Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prospero Vega

This months cover by K.K.W,
with layout by Aleksandar Ares.
Original photo by Ivan Durgutovski.

The first time I heard Prospero Vega was at MC gallery [its short-lived open mic series], his spoken-word verses were fierce, raw and filled with a passionate observation for what he perceives. You either liked his writing for what it was, were indifferent, or hated him & it.  

Photo by K.K.W. 
Recently he's had 2 short stories published in a collection called Bushwick Nightz. Both are well-crafted, leading you through the poignant recollection of one man's view of a neighborhood he used to know.

"I don't know what films these people watch, what books they read, or how many languages their bulldog can nod to in Maria Hernandez Park. It's all gotten too fucked up. Is it the drugs? Again? Jesus I once pulled an all-nighter with a bunch of hipsters that got so high they made one guy take his pants off at 9 in the morning and shoved it in a microwave in order to cook rock residue from a twenty-year old bag..." [1]

Prospero Vega, photo courtesy of the writer.
A literal recounting of things passed, but also a personal account of how, who and changes within an area, placed against the arrival of interlopers. Straight forward in its honesty while looking back at everyday themes lost in the gentle, duplicitous fog of gentrification. Delivered with genuine frustration, moments of nostalgia laid bare for a public that just might learn something. 

"...I don't see them taking pictures with the hookers on Cypress and Willoughby or introducing them to their coke dealers or the teenage hooligans that spit at the floor whenever they walk by Bodega bar at 2am..." [2]

Prospero Vega, photo courtesy of the writer. 

Vega never tries to make Bushwick into something its not, he gives you what new-comers, hipsters, and everybody else may not want to see, or pretends isn't there. His vicious examining of interlopers and locals alike alludes to the heart of the matter; Its a rock and a fucking hard place. How do you love a place thats riddled with problems, yet have to for the sake of integrity, while slowly seeing it become something worse? You find middle ground without closing your eyes. Speak, write, scrawl, scream, take a stand, express urself and hope it makes even a marginal fucking difference. Much like reading, Prospero Vega is fundamental.   
Photo by K.K.W. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


This months by Aleksandar Ares,
with layout & original photo by K.K.W.
On the cover, Filip Panovski. 
Art and Animals: fighting the good fight. By K.K.W.
All art work by Ruzica (1-5)

Prior to meeting her in person for the first time [Skopje, of April 2014], we had been connected on Facebook, although I knew little about her. After meeting in the city center I was surprised at her passionate caring for animals, and more so at her visual creativity. 
Ruzica [which means Rose].
Photo courtesy of the artist,
editing by K.K.W
She seemed the type of person destined for animal rights activism, having been caring for animals since childhood [collecting them as well]. Apparently she heard a lamb being killed for Easter and vomited; choosing through this trauma never to eat meat again. And given the conservative nature of her country [The Republic of Macedonia], this was & still is quite difficult in many ways. 
Untitled #1, image courtesy of the artist.
Resolving to help improve the appalling situation of animal rights and care, she recently joined Anima Mundi Organization [based in Skopje].  "We are animal rights activists trying to raise awareness in our conservative society. It’s a slow and hard process, but I’m more than motivated. It’s so rewarding. The satisfaction I feel when I get one of my foster kids adopted, or I hear one of my recent friends stopped eating meat, stopped wearing leather… My heart is filled. I think this is my calling." Ruzica  has also been working with foster children and some from the Roma part of her society [Gypsies]. All of this is no easy task and certainly takes a staggering amount of dedication on her part.   
Untitled #2, image courtesy of the artist.
When it comes to art and creativity she told me "..I’ll blame the genes for this one, I’ve always known I will be an artist of some kind." She one two first prizes in an international drawing & painting contest early on, attended the state high school of applied arts, then went to university in Sofia Bulgaria. Being a movie addict she began to move towards costume design, having an obvious eye for detail, a flair for style and fashion ("... I’m a movie addict and a huge fan of Milena Canonero A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Marie Antoinette…It was somehow logical..."). With a simple illustrated style she creates vivid, interesting designs that could certainly be amazing costumes for screen, stage, a day spent lounging or an evening out. Her ink-pen & color approach gives a lively 3-D feel to what's only 2-D [a piece of paper]. 
Untitled #3, image courtesy of the artist.
"..Unfortunately Macedonia is a small country so we are lucky if there are three movies produced annually. You can imagine the chances of getting the work as a costume designer. Slim." Her portrait drawings? Stunning in their realism, elegant in the line work. Each one shows not just an ability to draw what she see, but something of the essence of the subjects. Each one seems like a moment, not frozen in time, but always about to move and come to life. 
Untitled #4, image courtesy of the artist.
"Now, I’ve started doing illustrations and anything that has to do with drawing, sketching, short-term projects. From photography to animation. I am interested in everything and slowly learning. Even worked as a sculptor for a brief period of time. I’m all over the place, because of my character and the fact that I live in Mkd. You just have to adjust."
Untitled #5, image courtesy of the artist.
Ruzica - digital art by K.K.W,
original photo of Ruzica courtesy of the artist.
If you would like to know more, go "Art is the reason, art is the way".

