The Venture Compound

10

For all those who have followed my previous blog posts, you must be familiar with how I always try sticking to a more-of-nature, less-of-urban backdrops for my photographs. When I started The Scarlet Window, the idea behind it all was to create styles with a fusion of both indian and western clothing elements or infusing ethnic elements into a modern space where it’s wearable and at the same time looks unique and gorgeous. But my love for pure, unadultrated ethnic styles have always resulted in most of my series being all ethnic. Hence, this time I took a conscious effort in putting together a look that’s a little bit of both, and is simple, comfortable, colourful, wearable and pretty. :)

We(Ajay and I) explored some lovely streets in the suburbs of Bombay for this shoot. Ventured into building compounds older than three decades, streets filled with bougainvillea, played with adorable stray puppies(leave Ajay with dogs, and it’s the most difficult task pulling him away from them. Such a dog lover, Ajay), scouted till we got some beautifully textured walls as backdrops(photo 1 & 2), ate vada pavs while contemplating which other streets to explore, romanticised the gorgeous evening light, stopped mid shoot and contemplated if the nose-ring was too large, randomly plucked a lot of flowers, because…pink :), spoke about life, had chai, spoke about how the pressure of building careers is the worst thing to happen to us, had more chai, got excited about how the photos were coming out lovely, and so much more frenzied talk, none of which I remember now.
 

For tons of outtakes and other lovely images that don’t make it to the blog, follow us on instagram: ID: malavikamohanan_

Lots of love <3
Malavika

P.S. Would love to hear from you guys! Random musings, collaborations, inspirations, everything is welcome(as long as the grammar is impeccable). Email me at thescarletwindow@gmail.com

An Unmasking:

“There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn’t me. I am no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that.”-Steve Moore

At first the black cloth, stretching over the brim of his nose and obscuring the lower half of his face, meant to serve as a show of boldness, an ensconce to shield his features whom even at the tender age of five was moulded to resemble that of Hatake Sakumo. He wanted no part of it, the ardent whispers and lingering stares that seemed to follow his father like an ominous cloud whenever Konoha’s White Fang felt well enough to venture from the compound. Perchance the cool press of fabric made it easier to face the man he always looked up to, to drink in the now pallid jaw and sunken eyes, without revealing the twist of his own mouth or the confused crinkle of his nose. And as the pit of disgrace became cavernous, the very comrades whose lives the Hatake Head chose to honour before his duty at the forefront of the condemning fray; the mask became an aide-mémoire to remind him of what happened to those who strayed from the just guidelines weaving the Ninja Code. A shinobi must never show any weakness.’

-

The mask, moist with the beads of rain soaking the memorial grounds, now acted as a cold buffer between the newly graduated Genin and all those who believed otherwise. He would be a model shinobi, persistent in his desire to complete any and all missions given to him, whilst effectively erasing the shroud of pity now weighing down his frame, an aspiration that only kindled and hissed at the press of the Sandaime’s aged palm against his shoulder, grey hues refusing to peer up underneath the wide brim of the Kage hat. Though his intent desire to cling to his guise and all it came to mean was at odds with every team he was assigned to, the boy still managed as to complete several missions, the success wholly expected and all that really mattered in the long run. A shinobi must always put the mission first.’

-

It wasn’t until Kakashi swept his shrewd, leaden gaze over his supposedly new ‘team’, that he felt his success rate might start to suffer. The kunoichi of the team, with her almond strands and thoughtful pools seemed far too meek to be a soldier of the Hidden Leaf, a datum only emphasised by her warm greeting and the way she clasped nimble fingers behind her back, apron seams swaying in the mid-morning breeze. From what the silver-haired boy remembered of his year within the academy, Rin Nohara had proficient chakra control and was rather perceptive, he could only hope said attributes were honed within their time apart. Their Jōnin sensei, though lean and towering appeared equally sub-par with his messy, golden tuffs and airy grin. Hitherto Kakashi knew it would be rash to blatantly underestimate a man of his rank, if anything Minato-sensei might very well be making an allowance for their skill level, this being their first training session together. It was the –third- member of their merry band that really chafed the young Hatake’s nerves; the Uchiha’s breaths still coming in sharp gasps as he rested his hands on top of his knees. Not only was the idiot late, but he was also wearing a getup that could scarcely be seen as functional, the bright, orange goggles reflecting the sunlight snootily in Kakashi’s direction and causing his eye to twitch. Why he had to be placed on a team with the loud-mouthed, crybaby was beyond the firm Genin, a hand palming his face in annoyance, whilst the dark-haired boy continued to sprout nonsense about his likeness being carved into the Hokage Mountain. A flock of birds bristled at the commotion before breaking through the ever-green treetops and the Hatake had half the mind to follow after them. That way he could swiftly make his way to the Fire Tower to glower at the old man in person; but he would not, no matter how tempting the mental image. As a rule, all squad collations were final and as a model shinobi, Kakashi would never query a decision of the Sandaime. Kakashi only hoped that the thin material of his mask would serve as a capable barrier against Obito. Stupidity might be contagious, after all. “A shinobi must always follow their commander’s instructions.”

