For our next Taikan By campaign, we’ve teamed up with photographer, Mescondi, a twenty-two year old artist, born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. He explores the new Mesh Collection in collaboration with his vibrant aesthetic, and mesmerizing use of props and muses.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Conor but I’m more known as Mescondi. I’m a 22 year old photographer born and raised in Vancouver. Before I picked up a camera about a year and a half ago I was painting a lot and doing graphic design. My obsession with fashion is what introduced me into even picking up a camera. I fucking love clothes.
You carry a strong perspective with your imagery. What drove you toward this esthetic?
A lot of my inspiration comes from cinema. Movies and the escape to an alternate reality they provided was a huge part of my youth. The perspective comes from wanting create that cinematic feel. Each subject or model I work with becomes a character in my mind, and I am shooting that character. The character determines the mood of the shoot. The mood or colours used are also often determined by my mental state. Directors like Tarantino and Kubrick really made me fall in love with the beauty and emotion presented by use of colour, and the importance of details within each frame having importance.
Who are your biggest photography inspirations?
I got a small list for you.
Petra Collins, Tyler Mitchell, Wassim Farah, Reece Voyer, Cole Sprouse, Wang Wei, Ren Hang.
There are a lot of amazing photographers whose work I really admire and respect, but the ones that truly inspire me have a special quality in their work where each time I see their work, it gives me a feeling and births an emotion. Each of the photographers I listed has a very unique and original approach to their photography, whether it be for fashion editorials, music artists, or street photography. It comes from an honest artistic point of view that makes me feel something deeper than the surface of the photo itself.
Outside of photographer, what are some of your other influences?
I draw a lot of influence from directors such as Tarantino and Kubrick, cinema in general. Music plays a huge role in my life and constantly influences my mood and artistic direction. Artists like Tyler the creator and ASAP Rocky who really put a lot of importance on visuals and fashion. They influence my style and colour palette. Lastly my friends. I have an insane group of people around me that are some of the most talented individuals in their fields that constantly inspire me to push myself and the boundaries of my own work. One in particular, Lillz, is one of the most driven, creative fashion designers I have ever seen. Her confidence and drive really influences me to work harder and be confident in who I am.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I haven’t done that much traveling in my life, so I’m going to say where I want to travel and why. Two places, New York and Tokyo. The fashion and art scenes are perfect for me. I feel like my brain makes sense in both of those places.
Where was your favorite place to shoot photos? Why?
I recently did a shoot on a farm with cows. I came up with the idea of doing a shoot with cows and models wearing all cow print clothing in the summer when I was living with my friend Reece. I started hanging out with Cole Sprouse around this time after he reached out to me on Instagram about my work. One time while we were all hanging out I just kinda through my idea at him after he asked about any projects I had planned. He fucked with it so we set a date, and me, Reece, and Cole all shot two models fully dressed in cow print surrounded by cows on a farm in Chilliwack. All of the clothing was made by friend and amazing fashion designer Lillz. It was one of the best days of my life, shooting on a location with live animals, in clothes designed by one of my best friends, alongside my best friend and Cole who I have looked up to as a photographer for a long time. shit was fucking dope.
How does social media play a role in your photography?
Social media, mainly Instagram is the main place to find my work. It’s somewhere I can post new things quickly and easily for a large number of people to see immediately. It has also connected me with many other artists of all facets that I have worked with or gone on to become friends. Social media has also given me a platform for my work to be seen, and published in magazines and offered me opportunities to work with companies or individuals.
You could hang with anyone dead or alive… Who would it be? Where would you go? What would you do?
That’s easy, Kid Cudi. He has been my biggest inspiration, idol, and one of the most important people in my life without actually being in my life since I was 13. His music and who he is saved my life when I was younger when going through some very dark times mentally. He inspired me to pursue what I wanted and made me feel comfortable being myself unapologetically. I could go on for hours about the dude but I digress. I would want to shoot him for sure. Kick it in New York, and just do normal shit. Literally just hang with the dude and talk.
You can choose three albums to listen to for the rest of your life.. Go!
Man on the Moon 1 – Kid Cudi
36 chambers – Wu Tang Clan
Graduation – Kanye West
Who are you listening to right now?
Right now I’m listening to a lot of Tyler the Creator, some Action Bronson, ASAP Rocky. On a bit of a White Stripes kick. Daniel Caesar making beautiful music.
What does your daily routine look like? Or do you have a daily ritual?
Honestly I don’t really have a daily routine. It’s just important I start my morning with coffee, the rest I go with the flow. I find routine gets old and boring quick.
What camera(s) do you use and why?
My main camera was a Canon t3i, it was the first camera I bought when I started, but I recently got my car window smashed and it got stolen along with other things. My lovely friend Charlie recently donated her Canon t5 to me so I could keep shooting so that’s my new set up. I shoot on disposables and Polaroids as well.
Do you have a 3:00am guilty pleasure snack?
Cereal, paired with some good cartoons.
Tell us a funny story about yourself?
The day I bought my first camera off my friend, I knew it was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I was going to Vancouver fashion week later that day and wanted people to take me seriously even though I had no actual work to show for it. So I made business cards and sold myself as a photographer to people at the event. Wound up booking a few shoots.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that photography was something that you absolutely had to pursue?
I always loved flipping through old photos, using disposables and oddly loved movie stills. When I was in the middle of wanting to drop out of university I was always out with one of my best friends walking around the city, and he would take photos of me and my fits. One day I just wanted to shoot him instead and try taking the photos. I immediately fell in love with it. It felt like I figured out my purpose in that moment and I made the mental decision to drop out that week and pursue photography. I’ve never cared about or worked as hard on anything else as I do with my photography.
Do you have a dream project that you would like to execute?
This kind of thing changes all the time for me, but at the moment it would be doing a shoot with both ASAP Rocky and Tyler the Creator together. Their chemistry together and visual taste production wise and with fashion is exactly what I want to be doing.
Who are you listening to right now?
I’m always listening to like ASAP Rocky, Tyler, Kid Cudi, Kanye, Kendrick, Wu Tang and the list goes on. Been listening to a lot of Action Bronson lately, White Stripes, Daniel Caesar and Amy Winehouse. Honestly Jaden Smiths new album was tuff. This is hard because I listen to so much music and am constantly looking for new artists, If I went through everything this would go on for pages.
What are some of your favorite spots in Vancouver?
Let’s see, for clothing we got Value Village, Duchess, Community and Used HoV. Food, go to spots are like Momo sushi, Deacons or Lucy’s for some good diner food, and me and my dudes Reece and Isla have a special place in our hearts for Ignite pizza up on Main. Other than that all the homies cribs.
What are the top five things that you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
For real I don’t have a nailed down list, there is no ceiling of things I want to accomplish. I would love to meet and work / chill with Kid Cudi. Living in New York off of my work is just a life goal and if I could do that in 5 years that would be super tight. I’d get emotional over a magazine cover for one of my favourite magazines. I want to do everything in my power to make my little bro Isla successful and a famous model / whatever he wants to be. I’m just constantly on the move and take things in stride, I never plan out lists with time restraints.
What’s one item you never leave home without? Or one item you can always find in your Taikan bag.
I always have my camera, whether it be digital, film, disposable or Polaroid I got one of em.
How can people see more of your work? Website, social handles etc
Right now it’s just on instagram @mescondi. Working on making a website though so that should be coming soon.