WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY CALL HOME TODAY?
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT PRACTICE?
Photographer and Visual Artist
WHO AND/OR WHAT INSPIRE YOU IN YOUR WORK?
My biggest inspirations that move me to create are People and Fantasy. My work has always been about exploring the human struggles, passions, expression and all that represents the complexity of what it means to be human. That complexity can be both incredibly beautiful as it can be dark, and it can be further expressed through the element of fantasy. I enjoy capturing life through people’s stories and representing them in the realm of fantasy where their manifestation has no limits.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Every project I’ve been a part of has had both failures and accomplishments, but the one I would say exceeded my expectations was the co-creation of Flutuarte- a floating gallery of murals painted on the roof tops of fishing boats in a historic harbor in Rio de Janeiro. In 2012, another NY based artist named Nicolina and myself began painting a boat as a way to bring a little piece of art and color to a small and picturesque fishing community. The project grew to include 45 international artists in collaboration with the fishermen, who shared their lives as inspiration for the paintings. The outcome was the creation of a moving gallery of art that can be seen from both land and sky. This project not only joined communities and filled the harbor with color, art and expression, it also humanized the fishermen. Flutuarte represents its community by telling the stories of the fishermen. It also helped their economy by attracting admirers who can now take rides through the beautiful bay of Guanabara.
HOW DO YOU EARN YOUR LIVING?
I run my own photo studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where I do freelance work as well as shoot the New York based clients for an amazing company called Shameless Photography. My personal work ranges from fine art and commissioned creative portraits to directing music videos and creating public art. The work that we do at Shameless is retro inspired portraits that represent the life, dreams and struggles of each of our clients. Our goal is to help empower women through photography. We are a body positive company that challenges traditional beauty standards by creating a safe space for women to express themselves and be able to recognize their unique beauty.
DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AT PARSONS
I loved going to Parsons for many reasons. You have the city as your campus to draw inspiration from, access to many creative disciplines and connections with professionals who want to help you get out into the world and succeed. I got my first job, a solo show and even exhibited at the Hermitage Museum thanks to the exposure my work got from professors I had while studying there. I began as an IDC student, which encouraged having a diverse skill set in order to find new ways to integrate different disciplines. Even though I graduated from the Photography department, I carried that philosophy until my last year, taking as many electives as I could in the different departments Parsons has to offer. Learning these different but complementary skills has been incredibly helpful in building my own projects as well as being able to work in a wide range of jobs.
WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THING YOU LEARNED AT THE PARSONS?
Work hard, build trustworthy connections with professors and your peers, appreciate and learn from other creative sources, keep practicing, design and create with intention and purpose, stand for what you believe in and let that be communicated in your work.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS, ABOUT THEIR TIME IN THE PROGRAM OR THEIR CAREERS?
You learn by doing so practice and experiment as much as you can. Learn as much as you can, be open to feedback, master your skills, build a solid work ethic, and be clear on why your work is important to you so you never loose sight or compromise your values. What you accomplish as a student matters; school is an introduction into the working world and will lay the foundation for your professional years to come.
LOOKING BACK WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE STUDENTS JUST ABOUT TO GRADUATE OR OUR VERY RECENT GRADUATES?
Following your dreams and standing for what you believe is not always easy, but it will be incredibly rewarding. You will be challenged, you will be unsure of the outcomes, and you will fail, fail and fail again. Rather than being discouraged, take every failure as a learning experience and keep going, be persistent. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you are not failing or being challenged, it probably means you are not growing. Do personal and introspective work. It takes a lot of self-belief to follow an idea and believe that something will come of it. Be clear in what you stand for, this will make you and your vision stronger. Your art and ideas are a reflection of you, so don’t excuse your art, rather let your unique essence shine through everything you do.