What does it mean to be an artist in times of social distancing? An interview with EYP alumni in creative industries.
What does it mean to be an artist in times of social distancing? We asked EYP alumni that are working in arts and creative industries to tell us about being an artist these days and how they filtered their EYP experience into their professional and creative lives. We talked to:
Eva Verbeeck (BE), a documentary photographer and filmmaker who works between the US and Europe and joined EYP between 2009 and 2014; Nadiia Telenchuk (UA), a poet who works in Marketing Communications in Berlin and did EYP between 2012 and 2015; João Brandão (PT), co-founder and cinematographer at Brighter Films, who was active in EYP between 2009 and 2013; Estíbalitz Soto Alañón (ES), who has a photography and film company specialised in industrial reportage, corporate portraits and aerial filming from helicopters, and started EYP in 2005.
They all started as participants of EYP events, found something in our network that would become a decisive part of their lives, and stayed. They stayed on as volunteers of our organisation, amongst other things, as Head Organisers and Editors of events on national and international levels.
How do you carry the EYP spirit into your line of work? Nadiia Telenchuk: EYP opened in me the thirst for more – new achievements, new places, new people. It has shown me the better, stronger and more communicative part of myself which I hadn’t seen before. It has taught me to manage challenges on a professional level, but most importantly to understand other people, to see the possibility of other approaches, and to never stop learning. Estíbalitz Soto Alañón: I carry it, especially when having to do teamwork with the client and other professionals in the project. Good communication between the different parts always leads to “successful resolutions” for the client’s needs. Eva Verbeeck: Most of all, EYP taught me the beauty of teamwork and surrounding yourself with ambitious people. In the creative field there are lots of opportunities to work together with talented people from around the world. Being open, creative and eager to learn are qualities of the EYP spirit that are essential to my work. João Brandão: EYP taught me how to study a topic through different lenses—pun intended! In part that’s what a filmmaker does—in order to tell a good story, you have to be able to share different opinions with no judgments. In EYP you also learn how to build a solid team in a matter of minutes and work together for a common goal, and that’s what you have to do on set. You work with different directors, different teams, different actors, different clients, and it’s our job to be sure everyone’s happy and working together with the same goal in mind. It’s truly a teamwork and you can’t do anything great without a team of believers right next to you.
What does it mean to be an artist in times of social distancing? João Brandão: I think every artist is an observationist: we get inspired by what’s happening around us. Social distancing is hard for me, as I thrive on being in close contact with different people, getting to know their story, talent or culture. It made me realise how much I love what I do! At the same, looking at it from another angle, it’s a chance to reflect on various things – what is fundamentally important to us, will we change anything in how we live our daily life, how fear impacts our behaviour, how we shouldn’t take anything for granted. All these questions lead to possible films to be made and that’s very exciting! Eva Verbeeck: I have been trying to work as much as I can while keeping all the regulations in mind and working responsibly for myself and the people around me. Fortunately, I also have editing work I can do remotely. Estíbalitz Soto Alañón: It actually helps. The “must happen” tasks are put aside for a while and there’s some space for creativity (not all clients are keen on creative concepts) and review of your own work, what results in new ideas for more projects. Nadiia Telenchuk: I have been writing poetry for over 15 years now and I must admit, it has been helping me all along. It doesn’t have to be an official profession in order to inspire you, to support you, to help you deal with your emotions, to express your thoughts. What counts for me is the chance to share my words with people who understand and who might relate to those emotions, too. I guess it’s also a certain responsibility that artists have to support people especially in these hard times and show them they are not alone in what they are feeling. Art is something that keeps us all going, even if we don’t realise it. It’s all around us – but it’s also within us. And that’s something we are all learning to see and feel and share in these hard distancing times.