Highlight of the Week: Arkhai by Bianka Schumann

In Budapest, Hungary based photographer Bianka Schumann presented her new photo-project, called “Arkhai” as ‘intimate relationship of two child-grown, grown-child, a main secret book which tells their ordinary and extraordinary world in pictures and I could be a little part of it.’ Photographer explores the particular time of our lives then we are experiencing childhood and grown-up life at the same time. When we are living in two words, and get many questions. “The big questions of the life are being dissected. Is it indeed real that I am alive? The world, the Earth, the other planets and the whole solar system are really existing? And why got the chair the name of chair or the table the name of table?” - elaborates photographer in her project’s description. You can take a look at the whole project here

Chaotic beauty: interview with Kim Byungkwan

This style of painting you would recognize always. It’s different, messy, emotional, dark and bold. Kim Byungkwan, was born and lives now in Seoul, Korea. After graduating Hnasung University he forgot about his passion for a while. Finally, Kim started painting again and become the finalist of planned exhibition on a gallery in Seoul. “That was the first solo exhibition of my life in 2011.” – told to me Kim. With several other awards, Kim is also popular on artsy and social websites. I believe that some of you are familiar with his project already. However, this time my goal was not to show you his famous works again but to get more insights about the author and his perception. Enjoy!

When and how you started painting? 
I’m sure cartoon is most of little kids fantasy world. But as a young boy, I was into it beyond your imagination. I spent most of my days to draw favorite cartoon characters or entire cartoon. I think from the beginning, pop-culture become an important code of my work.  However to become a cartoonist was never my dream. I always have a sense of delight when I draw something, and I keep drawing like crazy. 

I could say you have a very strong and clear style of painting. How did you find it, and why did you choose this one? 
While in college, I was enthusiastic in Willem De Kooning and Francis Bacon.  I couldn’t sleep at all for being fascinated by their e-pression mode and technique.  Their strokes are energy itself and I feel like they done it as there’s no second chance and any excuse.  I was influenced on them by nature, and they were a good teacher of mine. That lies at the foundation of my work. My style has been formed with being mixed pop-culture code surrounding me by nature through developing my work. 

What kind of emotions are you trying to express through your painted portraits? What message you are sending to others with your artworks? 
I draw famous person like a politician or an actor/actress.  Doing so, I try to extract unfamiliarity from the person who is familiar to everybody.  You can feel the unfamiliarity not from alien which you have never seen before, but from the things which you know well. The unfamiliar image I draw affects to break the way we see the things usually. I think that one of the important functions of art is to show the new-vision to the world. 

You seem as the person who is bored of the repetition in the world and the same things that we see, feel and experience. Why do you think we need that factor which brings something totally different and new to us? 
I despise the regular phenomenon rather then hate. Because these regular phenomenon implant the same vision of the world to everybody.  Uniformity could be the worst thing. 
For example, the image of ‘James Dean’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ is gradually fixed.  That is from having permanent repeatability.  I think we have few methodology to be refreshed, which we escape from permanent paradigm by breaking off or rupturing the repeatability. 

Would it be right to say, that a true artist always desires and feels a need of something new and different? 
Something new doesn’t always face to the future but you can extract it from the image of past.
New things which the artist is requested are discovery of new rather then creativity. 
It is important that the artist must be trained to interpret the world in different way.
If we trained well, then everything must be new or refreshed by nature. 

In many poetic writings, we always discover that the routine is killing the creativity and passion. Do you agree? Why? 
I agree with that some but not all in this decade. We already have system for creativity in our routine.  For example, network is one of these.  Now I can gather the data or communicate with others without huge energy. If you have enough passion for creativity, you can add another life in your routine. 

Some of artists can create art at night, or in early morning. Does the time period matters to you somehow? Why? 
It’s not that important to me. Because I do my work whenever I want to, and it happens anytime random. 

What is the biggest challenge for you in the process of creating art? 
I want to make some piece that people get the new visual experience and never forget. And that kind of impression which shows to the people the way of new methodology of vision, I hope, affects the vision of world of people’s. That’s one of my objective. I don’t know if it’s possible but still It’s my dream. 

Edward Hopper once said: “More of me comes out when I improvise.” Can you relate this quote to yourself?  
I completely agree with you. In fact, my work process is just like that.  As soon as I get a subject, I draw the image without any sketch. I want to extract the shape never designed by doing so. 
The planing prevents you from some mistake, but blocks some accidental happenings at the same time. It produces a piece trapping people inside of controlled world by artiest. Of course there are lot of great pieces with elaborated plan.  It’s all about style, I think.

