The Basement ‘does art’
We caught up with Andrea a couple days after her successful exhibition ‘Still Life’, to find out a bit more about the 19 year old photographer.
So Andrea, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
My name is Andrea Kyriacou, and I’m a 19 year old aspiring Fashion Photographer who lives in London. Photography became a hobby of mine when I was studying Art GCSE and I got the opportunity to incorporate the medium into my coursework. I began to consider photography as a more serious career opportunity when I took short courses in the subject at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion in 2014.
Where do you take influences from?
Some examples include Alex Sainsbury, Robbert Mapplethorpe, Nick knight, David Sims and Guy Bourdin. They are all so different and unique but they all inspire me for different reasons. However, if I had to pick I would have to say one of my favourite designers and fashion photographers is Gosha Rubchinsky. It is intriguing how his clothing and images reflect the cross-cultural chaos that happed in his native Moscow following the collapse of communism. I love how he references that period; through his unique urban skate wear designs.
As a female streetwear enthusiast and photographer, how would you interpret woman’s role in the streetwear scene?
I think it’s great that more females are becoming active in the Streetwear scene, they have always been about but as it becomes more popular within today’s society naturally more and more will start appearing. For me, I don’t like to make the whole ‘females in streetwear’ a huge deal as in my opinion it doesn’t matter whether you’re a guy or a girl and i don’t think that people should treat us any different just because of the way we dress. It’s good to have opinions and ideas from both genders as it makes it more balanced and we can add ideas and thoughts that others perhaps haven’t brought up. Women haven’t really been represented that much in the past by big corporations but I have noticed that it is slowly becoming more popular as they are realising it’s a big movement. I’ve never really cared what others have thought about the way I dress and how I ‘look like a boy’ but I know many females have been disheartened and not had the confidence to look a certain way due to this. I feel like we are no longer being criticised by wearing ‘men’s clothing’ and it is becoming more accepted.
What is your exhibition, still life, about?
So the exhibition was called ‘Still Life’ and me alongside three other photographers (Antonia Diakou, Georgina Gyurik and videographer Edward Boz) created content from our own interpretation. Mine was based on the trend ‘Normcore’ which demonstrates that style can easily exist away from trends, catwalks and high price tags. The movement is based on non branded clothing first coined by New York Magazine. It is a very contemporary, modern outlook on fashion and in a way, timeless. I find it quite ironic how the Normcore trend started out as an ‘anti-fashion’ movement because the fashion industry had become highly saturated with branding and it was formed from trying to be ‘normal’ and not stand out, however it’s not become a popular fashion trend that is based on good colour pallets and styling.
As well as the contemporary fashion trend I wanted to explore the condition depersonalisation which is ‘a state in which one’s thoughts and feelings seem unreal or not to belong to oneself’. The element of the mask covering the person’s face creates a loss of identity and you are unable to distinguish a person’s thoughts or emotions. You are only able to see the highlighted bone structure of the face being the eye sockets, nose and top lip which adds to the mystery of the shoot. The mask also represents the lost soul of the person and shows how this condition leaves you detached from yourself. The mask acts as a symbol for the disorder and to an outsider, seems silly and can be easily taken off, however to an insider, they are trapped and blinded by a world that has become dark and surreal.
I have just started my next project which will be about the world of today and I’ll be documenting the changes in streetwear that has happened over roughly the past 20 years. It will be shot like a fashion editorial but with a documentary element. If all goes well, I may have another exhibition soon.
What does the basement mean to you?
The Basement means a lot to me. Not only is it one of the best and most trusted places to find any item of clothing you want, it has helped me meet a lot of people and has given me the opportunity to collaborative with many other creatives. It is like a second home to me and however much people want to say it’s ‘only a Facebook group’ I could not disagree more. This community has allowed my creative vision to become a reality with over 80 basement members attending my exhibition, some who I have never met before. Some even traveled from Yorkshire, Bath and Southampton to support me and I couldn’t feel more grateful, I know if I ever have an issue there will be someone there to help and guide me. I have made some lifetime friends and it can only get better. I cannot wait to see what the future brings.
Written by Tayler Prince-Fraser