Auberon Shull’s “Desert Dance”, and an Interview with Director Sequoia Emmanuelle

LA-based imagemaker/mover/shaker Sequoia Emmanuelle has just premiered this video of dancer Auberon Shull (definitely watch it full screen):

Filmed, edited and directed by Sequoia Emmanuelle
Dance by Auberon Shull
Hair and makeup by Ashley Joy Beck
Costumes by Tiffa Novoa and Auberon Shull
Music by Distance and Adventure Club

Auberon is a powerhouse. Sequoia, too, is a force of nature who has shot countless portrait series and fashion editorials with all manner of West Coast lovelies: SkingraftEskmo, Zoe Jakes and Rachel Brice (for Tawapa/Wild Card/Five and Diamond), Galareh, Kucoon, Beats AntiqueLucent Dossier Vaudeville Circus, El Circo… the list’s about a mile long. In addition to her photography portfolio and video work, Sequoia’s also got a well-established background in fashion design (check out her S&G Clothing line), wardrobe styling, painting, and graphic design.

Recently, she took the time to answer a few questions about her collaboration with Auberon, and to let us know what’s coming next. (Thank you, Sequoia! Always a pleasure.)

Much of the Coilhouse readership is already familiar with your photography, but this may be the first time many of us have (knowingly) watched a video by you. Can you tell us a bit about the differences and parallels between your creative process shooting/editing film and your photography methods?
Sequoia Emmanuelle: I grew up watching music videos, [they're] a huge inspiration to me, and I have always planned on getting more involved with film/video as well as photography. In the last year I have been working on several videos for fashion, music and dance. It feels very natural to the way I see things for photography, but of course it is very different, too. For one thing, everything you shoot needs to be horizontal, so it changes the composition of how you set things up. Your lenses change, and lighting changes. You can’t use strobe lights for video, so you have to set things up quite differently. When it comes to editing, it’s quite involved, because you have to pay attention to all the moving details and make your cuts flow in an interesting and creative way, not to mention syncing up the music. Right now I am focusing on simple ways of creating artistic videos… using less is more for the time being, and I’ll surely get more experimental as I keep working at it.

“Athena’s Curse, Medusa’s Fate” — Created by Jessica Rowell, Nina Pak, and Elizabeth Maiden

Sometimes, when creative and inspired people get together to collaborate on making imagery in a specific vein that no one’s attempted before, a special kind of magic happens. Case in point, this elaborate photo series independently produced by Jessica Rowell of J-Chan Designs and photographer Nina Pak in cahoots with model Elizabeth Maiden:

Κατάρα της Αθηνάς, η μοίρα της Μέδουσας
Αθηνάς: Elizabeth Maiden
Μέδουσας: Jessica Rowell of J-Chan’s Designs
Photography: Nina Pak
Costume Design & Styling: J-Chan’s Designs
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Ancient Greek lore and steampunk culture clash, titan style, in a sumptuous mythos-meets-modernity photo series depicting the Goddess Athena (Elizabeth Maiden) and the Gorgon Medusa (Jessica Rowell).

According to legend, the once ravishing Medusa was cursed with a monstrous appearance after “seducing” Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, under the roof of Athena’s sacred temple. Hence, this series title (which, translated into English, means) “Athena’s curse, Medusa’s fate.”

Rowell pulled “inspiration from Desmond Davis’ 1981 film Clash of the Titans, then put an atemporal spin on things by incorporating several contemporary ingredients that “also felt industrial and familiar to alternative culture.”

Breathing New Life into Dead Men’s Patterns: An Interview with Artist Hormazd Narielwalla


From the “Fairy-God, Fashion Mother” series by Hormazd Narielwalla.

Born in India of Persian-Zoroastrian ancestry and now living London, artist Hormazd Narielwalla forages for patterns in historic tailoring archives to use in conjunction with his own photography, sketches and digital compositions, giving their forms new life as whimsical narrative works of art.

You can see some lovely examples of Homi’s unique work in our Issue Six feature devoted to Klaus Nomi. The puppet-like pattern collages are taken from Narielwalla (nickame Homi)’s series A little bit of Klaus…a little bit of Homi. Each Nomi figure contains elements extracted from the vintage bespoke pattern blocks of Savile Row tailors, made for customers now long-deceased. We could not have found a more deeply fitting serenade to the operatic, avant-garde style icon than Narielwalla’s work, with its deft mixture of affection, craft, and thoughtfulness. (Thank you again, Homi.)

