Posted on 20 May 2014 | No responses
Here’s pix and my Artist’s Statement for the #selflove installation piece, currently on display at i am 8 bit Gallery in Los Angeles. The Grace & Ritual : Hidden art show has been extended to May 25th! I’m in town until the 22nd if you would like to personally experience the piece with me. Just reach out and holler.
“Art is not to show people who you are; it is to show people who they are.” ~ Brian McDonald
Everyday Objects Installation
- ARTIST STATEMENT -
This bathroom medicine cabinet installation explores the modern phenomenon of the “selfie,” a self-portrait shared on social networking services such as Facebook and Instagram. These photos are most often taken in front of a bathroom mirror, which is also the place where we typically have the most intimate of conversations with ourselves — where we confront our flaws and our mortality, and make the daily choice to accept or despise ourselves. (Or on some days, avoid ourselves completely.) The bathroom mirror is the everyday object that can serve as a sacred safe-space. It is literally the reflection that we face daily, the place where we confess our darkest secrets, the place where we act out our fantasies, the place where we pretend, and the place where we might discover our authenticity. Sometimes it’s a place we prop ourselves up; other times, it’s a place we tear ourselves down.
Surrounding the medicine cabinet are electric orange and hot pink flyers reminiscent of those wheat-pasted by punk and indie bands all over the East Village in New York City in the 80s and 90s. These kinds of flyers were a very familiar part of my adolescent landscape, and it was the easiest way which any band could clearly send their message across: “We exist. See us. Hear us.”
The flyer’s text, “But What Matters Is Invisible” is straightforward, but with a hidden homage — it is one of the original phrases written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for his classic children’s book, The Little Prince, before it was refined to what is now one of the most memorable literary passages, the grand secret that is revealed by the fox to the prince: “…it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
My hope is to create a relationship between myself and the viewer, where through shared experience, the viewer can focus on that which is truly essential. By witnessing themselves in the familiar setting of a bathroom mirror, but surrounded with the clear message “But What Matters Is Invisible“, I wish to evoke an emotional response — perhaps the realization that for all of our nitpicking at our human flaws in front of mirrors, in the end, our looks don’t really matter that much. In the end, people remember how we made them feel. We see truth with our hearts, not with our eyes.
That is reiterated upon opening the cabinet, where the viewer is greeted with the simple words, “You are loved.” Whether it be by your friends, your family, yourself (ideally), the higher powers that you believe in, or maybe even me (as a friend, or as a stranger), it matters to someone in this Universe that you exist.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
So much gratitude and love to gallery curator, Amanda White, and all the rad folks at i am 8 bit (Jon, Noah, Billie, Lydia and Matt), all of the participating artists, and everyone that came out to the show. I’ve said it before, but it really is such an honor to be a part of this show this year, thank you!
Love and thanks to my homegirl, artist Megan Hutchison for driving me to Home Depot and helping me schlep a wall-mounted sink and medicine cabinet to the gallery, and introducing me to the joys of dark-chocolate covered acai berries. And finally, thanks and love to gifted writer Theresa Donaghy for helping me refine my artist’s statement. Though I tend to be very blunt in person, I have a difficult time being succinct in the art of letters. Your advice is most appreciated.
Thank you everyone for your friendship, love and support.
Posted on 9 May 2014 | No responses
Tonight, the Grace & Ritual art show opens at i am 8 bit gallery in Los Angeles. This year’s theme is Hidden, so I won’t reveal much about my newest installation (titled #selflove) until after this evening’s opening reception. (7-11pm, come on by!) But in the meantime, here’s some photos from my art installation last year, the METATRON TIPI, inspired by the sacred geometry of the Metatron’s Cube. (See below for the Artist’s Statement about the piece.)
Thank you so very much to awesome curator, Amanda White, the rad folks at i am 8 bit gallery and the Grace & Ritual roster of wonderful artists. It is a joy and honor to exhibit and work with all of you last year, and again this year.
And much love and thanks to my friends Ash & Sean for helping me cut down and lug all that bamboo in their Volvo, and assemble this METATRON TIPI sacred space that made so many people feel, “balanced, relaxed and at peace.”
