If, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then the founders of Ox. must have some ridiculously beautiful eyes!
Photographer, David Jonathan, and make-up artist, Olga Onulov, have joined together to create an environment conducive to collaborative and artistically sound images. “We aim to create images that are memorable while also supporting ourselves and promoting those we collaborate with,” say Jonathan and Onulov.
Ox. began as a concerted project between Jonathan and Onulov, but grew to include other artists within Calgary, specifically those in fashion, as a way to promote themselves and the people they worked with. Right from the start, Onulov and Jonathan enjoyed each other’s work and values with respect to their crafts and thought it only natural to join forces to create an innovative and original way to showcase their talents. Ultimately, Ox. is a means to provide the public with creative images in a pure manner.
Initially, the purpose behind Jonathan’s approaching Onulov for the creation of Ox., was for both of them to generate provocative and memorable images in order to get away from the “family friendly” and conservative pictures he was getting accustomed to, yet still providing pieces that were accessible to everyone. Onulov agreed in that everyone, all races and all genders, should be able to get something out of the three shoots they have done so far, as beauty is in the way the individual perceives it.
The images on the site, therefore, offer beauty, simplicity and timelessness while still pushing boundaries. The pair also hope that not only the commercial and general audience will be interested, but also others in the industry, as Ox. can be used to supplement one’s portfolio as well as be used as a standalone project.
What do the pair hope to accomplish with Ox.? Onulov would like to use it as a means to become “better known across North America,” in order to eventually use the strong union between the two to obtain more jobs as a team within the fashion industry, either with various fashion lines and/or for articles pertaining to the industry. Jonathan, on the other hand, would eventually like to see, besides getting published or having shows, Ox. as something that he can be pleased with from beginning, middle and end – the product becoming a journey of discovery and beauty.
Both self-taught artists have always had an interest in their craft and find themselves drawn to the connections they make with their clients. As a photographer, Jonathan has done his share of research in order to hone his skills and credits fabulous mentors with providing him a base to further his art. On her part, Onulov has always loved art and playing with colour, ultimately putting that colour on people’s faces and making them even more beautiful, using an emotional charge between her and her clients to create amazing looks.
As for inspiration, the two agree that there has to be a feeling or a flood of emotion, as mentioned above, to guide their thoughts and actions within a shoot. Onulov looks at the face. She doesn’t think, but “lets the brush take control and lets things happen. It’s an emotion, an expression of [her] emotion.” Subsequently, she feels the model’s energy and vibe in order to attain the perfect look for the shoot. For Jonathan, his inspiration depends greatly on the shoot itself and the ideas that he and Onulov bring to the table.
However, personally he draws his insight from music and what is happening in the world of fashion right now. At the moment, he is deeply stirred by Alexander McQueen’s autumn/winter show and the shock value behind it – it’s dark side has motivated a lot of the photographer’s recent artistic thoughts, that along with the dark side of grunge and punk. Jonathan is quick to add though, that because he immerses himself in the culture, his inspiration changes rapidly. All in all, the images for Ox. are often randomly inspired by the concepts that the artists come up with together.
In honor of the upcoming Alberta Fashion Week, the pair was asked to name their favourite designers. Onulov immediately answered the great Canadian design team Dsquared, whereas Jonathan was a bit undecided, although Tom Ford and Paul Smith, with their classic men’s style, were easy to decide on for menswear, there were “too many to mention” or to choose just one for women’s.
As for a favourite makeup artist, Onulov undoubtedly decided on Joanne Black, a local MUA, who Onulov describes as, “an amazingly beautiful woman, very inviting and very supportive.” Jonathan found the question of who is his favourite fashion photographer a bit easier and named Jonathan Leder as his preferred choice, for his film work as well as his photography.
At the end of the day, Ox. is a wonderfully creative means to become part of photographer, David Jonathan, and make-up artist, Olga Onulov’s collaborative fashion vision.
By Sandra Cross Bussoli
Images courtesy of Ox.