We asked Eloisa to tell us how she creates the striking images in the calendar and how she tackles any new creative project. Read on for lots of insights into creativity, entrepreneurship, and design—as well as an essential Buenos Aires visitors guide!
Can you share a bit of your design process for the 2019 Elo Calendar?
The cover of the calendar is based on a design I did for the start of 2018, using some of the shapes I usually work with. I think that might have caught Angie’s attention and probably that’s why she asked me to collaborate on the calendar. The rest of the images are a selection of some of the photos I’ve been posting these past years, with just minimal adjustments to fit the calendar format. While they were created for a different purpose, I think they lent themselves to this very well!
How do you capture these images? Are they all photos, or are other processes involved?
Yes, they are all photos. Most of the process is before the picture. First, evaluating possible ideas, doing some drawings and mock-ups. Then preparing the materials: gathering the elements such as wood blocks, paper for the backgrounds, and other small item likes plants, washers or rubber bands. Then I paint them, and finally wait for a nice sunny day to do the shooting. After that, it’s just selecting my favorites and doing a bit of retouching.
That’s incredible. What initially drew you to working with light and shadow?
I used to take a lot of pictures while traveling to places like LA or Miami, and I always loved the sun-drenched pictures I got there. And at the studio, I have these huge windows that let in a lot of sunlight in the afternoon. So at one point, I thought, why not using this natural light to do something similar to my travel photos. I once I started doing it I couldn’t go back—I just love the way everything looks when lit by the sun: so crisp and detailed, the contrast and warmness, and the shadows so dark and well-defined. I tried to reproduce it with artificial light to be able to take pictures when it’s cloudy, but it wasn’t the same at all. Not the result nor the experience, so I’m just sticking to doing it when it’s sunny.
You run a branding studio which provides a conceptual strategy, creative direction, animation, sound design, and much more. What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, it varies a lot depending on what stage of the process we are. In the beginning, especially if it’s a pitch, it’s pure adrenaline. I love this part of the project; it’s super exciting. Then things settle a little bit: it’s important to be really focused and organized, and to be able to keep a steady pace for 2, 3, or 6 months, depending on the project. And then at the delivery stage, things get a little crazy again.
Any favorite daily rituals?
I can’t start the day without coffee! (Or “café con leche,” as we drink here in Argentina.)
Where do you look for inspiration when you begin working on a new project, either of your own or for a brand?
There are always several sources of inspiration: a broad collection of references, like an archive that we are always adding to. A narrower search and investigation we always do specifically for each project. The results of initial experimentation and trial and error are usually very productive and something we always keep going back to as the project progresses. And also past projects, previous experiences—all of the information and visual material that we have in our heads.
What’s something you’ve learned since opening your studio in 2004? What’s something you’re still trying to figure out?
Professionally, I think the most important lesson I learned is to listen. Listen carefully. I think the most important part at the beginning of each project is to pay attention, to be receptive. I found out that more often than not, the answer to the problem is already in the question. On a personal level, what I appreciate the most about opening my studio is that it’s made me better, stronger, happier, and freer than I could have ever been. It’s been an amazing experience. And there are always new things to learn, but right now, probably what I’m trying to figure out is what’s next, what’s the next step. What can I do to better this?
What are you most likely doing when you’re not creating?
I love cooking! It’s something I always did but lately I’ve been finding it increasingly rewarding. It’s a mix of something relaxing with something creative as well. I find it quite similar to painting or designing in a way. I got so used to it that now it is hard for me to eat out!
If we’re visiting Buenos Aires, what should we check out?
These are some of my favorite places (to shop, eat or drink), grouped by neighborhood:
Casa Cavia: Great food in an amazingly renovated old building with a beautiful patio.
Sticotti: Love their furniture and objects! Lots of pieces from them at home.
Blue Sheep: Love their wool sweaters, plus they are located in a gorgeous building worth the visit by itself.
Roux: One of the best restaurants in town, if not the best.
Mutate: Unique objects and restored mid-century furniture. They love what they do and it shows!
These 3 are conveniently packed together in a couple blocks on Arroyo street!
Farinelli: Their location in Arroyo is one of my favorites for a slow Saturday start. Everything they have is delicious, and it makes you want to stay for hours.
Brasero Atlantico: If you come to Buenos Aires, you “must” eat meat, and this is one of my favorite places to do it.
Floreria Atlantico: Right next door, a speakeasy hidden under a florist shop.
Thank you, Elo!