Hi Teresa, thank you very much for accepting our invitation.
We have been following your work for a while and we totally love it. It is such a big honour to collaborate with you.
Let’s get it started!
Who is Teresa Freitas?
29-year-old, living by the sea in a village called Cascais, in Lisbon, Portugal. My childhood was filled with uneventful happiness. I grew up surrounded by art and Portuguese culture. I always liked watching animation movies and looking at the illustrations in books. I was not a reader and still struggle in creating and keeping that habit, unless I am at the beach. I didn’t go to the arts to escape math (although that was definitely an obstacle) – I just knew there was something in there for me. So, I went to Painting in college and then switched to Multimedia Art; after that I mastered in Design & New Media. I was planning on being a graphic designer with an artistic tendency. Thanks to instagram, and my habit to take pictures every day, I started to grow as a photographer and realised I could actually do it for a living. Eureka.
Your bio says you are a “Full-time photographer and content creator for brands”. We would say there is a much more artistic approach in your works. You are able to convert common landscapes into fairytale settings. How and when did you start your practice? Could you tell us more about your work? Where does it come from? What artists/references influenced your art?
I agree that art is very much part of my world and my work. In my second year of college, I downloaded Instagram. I had fun just scrolling through other people’s galleries and see what they were creating. Eventually I decided to start sharing my own images, using the app like a visual diary. I took pictures of small details of my daily life with my phone. Eventually, I discovered some apps that allowed me to experiment with creative editing, so I went full surreal mode with my smartphone shots, creating juxtapositions and manipulating images with my finger. After a bit, I got noticed by brands and also started to create with a very specific purpose. Not much time after that, I switched to a digital camera, installed a photo-editing software and discovered a whole new world. I got excited about the possibilities of color work and how color can play such an important role in the image and our perception of it. So, I started toning down the surreal part of it, and focused on making the image something different just by playing with color. Having soft and vibrant tones in the same image, creating a visual paradox. The gallery I am working with, Subject Matter Art, made me realise that what I was doing was subverting my images into something less tangible, more fictional and therefore more cinematic. My biggest influences come from Painting masters, and their own color work.
You have worked with international brands such as Adobe, American Express, Chloé, Clubmed, Corinthia Hotels, DKNY, Dior, Escada, Fairmont, Fujifilm, HP, Huawei, Kenzo, Montblanc, Netflix, Olympus, Pandora, Pantone, Polaroid, smart, TAP Air Portugal, TCL, Viktor & Rolf. How did you manage to adapt your art to the values of each brand? What’s different about working for a fashion brand than working for other industries, such as Netflix or smart?
Because my work lies mainly in composition and color, it was fairly easy (although sometimes a welcomed challenge) to adapt it to commercial photography. Color plays an important role, again, since it allows me to experiment with new ideas and techniques, like stop-motion, while still keeping my signature style and what sets me apart. And it makes it easy to propose different intentions that the brand can pick from. Most importantly, when brands pick my name, they already know what to expect from me. So, 99.9% of the times, the brand already has a creative/artistic desire for the campaign or product they want to promote. Funny enough, different industry brands can actually be more similar than they are different when it comes to marketing and working with content creators. We have a lot of creative freedom as content creators, and brands rarely give (if ever) too specific and tight directions/instructions on what to do. There is a big margin and flexibility to create within our style. What ultimately changes between industries is the subject that we are creating with – for different objects, services, products, there will be a different creative approach. Color schemes, distance of the subject, ideas, props, set-design, compositions… different art direction, basically.
Art & Fashion have been collaborating for long time; however, many different brands are currently following the flow. What is changed? What are they looking for?
There are a number of reasons. First, a lot of designers find their inspiration in artists, painters and sculptures. And it goes back a bit, as Schiaparelli x Dalí in 1937 and Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian Collection in 1965, up until today, like Alexander McQueen x Damien Hirst in 2013. The rise of certain art movements, like Pop Art, challenged the very culture of fine art and inevitably had its effects on the fashion industry – trendy designs were picked up by popular retailers, making more unique pieces accessible to the general public. Designer brands also bring art into centre stage and make it a part of the show: Louis Vuitton flagship store with a Michael Landy sculpture, or the Prada foundation in Milan, home to beautiful and innovative artworks. But art is bringing fashion into their world as well. Royal Academy, for example, features work of artists with fashion expressions and designers who demonstrate a cross-disciplinary approach. The collision of these worlds is inevitable, as they are both rooted in self-expression. Art and artworks are increasingly becoming elements of advertising campaigns, namely, to reach a generation of consumers who are already making art part of their lives. It can now be viewed as a differentiator in the fashion world – it’s a way to make things interesting, which will make people talk about it. From clothing design to art direction in editorials and campaigns.
How important do you think the interaction between art and corporate is? How is it developing nowadays?
It is a necessity. People respond to art – it evokes emotions, creates desire and draws the eye. Businesses have long used this power to sell and advertise. Companies are offering art spaces and exhibits, making them “instagram-worthy” so they spread and build up a fun reputation. Art makes businesses challenge themselves, creating unique directions for each advertising campaign, stepping up to make people connect to stories. A shared challenge of taking a nascent idea and bringing it to life. Ideas, whether artistic or corporal, exist in the human mind. It’s through experimentation, creativity and collaboration that they are able to be made manifest. Whether it is for decoration, entertainment or well-being, corporate integrates the arts as a strategic process for creativity and innovation, as well as customer relations and marketing.
To what extent collaborating with brands has affected your growth in terms of market?
I took on the strategy of making creative video-content whenever possible, when collaborating with brands. This helps reach and catch the eye of a bigger audience and it performs specially well for promoted content, if desired. Because I approach partnerships with creativity above all else, people usually respond back, because we are attracted to new ideas and experimentations. Instagram itself, for example, featured video work that I created for a brand collaboration this year – and that naturally helped in growing within that market.
Did you enjoy a specific collaboration? If yes, why?
I honestly enjoy all of my collaborations, and I am always looking forward to the next one. There is something special in each. It is a place to create with a purpose, and mostly a challenge, to develop something with my signature style that also fits with the brand and its goals.
What are your plans for future?
I plan on expanding to Youtube. Sharing more knowledge and tips and behind-the-scenes of my commercial work. Also incorporate more video in my travels. My personal work is within the art field, as I’m also a fine art photographer, so now it’s just a matter of keep up with the work and bring something new.