In the following interview, Narielwalla tells Coilhouse a bit more about his work and his life. His current show, Fairy-God, Fashion-Mother, which features a series of paper collages inspired by cult curator Diane Pernet, will be viewable at The Modern Pantry in London until January 7th.


From Hormazd Narielwalla’s “A Little Bit of Klaus, a Little Bit of Homi” series.

How did you get started making art, and what eventually drew you to this very specific and personal form of creative expression?
I was pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Westminster, aiming to become a menswear designer specializing in alternate ways of communicating fashion. During one of many research meeting with William Skinner (the Managing Director of Savile Row tailors Dege & Skinner), I acquired a single set of bespoke patterns belonging to a customer, now-deceased.


From the “Dead Man’s Patterns” series by Hormazd Narielwalla.

The tailors no longer needed the patterns, as they were made for a shape that no longer exists. With the support of my mentors British designers Shelley Fox and Zowie Broach (from Boudicca), I followed my instinct to divorce the patterns from their original context, viewing them as abstract shapes of the human body instead. That is when and where my first publication, Dead Man’s Patterns, was conceived.

The Mark of Princess Hijab

Editor’s note: today marks the birth date of one of our most tireless and incisive contributors, Mr. David Forbes. For his birthday, David gave us a present: an interview with elusive street artist Princess Hijab. Thanks, David – happy birthday!

A spectre is haunting Paris. For five years, Metro-goers have rounded corners to find heavy, black marker strokes obscuring the idealized arcadia depicted in subway advertisements, the airbrushed bodies of the inhabitants — men and women — disappeared behind a heavy veil. Princess Hijab has struck again.

When she started her “reign” in 2006, observers initially couldn’t decide if it was the work of a modernity-hating zealot or some sort of rabble-rousing commentary. The year before Paris had destructive rioting. France has its own serious racial and ethnic issues, and culture wars are never a place for nuance. The hijab is now, controversially, banned in public.

But from her work, there is no hiding, Parisians still pour out of trains to find the mark of Princess Hijab.

She hasn’t exactly hidden from the media, either. But strangely, in an era craving constant revelation, her identity remains a closely guarded secret. She claims to be around 22 years old, poor, from an immigrant background, and not a Muslim. Those who meet her aren’t even sure if she’s female.

Via e-mail, Princess Hijab, the alias chosen to represent “a mixture of precarity and aristocracy,” has chosen to draw back the veil, just a bit, and tell us about how — and why — she chose her domain.


The Fantastical Fairy Tale Art of Sveta Dorosheva


From Sveta Dorosheva’s “More Book Illustrations” portfolio.

Sveta Dorosheva‘s fantastical art could be compared to a brilliant dream collaboration among noted artists, for whom the goal is a visionary book of enchanted tales. Imagine an artistic hybrid comprised of the intricately-lined illustrations of Harry Clarke or Aubrey Beardsley, the luxurious art deco magnificence of Romain de Tirtoff (Erté) fashion plates, and the beautiful-on-the-verge-of-grotesque visages drawn by the enigmatic Alastair.

But! In this imaginary scenario, the artists realize there is something… some je ne sais quois… missing from their efforts. They entice illustrator Sveta Dorosheva to join their endeavors: she flits in, and with a mischievous smile and a gleam of amusement in her eye, announces “yes, yes, this is all very beautiful… but let’s make it FUN!” Although comparisons to the above-mentioned artists may be obvious upon first glance, the sense of enchantment, whimsy, and joyful wit present in Dorosheva’s work ensures that one not only appreciates they are gazing upon something technically pleasing or beautifully rendered; one also genuinely delights –and even emotionally invests– in the engaging imagery as well.

Though born in Ukraine, Sveta Dorosheva currently resides in Israel with her husband and two sons.  She has worked as as an interpreter, copywriter, designer (be certain to peek at her Incredible Hats or Fashionista portfolios!) , art director and creative director in advertising, and is currently pursuing her lifelong dream of academic training in art. Dorosheva recently spoke to Coilhouse about her lifelong love of fairy tales, and her inspired,  imaginative new project, The Nenuphar Book, which will be published in Russia this autumn.   See below the cut for her illuminating ruminations and a gallery selection of her extraordinary illustrations.