-

It was with repellent regret that Kakashi found himself within the memorial grounds once more, the heartfelt snuffles of Rin resounding from his right. It was folly how the clear, blue skies could be so disloyal to her feelings, to his feelings. He had only just come to realize that perhaps Obito wasn’t such a fool and that Rin, though benign to her very core, nowhere near as feeble as he initially imagined. They had so many missions ahead of them too, missions in which he could prove that he was a capable, trustworthy captain and that it wasn’t his own simple superiority that caused him to lose a dear comrade. A friend. Folding in on himself the Jōnin dragged his lone, grey hue to the stone looming ahead, the sunny rays reflecting off of the worn, orange goggles as easily as they always did. Rin shifted beside him, wiping furtively at her damp, flushed cheeks, before she moved to rest the bouquet of pale, pink Myrtles next to their teammate’s treasure. Kakashi idly noted how the frail petals were used to represent love, the small gesture somewhat wistful as the Kunoichi finally returned the Uchiha’s feelings. All in all it caused a lodge to form within the Jōnin’s throat and a faint prickle to surge underneath his scarred lid. Kakashi would not cry however, not when he promised to be strong for Rin and not when his mask was now reminiscent of all he had yet to lose. “A shinobi should never show his tears.”

-

He should have known as a hailed prodigy that one could never truly escape the cruel talons of fate, much less all it promised. The Third Shinobi War has been dragging on for far too long and commiserations had been clinging to his ankles as it did to his father before him.  Until now Kakashi never expected that he would fail his last promise, that his inabilities as a Shinobi and teammate would run this deep. His own wide and disbelieving hues reflected back at him through Rin’s glossy hazel, tears finally dribbling down her chin as the high-pitched chirrup of Chidori died down. Kakashi retracted his fist, the sickly squelch of her chest causing the Jōnin’s knees to buckle, before an arm lifted to press her against his shoulder. They could have made it. He could have saved her. All they had to do was pass through the border of Wave country and meet up with their faction of reinforcements. Only Rin had no intention of making her way back home, her keen mind already aware of the true reason as to why the Isobu was sealed within her. He should have surmised that his refusal would not have been enough, that Rin’s loyalty to Konoha outshined the weight of his long-made oath. The dispirited voices of the Kiri-nin sounded like mere echoes in his ears when Rin finally slipped from his hold, body crumpling against the soaked earth like a Suna puppet whose chakra strings have been cut. As his own vision obscured with tinges of black, tomoe twisting into the portent of the Mangekyō; a single, embittered thought wafted through Kakashi’s subconscious. “A shinobi should be able to see underneath the underneath.”

-

Their deaths still plagued his dreams, still haunted each step and throw of his kunai. Nevertheless the teen endeavoured to cover the effects of his restlessness via the familiar veneer of his mask and a callous posture. Minato Namikaze was irritatingly discerning when needed however and it wasn’t long before the Jōnin found himself slumped within the newly  appointed Yondaime’s office, arms crossed and a nonchalant gleam within his visible hue. Kakashi has taken to covering his scarred lid with his hitae-ate, hiding his bequest from view. He maintained that the action was due to the Sharigan taking a toll on his chakra reserves when constantly in use, as well as a means to placate the indignant Uchiha clan. But the silver-haired Shinobi knew that his true, inner-most reasoning orbited about his feelings of self-reproach. He had failed to keep his promise and as such he couldn’t bring himself to face the stark, telling crimson, lest in the face of an enemy. His sensei suggested he join the ANBU, that it would be good for him to focus on his missions instead of his losses. Thus, never one to qualm the word of the Yellow Flash, the Jōnin enforced his cloth mask with one of bone-white porcelain. Kakashi believed that he was finally doing what he was supposed to, as the tart scent of copper seeped into the very fibres of his skin, never to be washed away. Hatake Kakashi wasn’t meant to protect, to cherish. He was meant to break and obliterate. Hence his utmost uncertainty when the Hokage recalled him from his current duties to serve as the sole figure he was always unable to. A surge of incense bubbled within his chest, causing his tainted finger-pads to curl into the black fabric obscuring his palms. ‘What was Minato-sensei thinking? Surely he had more sense when it came to the likes of Kushina-sama…’ Even with said thought churning within his mind, the teen went about his top-secret mission with the same vigour as he did any command, tailing the boisterous Jinchūriki as if he was her second, though infinitely more opaque, shadow. And when the time came to conclude his ten month mission, surrendering his seemingly terrifying task to the more capable hands of his superiors, Kakashi felt himself rather reluctant.

