Bentley Delorean, also known as Don Bentley, is a man of multiple talents. His creativity exudes in wardrobe styling, event photographer, branding/marketing, and modeling. With a Pharell-esque vision, he sets his sights on different waves of creativity. Scrolling through his Instagram, I found myself unable to stop and before I knew it, we were in his DMs, like “what up?” With absolutely no direction or intent of locations, we stumbled upon back alley with a drainage ditch and colorful doors and instantly knew that was the spot. We talked
D: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
B: My inspiration comes from sports, I was a athlete all my life. Sports, history and Detroit. My mama is from Detroit and I remember she would get me every Detroit Piston jersey there was, Joe Dumars, Isaiah Thomas, Grant Hill, all of them because that’s her team so that history kind of inspired me. The history of Memphis really pushed me to my fashion because a lot of people just see fashion as just stuff you put on but at the end of the day, fashion is history because it just repeats itself.
D: What is the process like when you collaborate?
B: It’s kind of hard to say because everybody works different and I’m the type of person like whatever energy you give me, that’s the same energy I give back. A lot of people aren’t sure what they want to do and I have to ask them, like okay…who are you trying to reach? Let’s dig deeper and find out what you want. Then you work with certain people who know what they want, know what to do, and I’m not gonna lie, I love working with those people but sometimes you can bump heads with them a lot. They already have this image in their head and I already have mine so it’s about finding that compromise.
D: Talk about Kodak Kickback.
B: Man, that junt was so live. I think I now know how girls feel in the club when people come grab them because that’s all I felt. People just asking me to come and take their picture. Man, I’m not touching a camera for two weeks. I have about 600 pictures to go through. But Kodak Kickback was something that the city needed. A lot of people said that to me, it was something that we needed. It was something for creatives, something that we could have fun because let’s be real, the only thing that creative people have here is the showcases where there’s like twenty artists and you can’t really vibe with twenty artists rapping about the same thing. Kodak Kickback was just this chill ass set and we told other photographers to bring their cameras too, this wasn’t just for the photographers on the flyers. It was good for the culture. People are already anticipating the next one but we can’t give them all the good crack right now, they have to wait a little bit. I just want it to grow. I was brought in the project by YoBreezy, who’s originally from Memphis but he went to MTSU and he reached out to me about bringing Kodak Kickback to Memphis and I said yes.
D: When you’re styling someone, what’s that conversation like going in?
B: It starts with a blunt. That’s how I get my brain going because I have ADD so I have a million things going on in my brain so I just need it to focus and then just let the juices flow. A lot of people, I go in and I don’t know what to do with them but after the blunt, it just flows naturally. Art should flow naturally. You can’t force it. If you force, it won’t be cold.
D: That’s mad true. When you model, do you direct your own shots? How does that flow?
B: In a essence, I direct some of them but I also let my friends direct them as well. At the end of the day, it’s all about helping the other person get better so if I was directing everything, how would they get better? So sometimes I direct it if I’m doing this for my personal usage but if they ask me, I just say okay and let them choose the color scheme. I let them do their thing but I also help bring them different ideas because like I said, it’s all about making the other person better.
D: Where is your favorite place to shoot in Memphis?
B: My favorite is probably Orange Mound or South Memphis. I love the grunginess, I love all that shit. For me, that’s the true beauty of Memphis. The grunginess, the grit, the true hood…that shows what Memphis really is.
D: Creatively, what does the future look like for Memphis?
B: The future is super bright. The thing about Memphis, creatively is that its been here. You see every rapper, every artistic person say that they get their influence from Memphis like Three 6 Mafia or some shit like that. We are the original gangsters of this culture shit. People like our swag, people like how we rough it. In three years, Memphis is going to be like another Atlanta and I’m gonna leave it at that.