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#031 ☼ Pop Surrealist: Neil Krug
New Poolsuite Mixtape • West Coast Escapism • Experimental Homeware
Blue Lagoon Breeze
With tasting notes of a new Poolsuite mixtape, New York’s 70s disco scene, a unique Brooklyn apartment, the Steve Jobs archive, West Coast escapism, a collection of niche interests, the 2023 Trend Report, an experimental homeware brand and a vibrant roastery in Vietnam.
The good life beckons once more!
CURATE WITH US
Our question this week is:
How do you disconnect while being connected?
Let us know in the comments 💭
Further down in this issue, we’ll share some icons of leisure discussed last week.
☼ Do you have a weirdly specific interest? Here’s a collection of YouTube channels featuring the nichest niches…
☼ Tecomate is an experimental homeware brand by Betual Benitez creating functional objects for the house that explore materiality and form
☼ Tour this eclectic condo in Brooklyn that exemplifies modern organic design — a particularly unique unit, atypical for New York style
☼ A conversation with legendary photographer Massimo Vitali about morning rituals, bicycles, cybertrucks, life, love and the lockdown...
☼ In comes the “Era Era”: Check out the 2023 Trend Report by SSENSE
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Pop Surrealist: Neil Krug
Growing up in Kansas helped cultivate the imagination of mesmerising photographer and art director Neil Krug. Of his early days and inspiration he recalls: “This was pre-cellphone, mostly pre-internet. I wanted to create the world I grew up watching in movies and on TV.”
A renowned name in the music industry who shoots mostly on film, Neil’s arresting photographs have graced a plethora of covers, the most recent being Lana del Rey’s latest album Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. The two developed a close creative relationship and shared vision over the years they’ve been working together, resulting in an intoxicating body of work and synergy between sound and image.
Neil reveals that an image for a cover can take over two years to make and he is responsible for the covers of a number of other artists like Bonobo, A$AP Rocky, Tame Impala and The Weeknd.
With a distinct style that draws inspiration from Japanese illustration to expressionist art, a Neil Krug image can be identified from a mile away. This week, allow yourself to be transported to an entirely different fantastical universe.
On his image-making process: “There has never been an exact process per se. All I’m ever trying to do is chase the fragmented daydream images that come to me. Taking bits of ideas that occur in idle moments and trying to turn them into tangible imagery. The process of getting finished product completely depends on what it is the project needs. I keep lot of notes and scribblings of things around the house, which is where things usually begin. Then I’ll do my best to shoot or make the imagery as quickly as possible before I overthink the whole thing.”
On his first project with longtime collaborator Lana del Rey: “Strangely, Lana had picked up a copy of Pulp Art Book years ago but was told that I was dead from a friend of hers, so it came as a surprise when someone at her label suggested that we work together on Ultraviolence […] The cover photograph of her getting out of the car was always one of our top selects. The image was taken in her driveway on our first day of shooting and stood out from the beginning. When we met, we discussed the idea of the cover being the reverse of what you would expect from such a bold album name.”
The 5 things Neil would choose to sustain his “creative mojo” for a year: 1) A year’s supply of killer food and coffee, 2) a salt water pool, 3) a dozen carrier pigeons, 4) a 3D printer that could generate any object I require, 5) a monk or guru on standby for the moment I lose my mind. “And doing without the internet for a year would be a blessing.”
On the role of music in his work: “Music has great importance for me, especially instrumental music. The more the mind has a chance to paint the landscape and fill in the gaps the better. For me, sounds without vocals become the ultimate tool for brainstorming and seeing something come to life in my mind. When the music has a vocal it’s harder to see the idea take shape. I don’t think that’s an uncommon feeling among creatives.”
On his career’s unexpectedness: “I love making images but never thought I would make photography a career in any capacity. In fact, photography is the only class I ever completely failed in high school. I remember my teacher passing along advice in the vein of "find another outlet for creative ideas.””
On the meaning of hope: “I try not to hope for anything. I just take the time to make what I want to happen, happen.”
COMMUNITY CURATED: ICONS OF LEISURE
Hop in the comments this week as we discuss ways to disconnect while being connected.
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