I’ve had the privilege of knowing Maria Delakou aka Maradinn for a couple of years now and I must admit that she’s one of my favorite young greek photographers. Genuine, sweet and multitalented, Maria has an amazing talent in capturing fresh visuals that take your breath away. I’m sure you’ll enjoy her interview!

Hello Maria, I’m so happy to have you in EyeCandies. Can you remember the first time you realized your fascination with photography?

First time? YES and no. Because it cannot be compared with the second one!

So the first time I got excited with photography was at the age of 14-15 through an assignment I had to complete for my photography class in High School. I shot on b&w film with my dad's old Zenit camera and it was so aaawesome! I still have this camera & the prints that gave me the rare grade of 19 for my class !

But then I wanted to be a painter cause I always loved to paint since I can remember and after that I wanted to study Fashion Design and I did, for 1 year. But I was too lazy to sow, so I gave it up and after that I studied Graphic Design for 1 more year, which I really loved too and fortunately got my diploma on it. So as you can see, I forgot about it for some years.

The time that it really hit me was 3 years ago when I discovered amazing photography through internet ! So much talent out there! I was bloooown away !!!!

Decided that this is what I want to do ! So I raised money, bought my first dslr camera [which I still shoot with lol]. I taught myself how and here I am!

Photography is pure magic, u know ! I get so amazed by the fact that every time I shoot someone I’m taking a part of them , a part that they only gave to me at that particular moment when I clicked and baaaaam! A moment in eternity captured !  Really cool, right ? :D

You experiment with self portraits. What are you trying to express this way?

Absolutely nothing! Some of them of-course may express others, but for now the reason I shoot self portraits is not because I want to express something through them.

I shoot self portraits every time I want to try something new: a light setup , a new camera setup, a weird face expression or makeup or a new way to edit a photo and at the time I may have no one to work with me. So I use “me”!

If you see me in person though you will understand that it is not really me the person you see in my self-shots but the one that lives inside my lens.
Fashion, glamour, beauty, are some of the fields you’re interested in. What are the basic rules for a successful photo shooting session?

I would say basic rule is have no rules - and the right thing to do is to do everything wrong!

Rules cannot exist when we re talking about creativity and a successful photo shooting is all about that!

If you were to have your photo portrait taken, which photographer would you choose and why?

When I read this question I started typing the reason I could never choose just one cause I’m obsessed with so many amazing photographers and a story about how I would gather them all 2gether for a photo orgy! But finally I would say it is Annie Leibovitz and the reason is because that’s the name I caught in the bowl.

Yes I seriously wrote the names on little papers and drew one.
Inspiration. What triggers your creative mood?

My depression.

Inspiration comes from people around me, nature, colors, fashion, music, memories, love, hate, tv, a freakin fly that bugs me while I’m enjoying the sun may inspire me for a photoshoot! Everything!

But what triggers me to get back in action, are the times that I want to jump back up from the well! And those are the days that I get reeally really creative!

If Fashion and Glamour were 2 people. How would you describe them?

Glamour would be a beauty pageant girl & Fashion would be a crazy ass bitch!


What was your last most exciting project? Give us some info

I had 2 exciting projects lately.

First one, was a test-shoot I did with one of the best models I’ve shot so far, the sweet Anastasia. We were just the 2 of us ,la la, we shot outdoors which is a thing I love to do and since I finished my studio I don’t as often as I would want to, and the outcome pleased me 100% maybe more!

Second one was with my beautiful friend Penelope and the amazing clothes of a new very talented designer and friend Evelina Litina. I couldn't ask for more that day: 5 crazy girls in the studio “working” 2gether! It was perfect! I had an amazing model, great clothes, awesome makeup, crazy hair, it was the very first time I had a complete photoshoot instead of trying to do everything on my own. Thank God for my talented friends!
Use a link to describe your current mood


I know, I know I must be 12 again !

What can we find you doing when not photographing? Your hobbies?

When I m not working my hobby is photography! Photography when I m doing it as a job is a completely different thing for me, so I still count it as one of my hobbies.

