January - March 2022.JPG

JANUARY - MARCH 2022

 
 

GOKCE YIGITCAN

This is Gökçe, a digital illustrator inspired by emotions and moments, aiming to make the voices of nature and women heard for a more livable world.

My illustrative style seeks to be the voice of women, nature, and emotions to raise awareness. Far from being perfect, we are just simple beings with all flaws and imperfections, we are Justhings.

 
 

INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE BENYON

with Devon Harvey

 

What motivated you to first go into film? 


From an early age I’ve always been interested in cinema. I was obsessed with Steven Spielberg’s E.T. growing up; Star Wars; Back to the Future, Indiana Jones - you name it - I loved all of those classic films. They excited me in ways that always put the biggest smile on my face. I loved that you could walk into a cinema and be transported into a different world or galaxy. I was also bullied a lot growing up, so escaping into the world of Star Wars for example made my anxieties disappear very quickly. Cinema became my home. It wasn’t until I was about 11 or 12 when I really started to understand the role of the director. I was watching a lot of the behind-the-scene features on my favourite DVDs and quickly realised that being a film director is job that anyone could do. You didn’t need a special talent just passion and a love for cinema - which I had tonnes of. I knew I wanted to excite and move people in the same ways these other films did, so I decided then and there to make the crazy decision to pursue a career as a filmmaker. 


Did you always know you wanted to take on an directors/producing role? 


Always. I’ve always been fascinated by actors, and the relationship they have with directors. I think actors are the greatest special effect any filmmaker can have. They’re the life and soul of the film, so I get immense joy helping them emerge into a character so they’re able to give a great performance. It’s all about building a friendship through honesty and trust, and you can only get that through the directing role. It’s very special. It makes the intensity of a shoot more bearable as everyone bands together and becomes a little family. I also knew I wanted to direct because I was quickly becoming obsessed with how the camera could move. Nothing excites me more than creating a scene that plays out in one shot or as little shots as possible. Cinema is different from other mediums like photography and theatre because the camera can move. There’s a rush that you get as filmmaker whenever you nail a complicated shot. It’s very addictive. I’m forever chasing that high. 


What inspires your directing style? 


I’m too early in my career to say I have a particular style. But I do try to direct in a way that best suits the story and the characters. That said, I do love economy when it comes to filmmaking. Nowadays with everything being digital, we have the ability to shoot as much as we want and just delete it if we don’t like it. It’s great. It does suit certain filmmakers. However, I like being disciplined. I like knowing that when I walk onto set I’ve thought about the shots, the staging, the performances - I like to be prepared and confident in my decisions. The filmmakers that excite me the most are artists that understand that less is more because there’s power in simplicity. 


What’s next for you? What’s your next big project/goal? 


My goal for 2022 is to direct as much as possible: music videos, short or feature films, branded content, commercials - all of it. I love being creative and making films or videos. I’m my most happiest when I’m on set. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. So, I’m really trying to get myself into a routine where I’m always making something. 


Do you have any advice for anyone looking for get into film? 


My biggest advice to anyone looking to get into film is don’t be scared. Pursue what you love. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into one department - be a jack of all trades. Learn acting. Cut as an editor. Direct or learn how to light. Be passionate. Be kind. Be fearless. Remember, filmmaking is the greatest art in the world but we’re not saving lives, we’re making a film. Leave egos at the door. Be open. Be collaborative. But most of all… Don’t be dick. * And finally, tricky question, what is your favourite movie and who is your favourite director? Easy question. My joint top favourite films of all time are E.T. and Punch Drunk Love. Both are beautiful, exciting and moving films that I think everyone needs to watch and rewatch time and time again. My favourite director is Paul Thomas Anderson. For me, he is the GOAT. I’m in constant awe whenever he makes something. I also absolutely love Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Lynne Ramsey, Barry Jenkins, Chris Nolan, Spielberg, Friedkin - everyone. I love cinema. And I love that it comes in all shapes and sizes.

 
 

HERLINDE DEMAEREL

freelance illustrator & creative

www.herlindedemaerel.com

@herlinde.demaerel

 
 
B&W.png

THOUGHTS ON…. WORDLE

By Renée Lewis

It was around three weeks after I first saw a strange collection of differently coloured squares arranged in various columns and rows being posted on Facebook and Twitter that “Wordle” became a familiar word to me. And that in itself, I later found, was almost four months after software engineer (and Royal Holloway alumnus) Josh Wardle made his creation public to the world.

