Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'd like to share my directorial debut with you.  The music video for No Way North's Hanging Pictures has been completed and released.

It was an enormous honor to be asked to conceptualize, create and direct this video.  I struggled a bit with concept, with building my shot list, with multiple issues on set- because in reality I had no idea what the fuck I was doing.   From the beginning, I had mental movies playing and knew I wanted to recreate the images in my head, but I had no idea where to begin.  With an amazing crew, some of which held my hand from day one, and AMAZING friends who believed in my mental movies from the get go- I have now directed a music video!

No Way North has been amazing to work with.  I have worked on a number of projects with them, music videos, photo shoots and each time is an absolute pleasure.  They are a hard working bunch of very talented people, sweethearts, a ton of fun to be around and in this case- so trusting of WHATEVER I wanted out of this video.  I thank them dearly.  From meeting Emily at the Bigfoot Lodge to talk ideas, to brainstorming with the  guys, the MAD mannequin hunt of 2012, to building sets, breaking windows, sharing cigarettes, hanging frames to the point of hatred, TOO MUCH WHISKEY on wrap night,  getting to know this band has been awesome.  I hope to work with them more and more in the future.

And none of this would have been done without one of my biggest supporters, closest friend and maybe one most amazing people I have ever met and had the honor of them liking me too!  Sonj- Thank you! You're my sugar mama, You allow me to be an artist while you handle all the logistical shit I want nothing to do with, you believe in me and my talent, you push me to be better at what I do and live outside my comfort zone.  You told me a couple years ago that you would get me directing and I scoffed.  Well, once again- you were right, you usually are.

Thank you to Mari for walking me through my shotlist and for your amazing lighting and shooting. You, my dear are stellar! I loved collaborating with you.  You made my visions become reality, while being oh so patient.  You  worked your ass off in less than ideal conditions at points and I thank you for being SO damn good at your job!

Me with the band and crew at out official release party! (+ a dog)

I hope you enjoy the video!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Teetering Evolve: The Book Release

I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the response of my friends and family for my book release and signing this past Friday night at Mindfulnest.

I went into the night saying that if I sold 3 books, it would be a success.  To my surprise, I sold about 20 books, a handful of prints and some merchandise.

The amount of love and support I felt made it seem as though the last year of struggling was completely worth it. And even made me say, "Goddamn it's been a good year!"  I hope all of you that purchased a book enjoy it.

Thank you so much for coming out, showing your support and love. I am so grateful for all of you!

The release was held at Mindfulnest in Burbank.  This little spot hosts mostly Los Angeles based INDEPENDENT artists.  It is the cutest and friendliest little shop  with everything from art prints to jewelry to sculpture, handcrafted clothing, bags, pottery and so much more.  All handmade and independently released merchandise.  It was an honor to be included at such a great spot.

If you were unable to make it the release, Mindfulnest has 4 copies still for sale at the Burbank location. You may have no interest in buying a photo book, and that is absolutely fine.  But PLEASE go check out this store, I guarantee you will find things to purchase for all of your gifting needs.  And do us all a favor- buy shit you don't need from independent artists rather than Walmart.  It'll make the world a better place!

For out of towners- you are able to purchase the book at online HERE.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Teetering Evolve - A Book of Photography

I am so proud to announce that my first photography book is (finally) available to purchase.
Thank you again to all of those who donated to to making of this book  and those who have supported and encouraged me throughout the process.

A special thank you to Ade, my business partner and one of my closest friends for writing such a beautiful introduction for Teetering Evolve, and my mother - for many things, but in this case for being my editor.

If you are in the Los Angeles area and would like to come see the book, possibly purchase one, but most importantly join in the night of celebration, I will be having a book release and signing on FRIDAY, NOV 30th from 6-9pm at MINDFULNEST in Burbank.  I hope to see you all there.


For those of you that are not in Los Angeles,  You are able to purchase the book here:


Monday, August 20, 2012

I had an interesting and somewhat angering encounter at this past CPAW, and I’d like to tell you the story to preface the argument that proceeds...

I was standing in one of the galleries and overheard a young guy mention one of my pieces.  This photograph is of a masked woman standing flush towards the lens with her arms expended outward, palms facing the ceiling. Streaming from her palms are bolts of lighting, implying that she holds the power of her own reality.  The image can be viewed HERE.