Another thing is singing and lately I like to make stuff for the decoration of my studio and clothes out of weird materials to dress my models.
And last but not least, can you give us a sneak peak of your future plans?

Hmmm future plans are not much.

But if these count for plans, first thing is I want to become the best photographer I can be & finally stop dreaming about my dreams and start chasing them to make them come true!

Thank you Maria for your participation!

I thank you Aphro! <3
Cheers to all the readers and the best of success to EYECANDIES!

LINKS: […]

- http://www.dripbook.com/MaRaDinn

- http://www.Maradinn.deviantart.com
I met Hugh Rose aka DRED through Facebook and his artwork caught my eye right from the start! Character design, futuristic icons combined with reoccurring intricate patterns and a vivid visual imagination are the main elements of his creations. Here is what he shared with me:

Hello Hugh and welcome to EyeCandies. Tell us how many years have you been active in the art scene and how did you start?

I have been drawing since I was very young but at that time I didn’t think of it as art, I was just amused by the process of designing spaceships and characters to use in stories and games. I wanted to be a musician when I was in my teens, but I decided that I had more ability in art, so when I was 18 I started art college in Guernsey. I then progressed to The Institute of the Arts London, and studied sculpture. My art education was very concept-based, and at the time I was very influenced by the art of the Conceptualists and Minimalists, but by the final year I felt like I was going down the wrong path. I have been out of art college for 2 years now and have rebuilt my style from the ground up. I see my current work as a kind of synthesis of the more dry, concept-based work I made at college and the instinctive, imaginative drawings I made as a child, and I have noticed that there are themes and ideas that are present in all of my work. I’d say I’ve been officially active for about 2 years, but I’ve really taken my time to develop the work I am currently making, so I suppose you could call me a late bloomer.

Your designs are very detailed and I feel you have a thing for patterns. What inspires you and what do you want to express through your artwork?

I use a lot of patterns because they help me to absorb myself in the activity of making a piece of work, and because they relate to rhythm, which I feel is central to my understanding of composition and line. It’s a very hypnotic way of working and it helps me to be ‘in the moment’. All of my inspiration comes from the process, I like to see each drawing as a little adventure into the unknown, and I’d like the viewer to be able to experience that journey by looking at the work. I’ve described my work in the past as making a visual labyrinth in which the viewer gets lost, and finds their way out again. In general, I guess I like to appeal to people’s more childlike sensibilities.

What about graffiti? Do you still do murals and what is your opinion about street art in general?

Graffiti and spray-painting is just really good fun, especially in the summer, and working outside enables you to have contact with people as they watch you work, which is always very interesting, so I think I will always keep doing it. I should say that I have never been a graffiti artist; I live on a small island and you just can’t get away with painting illegally, but I love spray paint as a material, and I have been very influenced by learning the basics of letterforms and colour by copying pieces from ‘Subway Art’ by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant as a youngster.

A lot of my favourite artists are street artists, but I feel like street art as a movement is on the verge of turning into something different; it’s an exciting time.

On to another creative field you’re interested in. Customized vinyl toys! Can you talk to us about the creative procedure?

I use Uni POSCA markers and, more recently, Games Workshop model paints. Like all of my work, I prefer not to plan anything at all, I’m most comfortable just starting with the face and responding to the result. In fact, my best work has usually come about when a piece has started badly, and I have had to work very hard to rescue it. My tutor at college used to say “If you want to learn to swim, jump into the pool”. I don’t like to pussyfoot around a piece of work by sketching it out and planning it, I just jump in. If I make a mistake or something looks wrong, I try to find an inventive way to correct it.

I suppose about a third of the way through the process, I get a sense of who the character is, where they live and what they are, and the rest of the process is just bringing these characteristics out. I like them to have a sense of the magical, I think that helps to bring them to life, and there’s a real child-like satisfaction in achieving that.
Which was the most exciting exhibition you’ve participated in and what made it special?

