Wish I Wasn't Here: An Interview of Maritza Yoes and Sean Monahan On Their Art Basel Collaboration With Snapchat and Artsy

The gap between technology, advertisement and art is nearly sealed. With years of philosophical rants over context, technique and accessibility often polarizing the art crowd. Today it seems unrealistic to not have some internet served with your art. During Art Basel Miami Beach, Maritza Yoes, one of the founders of LACMA’s social media channel and Sean Monahan, one of the founders of trend forecasting darlings K-HOLE, collaborated with Artsy and Snapchat to bring an array of artists out of the galleries and onto our phones with a range of special edition Snapchat geofilters. The filters were located around the city at prominent art locations featuring a grouping of artist including Chloe Wise and Katherine Bernhardt. I caught up with them to find out how this meeting of art and technology is just the beginning.

BJ Panda Bear: So, can you tell us about the project?

Snapchat is our favorite platform for creativity. We were excited to help make this project come to life to give artists a chance to play with the platform in a deeper way and for Snapchatters to have an accessible art experience. Without going into too much detail, Snapchat had a great idea for artist-designed geofilters. Sean and I helped bring Artsy and Snapchat together to make the creative initiative happen.

BJ: Have you worked with Snapchat in this art context before?

Yes, I have a relationship with Snapchat from my LACMA ties. I was an early art pioneer on the platform through my LACMA work so there's some good mutual trust.

BJ: Is it true that you got LACMA on Snapchat? 

True! I developed LACMA's Snapchat account and the strategy of meshing pop-culture and art history. The pairings are meant to be simultaneously irreverent and thought-provoking. LACMA has continued to maintain the strategy and it's still seeing a lot of success!

BJ: What drives a project like this?

An interest in how art, culture, social media, and technology can converge. We're constantly thinking about opportunities to explore new technologies in an art context. Finding ways for the worlds of art and technology to work together is at the heart of our participation with the project. 

BJ: What does cultural strategist mean?

"Cultural strategy" is our definition for bringing creative people and culturally relevant opportunities together. Full time I work as a social strategist with an emphasis on arts, tech, and culture, but I also love introducing people and helping make collaborations happen, this is something I do naturally! Sean is a full-time freelancer and branding genius. He was a founding member of the art collective K-HOLE where he worked with businesses that had the uncompromising creative integrity of art.

text and interview by BJ Panda Bear for Autre Magazine. Follow Autre on Instagram: @AUTREMAGAZINE

Portrait of A Young Filmmaker: An Interview With CAMGIRL Director Dana Boulos

photo by Kevin Hayeland

Dana Boulos is the talented director behind a new short film, entitled Cam Girl, that Autre has premiered exclusively online. Written by Jesy Odio, Cam Girl explores the vague border between our private lives and our proposed private lives.  With the rise of adult webcam sites, where people can disrobe for a select viewing public in exchange for tips, Cam Girl is a prescient look at a humanity’s bifurcated persona; the erotic online persona and the persona of the girl who calls you up to tell you she just got her period, or the girl who calls you up to hang out. Cam Girl also reconnoiters our need to constantly communicate and digitally catalogue our lives. Autre caught up with Dana Boulos at home in Hollywood to ask a few questions about her inspirations, her love of film, her involvement in Petra Collins' all girl art collective Ardorous, and CAM GIRL, which can be viewed here

Autre: Where did you grow up and did you always know that you wanted to enter the creative fields? 

Dana Boulos: I grew up in Hampstead, London and moved to LA when I was 10 years old. As a child I wanted to be an artist. I knew I would fall into a creative field I just didn't know which one. 

Autre: Who were some artists that first inspired you? 

oulos: As a 5 year old I was obessed with Monet, I found his work so so soft and dreamy. I also look up to the works of Nadie Labaki, David Hamilton, Sarah Moon, Richard Avedon, and Larry Clark. 

Autre: You have a big love of fashion - where did this love come from?

Boulos: It definitely came from my Family, especially my grandma. She was a model in Lebanon in the 60s'. 

Autre: Can you talk a little bit about your production company?

oulos: I don't have a clothing label, but I do have a film production company called Cherry Runaway Films. My idea behind the Cherry Runaway Films is to also empower people into making films by discovering new up and coming directors, artists, and writers to produce their work. 

Autre: You are a part of an all girl art collective called Ardorous - how did that come about and is it still active?

oulos: Yes Petra Collins and I became friends over the internet in 2009. She was forming all girl collective of artists from all around the world and I was one of the first to be asked me to be apart of it. We were all excited to be apart of an all girl collective that shared the same interests in art and understood each other. I had never met any girls in my city in LA that were into the type of art I was making at the time. I had become best friend with some of the girls I had met in IRL when they were visiting in LA. At the time we didn't realize how big it would get online and how many people clicked on the site. We all got amazing opportunities working with big publishing houses and having art shows around the world. The Ardorous was just the beginning and definitely inspired a lot of female artists out there on producing work. I feel really honored to have been apart of it. 

Autre: Cam Girl is your first foray into film, where did the idea for this short film come from?

Boulos: I was at the right place at the right time. I had been hired by Oyster Magazine to photograph stills for a film they were doing a feature on and I had just met Jesy Odio who was working on set. She got my number called me the next day for a meeting she had just written her first short called CamGirl and wanted me to direct it. I read the script and instantly loved it.

Autre: What do you want young women to learn from watching cam girl - are there any defining messages?

Boulos: CAMGIRL, written by Jesy Odio explores what goes on in front of a computer screen and how it differs from what goes on in our bedroom IRL. The way we type with strangers online is not exactly the same way we talk with our friends when we got out. Although our main character is alone in her room she never takes a break from being in touch with others especially the constant digital cataloguing. I want to see more Women young or old in the film industry. Before meeting Jesy, I was studying cinematography and knew I wanted to pursue film making for 2015 and thats exactly what I did. I'm a strong believer in the laws of attraction. Anything you set your mind to you can accomplish. 

Autre: What's next?

Boulos: I'm currently working on my next film 'CRIMSON ROSE', which I've been working on the script with Jesy since the summer of 2015. I'm looking forward to be working with some amazing people on this film, I cant talk about what its going to be about but definitely look out for a killer sound track to the film as well as mini book. 

You can watch CAM GIRL here. Stay up to date with Dana Boulos by visiting her website or following her on Instagram. Photographs by Kevin Hayeland. Text and interview by Oliver Maxwell Kupper. Follow Autre on Instagram: @AUTREMAGAZINE