Creative Fund


Hayley Louisa Brown

building a creative dream, brick by brick

Photographer Hayley Louisa Brown is a creative force to watch. As editor-in-chief of Brick, a biannual hip-hop culture publication, she set out to eschew all the usual clichés about the genre, such as the propensity for overtly masculine imagery seen in American titles like XXL and The Source - iconic hip-hop magazines from the late '90s and early 2000s - choosing instead to focus on contemporary imagery and timeless content…

Hayley Louisa Brown

As the second artist to be selected by Ace & Tate's Creative Fund, Kate Lawson met up with Hayley at London's Ace Hotel, to talk about her natural affinity with music, Elvis' continual impact on youth culture, and why she's swapping London for Los Angeles.

Have you always been into music and how were you first introduced to it??
Yes! I spent my childhood making CDs of songs downloaded from really terrible websites like Limewire, and playing them to everyone in my tutor group. I also grew up with a lot of different musical influences from my family, who all have their own tastes, and that combined with my MTV intake helped to shape my appreciation for so many types of music.

Hayley Louisa Brown Hayley Louisa Brown

So is there a stand-out video you saw on MTV that made you fall in love with hip-hop?
Seeing that Mad Max inspired 2pac video for 'California Love' on MTV base transfixed me. It was so otherworldly to me, the mix of sounds and the production.

And were you going to lots of hip-hop gigs too?
Yes, when I first moved to London from Guildford, I went to see all the shows by artists like Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky and there was this insane energy about them that was like nothing I had seen before. It reminded me of the energy of punk and things that I had seen and read about.

So is that where the inspiration to create a hip-hop focused zine, with a punk spirit came from?
Yes, I was really into reading up about youth culture and also other subcultures like Punk when I was at secondary school, and my Uncle was a punk. I wanted to make something I would buy myself - other hip-hop mags had become almost like lads mags with just a bit of music content, very tacky, 80s boys with their toys. I wanted to change that image. Now people are so fluid with their referencing and there's not really a divide of masculinity and femininity anymore, so stereotyping isn't so prevalent, and so I set out to make Brick appeal to everyone.

But you were a photographer first, with a stint in fashion photography, shooting fashion editorials for the likes of Nylon and Wonderland - so how did all that come about then?
I studied a fashion photography course at The London College of Fashion. To begin with I was almost blinded to anything else, until Mark LeBon (acclaimed 80s photographer and key contributor to the 'Buffalo' aesthetic), tutored us and really opened our eyes to shooting stuff that wasn't fashion. When I saw books by Bruce Weber and Bruce Davidson, I was like 'holy shit this is amazing' - and I decided that was something I really wanted to do. But I worked freelance for a while in fashion first.

Hayley Louisa Brown Hayley Louisa Brown

And then after year as hip-hop editor at Clash magazine, you finally made the jump to create Brick.
Yes, I knew I really wanted to start something that focused on just hip-hop culture and was really my thing, so I left Clash and did it. I wanted to make something that had an arresting element, for people to keep and collect like I did with magazines I used to buy, tearing out my favourite pictures and sticking them on my wall.

What are some of the big name artists you've secured for Brick so far? And what kind of features make the content so unique?
Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Ferg, Vince Staples, Action Bronson and so many more! One of the stand-out features is a tribute to the lyrical prowess of Phife Dawg, one of the founding members of A Tribe Called Quest. We're trying to make a publication that encapsulates the culture that sits alongside the music. So we also try to incorporate features on things other than direct interviews with artists - for example, we had a feature on the history of hip-hop publishing after we visited the world's largest magazine collection at the Hyman Archive.

So aside from Brick, let's talk about one of your other projects you're working on currently, with the help of funding from Ace & Tate's creative fund - tell me more!
It's a photo project about young Elvis fans, that I would potentially like to grow into a book. I went to Memphis and shot all of these Elvis fans who are in their teens and early twenties, and for me the idea of Elvis as a pop culture figure is a completely separate one to him as a musician - it's the idea of his impact on culture and his visual that interests me more so than his music. Youth culture is a subject that's always fascinated me, and Elvis personifies what an effect a single person can have on a generation.

Hayley Louisa Brown Hayley Louisa Brown

And where did your idea for the project stem from?
I think being British we are bombarded with so many images of America, from TV and film to music and art and advertising that it's difficult not to absorb it - especially growing up in the British countryside where there's a lot less visible culture than in London. The idea of New York, LA, Las Vegas, Memphis, all these places had been romanticised in my head from such a young age that I'd always had an attachment to them without ever being there.

