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The True Leader: Jonathan Zawada

The fact that Jonathan Zawada traverses a creative landscape that is on a level near impossible to be gifted enough to enter is perhaps common knowledge, but the fact that he is one of the most unaffected winners of a game he never even intended to play may not be. This is a designer who has somehow defied the laws of creative superiority and has either misplaced the memo that gave him permission to flaunt his ego or has chosen to ignore it. As an indisputable leader of an industry where humbleness is largely underrated, his gracious nature is one of those rare instances in life where the antithesis of the norm far outshines its counterpart. But Jonathan doesn’t actually make an effort to be unassuming, nor does he hide behind a mask to conceal his talent; it is undeniably present, just not outwardly manifested. The truth is, he just doesn’t really focus on it all that much, which is the purest form of unpretentiousness that you can get, really.

for compilation CD You Only Live Once

design for Japanese label 20 Million Fragments

Black & White

photo: Jerico Lee

City Skyline

photo: Lisa Zhu

Unavoidable Creativity: Estelle

Creativity is far from something that can be contrived – it is either innate or it isn’t, and for those that it resides within, it will always find a way of making itself known. For fashion industry veteran Michelle Perrett, it has manifested itself into many avenues, including styling, buying, and, interspersed through the years, designing, an area that she has been recently inevitably lured back to. And so she has launched Estelle, a label that is marked by a classic simplicity and a return to fashion that is based on elegance and subtlety rather than trend.

The New Local: fouratefive

Just when you thought Surry Hills could do without another cool, understated cafe for local hipsters, along came fouratefive. Having heard so much about their famous Pulled Pork Sandwich on sourdough, I headed there for a mid week lunch to see what the fuss was all about and boy, did it live up to expectation.

Around the World and Back Again: Crayon Fields

The touring life of a musician has become a thing of legend in the chronicles of rock and roll history; think the screaming teen mobs of The Beatles, the bravado of bands like Led Zeppelin, the juggernaut of Black Sabbath and the outfits of Adam Ant. But for Geoff O’Connor, singer and guitarist of Melbourne indie folk band Crayon Fields, it’s perhaps a little more straightforward.

“As much as I’d love to be in a band of sleazy, jazz brained booze hounds like myself, I just can’t break the others in,” he says jokingly, when asked how touring has changed for him as the band grows more successful. “As we’ve toured more frequently it’s become both a lot easier and a lot more interesting. Certainly in Australia it has become a lot more pleasurable now that we can cover the costs of our little adventures.”

Laughter Therapy: Camp Quality

If laughter is the best medicine, Camp Quality can be hereby referred to as a miracle ward. Providing a playful escape to children who have been touched by cancer, Camp Quality is dedicated to supporting families and taking their mind off the hospital visits, stress and inevitable sadness that have marked their child's illness. Although such children have been robbed of the perfectly carefree existence which marks the innocent mind, they come with a level of bravery that can only be present in those who have been untouched by cynicism or worst-case scenarios. After all, the human lust for life is most radiant when it is void of jaded perceptions; the telltale signs of time and experience. At Camp Quality, the devotion to extracting such a passion for living is almost palpable. And so when NBN newsreader Georgi Glover decided she needed to do something that would make a difference, being part of an experience that would enrich a child’s life seemed like the perfect answer.

“I spent a lot of time travelling in developing countries, so when I got back to Australia I just thought, we have so much here, there is so much more I can do with my life,” she explains of her decision to get involved with Camp Quality.

“I was in Peru at one stage and it was an absolutely freezing minus one degrees, and I was walking home from a restaurant with a couple friends. Along the way there were all of these people – some of them young kids – just sleeping on the side of the road with tiny shawls on. It was one of those moments where you’re like, wow, life is so fabulous for us in Australia… and I knew I had to do something to make a difference.”

Second Identity: Flossy P

To think that hiding behind a mask or pseudonym would give you the courage to show the world your true self seems ironic, but artists and writers throughout history have created secret identities to conceal their ‘real’ identities from those who know them. Charlotte and Emily Bronte used the pen names Currer Bell and Ellis Bell, respectively; Dr Seuss’ parents knew him as Theodore Suess Geisel; Lewis Carroll’s name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson; and the boys from KISS wore extreme costume makeup so they wouldn’t be bothered in their downtime. These days, in a world of blogging and social networking, it seems that almost everyone has an alias and no one is who they say they are. Whether this is creepy or morally correct is another story, but for Flossy-P, creating a pseudonym was simply a way to keep her real identity hidden while she navigated her way through the big, wide world of illustration.

Man in Black

photo: Jerico Lee

Autumn in the Park

photos: Lisa Zhu

Pre-loved Haven: Vanity Fair Vintage Markets

Once upon a time, wearing pre-loved clothes was for poor people and younger less fortunate siblings, but times have changed and vintage is now a permanent member of any fashion-lover’s wardrobe. Unfortunately, it can be exhausting trying to sort the wheat from the chaff; op-shops overwhelming and frankly, they smell funny. Plus the odds of finding the perfect 50s Grace Kelly-esque dress in your average op-shop is as likely as death by champagne cork. And that’s where Sydney’s monthly Vanity Fair Vintage Markets steps in – not with champagne bottles at the ready but with heart-stopping vintage fashion. Held in Leichardt Town Hall, the limited space means sellers edit their selections too, which means you have better odds of finding that perfect outfit.

Wearable Design: TMOD

When inventive concepts of design are translated into functional, wearable entities, it is truly fashion at its greatest moment. For jewellery range TMOD’s Milenka Osen and Georgie Swift, design is all about interaction, wonder and experience, with the fashion component of their creations a mere bonus. They have fused wearability along with elements of object and graphic design, a practice which is testament to their dedication to creating art with a purpose. Such philosophy has been successfully executed with TMOD, as it is at once evident upon viewing their work that their artistic background far succeeds the fashion world – or design world, for that matter – alone. Side Street Sydney caught up with Georgie and Milenka to talk about their label.

Another Birdy: Katy Steele

They say no one person is bigger than any band, and while that may be true to an extent, Katy Steele couldn’t have existed with anyone else at the helm. As front woman and focal point of Little Birdy, she was, and remains, strewn throughout the pop charts as an influential driving force for aspiring Australian female musicians. Finding herself amongst some of the most successful unique and enduring female voices in indie rock, she is also one of the most down to earth, sincere and goal minded musicians around, and while that may bear a note of condensation, it’s more a case of stating the facts.

“I want to stay true to what I believe in. Which is honest, memorable, moving melodic and classic good songs,” tells Katy. “But I want to experiment more with rhythm and the basic power of language. I've never really stepped outside of my square, which is to naturally write on piano or guitar. I want to push to more of a darker place.”

Creative Merger: Medium Vinyl

Within the creative fields, it’s hard to fathom one existing without the other – fashion, music, art and words are all, it would seem, intrinsically intertwined. And so for Medium: Vinyl, Hardware Gallery has decided to take the figurative out of that notion with an exhibition that brings together music and art in a very literal merging of creative expression. Featuring 150 art works created on old vinyl records as the canvas, the event is a pure celebration for the senses.

Little Gonzales

Nicole Toms

A World to Call his Own: Jeremyville

Many creatives live in their own imagination, but the artist behind Jeremyville has managed to incarnate the universe from which his concepts are derived and turn it into an animated world that appears to run parallel to the reality in which he himself exists. As one of the world’s most prolific and successful illustrators, Jeremy hasn’t had trouble attracting visitors to Jeremyville, but he is the only one who is lucky enough to be able to drop in whenever he should choose. In human form, Jeremy divides his time between Sydney and New York, where he takes mental photographs of the scenes around him and avidly observes the idiosyncrasies of each city and its characters. He then brings the images and notes back to Jeremyville, where such settings are immortalised into endearing works that portray adorable characters who are made to deal with many of the same things humans do – carefree leisure, excitement, stress, disappointment, exhaustion and the looming prospect of giant bagels taking over the city.

Print on Legs

photo: Jerico Lee

The Spiderweb

photo: Lisa Zhu

The Friendly Local: Corridor

Newtown has, until now, had a dearth of cool bars; the sort of places the locals actually WANT to frequent. Luckily, newcomer Corridor brings that something that was missing. You might call it “indie aesthetic”; it’s a bit lo-fi and the music is all skinny black jeans and Karen O. Frankly, it’s hipster heaven.

Always About Art: Konstantina Mittas

Konstantina Mittas is a woman of few words, so it’s lucky that the garments she creates speak for themselves. While some designer’s lazily reference pop culture or high art to imbue in their collections a sense of meaning or authority, it is clear that Konstantina does not fall into this category. Taking inspiration from artworks by William Blake and surrealist Leonor Fini and using their narratives and painterly techniques as running motifs throughout her collection, we spoke to the designer about her Spring Summer 2010 collection.

