Artists To Watch: Natasha Ayoo

Photo Courtesy of: Natasha Ayoo

Photo Courtesy of: Natasha Ayoo

Natasha Ayoo is a visual director from Nairobi, Kenya, and a great one in the making. Having only been in the game for about 2 years, she is already making waves and leaving a remarkable stamp in the Nairobi scene with her keen eye and love for different aesthetics. She directed and edited the music video for the hit single ‘Spicy SZN’ by Vallerie Muthoni featuring TAIO and Le Ru, shot by CJ Pixels. She also shot, edited and directed Vallerie Muthoni’s other very iconic music video ‘Brown Suga’ and most recently took part in art directing Nviiri The StoryTeller’s latest hit ‘Overdose’. Get to know this brilliant 22 year old, how she started out and what she dreams of doing in the future.  

How and when did your journey into video directing start?

I got into video directing about 1 ½ yrs ago. I don’t really know how I got into it. I was just getting heavily inspired by different things and felt like I needed to create my own work. I was a bit unsatisfied with the visual content being produced here so I also wanted to be be the change I wanted to see.

What’s your favourite part of the whole process?

Damn, that’s a hard question. I love the whole process and how all the different parts come together in the end, but for now let me say my top two are definitely directing and editing.

How would you describe your visual aesthetic and what inspires it?

I don’t really think I fit into a visual aesthetic, but maybe I do and I don’t see it, - I’ll need someone objective from me to answer that. I am however obsessed and heavily inspired by anything vintage, like 90’s going back as well as Black/Afro art, pictures and aesthetics. Directors like Jenn Nkiruu, Solange, and a You-tuber called Taraola inspire me, their work has most definitely played a part in my own personal aesthetics and explorations.

When people look at your work, what feelings and thoughts would you like to provoke in them?

I would say, just an escape. I want the viewer to be totally immersed in the video because its beautiful, interesting and imaginative and just generally takes them somewhere else - to the world in the visuals. Kinda like when you’re watching a really good, well curated auteur film or visual; you tend to even forget that your phone exists. That’s how interested you are, that’s what I’d like to do for people.

Le Ru,  Photo Courtesy of: Natasha Ayoo

Le Ru, Photo Courtesy of: Natasha Ayoo

Having worked closely with creatives in the Nu Nairobi scene, what are your thoughts on creative and visual styling so far? My personal observations are that you predominantly like to work with women. Is this true?

I think everyone is doing their own thing and expressing themselves, which I love, plus I’ve noticed that within this past half of the year people are actually starting to care more about visuals and that they understand that it is an important aspect of being a musical artist right now. As for observations, all I can say is that I see a lot of imitation, which I guess is expected. However, I really love what Le Ru did with her short film titled ‘Hey There’ released earlier this year, as well as the visuals Loa Myst released for her recent album ‘WADE’. Karun has really amazing videos too. Women are just the ones doing shit right now it seems. I get approached more by women to work, I don’t know why, but, I think it’s just different when you have someone who understands you even just on a gender level and you’re working with them. I feel that way too. There’s never a battle of egos or sexes like there can be with men. Shit just gets done gracefully!

Do you have any other interests related to or far from visual directing that you would like to share with the world?

I'm interested in so many things gosh! Most of them are very mental topics such as Psychology and Philosophy. I spend most of my time learning and researching stuff like that. I'm also really interested in clothing and fashion as well.

I also noticed that you sometimes work under a different moniker,‘Vibe Tides’ for some of your other projects, tell us more about that.

Vibe Tides is basically what I go under and where I do my personal projects. It's just for aesthetics, looks and feels I put together through film, styling and creative direction. I have not been really active with it but I have some future plans for it that you guys will have to wait and see :) 

What is your wildest visual dream or visual story that you would like to tell and manifest through your work? Including people you’d love to work with and why. 

I really want to do a Vaporwave 80’s minimalist-futuristic themed video or film. I’d actually just cry. That’s definitely my dream at the moment.

How has been the process of visual directing and styling so far and what have been your favourite projects to date?

So far, the process has been amazing.  I’ve gotten to work with such beautiful, talented, and hardworking women and honestly, the fact that they are able to trust me with their vision and visual tastes makes me feel extremely grateful. Right now I would say that Spicy SZN is for sure my favourite project that I have worked on so far.

The Spicy SZN music video has been a huge success since its release last month. What other projects are you looking forward to releasing and perhaps some people you’re looking forward to working with in the future?  

I don’t want to say too much, so I’ll just keep it short. There are a couple of projects that I’m working on that are coming up soon, so you guys will just have to wait and see.

Photo Courtesy of: Natasha Ayoo

Photo Courtesy of: Natasha Ayoo

It’s easy to tell that you have a true love for film and all things related. What are some of your favourite films and music videos thus far?

For movies I’d say Clueless, Mean Girls and Into the Wild. ‘These walls’ by Kendrick Lamar, ‘A lot’ by 21 Savage (mostly cause that video was so cinematic and served its purpose). Also anything by Solange and finally locket by Crumb, that video is very trippy!

If you had to pick a destination/era that matches your visual visionwhere/what would it be and why?

To be honest I think I can work seamlessly in any destination as long as the resources are comfortably available to me.
Make sure you keep an eye on Natasha and everything she has in store from here henceforth.