The Life of Lucy

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By Emily Zeinert.

Upon entering Tiffany’s Palace in Canberra, you will find an assortment of girls waiting to fulfil your most intimate desires and erotic fantasies. One of these girls, Lucy, spoke to PRISM about the ins and outs of working in a brothel, from the lonely, weird and sometimes delightful clients she has had, to the sexual assaults that regrettably go with the territory.

Lucy is almost twenty and turned to prostitution when she was seventeen to avoid the minimum wage grind of working in fast food joints and supermarkets. She walked into the job with a “get rich quick” mindset and has never looked back.

Lucy is proud to admit she enjoys her job. The hours suit her and she finds great delight in dressing up in outfits she wouldn’t otherwise wear in public. She makes an average of $600 a night, though one night she proudly claimed she earned $2400. On weekends she says she can earn around $100-1500 generally.

While the pay is great, the job does have its downfalls. Lucy has at times felt unsafe and she’s been sexually assaulted twice. We asked her about how she keeps safe in this business. “If I don’t like their attitude in the introduction room, I’ll tell my reception that I’m unavailable if the client chooses me. Some guys can be nice as chips in the intro room, but as soon as they’re alone with me they turn evil. In those cases, if I can, I ask them to leave, and if they refuse I can press an emergency button and the security guard or reception will come to the door and ask them to leave. I have only ever been sexually assaulted twice whilst working, and those situations were because I was either with a drunk guy, or in a threesome when I didn’t have the skill set at the time to handle two guys. The police are great when we ring to notify them of these situations; they arrive promptly and are swift with how they deal with the clients, without making a scene.”

Continue reading The Life of Lucy

Interview with a Skid Row Gangster

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Gangster Erwin Ross talking to PRISM about life in South Central, Los Angeles, heroin addiction and homelessness.

Words and Photography by Joshua Thaisen. Every Monday morning at 10am, street sweeping trucks roar up and down the gutters of Skid Row, while homeless people, who are being threatened with loitering citations by the LAPD, search for a new space of footpath for the next long, restless night. The four-square-mile district of Skid Row is ‘home’ to thousands of homeless and saturated with drugs and prostitution, creating a climate of sickness, hunger and violence. With a population nearing 20,000, the strain on community services and healthcare has created the largest humanitarian conflict zone in the developed world. The footpaths are furnished with used needles, broken crack pipes, loan sharks, and street gangs. Referred to by locals as a lawless “snake pit,” Skid Row is society’s comedown, with track marks that lead back to a great institutional failure of a nation neglecting its own people. Skid Row gangster Erwin Ross spoke with PRISM about life in South Central Los Angeles. Erwin is a well spoken, hard-edged elderly man, decorated with scars and stories from a hard life on the streets. Born in South Central Los Angeles, Erwin describes his life as a colorful adventure of risk-taking and hard lessons learned. At the age of fourteen, he was sentenced to four years in the State penitentiary for vandalism, depriving him of any formal education or career prospects. While in prison, Erwin’s masculine identity formed in an environment rewarded by violence, deception and drug-taking. Erwin developed what would become a twenty-two-year-long heroin addiction, keeping him bound to a vortex of crime, incarceration, and homelessness.

Continue reading Interview with a Skid Row Gangster

In Conversation with Loui Jover

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By Michael Cunningham.

Loui Jover is a talented Australian artist with an impressive body of work, due in part to his personal compulsion to draw something new everyday. His unique art style consists of flowing ink caricatures on glued together pages from vintage books; an aesthetic he likes because of its “fragility… as if the wind may blow them away at any moment.” He also believes that the “hand drawn stark black lines, against the intricate printed words of the book pages offer a strange fusion and depth.” We got together with Loui – a very friendly and likeable guy – to discuss everything from exotic inks to time travel. We talked about his art too, of course, but I think his drawings speak for themselves.

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PRISM: It would appear your favourite medium is ink on paper. How did you get into using these materials, and why do you prefer them over others?

Ink on paper is indeed my favourite medium, I have chosen this media over others because of its versatility and quality, and for the significance that ink has as a foundation medium of visual art itself – particularly drawing, which is my chosen form of artistic expression.

The front cover of our first issue features a Melbourne artist with squid ink poured over her body. Have you ever thought to use squid ink to create an art piece?

Squid ink sounds great. I am not sure of its properties though… Would it smell? Does it keep its pigment or fade quickly? I have used things like merlot and walnut ink in my drawings before, but nothing as far out as squid ink. I think it would be cool, and apparently it has some sex appeal right now… as far as your cover is concerned!

Well, apparently a bunch of scientists took an ink sac from a 150 million year old squid fossil, mixed it with an ammonia solution, and used it to draw a picture of the squid! The picture looks pretty good, considering how old the ink was, and that it was drawn by scientists.

