Sergio Miranda is a South American photographer born in Patagonia Argentina with a degree in Fine Arts, Photography and Cinematography. While his commercial projects mainly focuse on advertising and photography, his personal works have been exhibited in numerous contemporary art galleries in Argentina, Dubai, and the Kingdom of Bahrain, counting more than 15 exhibitions and shows. His project Ombligo, which translates into navel, features maps of various South American places around a human’s navel, depicting these sites as the hub of the world. For more check out the interview below and visit his instagram account and website www.sermiranda.com
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a regular guy in search of understanding; receiving and giving as much as possible to find happiness for me and those around me.
Whom do you look up to?
Today I look up to people that dare to have a different view on how things work.
Someone that lately has awaken a lot of my admiration is Uruguay’s former president, Pepe Mujica. Although he is not an artist, he is a character that reached a powerful position for today’s standards of power, and he dared to question and challenge dogmas; a true philosopher. Artistically I admire the work of photographers like Eugenio Recuenco and Marcos López or cinematographers like Wes Anderson and Michael Gondry.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
Those that have made existence more understandable. For me, a successful career path is being able to do what you love, to always enjoy what you do; to be able to belong to yourself only whilst at the same time making ethical and moral decisions for a responsible interaction with the universe as a whole. All those that contributed in building this knowledge within me are those that helped me: My family and especially my grandfather Quino, my friends, my teachers.
Artistically, my career was influenced by music in my younger years, particularly the one my father listened to every morning, including Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, King Crimson to The Rolling Stones, Kraftwerk or Beck. In my teenage years I started drawing and painting, paying attention to pictorial artists, illustrators, photographers and designers. I had a magnet-like attraction for magazine shops for as long as I can remember (and still have it today) and craved for all kinds of magazines, from fashion to science and comics. Moving to Buenos Aires in my early twenties got me close to fashion, cinema, arts and music in a more commercial way, helping me build the basis for future career decisions. In my late twenties I got interested in Yoga, new ways of diet and lifestyle habits. In this new stage of my life I started to analyse and criticize established paradigms, which still keeps me busy thinking, triggering my need to approach life differently, so that to make a change for everyone’s happiness.
How did your art career start?
There was never a breaking point. I went to art workshops since I can remember and my parents were quite responsible for that. I was born breathing oxygen and art at the same time. My grandfather built an amusement park for all his grandsons made of recycled trash, in Patagonia Argentina, known as El Desafio; surprisingly amazing for everyone visiting it. But we, the cousins that grew up there, didn’t think of it as something special and spectacular, we were in our element.
I studied arts in high school. Or better said, the school I went to was an “arts high school”; painting, drawing, sculpting, playing piano and guitar, dance and drama lessons were part of the everyday activities. After school I naturally moved towards Cinema and Photography. Fashion and Advertising photography opened chances and career possibilities in the commercial world. But I believe art was in me since I was born (like it is in each and everyone of us) and I was lucky to grow up in an environment that contributed and nurtured it, instead of discarding creativity.
What was your favourite project and why?
It is hard to choose one. When it comes to projects in which I work in collaboration, I dedicate my soul to each one of this encounters. They all happen differently as they are all a result of the interaction. Whether they are of commercial nature or not, there always is a more or less creative connection between all the characters and personalities that are taking part. And this makes them special in each own way.
When it comes to projects that are purely personal, ideas and concepts that are developed on my own, I strive to understand them, myself, why I’m doing what I’m doing, and how to do it. I strive to find the right way, sometimes overthinking, just fo find myself puzzled with writing and building explanations and conceptualizations.
And in the end, each time, something comes out completely out of my control, as if my subconscious is at work on it’s own, not needing me. And sometimes this result is great and amazing (it amazes me), and at other times, well most of the time, not so much. Today I’m trying to just do work without thinking too much; this probably comes from my growing relationship with Yoga.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
Probably I did face countless challenges, or went through many situations that felt as a challenge at the time they happened and today I feel as if they were a natural part of the process. I still feel that there are many more challenges to come. It’s in the artist’s idiosincracy to face challenges, to take them on, to charge with energy and to move forward, never knowing if the path is the right one. Probably gaining the energy, courage and esteem to face them is the first challenge and the hardest. To know if you are going into the right direction is something you will only understand along the way, as Antonio Machado said “Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada mas” (Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing else).
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in? What`s your personal motto?
Not really favourite quotes or mottos. I actually change them all the time. Today I will probably say “Care about the environment, dammit!” (my latest personal work focuses on how we destroy the world’s most beautiful places with trash and garbage).
How do you define creativity?
I feel creativity lies within all of us originally and it is the re-awakening of a natural state; it is also the possibility to think on our own, making use of everything and anything in our surrounding, following our own rules to achieve happiness, understand and explain the world, and to communicate with others and ourselves. Creativity is a state of no restrictions and a space with bendable rules. Being creative means playing, like we did when were children, not yet molded by structures that determine our paradigm. Being creative means giving ourselves permission to contradict ourselves, our beliefs, our ideas.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
If you are doing something you don’t want to do, and you think or feel you should be doing something different, then stop. Focus on what completes your heart and soul. It takes time, it demands effort, it includes challenges, it implies risks, it’s worth it.
Maybe start little, think of a plan, create dates with your artistic/creative self and let that creative self conquer your heart. Have a weekly date that becomes an “every three days date” that becomes daily that becomes a full time relationship. Create your romantic space, where you have passionate encounters and let them flourish. And be faithful to yourself.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
Uhm, probably “stop trying to know everything, as it’s a waste of time; better get moving”.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
The only way I would be able to give up my passion for art would be dying, and I’m not really too sure about that either.
All images © Sergio Miranda