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Artículo: Meet + Greet: ARIANA VELAZQUEZ



Creating content is something that didn't exist when I had my first shoe related job! Then, I was lucky enough to work as a creative director at the onset of blog culture, social medial, influencer gifting, and the debut of something we now think of as super normal; CONTENT CREATION. Over the years we have worked with so many talented people both internally and outside of our office-team to create striking content and brand storytelling to introduce our shoes to different markets. One of the most impactful creatives we have worked with hails from San Diego (where I went to University!!!), and is someone worth introducing to you! I am also super proud to show the images she created for us for our upcoming Spring drop!
Ariana Velazquez started working with us as a stylist friend who often sent in pull requests for varied lists of jobs, shoots, client projects, celeb styling and creative endeavors. Years of working together eventually lead to us having her style our Black Friday shoot several years ago! Our BFCM shoot is always my personal favorite, and I needed help really elevating the vision I had, bringing it to life with very involved styling on three completely different models. Enters, Ariana!
Her passion for delivering the perfectly curated looks and her attention to detail jumpstarted a relationship of her working for us more intimately and more often.
Ariana, is a multi-faceted talent who shoots, styles, directs and produces shoots and content creation sets. Her strong eye is what drew us to her, and her way of elevating everyday beauty, into simply striking shots---or creating sets for us and delivering a full editorial based on shared inspo and vision. I chatted with her recently, and am sharing an excerpt from our convo here, a chance for you to better get to know the one woman show, and genius behind a lot of our content! 
What was the main concept and vibe behind the shoot?
The concept for this shoot originated from an inspo video that Ty, the founder of IB, originally sent me through Instagram. Basically, it was flowers, hands, seamless backdrop colors and screamed SPRING ! I immediately loved it and started thinking about how we could translate something with this fun, floral and ‘POP’ aesthetic. I knew for sure I wanted it to be leg focused instead of full body which is typically what I do. It was for sure a little out of my realm but I was so excited to explore and get crazy with it. Luckily, once I had a few more reference images, ideas of the shoes we’d be shooting, wardrobe and color choices, I was able to assemble a kick-ass team to help me achieve a vision. 
What proved difficult or inspiring in this shoot?
Honestly, this was one of those shoots where you go into it thinking you’re going to do one thing and mid-way you take a left turn and whether it is due to hiccups or just spur of the moment inspiration - you just roll with it. Basically the original set design idea proved to be a bit more difficult while on set than we expected. But as I mentioned previously, I had some really great crew with me who helped me flip the idea into something that turned out even more conceptual and interesting. I think the best scenario on set is that your team can bounce ideas off each other when things start to go sideways and luckily that is what happened for us. In the end, it didn’t turn out exactly the way I thought it would, but I think there were more than a few happy accidents that occurred and I think it is some of the most fun work I have done for IB yet. 
How did you get started working as a photo shoot production one woman show?
Long story short, I live in San Diego and when I started working almost 8 years ago, there just wasn’t too much of a scene here within the kind of production work that I am interested in. I will say that it has grown a lot and it is really exciting to see. But as someone who had just graduated school, wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do and knew I needed to create in order to feel good - I just started producing shoots with friends and people I found via social media. At the beginning, I would submit to online publications and that grew into other people asking me to style or shoot for them and then that grew into paid work with clients and it all just snowballed there. I have always been a ‘figure it out’ kind of person and hated the idea of my geographical location dictating what I could or could not do (especially given the internet) so I just did it. And of course, this is incredibly simplified, it wasn’t that easy. It took a lot of cold emails, awkward encounters with people I met on the internet and years to get to a place where I felt really good about the work I had done and what I had to show for it. 
What inspires you in your work?
I have been working on inspiration a lot lately. I got into a weird rut during the pandemic where I felt like I was lacking inspiration and because I was spending so much time with entertainment and social media, I was worried that the only things inspiring me were things within the same medium as I create. This isn’t necessarily a problem, however, I started to get hyper fixated on the border between inspiration and recreation. With that being said, I am working on spending more time within other mediums of art by going to museums, reading and even just taking long walks. Most of the time, I find that juxtaposition in any form is what inspires me the most. I love to see something that doesn’t feel like it belongs there but for some reason, it works. That is a lot of the time how I think of composition and concepts.
We are coming to San Diego for 48 hours, what are the 3 spots we must see!
OKAY! I have a lot of opinions on this
1. Lang Books @langbooks - INCREDIBLE!!! book store in a space that has been ran and owned by the same person/collective of people since I moved back to San Diego and is literally the catalyst that made me feel like I could stay here. They have fashion, architecture, poetry, all kinds of art books and they are truly A+. 
2. LongPlay Hi-Fi @longplay.hifi - A low-key place for AM coffee or evening drinkies. It is inspired by Japanese listening bars and is the first of its kind here in San Diego. Absolutely a good vibe and a perfect place to take your time and relax.
3. Hayes Burger @hayes_burger - So, I am a flexitarian and probably my biggest guilty pleasure is a solid burger. Being a SoCal native I think you should really take it to heart when I say that I stopped eating In-n-Out because Hayes beat them by a million. And really, not only is it a great burger, but they really did a good job in creating a vibe.
These are my absolute go-to’s and truly gem recommendations. Of course, if you come for the first time, do the touristy things too, lol.
ARIANA is a creative based in San Diego, CA. She works with us on a ton of creative projects. You can follow her and hire her @ariianapearl 

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