"Fontana”, Samantha & Javier Ronceros, 2011, Lancaster, CA 2011
I was asked a question just recently, by someone who does not make films, or do anything particularly creative.
I give this lecture in my class every year as the holidays approach, and we spend quite a bit of time talking about and working with this topic. I’ll share a bit of it here. As we all know, a good acting class should challenge you, open you up, and get you in touch with your emotional life. It’s the process of unraveling yourself to be raw, present, vulnerable, and exposed. That’s what the acting instrument is - a present, vulnerable, affected being, raw with truth. Our work is to get in touch with and master our emotions, so we can utilize, not be victimized, by them.
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Alma Magaña
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Makeup Artist at the Gallery 800 for "Elements of Art and Fashion Show"
MEDIUM: face and body paints
I have to admit I was a little star struck. I’ve worked with lots of celebrities but when I heard I might be going to the Vice Presidents home in Washington, DC to film him for a Public Service announcement, I was thrilled and butterflies took flight in my stomach.
‘The Race’ 2011, Burbank.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed and intimidated?
You are not alone…
This is the beginning of the season of awards, fall film festivals and lots and lots of screenings.
Living in LA we are surrounded by the movie business, and that can be intimidating for very independent filmmakers because, well, everyone is bigger than you.
Self-care comes into play once we are aware that we need it! Usually this comes from an injury or pain, or maybe a great instructor or director gives you a heads up about how to become a better you. Being detective-like and curious about health and wellness can lead you to some great discoveries.
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Erin Stone
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Her former "office" was at Republic of Pie and she has facilitated the creation of murals in and around NOHO
That “place on the other side of the hill,” otherwise known as the San Fernando Valley, has always held a stigma of being uncool or, at worse, the land where porn was born. Thanks to Erin Stone and the rest of her comrades at 11:11, 818 might very well become the new 213 when it comes to the Los Angeles art scene.
In September, I started a new beginner’s acting class, which I hold three times a year - September, January, and April. I love this class, filled with all kinds of interesting people, from all walks of life. Many (most) are pursuing acting and want to get solid, professional training. Others want to “test the waters” and see if they have talent, or perhaps have been away from acting for a while and feel rusty. Often I get an actor’s spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, who wants to understand the process and see what actors do and go through. Or, maybe a writer or director wanting to better understand and speak the language of acting. Sometimes it’s a sales person, lawyer, or someone who simply wants to be more expressive in their own life, come out of their shell, and explore themselves. It’s a great opportunity to explore acting, get in touch with your emotions, and discover your creative side.
Filming Man Eating Tree, 52 Films/52 Weeks, 2011
I’m the kind of person who can’t stop creating, even if I don’t write it all down and it stays in my head, which is actually more often than not come to think of it, I am always thinking about some new or old idea I have for a film.
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: David Estrada
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Lives there and enjoys late night grilled cheese sandwiches at Sitton's Coffee Shop on Magnolia
When actors act, they are in the business of creating chemistry, creating a relationship, and making it believable. Say you are playing a romantic relationship (which happens often), and you need to create chemistry with your partner. Sometimes you might just meet them for the first time that morning on set. What if your role is that you’ve been married for 10 years? That relationship needs chemistry and history. You need to make choices and create specifics.
My dear readers, it is my great pleasure to share with you the work of my colleague and treasured friend, Amanda Hart. She is diversified and successful in the dance community, from studio teacher to choreographer to artistic director and beyond, and her passion for dance makes Los Angeles a better place to be an artist for us all. I hope her story inspires your own, as we can always learn from and lean on one another.
The more you do, the more you do
Gustavo The Great, Angeles National Forest, 2011
A great friend of mine, who is also an accountant, reminds me regularly of the importance, as I am essentially a freelancer, of cultivating and maintaining multiple income streams. She is right of course, and while I would like to have a larger multiple of streams of income than I have at present, it also got me thinking about multiple streams of creativity.
