If you read my blog post about my time at OCAD putting together my thesis, you’ll know that this editorial was the crowning glory of my final year. My vision was to create a Queer art and design-focused publication. I wasn’t super confident in my photography skills, so I set out to work with the best of the best. I was lucky enough to be going through the OCAD meat grinder with none other than the Lewis Mirrett. We mingled in similar circles at school, and would always talk design and photography when we’d see each other on campus.
Every single one of us who knew him at the time were certain that he would hit it big once he flew the post-secondary coop. Since graduation, he’s gone on to work with some of the world’s biggest names in fashion like Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and Alexander Wang, to name a few. I wasn’t kidding when I said that thing about him hitting it big. He’s a visionary, through and through.
I knew that bringing him into the mix would not only elevate Beau Magazine, but help spark some much-needed inspiration for the work I was producing. You want to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. He was looking to make his mark in the world, and so was I.
Once Lewis was on board, I was determined to get studio time for the shoot. I wanted that feeling of legitimacy. I took the magazine so seriously, why not the location of the shoot that would produce the cover spread? I begged the photography department to get me an hour in the studio with all the rentals necessary even when their schedule was booked for weeks. I kept showing up to check out the waiting list, I wasn’t going to give up until I had booked it. Even as a young creative who really had no idea what I was doing, I was delusional enough to believe that I was making something major, and needed people to know I was serious.
Lewis also brought in a few pieces of menswear that he’d made himself, which was a bonus because I had no idea how to get my hands on the fashion that would eventually be featured on the model. That was the next step in the creative process.
I met Dillon in my first year at OCAD. In our early 20s, we bonded over our mutual love of 90s dance music. Funny and smart, with a vast knowledge of obscure pop-culture references, he was perfect as the face of Beau. He represented the target demographic I was trying to reach: young, Queer twenty-somethings who were part of the up-and-coming art scenes of Toronto.
It all came together very nicely, and I was able to secure an entire afternoon in the studio. We had a blast that day, along with my former housemate and fellow art student Melissa Jean Clark, who was instrumental in helping us with lighting and documenting the shoot. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we did that day without her knowledge of set lighting and photography. I was beyond happy to have brought together such a tight, determined team of people.
Being able to bring a group of creatives together and get shit done was an amazing feeling. What we came up with will always hold a special place in my mind. Like I always say, I wouldn’t have been able to get where I am today without the various collaborations I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of over the years.