Chatting with Eileen of Bay Creatives

WORDS BY ANASHE BARTON / @ANASHEBARTON

"I think you are considered an actual artist or photographer depending on how much of yourself you put into your craft. The more you put in, the more you become what you say you are."
- Eileen Syrop


At sixteen years-old, Eileen Syrop has started her own youth organization. She's a musician, photographer, artist, and a junior in high school trying to ace the SATs. Based in California's San Francisco Bay Area, Bay Creatives is an organization that brings together artists from around California and the world. We got the chance to sit down and talk with this bright mind.

Sitting with her ceramic cupped-cappuccino, she takes a bite from her chocolate muffin and adjusts herself in the cafe's aluminum chair. She's got on the coolest high-waisted white jeans, a knit sweater, and has her hair in an elegant pony-tail.

WRITTEN CITIZEN: So, tell me, what is your position in the organization?


EILEEN SYROP:
I basically started it. A while back, I came up with the name Bay Creatives when a friend of mine hosted a photography meetup and I was in charge of advertising it, so I came up with the hashtag #BayCreatives for people to share their photos from the meetup. This sort of caught on for future meetups, and I thought I could host future events using it, so I made an account for the name and spread the hashtag around. So far, I've hosted seven meetups, and now, I run its social media — Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

WC: What is the mission of Bay Creatives?

ES: The whole point of Bay Creatives is to represent artists and connect them through social media and meetups, interviewing various artists around the Bay Area and getting them on the page so people can see and collaborate with them. It's a grand scheme to get people promoted and have their work put out for the world to see via social media platforms.

WC: Why did you start this organization?


ES: Part of it is my own personality. I want to do the most with my time, and I feel the most fulfilled when I bring people together. First, I got into my own art and my own music, and I wanted to meet other artists, but I didn't really have a way to do that. I wanted to create a community in which artists know people are going to appreciate their work. It helps me be more selfless by going out and bringing people together, and part of it is doing it for myself as well because I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I know that I've brought people together. I'm inspired to keep on going if I know I can inspire other people.

WC: What are these meetups like?


ES: I make a flyer and I'll put up a date, a time, and a street or popular place. If you have a cool location, it automatically brings people together — there's a lot to see, and you have cool backgrounds so whether or not you're going to talk to each other, you have a cool environment to play with. It flows. I never start it with a set plan. If we're hungry, all thirty of us will go to a taqueria and get food. We just hang out, take photos, talk, and be human.

WC: What's the average amount of people that come to these things?


ES: One time we had sixty people throughout a day. (Laughs.) But we usually have thirty to forty people.

WC: Wow, that's insane. How old is the organization?


ES: I would say it's about half a year old. It started as a small event, but that was a catalyst for all the future events. I used to go to these photography meetups, but there was not connectivity within these groups. You kind of just spent time with the people you came with. That loneliness as an artist is what really inspired me to create Bay Creatives
   I was isolated, being focused on my own art, so I'd try to reach out at these photography things, and people would just not make that connection with you. So with Bay Creatives, I created an environment where people could connect with each other. It's kind of cheesy, but at the beginning of each meetup I do a bit of an ice breaker and have everyone say their names, what city they're from, and what type of art they do.

WC: Who do you consider the artists and who do you consider creative spirits?


ES: Everyone can be creative. But I think you are considered an actual artist or photographer depending on how much of yourself you put into your craft. The more you put in, the more you become what you say you are.

WC: What do you think about the art and culture in today's youth? Do you think we’re in the midst of a 'movement'?

ES: I think we are in the midst of a movement. There have never been so many resources to connect with each other and create so much. I can see people starting to experiment with different forms of art because it's become cool. I don't know who — maybe it's the well-known people on Tumblr or on Instagram, but people are becoming more inclined to make something and be something. 
   People have never had so much access to people's work. You'll see a lot of teenagers posting their work on social media. Because of social media, people will start doing anything they see first as imitation, and then it becomes inspiration. 
   Sadly, there is this whole generation of haters that think people are just copying one another. I actually see it as amazing that you're able to see someone else being artistic, and that leads people to experiment with their own type self expression. Being able to see what everyone's doing and trying, people can really experiment with self expression because they're able to see so much of what other people are doing.

WC: Where do you see Bay Creatives in the near future? In ten years?

ES: I really want to host an art show, and I've been focused on having a vision for Bay Creatives. I've been putting a lot of time into contacting other artists, interviewing them over emails, forming those into writeup artist-biographies, along with the picture of where they work. The big project is to have an art show. I'm trying to rent out a place in San Francisco so I can do a multimedia art show. If you're a musician, you can play music there; if you're a painter, bring your artwork' if you’re a photographer, bring your photos. As far as the meetups, I'm trying to do something different. So '’m going to be focusing a lot more on our vision in the coming months.
   There are all these other movements that are taking pace and are so brand new. Two years at the most and they die out usually, and that is scary to me. We are so focused on fads. Maybe this whole art movement is going to die out — the whole movement depends on what people need. 
   Right now, Bay Creatives has gained a lot of attraction. In ten years, I'd like there to be a Center for people to go. Maybe like an art gallery, so that if you need inspiration, you don't need to wait for a monthly meetup — you can go somewhere and see other people's work. 
   I don't want it to be a business; I want it to be a hub for art. I think it'd be nice to have different hubs in big cities across the country and the world, like in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and around the globe. I get messages all the time from people who want to hold Bay Creatives meetups in other parts of the country and even globally, so it all seems surreal to me. I mean, I'm still a teenager — I have a curfew, and I need to get my APUSH homework done, you know. Once I have a bit more freedom and independence, I'm definitely going to make the organization grow. That's why I'm focused on interviews, which is one way of expanding the movement without pushing the limits of a sixteen year-old.

WC: I think this is a great artistic solution to desensitization. You're growing up, and you're trying to become your own person, but it's hard in this world. That's why your organization and others like it are so important.


ES: I want to use social media to empower people. The whole thing about people being able to see what people are doing because of social media can be good to give inspiration, but it can also be destructive, because a lot of people have become obsessed with other people's lives. 
   After they scroll through a Kylie Jenner selfie, I want people to see an artist in their area doing amazing things. I want people to see what they're missing out on, to gain something in a sense. I want less idolization and more connection because people are becoming dehumanized. For example, I love going to concerts and enjoying music. It's hard because I look at artists as people who love their music and their work, but I'm around people who are going crazy because they’re a famous person. I think they are a cool person, but I also respect them and I'm not going to worship them as a figure. People don't look at people as people on social media. 

WC: Do you have any final words to share?

ES: If you are passionate about anything, put as much as yourself into it as you expect to get back. Stay true to yourself. It's hard to find your own identity, but you don't want to lose yourself — you're already you. I'm trying to find me; I'm trying to find my identity, and sometimes we forget while we're searching for ourselves. Don't let your life be shaped by other opinions in a negative way.

You can check out posts from Bay Creatives @BayCreatives on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and their online store
Catch up with Eileen @eileezus


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