Interview... Julian Klincewicz
Julian Klincewicz is one of those people who has so many talents—artist, musician, videographer, fashion designer, skater—that it’s hard to choose just one that he is best at. There’s a strong argument for his intimate, lo-fi film work, a case supported by his high-calibre collaborators: Gosha Rubchinskiy, Acne Studios, Eckhaus Latta and Kanye West.
But to simply define Klincewicz as a talented filmmaker would ignore a considerable body of artwork, which he has exhibited in Tokyo and San Diego; remarkable photography that captures the essence of contemporary Russian youth culture; a fashion collection that blends elements of streetwear and re-calibrated workwear; and a slew of records that range from delicate and haunting to upliftingly poppy.
In many ways, Klincewicz is representative of a new era of creative multi-hyphenates: call it the inquisitiveness of youth, but it’s rather dull in 2017 to limit yourself to just one speciality. And Julian is the perfect example of the benefits of this approach, blending his interests, from fashion to skate to film, into one holistic vision that manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.
We caught up with the Klincewicz to chat about working with Gosha, skating and operating in a post-Trump world.
For those that don’t know, can you quickly introduce yourself?
Of course! I’m Julian Istvan Geza Klincewicz, but most people just call me Julian. I’m an artist & I work in a lot of different mediums, but recently a lot of what I’ve done, or what gets seen the most, are my videos.
Where are you currently?
Currently I’m on the airplane to Iceland. I’m shooting a personal project out here with my friend Grace, which I’m super excited about because it’s one of the first projects I’ve done in a while that’s not related to any company or any other projects, and we’ve had the idea to do it for almost a year—and now it’s finally happening.
What has been keeping you occupied of late?
Oh boy… Depends on how recent late is. I did a few videos with Calvin Klein, I’m art directing / creative directing a good friend’s new album—so I’ve been super busy working on the creative concept & artwork for that.
I’ve been doing a lot of video projects that I’m super excited about—I think they’re quite different from anything I’ve done before—so I’ve been prepping for all of them to come out as well.
You recently worked with Acne and Gosha Rubchinskiy on fashion films. What’s the process like for working with these brands? Are you given a lot of creative freedom?
I really think so—on almost every project I’ve ever gotten to do I feel like I have a lot of creative freedom. If I didn’t have that, I don’t think the work would be very good or honest. For me, it’s about creating a piece of art. Even if it’s a backstage video for a runway show, to me it’s about finding the moments that move me emotionally—the colours, whatever it is—and trying to convey that beauty to people in an interesting way. So much of it comes down to timing with inspiration too, which can make things really tricky.
I know myself well enough to know that if I try to take a project or work with a brand or artist that I’m not 110% inspired by, that I don’t understand on some level or crave understanding from—I won’t be able to make the best thing I can, and that’s not fair to anyone. So I try to really make sure to just work on things that really mean something to me. Both Gosha & Acne Studios reflect that to me.
At the tail end of last year you produced a fashion show in your hometown. Any plans on turning that into a proper brand?
Oh boy haha. Yes, but not sure about timing yet. With the runway show I did—it was really about creating an experience, reflecting back a piece of my world to an audience that normally wouldn’t have access or a welcoming window into that world. I’d love to develop Mimosa Pudica slowly into a real brand—I’m working on it all the time, but the thing is that I really don’t want to put anything out that’s not the best quality it could be, and currently I’m having a lot of trouble doing really good production, so I’d rather wait until I can produce the pieces I really want to make, the right way.
You said in your interview with Dazed that your goal for this year was to film a great skate part. How is that progressing?
Very true! It’s a bit slower than I’d hoped—also I just moved to NYC in December, so not the best timing to start filming a skate part haha. But I’ve been going out skating a bit on all the warm sunny days, just starting to get back in the groove of it. I filmed a few tricks on my last trip out to LA though!
Let’s talk about your art. It tends to revolve around themes of empathy interacting with physical objects. How do you see yourself progressing that idea in 2017?
I think that’s been a super central theme for my work thus far. Empathy, I think, is maybe one of the guiding forces in my life—in and outside of art.
I think with the last body of work I was creating, “Hey, I like you”, it was very much about objects—or I should say, it is very much about the relationship or interactions humans crave from other people, but which can be very hard to find. I’ve done three different iterations of the work so far—two exhibitions, and the runway show. I have two more I want to show—and by the last one it departs almost fully from objects.
In other areas—say video work—I think it’s become a bit more psychedelic, or dreamy… With these new videos that’ll be coming out, to me they’re more like paintings, or poetry in motion… I don’t really know how to describe them, but it’s about reality—only imagined a little bit sweeter than it often is.
Your recent exhibition/fashion show had a lot of pieces that were designed to bring happiness to the viewer: “things every person should hear”. Do you think that art has a significant role to play in how we deal with, and make sense of 2017, in a post-Trump world?
I think this sort of goes back to empathy… I think art is a really great, powerful & attractive (and by attractive I don’t necessarily mean beautiful—but I mean that art tends to be something people gravitate towards to help make sense of tricky situations…) way to abstract and then understand what’s happening in the individual’s world, and the world around them. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me I think a lot about how my everyday interactions—say giving my seat up on the subway to someone else—that’s often way more important to me than creating a big political statement about Trump. I think my response to a human whose core values seem to be hatred, separation, fear, is to do what I can to combat that with love. Simple as that—try to be a nicer person than you think you can be, strive to make people feel as good as you wish other people helped to make you feel. If you want to reflect that in your artwork, I think that’s really great too. You need negativity to remind you how important it is to be positive.
What was the last thing you saw/heard (skate part/song/film/artwork) that really inspired you?
A conversation with my friend Nini. Also Jans F by Collier Schore.
And finally, what’s next?
Breakfast, and a shower.