Legends: Xoe Hall paints Hinepūkohurangi with Tame Iti at Taneatua Gallery

Culture, Threads

Over cups of tea at Tame Iti’s place during Easter 2018, Artist Xoe Hall learned of the ancient Tūhoe legend Hinepūkohurangi who is said to have lured Te Maunga (the mountain) to earth from the heavens – thereby sparking the genesis of the Tūhoe people.

On New Zealand’s east coast, Tāneatua Gallery sits at the mouth of the entrance to the Uruwera’s where the Tūhoe people are from. Hall had exhibited at the gallery a few years ago with the Toi Wāhine collective, but on a different trip visiting her grandma in Ohope, she asked if she could paint a wall at the gallery and got an extra surprise when Tame ended up painting with her. Going against trends and mainstream expectation in their work is something Tame Iti and Xoe Hall have had in common for a long time. Recognised for her ode-to-iconocism style pieces or ‘Hero Art’, painting a Tūhoe legend and hero with a Tūhoe legend and hero is another out of this world achievement she can add to her ‘did’ list.

DS: How did this trip to Taneatua come about/what was the motivation behind the collab mural?
XOE: I visit my nana in Ohope a couple of times a year and always pop in to catch up with the crew at the gallery for a hang. One of those times I asked if I could paint a wall, and they said yes, so this time I took my painting gears and was over the moon when I realised Tame was going to be painting with me!

Even little nana came to hang out at @taneatuagallery55 😍 📷@trinalovespicasso

A post shared by Xoë Hall (@hallofxoe) on

DS: When was the first time you went to Taneatua Gallery?
XOE: Our all female Māori art collective from Porirua (then known as Toi Wāhine, now we are Hine Pae Kura), were asked to exhibit at the start of 2017. So we all jumped in a van with our work and camped out at the gallery for a few days. We had the best time ever.
DS: What did you know about Tame Iti before you met him?
XOE: Just the tip of the iceberg really, what most people would know, that Tame is an extremely interesting character. He is an iconic activist and artist who dresses super stylish when the occasion calls for it. I knew about the gallery and that my grandad was super stoked to have shaken Tame’s hand at a store one day.

DS: What did you love about collaborating with him?
XOE: I loved that he invited me into his home, and over a few cups of tea he told me the story of Hinepūkohurangi and the Children of the Mist. Local Tūhoe legend. I still didn’t realise at this point that he would be painting with me. When we got to the gallery, we both picked up a brush, and painted the story. I loved that while we were actually painting, not many words needed to be exchanged about how we were approaching it, and every now and then we would both step back and say damn that’s looking good.

DS: How long have you been painting and how did you get into it?
XOE: I have been painting since I was about three haha! I realised when I was 18 that I might actually be an artist, that little realisation was actually rather huge, once that clicked, I started really honing my self-taught skills.

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DS: Describe your artistic style and what and how you do your craft in your words?
XOE: Gosh that’s hard, as I have my fingers in many creative pies…. I would say I am multi-media cowboy pop surrealism artist??? It’s something I’ve never really wanted to pinpoint as I am forever evolving. Obviously I’m a little all over the show. I paint with acrylics, I use glitter for real life sparkle, I draw alot! I write stories and poems. I dabble in lead lighting. I love leather, so I paint on that too. I do embroidery, and apply many rhinestones to fabulous garments for fabulous people. Everything is self taught, but I am always learning through experiences and people I meet along the way.

DS: How have fashion and fashion icons been an influence on you?
XOE: Well, I am pretty obsessed with all things over the top and fabulous. I thought I was going to be a David Bowie when I grew up, so if I am going out, I go all out! Also, I hate anything on trend….even if I love it, I won’t wear what everyone else is, naturally that’s where my love of opshopping and making my own crazy clothes comes from. However when I am at home, it’s another story. Uggboots and hand knitted jerseys with no makeup and something horrendously comfortable on the lower half.

DS: You’re currently selling pieces at Hunters and Collectors in Wellington, what motivated you to do that and what pieces will you miss the most?
XOE: That’s all thanks to Chrissy and Charlotte. It was all their idea! Actually, I have been exhibiting works in that shop for quite some years now, so I can’t remember everything! But I am having a solo exhibition there in June, DUST BITER…so stay tuned for more.