I always look back on my first solo show, at CentreFold Gallery in Guernsey and wonder how I managed to pull it off! I had never tried anything so ambitious, and I really heaped challenges onto myself without a thought to whether I had the time or ability to meet them. I set up collaborations with other artists, I designed the flyer, I tried out lots of untested ideas in every piece, I even painted on the ceiling and on the visitor’s invitations. I think I got through it out of sheer arrogance to be honest! It is certainly something I am very proud of, and I’m still working with ideas that first appeared in that exhibition 2 years later.

Can you describe the ideal environment for you to work in?

I like to listen to minimal, bassy electronic music while I draw, either dubstep, dub techno or dubby drum and bass. My favourite producers are Shackleton, Pinch and Basic Channel. Here in the UK there is a lot of rich culture surrounding electronic dance music, and drawing for me is all about hypnotic, primal rhythms. I like to be standing and draw on a tilted drawing board, or lay a large piece out on the ground and kneel next to it like a little kid.

As I have mentioned I also love painting in the sun, especially at music festivals, and the collaborations that happen with other artists in that situation are always very enjoyable.

Share the top 5 favorite artists that have influenced you.

It’s very difficult to narrow it down, but it would look something like this:

  1. Tom Friedman
  2. James Marshall AKA Dalek
  3. Katsushika Hokusai
  4. Kris Kuksi
  5. Katsuhiro Otomo
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

The dream is to be able to spend all of my time drawing and painting. I’d love to show in Japan, design a commercially produced toy and feature in Juxtapoz Magazine.

In 10 years I see myself in my studio, still working hard.

Use a link to describe your current mood.

And lastly, is there anything you’d like to add?

If you post anything to Italy, make sure it is insured.

Don’t try to seal frames with Duck Tape, use gumstrip.

Always wear gloves when handling a blank vinyl toy; the oils in your skin will reject ink.

…and thanks very much for having me!

Thank you for participating and for your time!

LINKS: […]

- http://www.hughrose.co.uk

- http://www.readerswivescollective.com
Colorful and girly skirts and accessories can be found in “Queen Nefertete’s” playful handmade collection. Luci talks about her life as a designer and crafter and shares her future plans with us!

Hello Luci and welcome to the EyeCandies Blog! First of all, tell us what inspired your brand name?

Two years ago I met a wonderful man, we fell in love and he became my boyfriend.

As a present he gave me a cute kitten named Queen Nefertete.

After a year, when I decided to start selling my designs on etsy and on craft fairs, I was looking for a name...  And I realised I found it pretty hard to give my designs a name! Looking on the internet, in books, magazines, movies, ... to get inspired for a name. But nothing inspired me for a perfect name! One day, my boyfriend said “You could use our cat's name, it's beautiful.” Ha, and so I did! I contacted Caitlin Shearer, a wonderful artist, for my logo.

I'm very happy with the result, she combined our cat's face with the crown of Queen Nefertete. I love the meaning of the name, Queen Nefertete means “The beautiful one has come.” She was an Egyptian Queen in the 14th century BC.

What are the main characteristics of your creations?

My one-of-a-kind collection is very playful and colourful. The skirts are twirly, floral and feminine, the pants easy to wear, ... The main thing about this collection is that the production of every piece is limited (only a few pieces made!)

Most pieces of clothing are only made once, because there's only a limited piece of fabric found. For my pouches, I use all the fabric that's too small to use for clothing, I like to turn everything into something useful and pretty.

I like clothing to be easy to wear, so you can feel comfortable wearing it!

I'd like to continue with my one-of-a-kind collection using vintage fabrics and stop buying new fabrics in regular fabric stores. I'd like my brand to be 100% ecological within 1 year!

If you were to dress a celebrity, using strictly your designs, who would you select and how would you style her?

Oh great! I'd pick the two girls of CocoRosie, because I love their music and their pictures. To me, they are very inspiring.

I'd dress Sierra (the black haired girl) with a twirly floral skirt, a tight black top with a bow, with a waistcoat on top and a bow in her hair. For the Bianca (blond hair), I'd choose a darkblue harempants with a loose top and a golden waistcoat. Both with lots of jewerly and make up. I like overdressed people!

What are your favorite elements and materials and which are the main sources of your inspiration?

