Cleo Carrera
Cleo Carrera is a recent graduate of the Pratt Institute Digital Arts program. She is a dual citizen of Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about virtual reality and immersive technology, and loves making abstract and narcissistic art pieces about her own life.
Artist Statement
My senior project, Superfluous, is an abstract piece about the struggle of feeling undefined as a child. I love abstract and non-linear work, and it has always been the path I wanted to follow in my creative life. I also happen to think that abstract work lends itself most to my themes. I wanted to make this viewing experience as universal as possible. Although this film is my own self-expression and my experience of being queer, I was making this film for the many people in my life who have been confused by my lifestyle. Most specific among these are my parents. In the past, they have often expressed that they do not understand my choices, and while they ultimately accept me, there has always been a certain layer of distrust and distance, due to the fact that we inherently do not understand each other on a fundamental level. This piece, in my mind, was meant to change this, and I certainly feel like I got my feelings across.
Some of the elements that were important to me in creating this film were both the techniques that I used, and the fact that I was able to cultivate experience in a program that I am really passionate about. I handpainted all of my textures on watercolor paper sheets and scanned them into Photoshop and did digital compositing there. Making things with my hands has always felt more personal to me, which helped me feel closer to my work and has kept me feeling very passionate about the piece. I also hand built a few of the sets in clay in miniature, which is not reflected outright in the film but which I feel helped me to understand the spatial relationships between the spaces better. In terms of the program, I was really lucky to be able to procure an internship during the summer before my senior year that specialized in Unreal Engine 4. I spent that summer teaching myself the interface after work everyday. Eventually, I was able to port all my work from Maya into Unreal so that I started the fall semester with an entirely Unreal film, and have been learning it ever since.
In terms of how this relates back to my life and my other projects, I would say that the themes of this film are inextricably tied to every single one of my other endeavors. At times, being a lesbian feels like such a solitary experience. Although the community that I am in is large, and growing every day, there is a certain loneliness to it, to the idea that there will always be people who look down on you for it. I am lucky to not be a solitary person, and to be surrounded by people that love me, but I think that the idea of wishing to be someone else, and trying, and failing, will always be present in my work. In the future, however, I want to start expounding on some of the kinder themes that I carried in mind while making this work. For example, I feel a great deal of love from the people that support me, and I would like to make work about that and my future with these people. It does no good to linger on the past, and the negative feeling associated with that time. My film is filled with hope for my future.
By Cleo Carrera