How gorgeous it is to be back here, writing to you, as I have been doing for the past two years!
When it happened, I swore I wouldn’t speak of it – mention it on this platform that was created to evoke positivity and hope. I wanted to keep the unfortunate circumstances behind my website’s sudden need for a makeover… Private. I also wanted to let go of the rage I felt at having my content suddenly, inexplicably, dissappear. This blog was home to posts on the beautiful aspects of life, on exotic travels, my favourite things and – rarely though still most significantly – tentative mentions of my mother’s on-going battle with cancer. Uplifting, ecclectic yet clean, bold and aesthetically pleasing – these are all of the qualities I’d like View Avenue to convey to you. At least this experience has taught me that: the art of fine-tuning and harnessing my blog’s voice. This means being more particular than ever about the people, places and products I feature; it means staying honest and disclosing every compensation through collaborations; it means being more ambitious about the content I create prior to displaying it before your stressed, bored, tired, adventure-seeking, engaged and expectant eyes.
Which brings me to these images. Aren’t they wonderful? I know that might seem like an odd thing to say, considering I’m in them. But I honestly don’t think that matters, since what you’re seeing is the result of a team’s careful thought-process. These pictures were an aside, taken by the wonderful John Barwood, during a photoshoot we did for embroidery designer Jacky Puzey. She was competing for the prestigious annual Hand & Lock Prize. Her piece was called ‘Nigerian Riot girl’ with nods to the #bringbackourgirls campaign and her own experience of African culture (Jacky is English but spent most of her childhood in Cameroon, Nigeria’s neighbour and my mother land!). The outfit is truly stunning. It is no surprise she won. To prepare for the competition, she had to create a look book of sorts, clearly showing the design. I was the model – of course I will share more, but all in due time.
In between makeup changes – yes, makeup, not costume – John and I got creative and used the backdrop of his Clifton home/studio as an opportunity to create something bare, raw even. I love the juxtaposition between delicate and fierce; the hinted fine line between ugly and pretty. It’s a harsh view of my features, portrayed beautifully through John’s vision and direction. The makeup, created by the talented Jenny Davis, is in itself beautiful yet at the same time unforgiving. It makes me feel vulnerable. I can’t rely on conventional forms of decorating, nor do I have perfect skin in these images. Yet, the one below has now become the face of View Avenue. The very emotions I feel when looking at these images are the reasons why I chose them to represent me across social channels, online and my professional documentation. At the time of filming this, I felt a little lost creatively: I no longer had my own platform to play and entertain with. Yet, despite this, I quickly learned that there exist a myriad of ways to be creative, to work with others and discover new things. And they don’t necessarily have to be for my benefit alone.
The blog is still here because of people like this. Because I have something to blog about. I hope you will enjoy the new projects as much as we enjoyed creating them. Take a look around the site, particularly at the Quotidian page, where I will be sharing daily tidbits that are a little more candid than what we creative types tend to polish up and ta-dah! to you. Soon, there will also be a page called Profiles, dedicated to candid interviews with inspiring industry professionals, hopefully with nuggets of information you may find useful. As you look around, please be patient as there may be one or two teething problems, but I hope you can enjoy the content all the same. I’d love for you to feel you can engage with the site: if you like something, tell me. If you don’t, tell me anyway.
Thank you for still being here.
Photography by the gifted John Barwood
Make up: Jenny Davies
Vision: Jacky Puzey for HAND & LOCK