For those unacquainted with the premise of Wordle, the word game centres around correctly guessing a five-letter word. The chosen word changes every day and players have six attempts to guess what it is. With each word entered, players are shown which letters are not present in the word of the day (in grey), which are in the correct place (green), and which are in the word but in the wrong place (in yellow). I like to think of it as Hangman with a twist.


According to NY Times, Wardle – born in Wales but now a resident of Brooklyn – created the game in October 2021 for his partner Palak Shah, who loves word games and was already an avid player of NY Times’s daily crossword and Spelling Bee puzzles. She was instrumental in the development of Wordle, the title being a play on Wardle’s surname, by choosing 2,500 commonly known five-letter words out of an initial list of over 12,000. The game was shared with and thoroughly enjoyed by Wardle’s family on their WhatsApp group before being publicly released. In January 2022, Wordle had drawn in over 300,000 players, was bought by the NY Times Company for an undisclosed sum and moved to their website the following month.


As someone who used to religiously play Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training on Nintendo DS back in the day, I realised the first time I played Wordle that it would be right up my street – even though I did fail that first game and staring at those 30 blank boxes sometimes makes me forget every five-letter English word I know. What I find the most interesting about it is how the puzzles are released once a day. In this fast-paced digital world where we now have next-day delivery and episodes of Netflix shows are often released in one go, Wordle makes it impossible for players to spend hours and hours on their chosen device playing the game and instead leaves you wanting more. It effectively keeps people, including me, coming back each day to guess the next word.


Sometimes the game is easy and I’m able to breeze through it in three tries, whilst other times I can’t even seem to get the words after doing my own laborious process of elimination and literally resorting to making up words just to see which letters were in the correct place. Of course, guessing the correct word is incredibly rewarding, but I found it hilarious when I got to the end of my six tries and realised that I had forgotten that the words “ultra” and “aroma” existed. It’s also been an opportunity for me to learn new words, like “caulk” and “swill”, which I’d never even heard of before playing Wordle, and my mum and I now battle each other to guess the correct word in the least amount of tries. All in all, it’s great fun and a great way to exercise your brain.

 

 OLGA MASEVICH

Olga is a Chicago based freelance illustrator. Her aesthetic is minimalist and playful, with limited color palettes. She gravitates toward exaggerated shapes and proportions. Olga's artwork is female inspired and centric.  She works digitally in Procreate and enjoys the newfound liberty of the medium. 

Olga is half Korean, was born in Russia and lived and worked in London, Paris and New York before settling in Chicago where she is now based with her family. She is also a professionally trained chef, entrepreneur, avid reader, hobbyist photographer, caregiving advocate and a former corporate strategist.


Instagram: @o.m.doodles

Website: www.olgamasevich.com

 
 
B&W.png

ROLL

By Loupe Cooper

@8loupe8

Spreading greaseproof paper along the kitchen counter
I note how often I go into things headlong and unprepared
I steady the roll with a light touch of my hand
And go in search of scissors
Scissors found, I start to cut
But my thoughts still rove, so the roll escapes
It falls and races
Stretching its length across the kitchen floor
And a wry smile across my face
Later, still wry and reflective, I write:
If you know the inescapable shape of yourself 
You have half a chance of working with it
I feel my own roundness
And know, that on a round planet, round things will roll

 

YI QING GAN

mindfulness and boundaries

E: hi@yiqinggan.co
W: yiqinggan.co 

I: @yiqinggan

 
 
ashim-d-silva-P8gLaJ-PZL0-unsplash.jpg

BOOK REVIEW BY KATHY BALDOCK

The Appeal - Janice Hallett

‘Dear Reader,

Enclosed are documents relating to the events surrounding the Fairway Players' staging of All My Sons, and the tragic death of one of its members. Another member is currently in prison for the crime. We have reason to suspect that they are innocent, and that there were far darker secrets that have yet to be revealed.

We believe that the killer has given themselves away. It's there in writing, hidden in the emails, texts, and letters. In the events surrounding the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick, and the question of whether that money was truly being used to fund her life-saving cancer treatment. Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth? Do you dare?’


This book is so hard to describe but let me tell you this book is addictive!!! Hallett’s use of emails and text messaging to get a story across is a genius idea. This did mean that I devoured this book in such a short space of time. 


