NOT-SO-SEXY WITH PAULA ANDREA
Getting intimate at-home with the Colombian-born, New York-raised photographer and art director.

Not-So-Sexy is an on-going series on Miilkiina.com profiling creatives around the world and their real, raw, and “not-so-sexy” work-from-home experiences. 

This week, we’re getting intimate with Paula Andrea(@soft_when_ripe), a Columbian-born, NYC-raised photographer, art director and founder of Visa Issues, a multi-part shop, and ongoing project shining light on immigration and immigrant narratives. We had to ask her everything from how she’s finding inspiration these days to what her creative process is and how it makes her feel. Keep reading for more Paula Andrea.

What does your space look like?

My space is relatively minimal, or so I like to think. I don’t have any art on the walls but do own a lot of trinkets and small bits. mostly because these things are easy to get rid of or move around if I get bored with looking at them. My work is so visual i think a blank slate at home is welcomed.

Where do you find inspiration?

It’s a bit hard right now because the numbers here in NYC are so high.  I used to love walking around Chinatown, Upper East/West Side, and people-watch. My inspiration currently comes from a lot of looking inward, dealing with traumas and emotions that have been inside of me for so long but I’ve never had the time to explore further than a therapy session.

What does Visa Issues stand for?

Visa Issues are as a concept a skeleton or framework, for me to explore the different aspects of immigration and immigration-related narratives. I look at Visa Issues’ clothing brand as a sheath, covering what’s actually important, the struggles, joys, and experiences immigrants and people experiencing visa issues go through. Using the concept of clothing makes it easier for others who’ve never ever experienced anything visa or immigration-related to digest the matters in a more consumable way, Visa issues are dark. It’s very easy to turn away from trauma when it’s not being presented like “porn”. I guess I hope we stand for acknowledgment and community. 

Is there an object out of your collection you prefer?

OHH YES, I haven’t released it yet but hoping to have it by end of February, it is a customized  Zippo lighter with the words Visa Issues on one side. I just think it’s so poetic. Zippos were “invented” in America around 1930  ( I say “invented” because there was already an Australian design similar to it with horrible branding lol a very American thing to do is to rebrand an already existing product and call it your own…like we will ignore this now and this is now mine.) Anyway, Zippos to me are representative of so many things AMERICAN. It becomes low-key a symbol for Americana icons, like cowboys, James dean ..bad-boy image of him isn’t complete without his zippo. World War II had a profound impact on Zippo.  Upon America’s entry into the war in 1941, Zippo ceased production of lighters for consumer markets and dedicated all production to the U.S. military.  This initiative led to the production of the steel-case zippo which we see in ALL the movies. I have this idea for a Video treatment written out hoping to collab with a dope immigrant ass videographer. Within the visa issues framework, it’s representative of hope, the American dream in darkness, burning your bridges. 

What kind of artist are you? Does your space get messy when creating?

To be frank, I feel so manic when creating At times I have waves of utter neatness and everything having to be In its place. But more often than I like to admit I just let my shit get sloppy, and piles of laundry, dirty dishes, I used to get really upset at myself but now I realize that it is my process, and I need to let myself enjoy it. Till the wheel spins again. I’m not sure what kind of artist I am, but Im sure I need to create in order to feel ok. At times there are at least 10 different ideas I NEED to write out and just dump, not even explore. I wouldn’t be able to carry myself. I go back to the ones that are still in my head after the “download” and those are the ideas that come to fruition with ease. 

How do you feel during the creation process?

Hmm, I don’t really know. Sad, mad, happy, expectant. I think when I’m creating is the only time I have full silence, its almost like a long download you just gotta wait and see what happens. 

Do you have a favorite camera?

Not really, I think it’s just a tool and different scenarios call for different tools. I have had a 35mm Nikon fm10 for about 13 years.

Do you have a daily routine, if so walk us through it.

-Wake up at 6:30 am every day (unless I have a shoot then its probably around 5 am)

-Coffee or tea depending on my energy levels. 

-Walk the dog around 7.

-Back home by 7:45. 

-Workout from 8-9(been on and off with the pandemic tbh).

-Shower.

-Skincare (I’m one of those 7 step Korean skincare people). 

-Start the day by 9:30.

I guess my routine after my morning is super flexible to accommodate my freelancing.

What is your favorite at-home meal?

Rice and beans. Seriously, I love the humbleness of it, and how global it is. Every single culture has a version of rice and beans, it’s lit.

What have you learned about yourself while working on Visa Issues?

I fucking hate injustice. It taught me about resilience and how brave I can be. It also taught me that no matter how little we as a collective can do anything it sounds so corny but truly I’m learning more and more every day that it just takes one person and why not me? 

One thing that has brought you peace of mind amidst the current crisis? 

The phrase “all things come to an end”. 

How do you like to unwind and pass time these days?

I have a hard time unwinding because my brain is constantly bombarded with ideas (some trash, some amazing) I try to turn off all stimulants..T.V, phone, radio, and run a bath, sit with myself in the bathtub in silence do some breathing.

Sometimes I can’t find that stillness so I smoke weed and watch trash TV.

Share a favorite memory with us.

I have a blue nose pitbull named Astro he’s a pretty big animal about 41kg Anyway used to run a lot at night in the park near my house in Bushwick (before it was trendy it was the hood) this was a few years ago. A man was running in the park as well but he kept gradually getting closer and closer to my area. I didn’t really give a shit till he was close enough to watch me stretching in a big ass park ..like why dude. come on. I kept doing my thing and began running again. I feel someone’s steps semi-close to me, I look back and he’s running full speed towards me.. at this point, Astro was sitting on the side of the track not really doing much, all happened super fast, I stop short and the guy was running full speed so he pretends to run past me in a really awkward way, Astro somehow knows something is up and jumps up and lunges towards him in a super aggressive way, begins barking like crazy. The dude was super scared and bolted towards the exit. It was brilliant. We don’t deserve dogs.

NOT-SO-SEXY WITH PAULA ANDREA
Getting intimate at-home with the Colombian-born, New York-raised photographer and art director.

Not-So-Sexy is an on-going series on Miilkiina.com profiling creatives around the world and their real, raw, and “not-so-sexy” work-from-home experiences. 

This week, we’re getting intimate with Paula Andrea(@soft_when_ripe), a Columbian-born, NYC-raised photographer, art director and founder of Visa Issues, a multi-part shop, and ongoing project shining light on immigration and immigrant narratives. We had to ask her everything from how she’s finding inspiration these days to what her creative process is and how it makes her feel. Keep reading for more Paula Andrea.

What does your space look like?

My space is relatively minimal, or so I like to think. I don’t have any art on the walls but do own a lot of trinkets and small bits. mostly because these things are easy to get rid of or move around if I get bored with looking at them. My work is so visual i think a blank slate at home is welcomed.

Where do you find inspiration?

It’s a bit hard right now because the numbers here in NYC are so high.  I used to love walking around Chinatown, Upper East/West Side, and people-watch. My inspiration currently comes from a lot of looking inward, dealing with traumas and emotions that have been inside of me for so long but I’ve never had the time to explore further than a therapy session.

What does Visa Issues stand for?

Visa Issues are as a concept a skeleton or framework, for me to explore the different aspects of immigration and immigration-related narratives. I look at Visa Issues’ clothing brand as a sheath, covering what’s actually important, the struggles, joys, and experiences immigrants and people experiencing visa issues go through. Using the concept of clothing makes it easier for others who’ve never ever experienced anything visa or immigration-related to digest the matters in a more consumable way, Visa issues are dark. It’s very easy to turn away from trauma when it’s not being presented like “porn”. I guess I hope we stand for acknowledgment and community. 

Is there an object out of your collection you prefer?

