We love creativity and we love boardsports so we were very excited when stumbling upon Austrian-based blog, Smile at Your Sister, a few months ago. Danny met Dani and what ensued was a wee moment of mutual admiration. These girls are making things happen in their part of the world and we love it. Thanks for inspiring us to get involved ladies!
Hi Dani, how is Vienna treating you today? Hi Danny, I just came back from Slovenia and I took some good energy with me. I have been at the first ever longboard camp tailored for girls. We had a fantastic time with heaps of motivated and bubbly girls from all over Europe. Speaking of Vienna, many people are on holidays at the moment and they left a pleasant quietness in the city. I kind of like that, so I find time to get my things done before I leave the city for an upcoming trip to the ocean.
Can you tell us about your blog, Smile at your sister…Smile at your sister is my blog inspired by girls who are close to nature and boards and who love to discover the world on these. Hailing from the Austrian Alps and growing up next to a beautiful lake I felt the need of a place where I can live all the things that are anchored somewhere inside me and that are hard to integrate into daily life in Vienna. I am thinking of snowboarding and living next to untouched nature.
Kitzi, a friend of mine, and I started the blog at the end of 2009. From day one we focused on girls that do their own thing and who transport a sensitivity through their passion and work. We got inspired by their way of living and hopefully inspire even more girls by giving them a place for presenting themselves.
The blog places emphasis on collaboration between other chicks who ride. What is the motivation behind this? There were times when there were just the two of us – my boyfriend and me. We did all the fun things together like snowboarding and surfing. I love to share my passion with him but as a girl into boardsports I often felt alone. The more happy I was when I met many amazing girls through Smile at Your Sister. Since then many great opportunities opened up for me. There are just too many interesting and talented girls out there I was stoked by and thought other girls might be as well.
What is the story behind the Secret Smile baggie? Smile at Your Sister is more than posting pictures and doing interviews. For me the whole thing gets interesting when it steps out of the common medium and when I start to create something real. Like us and the sun, a small wakeboard event or the afterparty of lipstick production’s movie premiere of “5 more minutes please” Maria and me organised in Vienna. These are the moments that set energy free.
As an art director I always look out for interesting artists and together with them I try to give rise to something new. Latest after two years there were all these grand girls we met on our way and that we wanted to bring together.
The first edition of Secret Smile was quite small and sold out very fast so we decided to make the second one a bit bigger. This June we celebrated our release with a girls mini ramp session and an exhibition showcasing art pieces by Crista Leonard and Julia Pott. The highlight of the party was a lecture by Jovana Reisigner who read from her first novel – watch out for this wild child!, and Kitzi played one of her rare concerts.
What comprises your board arsenal? I have a really cool retro skateboard and a longboard done be my friends Sixxa and Fee Bücheler. There’s a snowboard of course and I bought my first surf board this summer. It’s weird, but in the meantime my board arsenal is bigger than my boyfriend’s one.
By day, you are an art director – sounds like a pretty sweet day job to me! Can you tell us about other projects you`re involved in? It is! I like to be part of the creative team and to work close to photographers and illustrators. But I also love to get to choose from lots of different materials. By selecting every little piece, giving it a weight and adding typography I am able to direct the state of mind and approach to a story.
I am art director of some pretty awesome magazines. There is Indie magazine, Material Girl magazine, and Monki magazine. I am working with some brilliant people in a quite small team here in Vienna. And sometimes I additionally work on other projects like the women’s longboard camp or for example Ayokammzai, an art compilation that will come out soon.
I also studied design at university and after 4 intensely creative years, I needed a break from making and the creative process. Do you find yourself needing regular breaks? If so, how do you balance your creative focus with other parts of your life? I know what you are talking about. you can feel so quickly drained in this industry. The good thing about working in this business is that you can preserve your inner child. And that’s what I’m doing in times when I am not working as well. Every time I set my feet into an airplane I am getting pretty excited about exploring new countries and my perception rises a lot. And whether at home or somewhere else I just love to cruise on my longboard or to go snowboarding.
Where is your favourite surf destination you`ve been to so far? I fell in love with Cote des Basques / Biarritz this summer.
Words you live by?
Collect moments not things.
Daniela Bily is an Art Director and founder of the creative boardsport blog, Smile at Your Sister, based in Vienna. If you would like to contact Daniela for commercial work or just to say hi, please click here. To purchase a Secret Smile baggie, click here.
Thanks Dani for sharing your story and inspiring us with your creative and active endeavours!