Beast and Paradise, Gerwyn Davies.
Carnival Magazine talks to Gerwyn Davies, the incredibly talented photographic artist, advertiser and costume maker from Brisbane, Australia. Involves the construction of characters through experimental costume, Gerwyn aims to charter the boundlessness of fashion’s transformative potential while exploring the construction of identities. In an engaging and enlightening interview, he speaks about his latest eclectic photographic adventure, in the form of personal series', Beast and Paradise. Collectively forming a colourful burst of self-expression and portraying conceptual narrative, Gerwyn talks about his inspiration and process behind the striking imagery...
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Darwin in the tropical north of Australia. I am really interested in anything fashion/ craft related, music, pooches, tattoos, pop culture underdogs, my beloved friends.
Did you study photography or a related course?
I studied a Bachelor of Photography (achieving a 1st Class Honours) at the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane. I did a double major there in Creative Advertising and Arts Practice. I think pursuing my interest in both fields during study has allowed me now to blend them professionally and create commercial work that is conceptually based and engaging. A creative approach to work no matter how mundane was encouraged by my supervisors there and I think that's been a strong drive for me when I approach image making now.
Tell us about your work.
For my personal practice, I largely work with 'readymade', found and recycled materials that I construct in to costumes with varying degrees of intricacy. They are worn and captured as an ongoing series of self-portraits in my studio where I will also build sometimes simple/sometimes detailed sets/ environments. It's a very solitary process really. I work as a freelance photographer full time as well as studio tutoring at the Queensland College of Art photography department and I often fly out to do workshops in regional and remote Australia for young people for an organisation called Flying Arts. I am in my studio most of the week as I like to keep productive and love sitting down and making things. I think by creating lots of work I can get the inevitable shit work that pops up every now and then out of my system and move on to better stuff faster.
What do you love about photography?
I love that it is such an accessible medium and I am drawn to people who use it as a stage in a longer process. Whether they are designers, sculptors, scientists - I love how it can be truly transformative rather than just serve as document of what is in front of you. It's creative application is far more exciting to me than a vernacular shot of a goat on some Bronte-esque moors.
Which photographers inspire your practice?
I have always been enamoured by Kimiko Yoshida. My work is mostly influenced by artists outside of photography like Leigh Bowery, Nick Cave (not the musician), Alexander McQueen, Bjork, Divine and John Waters, Courtney Love, Viktor & Rolf, Grace Jones.
What editorials are featuring in Issue 02 of Carnival Magazine?
I have supplied work from 2 different series. From Beast (2013): Beast, Milk, Grass, Bananas. From the currently ongoing series Paradise (2014): Paradise, Los Angeles, Zebra, Blow, Blue Moon, Limousine, Dunce, Dungeon, QLD, Rapture.
Tell us about the featured photography.
The supplied work is personal work I have created which is exhibited and sold through Spiro Grace Art Rooms, a commercial gallery in Brisbane. All costuming, shots and edits were done by myself in my studio space at Fish Lane Studios Brisbane. It is part of my ongoing practice of constructing and reconstructing identity through the construction of costumes. I am interested in the ability to create more engaging, adventurous, playful and subversive versions of the self through dress and so it is a kind of visual diary of self portraits - altering over and over the physical form through atypical materials and communicating new and ongoing revisions of the self.
See more of Gerwyn's work in Carnival Magazine Issue 02 and on his portfolio website.