I am not going to go into the details of the book for fear of spoiling it for you all. What I will say is this…. The format of the book won’t be for everyone. Having said that if you get passed that I can almost guarantee that playing detective will be the most fun. I can really see this being used as a book club book and will invoke some great discussions and lots of different opinions! 


For me the twist at the end I did not see coming and from someone who reads as much as I do that’s not an easy thing to do. I also got enjoyment in trying to understand who dies and the reasons why, but also who could have done it. 


Don’t skip the details, everything could be a clue, do you know who was involved? 

 

MEG HARRIET

My name is Meg and I am a Devon based pattern designer and illustrator. I graduated from Plymouth University studying in Illustration and since then I have found my love for creating and making pattern designs. I enjoy creating images inspired by nature; from the the wonders of the night sky to some fun and adorable animal characters. I have also been finding new skills to develop and currently adore making hand punched mini rugs which I learnt during the first lockdown. When creating artwork my main goal is to have fun and to make people smile. 


Website - Megharriet.com

Etsy - megharrietshop

Instagram - @megharriet

 
 

INTERVIEW WITH LYDIA GREAVES

@lydiaellendesign

by Devon Harvey

 

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?

When I was little (my husband would argue that I still am) my big brother & I would go over to our nana & grandad’s house each Friday after school. My nana is an incredible artist who would have a new project or medium ready for us to work on together each week. Whilst grandad supplied us with biscuits & hot chocolate, we would experiment with all sorts & this instilled in me a joy for creating. Ever since then I knew art would always be part of my life but only in the last few years did the possibility of actually making it my job go from dream to reality.

 

What inspires your aesthetic? What is your muse?

My muse is different each & every day, I’d say that nature inspires me visually, but a lot of my drawings begin from a specific feeling or emotion that I can’t quite put into words and long to encapsulate somehow. When people look at my work, my wish is that they can feel that same way. If it was a warm, cosy feeling that inspired me to pick up a pencil that day I hope that emotion conveys itself through the illustration to whoever stumbles upon it.

 

We love that you document your illustration process - why did you decide to share this with your following? 

Thank you! This totally began by accident, I love watching the videos back because they can be so satisfying & I often learn through reviewing that process. I then started sharing them from time to time if they were especially fun to watch & now it just feels weird if I post a new illustration without it! I have a lot of friends following along my Instagram who are totally just there for the videos & to watch an image be built from blank canvas to final piece & that makes me happy!

 

Finally, do you have a favourite illustration and if so, what makes it your favourite? 

This is hard I feel like all artists fluctuate all the time with how they feel about their own work & to be honest I draw so much that I’m not sure which is my favourite but a recent illustration that I am absolutely so proud of is my daisy that reads ‘seeking help is badass’. Not only do I find it visually satisfying, this message is loud in my heart at the moment & I really believe this shame around seeking help needs to be eradicated as quick as possible to prevent so much more pain. From asking someone to help you with your suitcase on the underground to calling the doctor about an ongoing mental illness, we all need support and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

SAM BRUCE

Sam Bruce is a London based Writer and Illustrator, who’s recently featured in cosmopolitan uk ‘.. poets to follow on Instagram right now’. You’ll come across poetry, specialty coffee, aesthetically pleasing illustrations and the importance of inclusive language. Don’t want to get bored? Follow Sam (aka @aqueerpoet).

 
 

5 FILMS & SERIES TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2022

By Harry Membrey
@anygoodblog

 

The UK film industry has bounced back from what have been a number of particularly uncertain years. But thanks to studio investment all over the UK, film and high-end TV spend is now worth £1.27 billion more than pre-pandemic levels. The future for both big and small screens is looking very bright. 


From The Batman to The Crown, from Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to Thor: Love and Thunder; it’s safe to say that 2022 will be home to a whole host of jaw-dropping films and televisual adventures.


But let’s shine a spotlight on a few projects hoping to pop up in 2022 that you might not know about just yet, and are very much worth our undivided attention…


Conversations with Friends - BBC Three - May (tbc)

BBC Three is back on our TV screens once more, and with good reason. It’s been a flagship for some of the BBC’s most compelling content for years. Perhaps none more so than 2020’s Normal People. In 2022, Sally Rooney is having another book adaptation released to the small screen with a 12-part limited series following a 21-year old Irish college student, juggling her university degree with complicated romances and tepid class dynamics.

