In conversation with Isabelle Kalyn

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Images by Isabelle Kalyn / @findingbelle. Writing by Ayra Matondang


The Bigger Picture (Jakarta) — Isabelle Kalyn is a 17-year-old aspiring and self-taught designer. She enjoys photography, making collages, filmmaking and creating animated content. Here, she will go through with us on a journey of her works and what goes on behind it; we conducted a short interview, which can be read below in its entirety.

The Bigger Picture: To all readers and viewers who are unfamiliar of your work, can you introduce what medium, ideas, concepts and aesthetics that you gravitate towards to?

Isabelle Kalyn: Hello! I’m Isabelle. I’m 17 and I am a self-taught designer. I specifically enjoy photography, making collages, filmmaking and creating animated content. Besides that, I also love travelling, visiting art galleries, listening to music, as well as trying out new things. I love bright colours and things that make reality more whimsical and magical than it is. I’m a Leo. I guess that means I’m always keeping myself busy and that I tend to completely neglect other responsibilities when I’m editing or creating. I’m a film enthusiast and a big fan of Bong Joon-ho, Wes Anderson, and Hayao Miyazaki. I enjoy being alone at times. For me, being alone is a state of genuineness where I can be the most honest with myself.

However, I’m slowly learning to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. For the last two years I’ve been focusing more on rotoscope animation and motion graphics and as of now, I’m working on a project for my very first art exhibition at school. 

TBP: When you take photographs, videos and make edits, how does the process generally unfold?

IK: Honestly, I think that most, if not all, of my best ideas come out from the most unexpected times, like when I’m eating breakfast or just laying in bed watching a movie, not thinking about anything in particular. Once an idea pops up in my head, I would get a pen and start sketching it on a piece of paper. This step also usually requires several revisions until I feel right about it. After finalising the visual concept, then I start thinking of the most appropriate and suitable technique to use in order to achieve the look that I’m going for. However, I do not always put a lot of time in this step as I think that my best works are the ones that do not have too much theory or logic behind it.

TBP: What gears (cameras, phones, etc.) and softwares do you regularly use; and what made you feel comfortable using these certain combinations for your work?

IK: For the past three years I’ve been using the Leica Q to take pictures and the Canon g7x to take videos. However, with the release of iPhone 11 Pro, I’ve been more into mobile photography and videography. I definitely do not think that I am an expert in working with cameras, especially when it comes to manually adjusting the camera’s settings (ISO, etc.). After having the file ready, I would import it to my laptop and edit it. For videos, I usually edit using Premiere Pro and After Effects and for color grading or making digital collages, I usually use Photoshop. When it comes to making digital illustrations however, I prefer to use Procreate and Adobe Illustrator instead of Photoshop. 

I try my best to utilise all the features offered in the softwares I use and for this reason, I try not to switch softwares once I feel comfortable using them. However, I am really looking forward to learn more about colour grading using Lightroom. 

TBP: Are there certain styles you want to experiment with and goals you want to achieve in the future?

IK: As I’m planning to major in motion design in the future, I’d like to learn more about character rigging and UI Animation. Besides that, personally, I’d also like to grow as a better photographer. I’m intrigued by the works of photographers like Sarah Bahbah and I think it’d be awesome if I can learn more about fashion photography. In addition, I’d also like to learn more about 3D Rendering, painting, and sculpting. 

TBP: What do you think is the purpose of you dedicating a lot of time and effort into your works; both personally and for you viewers?

IK: I aspire to inspire. My greatest wish is to be able to inspire others through the stories I share. I personally think that art, especially film, loses its significance if it fails to form human connections and relationships through the stories delivered. Personally though, I think that I dedicate a lot of time and effort in my works simply just because I enjoy it and creating, in general, is what excites me the most and makes me feel alive.

TBP: How do you want your work to impact others?

IK: My favourite kind of films are the ones that do more than just tell a story. I like films that evoke strong feelings and open your eyes, and that’s exactly the kind of content I aspire to create. I want to share a glimpse of my story and invite others to connect it to their own. However, despite the pressure to create content that many will find “cool” and “do well”, recently, I’ve also been trying to create things that actually matters to me personally and that I will appreciate years down the line. 

TBP: Lastly, what would you say for others forging paths similar to yours?

IK: Don't die, take breaks. I think that it’s important to know that everyone has their own pace and even the best ones go through creative droughts, too. Creative droughts eventually end and is followed by an overflow of new ideas, so you shouldn’t let it stop you. I know how frustrating creative droughts can be, but I think it’s time for people to see it in a positive light. It is a chance for you to get out, explore, and enjoy what life has to offer you. 

Thank you Isabelle for graciously giving us the opportunity to interview her. To see more of her works, follow her on Instagram @findingbelle.