Electric Koolaid by Santana Bellas

Directed by Collin Casion @____bycasino | Photography by Santana Bellas @santanabellas

“For me, creating is a form of self reflection and a representation of how I understand and interpret what I see, and how it makes me feel. Sometimes my ideas are extremely sporadic, I have a million things going on inside my head at once, and generally I’m not a very verbal person, I keep to myself a lot because sometimes my words just don’t say what I want. Most times it’s difficult for me to pinpoint what the exact inspiration for a shoot or a jacket or video I make since it’s never one direct thing in particular. Inspiration comes from all of the bits and pieces of things I take in day by day. Fragments of thought that I re orchestrate into a new section of labyrinth that is my mind The things I create speak for themselves. ” – Collin Casino

I found myself up late on a Saturday night in an abandoned bus in West Oakland capturing the the vision of Collin Casino. Only given a mood board and a few quotes to help me tell this story through a visual approach.

“I’m inspired by the world around me… I’m an observer. I like to people watch. I find that my creative energy is flowing most between the hours of 1 and 6 am.. so I’ve found it’s the emptiness of nighttime when I’m inspired the most. I can become easily distracted when there is a lot going on around me ” – Casino

As the vivid blue and red lights were piercing through the windows of this old muni bus I was able to understand his daily observation. It was one task to capture his products but the bigger task at hand was to document his concept. Understanding that Casino is intrigued by bright colors…especially primary colors, this allowed me to know what should be photographed and brought to the viewers attention.

“…the details are hidden within the shadows, I always loved the colored lights from neon signs at corner stores, psychics’ shops, laundromats or the fox theatre at 3 am when the streets are empty and the world is silent but all you can hear is the buzzing from the neon and the occasional car drive by, but especially the way those colors and lights reflect off of wet empty streets at night” – Casino

Bouncing back and forth from catching intimate and mysterious shots became a pattern for this shoot. Being able to document this daydream in particular compositions and angles that Casino envisioned.

As months went by, and Collin still seeming to feel as if the project was incomplete, he decided to burn the negatives to more accurately represent his distorted vision, and we developed a photo story that represented his idea and now I present to the world Electric Koolaid. – Santana Bellas

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