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Janet Lamb
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Lived at 11911 Weddington from 1941-1949
MEDIUMS: Pen and ink, pastels, watercolor
I’m a spiritual person to a certain degree. I practice a metaphysical faith and try to affirm positive reinforcing statements about my life, but I have to admit I fail miserably at simple things like meditating and quieting of the mind. I prefer to say I get my “connection” and inner peace by performing my art. That’s because I believe I’m an expression of something larger than myself. And so it goes with Janet Lamb although she’s tapped into something at a much more sensitive level because she IS a sensitive, often referred to as a medium; someone who uses his or her psychic or intuitive abilities to tune into the spirit energy surrounding a person. Only Janet’s special gift is a constant communication from her heart center that is graciously and generously given to her recipient in the way of a symbolic energy drawing.
Daily Risks to make you happy.
“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It may have been.” Kurt Vonnegut
Let's face it. Life is risky business. We take chances every day and truthfully, without taking risks, you don't truly live… you merely exist. And the funny thing is you may not even recognize or give yourself credit for the small risks you do take everyday. Like crossing the street, trying out a new dish, asking someone out, or volunteering to take on a new client. No outcome is ever 100 percent certain and that means that any attempt at anything has an equal chance of complete failure as much as success. Including getting to the other side of the street!
Actors will often ask their acting teachers if they are “ready to audition.” Do actors also ask their coaches if they are “ready for headshots?” Is that a crazy idea? Personally, I don’t believe you should give too much power to your acting teacher. (Unless, of course, it’s me!) I do see a pattern here that’s worth a conversation. As with career advice from anyone in the industry, take it and muse on it; it may or may not apply to you. This conversation is based on years of observation, working with actors just moving to LA.
How does your warm-up support your goals as an artist? Do you have a different warm-up to meet the variety of physical demands you encounter or just one that does the trick? Have you spent much time creating different warm-ups for classes versus rehearsals, auditions versus performances? The reality is, your own warm-up could benefit you far more if you customize it to match your various activities and projects.
MEDIUMS: Acrylic paint on everything
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Board Member and Director of Public Arts Initiative of The Museum of the San Fernando Museum
I sat with Roger on his front porch in one of those stackable plastic chairs you buy at Home Depot. We overlooked his drought-parched lawn where the only green was a long straggly sunflower planted inside a paint bucket. The soft accent of climbing ivy clung to the wall behind us. Having met Roger on several occasions in the past, I knew he was a laid back sort of guy. But that late afternoon he seemed a little tired. And who wouldn’t be after working almost every day of the week for the last couple of months on a park project with a bunch of high school kids?
You see Roger is all about kids, artists, and community. He’s the roundup guy who brings together San Fernando Valley’s business owners and residents with public art. He started PAI (Public Art Initiative) after he hooked up with The Museum of the San Fernando Valley via Scott Sterling, an old school buddy and the museum’s current president. Since then Roger has coordinated several art related activities into community events in Northridge, Reseda, and Canoga Park as well as bid many mural and beautification projects around the valley including one for the Department of Transportation in North Hollywood. Roger’s most current project has he and his art colleague, Emily Goff, overseeing the design and installment of several hand painted tiled columns in Maryland Park, a once deserted lot in Glendale, with Daily High School sixteen and seventeen-year-old students. He couldn’t tell me enough about how pleased he is to work with these kids’ raw energy and vision; admitting he learns from them all the time.
While I was with him, I was able to get a quick mini tour of Roger’s art studio located in a guesthouse in back of his home. We maneuvered our way along a wall of wooden pallets being saved for a future art project and across an overgrowth of weeds and a low pile of broken concrete. In the middle of the yard lay materials for a shower room install; a mosaic of broken tiles; much like what he did to his kitchen counters inside his house. We then stepped into the place where his 2-D dreams are made. I’d been deceived by how small the building looked from the outside because inside he had built a long rectangular storage area in which the outside walls served as “practice” areas for his on-going mural projects. They’d been well painted over again and again, almost as if to look like large pieces of abstract art themselves. After seeing this, there was no doubt in my mind that this guy is damn serious about his public art. A great example of his work can be viewed on an exterior cement staircase on Figueroa (just south of the 134) in Eagle Rock where he painted his controversial Tai Chi mural. I have to admit I’d driven past it several times, never realizing I actually knew who did it! (Click here for more images)
Finally, I asked Roger about his personal art; work that seems to hover in the world of realism. I’ve often wondered why artists draw or paint themselves so I asked him about his self-portraits. Roger said, for the most part, it’s an exercise––like doodling. Choosing a subject such as him self makes it convenient to study someone without interruptions. For instance, he never has to worry about anybody’s “sitting” time limits or comfort levels. And his finished portrait doesn’t come without surprises either––like discovering a set of scrunched worry lines between the brows of the very focused Roger Dolin, a man dedicated to bringing art and community together.