Text Edited by Melissa Searle

The Highlight of the week: darkness of Alejandra Sáenz

Graphic designer from  Buenos Aires, Argentina Alejandra Sáenz, who also Artist on Tumblr, creates dark, mysterious and sharp illustrations. Even though I have chose to showcase only black & white works, she has some very beautiful and colorful artworks as well. You can check them out here. 

A small man in the big world: interview with Achraf Baznani

When Jonathan Swift published his world famous novel “Gulliver’s Travels” in 1726 he probably didn’t know that someday it would become a reality… Well, at least in the  photographic world. Achraf Baznani, based in Morocco, is a self-taught photographer who creates surrealistic self-portraits. As a small person in his artwork, he can walk on dining tables, and discover and interact with unusually large everyday items such as books and tea cups. Achraf first started creating short documentaries like “On”, “The Forgotten”, and “Immigrant” which earned him several national and international awards. Now, he is also the photographer who shows the world from a surrealistic angle. I have chosen to reflect one side of his portfolio: his minimalistic self-portraits. I hope you enjoy it!  

I’m personally a big fan of surrealistic artworks. When did you find yourself in the realm surrealism and its art? 
Photography has more than one source of learning, which ones are looked at depends on the person himself. Personally, I am a big fan of the Hungarian photographer “Robert Capa” and his immortal work, “The falling solder “. This shot is one of the most important images of war in the twentieth century.  That’s exactly what made me experiment with surreal and fantasy art, and creating images that the human mind doesn’t accept.

Why do you think we need surrealism in this world?
I think because we need a break from reality. Surrealism takes us from the real world to a dreaming one. We can recreate and share our dreams or surrealist ideas in real life through photography.

How was your idea to take your personal portraits in such a creative way conceived? 
For my works there are a variety of ways a concept falls into place. Most often it starts with a spark of inspiration and grows from there; whether it is a person, design, story that needs to be told… regardless, it all starts with a single point. From there it becomes simple problem solving. I don’t spend very much time looking at what other people are doing. I like to stay aware and connected to what others are doing by following sites such as Flickr but beyond that, I spend the rest of my time meeting people, creating, and really just living life. I think the best way to be inspired is not to just try to emulate others, but to find what inspires you in life and trying to capture and share it. 

You use a lot of items from your home to create your small world and put yourself in it. Is it hard for you to be inspired by the same things and environment? 
I can easily find ideas and use the same objects to design my work. Using the same objects across multiple works is not appreciated by everyone and that’s why I like it; it is the sense of creativity.

Are you going to try anything different in terms of photography? 
I love macro photography. What I love most about macro photography is the surprise elements that always pop out. Those surprises are fine details that can’t be seen with the naked eye, but which emerge clearly when the photo is enlarged. What is so tempting about macro photography and photographing insects that the photographer can spend hours behind a small creature to get an impossible shot. It’s the beautiful patterns, or I should say the designs, that the insects are gifted with and we are not.

What is your biggest dream related to art? 
Ever since I started photography, it has always been a dream to have my photographs printed up large and posted on the wall. Exhibiting my artwork is my biggest dream.

What would be your advice to beginners who would like to experiment with surrealism through photography? 
It’s never easy to succeed and sustain going pro and freelance in the beginning. I know people who can take anywhere between 6 months to countless years… it will take dedication and luck, but hard work and perseverance is the key. Never give up, no matter how hard it is. Nothing is impossible.

Text edited by Melissa Searle

Weekly highlight: Superheroes by Andrei Nicolescu

Illustrator, architect, painter and graphic designer Andrei Nicolescu (who is also an artist on tumblr) has presented to us his great project called “Superheroes”. Romanian artist, based in Bucharest, showcased famous superheroes in a different way. The illustrations itself reminds me a little bit of cubism. I, honestly, think that it is a very nice way to illustrate something that has been illustrated sooo many times already. You can check out for more of his artworks here.  

30 seconds project: interview with Gerald Emming

Self-taught photographer, Gerald Emming, based in the Netherlands, presented to us his new and interesting project called “30 Seconds”. The Award-winning photographer simply attempts to capture the beauty of people in the streets. Photographs without any premeditation try to reveal the beauty of naturalism. I think, personally, that these portraits look brilliant and I wouldn’t have guessed that they were taken without any preparation; the people in these portraits look absolutely brilliant! Gerald, who is also a professional filmmaker at the University Medical Center of Groningen, kindly agreed to have a small chat with me about this unique project and tell more about himself as well. 

