No time to think. Campus launches at adidas’ new pop-up creative space
Photographs: Nick Gordon
Yesterday saw the release of adidas Campus at the new adidas Originals AREA3 co-creation space in Bree Street. For the next three months AREA3 CPT’s two photographic studios will be open, Friday to Sunday, offering kids a platform to create with the help of mentors, whom we spoke to below in an exclusive first look.
It’s been beautiful connecting with these kids over the last few days because we’ve connected quite deeply very quickly. The human connection is what makes the art valuable, and when there’s that energy from the beginning of a project, you just know. This thing works on all fronts. It’s been crazy sitting in the meetings leading up to this, where the average age is 26, and seeing how young people who have ascended in their careers can now affect change for the generation below. And it’s not about me imparting anything, I’m simply affirming things, doing what I never had, which is someone telling me that I matter and that my ideas matter. So it’s about validation and we can’t even begin to imagine what these kids will produce once they fully believe in themselves. So it’s really just about people believing in their own potential. For me it’s quite troubling to see kids with such potential and then have the world not affirm it and almost fight against it.
Concept Creative at AndPeople
There was a global brief and our interpretation of that was to hand it over to the kids and let them do what they want. We’re catering for super young kids here, 14-21, as there’s a bit of a gap at the moment and we’ve recognized how so many young people are killing it on platforms like Instagram. Area3 was born from us needing to launch three product stories in the next three months and we’ll do that via this platform, which gives kids tools to create and execute their ideas. There’s a problem where creativity isn’t seen as a career choice. We want to show that it can be and provide a window into a creative career, showing these kids that you can pretty much do what you want and build a career out of that. I know that if I was a kid and somebody offered me this I’d go mad.
I remember being 19-years-old and having to hustle people, like, ‘Hey can I pop in to set? Can I watch how you do these things?’ And it was a be seen and not heard thing where I literally had to steal with my eyes. We’d then sneak around and find a way to make shooting feasible to us. Borrow cameras, borrow clothing, hustle from the ground up, and, wow, I can only imagine our growth if we had the same opportunity as these kids do. I’m hoping this experience will fast track them, that’s why we’re doing it, because the agencies don’t do enough and tend to sign you only once you’re a finished product. So I’ve always tried to lend an ear and be supportive because the one or two people who invested in me, that little bit of time and help went a long way in my career. Just having an older person listen to you when you’re going through your angsty teen thing or whatever, that matters so much. A lot of kids are sidelined and left on their own and just having someone show interest means the world to them. So I just want to provide them with a safe space and then watch them grow. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be doing in the years to come. I think we’re all going to be blown away.
I studied fine art and then did things like design work, fashion, art direction, film, digital archiving for a historian, worked in print doing layouts, catalogue photography and retouching for an auction house, recently did an installation at The Cornerstore for Young and Lazy, and I was one half of youth events brand, Yoh! As creative director and designer of our fashion collection, when we started Yoh! I was 20 and there weren’t really any role models for a young brown boy. So that’s the point of this, and it’s nice how so many of these kids are of colour. For me the space does represent a shift in representation and the importance of accessibility. Being a young kid wanting to enter into the creative community can be quite daunting. It feels closed, exclusive, and what would be great is that over the next few months those walls are broken down. There’s a lot more urgency in 2017. Time doesn’t run the same way it used to.