Event Review: CARBON 2014 // Part Two

Okay so my original plan didn’t work. My love of words and wanting to share what I learnt at the event took over. But can you blame me? There was an abundance of knowledge that was consumed over that particular weekend and I can’t stress enough how much of a major opportunity it is that we have something like this is our country to experience. Around other parts of the world, they have an entire season of these events! But for real, I just couldn’t help it. Sharing is caring, right? #ThankMeLater. Don’t worry, the visuals have continued for the second part of this review. ☺

CARBON 2014 - Part Two Review

Have you read the first part of this review yet? Do yourself a favour and go back and read it.
Yes, I know I said I would try and fit it all into one post but I couldn’t. Hey, I tried. Trust me, it’s better this way.

Anyhow, read on for the second day of CARBON 2014.

Sunday // Day Two.

With plenty of attendees nursing hangovers, sore throats, lost voices, lack of sleep or an entire combination of all of those things from the previous night’s antics, some of us (myself included) were ready for the day to begin! Although in saying that, the all-too-familiar feeling of realising that it was the final day was bittersweet.

Nonetheless, Day Two introduced Forum B: D.I.Y with Frank151.com founder Stephen Malbon, Mad Decent’s Creative Director Paul Devro and everyone’s favourite emotional music producer Ta-ku. What was interesting about this particular forum session was that all three speakers built their brand from the ground up, and so it wasn’t surprising to see that the creative wisdom that was shared was acknowledged by most of the audience writing at an accelerated speed in their notebooks.

CARBON 2014 - D.I.Y (Forum C)

Stephen Malbon took us back to 1999 where his journey first began, expressing what we’ve all never really admitted to when we’re starting out on our own, “I had no idea what I was doing when I jumped out of school, and I don’t even really know what I’m doing now.” It was comforting to know that he had gone through similar things. But it was this piece of advice that really made me sit up and listen: “It might be scary, but listen to yourself and your intuitions. When opportunities open up, go with it – and don’t quit.”

Earlier that morning, I spotted Paul Devro lying across a set of tables inside RMIT trying to catch some zzz’s before his presentation, having played all night at the Mad Decent x New Era party, and who can blame him. But when he stepped on stage, you would have never known that he had been out partying until the early hours of the morning. Devro was energetic, enthusiastic, entertaining and charismatic! A jack-of-all-trades, Devro shared that he’s had his fair share of good and bad ideas – whether he made that decision or other people told him so – he was never one to shy away from breaking the rules when it came to producing those ideas. This was the guy who was behind Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’ for goodness sake! Doesn’t that tell you everything!?

CARBON 2014 - Ta-ku

I know this is a lengthier review than the other forum sessions but this one was the one that I was most interested in being in attendance for, so forgive me if you will. Rounding off the morning forum was Regan “Ta-ku” Matthews, who up until November last year, was a health insurance salesman. But similar to my own journey, whilst holding down a full-time job, Ta-ku dedicated a couple of hours each night to his creative projects. It was a reminder that you need to work hard and stay on your grind for things to be where you want them to be.

Humble, wise and inspiring, Ta-ku broke down his presentation with 6 key points – all of which were complemented with clever puns and photos of his recent experience at Madame Tussauds. Here’s a quick recap of those rather memorable slides:

1. Be Yourself (Yaoself). “Do you and stay in your own lane.”
2. Connect with your audience.
3. Let things happen organically.
4. Develop a collaborative spirit.
5. Respect everyone. “Do it for unselfish reasons.”
6. Know your worth [and don’t be afraid to take Jackie Chan(ces)].

With things running more smoothly than the previous day, this time around, ticket-holders had an hour break for smokes/food/sleep/coffee/etc.

CARBON 2014 - Film and Photography (Forum D)

The second forum of the day and the last forum of the entire weekend ended with Forum C: Film & Photography with PrettyPuke, Richard Kern, Janette Beckman, and Mike O’Meally. Each photographer spoke about what they love about taking photos, why they do it and what they hope their viewers take away from it all.

Self-confessed “pervert” Richard Kern opened up the afternoon forum with his controversial stance as a 60-year-old photographer taking photos of young girls who often end up completely nude. But Kern stressed that is was all about trust and not exploiting your models. “This is really hard. It’s always money versus trust.” Young gun Miller Rodriguez aka PrettyPuke took to the stage next and told us all about his struggling start as an artist – not knowing what he wanted to do for the longest time and unexpectedly finding an unexpected escape through photography, taking photos of what most would consider showcases and defines the Gen Y culture of sex, drugs, alcohol and violence.

“This is a ‘Fuck You’ generation because we don’t give a shit about society’s standards. I’m happy to be apart of it.” – PrettyPuke.

CARBON 2014 - Film and Photography Panel

Following on from Rodriguez, Janette Beckman took to the platform with grace, amidst the roaring applause and cheers that came from the audience. An icon in the punk and hip-hop scenes, Beckman shared the kind of anecdotes you wished you could be apart of! Trust me when I tell you that no-one in the audience wanted her photographs and the stories that accompanied them to stop, but alas, she had a 20-minute time limit. Damn.

Ending off the day was the very intense Mike O’Meally who unlike his personality off-stage was rather engaging on-stage. After a dramatic entrance, the skate photographer dived right in with his extensive collection of work, most of which shared the underlying themes of war and religion – something he didn’t discover until later on in his journey. He also shared a few anecdotes of his observations of New York City and the after-math of 9/11: “When you get knocked down, you get back up again. That’s what being a New Yorker is all about. Not how you get down, but how you get back up again. That’s what I look for – the triumph of a human spirit in difficult situations.”

Sunday Night // The After Party // The After-Math.

What happens at the after party, stays at the after party, right?
Sorry folks. Can’t reveal too much detail of what went down, but I will let you in on a few interesting conversations I had with some of the speakers.

Brent Rollins and I bonded over talks of the motherland (i.e. Vietnam). Woot!
– Graffiti artist and one of the sweetest guests on the bill, Sheryo invited me to crash on her couch the next time I’m in New York and
PrettyPuke told me to “holla” at him when I’m next in LA. Crazy times to be had if I keep up my end of the bargain on that invitation.

That shit cray. That’s all I’m revealing to keep everyone’s memories and reputations intact hehe.

CARBON 2014 - The After Party

But I do want to end with this:

If you’ve never been to a CARBON event, let me tell you as someone who’s experienced the annual adventure since the first one in 2010 (both behind the scenes and amongst the thick of it), you’re definitely missing out on something really special.

CARBON will not only provide you with an entire weekend of knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration, but a chance to connect with like-minded individuals. An unlikely occurrence is all the guests are often approachable and happy to share with you their experiences face to face after the forums. How many events do you know that let you kick it with one of their special guests afterwards? #VeryRare.

Big shout-outs to the ACCLAIM/CARBON crew for holding it down every year and letting me come back year after year to help out. They definitely know how to throw some good parties too. 😉

Much Love.
‘Til next time.

*Photography provided by ACCLAIM Magazine and The 5 to 9 Life.