Film director Christo Anesti has become well-known for his work creating edgy music videos for big names like Drake, The Weeknd and Big Sean. But, before his Toronto-based practice, Kid. Studio, was sought after by major hip hop and R&B artists, Christo was gaining traction by designing anything he could get his hands on. After a whirlwind three year rise for his studio, he’s looking to connect with the next generation of underground talent, working with a new creative collective called CO.LAB.
CO.LAB was founded on the principle of making a joint effort to break boundaries, providing a space for creatives to come together to foster forward-thinking collaborations that have the power to redefine different mediums. It’s a platform for bringing together fresh ideas, like (and unlike) minds and differing skills, in the spirit of creative connection. In their continuing effort to grow Canada’s creative community, the CO.LAB forges authentic experiences for artists across the country.
On the occasion of its founding, Christo — who is also a member of CO.LAB — created a video that visually presents its ethos. He cast real life creatives to star in the film, who are shown in pursuit of inspiration. With his cast of underground artists, he presents abstract depictions of the “ah-ha” moments that spark ideas and fuel creativity. HYPEBEAST sat down with Christo to discuss the importance of incubating emerging talent, the art of collaboration and the role that bad movies play in his creative process.
As a creative, why is it important for you to support up and coming talent?
A lot of up and coming artists are insecure, unsure, scared, broke, hungry, young. Validation from someone who’s had success or from someone you look up to goes a long way. It could mean the difference between someone giving up or settling, and someone sacrificing everything in life for the sake of their art. At Kid., we do our best to cold message anyone we are fans of or respect — no matter what stage of their journey they’re at.
Tell me about the ethos behind CO.LAB and your thought process behind its manifestos.
I was introduced to the CO.LAB through a mutual friend and when I first heard about the CO.LAB, I knew it would be a great partnership. The CO.LAB and Kid. Studio brand manifestos are similar in a lot of ways. We are working together for a lot of the same common goals: creativity, individuality, inclusivity, new ideas and breaking boundaries.
CO.LAB is built on “joint effort.” How was this mentality helped to shape your own practice?
I am a strong believer in collaboration. If minds are aligned, there’s nothing like working in numbers. You can accomplish so much more if you’re able to rid yourself of selfishness and pride and truly understand the nature of your creative intentions. Collaborating expands your mind in the same way traveling does or the same way drugs can: it shows you colors you’ve never seen, sounds you never took the time to listen to. It teaches you more about yourself than the other person.
Why do you think a collective such as CO.LAB is important for creatives today?
These collectives are important because it creates a home for the honest incubation of ideas. Being in a room with others that you know are on your side does so much for your mind. It allows you to grow in a way that isn’t quite possible alone.
Tell me about the concept behind the video.
It’s about good food, black butterflies, freedom, disco, Egypt, the romanticization of weekdays, the chase and many other things.
Why was it important for you to show the day-to-day things that inspire creativity?
Life has a habit of appearing monotonous when, in actuality, it’s your perception of things that has grown tired. It’s in our nature to grow numb to life, so it’s necessary to open our eyes in ways that we don’t or forget to do.
You show mundane moments behind “ah-ha” moments in the video. Is there a mundane thing you do that sparks creativity?
I like watching bad movies and bad tv shows. People are obsessed with watching Criterion Collection movies or Oscar-winning films. I find joy in watching “bad” things. If people don’t watch the “bad” things, they’ll always think anything they make will be perfect. Sitcoms and shitty independent horror films are the best.
Why is collaboration and the mixing of different ideas and skills important to creating new originals and breaking boundaries?
I’ve always been a fan of the idea of being the master at none: forever being a student and always being able to be instinctual. Putting yourself in situations that are uncomfortable allow you to be outside of yourself and learn more, be better and tell a new story. I still can’t swim and my son can, and I like the way that humbles me.
Check out the video above and head to CO.LAB’s Instagram page to learn more.