Wild Spaghetti is a Cape Town based creative collaboration specialising in motion picture and photography. Originally comprising of accomplished photographer and filmmaker Fiona MacPherson and young stylist and all round creative Art Mataruse, they’ve just added a new retouch artist to their team who goes by the name of James Fox. Fresh from their latest project with Opulent Living Magazine, we caught up with the trio to find out more about their work.
Give us the backstory: How did Wild Spaghetti come into being?
Fiona: Over a coffee one day when we were both looking at restructuring our lives, we decided that the best possible choice would be to work together as a collaboration.
Please tell us about the inspirations behind Wild Spaghetti?
Art: Quite a lot of things inspire us, hence the name Wild Spaghetti. We are a spaghettified bowl with all sorts of funky and inspired projects. Fashion and dramatic imagery are definitely a main inspiration. Fiona is a fashion and commercial Photographer / Film Director and I am passionate about fashion and how people express themselves through clothing. Social and Environmental issues are the other piece of the Wild Spaghetti puzzle where we draw inspiration from. Another side of Spaghetti is the love of collaboration with other creatives and with the movers and shakers that provide so much of the content for us to capture.
You describe yourselves as “Making Consciousness Sexy”. How do you apply this philosophy to the work that you do?
Art: When people ‘give a damn’ they are most always seen as offbeat hippies, so our knee jerk to that is bullshit, giving a damn in this world today can be in a humorous, glossy, edgy and enormously entertaining way and as a result people pay more attention to the subject. Audiences nowadays are quick to deter from modest traditional forms of social awareness.
Looking at the work you did with Oranjezicht City Farm, you have also been involved with documenting urban farming and food sustainability. Please elaborate on this work and how the ethos of this work fits in with Wild Spaghetti?
Art: The work Sheryl Ozinsky has done with OZCF is one of the amazing projects which reflects what inspires us environmentally. Food security is an issue and more so foods that are packed with nutritional value should be common place amongst all communities. Documenting activity at OZCF shows how a community came together to rehabilitate an abandoned piece of land (well only inhabited by junkies and drug dealers ) and turn it into a source of healthy fresh veg as well as a beautiful communal hub.
You guys have a very interesting usage of light and shadows in a lot of your photographic imagery, which can create some dramatic visuals. Is this something you’re consciously discovering, or is it more of an unintentional element?
Fiona: Lighting is at the core of my craft. The ability to paint a room and people with lighting be it dramatic or esoteric is something I’m passionate about.
You recently did a photoshoot at Zip Zap Circus for Opulent Living Magazine in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz and AFI in which you profiled some of the best local fashion designers. How did that come about and what was it like?
Art: I enjoyed putting the stills shoot together. The production was quite smooth on this one, but always had a twitch waiting to do some damage control, but it wasn’t that kinda party.
Fiona: We do a lot of work with Florian Gast and Barbara Lenhard who have Opluent Living Magazine. It was a huge challenge working with circus acrobats because they are not the typical body size and height to who designer’s cut their clothes for. Also, getting the clothes to still look good whilst flying through the air, hanging upside down and somersaulting was quite interesting.
James: On set, I had to be an acrobat myself as the Photographer’s assistant, climbing up poles to fix ropes, bouncing on trampolines for light tests and doing all sorts of acrobatic tricks in preparation of a shot. The post production process was lengthy, minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days and days turned into weeks, I had a ball!
What did you take away from that experience?
Fiona: That you never get to heaven on a ping pong ball.
James: I will never try splits 20ft up in the air.
Art: What goes up must come down.
Lastly, Art, you’re also getting yourself out there as quite an irreverent and avant-garde stylist. Your current work with up-and-coming musician Umlilo blurs the lines of gender and sexuality, yet it expresses an innovative and fresh approach to fashion styling. Take us through your politics on styling…
Art: My styling work came about incidentally. I generally enjoy putting things together to make an outfit for myself and this spilt over to some of our in-house shoots and an invitation from Umlilo to style his videos. I pretty much bring my personality to the styling that I do. Some of the garments I wear on the street can be abstract or eccentric so for entertainment visuals I amplify that and collaborate with local designers that are edgy and brave. I don’t stick to the conventions of boys’ clothing or girls’ clothing. If it looks good on someone, it will be on his or her body. On a political note, Africa and the world must come to terms with the fact that heterosexuality and heteronormativity are not the only form of existence. As a black African gay male, I am raising my hand to say “Hello, I am here with my friends and this is who we are”.
So, where will we find Wild Spaghetti in the next 5 years?
Art: Just make sure to check with us in 5 years.
Fiona: Who knows, that’s in the lap of the gods.
James: Older and wiser – bring it on.