Anne Philippi meets Petra Cortright

©Collage/Julia Zierer

The Californian artist, who does not only impress Stella McCartney

One of the most exciting new video artists from Los Angeles, who’s been cooperating with Stella McCartney for a while now, works with scarce material and old computer programs.

Petra Cortright’s Instagram account says it’s about “Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, DogsDogsDogsDogs” und Selfies and feigns to be one of the baddest IG accounts of the social media capital Los Angeles. However, the account and the person do not match. Petra’s face is very suitable for selfies, but it reminds me of a madonna figure and it blends with the fairy like perfume she is wearing today, on this foggy Berlin morning during Gallery Weekend.

Petra is too light for Berlin. Her whole persona. Her top, her skin, her hair. A sign, that she was born in Santa Barbara. A sign that she moved away from New York, because she missed the avocados. A sign that she didn’t get to grips with art school. Too much talking, too much theory, no action. That doesn’t match with Petra’s system. I can relate to the fact that she would move places because of avocados. It is an argument that counts in Los Angeles. It is a valid argument. From the avocado topic we go right on over to Uber and how it changed LA. What else? Snapchat, the new tech money and the ability of LA babies to use an iPhone change us in this city and in order not to get in over her head, Petra paints at home

Of course she is surrounded by screens there. By many screens, because Petra loves screens. She and the screen, that was a unity, right from the start. Her videos (on youtube) are moving selfies, long, torturous selfie experiences from time to time and they remind me of nightmares, I had, that deal with over exposure on social media.

If you cannot distinguish anymore whether you’re on Instagram after waking up or whether you’re just dreaming to go to Instagram after waking up. Petra creates these half dream sequences and somewhen they pleased Stella McCartney. “Stella called me and said, I really like your work” and Petra had one of these typical little LA panic attacks, that turn into greatest joy just a few minutes later and lead to big collaborations, that end in a cool creations: exhibitions, new visions of LA or in designs by Stella McCartney. Only Petra’s Instagram account stays unaffected by all that. There she posts pictures of her favorite dog, while asleep – she hasn’t seen him in three weeks, because he’s not interested in the new LA. 

Portrait Anne Philippi

Anne Philippi contributed to the Berlin pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Vogue and the German issue of Vanity Fair until 2009. She moved to Los Angeles, with a focus on interviewing Hollywood personalities. Today she partly lives in Berlin and published a book called “Giraffen”, a story that deals with the consequences of a so called existence of glamour.