People

Ilanna Barkusky +

i. We last spoke to you in 2017. How has your creative working life changed since then?
Things have changed quite a bit since 2017, it is really interesting to look back and reflect on that. I always am trying to evolve and challenge myself creatively, and in the last 3 years I have added quite a few new skills to my work. I’m now a licensed advanced drone operator in Canada, and I incorporate anything from CGI, animated GIFs and motion into my workflow, depending on the project. Although I started taking photos with my DSLR, that feels like one single piece of a larger puzzle now. During this time, I also received an O1 work visa which has given me the ability to work in both Canada and the US, so I am now based on the West Coast between Vancouver and Los Angeles.

.

ii. What are some creative projects you have been involved in over the last three years?
There have been quite a few rewarding commercial and editorial opportunities presented to me over that time, but one project stands out above them all to me. It is a self-directed collection of photos and motion that I put together called the Colour Series, and it has ended up gaining a lot more traction internationally than I could have ever imagined. Most of the photographs were taken in and around the Vancouver area, documenting the parks, basketball courts and tracks that people often frequent and drive by in a way never seen before. The response to that work shot in our amazing city has blown me away, it is great to see it resonate with people.

.

.

iii. How has your creative working life changed during the pandemic?
I’ve definitely learned to see the silver linings amongst the difficulty as well as gaining lots of experience in adapting to constraints. Artistic collaboration with others is an extension of my being, and that became very clear early on into the pandemic when I didn’t have my normal outlets to create work. I’ve learned a lot about developing creative solutions and problem solving to get things done regardless of the circumstances. Starting in March and April, I was given the opportunity by Red Bull to interview athletes and photographers and tell their stories through my writing, which was a great opportunity to keep creating despite the fact that I was pretty limited in what I could do away from home.

.

iv. Any predictions around how your creative life or approach might be different once pandemic threats have lessened and the world is safer?
I hope to be able to leverage all I have learned this year in terms of resilience and continue to push myself to try new things when faced with challenges. It will also be different in the sense that I doubt I will take much for granted after this year – it really helped put things into perspective as to how lucky I am to be able to do this work. I also believe that the health and safety protocols that are being implemented on sets now will stay with us going forward, which will be a huge benefit to make things better than ever.

.

v. What or who are some things in the world that are inspiring you creatively right now?
I take inspiration from so many things at any given time, I almost don’t notice it until I look at the completed work later on and try to trace it backwards. Lately I have been drawing a lot of ideas from street art that I see – looking at how others have transformed walls or playing surfaces and how I can intertwine that into my own ideas by making use of the spaces around us. The photo library on my phone is full of locations that I’ve come across or seen and would like to revisit and utilize to create work at some point in time.

.

.

vi. Shows, movies, podcasts and/or books that are engaging you right now?
I love the Netflix series called Abstract which highlights artists in different fields, I always come back to that one to watch episodes again and again, especially since they touch heavily on the creative process. I’ve also really been enjoying The Playbook which is also on Netflix. That series follows profiles several high-level coaches in the sports world, and there are tons of inspirational moments to be found when listening to them speak about their experiences. I’m also a huge fan of podcasts as that is such a great medium to learn new concepts and ideas. One of my favourite shows is called Dear Art Producer, where a photo agent interviews art producers, photographers and creative directors. It is a fantastic resource to learn about the industry. In terms of books, my eyes are opened from reading The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole. I would highly recommend that book to everyone to learn more about how much work we have to do in Canada when it comes to social justice.

vii. Can you show us one or two pieces of your recent work and give us a bit of backstory or context?

a. This shot is part of the Colour Series and was taken at Concord Community Park in Vancouver. I was driving over the viaduct and when this court caught my eye out of the window, I knew I had to create something at this location. I was thrilled when they gave me the go ahead to fly the drone here and we were able to create some magic as a result.

.

.

b. During the spring, I wasn’t sure when or how I could add new work to my portfolio due to the public health situation. I decided to get creative with previous work I had already shot to create something new. The portrait component was shot in studio in December, and the environment was created after the fact. Working with a local CGI artist named Paul Lang of the Orange Apple, we were able to create this image and it is now one of my favourites in my portfolio.

.

.

viii. What are you looking forward to in your creative future?
I would say the opportunity to jump into various new roles including directing and I am also excited to start to focus more on motion in addition to stills. I’m looking forward to all the things I still have to learn that are ahead, that keeps me motivated to keep getting better. A quote that I read recently that really resonated with me said “the reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more work”.

.

ix. Anything to add?
I am always looking to be a resource for those who are starting out in creative careers. Feel free to get in touch with me and I will do my best to offer up what I know!

.

.

x. Website?

Ilanna Barkusky’s Website

.

www.creatorsvancouver.com

Previous

Angel Of Victory

Next

Tanis Saxby @ The Crawl

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton