Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m Ester but most people call me variation of my instagram handle, usually but not limited to coco bun and bb buns. I’m a visual and performance artist, but I guess I’m best recognized from working as a photographer (occasionally DJ and curator) at Fortune. I was born and raised in Bratislava, Slovakia and moved to Vancouver on my own when I was 18 to attend Emily Carr University. I graduated this May with a BFA – major in photography and minor in curatorial practices.
Who are your biggest photography inspirations?
Hmmmmm I don’t necessarily look up to many photographers and mostly find inspiration outside of it but I do love Cindy Sherman – her entire practice is self-portraiture and she always works alone, so definitely some inspo there. A lot of my “diary-like” documentary stuff definitely draws from William Eggleston.
Outside of photographer, what are some of your other influences?
I think my all time favourite artist is Bas Jan Ader so lots of influence comes from his performances. While I’m at performance, I very much enjoy Francis Alÿs, Marina and Ulay, Andrea Fraser, Chris Burden, just to name a few. A lot, if not most of, my inspiration comes from the stuff I read and I find myself largely referencing Geert Lovink, Emily Witt, Kristin Dombek, Hito Steyerl, Andrea Fraser(again), Boris Groys, Walter Benjamin, Hal Foster and Chris Kraus. I also really like the works of Jenny Holzer, Erwin Wurm, Ken Lum, Hans Haacke, Adrian Piper, Tracey Emin, Viktor Frešo and Hennessy Youngman/Jayson Musson. Big fan of KRPSY’s work too!
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I’m gonna say Bratislava because that’s where my mom and dogs are. I hated it my entire life, I couldn’t wait to leave but now when I visit I see it’s charm. I still wouldn’t want to move back though lol.
Where was your favorite place to shoot photos? Why?
Any studio with lots of natural light and no one else around, other than the person I’m photographing (which often is myself too)
How does social media play a role in your photography?
Social media and the internet in general play a huuuge role in practice, not just as a platform to share my work. Social media as a place where you can present a curated version of yourself and your life, a place where we give up our privacy; the need for validation in form likes etc is what most of my work is influenced by.
You could hang with anyone dead or alive… Who would it be? Where would you go? What would yo do!
I just thought of like 17 people, from discussing the revolution with Karl Marx to eating food with Dave Chang so…..I can’t decide
You can choose three albums to listen to for the rest of your life.. Go!
The xx – XX, Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return and Everything But The Girl – Walking Wounded
Who are you listening to right now?
My current playlist is titled “when you got the sads but also wanna be hype” and it’s basically lil peep, lil xan, juice wlrd, 6lack etc
What does your daily routine look like? Or do you have a daily ritual?
i gotta do my whole skincare routine at least once a day and I always try to make time to eat breakfast without rushing.
What camera(s) do you use and why?
I just upgraded my Nikon D800 to the D850 and that’s the camera I use for work. I always carry my Contax T2 with me in case something catches my eye. Most of my documentary stuff is shot on the T2 and Nikon F3 and for majority of my portraiture I use my Pentacon sixTL/medium format or I used to borrow whichever large format camera was available at school.
Do you have a 3:00am guilty pleasure snack?
Veggi pho from the noodle place on victoria and kingsway (they are open til 4, the more you know!)
Tell us a funny story about yourself?
i thought cilantro was pronounced kleen-taro. until like…. last year.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that photography was something that you absolutely had to pursue?
In grade 11 when all of my classmates knew what they wanted to do after high school and I was like well I got this camera and I don’t fully suck at it so maybe that.
Do you have a dream project that you would like to execute?
I usually work one project at a time so there’s a dream project right now that I want to get started on this fall.
Who are you listening to right now?
A mix of the “when you got the sads but also wanna be hype” playlist and Sade essentials
What are some of your favorite spots in Vancouver?
Crab park, joyce to metrotown kingsway, the arcade at metrotown and fortune (because i get to hang out with all my friends while working and also pet dogs)
What are the top five things that you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
Become a permanent resident in Canada or the US
Get into grad school
Move to LA
Get/find/make an opportunity to show my performance pieces
More curatorial opportunities
What’s one item you never leave home without? Or one item you can always find in your Taikan bag.
Phone, wallet, keys, Contax T2 and two rolls of film (1 color 1 b&w).
How can people see more of your work? Website, social handles etc
www.estertothova.com, bb.coconutbuns on instagram