So, tell us more about yourself. How long have you been into photography? 
I held my first (Agfa) camera when I was a kid. My father taught me the basics and my neighbor had a “dark room”, so I played around with photography and experimented from then onwards. In 2008 I picked up photography in a more serious way. I have been making films and educational movies since 2000, and the gap between both worlds is small. The introduction of Digital Cameras and Photoshop opened a whole new dimension for me. 

Are you a self-taught photographer? 
Yes. I followed some Workshops, Videos and Tutorials to learn some specific areas of photography and also went to the Dutch Fotoacademie. Besides that I learn a lot just by viewing and analyzing lots of images. 

Why did you decide that you wanted to capture people portraits without any preparation? In the end, this is what this project about, right? 
Yes, that is what it is all about! When I bought a decent DLSR I basically started this project to learn. Shooting images under all circumstances when you have basically no time to think. So my goal was to learn how my camera worked. I shoot with Carl Zeiss Lenses with manual focus to give it an extra dimension and old school feeling. I must admit that I choose Carl Zeiss because I think they give me the best result in terms of quality. I capture images of people on the street that I’ve never met before, without any preparation, within 30 seconds, trying to achieve “the same” result as when I would capture images of the same person in the studio.

Is it hard to attract people that would like to participate in your project? 
I spot people in a crowded area, like shopping centers. I simply ask them if I may talk to them about something, and after that I tell them about the project as briefly as possible, meanwhile trying to make them feel comfortable. I show them some examples to show them what it’s all about. About 7 or 8 people cooperate out of every 10 I ask so it’s not so hard.

How long are you going to continue this project? 
It’s a long-lasting project. It is still fun to do, the way you approach a stranger, getting the look within 30 seconds in a crowded street and at the end the stranger has to focus as well. That makes this project really great to do. As the story continues, I must admit that I look differently at the people I choose to ask in comparison to some years before, I have become picky with who I choose. Besides that I’m working with other projects as well, so the challenge is to find the right balance between both worlds. The great thing about this project is that you can pick it up anytime you want.

What are trying to tell to others in this project?
I want to show with this project that you can learn a lot with only your camera and yourself. Not only how you should take a good shot under any circumstance, it’s also the interaction with an unknown human being, learning to spot a face and look in a crowd, learning to think 10 steps further ahead. When I ask a person with the specific look I want, I know my image could be really great!

What was the most challenging thing regarding your idea?
The most challenging stranger was a man I asked who was mildly autistic. I was drawn by his face and looks, and tried to convince him about the project. But the conversation was tough and he didn’t understand what I really wanted and besides that he was in a real hurry. But in the end he agreed (I think he still had no idea what it was all about). The first shots were terrible, he was distracted by the passengers all around him, but after my first frames I told him to look straight into the camera with his chin angled down a little and I had my frame. In the end it was my favorite image as well, this man beats everyone else from all the people I shot during this project!

What main assumptions have you made or what interesting things have you noticed during this project? 
I noticed that every person acts in a different way. I have captured more than 2000 strangers so far, and they are all so very different. The people you have great expectations about don’t always work out, and people for whom you had your doubts turned out to give you the look you were looking for. So I learned that you should always give it a try and more importantly, don’t give up! It may give you the image you were looking for! 

Edited by Melissa Searle 

Dark and surrealistic self-portraits: interview with Alex Schaefer

Surrealism always was one of my favorite art styles. Perhaps that’s why my attention was strongly attracted to Alex’s Schaefer self-portraits. A recent graduate of NYC University’s Tisch School of Arts, he perfectly combines darkness and creativity. He uniquely highlights emotions and thoughts that are hard to describe out loud in words. I had a really nice chat with Alex about his personality, ideas and assumptions. I simply hope you’re going to enjoy this interview and will enter into the dark world of surrealism by Alex Schaefer.

How did your idea to start experimenting with self-portraits materialize?
For me, the idea of doing a self-portrait series was almost born out of necessity. Since high school I have struggled quietly with depression. At the time I first began the series I was studying film at school. I was in the process of writing a feature-length script about a character that was loosely based off of my circumstances. Depression was never something I felt comfortable or open to speaking about, so I found it difficult to express what I wanted to say with words. I came up with the idea to begin a self-portrait series because I wanted a creative outlet to express the emotions and anxiety that I was too afraid to speak about. I wanted to let the pictures speak for the words I could never seem to say.

