When Natassja Mason approached Common Concept asking for help creating a Zine that captured the essence of her 18-year-old self it was impossible to say no. Mason’s poems and photography frame the reality of being Eighteen in a surrealist yet honest light. Utilizing film to document her friends, gigs and surreal urban landscapes, the Gold Coast native invites the audience to share her secret intimate moments.
“My photos are very honest and real – I want people to be a little embarrassed when they see them like they're looking at something they shouldn’t ”
Dreamy washed out arcades, the front row of crowded moshes, gentile sunlight bedrooms. Mason captures the roller-coaster of youth, making the isolation, confusion, and pleasure into images that hit close to home. Skilfully manipulated context invites the audience to see her memories as their own yet leaves one feeling that something isn’t quite right.
“I think in some sense my photos can be quite dreamy but on the other hand, they can be quite raw. That’s the reason I like using film; you can’t edit it, it’s exactly that moment in time captured”
Accompanying Mason’s images are poems packing a nostalgic punch. Exploring themes of budding sexuality, finding your place in the world and dissociation; the artist lays bare the chaotic but equality poetic mind of an eighteen-year-old.
“Do you want me to be here?” He asks
Sitting on my bed
His smile is a snarl
No you break my heart
“Of course I do”
Writing with jarring honesty, the reader is left thinking about their own youthful escapades. Mason writes scenes of manipulation, lust, confusion, and fear as if they were happening before the audience on the page. We hear the inner thoughts of the Eighteen-year-old as scenes unfold giving insight into motives and delusions. Building a picture of a not so long-gone character, Mason’s Eighteen-year-old self shocks readers but also leaves a sense of familiarity.
“The most exciting part was that I got to see my Eighteen-year-old self as an old friend. Her worries and stresses - I remember sitting on my bedroom floor crying over these.”
At Common Concept we love fostering emerging talent; collaborating with Natassja on Eighteen was no different. A visual and poetic artist who is sure to continue producing work that emotes, amuses and bewilders.
You can see a showcase of Manson’s work this Thursday at “I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN” an underground art show featuring some of Brisbane and the Gold Coast’s premier emerging artists. Check out the details here.
Come to our art show! It's going to be 10 girls doing anything you could imagine. There's going to be Drag queens, beer and wine, my grandparents. It’s going to be amazing!
Thanks, Natassja! It was a pleasure working with you!
You can follow Natassja and her work at
- Alistair Muir-Smith for Common Concept