Please scroll down to read more of our interviews with interesting people including: Simon Bell, find food expert; Janise Yntema, artist; Richard Pinder, CEO, Rankin; Henrietta Klug, Buying and Merchandising Director, The Conran Shop; Dr Tara Swart, neuroscientist & author; Arielle Free, DJ, Radio One.
Ketna Patel is a renowned multi-media artist based between the UK and India. Born in East Africa, raised in the UK and spending the last two decades in South East Asia, Ketna describes herself as deeply tri-cultural - and this vibrant diversity is evident not just in her work - but in every aspect of her life.
Her passion for travel, cultural satire and bright colours can be seen in each piece of intricate pop art she creates. Her eye-popping work and unique perception of the world have earnt her a legion of fans, including famed film director, Spike Lee.
We spoke to Ketna about her love of camping in Africa, her multi-sensory self-care routine and discovered why the phrase ‘a creative mind is rarely tidy’ perfectly describes her approach to work.
One hour of yoga & meditation every day. That gets the energy flowing and sets me up for the day.
It’s very untidy! I have three computers, several external hard drives, a pen tablet, a pile of 6 coloured notebooks (each one pertaining to a different subject), my daily diary (with to-do lists and deadlines) assorted pens and pencils, a cup of earl grey tea and Lip balm.
Spontaneous, multi-tasking, messy.
I reserve the first half of the day and late evening for creative brain stuff and do all my domestic chores and outdoor walking in the afternoon, which is when I tend to get a bit dopey.
The quiet and solitude have helped me synthesise my inner world with what’s going on outside. I work primarily with street culture, and as lockdown has paralysed that, I’ve put on x-ray spectacles to look at the veils beyond our constructed reality.
I feel that I represent people and stories that have largely been neglected by the mainstream narrative.
My 67year old uncle telling me about his latest romance. He never gives up on love. He was as excited as a teenager. I wasn’t laughing at him, I was delighting in the joy of his spirit.
Being awake. I am really disturbed by all the judgement, prejudice and division in the world. People are fighting over ‘their truth’ versus somebody else’s. We need more critical thinking and less dependence on propaganda.
Davie Bowie – Star Man
A pair of burgundy flared corduroy jeans. My granny in London sent them to me in Kenya for Diwali. I thought they were the coolest thing.
At the risk of being corny – it would be my parents accepting me the way I am. I’m not a conventional Indian girl and for them to not judge me is a big deal.
To the Himalayan mountains in India.
I have inbuilt speakers in my bathroom ceiling. So, the last thing at night, standing under a hot shower using sandalwood handmade soap, listening to Manish Vyas or Tanmayo is such a soothing way to gently fold up the day.
Growing up in Kenya, my childhood memories are shaped with camping in the wild. Till today, nothing can beat the thrill of a tented stay in game reserves like Masaai Mara. My vote would go for the ‘Karen Blixen camp’ company, for a luxurious eco-friendly safari experience. Besides, I was married in Karen Blixen’s house, so the name has extra personal symbolism!
A thirteen-course, beautifully presented vegetarian dinner in my bedroom at a Buddhist monastery in Koyasan, Japan. It wasn’t your typical Nobu thing!
To be relaxed within solitude. For me luxury is not about having the best of everything – it’s about self-awareness; alignment between the inner and outer world.
I spend so much time making intricate digital compositions on the computer, resulting in sore muscles…. especially my neck. A three-hour massage would be a gift from heaven!
Greg French is a multi-faceted creative, working at the heart of the fashion industry. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Greg’s career has seen him write for the likes of i-D magazine and The Guardian, co-author ‘Otherwordly’ - a book about the avant-garde nature of fashion - and also work alongside photography titan, Nick Knight, at his iconic SHOWstudio.
He currently holds the title of Editor at PR agency, SANE Communications, where he has helped brands including Daniel w. Fletcher, and Lou Dalton secure and create engaging content, ensuring they make their mark in the world of fashion.
We caught up with Greg about how lockdown has helped his creativity flourish, his insatiable appetite for champagne, and found out why his trusty aromatherapy mister is the one luxury item he can’t live without when working from home.
After being woken up by our kitten, I try to go on a morning run along the canal to kickstart my brain - before returning home to fresh juice made by my housemate Jonny. I (regrettably) attempt to dodge coffee too - as much as I love it, it always sets me off on a bad footing.
My trusty mister. Home fragrance is a MUST for WFH. Aesop’s burner blend Anouk is the holy grail in this house.
Changing every day.
In honesty, I don’t. But I’ve been working with myself long enough now to know when it’s time to buckle down and how long I’ll need to execute a job to the best of its ability. I guess it’s all down to time management and trust your capabilities.
There are two really important things that I champion in my work - community engagement and creative innovation. It’s been interesting as, during this quarantining period, these are two sectors that we have really had to focus on - and it’s led to some of our most imaginative work to date. The roadblocks of challenge often help you create a much more interesting path to success.
When you work with clients that relish the opportunity to engage with the community and instigate change. Fashion carries a stigma with it, for all the problems it has historically created. But it’s also a transformative industry that nurtures identity, self-expression, innovation. So in that respect, getting to meet amazing people at the vanguard of those pillars is what makes me proud to do the work I do.
Hearing that a friend of a friend has the name, Hugh Cumber. Now that is an unfortunate name.
Euphoria by Loreen. The best thing to come out of Eurovision.
My heart on my sleeve. It’s got me nowhere.
I’m a big believer in small random acts of kindness. I would say that anyone who makes time to listen to me is doing one of the kindest things they can. Mental health is incredibly important to me - having volunteered for charities at the forefront of this. Make time to listen to people!
A friend of mine recently got a job in Korea and we are already planning our trip out there. I’ve never been to South Asia and it has been a dream to be able to visit - if only for my continued quest to find the best Bibimbap on planet earth.
Buy a mirror from The Conran Shop. What’s more luxurious than a bit of narcissism? That and very long baths with a bottle of wine.
I think I’d love to be around in the hay-day of Chateau Marmont. The glamour, extravagance and mystique of the place appeals to me immensely.
Skipping the meal and going straight to champagne. Why have a bite when you can go for a bubble?
Emily Maitlis, Alexander McQueen, Barack Obama, Princess Diana and George Michael.
It hasn’t. Luxury doesn’t change because of a virus. The way we experience and access it may change, but we can still make sure we have a luxurious moment to look forward to each day - no matter what is happening in the world.
The aromatherapy spa treatment at The Four Seasons. You know I love a mister - and this I’m sure would be taking my passion to a whole other level. There’s also something classic and glamorous about going to any Four Seasons hotel - and I’m here for that.