Everyone has a story…
In Verse’s Retro Rewind Edition, On the Record have turned back the clocks to highlight those unique members of the cohort who bathe in the stylings of a past generation. Having performed incredibly well with previous editions, the OTR team are back to continue their search for the grooviest conversations with the coolest cats on campus. Blast to the past with OTR’s reporters as they investigate vintage in arts and fashion and why nostalgia is the greatest instigator for creativity in the modern day.
Iona Eloise Mackenzie I @eyeownah
Bachelor of Arts (Performing Arts)
Photographed by: Iona Eloise Mackenzie
First up, tell me a bit about what you are studying and why.
I study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in performing arts and social media. I absolutely enjoy the performing arts courses and it suits my personality and my passions really well, but as a part of my life, uni can sometimes be unimaginably hard. Expressing my creativity at home is one of the biggest helps for that.
How do you incorporate “retro” themes into that creativity?
I absolutely adore the “eclectic” décor in my house! Right now, I am loving anything bright orange and muted rose, but I have found that brown is making a bit of a comeback. Who would have thought? I am also just naturally drawn to clothes and items with a more retro vibe, so I budget for vintage clothes whenever I can. Not to mention I am an absolute sucker for a retro diner. It just gives me a certain fulfilment I cannot find anywhere else.
Tell me a little bit more about that fulfilment; what does this all mean to you?
Being from Alice Springs and growing up around people from all walks of life has given me such a broad taste in fashion, homewares, and food. My “aesthetic” decisions, as some like to call it, remind me of the people who have influenced me. While it is really pleasing to the eye, filling my house with old video game consoles, or wearing clothes from the 60s has a nostalgia that keeps me grounded. My mum is probably my biggest inspiration, but, since moving to Adelaide, I think seeing everyone express themselves so freely at university is a main source of inspiration to me.
You mentioned you are from Alice Springs; how did the environment itself there influence you?
I grew up always being highly conscious of my impact on the environment, especially in respect to how the Indigenous communities of Alice [Springs] wanted it treated. But the excitement of turning something old into a new trend or reworking it to become something new is very stimulating and will never get old for me.
So, you think your love of everything retro is something you will take with you for life?
I think it is almost an inherent nature for humans to be nostalgic and long for days passed; we see this in fashion and home trends. Personally, I have always had that connection be strong thanks to my family, and I find peace of mind knowing that I can always create a home out of preloved things. In terms of the rest of my life? Well, I hope to just be unapologetically myself and enjoy my life with all of its kooky collectables and fashion choices.
What advice can you give people who want to get into the scene?
To anyone who wants to dress vintage, or bring the old back into their home, I would like to bust the myth that it’s expensive. My best piece of advice would be to raid the Op Shop and your grandparent’s shed! Also, just to remember whose life you are living. Try and enjoy it!
Ellie Maiorana I @noscrubs.vintage
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) & Bachelor of Arts
Interviewer: Ashleigh Buck I @ashkbuck
Photographed by: Elle Ds Photography
Tell me a bit about your degree and why you chose to study it?
I am studying a double degree in law (Honours) and arts. For my arts component, I am majoring in sociology and cultural studies, and have learnt so many valuable things about people, communities, diversity, and generally how the world around me operates. I also chose to study law as I want to use my qualifications in the field to help those who are most vulnerable: refugees, the Indigenous community, and domestic violence/sexual assault victims. My degree is enabling me to understand these groups better and is teaching me ways in which I can make a notable and sustainable difference in their lives. I have always had a passion for helping others, and I feel as though my degree is providing me with the best opportunity to do so.
“Retro Rewind” is the theme for this edition, how would you describe the term “retro”?
When I think of the term “retro”, instantly I am transported to the eras of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – these periods were iconic for fashion, music and culture. Gameboys and arcades, flared cords, records, mini dresses, [they] all give me that sense of nostalgia.
Within your own life, how do you intertwine nostalgia with your brand?
I am always incorporating nostalgia within my brand; showcasing classic VHS tapes, collecting vinyl records, sourcing vintage music art posters, listening to my favourite tunes between the 70s and 80s, all in which I share with my followers on Instagram. If a nostalgic object pops out at me at the thrift shop, I will always document that too, just because I love when people get so excited over things they remember loving as a kid; I know it gets me all giddy!