Pistol - Disney+ - May (tbc)

This six-part series Danny Boyle-helmed tells the story of the Sex Pistols’ infamous rise to notoriety in the ‘70s. Why will it be any good? Well, apart from the fact that I’ll make my small screen debut as a rowdy extra, it’ll be Boyle’s foray into television. Starring a number of up-and-coming British acting talent, it also sees some familiar faces in the guise of Maisie Williams, Tallulah Riley and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.


Elvis - Cinemas - 24th June

What’s interesting about Elvis isn’t necessarily Tom Hanks’ ropey Dutch accent, but Austen Butler’s role as Elvis Presley. Following his stand-out part in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, he’s set to star in the upcoming Band of Brothers sequel series this year too and looks to be a big on-screen presence in 2022. Another biopic, of course, it tells the story of Elvis Presley’s rise to being the ‘King of Rock and Roll’.


Killers of the Flower Moon - Cinemas - November (tbc)

Martin Scorcese has finally made a film starring both Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, with an in-from Jesse Plemons thrown in for good measure. It’s based on the titular novel surrounding mysterious serial murders in an oil-rich 1920s Oklahoma, now known as the ‘Reign of Terror’. Finally working with his two greatest acting muses, this one could well be an Oscars 2023 frontrunner.


Great Expectations - BBC One - Christmas (tbc)

Charles Dickens’ classic tale has been adapted for the small screen more times than you can count. Created by Peaky Blinders showrunner Steven Knight, it’ll feature none other than Peep Show star and Oscar winner Olivia Coleman as the dilapidated Miss Havisham. It’s the second Charles Dickens adaptation he’s helmed and likely won’t be the last. Expect to see some of his favourites like Tom Hardy or Stephen Graham starring alongside.

 

JANE KUSUMA

My name is Jane Kusuma, the woman behind Jovietajane Creative Studio. I am a female SE Asian (Indonesian) Illustrator/Designer/Letterer hybrid currently residing in Seattle, Washington. 

A little bit about me: I am a permanent resident in the US living with my westie pup Jasper and my partner. I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at a young age, landed in Dallas, TX for art college and eventually Seattle. I’ve worked with mostly toy companies (Hasbro, Mattel, and The Pokémon Company International)  as a designer for over a decade. I stepped out of working for a company full time to run my own small design/illustration studio in late 2019. I also run a small online shop full of handmade and printed goods. The joys I am currently pursuing is to create art pieces, printed goods, stationery that resonates with people and hopefully brings joy into their lives. My work is colorful and bright. I mostly draw dogs, mental health related pieces, females and intricate patterns.

Social Media:

IG: @jovietajanecreative.studio

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jovietajaneface

Website+Shop: https://www.jovietajanecreative.studio/

 
 

INTERVIEW WITH TANYA KORNIICHUK

by Devon Harvey

 

What motivates to pursue a career as an illustrator?

When I was starting with illustrations, it was just a hobby of mine. I'm sure that my main motivation is to enjoy the process: from the first step, coming up with ideas, to the last - applying textures. When I forget about the time. I can't even call creating an illustration my job, I am just doing what I like.

 

What is the inspiration behind your style?

I hardly have any special inspiration for creating my work, I just use desire and work at it. It takes a lot of effort to make an illustration into its final form. Even the emergence of an idea is a process, I go through options, think it over, sketch it out.

 

Do you have a favourite piece to date?

If this question applies to my art - it's the most recent illustration. With each new work, I see that it is better than the previous one. I see progress, and this is not only in the visual representation but also in the playfulness of the idea.

 

What is your favourite type of commission to do?

Right now, I am using only one type of commission - partnership with my customer. But maybe in the near future, I will expand this area.

 

EMMA SCHMID

I am Emma Schmid Illustrator, back to Barcelona, where I am originally from, after years collecting experiences abroad, Panama, Hamburg and finally NY.


An important sense of esthetics and strong palette give my illustrations a personal appeal.


Fun and colorful, illustrations with a contemporary style that raises your mood and brings you a smile! My work is an instant happy maker!

Lifestyle, narrative illustration and picture books.

My work have been worldwide commissioned.