This installation project was very special to me, so my eternal gratitude to all involved, and everyone who came to see the show and graced the METATRON TIPI with their good vibes and loving energy. I hope to see some of you at the gallery again this evening.
: : : : : : Original Artist’s Statement on the METATRON TIPI : : : : : : :
Posted on 5 March 2014 | No responses
I’ve exhibited in art museums before, but this is the first science institution, which for some (birdbrain) reason makes me feel like a LEGIT Naturalist.
Much thanks to Sam Easterson, the Senior Media Producer of the Nature Lab, and all the good folks at the museums! And of course, much love to this little house sparrow, and all of the beautiful wildlife out and about in the Great Outdoors.
Posted on 27 February 2014 | No responses
I love dreaming. Day dreaming. Lucid dreaming. Dreaming up art I want to make, and photos I want to take. I live and frolic in the Dreaming most of the time. So I created this photo essay in homage to Neil Gaiman‘s SANDMAN graphic novel series about DREAM, the king of dreams and imagination, and his siblings, the personifications of natural forces known as The ENDLESS. (I do not say this lightly, but the Sandman comic series published by VERTIGO is one of THE greatest literary and graphic masterpieces of our time. If you haven’t read it yet, please do.)
As this project was slated to be published in Mash Tun Journal, a fine craft beer periodical, I enlisted Plex Lowery, the free-agent rogue comic book artist of KnifeXLife, who is also one of L.A.’s best bartenders, to design three cocktails inspired by the Sandman comic characters. When he carefully poured Absinthe on a sugar cube and set it aflame over a mason jar, I knew I had picked the perfect mixologist for this assignment. It was a Dream come true, as he totally got the concept! (As did Jamie, my awesome editor over at Mash Tun, who gave me the thumbs up when I pitched this random tribute to a comic book that has absolutely nothing to do with beer. Thanks for letting me run with it, Chief!)
I cast the beautiful and voluptuous Ryan Keely (of the Muff Said podcast and Playboy TV) in the role of DESIRE, as she herself embodies that inflaming emotion, and I have witnessed both men and women succumb to her supernatural powers of attraction and seduction. And that’s when she’s just casually standing in a room, chatting nonchalantly with people about comic books, animation and awesomely nerdy movies. She was the natural fit to play Desire. (Besides, who else could rock that epic chain-bra? Like, seriously?!)
Then I cast the energetic and lovely Megan Hutchison (illustrator of the fantastic new graphic novel, Will O’ The Wisp, published by Archaia) in the role of DELIRIUM, for eM’s hair changes color and style constantly, and she herself embodies unpredictable and delightful chaos and psychedelic randomness wherever she goes. Hanging out with her is always a deliriously fun time that often results in blobs and swirls of rainbow paint all over the floors and walls and skin. It would have been sheer madness to not have her play Delirium.
And though I normally dislike being photographed, I cast myself as DREAM’s peculiar sister, DEATH. You see, in the Sandman canon, Death is not at all like the Grim Reaper. She’s actually rather… nice. Kinda down-to-earth, nurturing, generally pleasant and perky. My rampant cheerfulness and relentless optimism is the bane of cynics and hipsters alike (which I suspect are the same), but I can’t even help it. It’s just my nature to look at life (and death) in a positive light. So I feel fairly confident representing the anthropomorphic personification of the unshakably upbeat Guide to the Afterworld. At least in this very loose interpretation of Gaiman’s beloved, immortal characters, whose stories I still enjoy reading to this very day.
The photos here are unedited, in color and without the title types, but still include Plex’s delicious recipes. (I drank all three cocktails, and they are LEGIT! Give ‘em a try!) To read the full article, titled Death and Delirium in Los Angeles, pick up Mash Tun issue #3!