Do you ever find personal time for yourself?
Yes, and when I do, I like to escape to a gallery, I find them very calming. When I was a teenager at 15 or 16 I would bunk the train into London and walk down the South Bank to the Tate for a couple of hours. It was inspiring to look at things which influenced my photography later on. I also like going to the Barbican Cinema, and there's a great Martini Bar there too!

Finally, with Christmas fast approaching, aside from new offices is there anything else on your wish list?
Oh yes, some Gucci loafers, make up from Glossier, and an interview with Frank Ocean please!

Hayley Louisa Brown

Lucas Hardonk

our first funded artist

Amsterdam-based photographer Lucas Hardonk was selected as the first artist to be supported by Ace & Tate's Creative Fund. We met up with Amsterdam-based Lucas to discuss his work — a visual journey through time and space — and to talk inspirations and dreams along the way.

Lucas Hardonk
Lucas Hardonk Lucas Hardonk

Can you explain the concept behind the project you've created for the creative fund?
My project intends to question imagery in relation to time and space by experimenting with dark translucent foils over pictures, to create day and night in the same image. The limitations of space and time within photography have always been fascinating to me, so I tried to make a body of work that questions these facts, and the funding I'm receiving from Ace & Tate is helping me buy the materials I need to create the project.

What do you want people to take away from your project?
I want them to visualise the boundaries of photography that force us to look at the space we're in, but in a different way. It's never about what you see but what you experience and what you think or want to see. Due to perception, emotions and memory, time influences space and connotation.

Describe what home means to you.
Me and my girlfriend created a wide open space, and it includes a big table and book cabinet with lots of photography, art and novels, and a large chair to read in. That's where we spend most of our time. The dining table is the centre of the house. I'm not a big cook but I enjoy eating with friends!

Lucas Hardonk Lucas Hardonk

When did you take your first photograph?
With my Grandfather when I was 7 or 8, he had a camera that I wanted to use so badly, and one day he finally let me use it. First we went into the Forest to photograph some deer and then we went to a nearby river where I captured every boat that passed. It was a magical day to finally use his camera and I still have the images.

Which photographer has had the biggest impact on you, inspiration-wise?
Paul Graham. I like how he thinks and explores photography. He makes the most beautiful books that translate into amazing exhibitions in form and presentation.

You studied at The Royal College of Art in The Hague and now you've begun to explore and build your own style of work, can you describe your creative process?
I Dream, think — sometimes for too long — and then I start making, creating and trying to do different things. The concept will evolve the longer I'm working on it, but reading and thinking about how I see things is always the basis, it always starts with a question that I have to think about how to answer.

Lucas Hardonk Lucas Hardonk

Do you have art or photographs on the walls?
Yes, a picture by Viviane Sassen and a series of panels by Dutch designer Lex Pott.

What about when you're not working, what's your favourite way to unwind?
Going into the city and meeting up with friends, for a drink or dinner. On Friday evenings I head to one of my favourite bars, DE PELS. At the weekend, I go for a walk in the Forest.

So you have good vibes about the future?
Yes, finishing things always feels more like a new starting point than the end of something.

Interview by Kate Lawson
Photography by Jordi Huisman

Lucas Hardonk


The Ace & Tate Creative Fund grants funding to emerging artists in order to bring brilliant ideas to life. It supports individuals or collectives working anywhere, in any medium, who take creative risks to break new ground. We want to discover. We invite original, focused proposals for tangible projects which turn obsessions into objects, imagination into imagery.

why a creative fund?

As a start-up, we flourished thanks to strong ties with the creative community. Through these relationships we experienced first hand how tough it can be for ambitious creatives to get a leg up. The Ace & Tate Creative Fund marks our commitment to this community by giving back and helping launch original and creative projects and individuals.


About the Creative Fund In support of the Ace & Tate Creative Fund, Hanna Putz created the photo essay seen on this page, exclusively for the launch.

something for you?

The Ace & Tate Creative Fund is for artists and collectives with vision, regardless of their location or experience. We're curious to hear creative ideas for tangible projects and want to see original ideas become stunning experiences, whether neon or noise, pixel or paint.

how does it work?

The fund begins with a one-off grant for a specific project, but the relationship doesn't end there. We use our established networks and connections to guide and assist production. Then with promotion via selected media partners and our channels, we expand your existing audience, giving you and your work the exposure it deserves.

We've teamed up with It's Nice That, Freunde von Freunden, Glamcult and Subbacultcha.

How it works

the creative board

We review applications with the help and expertise of industry-recognised board members from the Netherlands, UK and Germany. The selected applicants benefit from the guidance and input of the creative board during the production of their project.