Friday, September 5, 2014

Filip Panovski

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares,
with layout & original photo by K.K.W.
On the cover, Filip Panovski. 
"Electric Reptility" & the R-complex; video-art by Panovski. By K.K.W
Filip Panovski, photo by K.K.W
There's a retro-primitive feel to the video - a strange connection to an ancient past
that has been forgotten by the common man, let lurks in subconscious of some.
It creates a fine line between art and idolatry; a subjective moodiness that shifts from light to dark, then back again. 
Still-shot from "Electric Reptility".
Photo by K.K.W, courtesy of the artist. 
While man in the generic sense considers itself superior, he longs [secretly] to return to the primitive; after all, the "reptilian brain"/R-complex [the brain stem] in humans is very similar with the brains of reptiles. And though mankind is warm-blooded, we often behave in a "cold-blooded" way that goes against the nature of civilization. The sculpture features a humanoid face with a body thats not totally reptilian, nor fully human, as it clings to what appears to be 3 books. Its mute, pensive, almost expressionless face stares forward with complete impunity.
Still-shot from "Electric Reptility".
Photo by K.K.W, courtesy of the artist.
Panovski's directing and editing is both subtle in its style yet powerful, which parallels the simplicity of the sculpture. The camera circles the subject like the members of a cult gathering around the icon of their deity. The strange movement 
from light to dark permeates the visuals like the first rising signs, of an acid-frenzy. Mirjana Nedeva's camera control is hypnotic, drawing you towards the sculpture, reinforcing the intensity and the moody feel. She certainly has a lot of skill. The music works in pace with the visuals, holding the other aspects together; an elegant-electronic, slightly-somber, pulsating, dark, digital-wave. 
Still-shot from "Electric Reptility".
Photo by K.K.W, courtesy of the artist.
Showing remarkable depth, skill and vision, "Electric Reptility" is a multi-layered, minimalist work that speaks in volumes. Its creativity simplicity is matched and parallel's the intriguing, and disturbing aspects its subconscious meaning. 

If you would like to know more, & or watch the video, go to: 'Art is the reason, art is the way'

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fani Hristova

This months cover by K.K.W,
with layout by Aleksandar Ares.
Original photo by Ivan Durgutovski. 
Q&A with Fani Hristova. By K.K.W

Recently returned from a gig in Switzerland, and before that Ios, Greece, she is one of the few DJ's who have had gig's many other countries. One of the best in her country, coming from a very eclectic musical upbringing, which is at the core of her abilities making her one of the most interesting people contemporary Macedonia.  

Fani Hristova. Image courtesy of
Miss Hristova. 
K.K.W: At what point in your life did you really begin to feel & be drawn to music?

F.H: Music is part of my life since ever. Being raised in a family where music is an everyday thing, I can’t really say that I remember specifically when I was enchanted by the music for the first time. Even if we talk about the music that I play, I would say the same. In my home we listen to Soul and Jazz, so I guess it’s not surprising at all that I chose Hip-Hop.

DJ Fani @ work. Image courtesy of
Miss Hristova. 
K.K.W: Hip-hop has spread all over the world, so when did you first start to get into it?

F.H: When I first heard The Fugees, back in 1996, I knew that this is my music! Our family friends from USA visited an they brought me a few tapes, and there it was this single ["Killing me softly"]. And few years after, I got one compilation CD, with some summer hits, and the only song that catch my ear was Nas’ “You can hate me now”. It was clear that I’ll go in that direction.

Modeling for Elena Luka,
photo courtesy of Miss Hristova. 
K.K.W: When did you become interested in being a DJ, was there someone or something that made do it?