Much thanks and love to the good folks at Mash Tun, smexy Plex, the rad guys at Tony’s Saloon, Ryan Keely, Megan Hutchison and my kick-ass photo assistant that day, podcaster and photographer Nick Ahrens (aka Robotpants). You guys were all a Dream to work with! And I might as well thank Neil Gaiman, and all of The Endless entities too, for continuing to inspire both my dreams and waking life. (Extra thanks to Megan for the gold Ankh earring to commemorate our friendship and mutual love of Dream and Death. She is also now the Keeper of all my Graphic Novels when I moved out of L.A. I am glad they have found a good home in your nest, Mother of Ravens!)
And with that, I leave all of you wonderful dreamers with a little ear worm for your sweet dreams tonight…
♪ Mister Sandman…
Bring me a dream…
Make her the cutest…
That I’ve ever seen… ♬
I’ll see ya in the Dreaming, friends. I might be dressed up as Death again. Or I might show up in spandex as the other comic book dreamscaper, Nightmask. I suppose that depends on you, and whether you’re a bigger fan of DC or Marvel. And exactly how much craft beer you’ve had to drink. We shall see…
Posted on 31 January 2014 | No responses
I worked on last year’s Mercedes-Benz Superbowl commercial and it was my DREAM assignment. I got to photograph Usher, Willem DaFoe, Kate Upton and the ever charming Sebastian Beacon, up close and personal. We spent a week shooting in Los Angeles, then we all flew down to the gorgeous city of New Orleans (which I promptly fell head-over-heels in love with), where I ate my weight in authentic seafood gumbo and listened to a lot of Concrete Blonde. PLUS, I got to scope out the sweeeeet new Mercedes-Benz CLA before it was publicly announced. (I am the first to admit, it is a sexy, sexy car that makes me wish my current auto lease would end already. Rawrrr!)
As if all of that wasn’t already freakin’ amazing enough, I also got to shoot the magazine covers for GQ, Architectural Digest, Details and Traveler for the Benz commercial. (I also shot a ton of hilariously epic photographs of Sebastian riding a white horse and wielding a mighty sword for the Vanity Fair cover, but they wound up using a video still for the final edit, I believe. I might post some of the outtakes another time because they are pretty amazing.) I’m still kind of in disbelief actually, because it completely melts my brain seeing my photography work in this context. CRRRAZY. Totally cray-cray.
I sincerely cannot stress enough how eternally grateful I am to Mercedes-Benz, the ad agency, my fellow NINJAS of the behind-the-scenes unit, and all of the cast and crew of this wickedly rad Superbowl commercial, for letting me live out my Annie Leibovitz dreams to the fullest. …And I didn’t even have to sell my precious SOUL to do it!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! From the bottom of my creative-driven heart, I humbly thank you all. <3
Now that it’s Superbowl season again, I’ll be posting a few more behind-the-scenes from this assignment in the next few days. Until then, here’s the video (directed by the awesome Dante Ariola)! You can also see the extended cut on youtube. Even if I hadn’t worked on it, I’d still love this commercial. (You just can’t go wrong with Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones — it’s one of my all-time favorite road trip songs, with the windows down, driving alllll the way up Highway 1.) I hope you guys love it too. Enjoy!
(p.s. Now that I’m a forest-adventurer-with-a-camera traipsing across the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, I do have to add one last thing to this post, which is: “…GO SEAHAWKS!“)
Posted on 19 December 2013 | No responses
“Can you jump on a plane at 4:30AM to photograph Edward Norton for Verizon?”
There’s really no other acceptable response to that question, is there? And hesitation is not an option on an assignment like this. So, about 6 1/2 hours later, well before the sunrise, I sped down Highway 30, rushed through the PDX airport parking garage, ran down the carpeted corridors, anxiously huffed and puffed at the TSA checkpoint while they leisurely scanned my camera bags, then in a last-minute dash, sprinted to the gate like a frightened gazelle, and by the sheer grace of the Powers That Be, barely made it on board my flight just before the doors closed, Indiana Jones-style. Whew! Luck be a lady, that early morning.
The funny thing is that the “48 Hours” commercial itself plays out much like my entire trip to Los Angeles, minus the karaoke part. I’d tell you guys more of my crazy adventures that week, but, I’m (as usual) running off to work right now, so perhaps I’ll save these tales for another time.
Besides, the first rule of photographing Edward Norton is… you DON’T TALK about photographing Edward Norton.