Oh, so that’s why your self-portraits are so dark and full of emotions. It seems that your character (or you, yourself) is always fighting life challenges within the surrealistic world of your art. Why is it important for you to reflect everything in such a surrealistic way?
To me, surrealism provides a creative escape for the mind. It opens us to the possibility of seeing things differently. I feel that society in particular puts a great deal of pressure on us to follow the status quo and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use photography to create worlds that break the boundaries we live within. And so, too, I wanted my portraits to offer an audience the ability to escape to a new world where they could question their curiosity and challenge what they already know.

Do you think art can help society regarding sending important messages about some serious matters?
Yes, I think art certainly has the ability to send an important message and effect change in a society. However, I think it comes down to the individual. We respond to art best when we are able to connect with it personally. Art that delivers an important message to society is one which is able to connect with people not simply as an audience, but as an individual.

You said that you wanted art speak for your emotions that you couldn’t express in words. Do you feel now, after creating these self-portraits, more comfortable with yourself and your past?Yes! These self-portraits have given me a creative outlet to express how I feel, but have also afforded me the opportunity to reflect on who I am along the way. In fact, what surprised me the most was perhaps how much I learned about myself from these portraits. Most importantly, I learned to always stay true to yourself and the art you want to create. It took me a long time to become comfortable posting my photographs. I thought that people who knew me might think I was crazy! And yes, sometimes it can be difficult to be vulnerable with your art, especially when it’s an extension of yourself or your emotions, but what I’ve learned so far is that you have to pursue what you are passionate about. You can’t let anything stop you- not fear, not rejection, not what other people might think of your work, and most importantly, you can’t stop yourself from becoming the artist you want to be!

I also have looked at your resume, I hope you don’t mind. It seems that you are working a lot with film photography. Is it hard to stay motivated for your personal projects while you’re working hard, or maybe this kind of work is the motivation itself?No, not at all- I’m excited you found it! I spend a lot of time working as a camera assistant on commercial and narrative work around New York City. I also just finished an internship in the photography department at Saturday Night Live! I love the work that I do outside of my own photography, so it never feels as though it takes away from my own creativity. In fact, I find that sometimes it even motivates me more because I’m always itching to finish my work on set so I can get home to take a photograph before the sun sets. The work itself is definitely motivational, especially because I am surrounded by some of the most talented and hardworking people that I know! It’s great to be with people who inspire you and the work you do and who are always ready to accept the next creative challenge thrown their way.

Do you think it is hard nowadays to get into the art or photography industry?
I think it’s much easier than it used to be. We have the advantages of digital technology and social media which can connect us with an audience in an instant. Now it’s easier than ever to have your photographs shared and seen by a huge amount of people. What is also interesting to consider is how technology has given us the opportunity to push the boundaries of art — particularly in the realm of surreal and conceptual photography. I think of software like Photoshop for example, which has given artists like me the ability to imagine the impossible and then go out and create it!

I totally agree with that! What is your biggest goal related to photography at the moment?
I would love to have some of my photographs exhibited in a New York City art gallery!

Edited by Melissa Searle 

Weekly highlight: a “CLOSE” project by Evelyn Bencicova

In Berlin based photographer Evelyn Bencicova, who is also an artist on tumblr, amazed me with her new project, called “CLOSE”. I chose her as the first artist to be in our new rubric “Weekly Highlight”. “Close” is all about the vulnerability and support, about our nudity (of our inside where emotions and fears are). I like the coloring of the project: cold and neutral for the idea itself. Amazing project!

"I am mostly a curious experimentalist": interview with Antonio Rodrigues Jr

Antonio Rodrigues Jr is one of those artists that is full of creativity and it can be seen in every single one of his different projects where he experiments with portraits, typography, photographs and painting techniques. Using surrealist elements, Antonio exhibits and showcases his own world and understanding of reality. Rodrigues Jr is a popular artist on various art websites and has already had several live art presentations of in various venues. It was hard for me to choose which projects I would like to showcase this time for you guys because all of them are so different, magnificent and brilliant. That’s why I thought I am going to simply ask him about some of them and allow you to better understand his perception of the world. Enjoy!

