Photo by Mike Van Cleven
Arts & Culture Featured Visual Arts

Redefining ‘The Creative.’ Victoria Lacoste of Edelweiss Productions.

Actress turned producer and art liaison, Victoria Lacoste discusses the landscape of art and what it means to be a Creative amidst increasingly undefinable terrain. 

Tell Us About Your Past Film Productions and also acting experience

I actually began acting when I was very young, and was in multiple professional theatre productions across Switzerland as a young girl. I went on to study theatre and film acting college in the United States – but it wasn’t until after college that I got interested in the production side of film. I formed my production company, Edelweiss Film Productions in 2019 when I produced and starred in our first horror short, Asking For A Friend (written & directed by Kelsey Bollig). Producing and starring in the same film was far more challenging than I expected it to be – but at the same time, it gave me one of my biggest ‘aha’ moments – which was that acting is only the tip of the iceberg as far as what I wanted to do creatively. 

From there, I produced and acted in The Fourth Wall (also written and directed by Kelsey Bollig) alongside Lizzie Brocheré in 2020, and continued to explore different kinds of projects with the late Dani and JoeyStarr’s music video for Kesta Kesta, the full length feature film Les Indociles (directed by Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr) 

I also just recently finished a short experimental art film (shot by Penelope Caillet) titled Renaissance, which is just about to begin its festival run. It was an intimate collaboration that falls somewhere between a music video and an art film, focused on the most important love story of all, which is the one we have with ourselves. It’s titled Renaissance because I consider the moment we truly fall unapologetically in love with ourselves is inarguably a full rebirth. 

For me, acting and producing often become intertwined and while it was definitely a challenge at first, it also offers a much deeper insight into the entire world I am creating from both sides. 

Painting by Yves Brayer via Yves Brayer Museum

Tell Us About Your Involvement with sound artist Gabriel Boutros in Yves Brayers’s work within the exhibition, Laisser une Trace, which runs through November of this year at Musée Yves Brayer.

Michal Korman is a painter who has been a close friend for quite some time, and was involved with the project, which is how I came to learn about it. I had met sound artist Gabriel Boutros when I had the opportunity to work with him on my film, Les Indociles (Pascal Arnold, 2021). He designed all the compositions for the film. 

This was a revisiting of Brayer’s permanent collections but within a contemporary perspective. The goal was to emphasize the link between artists and work from different environments and eras by instigating a framework shift in how the work is presented and how it is received. 

I’m forever fascinated by context and how it shifts the framework. This collaboration in particular was incredibly interesting to me as it juxtaposed classical visual work with a sensory aspect from a different era, allowing for the audience to step into a different dimension altogether. We also had a graphic media artist composite the images and sounds together in a mixed media presentation also, which was quite intriguing as it offered a more universal feeling to what very much felt like a personal experience within the exhibition itself. 

Laisser une Trace is very much a full sensory exhibition, blending sound and visuals together to create a unique experience for the audience. In this way, it relates to film and also production as well. How does this elevate an artist’s work? 

It definitely relates. What initially drew me to the project was the unique approach to mixed media – there are parts of the show that are static – namely the paintings and the room itself – but then the use of music makes it all almost involuntarily dynamic. I think in many ways, the combination is a form of performance art that is inclusive to the audience, inviting them  to move about the space differently than they may have otherwise. What I found was that the audio-sensory components of the show invoke a lyrical movement in the audience. If you stand back and watch people taking it all in, you begin to realize that they are a part of the dance themselves. It’s a performance piece within a performance piece.

Your production company Edelweiss Productions seeks to elevate and push boundaries within the art and film sphere. How does working within art and film at the same time do that?  

We draw boundaries around art practices in order to identify and define them. But these boundaries are self-imposed and truthfully, they’re imaginary.  It’s the intersection of art and fim to create entirely different experiences is what continuously draws me to test the boundaries of each world. 

The New Creative:

What you are doing as a creative is extremely new, but it is also at the tip of a new trend, where traditional creative mediums are coming together in fresh and compelling ways. Do you see this as something that will become more the norm? 

Absolutely. There was a time where being a multi-hyphenate was not taken seriously. But just as there are boundaries that we self create in order to define art practices, we do the same with jobs – and especially our identity within career. Skill sets are not linear and they’re often not quantifiable. I think the new generation really understands this and we are going to see more people drawing upon what they are inherently good at or drawn to and less struggling to fit into old definitions of what a career (and what being a creative) might look like. I think it’s also important to point out that more and more women are entering the contemporary art world – or at least, being recognized and given more opportunities within it. And I have found that contemporary art is quite often where a hybrid of disciplines begins. In Laisser Une Trace, for example, what brought it to a place of contemporary art was that amalgamation of classic and modern work. It was through the abetment of two genres that something new was accomplished. 

The facilitation of creativity is a role that is often invisible, but is arguably the most critical player for any medium or institution – and is becoming recognized as its own brand of Creative. From curation and consultation to creative liaison, this New Creative wears so many different kinds of hats. What aspects excite you the most? What draws you to any project? 

It’s been so interesting to me to create the kind of work I’ve been creating for this exact reason. Sometimes, the work I do puts me in the spotlight, such as acting, and sometimes, the work I do feels almost entirely invisible because it’s so very much behind the scenes, making decisions that have enormous impact on the final product, but in a very non-linear, intangible way. 

What I’ve learned from this is that everyone on a project has the power to make it better or worse. Those who have their own benefit in mind before a project tend to make it worse. And vice versa. Working in film, music, or in the art world is both rewarding in the sense that you’re truly helping to create new spaces that never existed before, but is also challenging if you’re in it for the accolades. But the thing I love most about being a part of the new wave of creators is the blurred boundaries of what we can and can not do. The less definition there is between disciplines, the more free I feel to create without limits. 

Tell us about the renovation of your home, which was previously featured in Architectural Digest and is now seeing new life again under your vision? When was it built, what drew you to the home, what did you want to change about it, who did you work with and how did you make it yours? 

I was immediately drawn to my apartment because it’s not the typical architecture you get in Paris. It was built 6 years ago and has 3 stories, which is pretty unusual – and 2 balconies that offer an incredible amount of light. It’s modern, but warm and ethereal. But the most important thing about it is how I feel when I’m in the space – light, free, and open to possibility. 

In many ways, the space we dwell in is a significant birthplace of creativity. How have you incorporated this concept into your new home?

I completely agree.  And to take it even further, with any creative act, I believe that the people who create are as important as the creations themselves. I think this is absolutely the case when it comes to the places we live and it was a huge incentive for me to pull the trigger. I also loved the  fact that it was a woman who built it. I was able to meet her and we really hit it off, which was wonderful. I don’t do anything without consulting my gut and for the most part, that’s been my best guide thus far, both in career and life.