I will say though, he’s really gracious and very cool about having his picture taken, which I genuinely appreciate. It was an honor to work with him, and with all of the cast & crew of this very fun commercial. It’s always a joy and relief to work with such consummate professionals. (Also, the goat and ferrets were pretty rad too!) Much thanks to Verizon and the agency, and everyone I worked with on this assignment for such a wonderful experience. And I am so very thankful to director of social media videos, Adele, for believing in my skills and vision, and flying me out to do the job, when L.A. already has such an abundance of talented photographers. I feel incredibly grateful and blessed for the opportunity. Thank you!
Anyway, without further ado, here is the awesome commercial — enjoy!
Posted on 28 November 2013 | No responses
Though I’m grateful to be in Oregon to work on my ‘big picture’ plans and that I get to spend dinner with dear friends tonight, I also REALLY miss my family on the East Coast very much. I wish I was somehow there today to enjoy Thanksgiving with them too. I know I don’t tell them this enough, but they are in my heart and thoughts always. By some Christmas miracle, I hope I get to see them and smoooosh their faces this holiday season. (Dear Santa, I’ve been real good, so please put roundtrip plane tix from PDX->JFK in my stocking this year. Mmm’kay? Thx!!)
Love you dudes! Save me some Filipino food, why dontcha??? (Even though I’m Pescetarian now and can only eat like… 11% of the massive family party buffet. At least I can still enjoy the familiar and comforting aroma of some good ol’ fashioned home-cookin’. Garlic rice, drooooool…)
More pix from my last trip to visit the FamBam, on my candids Flickr set: [ EAST COAST FAMILY ]
Posted on 11 October 2013 | 1 response
So I directed this music video for art-dance-punk band Hi Fashion which premiered on MTV Hive yesterday. MTV calls it, “a pleasantly satisfying explosion of weirdassery to rival the videos of Die Antwoord and their nemesis Lady Gaga.”
Die Antwoord and Lady Gaga?? EFF YEAH!!! I feel like my job here on planet Earth is DONE, haha. Ok, not really, there’s still more fun things to make in this lifetime… but this music video is definitely one of the more memorable collaborative projects, and I’m blessed to have worked with such a great group of talented folks. (Weird side note, I used to work at MTV Networks many years ago, so I feel like my life has suddenly come full circle, except now I’m on the other side of the content-development equation. Wacky.)
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the music video as much as we thoroughly enjoyed making it. EPIC FUN TIMEZ!
PUPUSA is kind of my directorial homage to Hype Williams, and also includes many obscure references to random things that I love, like sacred geometry (we called the white/blacklight set, “The Temple of the Hyper-Cube“), sequences of threes, the neon TRON world, primary color blocking, comic book superheroes, tribal masks and Mondrian-esque patterns. I like to hide all kinds of secret references in my work, purely for my own amusement. (NOTE: You gain +3 points if you can find me in the Pupusa video!)
If I haven’t said it enough in my last behind-the-scenes post, I just adore this cast, crew and band. Love love love. The bubbly magic concoction of everyone’s talent and energy is what really makes this music video a percussive “explosion of dance, color and art drenched in a sexy, sexy sauce.” Just look at everyone’s faces, so much delicious attitude and beautiful vibrancy. Talk about ‘sexy sauce’. And then there’s the song. You know you love a song when you’ve spent countless hours sitting with your video editor in a dark room, playing it over and over and over again during the editing process, but you still can’t help but pump the volume and dance to it whenever it randomly plays on shuffle in your car.
I am so absurdly grateful for everyone who worked on this with me, and to everyone that’s been sharing the music video on ye olde social media sites. It was such a fantastic experience and I’m soooo very happy this orgy of volatile creativity has finally been released into the world. Amazing. From the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone. I will think of you all every time I eat a piping hot pupusa. Or M&Ms with my popcorn. Om nom noms!
