The best forms of artistic output can come from combining the different worlds that feed it. The Forumist caught up with a few of the individuals carving out their own place in the creative universe by merging art, fashion and music
A young, inspiring artist who understands the bond between all forms of art is illustrator and model Cajsa Wessberg. Her drawings and designs often show animals and are influenced by nature in a beautiful way that can be at once innocent and purposeful. The line of educational toys she has created – Köttdjur (Meat Animals) – is about teaching children that the meat we eat comes from real animals. It is a mindful method that seeks to educate the young about things that our and Wessberg’s generation did not have the chance to learn when we were growing up. Change must start early, and change is needed.
For Wessberg, when it comes to art, seeing the synergy is natural to her and the creative people of her generation. “Everything is definitely connected,” she says. “I’m really inspired by music, fashion and film, probably much more than visual arts. I don’t really gather that much inspiration from the outside, it’s more from the inside.”
Being both a model and an illustrator, Wessberg gets a first-hand glimpse of the worlds of fashion and art. She feels that there is a rise of consciousness in the arts, with questions about racism and feminism being raised more often. When asked about her ability to operate within both worlds, she shares some of her thoughts on artistic innovation: “Combining the two works perfectly! Since my illustration work is freelance and it’s all my own projects, I am free to work wherever and whenever I want. It can be a bit difficult to find enough time and, right now, modelling takes up most of my time. Sometimes I am very artistically stimulated by it, when the art direction and the concept are exciting and innovative, but I am surprised at how often the fashion world lacks innovation. I feel like there is a lot of reproducing of what already exists – the same old poses, make-up and clothing.”
Perhaps there is a lot of reproduction of what already exists in music and in fashion. Perhaps that is one of the foundations of art – redoing the past in our own images. Wessberg is part of a generation that is ready to step in and change the worlds of music, fashion, art, film, illustration – whatever its members set their minds to. This generation, my generation, is ready to take over.
Few bands today understand the shared history and common purpose of music and fashion. Ruby Empress, on the other hand, is built upon that understanding. The Gothenburg quartet breathes new air into the predetermined visual depiction of a pop band by crossing over styles and ignoring gender confinements. Their music is stitche together by inspiration gathered from different eras and parts of the world, making their songs Strung Out and Deluca underground smash hits all over the globe. “Today, difference comes from distance, rather than innovation” is a quote that Ruby Empress’s lead vocalist Tom Serner once read in a magazine, meaning that progress in the art world comes from looking over your shoulder and reshaping what you find so that it suits you. Serner and keyboardist/vocalist Axel Agervi share a philosophy that views all art forms as pieces of one puzzle, renewing itself by people interpreting the past. They believe that innovation and inspiration can come from other people’s ideas, whether past or present.
When you talk to them, Ruby Empress’s lust to create instils a wonderful desire to be just as creative. “In attempting to make something new and combining things, you have to seek inspiration in other places than music,” says Serner. “We are curious about art, fashion and photography. We try to take in as much as we can to channel it in the music.”
“Everything is connected,” Agervi agrees. “Even though you’re only interested in music or only in fashion, they are connected.” “There is a synergy between music and fashion,” adds Serner. “We have grand plans about Ruby Empress being a world of its own and we want to motivate young people to do their own thing – feeling free in one’s form of expression – rather than be locked down to one form or a specific way of dressing.”
Serner and Agervi are excited to share their music and way of thinking with the world, and they are aware that no one knows what they are about at the moment. That is why we need to listen closely to these young innovators. Their debut EP, Empressionism, and their passionate musical visions – described by Agervi as “a hungry tiger waiting to be released” – are two good reasons to keep an eye on Ruby Empress, a band with their most exciting days ahead of them.
Words by Filip Lindström
Photography by Dan Sjölund
Styling by Maria Barsoum at Linkdetails
Hair by Sherin at Adamsky
Special thanks to Whyred
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11. Tom wears Graham Evening Blazer, Asher Shirt and Earl Evening Trousers; Axel wears Hawk Jacket, Karolina Unicorn Shirt, Earl Trousers and Ferry Polka Dot Scarf.