Monday, December 11, 2006
Dear iDEALS, I first came across the name of Matthias Vriens a few years back, while he was the Editor-in-chief /creative director for Dutch Magazine., world wide International creative Director at Giorgio Armani and Senior art Director at Gucci Group. His work for magazines such as i-D , Vogue Hommes International, Numero and Numero Hommes always manage to put me in the “MOOD FOR LOVE”. Matthias Vriens is one of the few people who push fashion forward to the future and I mean what I said before: “MAYBE HE WILL BE THE ONE CONTINUING THE LEGACY OF HELMUT NEWTON”. I saw him a few times in Paris , either sitting to a table next to mine either walking on the street. I was too shy to express my devotion, but finally, my blog has become the great excuse for me to have the guts and have a conversation.
FilepMotwary: It was very polite of you to send me a “THANK YOU” letter. I never expected it to happen. Are you always such a gentleman?
MatthiasVriens: NO! I can be very rude and bossy. I have a very strange sense of humour and often I am the only one that think’s its funny. I also do not know when to stop. I am a 43 year old man caught in the head of a 12 year old. Tragic and Magic. Pierre Bondu sings on his album "QUELQU'UN QUELQUE PART', my favourite song “'MIEUX QUE PERSONNE' about a condition of the mind that comes very close to my own: 'VOTRE PROBLEME FONDAMENTAL C'EST LE MANQUE DE MATURITE EMOTIONNELVOUS VOULEZ QUE LA VIE RESSEMBLE A UN FILM DE CINEMA PLEINS DE MOUVEMENT ET DE PLAISIRSC'EST AINSI FONCTIONNE UN CERVEAU D'ENFANT LES ADULTES EUX ACCEPTENT LE REGULARITE ET CONSOMME LA FRUSTRATION'. . . .It comes rather close to this observation, as mentioned above, it makes for tragic, disaster like moments, but the flip side for this is a magic view of the world that I would not trade for any anti-depression medication, alcohol, drugs or sleeping pills. My idea of a good time is a banana milkshake.
FilepMotwary : What are the rules one needs to break, to be on your “fuck off” list?
MatthiasVriens. Maybe a couple of years ago I could have come with such a list, but not now. The only reason I can come up with a list would be if people would threaten my family, friends or dog. I would rather come up with a “I WANNA FUCK” list.
Filep Motwary: A few years back, your position as the “EDITOR IN CHIEF” for Dutch magazine proved to be the “drug” for young fashion addicts. I am still sad at the fact that “Dutch” is no longer among us. For me it worked like a bible. I saw it as the key to open the door and free myself from what the rest of the fashion magazines taught me during my teenager years. People like Panos Yiapanis kicked the fashion world in the balls and it was thanks to you. Whatever happened to Dutch?
Matthias Vriens: DUTCH DIED. What can I say? I have discussed it so often in the past. Dutch was a great magazine. It opened the doors to a lot of stuff for all of us involved and I am happy and grateful for that.
Filep Motwary During our email conversations you mentioned something about a new magazine you are working on. Share the details with me.
Matthias Vriens: Fall/Winter will bring a new magazine made by myself in Los Angeles . I cannot share the title of it yet, since I am still looking into legal matters…Imagine an “EGOISTE” on crack, mixed with a porn version of the “NEW YORKER” and it will start to look like what we are about to send out around September 2007.
FilepMotwary: You always seem to cast the most desirable male models. At the same time, they never seem to belong in the same body type or behavior. Yet they all look as they have sex in their minds, whether they are dressed or the opposite. Does it depend on the story u are doing or you just “fall” for a model and you fit it in the storyboard.
Matthias Vriens: As in my personal life, I do not have a type I am attracted to. I am attracted to a frame of mind, if that comes with a pretty picture it is “ BONER VILLE”. Models that I am attracted to are not stereotypical. I have worked with some gorgeous men and women that bored me to death. When someone wants to make a good picture, I can do it and will do it. I do not care working with the “latest” model that opened the DIOR, CHANEL, PRADA, ETC SHOW. It means nothing to me! I do not remember their names. (RICHARD AVEDON USED TO WRITE THE NAME OF THE MODEL ON HIS CAMERA WHILE SHOOTING..) I love people and I love meeting and “shooting” them. Sometimes you can fall in love, a love affair short lived and broken at the end of the day. Sometimes the affair becomes a friendship, then you are lucky. No, I do not sleep with models. Maybe with a few now and then but they are friends. I have a lot of friends.
FilepMotwary:When was the most difficult phase of your career? Was there a point when you felt fragile?
MatthiasVriens: That point is now. (Laughs). I feel stuck as a photographer. I do not like most of the pictures I take to be honest. The editorial structure has become so commercial. It would be hard to mention one magazine to which I am dying to be in or run to the stores to buy. My favorite magazine is “THE WORLD OF INTERIORS” but I do not photograph interiors very well. So, I am fucked “EDITORIALLY” (laughs).
Filep Motwary:What does a “photographer’s assistant” mean to Matthias Vriens? Are you close to them and what is that you need to “see” before hiring a person to help you?
Matthias Vriens: I am not a technician. I barely know how my phone works. I manage to figure out the cameras I work with, but my routine is basic and very simple. I work fast, mostly skipping taking Polaroids. My dog SONTAG ate the remote control of my Stereo when he was a puppy. I love to play songs on repeat mode for ever, but without the remote control. I cannot program this in so every time I walk to the stereo to play my favorite song again, manually. I smile because it makes me think of the chewed-up device. An accident “SACRE” My assistants are like that…Strange shining trees. I spend a lot of time traveling and it is impossible not to get close with someone you spend 24/7. In no time we share everything and become very close. I count myself very lucky having such great people around me.
FilepMotwary:Can your photographs have a political ambition?
Matthias Vriens: Well in most editorial structures, political statements do not fare well. So I have given up (not! Laughs) One great reason to do exactly that for my new magazine which will be very politically engaged. I believe we all have to be very specific on who we are, where we are and not let that be taken away from us.I am a gay man and have never had the need to rub that into people’s face. Coming form Amsterdam I guess I was very lucky, never having to “come out”. I always was (out), living in the USA , things are different. I will not be thought of as less inferior or treated as such. Gay people have been and still are very lazy. As polls proved what “GAY WEST HOLLYWOOD” voted for the last elections, well they did not VOTE!!! This I find shocking. How can we close our eyes and go to sleep thinking it will be fine next morning. It will not be “THIS GOVERNMENT WANTS US DEAD” it will be “THIS GOVERNMENT WANTS ME DEAD” and most certainly, does not want me to marry another man either. So I tell you what, I intent to get married when my man comes around.
FilepMotwary: What is more important in your work: the product or the process?
Matthias Vriens: Both! The product remains for ever. The process leads up to that. One cannot live without the other. I like working with nice people and believe that an agreeable atmosphere is beneficial for all involved. I have worked with the same hair and make-up people for years now. They support me tremendously. My friend Rolando Beauchamp is a great hairdresser. He should have been an art director and I should have been a hairdresser. I LOVE HAIR (Laughs)
FilepMotwary:If you had to chose between Elvis Presley and Steve McQueen to do a ‘Speedo” story, whom would you choose and why?
Matthias Vriens: Neither! What about Anderson Cooper in a Jog Strap?
FilepMotwary: Do you like “UN NOUVEAU iDEAL ?Is there you would like to advice me?
Matthias Vriens:KEEP ON GOING!!!!
NOTE: the copyrights for this interview belong to FILEP MOTWARY and UN NOUveau iDEAL.