Gaia Canestrari is a young recent graduated from London College of Communications (University of the Arts, London). She works full time as a front-end developer, a job she likes that much. She also has time to concentrate on her artistic and creative projects, like her own website, a new web site set up with a colleague and dedicated to small web design projects or her video creations on Vimeo, among others.
We talk to Gaia about her art work, her original and innovative video creations and many other things:
Gaia, which is your artistic training?
I have graduated from LCC (London College of Communications, University of the Arts, London) this year. The course was ‘Digital Media Design’. Basically it encompassed a bit of graphic design, photography, web design and video editing. We even went as far as doing a bit of 3D and sound editing.
Why do you have chosen the video creation format for your art work?
Well, I have always loved videos in general, so when I found out that I could make them myself I went ballistic. I sometimes spend hours just watching other people’s videos on YouTube and Vimeo, it is mesmerising to see what other people can do.
I also find it a very easy and direct way to communicate. Everyone (at least those fortunate enough to have vision and working ears) have immediate access and quick understanding of this type of medium, it’s very accessible.
Where do you find inspiration for your videos? How do you choose the issue what you are going to work on?
This is a difficult question. Inspiration varies greatly. For example, the video with my feet, that is an idea that struck me many years ago as I was holding one of these compact digital cameras whilst walking. I hit record and watched my feet on the screen as I was walking and just thought of how wonderful it would be to keep recording my feet over the years in different occasions, places, situations with different people and then make a video of all these memories together. About where my feet have been, who with, how, bare, with boots, heels etc.
I have a lot more footage and I want to take more but we’ll see. My long term plan is to include other people’s feet, maybe even interacting, as a collection of memories, a reminder of how far our feet take us. It’s like an ode to our feet. I guess I am very grateful to them.
For other projects, sometimes it was a school thing for which I just had to come up with something, so I would look (literally) around to come up with ideas. My favourite is also the shortest. The ident for the discovery channel (the snail with all the colours). I found an old humongous television as I was walking home. Everything of the television had been taken by other people and all that was left was the back of it, with this silvery translucent mirror fitted to the back. The reflection looked quirky and I took it home. Days later I found this snail in the garden eating my vegetables away and thought how cool would it be to film it slide across the quirky mirror? And so I did and playing with the light all those amazing colours came out.
You have a video creation based on a painting by Rembrandt, “Bride”, which, in my point of view, is a clever way to integrate past and present, history and technology. What did make you chose this topic and show these connections?
You make it sound so good! I had a brief from school to make a story out of a still image. From there I went and looked at paintings of all sorts, trying to imagine something that would contrast starkly with the actual representation of the picture. I chose the “Nightwatch” because of the great choice of characters I thought it offered itself, ready to be played with.
I started playing with the characters, but it was Denton, my husband, who inspired me by acting them out, creating a very funny picture. From there I made a script and had him voiceover. This project in particular was quite a lot of fun, also in the fact that I make many of the voices, too, though muffled and changed with sound editing.
How would you define your work? is it realistic, conceptual, abstract…?
I am not really sure what I would define it. I never really thought of that probably quite realistic? Since the inspiration I take is from reality around me.
We live in a society very saturated by images and different ways of communication like medias, websites and currently the explosion of many social networks, do you think that all this reality influence your work? If so how exactly?
Possibly, I mean, the fact that I am continuously bombarded with images must have some effect or I would be inhuman. I think one instance in which I can see it is the video called “The Bench of Times”. I think the video itself needs some chopping (it is way too long and repetitive) but I like the message I am trying to scream out there. About how much times are changing and how people are affected more and more by what is happening around them. I think this happens because of how accessible information is. So accessible that people are overcome with fear at every corner, they become diffident. I find that trust is hard to come by when people meet in the street. Even I find myself closed in my own world, hissing and hating every other person around me in the tube, in the bus. Until someone hits me by mistake and I turn around all angry, just to see a smiley face that says sorry and I remember that we are all on the same planet. No reason to be angry at the next person, we are all people…
I love smiles. They go a very long way. I try to dish them out whenever I can specially to strangers. I find myself lit up with joy when I receive one and I hope mine could do the same to others.
What project are you working on right now? What about the future?
The project I am working on right now is with Lizzie Capelin. Our project is to take up small web design jobs that we can work on at weekends. She will be mostly doing the design and I will be creating the website. At the moment, we only have a holding page on our site, Penpot, and we are working on creating a portfolio and a brand spanking new site to be up very shortly.
And about my artistic future, I am trying to now concentrate on photography. I have thousands and thousands of photos that I am trying to get through to find favourites to work on. I just love photography.
About video, I have done a little bit of editing at work, and I’d love to do some more, I just like editing, it’s calming. For my own personal video editing, I have some really cool footage that I want to do something with. I shot it because it just seemed the right things to do and it looked great, but it will need some time before I will release something.