Visual Paradise: The Biennale (A Photo Essay)

Roxy Paine’s large, scientifically inspired sculpture embraces the entryway of the Museum of Contemporary Art for this year’s Biennale. Depicting neurological patterns and evolutional growth in a way that is hauntingly captivating, “Neuron” is a reflection of the body’s vast interconnectivity and the way it latches onto individual knowledge and experience and spreads it throughout the system. It is testament to the theory that human design must have been created with the utmost intelligence.

Purity in Print: Dumbo feather, pass it on

In the world of magazine racks and newsstands, Dumbo feather, pass it on is the title people pick up when they’re looking for a bit of soul with their morning coffee. It has achieved that which many other publications have failed to do – create an end result that is unpretentious, unassuming and intensely relatable – by simply embracing the beauty in honest conversation. Showcasing in depth interviews which span an entire fifth of the magazine, Dumbo Feather ensures that no topic of discussion goes unpublished. Stories are not butchered by word counts or, it would seem, advertising requirements – these are interviews that have brought purity back to their art form, taking the reader into the room with the subject and the journalist and truly getting into the heads of the people who have made their dreams come true. Dumbo Feather turns the focus on the creators instead of what they have created, and rather than being overwhelmed by blatant added value, every few pages are intercepted with tales, tips and ideas that seem to complement the content in an almost holistic way. We asked the founder, editor and publisher Kate Bezar to take us into her head so that we too could shine a light on someone who has created something utterly significant.

Into the Fold

I'm lying back with my eyes closed – not too tight but just comfortably so that my lids don’t have to strain and wrinkle. I feel in an almost trance-like state. Even from just closing my eyes and lying back I feel like I’m made of stones and that I’m weighing the bed down. I imagine the mattress sagging in the middle, so that it brushes against all the dead bugs on the floor. This is probably the closest that I’ve ever come to spirituality, excluding getting all into Wiccan as most middle class girls do at some point in their teenage years.

It's All Online

photo: Jerico Lee

Autumn Sunlight

photo: Lisa Zhu

Fashion Week is Funny

Well, Australian Fashion Week is coming to a much desired end, so I thought it appropriate to re-post this story I wrote for my friend's magazine Monster & Midget (which you should all totally check out) when I was approaching the finale of a two week run at fashion weeks in New York and London. The main reasons I am doing this is because a) a story fell through, b) I'm too tired to do anything else and c) it's totally relevant.

But then maybe I'm just a little cranky. It's been a long week.

Art Guidance: Wilson Street Gallery

Slotted into the terraces of the street that bears its namesake, the Wilson Street Art Gallery is an oasis within the clamour of Newtown. Managed by Michelle Perry, an artist who specialises in printmaking, and directed by Janet Clayton, who is involved in several aspects of promoting art and culture in Sydney, the gallery’s displays entice wanderers and explorers alike. The interior space allows for large-scale works to dominate attention while the smaller pieces are highlighted with a deft touch.

The Inner Imperative: The Jezabels

Farewelling the sun-drenched tropics of Byron Bay for the city life of Sydney some four years ago, lead singer Hayley Mary and pianist Heather Shannon of The Jezabels have certainly come a long way from playing quiet acoustic sets at open mic nights. Joined by drummer Nik Kaloper and guitarist Sam Lockwood, The Jezabels are certainly the talk of the media vanguard at present. Presenting a treasure trove of heartfelt, barely restrained tension and muscle, treatises on their latest EP ‘She’s So Hard’ have already been well chronicled by the likes of Mess+Noise and FasterLouder, while the best of Australia’s broadsheet critics have also fallen for their undulating offerings. Touching base from Ballarat hours before they’re due to play Groovin The Moo festival, Heather spoke with Side Street, Sydney.

A Delightful Journey: Playing for Charlie

It takes an enormity of passion, self-belief and sheer force of will to get a film made, so directors can tend to be rather zealous of their trade. New Zealand-born, New York educated, Australian-dweller Pene Patrick is certainly no exception. On the eve of the release of her first feature film, Playing for Charlie, we shared a moment to talk about life as a director in Australia.

Capturing Souls: Kyle Montgomery

Kyle Montgomery has absolutely no artistic training, which makes his mixed media works all the more marvellous. With religious iconography being a theme throughout his art, he sources kitsch paintings and paraphernalia from charity stores and then subverts their righteous intentions by superimposing disparate images of guns, solar space and scientific-like diagrams onto them. His works probably offend adherents of Catholicism or Christianity, but they just have the Sydney art scene excited.

Check Please

photo: Jerico Lee

Auburn Botanical Gardens

photo: Lisa Zhu
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