INTERVIEW: FILIP CUSTIC - A VOCABULARY OF OBJECTS
A VOCABULARY OF OBJECTS
SPANISH ARTIST FILIP CUSTIC IS THE MASTERMIND BEHIND SOME OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE IMAGES AND VISUAL CAMPAIGNS THE WORLD HAS SEEN IN RECENT YEARS. TRAVELLING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE, SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY, CUSTIC IS THE 26-YEAR-OLD BEHIND THE WONDERFUL IMAGERY ON ROSALÍA’S LATEST ALBUM EL MAL QUERER.
Filip, could you tell us a bit about your personal journey about where you once were and how you got to where you are now– Barcelona.
I was born in the Canary Islands, but my whole family is from Croatia, so I’ve spent some time of my life there. When I turned 18 I moved to Madrid, where I started studying Advertising and PR, but very soonI realized I wanted to develop my creativity in a moreartistic way. I started making fashion editorials, but in the beginning I could only make money taking pictures in night clubs. Step by step I started working on bigger projects and here I am today.
Briefly, what and where did you study?
I learned from my life experiences. I never studied artor photography. If I’m interested in Egyptian culture,I investigate it. If I want to play with colors and forms from a picture, I study photoshop from YouTube tutorials. Perseverance, balance and patience are the 3 words I constantly repeat to myself.
Today you are a photographer and creative director at O Creative Studio. Could you tell the world outside Spain a bit more about the agency and the way it works?
Zico Judge, the boss, is a very creative person. He loves art and that’s the most important for me. He knows creatives need a team and to feel free to develop their art, so with the agency he works on making it possible. In O Creative Studio we are all friends and admire/inspire each other. We have a great vibe in the office.
A key concept in your work is the “Vocabulary of Objects.” Could you briefly explain it?
When I create a picture, I want to communicateideas, learning and concepts to materializemy “mental landscape”. So the elements I use in each creation are meant to tell something to the viewer. Each object represents an idea,a symbol. For example, the “mirror sphere” represents the earth.
It seems that, on the one hand, you embrace the latest technology with ease, while on the other your work is firmly rooted in (art) history. Likewise, you mix the geometric with the esoteric. Have you spent a lifetime reading just about everything to get inspired?
In all my creativity I like to find the limbo between past-future, spirit-ego (duality), science-spirituality... I think this concept helps me to create atemporal things. It is part of my statement.
I like to hear and learn from great masters from the past (such as Da Vinci, Tesla, Newton, Lorca ...) and combine that with elements from the present elements, such as technology.
By the end of last year, you worked with RosalÍa, presenting her as a kind of modern day Madonna. Could you tell us a bit more about the project? What was the idea and how did you execute it?
Rosalía has been my virtual friend for a verylong time already. We were always talking about doing something together, so one dayshe called me and asked me to materialize the sound of her upcoming album “El Mal Querer”in images.
Working with her and her sister Pili was very easy and fluid. We were on the same page. We all wanted to update Spanish imagery to the XXI century.
Your work for Palomo Spain seems to celebrate a return to the guilty pleasures of Roman times? Is that so?
Yes! When I did Palomo campaigns I wasn't looking at the future, but getting very inspired by many different past cultures and eras.
You have worked for some of the biggest brands and advertisers in the world. How does that work? They give you and/or O Creative Studio carte blanche? Or do they come with a concept for you to do your magic?
Technology is crazy. Most of the brands contactme directly via Instagram or email. I’ve been in O Creative Studio for a bit more than a year and a half. They used to produce my projects, ratherthan funding them. But now we are more into a dialogue to find the perfect way to communicatemy creativity in the right places.
Are the big brands and fashion designers of today the kings and popes of yesteryear? (I mean, Da Vinci and Caravaggio too had to eat ...)
I can say “yes” in my case. I use brandsprojects to practice my creativity. But it is alsoimportant to remember it is a hardworking process in which it is very easy to lose your soul. It is important to be concentrated because the industry is heavy.
Food? What’s your favorite?
The future is vegan.
And, finally, what would be your dream project (in 2019)?
Anything related to robotics and Artificial Intelligence
INTERVIEWED BY PETER SPEETJENS