ARTSPEAKS episode 1: the art of creating in the moment
I recently got to sit down with self-made photographer and videographer, Rey Aldana to discuss the inspiration behind his work, and how creating in the moment is much more rewarding than trying to create the moment itself. His work focuses on the people around him, and the beauty of living a life that art wants to imitate.
Welcome to the very first episode of ARTSPEAKS. With us today we are very lucky to have self made photographer, Rey Aldana. Rey is a senior nursing major at Temple and his work has inspired me for a while now, I actually followed his Instagram before we even became friends because I just loved the work he created. So Rey, one thing I think we’d all like to know is how you find time to create such high-quality content among school, your social life, and all your other responsibilities?
So I’m a nursing major, and that takes a big chunk of my time away from myself, but honestly I always think back to sophomore year when I was in the midst of learning photography and video and getting better and better. What I did was set a goal for myself every week, so I told myself ‘hey, I’m gonna do one video a week and one photo every three days,’ and I would just try and stick to that. Even if I had to stay up on a Thursday until like 3am at the tech center or if I had to skip a Friday night out, I just did it because I set those goals for myself and I knew if I kept skipping it, I would not get better. I would just set short term goals, and don’t think that you’re gonna grow overnight or become amazing in a month. You just gotta practice every day, every week, just put in the work and you’ll get there.
So when you’re creating content, what are some things that inspire you?
The feeling of finishing what I just made, and thinking about the moment that that picture captured or that video captured and knowing I’ll have that memory to always look back on for the rest of my life. When I’m 60, 70 years old, or 90 on my death bed, I can always relive that moment and feel how young I felt, feel how free I felt and feel like the relationships I had with those friends in that picture or video, they’ll just give me something that I’ll always be able to relive. That’s what motivates me to keep creating.
So are there certain elements or aspects of people that you try and portray through visual communication?
Yes. So, in my pictures and videos, mainly videos because they capture a lot more raw emotion… you can see the body language between two people, that big smile that they have… I try to capture the connection I have between my friends.
When you’re out shooting with people, what is an important element or emotion you try and portray through your work?
With photography, it can capture a lot of different moods. It can capture love, sadness, whatever it may be. When I’m working with a model, I try and tell that person to think of a story, think of a memory, or emotion in their head. If they think of it, then their face will portray it.
No, thats good advice. Rey has a very unique style to his work, especially his videos that feel very expressive, yet personal. How have you crafted your own artistic voice and what advice would you give to others trying to to do the same?
In this digital age, it’s very easy for artists to create and mimic other peoples videos, like famous people. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Sam Colder or Taylor cut films, but these were the fist guys to create travel videos, and they would use zoom transitions and hyper-lapses, just stuff that everyone else tried to copy afterward and now it’s just unoriginal.
What I did is it looked up to those people, but I looked at myself and I’m not living their life. I’m not gonna go to Hawaii and climb the Stairway to Heaven just because these people did just to make a video. My life is different from theirs. For you work and your photography, don’t try to mimic other peoples lives and create content because they created it. go out with your friends, go to a rooftop, watch the sunset and capture that emotion you had with them on that spot. You don’t have to travel to Paris or across the ocean. All you need is the people right there with you, and even if you live in a suburban town you can create content there. But, thats my style. I don’t try to copy someone else’s life. I appreciate the people I have and the places I’m fortunate to go with them, and thats where and how I make my content.
I would say your style is very personal. You like to focus a lot on people as your subjects and their emotions, rather than more animate subjects.
Yeah, a lot of people try to show… I mean you go on Instagram and ‘oh I went to this cool place, oh I traveled to this place,’ but even Drake said it one of his songs *That’s How You Feel audio* that spoke volumes to me, that’s so true. I wish a lot of people resonated with that and realized that. That’s the big thing in social media, we might touch about it on the last question “does art imitate life or does life imitate art?” and I’ve been thinking about that a lot, because if get into this digital community with video and photography, you can get lost in it. You can show that you’re living life, but in reality you’re really not. You’re just living behind a camera or phone screen.
That was deep. Continuing with the deep questions, what does freedom of expression mean to you?
I’m a nursing major, but I’m also a photographer and videographer so I feel like I live two separate lives in a way. In nursing, everything is very systematic. You have to do things in a certain manner or else you’ll put your patient at risk, or just get fired bc you’re not doing things right. With photography and video, it’s my gateway to express myself freely. There’s no boundaries set, or certain way of doing things because art is just completely different. That’s why there’s so many different genres of art out there.
With my art, I express how I felt in that moment and that’s how I express it through my work. With the music that’s playing, if I’m feeling nostalgic looking back at these moments, I’ll pick a nice nostalgic song, like something acoustic. If I’m feeling party, I could put some EDM, you know? There’s a lot of ways to express yourself, especially through videography. Low key, I love videography. That’s my shit.
Do you think that art imitates life or does life imitate art?
I feel like art can never be real life, so art tries to imitate life. If you’re tryna life your live to imitate something, art, or someone else’s art, then you’re just doing it wrong, you’re trying to live someone else’s life. I feel that art tries to imitate life, it does its best, but in the end it will never fully be life. Art tries to imitate life, but it can never be successful in being life.
Alright Rey, well thanks for sitting dwon with me for the first episode of ARTSPEAKS.
Yeah, this is great, this whole series. You’re gonna get some amazing feedback, because these are some deep questions. I had to take some breaks and mental time to really think it through. These are questions that need to be asked, but are never really addressed.
So you think good art takes time?
Oh yeah, good art does take time.