If you’re keen on social media, you’ve surely came across Plastik Magazine and its unlimited colourful world… Those who are interested in magazines probably know the name Eli Rezkallah who is the creator of Plastik Magazine, which represents a revolution in the Middle East, and admire him as much as we do; his courage, his imagination and the way he forms his aesthetics without any limits… Now it’s time to meet the name behind this vivid world!
From its first issue, Plastik Magazine quickly established itself as a platform for young talents to showcase their work. Could you tell us a little bit about the formation process of the iconic brand?
When I first started my career in advertising, most of my projects were client-oriented. I felt I wasn’t able to truly demonstrate my full creative potential. That’s how the idea of Plastik came to my mind; creating a magazine that will serve as a platform for my vision. This magazine also represents a medium for young artists from all over the world, making it possible for them to share their art and talent. Plastik with a K and not a C, is a world I created somewhere between reality and fantasy.
Plastik breaks the boundaries of commercial fashion photography by focusing on the stories behind the images, which is a first for the Arab world. What were people’s reactions to the first issue?
The reactions were mostly positive, because this kind of work was one that was not expected and missing in the region. A common reaction I still get ‘till today in my country is that people usually think Plastik is an international magazine. I think this is due to local magazines lacking some sort of originality at the time, by choosing more commercial directions as opposed to the creative ones picked by Plastik.
What are your thoughts on the creative scene of the Middle East?
After 9 years spent in the business, I can finally say that it is definitely progressing towards the right direction. Something I am very happy about… When I was younger, I was always exposed to international arts and photography. The local scene didn’t necessarily inspire me. That was one of the reasons which pushed me to create this magazine, seeking to give hope and inspiration to younger talents. Today I notice the young generation to be more open and welcoming of knowledge and global arts and as a result, they are more talented.
Your fashion approach is challenging the imagination. How do you create your dreamy world?
It is different depending on the story we want to portray. It always starts with the character we are working with, what does she like? What is she thinking of? What would she wear? What kind of house would she live in? And it all goes from here.
Even though we tend to avoid saying it out loud, our generation loves pop-culture. What are your thoughts on that?
I am not one to avoid saying it out loud. I am fascinated by pop-culture.
Social media’s dynamic world is slowly decreasing the interest of the print media. What kind of content can survive?
Timeless content will survive. Images that you will see in 20 years and not really know when they were photographed. That is what we are trying to achieve with Plastik, since the printed work in the magazine is different from what we post on social media. Social media is about the now, as the features behind the prints of the magazine are timeless art according to Plastik.
Do you think social media evolved the aesthetic vision?
Definitely. It has had the biggest positive impact in visual arts. Some people might argue, but you can simply see it by observing the style of the younger generation. Social media and visual arts inspire them. Being more exposed to what is happening around the world; it’s easier for example for them to dress better now and develop their own styles by following the trends on social media.
What stimulates you to create?
Afar from coming across as arrogant, I want my name to be remembered, as someone who contributed to changing the creative scene in Lebanon. I’d like every project I undertake to help me get closer to my goal. In short, I want my name to represent the magazine and be linked to outbreaking creativity in the Middle East. That’s what keeps the urge in me to keep working.
Reality and fantasy, what do these two things mean for you when working as a Creative Director?
I do not believe there is so much difference between the two. I do believe that you need to create your own reality and then add some fantasy to it. I am not one to say that reality is boring. If someone feels this way, it must be that the reality they created for themselves is a boring one. Fantasy comes from someone’s mind and inner thoughts. So basically it must be coming from a real place.
Any advice for someone looking to be in the magazine industry?
If they really like it, go for it obviously. Just know that it is indeed changing and you need to be ready and smart enough to cope with that change.