DS: You’ve also been making custom designed jackets, how did you get into that and who has been your favourite person to design for so far?
XOE: I have been decorating special garments for many amazing people for about 10 years?? I guess I am currently buzzing out of my socks about the dress I got to decorate for Tami Neilson. Her new album SASSAFRASS, photos were taken by my bestie Ash AKA Dinosaurtoast and the shoot if featured on our fabulous website FEVER HOTEL.

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DS: What has been your favourite piece you’ve made to date?
XOE: Oh, I don’t have one! That’s like choosing a favourite colour, my mind changes too often. Anything that I don’t mind looking at still? Haha.

DS: So every artist has to work right? In the day you work at a TeacherTalk, what is that and how did you get into it?
XOE: Yes, 4 and a half years ago we started TeacherTalk, it’s just a small gang of us ladies in the office. We make up to date and awesome learning resources for kids. I work about 3-4 days a week, depending on how much work I have on with other commissions and exhibitions. I am the illustrator and creative writer. That work lead onto TeacherTalk publishing 3 of my childrens books. They are re-tellings of Māori legends.

DS: What do you love about working there?
XOE: That kids all over NZ are being taught with and growing up with my artwork. That’s very very cool. And that I do have the flexibility and time to be able to work on my own stuff in the studio when I need too.

DS: What do you love about working with and illustrating in te reo as well as Maori myths and legends?
XOE: When I was growing up, my dad would always tell us a very embellished princess story of our Ngāi Tahu ancestor Motoitoi, he was a great story teller. And knowing about this part of my history filled me with a magical feeling. I would feel the same when I would open one of Peter Gossages beautiful books. In fact my favourite all time illustrated book is still How Maui Defied the Goddess of Death. So it is really a dream come true to be able to tell stories myself, what’s not to love?!

DS:What do you love about being an artist and what advice would you give to others wanting to do it full time?
XOE: Nothing I say is going to sound better than how Patti Smith puts it…

“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.” – Patti Smith …..I would just add on…throw away your TV!

FENTY/PUMA 2018 – Unapologetic @badgalriri is a living legend

Culture, Threads

Having been the brand ambassador for Puma since 2014, Rihanna now brings us her 2018 Fenty x Puma collection contrasting motocross and stilettos on a palette of eye popping, wallet hurting pastels. In 2017, an extension of that brand FENTY BEAUTY was named one of the 25 best inventions of the year by Time Magazine. Why? Because it’s inclusive to all women, in more shades than usual. She also had a street named after her in Barbados, featured in a science fiction film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and starred in Oceans 13 – with an all female cast it will premier in cinemas June 2018. Harvard also gave her the 2017 Humanitarian of The Year award for her charity work.

This woman and her work ethic has been cemented as a pillar in my ‘tools for inspiration’ because she is so un-apologetically herself, no matter what she’s doing she’s paving the way for young woman of colour to unpack prior notions of not being able to participate in mainstream pop-culture; since reports of her domestic violence incident with Chris Brown in 2009, she’s unapologetically swept the fashion music and beauty scene with a joint in her mouth, pulling both middle fingers in the air, subsequently becoming the mainstream. This month her 2018 Fenty/Puma collection came out and once again she’s being hailed as the pioneer fashion-rebel she is.

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Threads: Yeezy Season 1 — “Awesome is possible”

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“Were not always in the position that we want to be at, we’re constantly growing, constantly making mistakes, constantly trying to express ourselves and trying to realize our dreams” ∼ Kanye West

11 years after releasing College Dropout, Kanye West is still a revolutionary. He’s still an activist. He’s a living icon… probably why people hate him so much. If he died tomorrow his face would be slapped onto t-shirts and pumped out to the masses stupidly and blindly campaigning against capitalism, just like they did with Che and Dilla. Yeezy Season 1 comes to us via Adidas, but the brand works well, as Pat Ngoho, the 2014 International Skateboarder’s Union bowl champion said:

“There’s really no doubt that Adidas is probably the coolest shoe out there. They’ve just been accepted culturally around the world, in so many different circles and every single time they just do it in a very cool manor, so I’m stoked to be rocking em.”

Rest In Paradise A$AP Yams

Music, Threads

“Rocky was still getting his sea legs as a rapper. Yams saw him possessing a blend of Kid Cudi’s melodic sense and Mase’s Harlem Flash” — Jon Caramanica, NY Times  

Sad news shakes hip hop today as word on the death of A$AP Mob’s founding member, A$AP Yams, spreads through social media feeds; rap and hip hop culture will feel the loss of one of its beloved sons for good.