Haha, I guess you would get a few scientists about who are perhaps also repressed artists. It sounds great, I like the use of media that is different and interesting, as long as it’s not too gimmicky. I think squid ink would be great to use.

In most of your artworks, you use pages from books to form a canvas. Is there something particular about using recycled paper that appeals to you?

At first I glued book pages together because that was all I had, and I couldn’t afford to buy paper. At that time I was using found cardboard sheets, brown wrapping paper and other things to draw on, but the book pages just looked good to go once glued together. Also, the use of recycled paper really appeals to me on a number of levels; I much prefer marked, foxed and stained papers to white, virginal sheets of stock.

loui jover Continue reading In Conversation with Loui Jover

Interview with Pixel Artist, Mark Bern

By Michael Cunningham.

Mark Bern, born in 1979, is an emerging artist from Zurich, Switzerland. As a teenager, Bern explored the possibilities of image manipulation on his first computer – a Commodore 64, but it is only now, twenty years later, that he has shown his creative output to the public. His digital artworks feature abstract, pixelated forms that borrow various elements from mosaic patterns to cubism; he refers to this unique style as pixel art. We love pixels here at PRISM, so we decided to interview the artist and share his work with you.

PRISM: Hey Mark, thanks for agreeing to do an interview.

Mark: My pleasure.

Pixel art is mostly seen in old school video games, but I’ve never seen it used as a medium for creating abstract artworks such as yours. Have you created a new art genre?

Mark: That’s a good question! As far as I know there is no artist focusing on the same style like I do. My art reflects the modern digital zeitgeist of today’s generation. It is abstract, pixelated, flashy and gaudy. Continue reading Interview with Pixel Artist, Mark Bern

Aliens, Death Threats and a Free Flight to Brazil

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“I am willing to pay your way to face me, not because you believe in aliens, but because you’re an obnoxious asshole that needs to be shown your actions have consequences. In this case it is pain, mutilation and a lifetime of regret.”

By Michael Cunningham.

In 2011, I uploaded a video about crop circles on my old blog. While I don’t necessarily believe crop circles are made by extraterrestrials, I did think that the one in the video was particularly amazing, and figured it’d be a decent way to start up a discussion on aliens. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy discussing life outside our planet? I didn’t receive any comments until a year later, when a user by the alias of ‘slrman‘ called me stupid for in believing in aliens. A harmless debate ensued, where he persisted in calling me names in a lame attempt to get me to ‘prove’ that aliens existed, which I admitted I could not. An average night out on the internet, right?

Eventually ‘slrman’ – a 70-year-old man called James Smith – became so infuriated with me that he offered to pay my way to João Pessoa, Brazil (where he lives) so that I could meet him face to face and tell him that I believe in aliens, oh, and so he could beat the shit out of me for holding that belief. With nothing better to do, I decided to humour him. I wanted to find out if his intentions on buying me a plane ticket to Brazil were genuine, and besides, I figured I could use a holiday. Continue reading Aliens, Death Threats and a Free Flight to Brazil

William Burroughs Interviews Jimmy Page [1975]

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In 1975 a legendary encounter occurred: Jimmy Page, the lead guitarist of the blues rock band Led Zeppelin, was interviewed by William Burroughs – counter-cultural icon of the 60s beat generation, and deservedly famous author of Junky and Naked Lunch. William S. Burroughs was a unique writer who won the literary recognition of many; he was also a journalist, and a long time user of heroin, even coining the term junky. Heroin was something Page and Burroughs both shared in common at the time of this interview in 1975, as Page’s experimentation with heroin had slipped into an addiction at this point in his life and career. Critics believed his playing ability fell sharply as a result of his heroin use, while those obsessed with the occult insisted that his poor playing was a result of a black magic curse put on him by Kenneth Anger, an acolyte of the infamous Aleister Crowley.

zepburroughsBurroughs was not interested in critiquing or evaluating Page’s music, and instead relied on his highly charged imagination to create a unique and somewhat strange interview with the rock and roll legend; an interview that can never be replicated, and perhaps, never fully understood. “I felt that these considerations could form the basis of my talk with Jimmy Page, which I hoped would not take the form of an interview. There is something just basically WRONG about the whole interview format. Someone sticks a mike in your face and says, “Mr. Page, would you care to talk about your interest in occult practices? Would you describe yourself as a believer in this sort of thing?” Even an intelligent mike-in-the-face question tends to evoke a guarded mike-in-the-face answer. As soon as Jimmy Page walked into my loft downtown, I saw that it wasn’t going to be that way.”

What follows is an interesting take on the standard music interview format and a surreal exploration into the subconscious elements of music, such as vibrations, energy transference, magick, the black arts and the similarities between rock and roll riffs and Buddhist mantras.

Read on for the full article that Burroughs published in Crawdaddy magazine in their June 1975 issue and also the transcript of the interview that took place.

Continue reading William Burroughs Interviews Jimmy Page [1975]