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Sunday, 28 September 2014

GarconJon meets... Kojey Radical #GQforGAP

In it's third year, the GQ for GAP collection is back with four new American Designers selected by the experts at Gentleman's Quarterly. I'm happy to be shooting the European campaign again, with 4 creatives in London, Milan and Paris teaming up with the 4 brands. Without a doubt it's the best capsule collection on the high street, so I'm proud to be involved.

On Monday 29th of September I'll be co-hosting a preview event in GAP's Oxford Street store from 6-9pm to show of the new line, some of my photography as well as giving the chance to win items from the collection. Click here for more info. In the meantime, here is the first of twelve short conversations from London, Paris and Milan with this year's participants.

Kojey Radical is one of London's most exciting new artists with an enviable Soundcloud and impressive range of creative work from music to spoken word and visual arts. We photographed him wearing Brooklyn Tailors around the sunshine soaked Southbank - the perfect setting for his innovative mind.

Kojey Radical, Artist and Poet

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up the same place I live now, Hoxton Market born and raised. I’ve seen it at it’s best, I’ve seen it at it’s worst and I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else. I think there’s something special that comes with being born and raised in London, especially East London. It teaches you; thickens your skin to certain extent.

What's your star sign? Capricorn, January 4th.

Describe yourself in 5 words? Just one big walking contradiction.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? That’s an interesting question. I wanted to be either the black power ranger or a cartoonist. Only one of which was achievable for me and judging by my fear of deadlines I’m starting to feel my goal of being the black power ranger would have been more realistic.

I was always really into art, I would ask my Uncle for change to go buy those really cheap art kits and use them to draw pictures of super heroes that I would copy from comic books. I think creating my own comic characters were probably some of the early signs I would go on to write. Eventually my love grew to appreciate art as a whole, I knew I wanted to be an artist I just didn't know what form. I still don’t.

It's this uncertainty that makes you interesting as an artist though. You've transformed through many different genres – can you tell me about what you've experimented with? I was a dancer for 9 years. My sister got me into it. I have quite a big family, 4 sisters and 1 brother. In their own little way most of them tried to get me into different creative avenues. My mum had me in little acting schools when I was really young. My brother was a DJ and he introduced me to music, he probably won't remember but one of my first times on a mic was in his room. He’d be practicing his DJ sets and he’d let me MC during his fade outs. My brother is a big inspiration to me.

Creatively I’ve done a lot because I love art and I love the culture and see the potential in any art form being able to cross over. I’m still growing but aside from music and poetry I’ve worked professionally directing, painting, illustration and art direction.

You've recently landed on spoken word – why is this your current incarnation? Poetry gave me a platform to really speak directly to people. I have so many ideas I want to implement. It’s exciting to see how the messages really invoke thought and feeling with people far further then I could ever fathom. In a way, it was a exploration for me to find my self as an artist again. Although I am learning, I have no technical knowledge of music, I mostly go on feeling and experimentation and that’s similar to how I paint. It’s all very expressive.

I’ve not abandoned visual arts, all my art direction as a poet and music artist is handled by me and I also do art direction for the other artists in my creative team: PUSHCRAYONS.

Complete these sentences:

Art is… not a thing. It’s a way. It’s to be shared, to provoke, to excite or to revolt.

Life is… longer then it should be and appreciated even less.

Kanye West is… aware.

See the full interview by clicking below...

Where's the place you feel most at home? Jasper Sommer’s sofa.

Is there a song that defines your life?

Tinashe - Pieces of Paper

Jai Paul - BTSTU

Sir. Berus - NeverWasAFool

K-Os - I wish I Knew Natalie Portman

Album that changed the game? I can only speak on albums that changed the game for me. Everything else is too debatable.

Jamie T - Panic Prevention
Nujabes - Modal Soul
Lauryn Hill - Miseducation The education of Lauryn Hill
The Monkees - Self titled first album

Musical artist you respect most? Andre 3000 and Yasiin Bey.

Who are your style influencers? Umps Machaka, Yasiin Bey and my reflection.

What are you currently reading? Apparently Magazine.

This collaboration between GQ and GAP is about finding new menswear talent in America. What does great American design mean to you? Jean Michel Basquiat. He’s an inspiring story of American struggle, expressionism, growth and decline. It’s such a big country with such a huge influence for one man to that much impact in terms of shifting the culture I feel he should definitely be recognised as pillar in American design.

What's on the horizon for you? Whatever life is ready to throw in my direction. There’s a lot of exciting things happening but if you want to stay up to date with me, well… Twitter is your friend.

Finally, leave us with some words of wisdom…Create freely. It’s probably the only form of true freedom you’ll ever experience.