Delphine Ettinger, who goes by the alias Ashes57 is an accomplished illustrator/photographer and is heavily involved in the underground electronic music scene. She is also a member of the legendary Swamp81, founded by the acclaimed producer/DJ Loefah. Delphine’s artwork contrasts between urban street life and quirky characters in bold black and white. Her work can easily be identified as graffiti or street art but with her individual technique and richness of material and composition. Delphine has exhibited her work in several galleries around the world and has been featured in almost every music related magazine in the underground spectrum. She has also been working closely with Detroit footwork/juke pioneer Dj Rashad and has created some of the artwork for his label Teklife. She recently made a video for his latest track “I Don’t Give a Fuck”. The video is a personal journey that depicts the relationship between all the artists involved, and also Delphine’s role as Rashad’s tour manager. She also did a series of portrait photographs of all the important names in the underground music scene which turned out to be a great success. We are honoured to present an interview of Ashes57 by Fenomena Studio.
FENOMENA: What is the story behind ‘Ashes57’?
Ashes57: I am a visual artist, I do photography, illustration and painting. I started using this name when I was doing graffiti as a teenager, and then I just kept it. I chose this name purely because I loved the letters and I added the 57 because it is the area code from where I was born in France.
You’ve recently been doing a lot of work with Dj Rashad, Can you tell us how that came to be?
We met 3 years ago through a friend of mine and we really got along. I love his energy, vibe and music. Rashad and Spinn properly introduced me to Footwork and Juke. They often stay at my house when they are touring in Europe and I had the time to get to know them. I get really inspired by the music and everything just happened naturally. Last year, Rashad asked me to do his album cover and I think that is how it all started. I did the video “SHOOT ME” spontaneously after I came back from New York. Rashad has been a big supporter of my work and it is just very cool to work with him.
Since you’ve lived in different countries, which one has helped your art (career) the most?
Everywhere I lived brought me something unique. Everything started for me when I moved to Canada. I saved enough money to be able to pay my rent and not to worry about my next contract, that gave me the ability to become a full time artist and explore new artistic paths. Few years after I moved to Montreal, I got offered a job in New York and I couldn’t resist. I loved it there, It was fast paced, challenging and I had the feeling that everything was possible. London is where I’m currently living, which is the place to be for music, and that’s what matters to me now.
When did you realise you had your own style?
I never thought about it in this way. I just do what I like doing. After practicing your craft for a while, it becomes your own style.
What are your inspirations?
My main inspiration comes from music. Beats and Rhythms bring me ideas that I need to express visually.
What is your greatest treasure from your travels?
When you travel to a new place, you have a new eye and vision of life. You meet different people, you learn about their culture and different languages. I love discovering a new way of living. Everyday rituals get challenged, but when I travel to new place, I feel the need to capture the moment and take photographs of what I see with the aim of sharing my experiences.
Who are your heroes?
I have a few “heroes”. Andy Warhol, Toulouse Lautrec and Woody Allen are my heroes. Shepard Fairey is my art master and Loefah is my muse.
You have been keeping busy with exhibitions/touring etc. What is your next step?
I just started working on video and motion pictures. My hope is that my next step would be to work on a short film. I really feel like through film I will be able to apply all my abilities to one medium and also collaborate with musicians.
How do you manage juggling between photography and illustration?
I love being creative and I started taking photographs as reference for my illustrations. They both complete each other and are both necessary to me.
How would you describe the music scene at the moment?
The music scene has changed a little bit with Dubstep slowly drifting away from my attention, and with the scene spreading away into many diverse styles. I am really proud to work for Swamp 81, a label that opened many different musical doors and where there are not so many set rules, just good music. The music scene is really supportive and I always see it as my family.
Article by: Essy & Salem Rashid
Music by DJ Rashad, I Don’t Give a Fuck
Video by Ashes57
New #teklife t-shirt are now ready ! Only few left on Http://www.ashes57.com/teklife.html