I love fabrics with floral designs, so I mainly try to find these when I'm looking for fabrics. Mostly I'm looking for fabrics (or curtains, dresses, skirts, ...) in thrift stores and second hand markets.

I like to upcycle fabrics into something new! Sometimes I use new materials as well, to combine them with these vintage elements.

My greatest inspiration is pretty much everything; people around me, the music I hear, people in the streets, evening walks, little things that happen, buying fabrics, ...

I think it's important to honour our planet, so I like to work with upcycled materials. And there is a ecological collection in the making!
What would you advice young crafters and designers concerning online promotion?

I'm pretty new to this online promoting world.

What I can tell you is, that a personal blog works really great, but you should blog on it at least every week, or people will stop looking! People like to follow a journey with pictures and stories an it makes your work more personal.

And since the whole world is on Facebook, having a fanpage or group there is very helpful too! You can invite a lot of people, people who might be interested in buying your items, share pictures, share events, ...

Another fun promotion is a give away, an online event, where a person can win one of your items. People like gifts, and you might reach a lot of new fans!

And I think, one of the most important things for an online shop, is your own website! I like Etsy very much, but since I live in a country were we use Euros, it's very confusing sometimes.

This mission is not completed yet, but I hope to launch my webpage in September/October 2010. Working on it!

Your 5 favorite sites/blogs?

eco collections and pretty shoes!

great illustrations and my favourite jewelry!
also my MADE IN BELGIUM-buddy

lovely blog i've been following for a few months now

sooo much pretty stuff! can't stop looking sometimes

great jewelry from belgium! and a really nice blog

Describe your personal dress code

I like tight pants, leggings, twirly skirts, tight dresses, loose tops, Birkenstocks, black boots, vintage items, floral designs, jewelry, scarfs, ...

I like a lot, actually, but since I'm pretty lazy in the morning before working, I mostly pick a few black items out of my closet and that's it! (Depending on going to my office job or my Queen Nefertete work at home)

Finishing touch with my favorite jewelry and perfume (white musk), and ready!

For special events, parties, dinners, ... I like to dress up! (Or overdress, even better)

Since a few months I'm also trying to buy ecological clothing, I'm concerned with our planet and I think we could all make a change by changing our habits, out clothing, our food, our transport ...
Last but not least, give us a sneak peak of your plans? What should we look forward to?

A lot of new new things and events, our journey just started! Too many ideas, too little time!

Since the beginning of Queen Nefertete I wanted to work with ecological materials, but they were pretty hard to find here in Belgium. After searching the internet for a while, I discovered a store from the Netherlands with ecological fabrics!

In July (17/07 - 26/07) I'm doing a craft fair in Ghent , for 10 days, with the one-of-a-kind collection I have now and ecological shirts with a design!

After this fair I'm going to make a ecological collection and combine it with my one-of-a-kind collection.

I'm also working on a shop on wheels with one of my dear friends. We'll be visiting markets, fairs and festivals all over Belgium with our caravan. We're still working on her, but on the inside she's almost finished! I'm looking forward to our grand opening in September 2010.

Another fun project with another great friend is MADE IN BELGIUM (you can find us on facebook and we present more than 40 belgian crafters!). The last weekend of August we'll be having a craft fair in Hasselt, Belgium with a lot of talented crafters and an after-party with DJ-sets!

We're also working on a Queen Nefertete website, hopefully to be online September/October 2010.

LINKS: […]

- Etsy shop
- Blog
- Queen Nefertete Facebook Page
- Flickr
- Made in Belgium Facebook Page
Venus Raven’s visuals pull you in a dark world where capturing & exposing the essence of authentic emotion is the most priceless reward. “By letting someone take your photograph, you allow this person to penetrate and take hold of your soul.” she notes and this, is undoubtedly a most interesting and stimulating point of view. Read as she unravels her passions, fears, inspirations and thoughts:

Welcome to EyeCandies Venus! What intrigued your passion for photography and how did your visual journey begin?

At the very beginning, back in the womb -or even before- there was a girl obsessed with images, with seeing life unravel in front of a seeing hole. First film, birth. Second film, still unfinished, a patchwork of images she would capture in her mind, with her tiny fingers forming a peeping hole opening to a world of bizarre creatures calling themselves adults.