“Is this supposed to be Storm from X-men?”
“No,” I replied, “I didn’t even think of that when I created it.”
“Oh, it’d be a lot cooler if it was!”
“Arguable,” I replied.
“How much would you charge me if I were to commission you to invert the negative and make it Storm? ACTUALLY... I can do it myself!”

He grabbed his phone out of his pocket, chose an app, and snapped the picture eagerly showing me the screen.
“Look! I am an artist now!”
“Also arguable.”

Somewhat fuming, I practiced the self restraint and impulse control I have been working on for the last 15 years of my life, and walked away.  Due to my position in the organization, the fact that this guy was obviously drunk and had this self righteous disrespect for art, artists and their intellectual property, I felt as though the best reaction was no reaction at all.  Instead, He will just not be invited back and be the subject of an in-depth intellectual debate.  Let’s turn ignorance into intellect.

The debate of art vs. technology is a vast one with many nooks and crannies of unclear lines and inevitably starts with the question of ‘what makes art?’ Is it simply a mode of expression?  Is something art when value is placed upon it? Or when it demands a reaction from it’s viewers or elicits and emotional response?  Is it simply something tangible that stemmed from a concept?  My answer is YES.  This hands down YES seems hazy when any Insta-app using-gramer is then able to claim they are an artist when the technical mastering is not at play.  Has technology made it too easy on some of us, yet created a vat of quicksand for the rest?

I personally, am one that uses technology as a TOOL in my creating. Being that I focus on the digital medium, the use of technology has given me the ability to create what I see in my head.  To make the images that stem from my imagination, but are rooted in reality, become a viewable and tangible piece of art. That being said, I am a supporter of how accessible technology has become, but I cannot then discount the hundreds of hours I have spent learning, experimenting and beginning to perfect the technology that I choose to employ.  Ultimately, I am a digital baby who has chosen to combine the art of photography and the new digital mediums as the foundation of my creation.  Should that be discounted with the phrase, “it’s JUST photoshopped! I can do it too... with my phone!”  Or is it the fault of these self righteous, narcissistic people who think, “if you can do it, I can do it better...with my phone!”

I am absolutely fascinated by the use of technology within art.  In the late 1960s a non-profit organization called Experiments In Art And Technology (E.A.T.) surfaced and made an enormous impact on the art scene by combining the efforts of 10 New York based artists and 30 engineers from the Bell Telephone Laboratories to collaborate in visual art, performance and music. They incorporated new technologies of the time like video projection, wireless sound transmission and Doppler sonar as a foreshadow to the future relationship of art and technology and indirectly launched the careers of artists like composer John Cage, Andy Warhol, and dancer Merce Cunningham. We all see the constant links between art and technology, and whether we independently like it or not, we HAVE to accept them.

At one point in history, the color blue was a ground breaking technology.  It was a near impossible pigment to obtain. Ultramarine could only be made using lapis, a rare semi precious stone that most commoners, not to mention starving artists, could not afford.  When artificial pigments were introduced into the art scene, artists were faced with literally, a whole new palette of choices.  This has happened countless times in the history of art, and is now happening once again.

Back to Storm-lover for a second. There is another point to raise when using someone else’s artwork as the base of your own.  We, as artists, use what we have seen and experienced as inspiration. Images are constantly floating by and through us which we build off of when creating.  When looking at the art world, I can’t help but see a never ending city constructed from building blocks: each block, or each creation, using the one before it as its foundation. Inevitably, art has started somewhere and grown. This is undeniable.  

What we see more and more these days is that every song has a remix, stock footage is manipulated to compile films without the film maker ever picking up a camera, and books are becoming collages, like David Shield’s “Reality Hunger,” novels are being created using paragraph by paragraph other authors words. What these few examples have in common is, rather than using the building block before yours as inspiration and motivation yet constructing your own individual block as an addition to the city, people seem to be taking and imprinting the previous block in a collaborative way.  Which ultimately then invites for that block to be imprinted again upon the imprint, then again upon the imprint, and again.  I read an article that coined this concept the WIKI- State.  Wikipedia has become a main platform for knowledge, yet it is able to constantly change with anyone’s desire. So how do we know that what we are reading is true?  We don’t.  When art is taken from one person’s perspective and creation, yet transformed into a platform for people other than the creator to manipulate and call their own, How do we know what is true with the purity of intent?

