Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get your start in photography?

I grew up in Harlem, New York and I always felt like I didn’t fit in with the lifestyle of my peers, and I wanted out. I was tired of reliving the same routine over and over, with no visible progression. I wanted to live an adventurous life that was more in line with what made me feel comfortable in this world. When I took up photography in High School I realized that this could be the escape I was seeking. I trusted my gut. I started going out just to photograph, I would take pictures of everything and anything, but after a few years I became interested in documenting the people with whom I interacted and spent most of my time with. I don’t like photographing just anyone; I am interested in individuals that prefer alternative lifestyles, ones where mutual respect is at the core – people who are true to themselves. Characters of this world that live by their own rules and have a unique way of viewing life, one which is encompassed by love, chaos, compassion and the desire for some new height of excitement. My friends.



You do a lot of traveling. In your travels what has been one of your favorite places to capture?

Motel 666. This is an imaginary, self made motel that my friend and I “built” in the desert between California and Arizona. We created Motel 666 in 2016 when we were driving around and discovered an abandoned house off the side of the road. On first sight, this place was a dump, a place where there has been no life in over 50 years and everything was abandoned and decrepit, taken over by nature. To us, we saw a playground, where anything goes. We were constantly ‘remodeling’ with junk that we found and brought in from outside. Motel 666 had most of the amenities of a home, living room, ‘toilet’, sleeping quarters and even a spot to cook. It had the basics, but by no means was this a place anyone, even us, would want to spend more than two days in. The weather is unbearably hot and there is no water anywhere near, but it is a place where our imaginations went wild and we felt truly free from all social constructs.


What is it about documentary photography that attracted you?

Photography is essentially capturing a frame of our reality in a certain moment in time, weather it be fashion, photojournalism, fine arts, they’re all capturing a certain perspective of life. The difference with documentary photography: I am not in control of a single thing. I am documenting reality as it unfolds before me, photographing real people doing real things. I find more value in moments of true experience than fabricating something with a photo.



What is your creative process like?

My creative process is a difficult one to explain because I don’t really have one, or at least I haven’t been able to define it yet. I like to build trust with the individuals I choose to photograph. This is a crucial step in making photos that reflects true comfort-ability, capturing a story behind the individuals and the space in which we see them. Before shooting I tend to look around the space, see how the light and the environment interact with everything else, and then I wait for actions that I’m drawn to and find interesting in the moment. Those splits seconds between something and nothing. Those are the moments I want to capture.


Do you have a favorite photo that has an interesting story behind it and behind the subject?

This photo was taken around July or August 2014. An hour before I took this photograph I almost drowned twice in ten minutes. My friends and I where in Oregon and went for a swim in a river, one which had a cliff you could jump from. I’ll admit I was a bit too drunk and did not think much of my own swimming skills, and jumped in. It was fine until my arms felt heavy; I started to panic and began to sink. That’s when my best friend, Thibault, came to my rescue and brought me to the other side. I tried to regain my breath and swim back and once again, but the trauma from the first encounter fucked with my mind, and I started to go down again. I called for Thibault and he jumped in immediately, dragging me out. It was one of the worst times of my life. In this photograph my friend Elizabeth is on the left of the frame coming out of the water calmly and Thibualt on the right, hitting the water and causing it to splash up and express a sense of urgency. Which is what I felt at the moment, that relief of being out but also seeing how my friend jumped in to save my life without a second thought.




What can we expect to see from you in the future?

In October I will be traveling to Europe, visiting Berlin, Prague, Poland, Italy, Spain, France, England and Scotland all in a months time to finish photographing the last few photos for a photography book I have been working on for the last five years. Wish me luck.










Tell us a little bit about your background, how did you get your start in the art world?

In the art world I started professionally in 2010 when I lived in London.

What is your creative process like?

Every day I am documenting about aesthetic movements that I like that are inspiring me here and there. The most difficult thing is to find the idea. Once you have the idea the next step in the process is sketching,  then trying different materials and color combinations; I make collages to get an idea of how it will be exposed in a real space. Once I convince myself it all works then I begin the final piece.


What inspired your “faceless” series?

