Each month we invite an artist to curate the Behance social feed for one week. Our first Guest Curator of 2021 is photographer and Adobe Creative Resident Christina Poku. Here, she delves into her creative process and the inspiration behind her moodboard.
Chistina Poku recalls discovering her chosen medium in high school: “I remember having a little compact camera that came with a teeny 6x4 printer, and being blown away by the colors and details in the photos of plants I took on a trip to Kew Gardens.” From there, her interest and skills grew, and she went on to pursue a degree in Fine Art. Today, the London-based photographer creates powerful images and video art that fuse reality with abstract motifs.
Christina is also one of two Adobe Creative Residents this year, and over the course of her residency, she has been exploring new projects, techniques, and subjects.
Her ongoing series, Observations, unpacks the idea of technology as abundance. “Technology shapes our current world and brings about a change in access to information, barriers to entry, and our everyday lives. [It] creates growth.” The project is an exercise in recognizing and honoring overlooked moments, thoughts, and objects: “This project is a chance for me to present a reminder of the magic in the everyday.”
For Christina, inspiration comes from a wide range of sources, from current events to things she notices when she’s out for a walk. “I enjoy being able to make work that reflects on some part of reality, but I’m not capturing it in the moment. My work is staged and often a visualization of the feelings or thoughts around a moment or subject.”
She created the project In My Skin in response to the ongoing issues of racism faced by the Black community. “My work and creative practice have always been a significant part of processing the world around me. Navigating racism is part of daily life experience, issues around racism affect me daily and as a creative. Shooting the series was a different way to process my experiences, during which I had conversations with my community across the globe on how racism has affected our lives differently. International contexts of racism are different, however, the moment opened up a shared experience.”
Prints of one of Christina’s images, The Right to Blossom, was sold as part of the Anti Racism Photography Fundraiser (which raised a total of £91,800 over three weeks to support the Black community through education reform, mental health awareness, and accessibility to LGBTQ+ services and safe spaces).
“Being able to create the series and contribute my work to the fundraiser helped to channel a lot of my emotions and energy into positive outcomes. Sharing my work with my community and the fundraiser’s success helped deliver specific and actual support that was really important to me.”
Alongside her degree in Fine Art, Christina also worked in set design — something she still considers an essential element of her image-making practice to this day. Planning for a shoot involves treatments, moodboards, and hand-drawn sketches to explore ideas and themes. “Thinking about what colors and objects bring a concept to life is a key part of the planning phase for me. I like to do test shoots if there’s time to explore different lighting techniques and setups.”
All that preparation helps Christina focus on the day of the shoot and execute her vision: “Shoot days can be intense; it’s the moment when all of your planning and ideas are brought to life — it’s such a rewarding moment when you get to see it all come together.”
When curating her moodboard for the takeover this week, Christina focused on finding projects that excited her and reminded her of the unique qualities of digital art. “I’m really interested in the different ways art can be created, displayed, and shared,” she says.
“I love the hypnotic use of color and pattern that draws you in,” she says of Jordan Coelho’s interactive augmented reality project. “And when combined with the interactive nature of AR through Adobe Aero, it’s a brilliant combination.”
Another project that caught Christina’s eyes is a series of pastel renders by Reisinger Studio and Carlos Neda. “It’s imaginative, surreal and has a peaceful feel to it. I really enjoyed the use of muted tones too. The work was created in response to quarantine and is a fantastic example of creativity being used to navigate and process challenging times.”
Impeccable set design is something Christina also appreciates in the work of fellow photographers. “This project is an excellent example of well-executed simplicity,” says Christina of the series of still life images by Justin Bettman. “I adore the matchy-matchy element of this series. It’s nostalgic, evocative, and rich.”
In addition to finding inspiration, Christina recently started using Behance to livestream her creative process, and to watch the streams of former Creative Residents like Aundre Larrow and Anna Daviscourt. “You can always learn new techniques, viewpoints and ways of thinking from listening to other creatives.”