DVNA STUDIO – Interview to Raphaël Chicha
HW: What did you want to be when you grew up?
RC: I think I wanted to be an architect or a museum curator, I don’t remember very well…
HW: How would you describe your job/ work?
RC: I am CEO and in charge of Creation at DVNA Studio (the creative agency that I created in 2012). Most of the time I try to think about the concept of campaigns, the story we want to tell, the sets, the characters, the actions, etc… I am also in charge of choosing the artists (photographers, artistic directors, directors, set designers, etc.) with whom we will collaborate on our projects.
HW: Can you introduce us to @dvna_studio?
RC: Dvna Studio is an independent creative agency. We produce content. Since 2012, we mainly work for the luxury, fashion, and beauty industries including brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Comme des Garçons, Louboutin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nina Ricci. We do start working from concepts and storytelling to creation, production, and post-production for our clients.
HW: Talk to us a little bit about how you got started…
RC: It all started when I was 19 yo, I was studying at the art school – Ecole du Louvre in Paris along with film aesthetics at Paris 13 University. We decided to found a film production company with a friend of mine. In the beginning, we wanted to work for the cinema rather than advertising but random meetings and encounters took us to the luxury industry. It also came naturally as luxury is one of the industries – giving importance to aesthetics, details, and quality of execution. Coming from a small town in Auvergne in the center of France, I didn’t know much about fashion and – as I had never had any other job before- I had to learn the industry codes the best I could.
HW: Which musicians/ photographers/artists/ film makers are you a fan of?
RC: My tastes are quite eclectic. When I was young, and during my studies I did a lot of aesthetic analyzes of films, I loved and (I still love!) New Wave films by Truffaut, Godard, as well as Agnès Varda, Jacques Rivette or Jean Eustache. Those films have made the era of realism and poetry in the cinema. With my work, I have discovered more contemporary artists closed to what I propose to my clients. Harley Weir, Gordon Von Steiner, Pierre Debusschere, and Colombine Goldsmith represent for me young artists at the origin of a turning point in the fashion industry. On a different note, I am a fan of the designers Raymond Loewy, Roger Tallon, and Charlotte Perriand.
HW: What are you obsessed with right now?
RC: I have several hobbies at the moment for which I used to have no time before the lockdown (sic!). I love ceramics, my girlfriend offered me a potter’s wheel for Christmas and I try to practice every week. We have also produced a series of special “DVNA studio candles” based on a ceramic prototype I created. I am also a big fan of design and architecture. I am currently renovating a house near Paris in which we are going to install our future offices. I am enjoying selecting furniture, particularly searching from the 60-70 period in antiques websites and shops. I also cook since I was very young and I am trying to improve myself and invent recipes the best I can.
HW: What’s the philosophy behind your studio?
RC: We believe that the brands we work with have a “character”, a real identity with a unique contribution and voice to the world. Like all identities in general, we try to find a balance between creativity, needs, sales obligations, values, and natural charisma. That is how we try to support brands to be always more creative and aligned with their own identity.
HW: Tell us about the process behind the creation of a content…
RC: In the first place, the client has a “brief” – asking us to solve a problem (launching a new product, a fashion show …) with a clear creative response. Our job is then to propose creative routes and possibilities from where we can find an agreement and move forward in the same direction together. To achieve this, we draw a lot of mood boards, we also work our 3D decorations and propose a casting of models and photographers that the client will be able to select. Once done, the project is handled by our two producers. We’ll meet people selected and start building everything. Then comes the time of the photo and/or video shooting and finally the post production (all about editing, calibration, retouching, sound mixing) that we also supervise until the final delivery.
HW: Where do you get your inspiration from?
RC: I try to keep my eyes open. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time to go to exhibitions, museums, and cinemas as much as I would like to but in the end, inspiration is everywhere. I watch a lot of videos on Vimeo, where directors, students, artists post their work, and obviously I also spend a lot of time on Instagram which is an unlimited source of creativity. I am also trying to gather my team together a lot to brainstorm on ideas, set design colors and stories. Even if it’s not really their job, most of them are producers or project and post production managers, I know they have excellent ideas and can be creative as well. There are also a source of inspiration.
HW: What’s your best advice for somebody who wants to do what you do?
RC: The best advice I could give is to keep your own values at work and when you create. I do encourage people to believe in themselves and in their ideas first.
HW: What do you think your biggest professional success has been so far?
RC: I am -by nature- never satisfied by myself. let’s say this is a challenge for myself that could become a success. Otherwise, I would say that one of the most important professional achievement has been to hire my little brother to manage Dvna’s post-production. I am very proud of his success at work so far.
HW: What’s the best way to be noticed in the creative industry?
RC: More than ever “being different” is the best way to stand out. Recently, the concept of “content factory” has emerged to meet the exponential needs of client branded content on social media (including luxury brands). I do think that this way of thinking about content with quantity over quantity is the wrong way. It tends to create a standardization of content and this loss of brand identity – I was just talking about above.
HW: What’s the dream?
RC: In this troubled period – my dream is going to be quite modest. I hope I will be able to continue working with my team to take our ambitions to the next level, keeping on with creative and aesthetic project proposals.
HW: What do you think of the link between psychology and art?
RC: I would say that art exerts on us a form of catharsis, in a way that it give us enough freedom to interpret the world around us differently. We usually say that art is a therapy both for those who practice it and those who contemplate it. Whatever the form of art, let’s think about contemporary art, music, live performance etc … art is everywhere. I believe that we have all experienced this particular moment, this feeling of well-being produced only by contemplation.
HW: How would you represent @humanwonder.mag image?
RC: I find the magazine’s approach particularly modern and interesting, taking care of the human being beauty, especially in these times can only be a great source of inspiration and stimulation.
DVNA STUDIO 4 CITÉ GRISET – 75011 PARIS