I desperately wanted to be a filmmaker, although it was only in retrospect that I realized that. Many years later, I started teaching myself and experimenting with video art and short films. The outcome was horrendous and time-consuming. So I naturally kept on working. But after a while my hurt perfectionism bred paranoia and I decided that the unending monitor-bound editing of films would be the end of me -so I abandoned them. Foolishly, as it was soon proven, for I ended up finding another end of me, this time through the equally unending and again monitor-bound editing of photographs. So, in turn, I may abandon digital photography and switch to analog. Or maybe go back to traditional painting and sculpture. No digital editing this time, just the unending paranoia of a hands-on pleasure. The only constant in this journey is theatre, my eternally beloved Mistress that I’ve from time to time betrayed, forgotten or abandoned only to return full of rekindled desire. The girl is finally at home. Third film: transmutation.

Self-portraits are a big part of your photographic portfolio. What do you strive to express through self-exposure?

Why expose myself? Firstly, in order to sodomize my fears, insecurities, and complexes. On a more mundane level, simply because I am my only constant instrument, available 24/7. I want to exploit myself till the marrow, through a sadomasochistic procedure that, by allowing and calling for openness and potential hurt, leads to the sort-lived catharsis of an addict.

A reassuring fact is that when we are dealing with the human fundamentals, most people are revealed to be strikingly similar, so an honest way to study the world is through the only being you can ever know best (if at all), yourself.

I still haven’t found many people who are willing to go beyond just posing and do the ‘soul stripping’, as I call it, a process that necessitates the abandonment of being self-conscious. I have a very perverse vision and if I even get there by using other people, I will finally come the closest one can get to the mystic essence of photography, which is to create a realm for the captivated soul, independent of the burden of time but no more free. By letting someone take your photograph, you allow this person to penetrate and take hold of your soul. And this is a serious commitment, to say the least; one that very few people can make with full awareness.
From what I understand poetry plays a vital role in your creative process as most of your photos are accompanied by a poem. Talk to us about the connection.

Being a storyteller at heart, this is the root of the connection between these two media. Each photograph is a film in a frame and I have always felt the urge to write its script.
Your visuals are dark, intense, with a mystic essence. As a matter of fact, one of your last projects “That Hard Fucker” takes place in a cemetery. Can you give us some details of the photo shoot and an introduction to the concept?

This was a project between myself and two great fellow artists, painter Skot Reynolds and multi-disciplinary artist Victoria Gugenheim. The concept was to capture Death as she is taking a stroll around her favorite… haunt. The choice of Death’s gender was random, given the fact that it is always an accepted paradox to personify states of being (and/or not being). There may be a sequel to this shooting, most probably in a juxtapositional setting. 

What was the most provocative photo you’ve captured? And how did it make you feel?

The majority of my work that breathes closer to my heart and soul has never been publicly exhibited –and may never be- due to its very personal and explicit nature. It is my private visual journal, comprised mostly of hardcore material, crude, visceral and uncensored. However, keep in mind that what is provocative for one person may be naïve, boring or prude for another. Therefore I cannot answer this question except by talking about the work that is given birth and is meant to provoke my own pre(+mis)conceptions, the work that stems from my need to cleanse myself from the socially imposed, rarely -if ever- honest beliefs, mind frames and realities. When I’ve gone through this process, which in essence and form is closely akin to a religious ceremony, I experience a wide array of effects, ranging from the complex -like a premature birth of nostalgia for a liberated disgust- to something simple and primal -like an orgasm.
Favorite artists/photographers?

I was always disturbed by the fact that we consciously or subconsciously steal from all the contemporary artists and all those that came before us to the extent that it is almost impossible to find the dividing line between great re-execution of (stolen) ideas and pure pioneering vision.