He had no reason to doubt the proficiency of his elders, there was after all no ninja more capable that those honoured to be the Sandaime’s personal guard. They had more experience than him, more knowledge in the workings of Fūinjutsu, assuredly the better soldier. Perhaps they too would come to find comfort in the Kunoichi’s coarse laugh, her astonishing ability to haggle with the vendors for better dumpling prices and the way she always left a bowl of miso soup on the ledge for him come lunch time. With a breath the ANBU operative branded his hesitancy as a mere break in habit, nothing more. Ten months, though not the longest run for a mission, was certainly long enough as to evoke a routine. If only he sought to scrutinize the chill in the air that night, the portentous trace that set the fine hairs on the back of neck on end. Perhaps then he could have prevented some of the damage that was sure to follow. On duty or not- “A shinobi must prepare for what is to come…before it is too late to.”

-

Looking back at all that has come to pass; the twenty-three-year-old Jōnin came to the conclusion that he was not such a model Shinobi after all, nor did he think he deserved to be. He had lived his life wanting to shed the smouldering darkness that clung to the Hatake name, but ended up achieving the opposite until the murky tendrils all but consumed him. He wanted no part of the hushed murmurs that constantly followed his father’s frame, nipping at his self-respect like a weedy stray. Yet as Kakashi sauntered along the dusty path of the market district, paper bag cradled against his chest, he was well aware of the probing glances and off-hand remarks his presence aroused. He had come to reconcile with the fact that his mask had become one with him, that it was what the villagers had come to expect and that he would never be able to remove it without tearing into skin and muscle. Shifting from his position, Kakashi altered his lacklustre gaze to the two, small bells nestled within his palm, a faint jingling acknowledging his movement. Likewise he had come to accept that he would never be able to right the wrongs against the White Fang, that he would never be able to atone for the losses of his friends and certainly not for obeying the rules as they should have been: with enough leeway for impromptu responses against the enemy. What he could do was help the newer generation, those born without the hefty weight of war, to avoid his many, many mistakes. Closing his calloused fingers over the bells, the Shinobi paused to look at the stone faces peering over the Hidden Leaf in its entirety. The Village’s true protectors. Hai, even though he was undeserving of the title, he could help shape others into model shinobi (or come close) by instilling in them what was truly most important. “Teamwork is a shinobi’s most valued tool.”

Call for artists!

I’m an art director at The Venture Compound in Florida. Send me your art and you’ll probably be in this show! It takes place in Florida but you can mail your art here if you are out of state!! <3

Call for Artists: ULTRAVIOLENCE at The Venture Compound (St. Petersburg) 

The Venture Compound calls all thoughtful deviant gorehounds to submit work for our next awful show of scandalous exploitation. The theme is “ULTRAVIOLENCE".

All of our themes are completely open to interpretation, but there is a definite “Venture Aesthetic.“ If you’re not familiar with what we do and the kind of artists we work with, you should definitely spend some time going back through archives, probably mostly easily accessible on Facebook at facebook.com/theventurecompound. We are focused on young, emerging, and non-commercial art, so if you’re still working on your polish and unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the art world, we’re here to give you our love and weirdness! If you don’t feel like you’re ready to submit to a show, YOU SHOULD SUBMIT ANYWAY.

Please send us a note with some brief biographical information about yourself, images of existing work, and some rough idea of what you’d like to do for the show. Email this information to venturecompoundgallery@gmail.com NO LATER THAN JULY 17TH for consideration.

Possible points of reference: 

A Clockwork Orange; super gory anime scenes; a surgery show on television; an art piece made of car crashes; a building exploding; airplane crashing; school campus being shot up; a gazelle being torn to pieces by lions; A Nightmare on Elm Street; a nuclear bomb; the holocaust; ultimate fighting championships; monster truck smash ‘em ups; video game killing sprees; Genghis Khan; Vikings; Dessert Storm; Mexican wrestling, Heavy Metal explosions, the scary parts of the bible, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies; the conquest of America; dolphin gang rape; suicide; the French revolution; spontaneous human combustion; kamikaze attack; or a mother murdering her children.

Note: Any serious proposals on the theme of dolphin gang rape will be IMMEDIATELY accepted.

Please send all materials and inquiries to venturcompoundgallery@gmail.com

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