New rules. It’s the unspoken mantra that is moving the creatives of today. Everyone is looking for fresh ways to push ideas forward, to do things as they’ve never been done before. It’s an emboldening time to be an artist; you get to open all of your own doors, or maybe decide they aren’t doors at all. From Beyoncé dropping her album at midnight with no promotion, to the legions of street artists that are earning an income from “defacing” property, there is no form of conventionality when art and commerce are joined.
The outcome of a multitasking society is the multi-professional – someone who can cohesively manage several occupations in different fields. It’s a difficult balancing act, the key to longevity seems to be the ability to perform well in each sector, and there is no one doing it better than Bon Duke. He’s a Brooklyn (born and raised) based fashion photographer/director/co-founder of the New York Fashion Film Festival. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan with a masters in photography and film and since than has platooned forward shooting Alexa Chung for the cover of Time Out, celebrity portraits for Ciara and Eve for Block Magazine and filmed with Nowness for Chloe . His videos are an enchanting mix of expression and emotion with a suggestion of something more sinister.
Bon toys with all of the perceptions of the fashion industry. He understands how to blend fashion seamlessly into his videos without it making it all about the clothing. His videos have a vision, a narrative, in a few minutes, you’re transported, made to feel something, beyond an admiration for the shoes.
He’s accomplished so much in a short period of time, yet his aspirations only climb higher. He’s looking into some entrepreneurial options and hopes to one day create a scholarship program at his alma matter. Beyond all of his accolades, Bon is an example that the ceiling is only as high as you set it.
We visited his Brooklyn studio mostly to hang out and watch him paint, but also asked him to share with us his thoughts on his love of photography, how he learned to communicate and why doing just one thing isn’t enough.