Contact me here for commission or just to say Hi! 

emmaschmid@me.com

Check my work here:

@emma.schmid.illustration

http://emmaschmid-book.WebStarts.com

 
 
B&W.png

EATING IN JAPAN

By Angela Zaher

Whenever I go on holiday with my family, our trips tend to have the characteristics of food pilgrimages; we look to get the sense of the place by the taste of the place.  In the summer of 2016, we went to Japan.  There, we found our gastronomical nirvana. 


Shortly after arriving in Tokyo, we headed to the fresh fish market.  It was lunchtime and we opted to eat in one of the small cafés that surround the market on the only table that was unoccupied.  The hubbub of the place was very promising.  No menus, but we were able to go up to the counter and point to the variety of sushi and sashimi that we wanted to try.  It was then that my younger son spotted his first onigiri.  This is the triangular shaped snack which is wrapped in nori and consists of white rice around a fish filling. It may be ubiquitous in London now given the proliferation of Japanese food chains but back then, this particular seven year old had never seen one.  By gesturing, he asked what it was and the answer was “tuna mayo”; his favourite sandwich filling.  This combination of the familiar and unfamiliar appealed to him.  He sat down to eat it and went back for two more. He has since learnt to make them at home so that they are always close to hand. 


On the following day, we took the subway to a small neighbourhood of Tokyo to visit the origami museum.  We had only intended to have a look around in order to appease our nine year old origami enthusiastic son. However, we saw that there was a workshop on and so enrolled him.  Silence fell in the room as he stepped in and clambered onto a stool. It was a class for senior citizens. The teacher walked over to him with an origami crane and a piece of origami paper and placed it infront of him. My son set to work quickly and proficiently and duly produced a crane. At the thumbs up from the teacher, the class resumed their chatter.  When we came in to collect him, there was a gaggle of Japanese grandmothers surrounding his table working with him as a team to make some complicated and exquisite structures.  


Our search for lunch in this quiet suburban street did not take long.  We stepped into a restaurant through an unassuming doorway and were met with a wall of sound.  The place was teeming with people noisily slurping ramen and udon soups. A loud and uplifting call of “Irasshaimase!” welcomed us in.  No one spoke English and there were no pictures on the menus.  We pointed to a few different bowls that the diners next to us were eating and were promptly served the steaming hot soups which were so comforting in their simplicity and wholesome flavours. We were very happy customers but untidy eaters. Fortunately, no one seemed to mind. 


After Tokyo, we took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Osaka which is reputed to be the best city in Japan for foodies. Its motto is kuidadore which translates as “eat till you drop”. Our dinners there consisted of food crawls up and down the main streets stopping every few minutes to pick up another treat to eat from a kiosk or sitting down at counters to wait for our food. The two main dishes Osaka is famous for are okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake) and takoyaki (octopus balls). With hindsight,  if we kept the English translation of the latter to ourselves, our boys may have been tempted to try them out but on being asked if they wanted deep fried octopus balls, there was an unambiguous “no” in reply.


Having had our fill of Osaka’s culinary delights, we boarded the train once again to the magical city of Kyoto. Kyoto boasts the sort of scenery that someone who has never been to Japan might conjure up in their mind's eye. Narrow cobbled alleyways with lanterns hanging outside the front windows of shops or restaurants and geishas walking around in pairs, arm in arm, looking impeccably groomed whilst their getas(wooden sandals) loudly clattered on the paving stones. 


We stayed in a traditional ryokan. Our large room was empty of furniture except for tatami mats covering the floor and a voluminous built-in wardrobe along one wall. As dinner time approached, the host who had earlier shown us to our room returned, opened the wardrobe and brought out a low lying square table.  From then on, our eyes were glued to that wardrobe to see what other marvels were to be pulled out of it.  She then instructed us to bathe and put on our yukatas (kimono style cotton robes). Cleansed and snuggly wrapped, we knelt down on our cushions as the traditional multi course dinner, known as kaiseki, was served. The table was soon replete with small multi-coloured dishes that looked like individual works of art. We didn’t love them all, but still marvelled at the care and delicacy with which they were prepared.  As we finished, we looked at each other and realised that we had fallen in love, deeply and irrevocably, with Japanese culture and cuisine. 


Confined to our home during lockdowns over the past couple of years has made us relive many past trips. But it is the holiday in Japan that has left the most lasting impression. Their reverence of food struck a chord with us. B