sophie ward by danny roberts
Once upon a time there were two beautiful sisters who lived a long way from anywhere in the most remote city on earth. With a little help from the Prada fairy, one grew up to become a fashion princess, then grabbed a balloon string and floated off into another make believe world. The other built her own castle in the kingdom of publishing.
The last time frockwriter noticed Sophie Ward, she was modelling for stellar Australian denim startup 18th Amendment and blogging for ninemsn.com.au from the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
I have often wondered how she coped shadowing the quite extraordinary success achieved by her younger sister in the same profession.
Sophie Ward, according to her LinkedIn profile, has been writing professionally for four years, and is the current New York correspondent for Perth’s Silver magazine.
Ward holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia, with English and European Studies majors and describes herself as the “founder, president and creative director” of new imprint Paper Castle Press.
Although headquartered in Los Angeles according to the company’s website, the domain name was registered in February 2008 by Chris Hemmings of the Sydney-based CGH Artists, whose relationship with Ward remains unclear.
Frockwriter has attempted to contact Hemmings (and Ward) to as yet no avail. According to Hemmings’ agent Three60, he is a Perth native (like Ward) and used to rep Derek Henderson, among other Australian photographers. Most recently, Hemmings has been involved with his own publishing ventures, which have included the photographic book +61.
In a separate profile on the Canadian online magazine/writers network Suite 101, Ward describes herself as a “partner” in the Paper Castle Press website.
The Suite 101 profile also mentions that Ward wrote her first book in 1993, at the age of 8, winning the Miss Booker Literary Prize in Western Australia.
Paper Castle Press's stated mission statement is to be:
“...a publishing vessel created to protect and support the ideas of the future today. Our philosophy is to support creative visionaries by generating a dissemination of their body of work with utmost attention to quality over quantity. We are focused on sourcing grass roots individualism and regenerating a culture of free thinking rebellion through writing, illustration, photography and other forms of paper bound expression.”
The site lists several upcoming projects.
The first is a new novel by Ward called The Beginning of An Inexplicable Journey.
A curious precis of the tome, in what look to be Ward’s own words, describes the book as:
“Sophie Ward's philological study of a personal human journey with universal relevance. In the tradition of Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 AD) and French artist, phenomenist and linguist, Genevieve Seille (1951 - ) Ward documents her passionate observation of various phenomena with highly detailed notations which spread throughout the book. This personalized observational research technique is used to document the insights and reflections unique to Ward.”
Also in the pipeline is the first novel, I, Poet, of Lily Black, who is described as a “blackly beautiful San Franciscan poet” who negotiates:
“seques [sic] between a violent Maya Angelou to hot unicorns.”
Frockwriter is not familiar with Black’s work – and judging by a quick net scan, nor are many others – but two upcoming Ward collaborations with the prodigiously talented 23 year-old LA-based illustrator Danny Roberts would appear to be extremely promising.
'the ladies of dior'/danny roberts
Roberts has illustrated a childrens book written by Ward called The Ginger Marmalade Toastmeister.
It recounts the story of a cat and a warthog.
A second collaboration with Roberts is The Siren Who Loved, the outline of which project sounds like it may eventually embrace some element of live performance, involving an "audio" component courtesy Stacey Dupree – one quarter of the Texan sibling indie pop outfit Eisley.
Paper Castle Press also has an online store selling Roberts’ illustrations, which are quite beautiful and very fashion-focussed. Roberts' oeuvre has in fact so far been dominated by caricatures of fashion models (and occasionally also fashion bloggers) – which partially explains how he may have come into the orbit of the Ward sisters.
Where is the money coming from? That's a very good question. Book publishing is expensive, with illustrated colour books often prohibitively so. Is multimillionaire Gemma Ward perhaps a silent partner?
gemma ward/danny roberts
Roberts studied fashion design at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, later switching to illustration.
In August he told the Pony Ryder blog that he started illustrating seriously three years ago. Roberts' first studies were of Gemma Ward and Lily Cole and he has since developed the drawings into The Lily and Gemma Book, which is comprised of two volumes (describing Gemma Ward as his “dream portrait model” to another blog, Chic Intuition).
Roberts cites his first professional job as illustrating the lookbook of the Academy of Art Senior show at New York Fashion Week in 2007 - and showcases his illustrations on his increasingly popular Igor + Andre blog.
Sophie Ward also has her own blog attached to the Paper Castle Press website.
Far more esoteric than your average model blog - and in parts quite melancholic - Ward suggests the word blog could be an acronym for “big long open gash”.
In an October 15 post entitled Fractal Reflections of Reality Facets, she noted:
“This is where I am now, in a state of hard luck. I am in this big apple, but it is rotten already. There are worms and critters, slugs, slaters, maggots and mutant pumpkins, their skins blistered by some weird pulse, sitting on the rabid sidewalk and my kitchen bench too - an ugly pumpkin and a cactus amongst ripped envelopes full of the stock market’s frenzied collapse.”
And in The Lizard's Velvet Hand on October 23:
“I am a tasty chicken and my juice is gashing all down your chin. I don’t mind being eaten. All I want is to be in peace and oneness. All I ask for is to live in a nice house, on a nice street, with a nice car and a magnificent man, a magnificent career, a magnificent life.”