Interview: Selina Miles

Selina Miles, is a self-taught director and editor from Brisbane who now travels and works full time internationally. She specializes in the documentation of street art and graffiti, but also makes music videos and commercials. She has directed over 50 short form videos featuring artists, and her work within the commercial field has representation with agencies in Sydney, New York and London. Known for combining new technological tricks such as hyperlapse with a fast-paced editing style, her passion for art and travel remains, and so far she has worked on projects in 20 countries worldwide.

I was able to send Selina a few questions and below is how it went down.

selina-milesHey Selina how is it going? For people that don’t know you or your work, could you give them a little bit of background?
Hi! I’m a film director from Australia. I now work and live all over the world and don’t have a fixed address. I mostly make videos about art, specifically about street art and graffiti, but also make music videos, commercials and so on.

What got you interested in documenting on street art and graffiti?
My discovery of film was actually through graffiti. I had some good friends involved in graffiti when I was younger, particularly Sofles, who introduced me to that world. We spent a lot of time together and one day I picked up a camera, and made a video of him. That video got me a job editing for spray paint brand Ironlak, and from there things grew.

Seeing that the SOFLES – LIMILESS video went viral, I was wondering if it opened a lot of doors and opportunities for you to work with more renowned street artists and art galleries?
Yes that video was really great for me as far as providing access to new collaborations and clients. Lots of people saw that video and remembered it specifically for the cinematography which was really nice for me.

guidovanhelten-by-selina-milesI personally thought that your video “Portrait of an Artist: Guido van Helten” that you shot in Iceland was stunning, especially the story behind that project. Could you tell us how this project came about and what was the experience like for you?
Guido and I just went to Iceland and shot it in 4 days. He works a lot in Iceland, and was offered a project to paint in Akureyri as part of their annual art festival. We just jumped on a plane and headed there without too much planning. The experience was very hard at the time as it was very rushed and we didn’t get much sleep. But the result was great.

If you could collaborate with anyone — dead or alive, celebrity, artist, company — who would it be and why?
I am in love with documentary presenter Louis Theroux and even having the chance to meet him would be incredible for me, let alone working with him.

daleast-in-tahiti-photo-by-selina-milesDo you think that filmmaking and videography are somehow dominated by men? If so, do you think that it makes it hard for women to compete in such industry?
The last statistics I checked said that the film industry had the highest percentage of women in positions of power of any creative industry. It’s still a very low number but it’s definitely growing. Personally I am very fortunate in that I don’t really feel that I have experienced much sexism in my workplace, I find particularly the graffiti and street art communities really run on a merit system, people don’t usually care at all about your sex, age, race, or anything else if you are good at what you do. I am not denying that sexism exists, but I just choose not to be a victim.

The internet innately separates the creator from the audience. What are your thoughts on social media, and how it helps or hurts people like you today?
I started making films right at the time of the explosion of Youtube. My first ever “job” during university was to code Myspace pages for bands etc. I have never really experienced life without social media. I think it’s a tool that can help or hurt you depending on how it’s wielded, just like anything else. The experience of having made a viral video definitely taught me that views and likes are great but they don’t make you a good artist, and they aren’t a realistic measure of success, and don’t lead to personal fulfillment.

seth-globe-painter-intahiti-by-selina-mliesOutside of the creating realm, away from screens, what activities occupy your time? Is it difficult to find a balance between “work” and “play”?
I don’t really have much spare time. I really enjoy the creative process of film making and feel quite guilty if I don’t spend my time being productive. I am not really a person that can “chill” in front of the TV, I am very conscious of how short life is, and this makes it hard to sit still. Most of my free time is spent on simple things like exercise and time with family and friends.

What’s something about you that would surprise our readers?
I have a sick fascination with plane accidents and have watched 13 seasons of Air Crash Investigation.

What can we look forward to seeing from you next? What collaborations or projects do you have planned?
I am refocusing my energy on more involved and personal projects next year and doing less festivals. I am completing my miniseries The Wanderers which premieres on ABC iView in Australia in January 2017, and developing a new series which will focus on a range of artists worldwide.


Any words of advice for aspiring new artists?
Get off your phone and get out there and experiment! Learn by doing. And work hard!

That is all for now, thank you Selina for your time!

Selina Miles


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