What mysterious cogs turn behind our ingrained mechanism of attraction? The primordial urge to explore could be our guide, but at what cost? We may use many currencies in the economy of exploration – we may cash in our perception of reality, our relationships or even our lives to attain new horizons, which may seem the ultimate price to some.
The truth is, in artistic endeavours, we can shed the shackles of flesh-form living within the mind and be guided by a vision toward enlightenment. Our fantastical and physical realities intertwine in the ultimate song and dance of the heart and soul. Perhaps the answers to all of our questions lay not only in our minds, but “suspended somewhere in the outer galaxies and at the bottom of our own oceans” as visionary Wojtek describes in his mysterious manifest.
Enter ENTITEE.UK – Wojtek’s new moniker for his multidimensional artistic pursuits. Let us find out what happens when mask makers, photographers, UV painters, models, dancers, writers and laser companies all come together to explore the fathoms of our many realities…
Fletch: Hi Wojtek. The initial glimpses into this new project are stunning to behold. I think you touched on the initial inspiration well in your own blog with the phrase: “threaten our perception of beauty”. Could you possibly expand on this concept as related to your new venture? Of course the bio-luminescent deep sea creatures relate to this…
Fletch: There are many interesting parallels that unfold in your description of the creative process. For example, when you discovered that raincoats would provide the polymorphic form needed for the shoot. Raincoats protect us from water – the very element we are vulnerable in while the inspirational creatures for this project thrive. It is interesting to me that protective everyday gear was repurposed to hide the human and let the creature take form.
Wojtek: You could not word it better. I wanted to use outfits that had a dual form. The whole project is based on clashing opposites – the balance between ugliness and beauty, plastic combined with beautiful colourful paintings, hard inhuman masks with the supple bodies of the dancers.
The idea of using raincoats in a way reconnects the vision back to its roots – they shield beings from outer danger as well as extending the masks to create a new dimension. Moving in those coats is clumsy and wooden, that’s why I insisted on using dancers as models, to bring back the soul and a bit of softness.
Fletch: “During the day innocent painting would turn into glowing magic at night… lines, dots, sprays and sponges… raincoats turned into canvas for this eerie trip.” – This phenomenon must have been so inspiring to watch and I imagine the characters really came to life as the glow set in and the atmosphere shifted. I love the juxtaposition of bedazzling lights luring in potential prey – beauty baiting the hook – the age-old lure. Only in this project, the lure is of the new and unseen. Do you have any insight into this?
Wojtek: Being an artist I always search for new ways of expression. When I dreamt of this project for the first time months ago, I knew I wanted to communicate using bright colours. Then I started experimenting with FLUO paints and that completely took my perception of colour to a new level. I started digging into the subject of glow in nature and it brought back my ancient knowledge from biology classes. I wanted to express beauty in a new dirtier-yet-shining way.
Every time I create a new design, I challenge it in a new environment. I knew this was not a fashion topic. I wanted to make it as abstract as it possibly could be – using photography rather than Photoshop™. When I met Jan and he shared his side of story into that vision, I knew we were going to look into a Black Hole… and neither of us knew what we would find there.
Fletch: Of course, Steve Wintercroft’s mysteriously menacing mask set was a component in the beautifully usettling formula. This collaboration seemed intuitive – a cross pollination of inspiration perhaps? Could you reveal anything about the working relationship?
Wojtek: I got acquainted with Steve’s masks last year. I was directing a fashion shoot and wanted to add a new edge to it. I knew the feel of the shoot. It was simple fashion idea, but with a wacky edge. I wanted to make the humans faceless, while still having a strong appearance of their heads. So after days of research I come across Wintercroft. I printed all the masks on gold paper, then gold-sprayed them and added gold glitter. I wanted clean, sharp-yet-beautiful timeless sculptures rather paper masks.
Since then I have gotten to know Steve better and we seemed to open each other a new set of doors – pushing ourselves in new directions. It felt amazing when we had our initial chat and Steve mentioned more traditional designs. I loved the new Skull Horn Mask but I knew intuitively we needed something different.
It took some convincing, but he trusted my creature vision and then took it to new levels – from the depths of the oceans and out into the universe. Jan added his great skill and laser vision, Elizabeth painted our dancers’ faces and they gave us their fragility. I did not want to use pro models for a few reasons – one being that I wanted that feeling of being lost on the set, pushed into poses, so it added to the tension. Then they opened up and blossomed in the dance set images.
Fletch: You seem to be a master of getting many different people of many different disciplines together under one vision. This is a remarkable achievement and must have been a monumental effort. How did you maintain course with painters, actors, dancers, photographers and even laser technicians getting together on the day for the shoot? Did each component lead off into a different creative tributary or was it fairly well planned before they arrived? I imagine some pretty amazing, possibly unforeseen moments happened on the day? The photos are jaw-dropping…
Wojtek: Thank you. It was long process and there were moments where I was losing faith in the outcome. I had a strong vision and each participant received a few mood boards along the way. However, I always encouraged each creative to bring their soul into the project. I wanted our net to expand in ideas – Jan with the Lasers and the mood, Elizabeth with her make up idea, which verged on face-painting, but being a top fashion artist, she used elements of that for completely outstanding effects. Ailish, the lady behind lasers, was amazing. She was participating in every moment of the shoot. Suggesting shapes, moods and various exposures. It was magical. I tried to stay focused across the whole day to ensure we got the shots I needed, but sometimes the music, lack of light, smoke and UV lights were almost psychedelic.
Fletch: Finally, Wojtek, thank you for the time and the inspiration. Can you reveal what the next phase of this project is… or possibly another looming on the horizon?
Wojtek: Thank you Fletch. I will be launching my ENTITEE.UK website with the whole photoshoot storyline adding to it over time. There will be a blog about the process. ENTITEE is my platform for expression and creation and to seek and collaborate with people I admire. I want it to be a place where music, theatre and performance meet.
My dream and wish is to work with people that will open new doors for my imagination and I grant it with the vision suitable for it. What’s next… I am obsessed with lasers and planning on doing an installation/exhibition that would cross all musses in one place and time.
Keep your fingers crossed 🙂
Art direction and post production: ENTITEE.UK
Masks: Wintercroft Masks
Garments and mask painting: Hand Painted Club
Photography: Jan Masny
Make up: Elizabeth Hsieh
Models: Yvette Claudine Claireaux, Ricardo Cecílio
Lasers: Laser Hire London
Studio: Plough Studios