From Sveta Dorosheva’s “Weird and Wonderful: Fairy Tale Illustrations” portfolio.

Mia Mäkilä’s Feel Good Demons


“Oh la la”

“I paint my demons. I paint nightmares. To get rid of them.  I paint my fears. I paint my sorrow. To deal with them.” - Mia Mäkilä

Mia Mäkilä, a self-taught artist who lives and works in Sweden, describes her art as “horror pop surrealism” or “dark lowbrow” and further illustrates: “Picture Pippi Longstocking and Swedish movie director Ingmar Bergman having a love child. That’s me.”

Her work consists of digital paintings and vintage photographs manipulated and distorted to produce nightmarish mixed media portraits. The creations borne of Mäkilä’s artistic process are both uncomfortably horrific and unaccountably humorous– demonic entities lurk in the form of  gash-mouthed, leering Victorian families staring from within a tintype void. Fire-breathing/ennui-stricken and dandified gentlemen ejaculate from the precarious heights of a Parisian rooftop. All manner of flaming Boschian hells overflow with cavorting fish and flamingos and God knows what else.


“Holiday in Hell”

Jared Joslin: Stop, Look, and Glisten


“Masquerade Ball” oil on canvas, by Jared Joslin

Jared Joslin’s paintings are gilded portals to the sensual past. Exploring his work, we encounter thriving pockets of nocturnal Weimar nightlife, Dust Bowl era carnivals, and glittering pre-code Hollywood nightclubs. Jared has said that what fuels his vision is “the feeling that you don’t necessarily fit within your own time. You’re drawn to the past in ways you can’t quite understand, but feel the pull of it and want to take on [its] dreams.” His creations truly do seem timeless, and they are dreamy indeed.

Just in time for Jared’s current solo show, “Stop, Look, and Glisten”, Coilhouse is proud to to present Part One of an in-depth interview with this remarkable painter and longtime friend. Part Two of our feature will be more lavishly presented in the impending sixth issue of Coilhouse Magazine. (Hooray, yes, it’s coming soon!)

Comrades, should you be in the Midwest between now and June 18th, be sure to stop by Firecat Projects in Chicago, Illinois. These pieces are a marvel to see in person.

The “Stop, Look, and Glisten” reception is tomorrow evening, (Friday the 27th). More info here.

Set the tone for us, good sir. What music are you listening to? Cocktails? Is your wife (fellow artist, oft-featured friend and correspondent of the ‘Haus) Jessica nearby? What art are you working on, currently? And she?
It’s an unusually beautiful evening for Chicago. The windows are open and a lovely breeze is circulating. Fad Gadget is playing in the studio and I can hear it a tiny bit from the kitchen where I’m working. Jessica is making a good amount of ruckus, drilling holes to inset small brass balls into the horns of a circus goat. She is in the final stages of completing work for her solo show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery next month. Cocktails…yes indeed! How did you know? A lovely Sazerac Rye Manhattan is keeping my blood thin and my gears well lubed. Lately I’ve been working in the studio on some new ideas and approaches, mainly experimenting with watercolors. Currently on the easel is a watercolor painting of myself in Pierrot attire nestling against a costumed lady at a masquerade ball…

Carisa Swenson’s Curious Creatures and Aberrant Animals


“Brother’s Keeper” ©Goblinfruit Studio / Photo by Steve Harrison Photography

Carisa Swenson of Goblinfruit Studio creates curious critters who seem to have wandered quietly out of a child’s fable of forest creatures, gleaming-eyed and grinning from beneath be-fanged overbites.  Yet for all their grimacing, there is no sense of malice, no reason to fear this peculiar lot;  look closer and you will find something profoundly endearing, familiar, and gentle about this oddball cast of creatures.  Though they are semi-feral fairytale beasties from a dark wood, one gets the feeling from their earnest, even kindly expressions that they, just like anyone, are yearning for a happily ever after.