Hi Fashion – PUPUSA Official Music Video
Director: Love Ablan
Producer: Lou Becker
Choreographer: Danny Dolan
Editor: Alex Scott
Music: Hi Fashion
Wardrobe: Hi Fashion
Makeup: Marco Campos
Dancers: Danny Dolan, Lou Becker, Maurice Harris, Natty Oliver, Jamila Glass, Anna Curtis, Kathryn Burns, Vera Miao, Rick Gradone, Jen DM
Camera Op: Jarek Khoilian
Asst Camera: Britt Ringer
Asst to Producer: Jake Weinraub
PAs: Nicole Miyahara, Jessica Jones
Special thanks to Maya’s Pupuseria in Lincoln Hts, and Jim Mahfood
Posted on 17 July 2013 | No responses
Three days later and I’m STILL reeling from our music video shoot for HI FASHION. It was (and is) a cosmic explosion of dance and music and visual expression. BOOOOOOOOOOOM! And a new, interstellar nebulae was born in the chaos, and expands into the ether of space… I really have no way to articulate the whole experience in words. I can’t even. I can’t. But this LOLcat kindaaaa sez it all:
There was just SO MUCH… EPIC-ness. The costumes and color palettes are like a cross between X-Men vs Thundercats vs TRON. There’s sacred geometry, graffiti street art, neon blacklight, war paint, confetti canons, and slow-motion fringe in the wind. My brain can’t even process it all yet. My pupils dilate to Anime-size every time I review the footage, it’s all so absurdly wonderful. On playback, you can actually hear me going, “WTF!!!! OMG!!! WTFFFKKKKKK??!!!!” and everyone else on-set (especially Rick, haha) just moaning and hollering in ecstatic delight. So good.
I’m also still reeling from the sheer tidal wave force of incredible talent and creative energy that every single person brought to set. Everyone and every thing was on point. The hair, make-up, wardrobe, choreography, sets, props, camera, lights, food, location, rentals, setting up, wrapping up, ALL of it. The entire production went so smoothly, I couldn’t have asked for a more efficient team. And the performers and dancers, goodness gracious, they BROUGHT IT. There was twerking, there was freaking, there was krumping, there was fan dancing, there was twitching seizures, there was kinetic movement that defies definition. And the outfits are INSANE, so put all of that together, and it’s just total sensory overload.
I am truly blessed to have worked with such a passionate and professional team of creative people on this music video. SOOOO MUCH LOVE, THANKS & HOTTT PUPUSAS to: Jen DM, Rick, Lou, Danny, Marco, Jake, Jarek, Britt, Natty, Jam, Maurice, Anna, Kate, Vera, Jessica and Alex. You guys all rock my stripe-y socks off, and I am so grateful for your time and talents, and your beautiful existence in this grand Universe. Everyone’s good vibes and high-energy just made the shoot so much fun, and I think it’s gonna show in the final cut of the music video. Lightning in a bottle, my dear friends. WE HAZ IT. ^_^
And so… now I’m off to hunker down in the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego to make my key selects and begin the editing process with our awesome editor, Alexandria Scott. We’re planning for a Fall release. Until then, here’s some of my behind-the-scenes iPhone pix. You can also look up #theworldofhifashion on Instagram for everyone’s photos from on-set.
Crazy, right??? Wait ’til you see all of this madness set to fantastic music! It’s gonna be… intense. I can’t wait to share it with you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
p.s. This is how fun it was on set. Because even though we had a girrrrrlzillion things to do all at once, we still had time to get a soft shoe in. (I <3 these boys so much!!!)
Posted on 14 May 2013 | No responses
Normally when I post a portrait I’ve shot, I’ll include an anecdote about how I met this person, or notes about their talents and projects. But Cisco… Cisco is a mysterious guy. I will respect his request to keep his work and secret identity under wraps, for now.
He can out-quote me on Barney Stinson sayings, which is impressive. That’s about all I am free to say. But since a picture’s worth a thousand words, I’m throwing in a couple of outtake photos from our Griffith Observatory shoot instead.
Thanks, Cisco, for a good photo shoot day at the Observatory. And for suiting up and chillin’ with me at the L.A. Ink Stains book release. That party was, as Barney Stinson once said, “legen…wait-for-it……………dary“. #virtualhighfives