Drenched in a pink light and loud music at the Spazio Maiocchi in Milan, Harmony Korine holds in her right hand a black felt-tip pen and a Cohiba cigar in her left one, spreading a fragrant fog around him. He seem to be jumped out of one of his films while signing copies of Yung Palm, a supplement to the 2018 spring-summer number of Kaleidoscope created by Korine in collaboration with Gucci. The Italian brand dedicated to Korine a five-day retrospective that transformed the Gucci Hub in a small cinema, airing some of Harmony's best and favorite movies. The retrospective ended on Sunday with a talk featuring his friend Aaron Rose and the glorious screening of Trash Humpers, a 2009 film shot on VHS described by Harmony as "loser-gang cult-freak collective".

Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 19
Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 20
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Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 30

Harmony Korine has had this public image: excessive, eccentric, lunatic, a low-key cool genious, a troll before it was mainstream. Its films echoed his reputation of becoming one of the champions of American independent cinema starting with Kids, continuing with Gummo and arriving at the hyper-reality of Spring Breakers and The Beach Bum seasoning everything with his private life spent among drugs and strange events (two of his houses were burned). Korine is not just a director, he has done everything in his life, an incomplete list includes: writing songs for Bjork, books, paints, directed a video by Sonic Youth, made a short film with Die Antwoord, signed a Supreme tees, lived in Paris, Nashville, New York and Miami.

His interviews are quite legendary - check the whole serie on Letterman -, they have the same surreal touch as his films, and Harmony did not let us down.

 

If when you were 18 someone told you that you would have shot a campaign for Gucci, what you would have told them?

That’s good question… I really don’t know, at the time I was a little wilder than now, I couldn’t even image what was shooting for a high fashion brand to be honest…

 

Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 1
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So, how was working with Alessandro Michele and what were your inspo for the campaign?

He’s great, he has a very specific vision and a great imaginary.
We shoot in Pompei, which was amazing I think none shoot there before. The pics are a mash-up of styles and trends, even if they all have this noisy look with oversaturated colors that I like
You know I’m painting  now, so I wanted to replicate the painting in the, that was the main inspiration.

 

Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 6
courtesy of SuMinistero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali – Parco Archeologico di Ercolano e Parco Archeologico di Pompei
Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 5
courtesy of SuMinistero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali – Parco Archeologico di Ercolano e Parco Archeologico di Pompei
Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 7
courtesy of SuMinistero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali – Parco Archeologico di Ercolano e Parco Archeologico di Pompei
Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 4
courtesy of SuMinistero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali – Parco Archeologico di Ercolano e Parco Archeologico di Pompei
Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 8
Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 9
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At 18 you were in New York City and about to write your first movie Kids, how was living in the city in the early 90s?

Yes I started in the basement of my grandma’s apartment, than I moved into my first apartment. The City at the time had this really grimy culture, I was mainly hanging out with skaters, we used to go to Washington Square Park pass by Supreme store that opened in 1994, and there were not even products it was really just an hang-out spot from street kids. Normally we often ending up in my apartment getting high and stuff…

 

You were part of that culture and it is still having huge impact on today’s aesthetic – from fashion to films -, how did it became so influential?

I don’t know honestly, but I remember places like Union (the first store opened by James Jebbia) were full of street kids, creatives, punk, skin It was real meltin pot. The clothes were inspiring there were stuff from japan right next to some. There was a good vibe, it was cool..

I feel that at certain point everything was so corporate, that everything seems to be designed by a computer almost. So brands now are looking elsewhere to offer a new vision, I feel that young designers that where born and raised with the street culture are able to mash up high and low culture. There are really no rules now, no boundaries between high and low culture.

 

Supreme could be a good example of going from underground to mainstream

Yes, like others. They are having a huge moment, I know James and he saw everything before others. He’s a true visionary.

 

He’s also having some problems, did  you follow the Supreme Italia's case?

Yes I followed, it’s a crazy story… In some way it’s like a strange metaphor for the rise of street culture.

 

Talking about your films, there is one thing that really blows me of the last two (Spring Breakers and in The Beach Bum): picking Selena Gomez, James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, or Matthew McConaughey has clear meaning, can you tell me a little bit more about it Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Snoop Dogg e Zac Efron,

Yes, it’s kind of fun to play with pop symbolism, for Matthew and James there are these personas that already exists about them, it’s part of the pop consciousness. I thought it was fun.
I like the idea that there’s the public persona that exists and that we’re playing with. Trying to push it into something that is hyper-comedic.


 

The costumes are following the same idea for shaping the characters?

In terms of fashion, I use the costumes to put who watch in that world. For Spring Breakers we made a huge moodboard of spring brake's pictures to replicate the exact imaginary. Then of course, I push the stereotype to make it hyperreal…

Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 33
Interview with Harmony Korine The Kids writer shared with us thought about his art and its latest work with Gucci | Image 34
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All your characters are outsiders or underdogs, where did you get the inspiration from?

I was born in Nashville and raised in the middle of strange characters, my parents were hippies we moved in a commune, so basically it’s what I’ve seen.
I find outsiders more interesting and entertaining to watch and I think my characters aren’t there to prove something or become whoever, they are just doing their stuff.

 

Can you tell me a little bit more about your writing process for and how it evolved in your movies?

I wrote Kids in 7 days because I was young, it seems ages ago, and I was basically writing the everyday life. With Gummo, it’s a little bit different because the dislinear writing could be troubling for the watch, I tried to tell the story as a tornado everything spins around  Xenia, Ohio, which is the city were the biggest tornando of American history took place and also the native city of the skateboard brand Alien workshop.
For the Beach Bum and Spring Breakers I wanted to make a movie similar to a drug experience.

 

Are you working on something new?

Yes I’m writing a new script, it’s gonna be different that’s all I can say. And still making my art, I love painting..