Roman Sys from Brooks & Brooks talks about his Paradigm collection which, due to rising costs, he shot on his iPhone.

Stylist, image maker and visionary, Roman Sys is a stylist at the iconic London salon, Brooks & Brooks. Always keen to push boundaries and create new visually striking collections, Roman was forced to get creative with his latest collection Paradigm. Due to shoots becoming just too expensive, he reached for his iPhone instead… and got busy with his collage skills! 

The process  

Some people have a fixed process; they know the motions they need to go through to produce the results. For others, it’s different altogether. My creative process is not fixed at all! I’m inspired by everything and nothing at the same time. If I’m harvesting references from outside sources such as literature, art, nature, or music, my approach is very neutral. I will overlap images and text and sounds to fit my own mindset. More often than not there is an internal feeling I express subconsciously or consciously in my work. That excites me most – the idea of leaving the work open for interpretation and not being so literal.

Roman Sys

Roman Sys

The moodboards 

My boards work like mind maps. Sometimes it’s hard to explain ideas when you’re in the thick of it and your mind is in creative overdrive. Creating a board that makes sense can take anytime between a week and a month. I find that when I overlap images, there is often more than just one feeling I’m conveying, it’s never singular. I can read between the lines of the imagery that I have collected; this helps me to find my perspective and ground the ideas that are flowing in my head.  

I don’t necessarily create the boards directly for a project or collection. I will just create a board to understand where I am and then it goes in the cupboard! I might decide to work with it for a project, or it will be reworked into something else. A cool thing happened when Sally and Jamie Brooks asked if I would contribute to the salon art for our new Brooks & Brooks home at Great Queen Street. I created an A1 board of collage, ink and paint with gentle textures that was an exploration of ‘familiar feelings and potential’.  

The vision 

My vision extends beyond what I produce creatively but is interwoven into the work I create and how I choose to capture it. I want to promote accessibility and cultivate a starter-friendly industry. Therefore, what I frequently create is artistry without excess. Image making is how I would describe my process; I street cast my models, and I’m inspired by them. This is my starting point and they influence the project. Everything I’ve done is based on collaboration. There is something about creating in the moment and then capturing it on an iPhone that allows me to have full creative control on the project. This bridges the gaps of high standard imagery, affordability, and accessibility.  

Mini-series – Paradigm  

The definition of paradigm is the current example of a system or idea. With this collection I wanted to shift our mindsets away from what we have seen before. I wanted to combine my hair work, my photographic style and collage together for something that feels totally DIY, yet with moments of interest and curiosity. I wanted the process to be the result, it was a last-minute urge to just do something. It was quite amazing to me how the clippings I had collected and the photos of textures and colours I had taken (that I would later go onto rip up and use in the collage) had this relationship with the hair work I had created.  

This collection was shot completely on my iPhone, to inspire and encourage other people to create for the love of it. I decided to collage over the images after I had taken the photos. I hadn’t planned the collage around the photographs in advance. I like to leave some things down to instinct, which allowed for the process to feel authentic. 
No apps or Photoshop were used to produce the collage/artwork. I created the collage around the image then scanned it to create a digital copy. It was important for me to bring the contrast of the instant digital element of iPhone photography with the tactile physical application of collaging over the printed images, and then using ink and paint to produce variation in the texture.  

Hair, creative concept, collage and photography: Roman Sys at Brooks & Brooks. 
Make-up: Ivory Raine