Check out Jarvis' film for North Face and our interview with the artist below.
First of all, tell me about your work behind the new short film series Rare Species for North Face—how did this collaboration become a reality?
I have been a massive fan of North Face and have been wearing it since I was 16 years old living in NYC. My first interaction with working with them was through Social Studies last year. A friend suggested that I should work for them on a larger scale. So they came to me and wanted to work with me as a creative director. I came up with a new concept, casts, and photographs for them. Then they also wanted to include me on the Rare Species which is a film series where they share little stories about artists that they like working with. When they approached me I was like, “Oh yeah sounds cool”—but I am super shy and did not want to be in the film, so I asked them if I could make something myself and create my own piece.
How do you feel about portraying yourself in a short-film?
Yeah, it’s like a joke for everyone ‘cause it shows my extreme level of trying to do everything to not be in something! A large part of this film has a lot of footage from when I went to Africa, my time at swim camp and then also a bunch of photographs that I have taken. I used reenactment so I had a young girl named Frances to play me as a young kid, and a model named Sasha who played me in college. I thought it was cool to not be in the film, but to cast someone to play myself. It was nice to share my own voice and see some of the old footage that I took when I was younger and kind of reconnect with myself.
I love your idea of mixing a modern reenactment of a “younger you” with your older footage. Tell me about the two girls Frances and Sasha who play you in the movie—who are they and why did you choose them to play you?
I chose Frances because the first time I met her I was like, “Oh my god - you are me”. She had the same attitude, and I thought that If I should ever choose someone to play me in a movie, I would choose you. The first time I saw Sasha was in a MILK advertisement and she looked just like me at that age. So again, I thought that If I ever needed an adult to play me, I am gonna get her. They both captured what I really wanted to do with the short film.
Can you recall a specific moment that made you fall in love with the camera for the first time?
As a kid, I took pictures all the time and I always had a camera on me, but for a long time, I didn’t think about doing photography as a real thing. But I think the biggest turning point for me was when I was interning at Paper Magazine and they would send me out to work with fashion stylists. Being on set with them was probably the first time that I kind of had a real flashback moment for myself to be like “Oh wait, I have always wanted to do this”. Then I just decided that it was time to go for it.
Do you think it would have been the same if you had grown up surrounded by today’s iPhone mania?
I don’t know—I want to believe that the answer is yes, and that my love for the camera is because of my parents and my grandparents, who all did photography. They introduced me to the idea of having a visual language early on. So I think that yes, I would still be doing it, but maybe in a different way.
In what way has your mom been an inspiration to you—not only in this project, but also to photography in general?
I always laugh about this because my mom is a Virgo and I am a Pisces so we’re supposed to be at opposite ends. So where I am super dreamy and fantastical, my mom has always been more “practice, practice, practice”. She is a practical perfectionist and she has taught me that sometimes it is easier just to get it right the first time. She really instilled a good work ethic in me and taught me how to be a good soul in the way of helping others feel good, while also sticking up for yourself.
You have been traveling a lot around the world with your work, including London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and New York—if you should choose your most exciting project what would that be?
I think this one has been the most exciting - It’s hard to say but a mix of working on this project and then working with Social Studies as well. They have both enabled me to really push myself into something that I really like and to work in a creative direction. And then also being able to work with a bunch of different people such as designers, stylists, and artists. Working with these people has been amazing and probably the most fun part of it - it’s so great to work in a good team.
What would your advice be to young aspiring photographers who are trying to make it through the fashion industry?
Do everything, try everything, and speak to everyone. Also, work on yourself and know what you want to say. I think that it’s super important right now, as a young artist, to be aware of what your message is and to understand what your own story is. I don’t think that what I’m doing now would have been any different if I was doing it 20 years ago. The core of what I’m trying to do has always been the same.
Can you give us a hint on what to expect from the rest of the series?
I really want to do a day at Harlem School of The Arts, which is an art school that I did an after school program at from the age of six to 13. I went there and I did piano lessons, African dance, ballet—I did everything there! So I’m definitely planning to spend a day there in collaboration with North Face.