Will Hudson

Will Hudson

founder and director of It's Nice That

Will Hudson founded the website It's Nice That in 2007 and is now the director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site, he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. Hudson is a well-respected force in the creative scene of the UK and beyond, championing the arts by appearing in print, radio and at live events.

His team at It's Nice That believes passionately that creative inspiration is for everyone. By celebrating the most exciting and engaging works online, in print and through their events program, they aim to open up this world to the widest possible audience. Founded almost a decade ago, It's Nice That has grown across many platforms and has a reach of over half a million readers a month. The website is updated daily, curating, publishing and directing the finest works and practitioners from across the creative industry. The team remains dedicated to staying up to date with studios and individuals and discovering new talent from all over the world, adding to their online archive daily.

A bi-annual magazine called Printed Pages explores different point of views and informs its readers about the artists that bring them to life. It's Nice That also hosts Here London, an annual symposium featuring some of the world's best creative talent, from the biggest names in the industry to the most cutting-edge practitioners. Lastly, the Nicer Tuesdays talks series presents a different panel of creatives each month. As well as publishing inspirational work, the It's Nice That team also harnesses their creative expertise to help brands communicate their messages to their audience and beyond through their creative agency INT Works.

Will Hudson
Will Hudson

What makes an artwork stand out to you?
It varies so much! It can be the idea behind it, the craft of it, where I engage with it. It can be something super simple or something that has taken huge amounts of time and energy to create. More often than not, though, it's something that resonates with me personally and resonates for weeks after seeing it.

The biggest obstacle for creativity?
There are some pretty big ones out there! I think for me personally it comes down to asking why – 'Why are you making this?', 'Why do people need this', and so on. In 2016 you have to define your purpose. This doesn't mean you can't do quick, simple projects but you have to know in yourself why you are doing them. It's refreshing that when you know the answer to why it's much easier to get on and do the work.

What does it take to be a successful creative in today's world?
Originality, flare, passion, consistency, craft, awareness, friends, honesty, hard work… The list goes on, but ultimately if you create good work that's what people are interested in and will propel your career and opportunities.

Lernert & Sander

artist and filmmaker duo

Ever since they began collaborating in 2007, the artists and filmmakers Lernert & Sander have been known for their highly conceptual art films, eye-catching installations and keen fashion aesthetic.

Lernert & Sander
Lernert & Sander Lernert & Sander

They first met during their work on a TV series that Lernert wrote and directed and Sander art directed. From then on, they decided to join forces and work together, combining both of their talents to produce works for the worlds of art, fashion and advertising.

The dynamic duo dabbles in many creative endeavors, from advertising to art direction, and from installations to film and directing. They have worked and collaborated with many brands, among them some of the fashion industries' biggest players such as Viktor & Rolf, COS, Colette and Jean Paul Gautier & Eastpak.

Driven by their cheeky sense of humor, Lernert & Sander's simple yet stunning approach has earned the duo numerous awards, international accolades and industry-wide recognition. Among that the YCN Professional Award, the British Arrows, the ASVOFF and the MadridFFF for their installation The Sound of COS in 2014, as well as a Clio award for their work Needle & Thread.

The duo teaches at several international design schools in the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and France, and regularly exhibits their works at home and abroad. They live and work in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

“It is very exciting to join the board of the Ace & Tate Creative Fund. We started out as artists at a time when there was a big support system for creativity, from the government and the industry. Today, it's a well-known fact that it's not an easy time to be a young artist. Good thing the struggle doesn't show. There is so much good stuff made nowadays and it's wonderful to lend our voice in the selection of applicants for the Ace & Tate Creative Fund, as well as being able to give advice and guidance where needed. It's very admirable that a young vibrant company like Ace & Tate wants to contribute to the creative community.”

Lernert & Sander

Mario Lombardo

Mario Lombardo

founder of BUREAU Mario Lombardo

Mario Lombardo is one of Germany's most renowned graphic designers. Awarded with the "Visual Leader of the Year" award, his work has had a lasting impact on the visual language of magazine culture in Germany. As Art Director at pop culture magazine SPEX, he overhauled the publication's distinctive design; and as Creative Director and Editor in Chief he helped position Sleek Magazine as a leading voice in publishing about contemporary culture and fashion.

In 2004, Argentinian-born Lombardo founded his now Berlin-based BUREAU Mario Lombardo, assembling a diverse team of designers and editors from various backgrounds to tackle ever-changing projects. BUREAU Mario Lombardo is an interdisciplinary design company whose portfolio consists of design, artworks, original products and collaborations with selected designers, editors and photographers, always following a luxurious, historic and iconic approach. All artworks, identities, magazines, objects, concepts and products overseen by Lombardo and his team feature clear aesthetics in their conceptual designs and follow a functional form, combined with a highly emotional touch which aims to follow nature itself.

