Working and living in Machester, UK, multi-talented artist Sophie Barrott has had clients that include Kodak, Uber, Sony Experia, BFI, Deezer and Prettylittlething to name just a few. Working as a freelance filmmaker, art director and videographer for the past 5 years, and specializing in experimental and immersive video art, Sophie has a unique videographic style that can be viewed or experienced as memories and colorful hallucinations simultaneously. Due to her unique style and artistic mastery, Sophie was selected from five hand-picked talented Talenthouse filmmakers and animators to capture Moxy's unique style for a new Moxy New York City Downtown Hotel. The filmmakers and animators were asked to create video art for a large LED screen wall that would be on display inside the bustling Moxy lobby for guests 24/7. As the Selected Artist, Sophie received $5,000 with $2,000 allocated for production budget to produce her video. Inspired by "The Big Apple," Sophie flew to New York City for a week to shoot on-location and capture the vibes of the classic metropolis. In the end, Sophie produced two videos specifically meant to play during the day or night at the Moxy NYC Downtown: “The Day's Daze” and “Night Drive.” We caught up with the talented filmmaker to ask about her inspirations, direction and her Moxy art videos premiering today, November 28, at the Moxy New York City Downtown!
How did you get into production and art direction?
I think you never realise what you want to do, until you realise you’ve been doing it all along and then you see it’s actually a career path. My red room was always my sanctuary growing up, I filled it with trinkets and covered the walls in aspirations. I think I introduced my friends to mood-lighting, and I was always the person who’d dress a house party, with at least 3 different types of lamp in my boot at all times. Was that art direction? I was definitely on my way.
Half of the people I speak to on a real level about this kind of thing these-days have a real imposter-syndrome. They feel like they snuck in the back door of their careers and hope no one’s noticed. It’s hard to realise how far you’ve come or take stock of the highs when you are constantly pushing forward. I try and take stock every Sunday, or Monday morning and see where I’ve come the past week, and how I can move forwards.
I guess it came from a lot of learning on the job, seeing something, believing I could achieve it, and then going out with a good mind-set, a plan of action with like-minded friends and co-pilots and achieving it. People are the most important – in the early days of learning and failing I roped in a few willing friends who’d traipse around the city with wish lists and wide eyes, rummaging through charity shops and car boot sales with me. I can’t say I don’t still have lamps in my boot – but These days I’ve established a team, with a studio and a collection of some of the strangest ephemera you’ve ever seen. We’re weirdos, and we love weird objects, and transforming them – and I’m glad I’ve found my people.
You have such a unique style of video - where do you find your inspiration?
Thank you! My style has always come from experimentation- I found an awkward clumsiness to the way DSLRS worked back in uni, and never liked the image quality. I’d shot something, and then I’d re-film it in different formats and I’d blur it, re-intensify the colours and saturation until it became something else entirely.
I guess it started through my art school days where my drawing tutor also taught me video. He was one of the most inspiring, and eccentric people I’ve ever met- he deconstructed video art into something I’d never seen it as before.
He lived in a remote cabin in the hills of san diego, he didn’t even have a tv. He taught me technical side of video from such a removed angle, that no real rules applied. He spoke in riddles and metaphors, and we shot on old VHS camcorders. He inspired me to enjoy line and form over narrative – the simplicity of two colours in motion or synchronicity combining to convey a mood.
People have inspired me along the way, even my college Film tutor, who’d always a socially awkward 16 year old who hated lunch breaks stay behind to watch marathons of Gus Van Sant films – he showed me a way of film I’d never experienced. He really introduced me to art house, and slow-core and just about every good film I started to watch, he recommended to me.
How did it feel to get be invited to participate in a Moxy New York City Black Book project?
It was such a wonderful surprise, an absolute career highlight to be honest. Such an inspiring collaborative process with everyone involved – thank you for having me!
How did it feel to be selected to produce your proposed video?
It felt great, to be able to produce something with a longevity to it, a physical presence in a space!
You went over to New York City to capture some of your footage for this project - how was your time over the other side of the pond?
I’d never been to New York before, but myself and my co-producer Eva, met up with so many like-minded creatives on the project, musicians, artists and now good friends. We worked together in a week long daze of shooting fun. You know you’re on the right path when your working days are filled with laughter and enjoyment.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
There’s a few things in the pipeline with a return to New York to produce some music videos for some artists I worked with over this project – they really enjoyed our style of working and would love to continue to collaborate.
I’m sure lots of people want to get into the videography/film field - How would you advise fellow creatives get experience in the industry?
I’ve never felt like there was any one path in my field. I came from an art/design background which definitely gives me a completely different perspective to those pursuing a film related degree. I just agreed to just about any opportunity that came my way when I was just starting out – music videos on shoestring budgets being shot in the attic of a pub down the road from me.
Making contacts is probably the most important thing- but the right ones. I started out working in a horror film production company when I was 18 – I’d try my hand at anything and they always pushed me to find my niche. I’d work 3 days a week whilst at uni.