A Teenage Creative
What can you expect when you see a teenager profile on IG? Nails, facebook selfies and so on…well, not if this teenager is Bobby Cuevas, a.k.a @dj_cue. His work with family/friends portraits, graphics effects and filters creates amazing dreaming images from our ordinary life. Definitely someone that wants more than worry about if he’s popular or not. Someone who’s seeking to be creative and active all the time. But that’s not enough for him. He also creates amazing songs and mixes, that can be found in his soundcloud account (please, be sure to check it out in the end of interview). Followed by great image makers such as @deena21 and @repinsk (our fellow juxter), Bobby is for sure, a talent to be watched in this new art form, called iPhoneography.
F: Bobby, to get this thing started: how did you get in touch with iphoneography? you must know, we don’t see a teenager doing what you do around Instagram…most of them are really into get into the so called now “explore” page…
B: My mom (@npbradshaw) has always taken pictures, and was an early adopter of Instagram. She downloaded the application just a week after it was released. One time, back in March of last year, she took me on a photowalk that was held locally in downtown Atlanta, run by the now famous Josh Johnson. That was where I first shot photos with my iPhone. It as an interesting experience for me. I never thought that I would become so involved with photography as an art form; at the time, I thought Instagram would simply be a cool way to show people what I like to do, like play music and DJ, along with other things. I never really thought it could be anything more than that. However, I was mistaken when looking at profiles from people such as Konstruktivist, Koci, and Intao. The fact that people could create art like that on their phones really inspired me to do the same thing.
F: How do you work on your creative process? Is there any kind of guides you follow? When you shoot your friends, your brother and sister do you have any idea of what you will come with?
B: Well, my creative process has changed. From shooting to editing, it is much different now than it used to be last year. Last year was a year of experimenting with different styles, and different methods of editing. From the tilt-shift style of editing and the dynamic canted angle shots to the abstract shapes and double exposure shots, my images have definitely changed, and my creative process has as well. I used to produce lots of images all the time, but I was never really happy with them. I decided to focus my creative energy and take more time to construct my images. That meant not always trying to make opportunities for me to shoot; instead, going out for walks and seeing what catches my eye and snapping a few photos. That also meant giving these photos time to breath before editing them, so that when I begin to edit, I have an idea of which direction I want to take with the image. Really, I’m going for quality over quantity. When I shoot with my brother and sister, or even my friends, I have absolutely no idea what I am going to come up with. Personally, I enjoy it that way. Makes the experience much more enriching.
F: I see you going from abstract to a really some personal portraits for a young image maker like you. Which one do you relate more to? Abstract or portraying? In other words, which one do you feel more comfortable working with?There’s a portrait I really love of a girl, can you tell us a bit about it?
B: At the moment, I’m not really sure which one I like better. I really enjoy them both. It depends on my mood. I really love capturing people and their emotions, and I love creating abstract images which come from the more experimental side of my head. That image was taken at a dance that I went to a few months ago. My friends and I were wandering around while the DJ was playing some boring pop songs, and as we were in this room, I immediately had the urge to take a few pictures. I turned on a few lamps in the room to brighten everything up a bit, and then I went to town. I didn’t expect the picture to turn out the way it did, but I was pleased with the final product, and it showed me just how fun taking pictures spontaneously is.
F: Your friends and family seem to be part of your inspirational process; this circle series you are working on, made me think that at least; does it make any sense to you?
B: Yes, my family inspires me so much. I find myself taking lots of pictures of my brother and sister, along with my friends. Without them, I probably wouldn’t be inspired to take pictures. As I was looking back on some pictures of friends and family, I decided I wanted to do something different with those photos. Using circles in those images was the final result.
F: “…using you iPhone for avant-garde photography and design. Just trying to be different”. This is, probably, my favorite profile description on IG, so I can’t help but asking you what “trying to be different” means to you =)
B: Wow. That means a lot to hear that from you, Fabs. I think for me, being different means having diversity in your work along with sharing your perspective in a unique way. I never really like to do the exact same thing over and over again, so I like to do different things. Like take straight B&W photos, or have an image where all the colors are muted; it also keeps people interested in what you’re posting. For me, it keeps me from getting bored with what I am doing.
F: I listened to your soundcloud and I really related your images to your music; what are your music influences to create pictures and viceversa? Can you tell us what do you listen to? I really thought about Animal Collective and some others, like if Lupe Fiasco had met some Johnny Greenwood kind of guy and they had just started a jam!
B: I sometimes find it funny how my images blend with my music. It’s weird how it happens, but I think both sides really complete each other, and really express my thoughts in a unique way that people can understand. Whenever I edit, I always like to have music playing. Whether it be some bass driven hip-hop, or experimental trip-hop, it helps me focus and lets my imagination roam free. Whenever I listen to these sounds, I see these different images in my head, and I try my best to capture and develop them, which results in what you see on my profile. My photos stem from sounds made by artists/bands like Mount Kimbie, Vondelpark, Tycho, Nosaj Thing, and other experimental groups like that. I also love Animal Collective, Com Truise, Neon Indian, and Phantogram. I think lots of my photos are really influenced by those musicians.
F: I really love your image making process and I don’t want to reveal any supersecretsauce you may have, but can you tell how and why you choose the apps you work with?
B: Thank you. I like to use apps that challenge me to think outside the box, and allow me to really create the images I want to create. Sometimes, I want to create graphic design images, and sometimes I want to just do photography that includes subtle graphic elements. For example, Hipstamatic. It is a wonderful app, and even though I only have the stock lenses, I can still do a lot with it. Since there is no tap-focus capability, it is really good for helping you learn how to get a nice shot by just pointing and shooting, hoping it turns out well. Also, Image Blender. This is an app I use a lot. I use it to create design templates by blending shapes and other abstract images with each other. Blender is probably my favorite app, not only because you can do so much with it, but it is helpful for someone who is just learning how to operate the different blending features in Photoshop on the computer. And if you can create a masterpiece by blending photos in an iPhone app, you can definitely create a masterpiece in photoshop.
F: Please, tell us something like your TOP 5 artists, musicians, friends, igers, basketball players, anything that triggers you when it comes to creativity!
B: As far as artists in general go, I really love NoPattern, Mark Weaver, and Scott Hansen/ISO50. As for music, I really love Flying Lotus, Justice, James Blake, Radiohead, and Fleet Foxes. My favorite Instagram profiles would have to be @Konstruktivist, @repinsk, @deena21, @p67_byLynetteJackson. My best friend Nick (@twist3dall3gory) is wonderful to shoot pictures with, as he loves photography and iPhoneography as much as I do, and he has wonderful ideas. Of course, I owe it all to my mom for sharing her love of photography with me. Without her, I wouldn’t love photography as much as I do.
F: Thanks for your time Bobby! Keep the good work both on image and sound making!!!
You can check his music here.