Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The All-Girl Film Crew From Colombia

Photo Courtesy Of Cimarrón Producciones

Cimarrón Producciones is an audiovisual production company that focuses on artistic outputs and multimedia. They operate in the area between cinematography and the community, because they believe in skill and imagination are tools for transformation and social development.

"We want to be part of the memory construction and the country’s social knitting. Much of our work is the visibility of processes in communities. We have worked with children and youth making political advocacy through art," says Zulay Riascos

The production company founded in Bogotà, Colombia in March, 2013, is presently made up of five  interdisciplinary Colombian women of colour. Heny Cuesta, founder and director of Cimarrón Producciones, Karen González, co-founder, and audiovisual filmmaker, Zulay Riascos, producer, filmmaker and illustrator, Laura Asprilla, audiovisual communicator and filmmaker, and Maio Rivas, ethno-comunidora and audiovisual producer.

"We realized what our contribution to the social transformation of the country should be and the need to make the processes and challenges of Afro-Colombian communities more useful by participating in different processes at national and international level," says Riascos. Cinematogrophy came natural because it's a universal language that tells realities through art; touching on those social problems, through inclusive narratives that reflect their sensitivity and empathy towards other communities and territory.

And, they don't limit themselves. They want to generate networks with more collectives or projects throughout the African diaspora, where they along within their own circle, find inspiration for their projects. "The different stories and memories we find in each population, because they are so different but at the same time they continue to bring us closer to the history of a country that seeks not to forget and forgive," explains Riascos.

They still face a myriad of obstacles in terms of their trade. Being a team made up of women and working in a sexist, centralized and elitist industry it is difficult to achieve recognition or support for their work as there are many corners still closed to diversity.

"We hope that there will be social, ethnic and environmental changes to improve the current problems related to these issues, says Riascos and later adding, "Despite finding obstacles, we have managed to enter artistic and social circles for the value of our work, because it has been our unique and creative cover letter made mostly by multidisciplinary Afro women."

Latin America is different from North America and some other parts of the world because the outstretch is smaller in this arena, and econmic support doesn't always exist to encourage cultural projects of different themes. For this reason, many groups and companies have decided to create external alliances and collaborations to continue the work of creation.

This being the case, the visual aesthetic remains central. Their film references are guided towards a documentary language. In their endevours they manage their own narrative in which different characters can be included for a diverse audience. In addition, they make an attempt to establish their brand through an inclusive and social image that rescues the true values of their territories.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Helena Bajaj Larsen


Photo Courtesy Of Helena Bajaj Larsen

"At the moment I am in Jaipur working on some new textiles as the printing studio I work with is here. I don't live here - am based a little all over the place! Basically between Paris and Dubai, with a lot of trips to India and yearly trips to New York as well.

I was born and raised in Paris barring five years as a kid spent in Norway. But yes most of my schooling was completed in Paris till age 18 which is when I left to NY to attend Parsons. 

The best thing about my hometown, Paris, is the cultural aspect of your daily life. Everything is embedded in art, fashion, architecture.. you’re constantly surrounded by these experiences.  There are exciting things happening in these domains all the time - it’s very stimulating. The French culture itself pays great attention to details and aesthetics in everything it does. It's a beautiful place to be.

My mother is a well known painter from India and this meant we were always surrounded by the world of art and creative people. I knew I wanted to do something with the arts but wasn't sure what and then discovered there was this industry beyond fine arts. There's product design, architecture, fashion accessory design... I like the idea of art and function coming together under the umbrella of design. 

I have a strong affinity for textile work because I love the tangible aspect of it. You can take a blank piece of fabric and make it into something completely different through multiple processes. I also love that textiles applies itself to so many mediums. The versatility. You can make installations with it. You can make clothes with it and you can make home products with it. Though most of my work has been in fashion, I remain open what different areas I can explore. I don't consider myself strictly a fashion designer in that sense. 

I studied at Parsons School of Design in New York where I completed a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design with a speciality in materiality, and a couple of side courses in jewelry design. Basically exactly what I'm doing now! During my years at Parsons I did take one semester abroad in London, at Central Saint Martins, where the focus of the studies was solely on Print Design. 

