Sayna Fardaraghi (@ocean.grrrl) makes you romanticize the little things in life. The 22-year-old self-taught artist explores “the themes of nostalgia, ephemera and little trinkets of daily life that is often not looked upon” in her films. Sayna is fresh in the film industry, yet has been awarded for her beautifully created films and perspective. She works on a mix of experimental and fashion-based short films, as well as music videos and anything of the visual kind.
“Hi, Sayna and thank you for accepting our invitation! You have a very unique touch to your work, by that I mean it’s easily distinguishable as “Sayna’s films”. Where does that come from? What are your inspirations?”
That’s so sweet thank you! I think it’s definitely evolved throughout time as I have done so much experimenting on my camera and my phone, pinpointing what I like most as I evolve. I think my most major inspirations definitely come from fashion films and magazines, there’s an exciting almost experimental element to all of the work I encounter there, it’s this perfect balance of authentic and natural beauty paired with exciting stylisation and a fresh perspective… Exactly the sort of thing I try to emulate in my own work.
“Do you think that along with fashion, the environment you live in affects your art and inspirations too?”
Sort of, yes. I think I’m a very observant person, so whatever is changing around me I’ll definitely take notice of it. Usually if whatever I take notice of is something I find very interesting and common felt, I’ll try to develop it into some sort of art piece which naturally turns into a conversational topic. A good example of that would probably be my first short “L’observateur”. The project completely was inspired by my everyday travels to university and slowly taking notice of the passengers I would see every day taking the same trip as me. Though no names were exchanged we basically knew each other’s routines and faces. It taught everyone a lesson and reminder in the beauty of people watching, and how we all have our own little worlds and stories – sort of like how they say loads of dimensions exist around us but we’re unable to fully perceive them.
“You seem to be really interested in showing the daily reality can present beauty too. In fact, you describe your work as ‘themes of nostalgia, ephemera, and trinkets of everyday lives that are often not looked upon’, what interests you the most about them?”
What I love the most about those things is that they are all elements that connect us all together, there’s a universality to their experience. I think right now it can be quite easy to feel disconnected from the rest of the world, but when you take a second glance on the little things you start to notice how much we all have in common and how easily a room full of strangers can feel connected based on the simplest of memories and experiences. In my work I like to make an audience feel seen and to become a community more than anything, so exploring these sorts of topics is very fulfilling.
“Sounds amazing. So, how did the film journey start for you?”
It all started when I took up a creative media class in college, I was on track to get into fine art and graphic design but wanted to explore other mediums of art – and that’s how I found film and absolutely fell in love with it. I started off making little montages and Super 8 videos of my summer with my friends. It was something I did just for me and my memories, but oddly enough lots of people online fell in love with them and the nature of my work. It was crazy because I had never edited or touched a video camera before that, yet here I am 4 years later pursuing a career in the field! So, a little while later I made my first proper short film ‘L’Observateur’ and it all slowly blossomed from there. I also specifically remember watching ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ and having a lightbulb moment, then seeing ‘La La Land’ and thinking “Yeah…. This is what I want to do”. I definitely still have a long way to go and a lot to learn in the field, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
“So, can we say that the leap of faith to pursue in film was a turning point happened around that time?”
Halfway through 2019 was a major turning point for me, that was when I decided to fully make “the jump” into film as prior to that I was studying a backup course, being too afraid to go into film. After a lot of reflecting and thinking I decided that I didn’t want to live a life of ‘what if’s’ and changed courses and moved to the big city! I don’t regret any second of it, it has fully changed my life and improved my way of working completely. It’s really important to listen to your gut and just do what makes you happy, plan ahead of the game and just do it!
“That’s great advice. Which films, books and/or artists inspire you the most?”
There are so so so many… I suppose in terms of artists I adore Nadia Lee Cohen, Adinah Dancyger, Tyler Mitchell and Bardia Zeinali. Films -though they are constantly changing- would be: ‘Nimic’, ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘The Last Black Man In San Francisco’, and ‘When I Get Home’.
“Please talk us through your creative process.”
A lot of researching, I look for lots of visual stimulants that spark an idea in me. I’m extremely visual based due to my fine art background so that’s how I come up with most of my ideas – once I have a tangible concept down, I begin to lace little bits of writing to work alongside it and make a ‘whole’ piece. It’s sort of a strange way of working as most people I know write the story first, but I’m just not that good at writing to be able to do that!
“Can you tell us about upcoming projects you’re working on? I’m really excited to see more from you.”
I’m currently working on a micro-film called ‘Limerence’, it’s based on the theme of unsent love letters and should be super emotional I hope! I’m also developing a script for an experimental, coming-of-age horror to be shot in the summer which is super exciting. I’ve never delved into that genre before but it should be interesting, given the nature of my aesthetics.
“They both sound very intriguing, I can’t wait… What are you most looking forward to right now? Both in terms of your own life and your art.”
Honestly, being able to film again once this pandemic is over and less crazy! I also really want to rent a little mini van with my friends and go on a much deserved road trip, whenever that will be. On the film side… I suppose I really can’t wait for the day I finally shoot on ARRI 16mm film.
“I hope those days are very soon Sayna. Finally, can you give ten songs for our readers, that you listen to while working or gathering inspiration?”
Check out the playlist I curated for Artleove Music on Spotify!
You can check out more of her work from her website.