Florence Montmare it is an artist, director and photographer with an MBA degree, whose creative search has drawn her across the globe.
Tell us about your background, your life and your mission:
My mission is to infuse art and creativity into organizations and to empower women and young people.
I was born in Vienna and grew up in Stockholm, where I was raised by a Swedish mother and a father from Crete. I studied for a Masters of Business with a focus on Innovation and Design Management in Sweden. After that I started to have consulting work and came to the United States. I was quite adventurous at the time - I came with one suitcase and with a mission to stay. In New York is where I found my tribe. After starting up an advertising agency, I felt like I wanted to take more part of the creative aspects of production and I started assisting the creative Director and do graphic design and coding websites. I also worked with an artist Sam Samore, creating installations, performances, photoshoots, catalogs and exhibitions here in New York for a few years. I decided to focus on my photography full-time after graduating from the International Center of Photography and studying at the School of Visual Arts. Since 2000 I run my own studio practice as a photographer.
What made you join Kota at the Women’s Lab?
I wanted to become part of something that was in line with my own mission of empowering women, something that also had some larger cause: social change. I had already had a studio in Chelsea and the circumstances had changed so this was a great opportunity.
How has your experience here been so far?
The experience has been great! Actually, it took me a while to a ease into, first of all, the commute again but also to be in a space shared with a lot of different missions - being an artist and a creative I was used to having my own space. But I felt invigorated and energized, and at home, and also Jaana makes you feel like you can do anything. Even if you don't have a mustache on!
What are your plans for 2017?
My plan is to continue being engaged in creative production and taking on a new exciting assignments. I want to reach out to advertising agencies, to partner with them, to create visual storytelling solutions and to grow my clientele. Another goal is to set up this performance at the island of Fårö in Sweden for the Bergman week (the film director Ingmar Bergman) and I am also exhibiting my work there this summer.I want to have a couple events, such as my salon: I've been doing these monthly in the past, where artists and creatives get together, and extending that to also non-artists within the Women's Lab. I also want to do a couple more photo shoots here in the Women’s Lab space. I started collaborating with Khalil from Bonne New York a fashion magazine, and that's been really positive, so I'm hoping to do a couple more of those, and also the photo shoot we did for Christmas which was partly a fundraiser for Kota. I try to help people present themselves in a professional way, while still capturing their essence. I am hoping to have synergy with and be a resource for Kota and the Women’s Lab.
More about Florences work here: www.florencemontmare.com