Artist Spotlight #1: Steph Perez

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Steph Perez is currently a student at The University of Adelaide with a passion for portrait and band photography.  Over the past few years she’s produced some terrific pieces that you can see on her social media, such as Facebook and Instagram. We recently caught up with her and discussed various topics, from her artistic process to what inspires her.

Q: Hello Steph! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: Hi, my name is Steph. I’m 19 years of age and I’m currently inching my way up the academic ladder for Bachelor of Computer Science. I left home (Malaysia, Borneo to be exact) when I was 16 and started living on my own for the first time in Adelaide. I enjoy reading poetry, rocking out to pop-punk music, playing video games, ‘geeking’ out about computers, and taking photos. I’m also a massive fan of the TV shows ‘Friends’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’.

Q: Who inspires you?  What inspires your art?

A: I follow many photographers online, and they tend to post photos quite often, so I usually get my inspiration from them. Well, either that or from films I’ve watched. I admire countless band, fashion, conceptual, landscape and portrait photographers but I mostly get my inspiration from conceptual photographers/artists like Rob Woodcox, David Talley and Joel Robison.

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Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: Yes, I do. As much as I love film photography, I prefer to take photos digitally. It makes life so much easier. I would like to get into film someday, though.

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: I would say that it’s mostly portrait photography but I would really like to experiment more with conceptual photography. I do photograph events and models as well, but mostly portraits.

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Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: It usually starts from an intense emotion based on personal experiences before an idea pops into my head. These ideas, depending on how difficult it would be for me to produce, can linger for days or even several months. I told myself that if the idea lingers for more than 2 weeks, I would have to do something about it. First, I would draw them out to have a more concrete idea of what I would like my photo to look like. After that, I start planning on the venue, materials I would need etc. Once that’s all done, I would grab someone, either a friend or my partner, to be my model/guinea pig and I would do my best to put the idea into practice.

Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: I see myself being much better in terms of creativity and Photoshop/photographing skills and maybe even have my own studio set up. I would have my own website so that potential clients would be able to look through my work.

Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be, and why?

A: That’s a tough one because there are so many great artists. I’ll go with Joel Robison because of his creativity and diligence as a photographer/artist. His style of photography is conceptual photography and I absolutely adore his work. He definitely deserves more exposure.

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Q: What is your favourite gallery and why?

A: My favourite gallery would have to be It’s Hardly Noticeable by John William Keedy. It explores his personal journey dealing with an anxiety disorder, which is an area I am familiar with. I find it very inspiring as it doesn’t show how he struggles with mental illness but how he finds the means to deal with it in a more controlled manner.

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: I have only uploaded bits and pieces of my work onto the Internet but you can find them on Instagram @oystersos and ‘terrestrial.pixieset.com’.

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Q: What was the last film you watched?

A: The last film I watched was a psychological thriller film called ‘Gone Girl’. I personally love psychological thrillers so I thought it was intelligent and brilliant. I loved the characters and the plot. The female protagonist struck me as a smart woman whose entire being was filled with rage and revenge and her relationship between her and her husband gave me several ideas for potential photography series/projects that I would like to work on, hopefully sometime this year.

-Masya Zabidi

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