How long have you been painting for and how did it all start?
I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember and I eventually went to Visual Arts University. However, I never worked with it professionally until late 2010. Back then, I started designing greeting cards and album covers for friends who eventually convinced me to convey my art skills into graphic design and illustration. I spent a couple of years reading, collecting material and talking to other fellow designers until I had the confidence to sell my work. I officially opened my studio early last year, and I have been fortunate to have already worked for some very nice people and also for some well-known brands, such as Adidas, Puma and Amnesty International. I also had my worked featured on Computer Arts, Communication Arts, and quite a few blogs and sites on graphic design, illustration and typography.

Who are the people that bring you inspiration? 
I have a rather large list of artists (from classic painters to graffiti artists) whose work I admire and use and source of inspiration. Nonetheless, music and architecture are my greatest sources of inspiration. Both have rhythm and structure, and both can tell a story while at the same time leave something to your imagination. I also have a great passion for people and I am always trying to bring humanity to my work. I like to believe that even my digital work has some soul, of course.

Your artworks have surrealistic elements. Do you perceive yourself as surrealistic painter/illustrator? 
This is quite an unconscious process. Most of my sketches start rather rigid and after a few minutes, I catch myself changing the scale of the elements. I don’t like being restrained by rules and I often celebrate subversion or interferences in the natural order of things.  This may be the main reason why my work often shows some elements of fantasy or subtle surrealism.

Why do you think it is important for artists to show the way of how they see the world? 
We already live in a world controlled by machines and there is plenty of work done mechanically, soullessly, as if to only fulfill the demand. Therefore, when we get to know the artist – his visions, his feelings, his processes – his work gains meaning. It is no longer just a piece of work that we see, but a piece of the artist behind it. It is easier to connect to work

One of my favorite projects that you have done is “Models”, which is also was exhibited. How did you come up with the idea of mixing photograph and watercolor. Why did you want to show these models in such unique and unordinary way? 
That was one of my first projects and, technically, it reflects the moment what I started to play around with digital techniques, but was still attached to traditional processes. I like to interfere in the natural order of the elements of my pieces.

Another project, which was also exhibited and popular on my social/art website is “Faces”, where you combine portraits and nature. You also separated portraits in lines and spaces. What is the idea behind all of these elements? 
I wanted to portray the mismatch of the things we are made of and how it all blends, at least in the surface. The mosaics are intentionally unfitted and the external elements are and aren’t there at the same time.

Some people enjoy realistic, simple portraits. Why do you think it is important for artists to add some of his own elements (like you did with those portraits)? 
I believe that every work should tell a story, and this is – at least for me – more important than the technique applied to it, number of elements used or level of complexity of the work showing. Sometimes it is possible to tell a story with the minimum of elements. Other times not. What is important is that every element on a work has a reason to be there, otherwise it is only distraction, gimmick or, worse, meaningless.

How did you find yourself in typography’s art? 
My passion for drawing letters comes from my school days, when I used to stamp the cover of my reports with different and sometimes unconventional letterings, and still today I play a lot with the possibilities of combining letters to shapes, textures and colours.

Your portfolio is very diverse. Some artists stay with their techniques and style, but you always come up with something new. Why is that? 
I am mostly a curious experimentalist. Hyper by nature and uncomfortable with settling. I don’t like the thought that I am doing the same thing I did six months ago. Although I truly believe that every artist has to be consistent, I try not to rely on that and settle to repetitiveness. It doesn’t mean that I don’t ever use concepts or techniques more than just once, but there has got to be something to justify that. When I stop coming with new ways of doing my work is going to be the day when is not worth it keeping on doing it.

Do you think, though, that it is important for an artist to have their own exclusive style and why? 
Absolutely! It is part of their identity, their uniqueness and their way of communicating with their audience.

“Creativity takes courage. ” said Henri Matisse. Can you relate to his words? 
We live in a very strange world: we all want to be unique but we tend to have a few reservations to what is unique, different. It is easier to understand and accept what it is conventional. Most artists have a built-in willingness to change the environment. Unfortunately many are afraid of not being understood or accepted. However, true artists fight don’t follow the trend: they create them. And it takes courage, personality, perseverance and sense of direction. If it weren’t for that the impressionists would never have existed nor Picasso would ever quit his Blue series and start the cubist movement.

