Love Letter to Juliana Giraffe

 A woman wearing a black dress with rectangles stitched into it stands before a pink wall with a stagelight focused on her, casting a long black shadow behind her. The same pattern on her dress is framed and hung on the wall behind her.
Giraffe Studios, Audition for a Role in my Own Life (film still)

I first learned about Juliana Giraffe through her band Midnight Sister. Their first record, Saturn Over Sunset, offers a series of brilliant, uncomplicated, light-catching character studies. Shortly after discovering that album, I found Giraffe’s other gems and realized how fluidly she shape shifts between genres. All at once, she is a musician, mime, photographer, cinematographer. She builds these visual worlds with her sister, Nicky, as Giraffe Studios in Los Angeles.

Her surreal and vibrant filmmaking evokes a color-blocked noir. Both musical and visual, Giraffe creates worlds equally fearless and droll. It doesn’t seem like she has any self-constructed limits. As a person who is constantly limiting myself, I admire Giraffe’s tenacity. Perhaps I could’ve absorbed more of that diligence if I had listened more closely to a line in the final song of Saturn Over Sunset, where Giraffe croons, unafraid and ruminative: “What a shame it is / to have fears that are ten feet tall.” 

Giraffe towers over fear. She laughs into its shadowy meadows in Midnight Sister’s recent second album, Painting The Roses, and cuts through its canvas in Giraffe Studios with wide, radiant strokes of color. Giraffe is building a world of both sight and sound that shimmers with a story behind every shade.

Author: JB Bergin

JB Bergin (they/them) is a writer, film photographer, and musician currently living on occupied Lipan Apache, Tonkawa, Sana, and Comanche lands in so-called Austin, TX.