Footnote: You may keep an eye on Roger and the kid’s progress at Maryland Park by visiting his Facebook page. Also, The Museum of the San Fernando Valley gives walking tours of historic buildings in NOHO. Information about these can be found on the NOHO Arts District or The Museum of San Fernando Valley's websites.
Finding your style & not being afraid of it looking weird.
Australian fashion photographer, Caitlin Worthington shares some of her photography tips and hints...
Caitlin Worthington is a 22 year old fashion photographer based in Perth, Western Australia. She is a graduate of the Advanced Diploma of a Photography course and has blossomed ever since. Caitlin's photos make you want to just step right into her dreamy places, she has a unique style, but none of her photos are 'samey' and she always manges to keep things fresh.
How did you get into photography?
I started photography by joining a few art sites as suggested by teachers at my school, I was contributing work to the sites by taking portraits of my brothers and sisters with a little camera that was handed down to me from my mother.
What do you consider your main style of work?
I would say Fashion at the moment, but artistic portraiture will always be an area that I hold close to me.
Do you have any routines when on a photo-shoot?
Hmmm, not really haha. I like to go with the flow, routine isn't really my kind of thing.
Where has been your favourite location to shoot at?
Definitely a swamp land in Perth that I found tucked away and hidden about a year ago. It's so beautiful, when I go there I feel like I'm not in Perth anymore. It's like another world and it's so varied for scenery, which I love to.
Do you ever find yourself using the same locations over and over? How do you discover new locations?
Yes, definitely! I don't mind all that much though as the locations are usually pretty unrecognisable in my photographs. But I love finding new places, gives my mind a fresh perspective with new things and light to work with.
For finding new places, I usually ask around with other creatives if they know of any where pretty, or simply if I find a place when I'm out and about I'll take note of it.
What equipment do you use?
I keep it super simple, I have a reflector/diffuser and I use my Canon 5d mk II with a 50 mm f1.4 lens. Looking to purchase the 85mm next.
How do you find and choose your models? Do you look for something specific in a model?
I look on agencies for models or models even contact me. I think most people have a certain beauty that can be captured, I do love it when theres something unique about someones face and if they're quite natural. But when shooting I think personality is a big factor, if I can't connect with the model, it will show in the final photographs.
When did you first start using mua’s and stylists?
I first started using mua's in my final year of study in 2009, when I did this I began to make more and more connections in the industry. I've recently in the past two years worked alongside stylist, hair stylist and mua's it really is a collaborative effort.
What tends to be the connotation of your images?
Have you had any inspirational people in your life that have made you pursue your career in photography?
Most definitely, when I first finished high school an another older photographer (John Woodhouse) took me on board and helped me learn so much in my career thus far. He has definitely helped me pursue my future in photography a lot.
Studio or outdoors?
Outdoors is definitely more my element. But I enjoy the simple and cleanliness of studio photography.
Film or digital?
Both have the pro's and con's.
Colour or black and white?
Colour, but I still love black and white.
Is there any advice you would give to up and coming, budding, fashion photographers?
Stand out from the crowd don't blend in, do you're own thing, have you're own style. Make you're own art. Also remember to make connections, the social side is just as important as the working side of it all.
We love her work, and find her truly inspiring with such a fresh mind. If you enjoyed her work just as much, check the links below for more on Caitlin's Photography...
Dancer Health – A World of Resources Unfolds at the Performing Arts Medicine Association’s Annual Symposium 2014
It was my great pleasure to travel to Snowmass, Colorado this past week to attend the Performing Arts Medicine Association’s 32nd Annual Symposium at the Snowmass Westin Conference Center. As an Allied Healthcare Member of this organization and a first time attendee to this yearly event, the pristine backdrop and collegial environment were inviting and beyond compare.
“Fitting In” has always been an interesting goal for the likes of me, a moving target of sorts. There have been times when it was all I wanted to do and other times when it was the last thing I ever wanted to do.