Today we chat with Photographer Simon Subrosa about his work and inspiration. Enjoy!
Who is Simon Subrosa and what do you do?
Well, that’s a bit complicated actually…
Subrosa is a pseudonym that I created some 10 years ago. During my studies I started doing a lot of commercial photography for various advertising agencies as well as the general public. It was during this time that I realized how judgemental people can be, it’s as if you can’t be an artist (at least not the type of art I do) and a corporate entrepreneur. So I split myself in two.
My public face went on to win various awards and accolades while working on national ad campaigns and running a small but successful photography and post production studio. My shadowy twin went on to win various international art and photography shows, start a small t-shirt label, do c.d. covers and sleeves for local and international acts, organise live music events for alternative bands and best of all make contact with some of my artistic heroes. Many of which turned out to be admirers of my own art.
Ultimately, Subrosa is a dream, an illusion, a mechanism for me to take the real and turn it into the surreal. I’m an artist, a photographer and an entrepreneur. Like most people I have many different masks I wear, I just went ahead and gave mine a name.
How would you define your style of art?
The work is an ongoing process; it flows through various stages before it’s even close to being complete. Due to the complexity of each image pre-planning is absolutely essential. Each image starts with a concept, an idea that needs to be nurtured and allowed to evolve over time. When the moment is right it bubbles to the surface. After that I become manic, I have to create it. The next phase is the photography. This is where I spend hours in the studio or walking the city streets looking for the components I’ll later need to digitally composite the final version. Some hours in front of the computer and I finally get to see the image for the first time outside of my head. From the photography to the digital manipulation the images undergo quite a transformation. They metamorphosis from the real to the surreal. Currently there is a heated debate amongst photographers and artists alike whether this style can even be called photography anymore.
What inspires your style of work?
Our lives are filled with things that have been created through art in some form or another; everything is fuelled by some sort of beauty. If you simply keep your mind open, you’ll find your inspiration anywhere. Sometimes I like to turn off the lights, put on a new album and smoke a cigarette. The music becomes visuals in my mind eye. Other times I like to go for a walk and just follow my feet. You see a lot of strange things in the city after dark; you meet a lot of weird people as well. People out in the cold, people in a smoky pub. Later they become dramatic characters that populate my images.
Mostly I simply keep feeding my brain. Visuals, information, music, body language and philosophy. I ask myself questions and try to visuals the answers. Without realizing it my subconscious melts with my life experiences and slowly gives birth to a new graphic. I just have to make sure I’m there to help them enter the world.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I’m hard at work planning my first solo exhibition. (Planned for P.E, CPT and Jo’Burg) at the same time I’ve decided to launch a strategic branding think tank working predominantly with alternative culture businesses. The idea being to bring traditional marketing and advertising principles with a flair for the lateral creative. An alternative business for alternative clients.
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
Don’t ever stop.
I see so many extremely talented creatives getting sucked into the lure of the corporate industries. It’s very easy to forget about your art as you work in the advertising and marketing industries. There’s nothing wrong with making money or working for ‘the man’ you just have to know where you want to end up at the end of the day. Every step has to take you closer to that final destination. I’ve turned down many jobs, knowing full well that the cash would be great but there would simply be no room for creative ambition.
You just don’t let anything or anybody stop your momentum.
Where can our readers follow your work?
I love to meet new people and network so you’re welcome to add me on face book:
Otherwise you can see some of my latest work and thoughts over at my blog: