Tine Swijns: Storytelling in my own way

As we go through life we all have dreams and ambitions of what we will be doing as we grow up. For Tine Swijns, that was not different. She was sure of one thing– she wanted to use her creativity to tell stories using the skills she picked up as a digital designer.

Tine Swijns is a digital designer working in Antwerp. Videography, concept creation, and photography are important pillars of who she is as an artist.

Artist_photographer_Belgian_Tine Swijns1 Tell us a little bit about your journey?

I started off wanting to be a writer. Later on, I discovered that I am more a visual person. Good storytelling has been very important to me ever since. During my master’s year in advertising, I created a fashion film as an experiment to combine fashion branding with video effects, and that’s when I discovered what I wanted to do. To create a concept and bring it to life using visuals. I use my camera as a tool a lot but I work as a digital designer.

Why fashion?

During my master  year in advertising, I discovered I liked a more kind of subtle branding. I didn’t like “in your face” advertising and I wasn’t good at creating funny storyboards. In fashion, it was more about the community, the story and an elegant visual branding. I think advertising in general is now becoming more and more about the community, which I think is great!

You worked at ELLE Magazine, how was that like?

Back then, It was a teenage dream come true. Besides writing, I got to do video interviews and press photography. I had the opportunity to learn and grow because they never treated me as “just an intern”. I was working for their online platform where I discovered my interest in the online world.

I also had the chance to experience from up close, how a brand communicates with the magazine and how they work to get that exposure. It was during that time I found out as well that I was more a visual creative person than a strong journalist or writer.

What’s the future of this side of the fashion industry according to you?

In my opinion, both, the online and paper versions, should be able to boost each other. I prefer a campaign to be cross-media.

Artist_photographer_Belgian_Tine Swijns
Picture by Tine Swijns

Photography has a long history with fashion, how do you stay up to date and innovative?

I like still life photography because I  can do it at home after hours. I don’t always need a model. I am also learning 3D design, which for me is a good way to create designs to use as an inspiration for my photography. I try to avoid being too trend sensitive and I try look for references in other media. For example, a 1982 Chanel commercial directed by Ridley Scott that I used as an inspiration for a video I created for a friend who is a make-up artist. Ridley Scott uses opacity layers to transition from one scene to another which creates a dreamy atmosphere.

I like how simple video techniques can boost your story so much. Specially the ones used back then, because they had to be creative since they did not have as much tools like we do now. I am a big movie fan as well. My favourite movie is A Single Man by Tom Ford.

When you work for a brand do you have to adjust yourself or do you always add your own touch?

Brands usually have a strong marketing eye, while I often look at images in a more creative way. But besides from the image selection, the story and concept should be decided first. Only this way, you can create strong visuals. I try to propose a concept first and try to connect with the brand by using several references. I like to find out which of these references they feel a connection with.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I like to focus more on creative direction, to create the concept and still be completely involved in the design process.

– Interview by Valeria D’Andrea and edited by Tine Swijns

I want to get inspired

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