Being the offspring of this predominantly visual era, I am completely engulfed in the work of this exponentially increasing multitude of artists -so much that I sometimes fail to differentiate between them. But here are a few names of some of those artists whose work in photography (lets keep this endless list only to this medium) I have studied and admire immensely:

Alex and Felix, Daikichi Amano, Dieter Appelt, Nobuyoshi Araki, Eve Arnold, Rainer Arnulf, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Erwin Blumenfeld, Guy Bourdin, Bill Brandt, Günter Brus, Holly Bynoe, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruno Dayan, Robert Doisneau, František Drtikol, Marc Dubord, Harold E. Edgerton, Andreas Feininger, Frédéric Fontenoy, Toni Frissell, Hideki Fujii, Misha Gordin, Emmet Gowin, Robert Gregory GriffethI, Philippe Halsman, Aaron Hawks, Robert Heinecken, Teun Hocks, Marta Hoepffner, Eikoh Hosoe, Irina Ionesco, André Kertész, Miru Kim, Jürgen Klauke, Nick Knight, Les Krims, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Ouka Lele, Serge Lutens, Michael Macku, Sally Mann, Angus McBean, Steve McCurry, Dave McKean, Vivian Maier, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gjon Mili, Lee Miller, Tina Modotti, László Moholy-Nagy, Sarah Moon, Yasumasa Morimura, Helmut Newton, Lennart Nilsson, Mika Ninagawa, Hiroshi Nonami, Erwin Olaf, Trent Parke, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Irving Penn, Anders Petersen, Pierre et Gilles, Paolo Roversi, Marla Rutherford, Lucas Samaras, Jan Saudek, Sayaka, Cindy Sherman, Kishin Shinoyama, Floria Sigismondi, Mark Sink, Sandy Skoglund, Frederick Sommer, Vee Speers, Edward Steichen, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Karin Székessy, Marcel van der Vlugt, Bill Viola, Gerhard Vormwald, Jeff Wall, Albert Watson, Christine Webster, Edward Weston, Joel-Peter Witkin, David Wojnarowicz, Francesca Woodman, Kimiko Yoshida, Austin Young, Vladimír Židlický, and many other masters that I fail to trace at the moment. 

If you were trapped in a deserted house for 48hrs and you had to choose 2 people to accompany you, who would you choose and why?

There is an overt sexual pun in this question. But, to keep it decent, I’ll say I’d choose a psychic and a comedian. I would thus pretend to be trapped with them whilst I’d be taking notes for a black comedy play; in the end we’d all die of boredom –in less, much less than 48 hours- regretting we didn’t practically drive home the pun.
Use 10 words to portray yourself and one link that expresses your current mood
  1. Aspiring Alchemist
  2. Egoistical
  3. Ever-Divided
  4. Obsessive-Compulsive
  5. Passion-bound
  6. Sadomasochistic
  7. Secretive
  8. Sentimental
  9. Temperamental
  10. Unfulfilled and unsatisfied

And the link:

What can we find you doing when not taking photos? Share some of your hobbies/other activities

Working in theatre, working on the revival of my magazine, working on my other projects, writing, reading, filming, painting, discovering and meeting with talented people, rehearsing madness, daydreaming, drinking coffee, drinking wine, singing, loving my loved ones, falling in and out of love, and various other debaucheries, in no particular order, alternated and dictated sometimes by mood, sometimes by instinct, often by necessity, but mostly by a whim.

Are there any future projects we should look forward to? Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Being terrified of the doubtful consistency of time, I unavoidably loathe making plans –though not so much that they end up loathing me in turn. So, hopefully, in the next few months, among other things I’ll be directing a play and one or two short films, act in another short film and will do a number of collaborations in photography and performance art. Hopefully again, I’ll bring Project Magazine in London and organize my ever-postponed solo exhibition, which will be a proper orgy of mixed media on which I’ve been working on since what could be called forever. And, yes, hopefully, I’ll still be alive and relatively sane.

In the meantime, I will be open for those mythical creatures called Muses, waiting (not always patiently) to be put under their spell and thrown to new addictions. If these Muses happen to come in human form, so much the better, I long for this.

It was a pleasure Venus! Thank you for your time and participation!

Thank you.

LINKS: […]

- www.venusraven.net (coming soon) 
- www.myspace.com/venusraven
- www.ravenus9.deviantart.com