Lombardo collaborated with Ace & Tate before on the installation "Stratocaster" for the eyewear brand's pop-up shop in Berlin. He lives and works in the German capital.

Mario Lombardo
Mario Lombardo Mario Lombardo

Did you ever have a mentor and if so, what did she/he teach you? If not: would you have wished for one?
No, sadly I never had a real mentor. I learned a lot from books, mainly books about architecture. Proportions, placements, our relationships with open spaces and the feelings they conjure up were of special interest to me. In my youth, I was incredibly drawn to the works of Mies von der Rohe. I drove to every house he built that I could reach and tried to feel it, to transport it into my own reality. That's something that is very important for my work because I try to evoke feelings with everything I create, similar to architecture and even music.

If you had one dream project that could be realized, what would it be?
I actually already realized my dream project: Earlier this year, I started "Atelier Oblique", my own scented candle label. The first "Alphabet Collection" comprises of 26 letters and the ampersand – a circle of 27 scents. All candles are poured by hand, produced and laquered in Germany, and we composed them in Grasse, France, in cooperation with perfume manufacturer Robertet. Every one of those scents is linked to its letter and the history within. What makes my candles so unique – apart from the very high quality and perfume-like development – is that they can all be combined. The ampersand candle works as a link to match two letters together. At the moment, I sell them in Germany, Switzerland and online at

What is good design to you?
Good design always has its own attitude or statement. It fuses mental and intuitive needs together to create something new.

Mark de Lange

founder and CEO of Ace & Tate

Mark de Lange founded the eyewear brand Ace & Tate almost three years ago in Amsterdam and leads the company with commitment and drive. He's in charge of the creative part as well as the strategy. But in his work, he looks far beyond eyewear.

Mark de Lange
Mark de Lange

From the very beginning, Ace & Tate has collaborated with creatives on a myriad of projects. Mark and his team see the company as a creative endeavor with independence and creativity as its core values. "We want to get energised by creatives", he explains. All the hard work and collaborations have paid off. The creative community embraces the brand, and vice versa.

Ace & Tate is evolving constantly, and the team understands how tough it can be for young, ambitious creatives to get a leg-up in today's art and design world. That's what sparked the idea to give back to the creative community through the Ace & Tate Creative Fund. It grants money to emerging artists in order to bring ideas to life. Although Mark is a big fan of photography and visual arts, absolutely anybody can apply. Applicants have to put forward a budget and a plan that is tangible, and Ace & Tate will help them to fulfill their project.

Who should apply to the Ace & Tate Creative Fund?
Anybody can apply, from anywhere in the world, working with any medium. This could be a young band recording their first EP in a studio, a director that shoots his or her first short film or a photographer who finally gets his or her first book published.

What's your dream outcome from this?
A passion project, fulfilled! Just like it was for me with Ace & Tate.

When are you most creative?
I am most creative in the morning, it's when I get most of my work done. I'm a bad sleeper and that lets me enjoy the quiet before the city wakes up. It's the best part of the day for collecting my thoughts and to come up with fresh ideas. I try to schedule meetings early in the morning, too.

Mark de Lange

our ambassador — Hanna Putz

Hanna Putz

Hanna Putz

artist and photographer

Hanna Putz is an artist born and raised in Vienna in 1987. Growing up in an artistic environment with parents and friends working in the arts, she started her eclectic career as a successful model, before moving behind the camera as a renowned photographer.

She works primarily in the medium of photography. Her work has been exhibited at KUNSTHALLE Wien, LENTOS Museum, MOCP, FOAM Museum Amsterdam, The Photographers Gallery, AUTOCENTER Berlin, FOTOHOF Salzburg and at the 2016 6th Moscow Biennale as well as being published in TAR Magazine, New York Magazine, SPIKE, Zeit Magazin, I-D, Wallpaper*, DUST Magazine, Another and Dazed&Confused amongst others. She was a visiting lecturer at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria and at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.

Hanna Putz

Each of the carefully selected fragments that Hanna Putz extracts from her photographs are positioned in a way words form a sentence, so that they all become part of one resoluble object. Splintering, assembling, letting certain parts recur if needed is illustrating the postmodern notion and her handling of an ever-broadening sight. Due to her preference for questions rather than answers and intuitively encompassed obstructions instead of guidelines, an established codifying is rendered redundant. The only constant is the state of flux, which allows for the enfolding of multiplicity and expansion.


Hanna Putz

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