What would be your favourite element of thrifting and reselling and why?
I have always loved fashion and shopping, so it is the fact that it’s a continuous sourcing trip and you never know what’s going to pop out at you! There is soooo much vintage out there lurking, and I love the fact that I can give these pieces a new life, rather than have it end up in landfill. I also love making people feel good, and there is no greater feeling when someone expresses how much they adore an item they have purchased from me that I have carefully curated. It is a creative outlet for me.
Where did the inspiration for your market, No Scrubs, come from?
I think I have taken my own personal style and just broadened it by collecting in all sizes. I hated the fact that I was leaving beautiful pieces that weren’t my size behind. I love that alternative, effortless look, but am not afraid of colour. Add a bit of grandma chic and shazam, that is No Scrubs in a nutshell.
What do you hope to achieve in your future career?
With regards to my degree, I hope to use it to help those who are most vulnerable. Ideally, I want to open my own practice whereby I can offer legal and social support services to the groups I mentioned previously. Helping others is when I feel most myself, and I want to use my degree and passion to make a positive change in individuals lives.
With regards to No Scrubs, I want to continue to keep growing my online business and possibly incorporate a website. I also want to attend more local markets and do some more pop ups, maybe even rent out a space! I love the sustainability aspect of selling vintage, and further the culture and nostalgia involved.
It is all very exciting, and I love that I can study and run my own business; both bring me lots of joy. In fact, I have been able to incorporate my degree and passions within my business, and it all just really fulfills me.
Eliza Abejo I @lemonadeliza
Bachelor of Contemporary Arts
Interviewer: Crissalen Jumamoy I @Crissalen_
Photographed by: Eliza Abejo
What degree do you pursue and what is the usual work you are given?
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts in the hopes of becoming an art teacher! For my work, we are usually given prompts to inspire new pieces of art we haven’t thought about before or to experiment with new mediums we haven’t tried.
What do you enjoy most about your degree?
For me, meeting new artists has been the best thing during my course. I have met people who are currently involved in public art projects for the city and getting to see how their backgrounds and cultures have influenced their art is inspiring to me.
What type of art do you create?
I love to draw but nowadays I mostly create digital art, which has included my interest in pixel art that I believe fits in with this nostalgic, retro theme. It’s fun to make something that is a similar style to the video games I play and enjoy. If we’re talking about concepts, I love art that is centred around storytelling. See, I loved writing books as a kid and made my own illustrations to accompany them.
What has your art been described as by others?
Recently someone described my art as childlike, fun and whimsy. I understand why my art is described like that since a lot of my art is inspired by my own childhood and trying to put fun and play in a lot of the work I do to connect to the past.
What decades would you consider to be “retro”?
I would have thought the 60s to 90s is retro, but my little sister (a decade younger than me) has told me that their generation thinks anything from the early 2000s is old. So, I guess I’m retro too. It made me see that “retro” is an adapting concept that changes with each decade and generation that passes.
What draws you into wanting to create art that was popularised in previous decades rather than our current decade?
There’s a book I really like called How to Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon which is about the idea that “no good art is made just by the artist themselves; it’s always picked and taken from something else.” That’s why I love stuff like pop art, where they take pieces of popular media and turn it into something new, to turn something so ordinary into a higher form of art. It’s the same with 8-bit video games; I wish that style would be included in art gallery spaces, and I hope it makes a comeback soon. Seeing it delights me because it reminds me of my childhood. And I like being told that what was during “my time” is cool.
Were you always interested in retro art, or did this occur because of your course work?
Pixel art was more of a hobby to make more fanart and pay homage to the style of games I like to play. In general, taking pieces of the past and putting it in the present came from high school because of an artist called Andy Warhol, who repurposed celebrity photographs in art. There’s something about reusing parts of the past to reflect on the present and make changes for the future that interests me and it’s what I’m trying to really do with my practice nowadays.
What inspires your art process, especially when creating retro art?
The things I consume. So that can include books, games, films, food, and the interactions I have with other people. In saying that, I would say films are the most influential on my work nowadays as I had a lot of fun with film theory and analysis in high school. I’m the one who’s always interested in finding out secret meanings and references to pop culture in movies, especially as they are usually grabbed from the past.
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