Earlier this April, Dove came out with an initiative called Real Beauty Sketches. The idea was to have an artist draw a person without seeing her, based solely on the person’s own description of herself. Then the artist would draw the same person again but based on someone else’s description; in the end, the women are confronted with how they view themselves and how others view them. The difference in the final results is staggering – every woman believes herself to look better in the stranger’s view than her own. The faces in the second sketches are all lighter, fresher, younger, brighter than the ones in the first. The concept of this initiative is that of making us realize, as the video shows in text, that we are more beautiful than we think ourselves to be. The problem is, just how much of that beauty is real beauty?
Technically, it should be Thursday, but it’s a throwback and that’s what matters.
While working on a street style project about Lisbon for my graphics class, I realized there weren’t many photos online that I could use. There is one very good blog, nicknamed ‘the portuguese Sartorialist’, and aptly titled O Alfaiate Lisboeta. Other than that, all I managed to do was dig into Yvan Rodic’s pictures of past Lisbon Fashion Weeks and I was left with a rather large amount of photos, but from limited sources.
Then I thought about my days back in Lisbon, when I was still studying Industrial Design at the de-facto Art University of the capital. I’ve always been very keen on analog photography but back then I was addicted. I finished up to two rolls per week and had them developed near my school. My flickr was constantly being updated with new pictures of everywhere I went, everyone I met, in black and white or colour, with or without grain, cross-processed or natural, redscale film or low ISO… I had to get a paid account because I had no room for my photographs anymore, and every once in a while I took a CD to the print shop and had them printed traditionally, on 10×15 matte paper.
I photographed everything from places, to moments, to details. I loved it. In a time when I was quite miserable and lost, film photography kept me going, kept me inspired and distracted and kept me focused on the world around me instead of on my own lack of direction. So when I found myself lacking resources – and as you often do in situations of creative work panic – I thought of the last photographic source of material I could have possibly thought of using.
Sometimes in our lives we get the rare chance to meet someone that we know will go far. Someone whose talent and sparkling personality speaks for itself.
When I was around 13 years of age, I met Daniela as part of a group from an online forum. Later on I found out I was going to attend the same University as her, albeit in different courses, and was ecstatic. I’ve always admired her as an artist and as a person; despite being 22, only a year older than me, Daniela’s art pushes boundaries and is completely unapologetic, basking in bright colours and making mocking use of usually taboo themes like religion and homosexuality. She is a Painting major from the Faculty of Fine Arts from the University of Lisbon and most of her work is on canvas, but she can work anywhere and with anything and has recently made a very beautiful and adorable comic, again picking up themes of mythology.
Daniela has a great knowledge of legends and lore from almost every culture and includes it in her art, whether as characters or smaller details, and her work is often filled with inspiration drawn from virtually everywhere. The themes of folklore, mythology and lore and very interesting to me and this is partly why I’ve always loved her art. Also, how can you resist the ridiculously bright acid colours?