So Storm-lover, I ask you:  Do you want your voice to be heard and added to the city that is our art history? Or are you content with the constant rebrand, eagerly, desperately trying to mark some territory of your own?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This could be due to my age.  One thing I always said about my 20s was I am happy to have them end. Through a lot of fun, growth, amazing experiences, and feeling true love, I think that they have been a full decade about figuring out who the fuck I am.  Pulling out all the imperfections, not accepting them yet, But very rapidly being introduced to them.  For most of it, the concept of understanding how I affect the world around me has been hazy. The concept of not just going through life, day by day, reacting to the world, but understanding the role I play in the events that transpire.  The last couple of years have been heavy in navigating through that haze.

Slowly but surely, my demons make themselves more and more known. I invite them to show their faces and continue to offer myself, as in "This is me."




Friday, July 27, 2012

Time for an update...

I feel like so much has happened and I am not even sure where to start...

I completed a small series inspired by dreams.  I was exploring my own hesitation to really run, full throttle, into my dreams. Why I find myself less motivated than I want to be. What stops me from risking everything and going for it?
We all know the answer to this because we all experience it. Only sometimes are we able to identify what is truly holding us back. And most of the time, our actions or reactions, albeit subconscious, are motivated by fear.   This small series tells that story.
When dreams...
When Dreams

shift shapes...
Shift Shapes


To fear.
To Fear

Unlock Certainty

I also made some merchandise to go along with this series.  You can see it here.

I am directing my first music video.  The band is called No Way North.  I met Emily, the singer, on a film I worked on about a year ago.  My experience working on this film is better forgotten about and left alone, but one wonderful thing came out of it.  Emily was in the cast. Sonja and myself worked on a B-roll music video of a song that she wrote for the film.  From there we kept in touch and Flathead Films, Sonja's production company, produced a music video of her new band.  These photos are in the previous blog post or here - and the video is still in post production.  I will post it when it's finished.

Afterwards, Emily approached me to direct her new music video.  This was and is such an enormous compliment.  It is one of those amazing, surreal moments where someone sees, maybe understands and trusts my vision.  I am scared shitless to do this, it being the first time - but I am also so unbelievably excited, stunned, honored and... EXCITED!  We are considering shooting in late August.

3.  I art directed another music video a couple months ago that is now completed.  For those of you that aren't too sure what that means, it's been different on each shoot I am on.  Mostly, I am given the location as is and all the props, placement, set decorating and color pallet are generally my doing.  For this video, we rented a location that was already so beautiful, it was easy to put those final touches on it.
You can view the video here.

Just a couple stills
_CIP0199 copy

The book is almost ready to print.  I finally set all the pages, decided on the photos that are going in and the design, found a reasonable place to print it, and i'm set!  Except...
Writing about my work has been just as difficult, if not more so than the rest of it.  I wrote probably 6 drafts and none of them sounded like me.  And strangely enough, I think it's because I wrote it. I felt as if I wanted someone else's words speaking about my work and it's place in the world as well as my personal evolution. Although when I wrote in third person, it only came off as impersonal and pretentious.
My very close friend Ade is in the process of writing my introduction.  Ade is my 11:11 ACC business partner and also one of my closest friends.  She was one of the first people I took pictures of before I went to Nepal, she has been in almost every single photo series I have done, and she has an amazing view on art, life, love, growth, spirituality and in, in regards to my artwork- why I have created what I have.  I wanted ask her to write it for me, but was really nervous for some reason.  I asked her to come over and talk through my book with me.  I wanted her thoughts on placement and design, told her some of the reasons behind my desire to compile my touring, teetering and evolving into this book, my thoughts regarding certain photos and why they are important for me to include, and she offered to write for me!  So thrilled, delighted and honored to have her words grace my pages.

So just a couple more weeks and we're off to print!
Screen shot 2012-06-26 at 8.52.19 PM

Here are some recent portraits I was hired to do along with a headshot or two:
Hollis Hart - www.hollis-hart.com
Hollis Hart - www.hollis-hart.com
Hollis Hart - www.hollis-hart.com
_CIP0121 copy
Hollis Hart - www.hollis-hart.com
kimmy 3_72





I have 3 shoots scheduled for next week.  One of them being a potential album cover for a band I am a fan of called the Peculiar Pretzelmen, and the other two are probably my most detailed high concept ideas to date.  I am wondering how and if I will be able to pull off these ideas, but love the concept and story behind them.  I have learned that regardless of if the end result comes out like the photograph i see in my head, they will be awesome.  the most important part is that I keep spitting my soul out through my lens.  I'll let you decide if they are good.  And to be honest, it doesn't really matter if they are.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I have been pretty neglectful of my blog lately.   Partly because I have been busy, and partly because I haven't created any new work in a while.  But I figured I'd update you all on what I've been up to.

