Not Just A Commodity
The progression of society has made us realize that it is necessary to create spaces for practitioners of the arts to showcase their work to more diversified audiences.
This has been increasingly possible throughout our era due to the emergence of channels of communications that value the intersectionality of diverging fields. We are beginning to see more sectors acknowledge the utilization of art to transmit messages. On April 12 2019, I was invited by Tammy Emma Pepin, President and Executive Producer of Un Peu Plus Loin to model for a photoshoot. Un Peu Plus Loin is a French phrase that translates as "a bit further".They describe themselves as a storytelling studio born from the desire to offer smart content solutions to the world of journalism, television and advertisement. They fulfill their mandate by creating, producing and distributing quality content, products and experiences for individuals, brands and broadcasters who want to reach audiences across multiple platforms with messages that matter. As I arrived on set, I found myself in a large loft full of vintage furniture and objects that is used as an open space for entrepreneurs to fulfill their creative projects. I immediately engaged in a conversation with the makeup artist and photographist on how our separate industries are constantly merging, in order to contribute to the world of visual arts. At this moment, I understood that I was taking part in an artistic collaboration that was different from the contexts that I was usually exposed to throughout my modelling career. As a freelance model, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with creators who share similar values as myself. However, models are often viewed as "commodities" a part of a supply chain that are solely used to aid in the distribution of products through the major channels of the fashion market.This event that would normally seem as a "typical" fashion shoot was actually meant to divulge the intellectual process, which usually occurs behind visual creations. Within this context, it was particularly interesting to see how Tammy Emma Pepin manifested the mission of Un Peu Plus Loin by giving us a platform to express ourselves as multifaceted individuals.
Thus, it was no surprise that Lara who was modelling with me is principally a singer and songwriter. She also happens to be the muse of designer, Remi Van Bochove who provided the clothing and backdrop for the photoshoot. Parallely, we had Laurie Deraps, makeup artist and hairstylist who approached our ethnic features with customized formulas. This complex assembly was transformed into a simple image by photographer, Lian Benoit. Such an outcome demonstrates the importance of Un Peu Plus Loin as a platform due to how it proves that modern artists are capable of utilizing their expertise in more than one discipline to transmit relevant messages that can be showcased, in order to introduce more creations that promote inclusivity and representativity across the fields. We can easily relate this to the concept of “art ecosystems", which englobes the ability of an arts organization to survive within the larger market based on it’s amount of available resources. Within the arts world, we often believe that financial resources are the basis for the survival of organizations. However, visual collaborations among creatives have also proven to serve as useful resources within an industry that is increasingly becoming digitalized on a global level. Within these times, this will remain relevant as it will remind us to be resourceful while implementing communication strategies to reach wider audiences.Hence, Un Peu Plus Loin affirms that cross-sector collaborations between multiple actors who are working towards a common goal for individual reasons is the future of art. It is clear that there has been a rise of empathy between sectors of the cultural and creative industries, which has facilitated the broadcasting of messages that incite powerful reactions among consumers. However, will it be possible to utilize these emotions as a way to generate more financial flexibility for institutions to further social, political and economic movements that have been initiated by arts organizations?