Creative Showcase: The unconventional Darling
Darling is a newly launched production house with an approach as unconventional as its name. Headed up by Lorraine Smit and Melina McDonald, it is currently comprised of seven directors who were selected for their versatile set of creative skills that go over and above directing – including photography, art, music and design. From the get-go, they’ve done things differently. Their directors are young, multi-faceted, clever and there’s no room for ego. In short, they’re all proper darlings.
Conceptual design duo Jana + Koos were the perfectly unusual fit to do the branding for Darling. “The really good thing about Lorraine and Melina is that they don’t only say they do, but really have an alternative approach. They’ve built this production house around the directors and the fact that they all have different and divergent talents,” Koos tells us.
“Our brief was to develop a visual identity that reflected this spirit, included all the different personalities and that wouldn’t be limited to a certain type of output. Our solution was to create a visual identity that functions as a tone, and as a way of talking, rather than a standalone logo. The word ‘darling’ always appears in sentences and statements, reflecting the character of Darling. In keeping with the spirit we all decided the best way to gather imagery for the identity was to send Ross Garrett on a roadtrip to Darling (in the Western Cape) to capture young love.”
An ardent supporter of local illustrators, Wolves in Illovo regularly exhibits the work of fine, young illustrators coming up through the ranks, often being the hosts of their first solo shows. A favourite of theirs, whose work we share an affinity for, is Johannesburg-based illustrator and designer Amber Smith. Moving on from her nostalgia-laced drawings of collections of wrist watches, retro PEZ dispensers, ceramic animals and old coins, her latest work looks forward to space travel and the realms of the unknown. However, as ever, relics from the past are a big influence on this series and include vintage Bowie, Dr Who and the 80s Back to the Future which Amber has borrowed as the title of her show.
Rather than offer a disguise for their wearers, these masks reveal something, however cryptic, about the makers. Known for the facilitation and presentation of conceptual fashion/art/music/eco-collaborations such as ‘Rock Me Again’, ‘Beautiful Noise’ and ‘Tomorrow Society’, Capsule Project’s latest endeavour, ART HOUSE, is a collection of masks, visors, mouth-pieces, head-pieces, and eye-pieces from the elaborate to the illusory.
Fifteen independently-minded artists from diverse disciplines were each invited to create a mask that reflected an aspect of their inner spirit. In doing so they removed the primary function of a mask, to conceal, and replaced it with self-expression. The contributing artists were Brett Charles Seiler, Chloe Hugo-Hamman, Crystal Birch, Danielle Clough, Henry Maritz, Katherine-Mary Pichulik, Kim Gush, Lara Klawikowski, Laura Windvogel, Leanie van der Vyver, Lucie de Moyencourt, Nicola Vlok, Rosie Mudge, Stiaan Louw and Zakirah Rabaney. They were photographed for the project by Kent Andreasen.
Born and raised in Cape Town, Jacques Naude is a director of photography who has been living in New York City for the past eight years. His method of working is to mix influences from the worlds of graphic design, cinema and various subcultures. Jacques studied art direction and graphic design at Red & Yellow with the ultimate goal to work as a creative director in advertising. He moved to New York City after graduating hoping to get a junior position at Mother or Wieden & Kennedy but it was mid-winter and a very slow period in advertising. Money running low and in desperate need of a job, he was approached by Marlon Stoltzman, a fellow South African working as an agent for IMG Model Management Worldwide. Jacques worked as a model with brands such as Calvin Klein, H&M, GAP, DKNY and Abercrombie & Fitch which introduced him to the best photographers, stylists and production teams. He slowly started moving towards experimental filmmaking, realising along the way that the role of director of photography allowed him to play many different roles within the creative process and still have the freedom to be an artist when looking through the viewfinder and pressing record.
A few months ago, Bauke Brouwer read a story about someone who was mugged on Lion’s Head – one of Cape Town’s local landmarks. As a trail runner, his route sometimes takes him around this mountain and the incident lingered in the back of his mind, leading him to wonder “what if” the same thing were to happen to him. “Being a filmmaker, the ‘what if’ becomes real in your mind and makes its way onto paper to eventually become a script,” he says. Exploring this, Bauke created a short film called The Trail. “My previous film, The Fallen, was all about the enormity of the situation but with The Trail, I wanted to focus on the intensity of the moment, I wanted the viewer to become part of the narrative instead of just being a passive observer. I wanted them to share the experiences of the characters, to be involved in the decisions, and I think we achieved this.” The Trail was selected as part of the Top 25 as this year’s Filminute international one-minute film festival.