Creative collaboration is what led to the birth of Vanessa3007 – an eternal African mermaid, flourishing in the glow of Ghanaian jollof and highly advanced technology of the year 2033.
The character was created by musician Deborah Vanessa ,UK-based Photographer Philipp Raheem and Stylist Mariam Abass.
Creative collaboration is arguably one of the most important aspects of creative expression. In our part of the world, not only is it quite difficult to enter into a successful creative collaboration, it’s also difficult to find people who have similar ideas. But Deborah Vanessa, an artist, fashion designer and public figure from Ghana, has managed to master the art of creative collaboration. Her works have spanned beyond working with fellow musicians and photographers to even working with other fashion designers. Where one would see an adversary, Deborah Vanessa sees an opportunity to learn more especially with regards to how differently or similarly people work; resources, perspective, execution, and distribution of the project.
“It’s very easy for me to collaborate on creative executions because I love experimenting and taking risks,” said the artist, “So even though I have a visual idea of what I want to achieve, I’m not afraid of the stylist or photographer surprising me. This is also because I’m careful whom I enter into collaborations with especially because of my creative nature; the right vibes are necessary.”
Deborah Vanessa kicked off 2018 with an afro-futuristic themed photoshoot with UK-based Nigerian Photographer Philipp Raheem, and also a Nigerian stylist, Mariam Abass, also based in the UK.
Philipp Raheem is a travel and lifestyle photographer with a key focus on fashion and portraiture, working internationally with designers and brands from London, New York and Nigeria. He is popular for his contemporary approach which has seen him in collaborations with Kanye West for YEEZY Season 1, Jeremy Scott and Samuel Ross, amongst other renowned artists and designers within the fashion industry. Philipp has worked to provide editorial concepts for magazines including IDOL Magazine, Hunger Magazine, ID and Fashionista, with his work featured in The Telegraph, Buzzfeed, Refinery 29. Philipp is also the personal photographer for Victoria’s Secret Model, Leomie Anderson, providing content for her female empowerment brand LAPP, which has been well received from platforms BuzzFeed, Telegraph, WhoWhatWear and more.
“I decided to work with Mariam, because I was attracted to her personal style. I noticed her as she was styling Mr. Eazi when he started doing projects in London and I decided to follow her on social media. Her personal style is a type of style I’ve always been drawn to but never got the chance to style up myself that way.” Deborah revealed, “Philip was one of the two recommendations from Mariam. I instantly liked his works; how he captured personalities and his grading. His work is very appealing to the eye.”
For Mariam, the key to a successful collaboration is communication. The ability to communicate ideas between the artiste, stylist , photographer and even hair and make up artists, is what brings an idea to life.
“It’s never just one man’s job,” Mariam says, “All creatives involved have to be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas and communicate with the rest of the team to make sure that a project is executed beautifully.”
The stylist further revealed, “Working with Debbie was actually straightforward. She wanted something strong and metallic, so I created a mood board and looked for pieces, including the silver dress from designer Viludau. She loved it! The key thing is listening to your clients needs and then bringing the ideas to life with your own touch.”
Vanessa3007, the character for the photoshoot, was birthed in London in September 2017, during Deborah Vanessa’s musical trip there in the fall.
Vanessa3007’s character was created from Deborah Vanessa’s love for her hair, sci-fi admiration and her wish to be immortal.
It’s the year 2033 and Sister Deborah’s consciousness has been transferred to Vanessa3007, a clone formed from her DNA to withstand huge abrupt changes in temperatures planet earth is now susceptible to.
Vanessa3007 wears silver when the sun is brightest to deflect the harsh sun rays and wears gold when the moon glows loudly to absorb some of it’s ultra violet radiation, which keeps her internal systems warm.
She is made of synthetic flesh and has a beating heart which is powered by observing Yoruba weddings.