega Veneta, Rolex, Prada and Dior Haute Joallier… and that’s just a sampling of his commercial side. 
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His fascination with what we might see as everyday objects/sights is something that transforms the common into the extremely uncommon by turning them into works of art; it is a sort of hyper-realism or reality on steroids. It’s enormously gratifying to me that we have a friendship these days and even more so that I am able to comprehend his mindset! Personally I am a fan of more is better and yet Robin’s Spartan “M.O.” of less is more is overwhelming in its content while his skill and his vision are without equal.
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Unquestionably I urge you to research for yourself and to venture into this man’s world and see how he just does what he does. He is a stand-alone artist especially in these days of me too advertising when most ads are interchangeable and me too fashion photography when anyone who has ever held a camera thinks they are a photographer….  Unequivocally I can say THEY ARE NOT and Robin Broadbent shows us why!
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you offer a bit of background as to how you “arrived” at your present state professionally?
Robin Broadbent: Through a lot of hard work, thinking and passion!
My plan was to become a doctor and ideally a surgeon. Sadly, that didn’t happen but I discovered a love of photography in a very amateur way. I was given a camera as a gift for my 18th birthday. I studied no fine art, painting or drawing while at school but headed off to a local art school on the whim of wanting to be a photographer. I had no idea what I was doing but I thought photography could be a good choice for me. I was inspired and intrigued by the still life advertising especially by some cigarette campaigns for Benson and Hedges and Silk Cut in the UK; they were surreal and had strong graphic forms. While they didn’t make me want to smoke but with a photographer’s eye they seemed intriguing and of great interest …. again … I had no idea what I was doing but as luck would have it I got my first  job working/assisting  an American photographer , Robert Golden,  who was a primo still life/studio photographer.
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After leaving art school, I had learned to take pictures in a studio but I had little knowledge of art or painting or the history of photography; the school seemed to be more concerned about how a photographer could make a living, as opposed to the rich history of art and photography. Robert Golden was fantastic, he felt his role was to be a mentor and encouraged me to learn and advance in the world of photography. Obviously his plan worked because I had huge respect for him and that pressed me to work incredibly hard under his watchful eye.  He introduced me to painters, art, and photographers. With a combination of his in-depth critiques and his encouragement I learned huge amounts about how to see, how to light, and how to make images. Obviously by this time I had begun my journey to where I am today. 
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After my “assistanceship”/apprenticeship was over, his mentoring and support continued as I evolved with my own studio doing still life photography. I worked in London for approximately ten years where I was shooting some major campaigns and magazine work while constantly evolving and learning with a more matured eye. I realized I was leaning more and more towards abstraction; shapes and forms as much as possible where you get a sense of volume and structure in the objects. Lighting and understanding how light and the quality of light could create and define objects in a picture also became a major focus for me.
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By 1999, I was feeling frustrated with the still life world in London and was truly questioning my future as a photographer. I desperately wanted to carry on shooting with an 8x10 camera in a studio and to be given time to light and sculpt objects/products. Also the US has a history of  great photography  and photographers from the 1920's (something I became passionate about when Robert Golden introduced me to the early American photographers). At this stage, I had been following the work and art direction of Fabien Baron in the U.S. I particularly enjoyed the still life/beauty stories shot by Raymond Meier in Harpers Bazaar. . At that time, W magazine was also very inspiring. And of course one couldn’t ignore the amazing Clinique ads being shot by Irving Penn. Penn was also shooting every month for American Vogue and producing incredible images.
Once I was able to mesh all of the above, I knew that I wanted to explore the possibility of shooting fashion accessories as well as beauty products in as much as they became my building blocks and shapes that I could play with and arrange in abstract forms. They also tended to be made from interesting materials and surfaces, all of which were exciting to light and play with. Armed with these new insights I came to New York to explore and meet people and by the end of 1999, armed with an agent and all the necessary paperwork in order, I became a New Yorker. Since residing here, I’ve continued to obsess over lighting, detail and composition trying to move forward in the way I see image making. I’ve always and continue to do a lot of editorial work for mostly European-based magazines who provide the opportunity to be much freer in the creative process. I’ve always done a lot of black and white work, including two books published in the UK just before I left. With printing and working in black and white, I have learned so much about how one sees the picture including such things as contrast and density and cropping. I also still shoot regularly in black and white for my own personal projects and still entirely on film. 
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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?

RB: David Bowie: simply the most inspiring man in my artistic life plus he seemed like a good guy, and a good conversationalist.  

Lazlo Maholy-Nagy: the Bauhaus was always the beginning of my inspiration as a photographer. His photography forced people to see things/photography in a different way  


Robert Motherwell: Definitely a favorite painter from my favorite era. If I could travel in time, I would go back to Soho and hang out with all the abstract expressionists and artists of that era. If I had the talent, I would love to be a painter.

Brigitte Bardot: She was an inspiring actress working in France doing interesting films with great directors plus she seems to have a lot of personality…plus she looks good!

Vivienne Westwood: She and her fashion defined a groundbreaking era in London and the world. Again, as I missed the sixties/seventies in with the artists of that time, the punk era is when fashion and everything changed in London, it is another time I would have liked to have been present and have experienced.


Other thoughts – In choosing individuals, would they all get along with each other?! I could also invite Donald Judd, Keith Richards and Sofia Coppola.
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 JF: Let’s talk about the book, The Photographic Work of Robin Broadbent. Can you tell us what prompted you to do it and what would you say was the most gratifying part and what was the most challenging part of taking on this project

RB: This is my third book; the first two, as I mentioned, were done back in 1999/2000. They were both black and white booksMinus Sixteen and Marmalade. They were strong in contrast and abstract architectural forms.



In this new book, I wanted to do a larger color book.  As said previously, I enjoy line, form and abstraction with the intention of continuously reducing what is in the image. This is very much the kind of work I’ve been shooting editorially in my recent years in New York. It also contains some test editorial ideas which were never published. Books are my real passion; I enjoy the pagination, the not knowing what is coming next, how the sequel works and the surprise of turning to the next page.

I was very lucky in being able to work with Doug Lloyd as a designer on this project; a great designer who was familiar with my thoughts and aesthetics. 
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The most challenging part was producing a final edit to work and the decision process of what makes the cut and what doesn’t. For me the overall look and feel and weight of a book is very important. This is something I worked very hard to achieve with different coatings, different paper and dust jackets. For me, it was important that the reader didn’t get bored while turning the pages; each image had to look fresher and more exciting than the previous image. 
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The most satisfying part is that a year after being on press printing it, I still like the book and it achieved my original objective. Obviously there are things I would change about it in hindsight, but I’m still pretty happy about it. 
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JF: If you could choose any collaborator or collaboration, who or what would it be and why? Also print or internet ... which and why?

RB: Alexander McQueen, fashion designer; Lee was truly original and exciting as a designer. All of the accessories (Shaune Leanne) he made were sculptural, exciting, interesting and beautiful. It would’ve been a true pleasure to work alongside McQueen as a photographer trying to define and photograph accessories with his viewpoint about how to photograph them as he enjoyed shape, form, material and texture…. All of which excite me!

John Pawson, architect: I have a love of the simple, minimal approach to materials, shape and for; in fact the less the better for me. It would be great to so a study of form and shape based around his materials and architecture. No one does it better than Pawson and he’s a keen photographer who also understands the skill.

All would be in print; I like real objects and be able to pick up something and hold it as a real piece…. In short tangible objects!
 


 Wren London … one man show "Reduction, Reduction-Photographs by Robin Boradbent"

Press Preview:  2nd May, 6PM - 9PM // Invite only enquiries@wren.london
Wren London, 39 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RE