One more question that I want to ask all artists but always forget to do: When I am writing my books and novels I tend to be gone for hours, days or even weeks. I can’t stop thinking about it and I forget about my real world. How is it like with you? Do you do your projects like a some sort of business plan: with a strategy and cold mind, or you lose yourself in the creativity? 
There is not a pattern. At least not for me. When I am working on a commissioned piece I tend to stay fully focused on what the client expect me to do for him. Also, the need to meet deadlines prevents me from going astray. However, when I am working on a personal project, I can work non-stop exploring all sorts of possibilities to get the closest to what I envision. At times it’s a hard process, but whenever I am involved on a project (be it personal or commissioned) I don’t think of the hard work needed. Rather, I focus on the results. At times I have full control of the process, but often I have to let the work follow its own flow.

Edited by Melissa Searle 

Amazing New York City: interview with Ron Gessel 

New York - the city of my dreams. Well, it was… After moving to London I eventually realized that I am not so passionate about big cities. I still love them, though. And I am still dreaming of visiting the Big Apple. That’s why I am very critical about the photographers who shoot street life of this city: there are so many great photographs, it’s hard to find any better anymore. I mean, what else can you come up with that is different? Well, Ron Gessel succeeded in surprising me. The art director from the Netherlands (oh, I loved their Eurovision song this year… just something to be remembered) who studied Graphic Design, had a very interesting idea of how to represent this city. Of course, he’s not the first photographer to capture real life, but I liked the coloring; the moments he caught in the busy street and how he brilliantly mixed portraits with architecture of the city. You could easily call Ron a frequent traveler. He’s visited the USA (of course…), China, Japan, Malaysia… Ooh, the countries that I would one day like to visit as well. Finally, without wasting any more of your precious time, I would like you to read our interview with the person, who uniquely amazed me with New York’s photographs, - Ron Gessel. 


How long have you been interested in photography? It’s probably now one of the most essential parts in your life; is it the main source of your income, as well? 
I have been interested in photography all my life but I decided to become an art director. I work with photographers a lot but when photography became digital it woke up my love for it again. It was so much easier to take pictures because you could see the results immediately. Since I am still an art director my income is about 50/50.

 What was your favorite experience regarding your photo-projects and why?
Every country, every city has its own charm so I don’t have a particular favorite experience. But sometimes you feel that you are creating great photos. I had that in Tokyo when I was under a bridge and the sun was shining on the people underneath and at that moment I knew everything was right to make a great photo.

Let’s talk about your New York project: It’s full of very strong portraits. Why have you choosen to capture people in streets, going somewhere, living their routines? 
Because I want to catch people as who they really are, not staged. Because when I do stage photos I loose the spontaneous feeling and appearance. I never ask people to pose for me, I just steal a moment from their lives. But I don’t feel like a thief. I watch the people in the streets and click at the right moment. I try to hold them as a mirror although they probably will never see the photo. 

How did you end-up in New York, anyway?
I love New York, the city is such a melting pot of all kinds of different cultures. The city gives energy and it is very inspiring. For a street photographer it is a candy shop. On every corner in NY you see interesting people. One day in New York is good for about 500 photos. Of course there is a lot of waste but there’s still enough to show to people who would like to see them.

You also captured some beautiful street views. Was it hard to understand exactly how you wanted to represent this city in your project?
No, it was not very hard because for me it is also street photography. Street photography doesn’t mean that there has to be people involved. In fact, without people is the purest way to shoot street. I think the combination of portraits and street views gives a good image of the city.

What kind of impression has this city left you with overall?
The city is electric and acts like a magnet to me. The tall buildings in Manhattan give off a special light. The sun reflecting in the windows works as an extra light source. The lights and colors surprise the tourists on Broadway. The crazy and funny people on Coney Island. Soho feels like a village and is cozy. You can feel Asia’s presence 100% in Chinatown. The funky people in Harlem. It is possible to shoot 24/7 in New York. A street photographer never sleeps in New York.

Let’s talk about your techniques. What cameras are you using and why?
I used to use a Nikon D700 with the 14-24mm from Nikon. But walking the whole day in New York with that on my wrist was very heavy. So these days I use a Fujifilm x1 Pro with the 18mm (24mm) Fujinon and the 35mm (50mm) Fujinon. It is light, the photos are super sharp, and I love the sensor of the Fuji camera. And when I want to take photos in a very light way I use the Samsung EX2F the lens to get an aperture of 1.4. It’s brilliant! Ok you can’t compare this camera with the Fujifilm or Nikon but for example I took my photo of the Brooklyn Bridge with the Samsung.