This collection is a tribute to all my idols, characters that have somehow marked me throughout my life.

As a child you wanted to be a fashion designer. Is this something we expect to see from you soon?

If all goes well I would like to draw a line of clothes this year, but I am very thorough with all my projects and I need to have everything under control to carry it out.

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I read that Picasso is one of your biggest influences. What is your favorite piece by him?

‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ is my favorite piece by Picasso, I remember seeing it for the first time in the movie ‘Titanic’ when I was eight years old and was fascinated by the colors of the painting. A few months ago I was lucky to see it at the MoMa Museum and of course it is a piece that provokes many things in me, I feel Stendhal’s syndrome when I see it. Although probably what arouses the most feelings in me is the photographic process of the creation of Guernica.


What is inspiring you right now? What are you currently working on?

I am currently sucking on everything that at some point in my life inspired me to create a book that I am writing and drawing on my relationship with art.

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Coco Dávez is not your real name, what inspired this moniker?

My real name is Valeria Palmeiro, ‘Coco’ came up with a Sesame Street character that made me very funny and ‘Dávez’ is the total invention of a surname.


What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I hope that the Dávez universe will grow and not be left alone in the canvases, I would like this signature to become a company.

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Tell us a little bit about your background, how did you get your start in the art world?

Well, I was born at my father’s painting studio. He is also an artist so since my very first day in this world I was surrounded by brushes, canvas, colors, pencils… So this was the natural path for me. I always knew I would become someone whose life is art. It’s  been easy in that sense, I never had any doubts or a plan B.





I read that you are from Spain; how does your heritage translate into your work?

I’m not sure if my work is influenced by my country. I never use Spain and its tradition as a specific part of my inspiration. Or at least no more than other countries. I use Italian, American, African or Asian heritages at the same level as the Spanish one.





Your work consists of a lot of very colorful portraits. How do you pick your subjects?

I always have dozens of stories in my mind that I want to tell through my work, most of them are about pretty much the same thing: the non-standard people, the non-regular people, minorities (usually not well treated minorities). I’ve been living with gypsies for 10 years and have seen that B side of society,  but there are also wonderful things that happen, there is also magic there, even brighter than the usual one. I like to speak about that magic from the B side of the society.




What is your creative process like?

I always create the story first in my mind, and the rest of the process is pretty much improvisation. I let my hands choose the composition and my eyes and heart choose the colors… There is not too much to explain, I just create the story in my mind and the rest happens naturally 🙂




I read that you listen to a lot of hip-hop while painting. What is on your playlist right now?

Desiigner, Future, Kanye, Lil Yachty…




On your Instagram I’ve seen a couple of really cool clothing pieces with your work on them. Is clothing/print design something that you thought you would ever be a part of?

I love fashion, it’s fun and it’s a great kind of art. I’m working on my own clothing brand, I hope I can get some fun from the fashion world someday.




What is inspiring you right now? What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a sort of illustrated encyclopedia about outsiders of our world, human minorities, cities, countries, animals, plants, artists… A book about the B side of life.




What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’m not sure. If I keep doing things, I will do bigger and bigger things. I want to paint a mountain and fill every corner of the world with color 🙂




How would you describe your work? 
Grape flavored popsicle dipped in the ocean and placed on a rock to melt.
So you only work digital? Why? 
It has less restrictions and I can put it in the world instantaneously.
How did you get your start in the art world?
I used to cold email companies like crazy and eventually some started to take notice. I got a couple small jobs which led to bigger jobs. While I was waiting for anyone to respond to me I would constantly make new work to keep myself experimenting.
What is a piece that you have done that you are really proud of? 
I love all of my work equally.
I read that you’re a surfer as well, does this translate into your art? If yes, how? 
Absolutely. I think the spontaneity of surfing has allowed me to work more instinctively. One of the hardest things to do is start a piece but I think surfing helps that.
Tell us about a typical day in your life –
Wake up and feed the baby, dog, and myself. Then I will check the surf and respond to emails. If the waves are good I will go surf. I will eat again and work on any projects that I have or make personal work. The rest of the day will be sprinkled with tending to the dog and baby and responding to emails.
What are you inspired by?
Any type of art or music that evokes strong emotions.
I read somewhere that you always listen to music while working. What’s on your playlist right now?
Electric Wizard, Windhand, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Working on any new books? What can we expect to see from you in the future? 
I have a couple awesome clothing collaborations coming up as well as putting together my 10th part of my 440 page book series.