F.H: With the fact that I already was into Hip-hop, I thought Macedonia missed this kind of music/parties even though it’s true what you said, Hip-hop was already spread all over the world. And I simply tried playing it - and It happened.

K.K.W: Your first gig, what was it like?

F.H: Even though it was my first, I still can put it in my  'Top 3 gigs'. Because it was Monday, and nobody here was making parties Monday. But very soon after I started, the same evening, the word was spread and a lot of people came. And that didn’t happen because of me, but because of the music. Hip-hop, ladies and gentleman.

K.K.W: Given that its probably tough for a female DJ anywhere, what about in Macedonia?

F.H: When I started, I was the only female Hip-hop DJ here. And I never see it as a man’s job, which is still my opinion. It was never tough for me. The only thing that matters here is: you have to really know and love this music, and be sure that you will make people have fun. This is my only rule for these 15 years I’m a DJ. I’m saying to myself: Fani, you are not aloud to go home, before you make the best party!

K.K.W: Have you ever thought of yourself as medium [or vessel] for the music,
like a conduit through which it flows into the people?

F.H: Yes. Like every other person, I have my good and my bad days, but I lock my mood when I’m leaving home. I have to be the medium when I enter in the club.

K.K.W: What were some of your favorite gigs, that you remember?

F.H: As I said my first one. Then the Halloween party in Basel, Switzerland 4 years ago, and my last party in Ios, Greece, this summer. But then it’s not fair to pick just few of them, because I enjoy all of my parties. So many memories…

K.K.W: Traveling for gigs is always tough, and gives you a few stories to tell, do you have any good or bad details to share?

F.H: Yes! Once I met a very nice guy on the plane, we had a nice conversation, he helped me with my luggage… very romantic. And after one month we started a relationship! Then once, coming back from a Red Bull party in Kosovo, they stop me before the border, from the routing control. They took my passport and didn’t want to give me back, because they thought that I am a Go Go dancer. In their perception it was impossible for a DJ to look like that and be so tall and skinny! Then my manager step up and show them my equipment, so they let me go. But I have millions situations…who knows, maybe one day I will put them in a book.

K.K.W: Have you ever considered yourself an example for a modern contemporary Macedonia?

F.H: Of course, but I keep the old school education and family values I have.

DJ Fani @ work. Image courtesy of
Miss Hristova. 
K.K.W: I know your seriously into Hip-hop & Rap, so what are some of your favorite albums?

F.H: Having the classical music education, I like the classic music, and also Jazz and Soul. But here are some of my favorite albums; 

Notorius B.I.G – Ready to die
Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black-Star
Wu tang - Forever
The roots - Phrenology 
Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Jay Z – The blueprint 

Hard @ rest, Fani Hristova.
Photo courtesy of Miss Hristova. 
If you would like to know more, go 'Art is the reason, art is the way'

Kasiopeja Naumoska

This months cover by K.K.W,
with layout by Aleksandar Ares.
Original photo by Ivan Durgutovski. 
A visual stream of consciousness: Kasiopeja Naumoska. By K.K.W 
Kasiopeja Naumoska. Photo courtesy of the artist.
For all the talk of abstract, expressionism, post this, post that, its all for not. There are those that paint what they see & others who paint what they feel, or a combination of the two. Then there are the few who create from some place else;
a voice inside the mind, or part of their soul.
Mr. Paradise oil on canvas 25 x 25 cm 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
There's a darkness that hovers close to the light in Kasiopeja's paintings, beauty marred by the pain of reality. A story is told in 2-dimensional fury leaving open the door to the 3rd dimension. Sometimes bold lines are placed with intensity, accentuated by fierce quick brush-strokes. Figures who's forms are simply defined, faces that seem to tell a story and yet have only the beginnings of individuality - hidden from all [maybe even themselves]. Like Prometheus chained, their voices are heard only by those who can understand the pain, anger and the beauty of it.
Me and no one - oil on canvas 20x25 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
There's a tenderness that permeates one of her strongest pieces; framed by dark and muted colors on the left, with burst of fire on the right [Never more]. No sun although there is light, a warmth flows out from the sadness of it, a feeling of regret or sorrow on the face of the figure. Has its world been reduced to ash like that of Carthage? Or seen heaven scorched when the Adversary was defeated & fell quick like lighting? If the bird it holds is a crow, perhaps the figure feels sorrow because of the message it brings. Whatever the reason, its a fantastic painting full of mystery, feeling and deeper meaning. 
NEVER MORE 80x80 cm, oil on canvas 2014 Image courtesy of the artist.
Kasiopeja's paintings are an amazing example of contemporary visual-art from The Republic of Macedonia. Vivid and muted colors fused with intense lines, thick layers of paint along with light strokes create worlds that are somewhat alien, and yet oddly familiar. 

