BR: Tell us who you are and what you do.
BK: My name is Bunny Kinney and my day job is Creative Director of British fashion magazine i-D. My remit there is very specific to our video and digital content and the bigger brand partnerships that we do. As part of that I oversee the creative decisions, the ideas, the execution of those ideas. That sort of thing. Outside of that I’m a film maker and a director.
BR: Could you talk to us about your work. Would you say it has a particular point of view?
BK: What do you mean by that?
BR: The things you make - do they have some kind of agenda? Are there things you like to focus on and explore in a certain way?
BK: I suppose so yes. I focus a lot on youth and youth culture. Youth culture that’s comtemporary as well as former, sometimes looking into the future.
Marc Jacobs Tribes: Greasers and Pin-Ups in East L.A. Creative Direction by Bunny Kinney
BR: Why is that?
BK: I like looking at teenage in particular because personally I found my teenage years to be very formative - like everyone I suppose. I grew up all over the place but for much of that time I lived in Texas which I felt was a strange environment. Very at odds with a person like me. Like many others at that age I found myself disinterested in my surroundings and craving a way out through music and literature and film.
When you look at subculture you see other people craving a way out of what’s around them.
It’s cool when you can see that a rebellious spirit is alive and well. I love that.
I also like to celebrate people who don’t fit in anywhere because that’s what I am. I’m an outsider, I’ve always been an outsider and I never want to be an insider.
BR: What’s interesting when you look at youth culture now?
BK: There’s a lot going on. They’re radically challenging the norms of what our parents or even our contemporaries think about the way things should be. It feels like every kid doesn’t even believe in gender binary anymore. It feels like everyone is very comfortable saying “I’m not gay or straight. I’m not anything.” Or “I’m everything.” Rejecting these things opens up people to really be who they want to be. To me that’s pretty exciting.
Where that leads when this generation comes of age who knows. But I want to see it.
A-Z of Music. Creative Direction by Bunny Kinney.
BR: You say it’s music and film and literature that did that for you. What specifically?
BK: There was definitely a shift when I stopped reading kids books and started reading adult books. You know it was ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, all that standard stuff. It’s very common with a lot of people but that for me was a very important moment to start thinking about the world in a different way.
Then there was the playwright Christopher Durang. Surrealist comedy plays that are really crazy. Great stuff.
For films I used to go to Blockbuster and do ‘bottom shelf shopping’ and just choose anything that looked interesting. It was a kind of self-education. I started getting really into Lars Von Trier, stuff like ‘Trainspotting’ - which if you live in Texas and you’re 13 that movie is about as foreign as it gets. I was totally obsessed with it.
Art it was Andy Warhol and the whole New York Factory scene and it was everything around that so that meant listening to the Velvet Underground or watching his experimental films. That sort of thing.
Velvet Underground, ‘Sweet Jane’, from 1970 album ‘Loaded’
Then obviously music was hugely impactful. I fell in love with discovering stuff that didn’t sound like radio music. I devoured punk in high school. “Noise music”. Basically anything that sounded not like music. That’s what I was into. I learned to love things that disrupted and challenged the things around me.
It was electrifying.
BR: Interesting that you talk about surrealism which seems to be a big part of your work. Can you see these other teenage influences coming out in what you do now?
BK: I think so. I don’t know if I’ve thought about it too much, but I think it definitely happens. It’s one of the reasons why youth culture is so interesting to look at - you can faintly see what’s going to come next when that generation matures.
i-D and Chanel: MAKING FILMS. Creative Direction by Bunny Kinney.
The stuff the bled through for me was definitely ‘the weird’. I like things that are weird, ideas that are weird, people that are weird. There’s nothing I like more than getting someone I’m working on behalf of to do something unexpected. Something weird.
BR: Why is that?
BK: I’m always trying to see the world in a different way. If someone embraces something unexpected then that’s what they’re doing.
For me there’s nothing more important than that.
Bunny Kinney is a filmmaker and Creative Director for British fashion magazine i-D, part of Vice Media. He lives in London.
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