Art Director & Photographer based in Chile. She loves crime books and in another life she would definitely be a forensic scene investigation scientist.

LocationSantiago, Chile
DateDecember 18, 2018
The meetup

Valentina welcomed me with some cookies in her cute little studio in Santiago. We spent the morning together talking and looking at some of her works.

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My studio allowed me to grow as a professional and do the things that my intuition has tell me to do.
Chapter 01
About the designer

Hola Valentina. First Thing first, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Valentina Corral, I'm 31 years old. I'm an art director and a photographer. From the early stages of my career, I worked at advertising agencies as an an art director for fashion and beauty accounts. At that time, around 2015 or so, brands were not really present on Instagram like they were on Facebook. I saw that as an opportunity to make something on my own so I quit my job and founded Estudio Cielo, a production company that focuses on producing social media content — mainly photography and stop motion videos. 
At first, I was doing everything myself, and I quickly became a photographer. In 2016, Instagram featured my work for a week and it gave me a lot of exposure. Thanks to that, a lot of people started reaching out for work or collaboration. Three years ago, my boyfriend quit his job as well, and we became partners at Estudio Cielo. We then got married and we are still working together. We really enjoy it! 


Color Campaign 2018 by Estudio Celo

Was it really hard for you to quit your job and start your own company? 

No, not at all. I'm a very impulsive person, so when something comes to my mind, I just do it. I always put all my heart into the things that I do, so maybe that gave me the necessary confidence that it would all turn out fine. 

I always have this hunger for new good work, and my studio has allowed me to do the things that my intuition would tell me to do. 

What is the main difference between working for an agency and working for yourself? 

The main difference for me is definitely my freedom. In Chile, especially in the creative world, we work a lot of hours per week. You start working around 10am, and sometimes you have to stay until late hours at night. It was hard for me because I had a little daughter, and it just didn’t make any sense to me.
I also got to grow a lot as a professional because I was able to explore and produce a lot of personal work. I always have this hunger for new good work, and my studio has allowed me to do the things that my intuition would tell me to do. 

If we take a step back, what led you to Design in the first place? 

I can't really think of a specific moment, but I've always been a really sensitive person. I always knew I wanted to do something that wasn't traditional and would allow me to express all my creativity. I didn't know what exactly. In my last year of high school, I decided to study graphic design. 

How would you describe your work? 

It’s hard to describe it, because I sometimes try to stay very conceptual, especially when I do personal projects.

I always knew I wanted to do something that wasn't traditional and would allow me to express all my creativity.

But, on the other hand, I am really obsessed with aesthetics in all the pieces that I produce, so maybe its a mix between “meaning and form.” Visually, I would say colorful, most of the time. 


Swatch - Pop it Up by Estudio Celo

What is the favorite part of your job? 

My favorite part is when I see the final image of a project, and it turns out to be just what I had in my mind. It’s an incredible and satisfying feeling. I always push myself to get what I really want or think its best for the project, even if it takes many hours of work.

Stop motion for Gregoria Cocina

Could you describe your typical day? 

Most of the time we like to work from home, so we come to the studio only when we have a photoshoot or need to work on some set designs. If we just need to retouch photos or work in our computers, we usually stay at home. 
On a photoshoot day, we come to the studio around 7:30 am, we have breakfast with the team or clients if they decide to come, and then start to prepare the shoot.
Once we have everything together with props, models, products and a little bit of music, we start the photoshoot. 


Gala / Story for Sickymag

Can you tell us about the project you're the most proud of?  

I always change my mind when someone asks this question, but right now, I think that it's this one campaign that we did for a Chilean real estate company. We had all these big, colorful setups that I loved. It was a stressful project because it involved a really big team of people, but it came out really good, and the client was very happy with the results. 


Color Campaign 2018 by Estudio Celo

I also love a still life editorial that we made called“Neon Baroque” because it was a big challenge for me to go out of my comfort zone and play with a radically different style. 


Neon Baroque by Estudio Cielo

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere. I'm always looking for inspiration on magazines, podcasts, books, Instagram, or movies. I am obsessed with Wes Anderson aesthetics, and I also love watching short fashion films. I also go to Trend Land quite often.

I think the most effective way to learn is to make things happen.

What do you do when you experience a block in your creativity? 

Anything that gets my mind out of the project. I go out with friends, read true crime novels, watch movies, or just stay home and do nothing. It's hard for me to disconnect from my work, but that's what I try to do to come back with a fresh eye. 

What do you do to make sure you are still learning and growing? 

I think it comes in a natural way because I'm always pushing myself to learn new things. I think the most effective way to learn is to make things happen.

What is the best advice you ever received? 

You need to work really hard and push yourself in order to be good at something. Talent is not enough.


Valentina loves to do things by hand - © Robin Noguier

Chapter 02
The design industry in Chile

How would you describe the design education system in Chile? 

I would say it’s not that great because the programs are very long and expensive. You must have a lot of money or take out a loan to get good education. I think it’s terrible. Also, in my opinion, it would be better if we had more workshops and less theory classes in design programs. We need to have more contact with the real world. 

How would you describe the design industry in Chile? 

The graphic design industry is small. We have more advertising agencies than graphic design studios in general. Recently, we had a lot of foreigners coming to Chile to work in the industry, and it's great because we have different people working in the industry.

Growing up in Chile, did you ever think you would become a designer?

As I said earlier, I never saw myself in a "traditional" job because I really wanted to express my creativity. I knew I was going to make something different, but I didn’t know what.


Key Visuals for Estée Lauder by Estudio Cielo

What is your advice for someone that wants to be a designer in Chile? 

I think it's very important that they travel a lot. They need to travel to meet people from other countries and have a broader mindset. It's important to see other things. Also, be open to learn different disciplines that enhances your work and start developing a lot of personal projects.

Who are some of the people you look up to? 

I absolutely love the work of LACEY, a director that specializes in fashion films and beauty commercials. Her work is gorgeous. I also love the work of Adrian & Gidi, paper craft artist duo. They are very talented.
I am also amazed by the work of a stop motion director, PES. Every time I see his movies, it just blows my mind away. He is so creative. I recommend to watch his film, Submarine Sandwich.


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