THE NEW VISIONARY
Everybody describes you as a vital part of the new fashion environment but… is it fashion what you make?
First and foremost I’m a filmmaker with the long term goal to write and direct narrative heavy features, so my transition into directing fashion film was less a conscious decision and a rather natural progression from my aesthetically lead music promos. I believe my take on fashion film has become recognized because, for me, the craft and the story of the film itself is equally as important as the designer I am featuring. Many fashion films fail in my opinion when they result in a glorified photoshoot and some tired mirroring effects, more attention needs to be paid to the core idea if this medium is to progress with credibility.
In that description the word “London” is always included too. Being here, how much does it influence in you and your work? Describe the London trendy scene, if there’s any.
I have never been one to follow trends, at least I try my hardest not to. There are many ‘scenes’ in London, but that kind of lifestyle has never appealed to me, I’m a massive geek at heart and prefer to spend my time creating as opposed to trying to fit in. My inspirations have always come from the natural world as opposed to the city. London is an excellent base for my studio, and I have met some incredibly talent people here, but my influences are far broader than the fickle trends it sees.
It feels as if you couldn’t find a suitable world surrounding you and you need to start your own one from scratch, like your own Wonderland. Do you think we’re all mad too?
I guess I’ve always hidden in make belief worlds ever since I was a kid, whether it was a cardboard box or a treehouse. I’ve become pretty good at escaping reality, and somehow I have been lucky enough to make this into a career.
Taking a look at all the sceneries that you set up for your videos and projects, how long does it take for an idea to become reality?
It all depends on the duration and the film, the scale and budget of the project. Most of my fashion films take between 6 – 8 weeks, my personal work can take anything between 1 week to 8 months. Filmmaking can be lengthy process.
To what point do you get involved in the production process?
I am heavily involved in every single aspect of my films. I write the scripts, concepts, storyboard, set, get props, costume design and even do a lot of my own post and compositing. I live each project until completion.
You do something new, but at the same time you can see references all over. What’s behind Alex Turvey, who do you look up to?
I guess my style has evolved organically; I never follow an intended path, I just go with what feels right in that moment. It’s very hard to describe because I’m so close to my own work I find it hard to pick out my own references. I am drawn to the macabre and the beautiful, as well as the natural world and I am of course a huge fan of David Lynch and Rod Serling, the creator of the Twilight Zone. They both create worlds with that similar balance of absurdity, mystery and melancholy that I’m more drawn to.
You have a very characteristic style, a mixture of dreamy, colourful, sometimes gloomy… Did you ever have to change it for client’s demands?
I’m very lucky in that most of my commissions come to me because of my style, so I am given an awful lot of freedom. I have, of course, applied my style to the odd commercial project that has required compromise, but that can only be expected every now and again.
Is your house decorated in the same way?
I have been living in my work for the past three years. Surrounding yourself with giant props for that long can take its toll, so I’m now archiving my work and moving to a new house that I’m going to attempt to keep relatively prop free as I’m desperately in need of a clean calm space in my life!
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
It was somewhere between a cartoonist, a pro Skater and an astronaut. Standard.
Let us check you’re human as we are. Where did your career begin and what did you feel the first day you got into an internship?
My first work placement / internship was at the film festival Onedotzero; I vividly remember spending days logging the in/out time codes for each film on the festival programme. I also remember being send to deliver a parcel to a production company, getting lost (there were NO iPhones), then fall up an escalator in front of about 100 people. Horribly embarrassing but I was exposed to some amazing work and influences.
Anna dello Russo. Oh God. The level of amazingness that that video reaches… it’s just… unbelievable. How long did that song stick in your head?
It’s still haunting me, I’m still in therapy, the battle continues…
We ask this question to everyone interviewed at La Monda. We give you the beginning of the sentence and you have to complete it.
“Artistic expression as a way of defending…”
Interview: Ane Guerra
Web: Alex Turvey