If you would like to know more, go Or to make further inquiries about a purchase: 'Art is the reason, art is the way' 

Ivan Durgutovski: Reinvention & Satire

This months cover by K.K.W,
with layout by Aleksandar Ares.
Original photo by Ivan Durgutovski. 
Digital vandalism, or social critique? I, Durgutovski. By K.K.W
Ivan Durgutovski, photo courtesy of the artist. 
On average, there are usually many creative individuals who are gifted; though few who have wit to match, and the ability to point a subtle critical finger at society with style. Born under the sign of Virgo, his planet being Mercury and his element being earth, explains a great deal about his creativity. A heightened sense for the intangible, swift in his ability to communicate it, and yet very much grounded in matters of the here and now.
From the project - Metaphysics:
A typographic diary
on Beehance.
by Ivan Durgutovski. 
One of his most striking body of work [William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Reinvented], perhaps meant only for Facebook is probably his most controversial. At a first look, even with a translation, it seems extremely simple, and without much creativity on his part.
"What about a fuck". From the album
William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Reinvented.
Image courtesy of the artist. 
Although thats why it resonates as an interesting example of contemporary - Macedonian Pop-art. In todays world, traditional forms of creativity often take a back-seat [are less important] to cleverness through an idea and simplicity. Just look at "Split Rocker" by Jeff Koons.
"Its Branko's fault".  From the album
William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Reinvented.
Image courtesy of the artist.
Extracted from the society he lives in, the words are those in vogue; things overheard and lamented, along with matters of politics having to do with his country's position. 
"Rednecks man"From the album 
William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Reinvented. 
Image courtesy of the artist.
While Bouguereau's work is stunning in its realism, its reinvention's of classical themes, touched by an obsessive bourgeois need for greatness & grandeur. This is an aspect of almost every society that belies the full reality. 

"C'mon". "Wait, I'm acting crazy [like a fool]"
From the album 

William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Reinvented. 
Image courtesy of the artist.
Durgutovski brings these two elements together, creating an elegant mockery of the establishment and the less-then cultured aspects of his society [& most others] . In a way he has also tapped into the contempt and ridicule that was directed at Bouguereau's work, even in his own time by the impressionists & the avant garde. 
"Very good, indeed". From the album 
William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Reinvented. Image courtesy of the artist.
"Reproductions of a pastoral myth"
By Patrice Renne Washington.
Image courtesy of the artist.
His work is very similar to Patrice Renee Washington's work [Reproductions of a Pastoral Mythfor the exhibition "Re: Purposed".  And while their approach and the end result is different, the idea is much the same. 

Aside from social commentary, Durgutovski is an award-winning graphic artist, and a photographer. His creativity runs the gamut from abstract to realism, and minimalism. He's certainly one of the great examples of visual artists in The Republic Of Macedonia; fully intent on self-expression, visual experimentation and social criticism.  

"Look at her", "She is wearing high-heels on the beach again"
From the album 
William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Reinvented. 
Image courtesy of the artist.
From the project - "The day I stopped time"
by Ivan Durgutovski. Image courtesy of the artist. 
If you would like to know more, go 'Art is the reason, art is the way'

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A tale of 2 cities

This months cover by K.K.W,
with layout by Aleksandar Ares.
Original "Street-art" found on Canal street,
near Walker street (downtown Manhattan),
artist unknown
From the project Rise Of The Young Ones: A tale of 2 cities. Photography & text by K.K.W

Every city see's the rise (figuratively) of many things that shape it and becomes a precedent for further change. However, architecture is one of the few aspects of a city that rises literally, figuratively, alters the landscape, affects the lives of many, and the perception of the city as a whole. As so many buildings are now constructed with large amounts of glass (or some kind of semi-reflective material), this makes for a considerably different visual subject.
Watch like a hawk, move like a shadow. 
What we create, reflects aspects of who and what we are. In this way we mimic the creative force and nature, which is not one but many things. Showing a dim reflection - an equal opposite - this aspect of modern architecture is a disturbing & beautiful example of human nature. There was never one city, but many (even within one).