1995. Bill Clinton “mistakenly” confirms that Area 51 exists. Microsoft releases Windows 95, the first major consumer-oriented edition of Windows. Ebola epidemic kills almost 250 people in Central-Africa. And, finally, the instant-cult, independent film “Kids”, directed by Larry Clark, sees the big screen.
Starring prominent actresses in their youth, such as Chloë Sevigny or Rosario Dawson, “Kids” is still haunting us more than two decades later, mainly for that scene, for the anxiety of it, but also for its authentic, refreshing depiction of teenagers, their views of life and their micro-universe or alternative society of its own.
Once you leave those years behind, some doors permanently lock up. You forget the language, the unwritten laws and you face your imminent pariahdom. Their society keeps flourishing, only without you in it.
But what if I told you I can get you in somehow, as my plus one? I got connections. I know a guy who knows a guy, who knows a guy… Just check the webzine once in while for a series of articles featuring teenagers, youngsters ravenous for art, kids with mindsets that would kick your brains in the teeth.
Sara Pongrac is a 16 years old theatre high-school student from Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She’s painting since she was six, she’s writing depressive poetry and she just recently started getting into photography and filmmaking experiments. Her first, and only (so far) photo-play – the so-called “Blue Project” – is the proof of an already well-shaped eye. No previous experience, no profit-driven interests – only raw, untainted talent, that will hopefully get only better with time.
This is how she got into photography: “I finally got a second-hand DSLR this year and I started the Blue Project. I also made a short-film on mental disorders, not really appreciated in Romania, but it was presented at a short-films fest in Florida”. Sara Pongrac’s Instagram is what kids do when no one sees them. No, they’re not setting the house on fire, nor they throw water-filled balloons from the balcony. At least not anymore. They traded videogames for visual mental illness manifests, and popsicles for cigarettes.
Sara pictures vary from the chest-crushing urban landscape and natural symmetry to the mixed cocktail of ostentatious details, teenage angst and grown-up wannabe behavior. Everything is painted in blue, as a permanent layer that connects all the above mentioned pieces. “Blue is a personal, relative color”, the young artist says. “If you ask a painter, he’ll say it’s a cold color, but if you ask an astronomer, he’ll tell you the blue stars are the hottest”.
The attention she pays to the useless and the obsession for the ordinary-made-extraordinary is what gets me the most. You could say all pictures were taken in one day or one year – it wouldn’t make a difference. “[Blue Project] doesn’t have a purpose. I mostly take pictures of my camera-shy boyfriend Alex. I’ll never do it for money. I have no Photoshop skills or photography theoretic knowledge. Sometimes I struggle to understand what I’m actually feeling about something, so I take a picture of it to get a better understanding while editing. I have a deep connection with every single picture”.
“I like to believe that life is governed by love and art. And that there’s art in all things and there’s love in all humans, and that the artist is the perfect mix of both love and art”.