29 Jun Vuse Inspired Live | In Conversation With Multidisciplinary Storyteller Anthony Bila
Alongside photography and creative directing, Anthony Bila is also an artist and multiple business owner, following his natural curiosity and desire to understand others as well as himself. Following Vuse’s open brief, Anthony took to the cube to showcase his creative process, from conceptualisation of an idea to moodboarding and execution.
Tell us a bit about your concept for the shoot and your experience of being in the cube…
The core concept was about colours. Not many people know this but i am actually colour blind, red, green spectrum deficient and I wanted to play into that for this photoshoot. I made these dual tone backdrops for the box and they would transition between two colours that are often complimentary or contrasting. I got in a stylist, Hugo Lopez, he’s actually a very famous South African designer but this is his alias and thats a story for another day so I’ll leave it at that. I briefed him to work with very bold colours and things that would contrast with the backdrops and the colours i selected for that. The whole shoot was about two basic concepts of creating contrast and then playing around with shutter speed. So some of the images i would delay the shutter to give a bit of motion blur to make it more high fashion or avant garde rather than commercial. As I photographed I spoke people through what it means to moodboard and come up with a creative idea and extend it beyond your references or marry many different ideas to come up with an iteration that is true to yourself, different styles of shooting and a bit of insight into how i work using some of the basics of ISO, shutter speed and F stop.
What was it like attempting to execute your vision on the spot and in front of the Vuse cameras?
I’m never completely happy with anything I do, I take it in my stride but I always think of how I could have done more. But I think that’s what motivates us to improve and not to be disparaging towards ourselves.
You’ve collaborated and worked with a magnitude of both local and international creators from a variety of fields ranging from commercial to fine art, how do you navigate these different and sometimes conflicting worlds?
Overall I like to work in a collaborative space with like-minded people and often people that are not like-minded. I think sometimes the best ideas come from seemingly dissimilar people finding a new middle ground between the two of them. It’s difficult to navigate but I’ve decided to do it the way that I’d like and that I’m comfortable with and that appeals to my strengths. The people that jump on board, jump on board and the people that don’t often come back around in some way, shape or form. We can be many things at one time. My advice would be to do whatever you want and let the world figure it out; don’t try to pigeon hole or paint yourself into specific corners because you do yourself a disservice as a creative. I think the time of the renaissance human is coming back around where Leonardo Da Vinci was a scientist, mathematician, innovator and an artist; he did those things and he did them without permission. We need to get back to that, where if i want to bake cookies and then go do a Vogue shoot why cant I?
Who were some of the other artists you’re most excited to see?
Itumaleng Makgaka, she’s an illustrator. I got to see her doing her sessions It was just interesting to see artists I’ve never heard of before and see them expound about their process and take us through the creation of their artworks.
Bangy of the DEAD fashion brand, he took people through his creative process of how he comes up with designs and creates his garments etc.
What would you say has been your biggest inspiration on your creative journey?
What drives me is curiosity. It’s the core of everything I do. It’s the reason i ca switch from reading manga and being very nerdy and in that world to the next day reading Sylvia Plath or Charles Bukowski. It’s never one thing and it’s never tied to one genre. It’s curiosity with the hopes of understanding. Something my dad said to me as a kid and it stuck with me for whatever reason is ‘seek to understand rather than be understood’ and I think these creative outlets and the way I use them to navigate the world are a way for me to relate to and understand other people in a way that is palatable and safe for me. Photography is a byproduct of me wanting to talk to people and understand people, the camera became a tool. In the creative process I have become a far more attentive and empathetic person, especially with film directing which is my mecca of creativity because you have to be a level of empathetic to expound on someone’s story in a way that does it justice. You really have to connect to the person.
Created by Vuse, the new vaping brand of British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA), this high-impact, high-volume “Festival of Inspiration” has reinvented the nature of events by giving artists a platform to showcase their creativity whilst creating an engaging connection with their audiences in a meaningful and innovative way. It’s a first for the category, and for SA’s entertainment industry.
Twelve artists every week. All on one platform. All at the same time.
To register and catch the last episode, go to VuseInspiredLive.com