The process of creation begins with looking at my surroundings. I'm drawn to textural elements; colour, line, patterns. I usually draw inspiration from new environments when I travel. I'm inspired and in an unconventional sense. I can stumble upon an old door and that excites me more than actual sightseeing in the city. I love old walls. I love crackled surfaces. A lot of surfaces haha. The way light hits them. Little specific things that are hard to explain. I photograph all that I notice and then keep all this as a visual database that can be revisited whenever I want to make something. The inspiration starts from travel, goes into photography and then goes into implementing that imagery into textile form.

Different people have had a big influence on me. I would say my mother primarily, because I grew up watching her work. It's nice to have a parent in the creative industry: someone who understands the volatility of it and the uncertainty of it. She's a successful artist which mean she's still positive about creative industries and careers in general. Often you find parents are not supportive of someone who wants to go into fashion and art. Aside from her, I've been fortunate to meet several influential people through competitions and such. Be it Donna Karan, Fern Mallis, Mickey Boardman among others. It’s been great to sit down and get advice from industry veterans. 

In terms of my taste and aesthetic, I like things that are abstract and have a lot of depth be it depth of color or depth of feel/touch. I'm attracted to things with interesting surface work, whether it's a ceramic plate, the surface of a table..some kind of wood, metal, glass? You name it haha. I admire Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics a lot as well. The clean lines, the great use of natural materials, the sense of “visual balance” in all that they do. 

No one really asks about my beauty routine haha! Nothing special, not exactly an expert here. Though I’ll say the half-Indian in me swears by coconut oil for sad locks and dry skin anytime! Otherwise Dior Hydra-Life Sorbet Creme is something I use a lot.

When I'm not working I'm looking up other you get designers/artists/makers on Instagram, seeing other people’s work and creative paths is always fascinating to me as everyone has such a different expertise and signature of their own. I love to travel as well and do research on different countries I want to visit all the time - even though the trip is not planned anytime soon haha. Another thing I would say I do is spend some time everyday trying to catch up with friends and keep contact with people in general - everyone is very spread out so it’s important to keep in touch. 

How I unwind would be pretty standard really! Netflix?  Try new restaurants and bars? Mostly -  trying to meet up with friends. I'm very social and find it really exciting to get to know someone new from time to time. What I do is quite solitary so i’s nice to take breaks, see people and remember you're not in a bubble."

As told to MBF,
21 November, 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019

Music

Friday, October 4, 2019

Seyi Shay

Photo Courtesy Of Seyi Shay

WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW AND HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE? 
I'm currently in Lagos, Nigeria.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was born and raised in London, the UK although I schooled in Nigeria, too.

WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR PRESENT CITY OR HOMETOWN?
The culture, the freedom, the heartbeat and of course, the music.

WHAT WERE YOUR ASPIRATIONS GROWING UP?
I've always wanted to be an entertainer.

WHY MUSIC?
I don't know... I was born with a gift, and it seems only right I use it to fulfill my inner desires.

FIRST SONG EVER SUNG?
"Heal the World" by Micheal Jackson.

IS THERE A MUSICAL PASSAGE THAT NEVER FALLS TO MOVE YOU EMOTIONALLY?
"if tomorrow is judgement day, and Im standing on the front line, and the Lord asks me what I did with my life, I will say, I spent it with you" - Whitney Houston.

WHAT'S YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
As the spirit leads.

WHO OR WHAT HAS HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?
My late mother, Olabisi, was and still is my greatest influence. Her hard work, honesty, and determination.

WHAT'S YOUR AESTHETIC?
I'm an alte, boho/sheek kinda girl. I'm simple yet eclectic. I'm into fashion, I'm fashion forward but classic. I love setting trends. I love to travel to countries that are full of culture and im a big foodie that enjoys cooking.

WHAT BEAUTY ROUTINE DO YOU SWEAR BY? 
Using all natural products and drinking lots of water.