But his legacy is not forgotten, or even yet fully realised, at 26-years-old Yams is known as the driving force and creative mind behind establishing the A $AP Mob. After meeting A $AP Rocky in 2008 through mutual friends, it was Yams’ sense for fine threads and aesthetic that honed Rocky’s style into the hybrid trap, hip hop, spitter-swag it is. Beginning with Purple Swag, Yams pushed the single on his blog titled Real Ni**as Tumblr, and the rest was history.

In 2013 Jon Caramanica wrote in the NY Times: “Rocky was still getting his sea legs as a rapper. Yams saw him as possessing a blend of Kid Cudi’s melodic sense and Mase’s Harlem flash. Rocky also had long, straight hair, pulled into a ponytail. “The good ‘Player’s Ball’ swag, definitely ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ swag,” Yams snickered, referring to some early Outkast looks .” 

Rocky was seeking “somebody who could actually direct us to get to where we need to go, and that’s what Yams was. He was like the director,” said Duke Da God of Diplomat Records.

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Leilani Momoisea

Threads

By Thandi Ntshinga

Leilani Momoisea, also known as Lani, is one of those women you look at and think “boy has she got it!” If you are someone who either follows her on Instagram, a follower of her blog LaniSays, or someone who sees her model from time to time, she’s the type of girl you know want to get to know. In the way of fashion, Lani makes simplicity look extremely chic, immediately making her the go to person to ask about her views on women and of course, mens fashion.  Lani speaks about travelling, Instagram, and how women of Polynesian descent are holding it down in the fashion industry.

DS: Where does your inspiration to put a look or outfit together come from?

L: Most of the time I’m just trying to stay comfortable and warm, so whatever achieves that. I look at street style blogs from time to time to get ideas on different ways to wear things, but I don’t often buy new clothes so it’s just trying to find new ways to work old pieces – currently I’m just wearing the boyfriends oversized sweaters and skinny jeans with boots and a beanie because I’m lazy and cold.

DS: You’re the NZ brand ambassador for Boohoo, how did that come about?

L: It was through their NZ PR agency, Beat PR, who asked me to start taking street style pictures for the boohoo NZ Facebook page. I did that for a bit, and basically whenever an opportunity to do something for them came up, I’d just say yes. It worked out, because they asked me to be their official blogger for Fashion Week last year, and they asked me to be the NZ face for their Global Styler Campaign, so that was pretty cool getting that kind of exposure and seeing myself on their website. I’m not ‘officially’ their brand ambassador, but I guess it can seem like that because I do a lot of posts about their clothes. They were one of the first brands to support me, so I’m happy to do it.

DS: How long have you been modelling and how did you get into the industry?

L: I was pretty old in ‘model years’ when I joined up with an agency at 22. I was working at Real Groovy and the lady who did accounts for Real Groovy also did the accounts for my previous agency, 62 Models. She saw me and took in some pics of me to 62, and they put me on their books. I’d been approached by other agencies over the years, but as soon as they took my measurements, they’d tell me to lose weight/a few inches around my hips, etc. before they’d sign me, and I wasn’t keen on that. 62 never told me to do that, so that was cool. But it wasn’t really until I turned 25 that I started getting any real work and most of that wasn’t modelling, the majority of the work I got was TV commercials, which is all good because it pays well. I’m with N Model Management now,

DS: If you weren’t modelling and travelling the world what would you be doing? Like the ‘other’ route you could have gone career wise?

L: I’ve been a journalist for Radio New Zealand since 2007. I’m not full-time there any more, but that’s still how I make my living. Any modelling work just supplements that income, but I don’t make enough as a model to live off of it. Travelling is what I’d like to be doing instead of working haha.

DS: A lot of the time, the modelling industry has a certain look and type of people, especially overseas. How have you found the industry as a model of Polynesian decent?

L: To be honest, I haven’t gotten enough real modelling work to be able to say much about the industry. I’d like for there to be a whole lot more models of Polynesian descent but I feel like all my favourite models and the models that are really killing it and dominating it whenever they’re in the country, are Pacific Islanders/Maori – like Ngahuia Williams, Tia Woods, Yasmin Bidois. In terms of how I’ve found the industry, I’m glad that I started out older, because I’ve been to a lot of castings and obviously not gotten a lot of work from it, so it can be a bit demoralising at times, so I’m glad I had a career and a degree already in hand to remind me that my self-worth is not determined solely by the ability to look good in a magazine – don’t get me wrong though, I’d love to see myself in magazines all the time haha – but I was glad to have had a bit of life experience in hand, so that sort of thing didn’t sting as much as it would have if I was say, 15 or 16. Obviously you need to be a certain size, a size 6-8 in order to fit sample sizes. I’m a size 10, but I have never had any pressure from either agency to lose weight.

