Yesterday evening’s Nicer Tuesdays was a rollercoaster ride of creative disciplines, emotions and roaring laughter. Despite the differing practices of photographer Luke Evans, illustrator Charlotte Mei, journalist and filmmaker Roxy Rezvany and graphic designer Sascha Lobe, a common thread throughout their work was a thoughtful outlook. Each has taken risks, leaps, and long hard looks at their careers, resulting in projects that helped them garner the statuses they have today.
Each talk revealed the true personality of the person behind the work, and if you weren’t lucky to be in attendance, you can find out what we learned about each individual below.
Don’t forget your strengths and keep hold of them
Although the easiest way to describe Luke Evans is as a photographer, really he’s an artist and “the camera is just there to bring it to life,” he explains, opening the evening at August’s Nicer Tuesdays.
Giving the audience a charismatic whistle-stop tour of his career, Luke’s talk took an impactful pause midway through, explaining an extremely difficult period in his life. In 2015, Luke was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had to put his career on hold, “after that experience, I didn’t care about photography,” he explains. Instead, he picked up archery, “the one thing that got me through this". It grew his confidence despite a constant “fear of being forgotten" and in time Luke got back behind the lens.
Fours years later, happier and healthy, Luke introduced his latest, and come back, project Second Nature . An astonishing project of personal strength and unfathomable photographic effort, the fear of being forgotten has disappeared. The artist’s personal and photographic journey all boils down to one thing: “Take it from this failed scientist with one bollock and a camera, don’t give up.”
Personal investment could kickstart a career you actually want
Fans of illustrator Charlotte Mei adore her work for a multitude of reasons. Each of Charlotte’s pieces, as she explained to the audience at Nicer Tuesdays, is built up from different reference points. Colour and shape she loves for “how it can emote feelings” but her work also develops from “the practice of drawing in itself, using process as a means to explore your reality,” she explains.
But for Charlotte to reach a point in her career where she can name ceramics, illustrations and paintings as her full-time practice for bands, brands and magazines, she had take a leap. A graduate of Camberwell’s illustration course, Charlotte went on the dole the day after she graduated. She took a risk, taking out a loan for £10,000 as she “wanted to be an artist so much”. She spent the money on a kiln and the tools she needed to actually make the pieces she wanted and shortly after, the work followed.
Since then Charlotte has been able to work on both the commercial and personal projects, recently completing a book of karaoke lyrics inspired by a trip to Japan and the pages of lyrics from Smash Hits magazine. Now, us, the Nicer Tuesdays audience and even the singer Seal is a fan.
Creatives owe a responsibility to the people they’re working with
Journalist and filmmaker Roxy Rezvany took to the stage to discuss the details behind her documentary Little Pyongyang Interestingly, Roxy revealed she always grew up loving art, stories and films, “but I never went to film school". Instead, she adopted the process of “jobbing and learning as I go,” she explains.
Jobbing turned into a career while Roxy was at Vice and worked on Gaycation. A “formative experience,” for the filmmaker, it opened Roxy’s eyes to a method of documentary filmmaking which concentrates on “responsibility to the people that you’re working with”.
This responsibility is channelled into each and every detail of Little Pyongyang tackling the film “essentially from a problem-solving process,” she explains. In the first place, “a lot of the motivation was to solve a problem; the portrayal of North Koreans.” Using design as a key part of the documentary’s narrative, Roxy’s in-depth talk discussed how design can be utilised as “a way that no one would dismiss the story".
How design can encompass heritage with a new perspective, but keep its history too
Last to take to the stage was revered German designer, Sascha Lobe. His first speech in London as a newly appointed Pentagram partner, Sascha’s talk explained his longstanding work with the Bauhaus archive. Wrapping up the work as the archive is being refurbished at the moment, Sascha delved into what he’s created so far, while looking forward to new projects on the horizon.
Giving insight into his Stuttgart-based studio’s practice with an institution so important in Germany “it made it into our genes,” Sascha offered advice on working on a project where “everyone has an opinion about it, and how they can do it better,” he explained.
To tackle an identity which fit with the Bauhaus archive but also his own design aesthetic, Sascha’s team took its heritage and “adapted it today without loosing the history with a new perspective,” consistently asking questions such as “What are the cliches?" In turn, by moulding iconic typefaces, ways of thinking and the understanding of Bauhaus artists, teachers and students, Sascha’s studio created some of its most celebrated work to date.