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
Party.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
Weekend breaks to a resort or a city hotel.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sheila Janet On Her Capsule Collaboration With Oceanus And How She Rolls A Spliff Every Once In A While

Image Courtesy Of Sheila Janet

"I am located in Amsterdam and born and raised in Tilburg, that's in the south of the Netherlands.  The best thing is that I moved out of Tilburg. Growing up there I always felt out of place. The people there were very closed minded.

I always wanted to create a women´'s brand. In my teens, I sew my own Destiny´s Child outfits for house parties I went to. In winters, I kept myself busy sketching a full spring/summer collection for myself.  Fashion is an underrated art form. I am not interested in the commercial side of fashion. I see fashion as a form to express myself.

I went to technical fashion school. After that, I did Interior design. Because these studies were too specific, I went to art school for lifestyle and design. Art school was a good place for me to develop myself as a person and creative.

I started Lait de Coco studio earlier this year. I'm the creative director. Creating content, building the collection and the branding. I wanted to create a summer brand with holiday essentials. I'm currently designing a capsule collection for a collaboration with Oceanus Swimwear.  Swimwear is my passion and always something I wanted to do. This spring, Butterscotsh Isle x Oceanus Swim is launching, and I'm very exited.

About inspiration: My best friends who are also super creative and have the most brilliant minds I know. The strong women that raised me. In my work I always porttray woman as supernatural. A woman's inner strength is life to me.

Because I'm an 80's baby, I am obsessed with the 80-90s. It's nostalgia at it's best. My home is decorated in lavish 80's style. My clothes are all authenic vintage finds from that time, and I love watching old movies to get new idea's for work, or myself.

Concerning beauty routines, I swear by coco butter. After an extremly hot shower, I apply it. It smells delicious and makes my skin glow all day. I love to smell like something you want to take a bite out of.

My spare time I spend with my guilty pleasure; "Real Housewives of Atlanta", "Basketball Wives" and "Love and Hip Hop".  I also love to go to fleamarkets and thriftstores. That's where I find my best pieces.

To unwind, I roll a spliff, and go for a walk in Amsterdam with Lana del Rey in my ears. I'm her biggest fan."

As told told to MBF
14 September, 2019

Vintage Vibes

Photo Courtesy Of Sheila Janet

By Lait de Coco.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Isabel Martínez

Photo Courtesy Of Isabel Martínez

WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW AND HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE?
Right now I’m in Bangkok, but I’m based in Barcelona. I’ve lived in the South of Spain, Barcelona and Brooklyn.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was born in Barcelona and raised in a little village close to Andalucia.

WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR PRESENT CITY OR HOMETOWN?
Hometown: Barcelona. The creative community, weather, great food, beach,  friends and family.

WHAT WERE YOUR ASPIRATIONS GROWING UP?
I wanted to tell stories. I was good with words and bad with numbers. I’ve always have felt much more atracted by abstract thinking and intuition than rational thinking.

WHY ART? 
Should there be a reason? I think it was not something I chose, it just happenned.

WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR TRAINING?
I studied advertising and psychocreativy. Then I started working in an agency as a copywriter where I learnt the value of the conceptual thinking.

WHAT'S YOUR PROCESS FROM CONCEPT TO CREATION?
 I’m very focused on what I want to communicate but  I try to mantain a silence dialogue between me and the viewer. Not to explain the whole story, instead giving the audience enough space to complete the meaning of what they are looking at.

WHAT'S YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?
It depends on the project. For me photography is a very intimate medium, The team is small and everything happens in a natural way. On the other hand, there are projects that require involving professionals from different fields  (3D designers, programmers, illustrators...) Then, the results are more unexpected and I learn a lot during the process. This is the case of installations, motion graphic videos, designing products and VR environments.

WHO OR WHAT HAS HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?
Jerry Siegel and Joel Schuster.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL AESTHETIC?
Mistery and colour are very present in my work. There are some creators that always move me. From David Lynch to Guy Bourdin and James Turrell, to name just a few.

WHAT MOMENT ARE YOU HAVING?
I feel I’m always in the same moment in a different way, “In Transition”.

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
Swimming alone and chilling with friends.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
Being far from the Internet. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Back To School Cool

Photo Courtesy Of Isabelita Virtual

How to max and relax according to Isabel Martínez.