Interview – Sarah Ann Loreth


How did you get into photography?

I wish I had a really interesting story to tell, like I picked up my first camera and the stars aligned and it was meant to be. But my story isn’t that interesting. I had gotten a camera for Christmas one year and never really thought to use it beyond a few macro shots of slugs, spices, and flowers. I had been working in an operating room for a few years by then and a lot of my time was spent at work. A relationship I had ended and I needed a bit of a distraction so I bought myself a tripod and remote and started doing really shy self portraits in my kitchen against the blank white wall. I was always very shy but self portraiture became a way to channel my emotions through art. I found that by playing different characters I was learning more about myself. Eventually I started posting my work to social media and I got such a good response I just keep going and kept creating.


What is your creative process like?

I keep notebooks on me at all times that I use to write down inspiration and photo ideas for future use. I read a lot of poetry and philosophy which keeps my mind open and active to all possibilities. Then I just wait for the best locations to execute the ideas! I try to get as descriptive as possible in my notebooks and even draw out the concepts for ease of shooting. It really cuts down on my shooting time. Then it’s just a matter of bringing those photos into Photoshop.

You seem to experiment a lot in your photos with different themes and styles of photo and editing. Is there anything that you are looking forward to experimenting with? Any favorite new experiences in photo?

I’m always trying to experiment with color. Trying to portray emotions and stories best through brilliant pops of color. I’ve been working a lot lately in a wider crop to give the stories I create a more cinematic feel, like stills from a movie. I’m excited to play around more with that and let my style grow and develop, one picture at a time. I’ve had the opportunity to travel the last four months visiting so many iconic parks and beautiful locations and I’ve found a new appreciation in landscapes and the technique behind them.


Who are some of your favorite photographers and artists?

I’ve traveled extensively with Joel Robison and Shane Black who are both incredible photographers. We’ve spent the last two summers together traveling around North America hosting workshops along the way. We call ourselves The Wild Ones Tour and together we have traveled over 28,000 miles and hosted more than twenty workshops. I love the feel of Elizabeth Gadd‘s photos which always leave me with a wanderlust. I love the stories and emotion in Sally Mann and Gregory Crewdson and I find a lot of inspiration in them.

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How would you describe your style of photography?

I would describe my photography as fine art or conceptual portraiture. I love to tell a story through a photo with very strong emotion to draw the viewer in. I try to give my photos a bit of reality to them often in a wider more cinematic crop that tells a strong story.

Which photo that you have taken is your favorite? Why?

Any photo that looks exactly like how I had imagined is my favorite. You know when things just turn out the way you had planned? It’s a satisfying feeling. There is one in particular where I had lugged my camera to the top of some sand dunes in Idaho last summer. It was so hot. And the dunes were steep and hard to climb. I snapped a few self portraits and the wind picked up and blew my dress and hair and everything turned out wonderfully.


Where do you find inspiration?

Although I am a visual artist, most of my inspiration comes from writing and philosophy. If I’m really stuck for ideas I’ll open one of my favorite books of poetry, put my finger on one of the lines and try to create a story to visually translate that idea. I find inspiration in phrases and interesting words strung together. I find inspiration in being attentive to song lyrics.

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You do a lot of portraits. What do you look for in your subjects?

Almost all of my photos are of myself, my friends, and fellow photographers. I love having other photographers pose for me. They are always so aware of their angles, how to pose, and are always so willing to do whatever it takes to get the shot. I’ve always been very shy so I tend to choose people I trust and whose stories I know.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I hope to continue co-hosting the annual Wild Ones Workshop Tour to continue to build a brilliant community of photographers. I hope to continue to travel. I hope to continue to allow my style to grow. I hope to move to the west coast and find gallery representation. I hope to continue to live my photography dreams.

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All images via. Sarah Ann Loreth

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