Friday, June 19, 2009

Freja Fans are Everywhere

In the current June/July 2009 issue of Interview magazine with Bjork on the cover, there is an interview of artist Chantal Joffe by designer Stella McCartney. While reading this feature, I was pleasantly surprised to see Freja pop up in conversation and in painting.

Picture of the artist in her studio

Here is the intro to the piece to give you an idea of who Joffe is (bolded for the tl,dr crowd), followed by some interesting excerpts:

Women, children and fashion--on paper, Chantal Joffe's interests seem pretty quotidian. But on canvas, where the 39-year-old artist paints shots ripped from fashion magazines, or photographs of friends holding their babies, the feminine world suddenly becomes a dark, loaded, highly sexualized place. Joffe in not a realist. She distorts the women in her frames for ultimate psychological effect. But the subjects rarely seem like victims, even if the brushstrokes are hard and unforgiving. It turns out, Joffe is actually a massive fan of fashion and sees what she does as high celebration. She paints models like Freja Beha, Kate Moss and Lara Stone because they seem to her like storybook characters come to life. Recently, Joffe even collaborated with fashion photographer Miles Aldridge, painting his wife, model Kristen McMenamy, in Joffe's studio, while Aldridge shot film. This paint was included in the artist's most recent solo show, in New York this spring at Cheim & Read gallery. The love of the fashion industry has proven reciprocal. Stella McCartney is one designer who collects Joffe's work. In fact, Joffe has painted all three of McCartney's children (the paintings hand in the Stella McCartney store in London) and even shot models backstage at McCartney's Fall 2009 show in Paris. The two friends caught up to discuss, among other things, why the weird models are always the sexiest.
MCCARTNEY: Because it doesn't look like one. It looks tome like a celebration of the female form--and that in itself is a connection with fashion.
JOFFE: I don't know where else I would find all of those images of women. And I actually love specific models as well. It's funny, I've been painting Freja a lot.
MCCARTNEY: So you saw her at my show then?
JOFFE: Yeah, it was like meeting somebody out of a book. I mean, I didn't talk to her, and I didn't really want to. She's such an odd character.
MCCARTNEY: Why didn't you want to talk to her?
JOFFE: I thought she might think I was creepy more than anything else. [both laugh] But I like the weird ones. I like the girls who are a little odd.
JOFFE: When you're looking through a magazine, what makes you stop and think is when you see an image and imagine the narrative that is going on inside of it. Those are the ones I make into paintings.
JOFFE: Do you pick the models for your show?
MCCARTNEY: I choose them. I have a guy who does casting for me, but we work together. It's funny because whenever someone else is excited about a girl who I am not keen on and I eventually give in, I always regret it when I see her on the runway....
MCCARTNEY: And yet you paint these lovely, young women who just come across as perfection. You paint perfection sometimes, don't you? When you think of fashion photography, it's a dream. It's like we all want to be those women. We want to wear those dresses.
JOFFE: I don't think I do want to be them. I'm fascinated to imagine what their lives are like, but I certainly wouldn't want to be them.
MCCARTNEY: I don't think their lives are anywhere near a glamorous as you think.
JOFFE: It just fascinates me to be only 18 and to have that life.
MCCARTNEY: Eighteen! They're old if they're 18 in this day and age.
JOFFE: Right. But still I'm interested in the sheer fascination of beauty--beauty is fascinating.

For sake of comparison, the original photographs:

I love art so I was absolutely thrilled to see this. At first glance Joffe's paintings could be considered slightly grotesque but I think that's part of their beauty. I could go on and on about the artistic implications of her work, but I'll spare you...

It's nice to see that there are Freja fans everywhere from all walks of life. Now I feel like my fanaticism is legitimized in a way because I'm in good company and it's being addressed in Interview magazine. And I thought the part where Stella talks about the casting for her show was very illuminating. Freja has walked for her many times so I suppose we can call Stella a fan as well. :) Anyway, if you're interested I've scanned the full article below. Now we should keep our eyes out for more of Joffe's work!

Image Credits:, my scans


Anonymous said...

it's one more proof that there's an intensity in freja that captures the imagination and inspires. thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

She's indeed a fascinating model. Off topic, have you seen this another image from the shoot with Sasha? Any idea in what magazine this edit might appear.Also I'm wondering why it hasn't been posted at TFS, I'm sure most fans are craving for new pics.

Rrose Sélavy said...

^I haven't seen that! Thanks! The clothes and concept of the shoot look a little more avant-garde so I'm thinking something for one of the versions of Numero? Or V? I doubt its for a Vogue. We'll see though. :) Also, you should post it at tFS! If I get the chance I'll blog about it later. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I am not a member, I think you should or ask someone you knew. I just post here in your blog. Your regular anonymous poster.

Rrose Sélavy said...

Do you want to be a member? I can send you an invite if you'd like. Just e-mail me your e-mail. There is a link to my e-mail in my profile. :)

Anonymous said...

I was at the shoot! they looked really cool and space age-ish.don't let the shoes fool you, sasha is short and freja is about my height. i love your Blog btw!

Rrose Sélavy said...

^How wonderful! Did you just happen upon it or were you working on the shoot? Care to share anymore details? And thanks for the compliment. :)

Anonymous said...

unfortunately, i don't work in the model/fashion biz.I was with some friends and we stuck around long enough to recognize the girls. they were kind and lovely. they also looked uncomfortable in those shoes,it was kind of funny though.

somaya said...

i'm in love with your blog, i read it every day sometimes even twice. Freja is the most gorgeous androgynous woman of all time i think. She's authentic and incridibly versatile, she breaks the genders so well with her exquise cheek bones, son visage symétrique et son allure. Si emphatique... elle déloge tous mes penchants. Thank you for sharing these pictures and news about this lovely and odd androgyny. I heart what you do, its fantastic, merci.

SF said...

i honestly think Freja is too femme to be androgynous. she has a soft face and only the clothes and hair styling can truly make her androgynous.BTW, my cousin was @ the NYC shoot. he was one of the spectators.

Rrose Sélavy said...

To somaya: I never said thank you for your kind comment. I truly appreciate it, and thank you so much for reading!