By Giano Currie, photographer; and Lina, model
- Just the two of you, how did this artistic adventure begin?
Like most great success stories there was a school and a crush. Except the crush was my almost boyfriend at the time and the school assigned a nude photography project. I showed up at the Miami Ad School out of curiosity and willingness to try something new. I thought it would be a sexy way to interact with the almost boyfriend I hadn’t slept with yet. This is the story of how two artistic souls got more than what they bargained for…
2. Tell us about your journey from Suriname to the United States?
It all started in the country that has my heart, the country that will always be my first home and the country where I first got introduced to art. Early on in my childhood I discovered that I was good in sketching. One day I came home from school and was confronted by my parents who found my sketchbook with drawings of naked women. At first they were concerned but after closer observation they saw that I had an artist’s touch to my strokes. Rather than punishing me they put me in an art school called Nola Hatterman institute. There I refined my sketches and would soon start sketching family members one of which was my grandfather which still hangs in my mother’s office. I believe this was my first taste of art, particularly nude art. Till this day I sketch out my concepts and story boards before my shoots.
My introduction to photography started in high school. I got a digital camera at christmas and started bringing it to school with me. I soon started to take pictures of my family and friends which made me the unofficial photographer. I soon started dabbling in street photography which I would bring to the local newspaper who published my pictures 2 times. Those were some proud moments!
After high school, I worked for a full year before making the big move to Miami. Initially I wanted to go to film school but was forced by my rational mind to settle for something I could fall back on. I guess I wasn’t ready to dive fully in the arts back then so I settled for something in the middle, Marketing.
3. Why muse, not model?
Model is a title that is earned, a right of passage in the world of art and fashion—a model I am not, not in the traditional sense. I cannot model clothing or accessories. I can only “model” myself. When I work with Giano and other artists I create space for them to see and I simply move. It is in that place of acceptance that we create powerful art. I accept that I am the I one receiving the gift of bringing this particular vision to life.
It was actually Giano who first called me his muse, I hadn’t really considered a name for what I was doing and as time went by it made perfect sense. We have this organic, symbiotic relationship where at first I was honored and humbled to help Giano realize his dreams and in turn he saw me before I saw myself. This art has awakened my dreams and it is through this artistic adventure that I have learned to pursue them.
3. What made you take your art in this direction?
It started with my Masters Degree in the creative track of Global Strategic Communications for Communications and Art Direction where I studied at FIU and Miami Ad School, Wynwood. After the first semester I realized that I loved every single one of my classes which had never happened to me before. This was the moment I realized that I had a second chance at the creative field. After a hard decision I took a leap of faith and quit my job to give my creative education everything I was. This decision was one of the most liberating decisions I had made for myself in a long time and it still feels amazing.
My path to the Fine Arts started with me taking my very first photography class. I was told both by students and teachers that I could drop the class and save some money because I had already acquired all the skills needed for that class because of my background in photography. I decided to take the class because I felt this was my second chance and I had never taken a photography class before so I took the class. For the last project we had to take nude photography which I wanted to do a little different than the rest. So instead of the regular white lights used by most of the students I used my own, which were red lights. After the shoot I went back home and started looking at the pictures. One picture in particular stopped me and it made a cloak of relief and joy fall over my soul. And this was the moment I realized I had found the thing I could be content with for the rest of my life. That thing was the fine arts, it was my red phase, it was my purpose in life.
The Image that made me realize that became my very first art piece called “Air lisa”
4. Why naked?
It’s the best way to do my job. Like I said…I don’t know how to model clothes. In order to breath life into Giano’s vision I have to accept myself as a breathing vision. I neither embrace the true essence of my beauty nor give it to the creative space when I am fully clothed.The rawness of our photoshoots is what keeps me coming back. I show up as myself, some days that is confident and radiant and other days that is cranky and stiff from a fibro flare up. Giano and his camera fully embrace who I am because I embrace who I am.
5. Describe your relationship with your art and your muse?
My relationship with my art makes me feel alive and it is something I cannot and will not let go till the day I die. I see it as a relationship which needs to be maintained and loved. I have spent countless amounts of hours in the studio and behind my computer mastering my craft and while I still have a long way to go I have been enjoying every single moment of this journey. My art has opened up doors for me to meet people that finally understand me, appreciate my creations and that simply have made me a better artist. One of these important people is my muse, my canvas, my partner, Lina. She has been there since day one and she has been the critical pillar in bring my visions to life. I believe that having a positive outcome, requires a positive connection and she has been that connection to my art. But the most important to me is that she has been the first person to have believed in my work for which I am very grateful for.
6. Fibo flare up?
Haha, glad you asked! I am very open about a health condition I am affected by known as Fibromyalgia. It is a poorly understood chronic pain autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorder means my body has decided to attack itself. Many doctors say that our brain is receiving pain signals that are not there but that the disorder is the nervous system that is to say, it is in the head of patient. I am 2.5 years into my diagnosis and every day I wake up and decide that I am going to use my mind and my spirit to help my body rebuild itself. Fibromyaligia is in my mind in the sense that I can control how my body feels, thinks and acts.
Some days this means that the poses I can do are limited because my body is too stiff or swollen to move that way. More importantly it challenges me as an artist. I practice more yoga to avoid those days, I take better care of myself so that I can continue to produce work that makes me feel good. It also challenges me to embrace vulnerability and listen to my body. The energy of my work is affected by this condition, I embrace that energy every shoot/event so that Giano and the audience truly get, me.
Message from the Artists
In closing we want to share a very important lesson we learned this year. No matter how much feedback you get, no matter how much money people will tell you you can make, embrace your own voice fully. Be stubborn. Take a chance on what you believe and believe in yourself because that is your greatest power. – Giano Currie, Fine Art Photographer/ Lina, Muse
Notes About the Work
The photographs pictured here range from 20×40-40×60 metal prints and have been featured in galleries in Miami such as Curators Voice Art Projects in Wynwood, Beefeater 24’s Red Gallery for Art Basel, D’Victoria Fine Art Gallery in Miami Beach and Blink Group Gallery in Downtown Miami. Most recently they have been featured in New York City at Art Expo New York and ICFF Show New York. In October 2018 they will be featured in Surinamo’s National Art Fair.