From the artist’s site:

Carisa Swenson’s passion for creating curious creatures springs from many sources—a love of Greek mythology and Ray Harryhausen’s creations when she was a child, an appreciative eye for Henson Workshop in her teens, to the weird and wonderful films of Jan Svankmajer and The Brothers Quay in her twenties. But when Carisa studied with world-renowned doll artist Wendy Froud, the final die was cast: posable dolls would forever own her soul and trouble her nights, stirring her with a fervor that could only be quelled by stitching and sculpting her dreams into reality.

“Since 2006 Carisa’s work has been featured in several exhibitions and publications, including the Melbourne Fringe Festival, NYU’s acclaimed annual “Small Works Show”, Art Doll Quarterly, and Spectrum 17.

Coilhouse recently caught up with Carisa for a bit of a Q&A; see below the cut for more concerning the Curious Creatures and Aberrant Animals of Goblinfruit Studio.

A Whimsical, Alarming Resonance: Sandra Kasturi

In Sandra Kasturi’s first full length poetry collection, The Animal Bridegroom, one finds all manner of fantastical creatures –shapeshifters, changelings goddesses, and monsters– juxtaposed with the quotidian and the mundane.  Myth intersects with reality, resulting in outlandish dream worlds, unexpected bedtime stories, and everyday affairs elevated to the exotic and the surreal.

In his introduction to the collection, Neil Gaiman writes:

“…People forget the joy of story as they grow older.  They forget the joy of poetry, of finding the perfect word, of turning a phrase, like a potter turning a pot on a wheel, and they believe mistakenly that poetry is not pleasure, but work , or worse, something good for you but unpleasant tasting, like cod-liver oil.

Sandra Kasturi has not forgotten any of these things.”

Sandra has three poetry chapbooks published, as well as the well-received SF poetry anthology, The Stars As Seen from this Particular Angle of Night, which she edited. Her poetry has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, and her cultural essay, “Divine Secrets of the Yaga Sisterhood” appeared in the anthology Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Slayers, Mutants and Freaks. Sandra is a founding member of the Algonquin Square Table poetry workshop and runs her own imprint, Kelp Queen Press.  She has also received several Toronto Arts Council grants, and a Bram Stoker Award for her editorial work at ChiZine: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words.  As an evolution of  ChiZine, ChiZine Publications (CZP) “emerged on the Canadian publishing” scene in 2009. To quote from their philosophy:

“CZP doesn’t want what’s hot now or stuff that’s so weird it’s entirely out in la-la-land—we want the next step forward. Horror that isn’t just gross or going for a cheap scare, but fundamentally disturbing, instilling a sense of true dread. Fantasy that doesn’t need elves or spells or wizards to create a world far removed or different than ours. Just a slight skewing of our world, handled properly, is far more effective at creating that otherworldly sense for which we strive.”

Sandra generously gave of her time  to talk with us about the slightly skewed otherworld she inhabits; very see below the cut for our recent Q&A.

Fables and Phantasmagoria: Christiane Cegavske


Blood Tea and Red String, 2006

Described as “a David Lynchian fever dream on Beatrix Potter terrain”, Christiane Cegavske’s exquisitely-crafted stop motion tale Blood Tea and Red String is a macabre delight  and a labor of love that was 13 years in the making. The film, a dialogue-free, avant garde “fairy tale for adults” follows  two groups of anthropomorphic creatures in fancy costumes -the aristocratic White Mice and the rustic Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak – and the “struggle over the doll of their heart’s desire.”  This struggle, notes one critic, is so fascinating because the actions and emotions of these bizarre creatures “so uncannily resemble warts-and-all human behavior”. We find a “disturbing comfort” in these unconventional characters, and we see ourselves in this magic world that Cegavske creates.

This beguiling, nightmarish, deceptively whimsical world extends far beyond the phantasmagoric fable that is Blood Tea and Red String.  Cegavske, also responsible for the animation in Asia Argento’s The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, began dabbling in film making and animation at an early age (5th grade!) with an oddly satisfying-sounding claymation short about trick-or-treaters whose candy is stolen.  Not only is she an extraordinary film maker, but a talented artist in several mediums and a self professed “Creator of Many Things” with an Etsy shop full of delightful oddities  as well.

See below the cut for our recent tête-à-tête with Christiane in which we parley on the subjects of  muses and myths, future dreamscapes, and fancy edibles.