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Day One of the speaker forums of CARBON Festival 2012 left no punter disappointed with a diverse line-up of speakers bringing a wealth of knowledge and advice to the audience…

The big turnout at the launch party (party pics still to come!) meant we weren’t too sure how many punters would actually beat their hangovers and make it to the first forum on Saturday morning. But beat them you did, and we were stoked to see the crowd float in, filling up the stands at Fed Square’s BMW Edge.

First up in the New Media Takeover forum, was Mass Appeal bossman, Richard ‘Treats’ Dryden, who talked about the return of the legendary publication in both print and digital form. But perhaps more importantly, his main point was that in order to do well and survive, a brand must protect and stay true its identity and credibility, emphasising that “people need to know you and what you represent”.

Next up, Sneeze mag’s, Nic Fensom, provided a great perspective on the state of print, ranging from tips on how to save money on your printing bill (“Don’t fly out to watch Kate Upton shoots”) to the use—or in his case, non-use—of social media (“Twitter is about all I can handle”). In an inspiring presentation, Fensom spoke of the importance of “sick content, great images and tight editing”, stressing that whether print is or will be dead, at the end of the day, it’s about content. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Nic Fensom’s presentation was the obvious: the dude is seriously passionate about Sneeze—and works so damn hard—that even though it may have its ups and downs, it’s all about the passion for the craft.

Hypebeast Editor-in-chief, Eugene Kan, was a huge drawcard for the punters, who took us through what Hypebeast is, and what it takes to sustain a blog like it.

“I’ve literally been broken down by Hypebeast and the grind…but being able to meet people, and fly to Australia for this…it’s what gives me drive.” Kan spoke about the evolution of Hypebeast and its direction, and being at the helm of perhaps one of the biggest lifestyle blogs on the planet, you would think he would know a thing or two about the ins and outs of New Media. Giving the knowledge hungry-crowd some amazing insight, he also couldn’t emphasise enough the amount of hard work that has to be poured into a site like Hypebeast.

Finishing up the forum was a strong, engaging presentation by Joy Yoon. Joy spoke with the crowd at such a personal level—with the aide of just one slide, she spoke to everyone in the audience as though she were having a conversation over a few beers at your local. It was an amazing sight to see this lady connect with the crowd with such brutal honesty, and a wonderfully dry sense of humour. And rather than sugarcoat what she does, or glamorise the writing ‘profession’, she basically just told it like it is: it’s hard. And sometimes sucks.

In addressing the issue of print vs digital, each speaker had interesting points of view on topics from the rise of social media to the innate need for tangibility. Nic Fensom’s discussion was a great example of not using social media which sat well with Eugene Kan’s presentation on the ways in which digital is used to Hypebeast’s advantage. Whilst they agreed that the mediums could sit side-by-side, each speaker made a common point that no matter what form of media you work in, content—rather than delivery—is king.

After a short break, street artists DALeast and Faith47 took to the stage, sharing their work with the audience, talking extensively about urban space and its connection to the human story. DALeast spoke about the importance of the vision of the artist and rather than just having an idea, focus on how to put that idea into a visual form. Faith47 also emphasised the concept of art as a language: that imagery is its own language, a universal one at that. Their presentations were a very intimate look into their artistic principles and practices, and how their distance from the central art hubs of the bigger cities and disconnection from the mainstream makes them no less relevant as artists.

Jasper approached the topic of commerce with hesitation, “As artists, you don’t do it for money, you do it because you loved drawing as a little kid and you couldn’t stop”. Jasper’s worked in just about every facet of the arts industry, as both creator and creator. His interesting perspective of founding and running two galleries (Loft in Space and Above Second) from the two disparate locations of Hawai’i where he was born and bred and Hong Kong where he was lived for many years was great. His latest big art venture Pow Wow was also discussed, especially in regards to the publics opinion of outside art and how the project injects life into parts of downtown which don’t normally see foot traffic but now are sources of constant attention.

LA graffiti OG Chaz Bojorquez then took the mic and the crowd really felt as though they were in the midst of a true legend. As the oldest living (and practising) graffiti artist in the world, it’s hard not to feel humbled to hear him speak. Growing up during the civil rights movement and LA gang culture, Chaz had seen it all when it comes to the culture. What was particularly interesting was his comments on how he approaches his work. “Every good artist is a good designer” and the way he approaches the placement of his type and type itself was fascinating. He also spoke on communication and how every piece of art or design is really just a mode of communicating something.  His approach to commercial collaborations was enlightening. West Coast culture is his life and partnering with brands that capture that spirit is something he has no problem with. “I don’t want to investigate culture, I want to be culture”.

Day One was an interesting blend of completely different presentations, personalities, philosophies and backgrounds. But each brought with them so much knowledge it was like being back at uni… only not shit. And people turned up. Their stories and anecdotes were fascinating and engaging, yet hugely informative and insightful and an amazing start to the Carbon forums.