L-R: Aitken Hawkins, Zayyar Win Thein, Roydon Misseldine
What happens when you place some driven young creatives in an in-the-works derelict storage space in the alleys of innercity Wellington? Quite a lot, actually, if those individuals are Zayyar Win Thein, Roydon Misseldine and their mates.
Founded off the back of the need to channel a plethora of projects, the “multidisciplinary creative platform” Subject Studios could be seen as a hedging of bets, or an abstract formula for going mental. They’ve printed magazines, sampled clothing, peddled mixtapes, curated exhibitions, and worked on a number of branding exercises for private clients. What’s in the works at any given moment requires a glance at the guy’s mood boards - indecipherable to an outsider, yet cognisable as very busy.
A day in the office is a juxtaposition of cyberspace, chill beats, and referencing the small but growing design library - broken up by Zayyar’s coffee runs, and Roydon’s infamous skate sessions.
Inside the studio.
Youth and geographic positioning have not in any way impeded the healthy growth of the business since its inception late last year. The guys don’t blink at the fact that so many of their collaborators live on the other side of the world, in flipped timeframes, let alone the fact that they’ve never actually ‘met’ them. A model unachieveable two decades ago sees Subject Studios utilising their computers, phones, and the internet to build real things with real people.
Despite all this, both Roydon and Zayyar aren’t quite the Gen Y characterised as shrinking from the thought of actual social interaction. Both harbour intent to fly the nest, at the same time conscious of the raw power of brainstorming with their cohort in real-time over a beer (whether that beer be in New York or Copenhagen), and desire to mix things up before roots are too far settled in routine. The lifeline of the endeavour lies in persistent consumption of inspiration, and consistent creation; you have to break some eggs.
Zayyar’s fashion and photography foundations ring distinct from the grounding in graphic design and music mixing which Roydon brings to the table. There’s a rotation of friends, and interns, and international collaborators. And it’s therein that lies the self-generating disruption of ‘safe’; with a hunger to bring ideas to life, but unique perceptions on how to do so, the guys are forcing their own evolution.
Conscious of their influences, Subject keeps tabs on the larger creative studios working universally. It’s not with intent to emulate, they say, but to have a literal yardstick to overtake.
There is no growth plan, nor economic goals. Their eyebrows raise at the proposal that they could be putting their brand out there in a more traditional way; it simply hasn’t crossed their mind to cash-out by offering their services to the layman and his wallet. But in that same vein, their vision is crystal clear. They want to work on their own terms, preferring the status of art over sell-out revenue generation.
Dream jobs in Roydon’s eye include, “Any project that revolves around cool people doing cool shit,” whilst Zayyar pins the vision of success on working with Apple or Nike.
All said, keep an eye on these guys.