I began shooting for a plus size clothing company back in November.  I started as just doing their retouching and resizing for the various platforms they sell their clothing on.  Within about 2 months, I began shooting their catalogue and editorial photos.  Here are some examples:

My photos for SWAK

My photos for SWAK

My photos for SWAK

The website is flooded with my images. You can take a look here, if you like.

I have done a handful of headshot sessions within the last couple months, as well as worked on a couple shorts and music videos.  The latest was this past weekend shooting No Way North at the Salton Sea (one of my favorite places).  Here are some images from the weekend:

No Way North music video shoot

No Way North music video shoot

No Way North music video shoot

No Way North music video shoot

About a month ago, I received an award from the California Colleges Media.  To my surprise, I won 1st place magazine photo against ALL CALIFORNIA COLLEGES!  This was a huge honor.

Screen shot 2012-05-22 at 3.50.30 PM

 I also had the pleasure of creating the cover for Pierce College's student run magazine, The Bull, again this semester.  The theme was Heroism.

Screen shot 2012-05-22 at 4.01.27 PM

The last very important thing to mention is the progress I am making on my book.    Just starting it proved to be very difficult, and most of all scary.  Fear made me procrastinate, question and hesitate... a lot.  Last night I began going through all the possibilities in my head and on my computer.
Do I self publish?
Do I try to pitch to art book publishers and distributers?
But who the hell am I? Am I good enough to do that? or will I get laughed at?
How do I price my book?
If I am self publishing, the price to create 1 book is so high, I would have to sell each book at $50+.  Am I insane to think they would sell?
Do I go with a 20 pager or a 100 pager?
How many do I print?
How do I release them?
Was thins just an all around insane thing to try right now?
FUCK YOU, brain.

*GULP* The questions and insecurities go on and on.  I consider it part of the process- and the only way to process the fear is to just do it.  So I will.  Last night I began to sift through all of my files and pick the best of the best.  I created a folder on my desktop labeled "BOOK PHOTOS."  As of now, there are 57 images in the folder.

The other thing that stresses me out a bit is the fact that I want to debut a completed new series with the release of the book.  I have not been able to start a new series for about a year now.  Not only have I been focused on other things, like living and paying the bills, but I was forced into a massive shift in where my inspiration comes from.  The challenge has been getting back that fire.  I feel like I am almost there, but not quite. People say that with pain comes creation.  Not for me.  Through my pain I have felt stripped of any fire. I don't know when the pain will wilt. or when my fire will rise again, but all I can do is focus on progression, promotion and work.  I have faith that it will come. Eventually.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Getting Deserted

I have been out to the Salton Sea and surrounding areas a number of times and each time I find a different kind of beauty. I find that the beauty, for me, comes from decay. Since I have been taking photographs, I always seek out the places and scenes that depict a timeline.

My returning series is a perfect example of that.

We wonder what about this figure's past has him/her/it revisitng this location, or even the fact that the figures are floating immediately makes you wonder what happened the split second after the shutter closed. The story may be abstract, but there is an implicit message relating to the timeline of experience.

Metamorphosis was about emerging new from a previous form.

What I love so much about shooting at this location is I become forced to imagine what this place looked like before its slow and eventual death. Having visited The Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain numerous times in the last 5 years or so, I am also able to see the progression of this decay with each visit. I don't see what I have done as documentation of the structures themselves, but a glimpse into what it was and what it will soon be.




One of the many reasons I really enjoy shooting abandoned and dilapidated structures is the tones and elements that emerge from under the coats and coats of pretty red paint. The base of materials that make up most structures are then sanded, stained, painted, covered in one way or another. We live throughout these structures, most of us, seeing our nice white walls and what we've decorated them with. Once a structure has been neglected, the rich browns of wood and rust begin to emerge. And if photographed correctly, they glow.




Salvation Mountain is at the southern tip of the Salton Sea in Slab City. Leonard Knight began building this mountain from adobe and straw in the 1980s because of his abrupt obsession with the Sinner's Prayer- "Jesus, I'm a sinner, please come upon my body and into my heart." He has spent the last 30 years building his mountain for one reason and one reason only: "God Is Love"





In and around a The Salton Sea and Slab City: