Friday, 24 July 2009

Introducing... Prudence Rees-Lee

This week, CLOG is proud to present an interview with Prudence Rees-Lee, the brains behind cult favourite PHILOS-o-FACE and more recently, Prudence & Horatio and even more recently, PHILOS-o-FACE: The Director's Cut, a special collaboration between Prue and the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). Big things are brewing for Prue and they can only get bigger!

To quote Prue, "Put your thinking face on" and read away. Happy Friday!

How did the idea for PHILOS-o-FACE develop and evolve? Was it a lightning bolt moment of inspiration, or was it something that you’ve been mulling over for a while?
I suppose it was more lightning bolt. I’d been fiddling around with resin and made a couple of brooches of my own face, they looked kind of creepy and weird, but really unique. I tried to think of a group of people who’s faces I could make who would look equally stoic and then then the name PHILOS-o-FACE and the idea of making philosophers (who let’s face it, are generally not a particularly pretty, or even recognisable lot) hit me.

The idea grew on me, because I realized that it could actually synthesize a lot of the things I wanted to do both creatively and professionally. There’s the oblivious craft side of things, but I’ve also used PHILOS-o-FACE to create site specific media installations and window displays, I’ve had to do some extra research about each philosopher, so I’ve actually been able to pursue the areas of interest from my arts degree. I’ve got plans about how the other branches of PHILOS-o-FACE can kind of develop, the one I’m really passionate about is creating a resource about philosophy and theory, something in between those awful comic book style idiot guides and dense academic papers.

How have things for you changed since launching PHILOS-o-FACE?
Things have changed quite a lot, especially recently. I’ve quit the day job to pursue this full time, so now my life kind of revolves around all the things you would expect to be involved in running a label. I spend a part of everyday in the studio, and the rest taking orders with shops, organizing commissions, meeting with designers and copy writers who are doing things for PHILOS-o-FACE, having long coffees at various Jerome’s establishments and longer vodkas at Hells Kitchen!

I can also do things like take an afternoon to go read magazines and count it as work. As I’m looking at putting together a publication I’m starting to hang out in book shops looking at book and magazine design, what kinds of paper I like, layouts and that kind of thing, it’s pretty rad!

Apart from PHILOS-o-FACE, what other exciting projects/things are you working on at the moment?
Well, now that everything has been done for the Director’s Cut series I’ll be focusing a bit more on tightening up Prudence and Horatio. Also, within PHILOS-o-FACE there are a number of things I’ll be working on over the next few months apart from the actual brooches. I’ll be developing a website with CC&Co, as well as gathering writers together for the publication, so the business will have a slightly different focus.

I’ve got a few other things which will be coming out this summer, but I’m afraid that at the moment it’s all top secret!

Prudence & Horatio was the next line you launched after PHILOS-o-FACE, could you please tell us a bit more about it?
I actually started making bird brooches before I started PHILOS-o-FACE, but didn’t release them till recently. I’d bought a whole stack of trading cards with old images of Australian birds on them. I really liked the idea of using Australian images, because I love nature and we really have the most amazing flora and fauna, so it’s a way of celebrating Australiana without doing something douchey like draping a flag over yourself at a music festival or getting an obnoxious tat of the southern cross of your chest.

As far as the name goes, well, I’m Prudence and, Horatio was my amazing dog I had as a teenager! He died quite a while ago but I still have lots of dreams about him and I loved him very much.

Who is your all-time favourite philosopher or director and why…
That is really difficult without going into a long discussion! The short answer would be that I like the existentialists and find Sartre in particular very seductive. I find the idea that we are completely free to create out lives very liberating, despite the inherent responsibility of this freedom. Also, he really lived by his convictions which I admire. If anyone is interested in the long answer I think they should probably email me!

As far as director, my opinion is probably a bit skewed right now as I’ve been staring at the all non stop for about the past month, but I’ll go with Jim Jarmusch (whose hotness is pictured below), because he’s a babe.

What was your first job?
My first job was spinning fairy floss at Chadstone shopping centre. I quite liked it, but would always fantasise how great my life would be if I got to be the girl who worked for the Pancake Parlour and dressed up as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, handing discount flyers out. My mum would come in and take my photo and I would scowl at her, so we’ve got all these photos of me covered in fairy floss looking very unhappy.

Editor's note (from yours truly, Kim): My first job was handing out flyers for Pancake Parlour on Bourke Street and I didn't get to wear an Alice outfit. I did get to wear an amazing t-shirt screenprinted with an image of a chimpanzee eating a tall stack of pancakes with the words "Any time is pancake time" next to it. Those were the days...

…and your dream job?
Hmmmm, this one is pretty good… too cheesy?

One thing you can’t live without?
I guess I could say love, or friends or family or something like that, but I’m going to go with my iphone, or cups. Life would be pretty difficult if there were no cups.

And finally, what are you really looking forward to in the near future?
Hitting the road. I recently got a car so I’m looking forward to going to a long solo drive up the coast and going skinny dipping somewhere warm and secluded.

No comments: