In the Fresh Faces series we ask artist to reflect on quotes of some industry greats. These are Romee’s thoughts:

“When you do things for their own sake, that’s when you create your best work. That’s when it’s art.”

― Naval Ravikal

In general, I find the definition of art a tricky one. But I agree that if you do things with the purest intentions, the best will come out. Are you going to paint to make a pretty picture, or are you going to paint to discover where your brain and intuition take you in the process? In this you can create a context as a framework, for example, but you must above all be able to discover and not be too strict. Allow chance in this proces so you can discover and investigate your vision. I am currently discovering this way of working for myself.

For example, I myself did a quite applied studies, namely animation film at the AKV | St.Joost, in which leaving things to chance was quite difficult. Because of the labor intensity of animating, you have to think up a lot in advance and then execute it exactly like that. I noticed that I sometimes got stuck there; to cover everything up front. In the end, I was able to find some kind of freedom by focusing on the content of the story and the message of the film. The actual images themselves came in a much more natural way, and during animation I sometimes thought about how things would go and so there was also room to change things.

Discover within a self-created framework. That works for me. And I now continue this outside of the medium of animation film, because since I graduated I have been really looking forward to painting and I am doing that a lot. I always try to motivate myself with that curiosity.

 “The saddest journey in the world is the one that follows a precise itinerary. Then you’re not a traveler. You’re a f@@king tourist.” 

― Guillermo del Toro

Haha! Yes. Totally agree. Everyone should be able to discover much more in life instead of walking the marked paths. This gives so much more playfulness and freedom to your life, and therefore more happiness in my experience. This also ties in with what I said in the previous quote about allowing chance in your creating process and knowing and acting out of curiosity. So many people live from uncertainty and fear of the unknown, making you a tourist who walks the “safe” routes of life. It’s working. But isn’t it much more enriching and exciting to discover? Go off road. Because there is so much more possible than the automatic settings.

 “To me, it gives the audience a break, especially if you’re a woman — to see a woman in a lead role with a body and a face that you can relate to. The window of what makes a woman beautiful seems to get smaller and smaller.” 

— Kelly Reichardt

I totally agree with this, but I do already see a countermovement in this. There are enough accounts on Instagram, for example, that really show a more realistic image of a woman and actively strive for it. I think it is good that young girls come into contact with those “influencers” instead of the over-popular thin ones.

I also see a change in recent films and series if you generally look at diversity. That makes me really intensely happy. Enough diverse characters that all have their own story and where the diversity is not only visible in the small supporting roles. This is important. Now it is certainly allowed to take the step that the main character is still white (and male), for example.

I like to look up series that dare to take steps like that in a diversity of images of people and their stories. Unfortunately you still see a lot of films and series that work with the same ‘formulas’ in terms of stereotypes that are stuck to appearance, gender, sexual orientation and race … I get a bit tired when I see that these kinds of films are still being made.

In the TedTalk of America Ferrera “my identity is a superpower, not an obstacle” (recommended!) she said that this all has to do with money in Hollywood… These “formulas” work and generate money. If you do it differently, it is a financial risk (according to the people with the money) and so distributors do not invest in it. The supporting roles will only be casted once the white leading role has been casted and they can therefore promise investors that the film or series will be a success… Well…

I therefore applaud the people who do this differently. The distributors who do things differently. It does indeed give the audience a “break”. I think that more people are waiting for it than it would be a financial “risk”. As a filmmaker you have to take the lead. Whether you put the diversity of the characters in the spotlight or just infiltrate it naturally in your work, it is not that difficult. The stories you tell as a maker do influence the audience. Use that power wisely I would say.

It comes down to me personally and as a maker that I think it is super important that everyone learns to be satisfied with themselves and also loves to love it. Then a diverse representation of appearance, gender, sexuality and interests in characters in the (so to speak) story world is super important. This allows your audience to recognize themselves in these characters and we remove the idea of ​​the “standard stereotypes”. Because this does not exist at all in real life, of course.

My recent graduation film is also about self-love, in which I try to make a start in providing insight into this feeling. The idea is also to expand this, and to investigate in an interviewing and animating way what self-love content and what factors contribute to it. I am also fascinated by other themes around the human psyche and I like to incorporate these into my free projects. Check out my graduation film “Thoughts on Self Love” (pass word: ilovemyself).

Thanks for reading!

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Ciao!