petra collins says 'literally bye' to male validation at art basel
Speaking to the Toronto born photographer with the world at her feet on the release of her new book and exhibition opening at Art Basel Miami.
She's won the hearts of boys and girls all over the world, got a famous bush, is about to release two books, and has pretty much taken over the world, and all before she's even turned 22. Following the launch of her book and the opening of her latest exhibition, a collaboration with André Saraiva at Art Basel Miami last night, we caught up with everybody's biggest crush to ponder who takes the ultimate selfies and talk books, besties and birthday plans…
How did you come to collaborate with André Saraiva?I've known André for a bit now because I shot my mom and BFF Mike Bailey Gates for the recent issue of L'Officiel Hommes. Then he came to me and asked if I wanted to curate a show for Art Basel this year and I obviously said yes. It was super awesome because he just said I could do whatever I wanted.
What roles did you both take in putting the exhibition together?
I'm curating the show and he's is helping with everything else :)
Where did the title LITERALLY BYE come from?
All the pieces in the show are deeply personal - I came up with the name because recently I've been dealing with a lot of residual stress/anxiety/self-hate from a past bad relationship. I've been thinking a lot about the need that a lot of girls, including myself, have for male validation. We learn it from everywhere - ads, TV, music, movies, etc. and it manifests in our lives in different ways. Each piece takes that title and interprets it differently; Carlotta's paintings speak about a specific traumatic event from when she was a teenager; Julia and Mayan created two beautiful childlike dresses that read DON'T TOUCH; I created blankets that have hand written stories that I've collected from over 300 teen girls, speaking about their first encounters with the male gaze (cat calls, abuse, relationships), etc. Altogether the pieces just speak for this need to rid of that, to just say LITERALLY BYE.
What song would best soundtrack the exhibition?
Wet, Don't Wanna Be Your Girl.
Are the featured artists your besties?
What should we know about the Me and You girls?
They are super talented of course. I've actually known Julia since high school.
How did you and Alexandra Marzella meet?
What kind of performance will she be giving at the exhibition?
She's going to emulate.
Her work seems to revolve around the art of the selfie. Who do you think is the ultimate selfie-taker?
I think Aly. I just love how she captures every single thing about her life and doesn't filter ugly, sad, and bad things out.
Your book, Discharge, launches on Friday! Are we right in thinking it is more or less your Capricious exhibition in book form?
Yes it is! My capricious exhibition was kind of like a retrospective (though using the term lightly) of my work and this book is that plus more of this series I've been working on for a big chunk of my life.
Are any of the images included particularly nostalgic for you?
All of them. Its really emotional looking at the book because it is a document of my life. I use photography as an emotional outlet so each image is heavy with emotions - I can really pinpoint how I was feeling in each image.
When/where will the book be available?
The book will be available online for preorder here!
What else are you planning on seeing at Art Basel?
I really loved the Untitled Fair last year so I'm definitely hitting that up.
Where're your favourite places to hang in Miami?
The Standard is super awesome obvi, but I also just love driving around looking at all the architecture - can't beat those pastels.
You've achieved so much already in 21 years. Did you think you would/could?
Hmm I guess I never really think about this - art is what I've been doing since childhood so I can't see my life going any other way.
Anything you wanna pack in there quickly before you turn 22?
I have two books coming out this year so that's super exciting for me - I think thats enough!!
What do you have planned for your birthday?
All I want to do is lie in a giant bed with my sister, boyfriend, and best friends and eat a ton of food. That's like my favourite thing to do ever.
Text Francesca Dunn
Photography courtesy Petra Collins