DS: You run a blog yourself called Lani Says. What drew you towards blogging?

L: I started it because I quit my full time job to live with my partner in New York for about 6 months. I knew I wasn’t legally allowed to work in the US, but I wanted to stay productive, so I thought a blog would be a good way to do that.

DS: Where’d the inspiration for InstaMay come from?

L: There is a website called Fat Mum Slim, and she does a photo a day challenge every month of the year. In 2012, I thought it would be cool to do my own version of this, but just for the month of May, and exclusively on instagram – believe it or not, there weren’t that many people using instagram a year ago. I thought it would be a cool way to connect with the people that read the blog, and get them to help come up with the photo subjects. It can get pretty personal for some of the subjects, so you really get to know the people you follow and they get a much better insight into you, as you go through the month.

DS: How does it feel seeing so many people joining in on InstaMay and InstaMarch, which you tried for the first time this year?

L: I’m always a little afraid to put myself out there so publicly in case it doesn’t take off, so it’s always a relief when it works out. Last year it was choice, because someone shared the list on pinterest, and the re-pins went nuts, and I had a tonne of people from America who had no idea who I was, doing the InstaMay challenge. This year was cooler because I noticed a way bigger local following – I think a few key, well known musicians taking part helped, and Johnson Raela from Flavainterviewed me about it on the radio as well, so that made a big difference too. It’s cool to see how far-reaching it’s become and it’s really nice to be associated with something as your own. InstaMarch was a bit of a brain explosion, I’d announced InstaMay in February, thinking May was the next month coming up…so yeah, that was a bit of a durrr moment, but there were a bunch of people who were keen to do it in March this year as well, so we just did it, I’m not sure yet if I’ll do it again next year.

DS: How would you describe hip hop and fashion at the moment, especially with it merging in with high fashion; and also with hip hop growing to the point where it’s actually influencing high fashion itself; with people A$AP Rocky and Kanye?

L: Not feeling Kanye’s fashion steeze, ASAP is cool when he’s doing the throwback 90s shit but the high fashion stuff I’m not much of a fan of. I’d rather dudes dressed simple and a lilthugged out, like the way Nas dresses in the ‘It Ain’t Hard to Tell’ vid, I’ve always loved the way Nas dresses, and how Mobb Deep look in ‘Survival of The Fittest’ (and pretty much all their vids).

DS: If drop crotch pants with the tapered bottoms are out for guys, what’s next for them do you reckon?

L: Guys can dress however they want haha, but if dudes wanted to take their fashion cues from about 3:15 of the ‘Survival of The Fittest’ vid, when Mobb Deep and Nas are standing together, they would become approximately 100 percent more attractive.

DS: Where are your top five places to travel and why?

L: New York

Hong Kong

Japan

Thailand

Sydney

I’d be here for a week if I were to list the reasons why you should visit these places, just go and find out for yourself !

DS: Where will you travel to next?

L: I want to go to places I haven’t been yet, France, Italy – but most likely the next place I’ll go to again is New York and Samoa.

DS: Who’s someone you’d love to see playing live?

L: Michael Jackson if he was still alive, Beyonce and Drake.

DS: For ladies on a budget, what staple, investment pieces do you recommend?

L: A good pair of dark denim high waisted skinny jeans, a pair of flat ankle boots and a camel or black trench coat and of course the LBD.

DS: When did you fall in love with hip hop?

L: For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with Hip Hop. In 2003 I really discovered and fell in love with local Hip Hop.

Interview: Nina Flash Gordon – in love with all that tack

Threads

“You could be wearing a paper bag, but if you’ve got attitude — wearing a paper bag in confidence — you’re going to look damn good wearing it.”

‘That guy who wore the clocks, what was his name?’ Nelson native and Jewellery Designer, Nina Flash Gordon, is talking about Flavor Flav…

Flash Jewellery is among the next generation of taste makers indulging in being different. Although rappers are hard pressed these days to present themselves originally, in the interview with Serum, Nina says, “As soon as A$AP Rocky comes out in his fashions and then Kendrick Lamar, I suppose it’s all that new generation as well that’s rising. Also like Rihanna — she’s got mad styles too. “It’s definitely changing.”