She's ri-Freshing: Raven and Marissa, The Creative Minds Behind ARTM
First tell us a bit about yourselves.
Raven: I’m just your average 23-year old native New Yorker documenting the process of figuring out life.
Marissa: I'm a 23-year-old black girl from Westchester, NY navigating my way through media, film, and music.
What prompted the creation of "A Rave to Mars"?
Raven: Marissa came over to my house and I mentioned wanting to create a YouTube page, and as we were brain storming Marissa was like, “what if we interviewed musicians?” and it kind of blossomed from there. Originally “A Rave to Mars” was a sub-brand under “Underground Founders,” but as we grew into ourselves creatively and personally, we felt that ARTM spoke more to who we are as people.
Marissa: ARTM formally "A Rave To Mars" stems from our college interviewing video series that focused on underground artists. Although we are no longer interested in focusing on that medium, the era of A Rave to Mars represents the grind. We hit the pavement hard to contact, research, record, host, and edit interviews with underground artists with help from our amazing team (s/o Julius, Siyaka, Brandon). As the years went on we both desired to get into film. As we’ve embarked on this new journey it only felt right to pay homage to our beginnings with ARTM.
Where do you ladies find your inspiration? Has your Caribbean heritage influenced your work?
Raven: Musicians are honestly my biggest inspiration. You can hear a sound, and it instantly sets a mood or reminds you of a certain feeling. That’s kind of what I want to do with my work; I’d like to approach it the same way musicians approach music. Music also transcends into videos and fashion, which are the three things I focus on. Other than that, I follow really awesome people on Instagram, I have great analytical conversations about life with friends, I watch a lot of YouTube videos, and I watch a lot of older films. As a Trinidadian-Nigerian American, I don’t directly intertwine my heritage in my work. However, I would love to work on a music video for an Afro-beats artist one day, that would be pretty cool!
Marissa: Inspiration comes from everywhere. From music, shows, movies, pictures, landscapes, personal experience, dialogue, dreams, etc. More than anything, the dialogue that occurs after experiencing a flash of inspiration is what begins the formation of the actual idea.
I have not produced any content that specifically dives into my Caribbean heritage, but it inevitably influences my work because it is a part of my lens.
Which form of visual art do you prefer? What is your thought process when creating a new piece?
Raven: I practice primarily in video, but I do equally love photography. I feel like we rarely do a videoshoot without a photoshoot. There’s something beautiful that the combination of photo and video pushes forth, that the mediums don’t do on their own. I am also getting a certificate in Graphic Design at Parsons, so I would love to further my exploration to see where I can fit graphics into video and photo.
When creating a new piece, I tend to think visually rather than story first. I think we both kind of do that. We usually get wrapped up in what we want it to look like and then take a step back and try to understand the purpose of the piece and then fine tune the visuals afterwards.
Marissa: Video is my favorite to view, but photography is my favorite to produce. All of our projects have a video AND photo component to them. When creating a new piece we spend a lot of time just discussing. The conversation or idea we usually start with might completely change through an hour + of free flowing conversation. Our chemistry in terms of dialogue is the source of our creations. This process translates to my personal work as well.
Art is one of the best forms of self expression. What does your work say about you?
Raven: That’s a hard question. I don’t really know what my work says about me as I’m still trying to figure out my purpose/message/focus as a “creative". I’ll leave that up for interpretation for now.
Marissa: A friend once said that when we (Raven and Marissa) come together, we are one personality. There is Marissa, there is Raven, and then there is ARTM. ARTM has its own unique personality and I wouldn’t know how to put that personality into words.
Personally, I’m not exactly sure what my work says about me…I just hope my work makes people think AND/OR feel inspired.
Are there any future projects that we should look out for?
Raven: I just launched a book club called Perspective Reads with my friend Chelsea, so make sure to follow us. I am working on a short film series on identity and space, hopefully part one will be out real soon! In terms of ARTM, we are in the beginning stages of a new fashion related project, so stay tuned for that!
Marissa: I’m working on a few things musically that might surprise people. There will be future projects for ARTM, we are currently focusing on pushing Red Flower, but we’re in the beginning stages of a new project.
ri-Fresh is huge on self care. What are some of your favorite self care practices?
Raven: I’ve recently started getting into quiet times in the mornings. I light a candle and take 10-15 minutes to myself. I also try to read a devotional and maybe get in a small exercise, even though I’m not yet fully committed to the exercise portion. This routine has really allowed me to set my days with intention. I try to say 3 things I am thankful for each day, tell myself that I love myself, and thank God for the day.
Marissa: Postgrad is no joke! You may experience a lot of ups and downs so self care is vital! I enjoy writing, running, facials, staying in or spending time with family, and sleeping when I need to recharge.