OHH YES, I haven’t released it yet but hoping to have it by end of February, it is a customized  Zippo lighter with the words Visa Issues on one side. I just think it’s so poetic. Zippos were “invented” in America around 1930  ( I say “invented” because there was already an Australian design similar to it with horrible branding lol a very American thing to do is to rebrand an already existing product and call it your own…like we will ignore this now and this is now mine.) Anyway, Zippos to me are representative of so many things AMERICAN. It becomes low-key a symbol for Americana icons, like cowboys, James dean ..bad-boy image of him isn’t complete without his zippo. World War II had a profound impact on Zippo.  Upon America’s entry into the war in 1941, Zippo ceased production of lighters for consumer markets and dedicated all production to the U.S. military.  This initiative led to the production of the steel-case zippo which we see in ALL the movies. I have this idea for a Video treatment written out hoping to collab with a dope immigrant ass videographer. Within the visa issues framework, it’s representative of hope, the American dream in darkness, burning your bridges. 

What kind of artist are you? Does your space get messy when creating?

To be frank, I feel so manic when creating At times I have waves of utter neatness and everything having to be In its place. But more often than I like to admit I just let my shit get sloppy, and piles of laundry, dirty dishes, I used to get really upset at myself but now I realize that it is my process, and I need to let myself enjoy it. Till the wheel spins again. I’m not sure what kind of artist I am, but Im sure I need to create in order to feel ok. At times there are at least 10 different ideas I NEED to write out and just dump, not even explore. I wouldn’t be able to carry myself. I go back to the ones that are still in my head after the “download” and those are the ideas that come to fruition with ease. 

How do you feel during the creation process?

Hmm, I don’t really know. Sad, mad, happy, expectant. I think when I’m creating is the only time I have full silence, its almost like a long download you just gotta wait and see what happens. 

Do you have a favorite camera?

Not really, I think it’s just a tool and different scenarios call for different tools. I have had a 35mm Nikon fm10 for about 13 years.

Do you have a daily routine, if so walk us through it.

-Wake up at 6:30 am every day (unless I have a shoot then its probably around 5 am)

-Coffee or tea depending on my energy levels. 

-Walk the dog around 7.

-Back home by 7:45. 

-Workout from 8-9(been on and off with the pandemic tbh).

-Shower.

-Skincare (I’m one of those 7 step Korean skincare people). 

-Start the day by 9:30.

I guess my routine after my morning is super flexible to accommodate my freelancing.

What is your favorite at-home meal?

Rice and beans. Seriously, I love the humbleness of it, and how global it is. Every single culture has a version of rice and beans, it’s lit.

What have you learned about yourself while working on Visa Issues?

I fucking hate injustice. It taught me about resilience and how brave I can be. It also taught me that no matter how little we as a collective can do anything it sounds so corny but truly I’m learning more and more every day that it just takes one person and why not me? 

One thing that has brought you peace of mind amidst the current crisis? 

The phrase “all things come to an end”. 

How do you like to unwind and pass time these days?

I have a hard time unwinding because my brain is constantly bombarded with ideas (some trash, some amazing) I try to turn off all stimulants..T.V, phone, radio, and run a bath, sit with myself in the bathtub in silence do some breathing.

Sometimes I can’t find that stillness so I smoke weed and watch trash TV.

Share a favorite memory with us.

I have a blue nose pitbull named Astro he’s a pretty big animal about 41kg Anyway used to run a lot at night in the park near my house in Bushwick (before it was trendy it was the hood) this was a few years ago. A man was running in the park as well but he kept gradually getting closer and closer to my area. I didn’t really give a shit till he was close enough to watch me stretching in a big ass park ..like why dude. come on. I kept doing my thing and began running again. I feel someone’s steps semi-close to me, I look back and he’s running full speed towards me.. at this point, Astro was sitting on the side of the track not really doing much, all happened super fast, I stop short and the guy was running full speed so he pretends to run past me in a really awkward way, Astro somehow knows something is up and jumps up and lunges towards him in a super aggressive way, begins barking like crazy. The dude was super scared and bolted towards the exit. It was brilliant. We don’t deserve dogs.

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