Is it hard to select the coloring for your photos? Is it a spontaneous thing that comes when you are editing photos or do you always have in mind how you would like your projects to turn out?
No, it is not hard at all. It costs me about 10 minutes to edit a photo. I use a preset in Lightroom and after that I fine tune the photo because no photo is the same. After that I paint with the light brush in my photos. It depends what happens when I see the photos on my screen, I don’t have a plan in my mind so it is a spontaneous process. 

 What would be your best advice for young photographers, who are trying to capture a city’s life? 
I would advise them to buy a wide angle lens because you have to go to the people who you want to shoot. Approach them from 1.5-2 meters and then shoot. You can feel the distance in photos when you use a long lens but we want to be close to the subject so use a short lens. Oh and don’t be afraid most people won’t even know you took a photo of them, if they do, smile understandingly to them and walk away. Remember the streets are a public place so you may shoot people. If people really don’t like what you did then use your common sense and delete the photo.

 Edited by Melissa Searle 

Our first interview after a long time: colorful portraits by Elena Pancorbo

My attention was attracted by these realistic portraits through their gentle color play and unique presentation of the art itself. After few minutes of searching through her work and discovering more and more portraits, I checked the name; Elena Pancorbo, a Spanish freelance illustrator who has many followers and fans on various social websites. Alright, I thought, that is what I was looking for to restart my interviews. Something that makes me feel inspired and amazed. Immediately, I wrote her a short letter presenting Republic X and myself. She was naturally friendly and someone who I thought would be an honor to have an interview with. And it was. Finally, guys, I present to you this short discussion with the lovely Elena. I hope you enjoy it! 

When did you start painting and drawing?
Since I can remember. I remember drawing on blackboard at school, corners of my notebooks when I finished high school I decided to fully devote myself to painting, and I wanted to learn and see how far I could get.

I made a top module illustration course and am currently doing a career in fine arts.

Why did you choose to create portraits? Why not landscapes, or cityscapes?
My preferred technique is pastels, I am moved by the skin tones, the brightness of the eyes, fleshy lips. I like to portray people’s feelings and fears. I could include the landscape in conjunction with the human figure, but time is something that I discard.

Is it hard to find the right portrait for you to paint/draw?
I would say no. I always look for stereotype pictures, tones, lights and glitter, but sometimes I propose complicated and impractical orders. It is due to mere photo detail to interpret whether I use it or not… not having the right quality for example.

You always include very warm, complimentary and, at the same time, different colors. Why?
As I said earlier, I like working with skin tones. I attempt to make my work have a warm and harmonious air, I like the pastel colors and earth tones.I avoid using muted colors too, when I have to paint something a dark I use a dark shade or use many shades that lead me to a colorful shade.

Did you ever predict that your works would attract such a big attention from around the globe?
Yes, I thought of the time when I was exposed to the world through social networks, internet or any physical exhibition of my work.

I find my work a great way to give purpose to it.

I never considered that my taste for painting was a hobby, which is why I show it because I would like to dedicate this professionally and people opine about, either for good or bad.

Let’s talk more about you. What are the biggest values in your life?
As a person I value sincerity and humility. One can really put your feet on the ground and concentrate on something that is ignored.

Moral support is important for me to have pillars in life.

As an artist, working and persevering constancy. If you can do something well in life should be done every day.

How do you see yourself in… let’s say 5 years?
I honestly do not know. My life has changed so much in just one year that to venture to look beyond the short-term terrifies me.

Usually I never liked making future plans or planning too far in advance, 80% of the possibilities that I see are failures.

What do you think you miss mostly in your life at the moment?
I am at a good stage in which I am lucky to study what I love and devote myself to it entirely.

But you can never know the twists and turns of life.

What, according to you, would be the biggest threat for loosing motivation in something?
Lack of time. To have it removed or lose it or have to use it in something that requires my attention more.

Edited by: Melissa Searle 

Will it beard by: a non-fearless tumblr project 

It all began as a way to entertain the kiddies during the holidays, but has transformed into an artistic project for the couple. Pierce tells BuzzFeed, ‘Over Christmas break, my mom had her grandkids do a talent show for her (she’s an adorable grandma). I tried to put as many pencils as possible in it for my “talent.” I got over 20. Needless to say, my mother was very proud’. via

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