Frank Ocean is a special kind of artist. His lyrical ability to represent issues within our society at large, but also from a millennial’s standpoint, elevates Ocean as an artist to possess the power of being, what many say, the voice of a generation. The latest issue of i-D magazine is the medium for Ocean’s latest creative project, and it is quintessential Frank Ocean – visually disturbing, striking and subversive.
The 32 page spread in the culturally significant magazine, centres on the ideas of creativity, collaboration and the power of saying yes. These images capture moments that are not typically shown – a journey of Ocean’s life through music, fashion and art in an honest and raw manner that we have grown accustomed to from the singer. Throughout all of the images, Ocean seems to represent youth culture, and creates a feeling of what it is to be young in this day and age. There is recklessness, playfulness, honesty and passion that characterises this exact feeling.
What is most interesting is the way in which Ocean plays with the idea of identity – what is this, and how do we express it? Whether the image is of Ocean without a shirt and wearing chains, or wearing a white t-shirt and green sequined shorts, Ocean comes across as a man comfortable in his difference. Comfortable in a white tee and comfortable wearing the same pair of Vans which are prominent representations of youth skater culture. Ocean is young, he does not aspire to be like others, but aspires to live in his truth. Although many of the outfits revolve around the same parts (a t-shirt and jeans), it is the slight difference in patterns, shades and cuts which help to sculpt the multifaceted nature of this artist.
In addition to creating a visual experience for the magazine, Ocean penned an essay for this issue, and in this, states below how he created the ideas for the collection and speaks candidly about a plethora of scenarios.
“Re: the photos… as Karl Lagerfeld would say they ‘came to me in a dream.’ Summer two thousand and seventeen. We leaned into it. Bananaberry flavored candies at the bottom of the cup. I’ll never know why or what’s with campouts for Szechuan sauce at McDonalds. But I’m way into it. Issa Dreamworld. If you liked two thousand and seventeen then you’ll love two thousand and eighteen.”
Considering the fact that Ocean rarely participates in interviews, the i-D spread gives the singer control over his art, and through this control expresses exactly what is on his mind. He has created a visual landscape by playing around with ideas of fashion, music and youth culture to tell the story of how he has got to where he has.
Frank Ocean. A visionary, a true artist.
To take a look at the i-D spread, check out the link below: