Sometimes it just hits you, out of nowhere… which is exactly what happened to me last night. Just like how I try to follow my muse whenever it speaks to me, a voice inside my head (albeit probably the “crazy voice”) said: You should do a workshop for free, for those who could really benefit from it but cannot afford it. And all of a sudden everything aligned, resonated… I felt it throughout my body.Then the voice said: Hell don’t even wait- just do it for your next workshop. And I was like- oh shit, YES! That feels completely right! I got really excited and decided to sleep on it, just in case my crazy-brain was just being well, crazy.
And I woke up this morning, felt the full excitment of it racing through me, and decided to follow my gut. I am still vibrating on that energy… It’s. just. happening. So here it is. I am donating my services, time, costs and expenses to my next workshop in San Diego at my home & studio, June 28th & 29th!
Those who have are already signed up will get a refund and their seats are secured.
Those who want to attend, please only do so if you truly cannot afford the full price of one of my workshops. If you have a new business that you are trying to get off the ground, if you are an artist who wants to take your work to the next level, if you want to learn to connect with your work in a deeper way, if you are a student interested in working as an artist etc- this is the only opportunity to attend one of my workshops for free! Or please pass this info onto someone you think may benefit from it.
Donations are welcome, based on what you can afford.
Clearly, space is very limited, only a handful of people, and I will be cutting off registration once it’s full. So sign up now, here.
IN MY CONSTANT PURSUIT TO COMPREHEND THE “ARTIST CREATURE”, I HAVE BEGUN A SERIES OF CONVERSATIONS AND INTERVIEWS WITH ARTISTS WHO I PERSONALLY HAND-PICK FOR THIS NEW SECTION OF MY BLOG. THESE ARE CREATIVE PEOPLE THAT I AM INTRIGUED BY AND WANT TO LEARN MORE FROM. THE INTERVIEWS WILL BE SHARED HERE UNDER “ARTIST INTERVIEWS” AND WILL SOMETIMES BE IN WRITTEN FORMAT, SOMETIMES VIDEO. THE PURPOSE OF THESE INTERVIEWS IS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTIST’S PROCESS, HOW THEY FUNCTION, WHAT INSPIRES THEM, HOW THEY WORK, HOW THEIR WORK AFFECTS THEIR LIVES AND VICE VERSA, ETC. MY FASCINATION WITH THIS SUBJECT IS EXPLORED IN MY ARTIST WORKSHOPS, AND THIS IS AN EXTENSION OF THAT RESEARCH. WE CAN BE TAUGHT THE TOOLS, METHODS, HISTORY & PRACTICES OF ALL ART FORMS, BUT I HAVE FOUND THAT LEARNING HOW TO BE AN ARTIST AND WHAT THAT MEANS, IS RARELY DISCUSSED – BUT, IN EDUCATING OURSELVES AND LEARNING FROM OTHERS ABOUT THE SPIRIT OF THE CREATIVE MIND, THE CHOICES ARTISTS MAKE, WHAT IT TAKES, AND WHAT TYPE OF PEOPLE WE ARE IS ESSENTIAL IN THE DESCOVERY OF OUR OWN PROCESS AND IN LEARNING TO WORK WITH IT. THESE INTERVIEWS WILL ATTEMPT TO DELVE INTO THE TRUTH; I WILL BE INTERESTED IN HONEST AND REVEALING QUESTIONS, ANSWERS AND CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE WORK & LIFE OF THE INTERVIEWEES SO THAT WE CAN FURTHER TAP INTO THE TRUE UNIVERSAL MIND FROM WHICH ALL ARTISTS WORK. MY INTENTION BEHIND THESE EXPLORATIONS IS TO SERVE 3 PURPOSES: 1) FOR MYSELF TO CONTINUE TO LEARN AND GROW FROM OTHERS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF MY OWN WORK 2) TO EXTEND MY KNOWLEDGE OUT BY TEACHING AND PRESENTING THIS INFORMATION TO OTHER ARTISTS AS A CONTINUATION OF THE WORK I DO AT MY WORKSHOPS. 3) TO CREATE A PLATFORM FOR THESE ARTIST TO FEATURE AND PRESENT THEIR WORK. THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE FREE TO ANY PERSON INTERESTED IN THIS TYPE OF SUBJECT MATTER. EVERYONE IS WELCOME.
(Photos above taken on our trip to Santa Fe Jan 2011.)
1. How would you define your relationship with your art/s? What do you feel you have learned from it about yourself/people/life?
My relationship to life is becoming the same as my relationship to art. I believe creation is our purpose. I believe art is healing, and I believe life is always on our side even, perhaps especially, when it presents a challenge. The purpose of life for me has come to be an authentic expression of my truth, the truth as I see it, which is usually some kind of a question or dilemma. Truth is a process. Life is a process. Art is a process. Ultimately, we each have an individual journey, with an individual spirit, individual desires, impulses, and needs to grow. Art, for me, is the result of a choice to attempt to master my life’s expression through absorbing and connecting with others and information who / which inspires me, with an intention to create new life … touching other people’s hearts and hoping they’ll be inspired to do the same.
2. Artists often need to sacrifice. How do you feel you have needed to sacrifice on a personal level in order to truly give to your work?
Ha. I sacrifice everything and nothing at all. My friendships aren’t conventional. The friends and family I am closest to respect that my work will always be a priority, so that circle is smaller than it might be if I spent more time nurturing a lot of relationships. I love people, so I sometimes wish I had more time for them. Sleep. Sleep is often sacrificed in this line of work. Sanity. Structure, I guess.
3. What’s your process before you perform (music/acting)- do you need time alone? Do you practice incessantly? Do you prefer to be around people, or relax, get a massage, sing, stay in character for a while?
It’s always different, but dancing wildly is usually a part of my process no matter what I’m preparing for.
4. Do you feel like we need to take risks in art? Why?
Of course! Nothing valuable is without risk. We’re in the business of birthing what’s never been. We have no idea what will happen in the process. What we’ll learn, what we’ll lose, and what it will bring.
5. Who would be your ideal character to play, fictitious / real, living / dead, and why?
Oh man. I hate that question. The answer changes every moment. In this moment, Alice in Wonderland, set in the mundane aspects of my life, intercut with tripped out dream sequences. Hey, that’s good.
6. As a professional artist- what advice would you give to artists who want to make a living solely on their art?
Just do it. Do it well. Study. Know yourself. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to figure it out. Never give up. Life employs us when we’re ready. Be patient.
(Above left: 35mm film I shot at Sarah’s home from this shoot Dec 2010 / Right: On our trip to Santa Fe Jan 2011)
7. What is the importance of “truth” in art?
What’s the point of art if it’s not true? I say that with the assumption we all agree truth is relative, truth is purity, truth is individual, truth is love, truth is subject to change, but yeah, valuable art captures the truth of a moment and can make it eternal without concern for how that truth may evolve.
8. I find that lack of confidence & self-doubt are common denominators for the artist- How do you deal with it?
A large part of life as an artist is living with no idea what the hell is going on, and being haunted by questions like why do I care so much, why do they care so much, what does it all mean, why am I here, what’s my purpose, why did I spend every penny on my last project that nobody seems to give a rats ass about, what am I going to eat tonight, why did I take that money to do something that makes me feel like a fucking hooker, why can’t I just sit and watch television like a normal person, why do I freak out all the time, why can’t I sleep at night, why does everyone love me so much, why does everyone hate me so much, why does my mom worry about me, why am I calling my parents for money when I’ve already earned over a million, why do I want so much more from life, am I worthy… it’s a trip. Having said that, great artists have more confidence than most human beings if they have found their center and are unwilling to compromise it. It seems.
9. Why did you choose acting? Why did you choose music?
It wasn’t as conscious when I chose acting as when I chose music. Acting teaches me a lot about life. I’m good at it. It comes easily. I love letting stories run through my being and expanding my own life’s wisdom as a result. Acting is a ‘no brainer’ for me. Music is a passion. It’s far more intimate. It’s more dangerous for me. It’s exciting. I’m more inspired by music at the moment than any other form of expression, so I’m doing it.
10. I attended Larry Moss’ Actors Masterclass workshop with you, thanks to your recommendation and my name-dropping abilities ; ) You have worked with Larry extensively and I find him to be one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. What have you gained from working with him and learning from him? Why is he such an inspiration to you? And how do you feel his work speaks to all artists?
Larry inspires deep work. He demands a keen understanding of the material being performed coupled with an expectation that you take responsibility for your limitations as an artist / human being. He encourages his students to seek therapy so that they have full access to their instrument’s emotional triggers and awareness of their neuroses to better inform their process. He calls you on your fears, your laziness, and pretty much any bullshit keeping you from doing your best work. It can be tough to swallow his harsh criticism, but when you realize he’s fighting for you, you can’t help but feel enormous gratitude for his plight to create strong actors who are capable of executing the best material. I don’t think there’s anyone alive out there who is a better acting coach. His book ‘Intent To Live‘ is like a bible.
11. You also have a background in dance, musical theater, and debate. Do you find it difficult to choose which art you want to focus on? Do you miss one form of art when you have to dedicate yourself entirely to another?
I’m always wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life and if I’ve made the right choices. Opportunity / demand is usually the deciding factor … that’s why my journey with music is so liberating, it started inside of me, it’s not the answer to an outside invitation like acting’s always been. I’m grateful to be responding to callings inside and out, but, yeah, focus can be a challenge for me. I try to balance my work so I don’t fall too out of touch with one project while I’m concentrating on another.
12. Were you given artistic freedom as a child and how did that affect you?
I was given artistic freedom to an extent, but I did always feel I wasn’t good enough to just be and do whatever I was inspired to create time for. Creativity always seemed to be for the purposes of some end. I was always a successful dancer, singer, musician, writer, speaker, teacher, student, producer, but growing up I didn’t give myself much time to just be without agenda, which is probably why my path as a professional artist started with acting. As an actor the map is almost always laid out on the page for you to follow, and there’s a guaranteed pay check for the work you agree to do, but the product didn’t come from you entirely and is ultimately not yours to claim, which is not as satisfying, but certainly safer. Now that I’m an adult, my desire to create purely is what turns me on and it’s causing all kinds of turmoil in my film and acting career, not to mention my belly. Just this morning I turned down the opportunity to play ‘Penny’ in the remake of Dirty Dancing because I wasn’t feeling it. That’s a big paycheck and a lot of opening doors I’m not walking through … but I have to trust the right door is opening as a result. The door that won’t be so mysterious. I’m looking to live the life that’s just for me. Art has become a vehicle for that, but for most of my life art was the crazy train. Long answer, but there it is.
13. When performing live music- do you feel like you need to get into character? Or do you feel like you are just yourself?
Neither feel like getting into character, so much as opening up to what wants to come through me. Playing live music is about letting the song run through me, playing a character is letting another being run through me, and both require a strong connection to myself as a foundation. In both cases, I feel more myself than ever. My body is an instrument. I need to know it to play it.
My little brother just called me to say he was browsing a bunch of design & fashion magazines at the bookstore and stumbled upon a photo he thought was “tight”- and then he was like, that kinda looks like my sister’s company’s work- then he saw “Feather Love” as the credit and called me. Anyways, I had no idea our work was published in the most recent issue of Exquisite Weddings Magazine, but hey, they gave my company due credit, so that’s cool! Lovely photo by previous feather love associate photographer Moe. Cell phone pic of the magazine by my little bro Ben.
If I had to pick the most perfect sponsors for my workshops, it would have to be businesses that support arts & culture, and they couldn’t be more perfect than these guys… I hit the jackpot with this holy trinity. I am very very proud to announce that my upcoming workshop in San Diego is officially sponsored by:
If it weren’t for Green Wedding Shoes, and the many features they have posted of my work (that have sent me tons of traffic and business over the years), my work may not have been seen by as many people who are familiar with it today. GWS has catapulted my business onto a new level, and I am so stoked to be working with them. Thank you for believing in me and for sharing my work with your millions of readers!
Musea is an online storefront for photographers that I am really excited about. The Musea blog is also one of the most honest and informative online publications that deals with all the different aspects of being a photographer/artist/business person, and I am honored to have been interviewed on it. Michael and I have become buddies over time and I have so much respect for the work he does AND for the donations his company makes to water.org
Each one of these businesses/ publications has supported me as an artist and helped me in one way or another, to continue to put out work that I love. I owe them each a big thank you !!!
Nobody paid me to say any of this stuff above- nobody even asked me to… I’m doing it on my own volition because it’s all true.
More about my upcoming San Diego workshop here, and other workshops here.
In this post I discussed 6 reasons why my workshops are different – I described myself as not being one of those “rockstar photographers” and stated that I don’t believe in skipping the hard part, ie: the time, energy, and work it takes to become good at something or to become “successful” (whatever that word means to you).
I have noticed that so many people want to jump into this industry and become successful, good at what they do, and famous overnight. And I just wanted to say – fuck that — it’s not going to happen. It does not happen overnight. If you aren’t extremely in love with wanting to do this thing, if you aren’t extremely passionate about it, it’s not going to happen. If you aren’t willing to put in the 50-80 hours per week, or deal with the frustration of patiently waiting for your business to grow, or the time it takes (years) to become good at your craft, or the hard work and physical strain it can take to shoot a wedding, carry tons of equipment, shoot in 120 degree weather, the countless hours it takes in post-production to get the exact edit you want and the exact look and feel you want your images to convey, never clocking out because there’s always work to be done, the stress of not ever being able to fuck up because it’s a wedding — then you won’t make it through the time, energy, sweat, tears and extremely-hard-work-for-very-little-income-over-a-long-period-of-time that this job requires.
I don’t talk about how awesome it is to get into the wedding industry, I talk about how challenging it is. Because that’s the truth. Not that it’s not fun or rewarding, it really is– IF YOU PUT IN THE WORK. I have gotten emails from so many photographers who are starting out that want a simple answer or trick that will propel them into success overnight. Or people who think this job is easy. It is not.
It’s the hardest job I have ever had, and I have been a receptionist, a secretary, a barista, a cocktail server at a seedy strip joint, a caretaker for an elderly holocaust survivor, a courier, a driver, the chick who answers the phones at a pizza joint, a temp… I’ve worked in escrow, I’ve been a narrator, a web designer, a creative director… I’ve worked in multimedia, instructional training for the military, I was a graphic designer, I was unemployed, I was a full-time student with a full-time job etc… But this photographer job- as much as it has been the hardest job I have ever had- is however, unbelievably rewarding on every level. When you can get to a point where your clients trust you and let you do whatever the hell you want, when you can go through your images from a wedding and feel good about them, when you can become besties with your clients, when you can watch your work slowly improve over time, when you can charge what you think you’re worth, when you can get paid to travel to beautiful places and take photos of amazing people, when you can turn down a wedding because it doesn’t fit your aesthetic as an artist, when you can have the artistic integrity to not bullshit your clients or yourself, when you can make your own hours, wake up when you want to, wake up EXCITED to work each day, when your work can be appreciated by the community of bloggers and publications who feature your photographs, when you get to eat gourmet food on the job, have a glass of wine, dance with the bride & groom and their friends, make new friends, and make an income you can live on from it– you end up really really loving your job. BUT. This takes time and a shit-ton of work. And you have to love it and you have to be strong, or get strong quick. Otherwise you’re wasting your time.
To those who have sent countless emails asking how they can get successful overnight: Is it simply a post-process that will make my work amazing? Is it a specific piece of equipment? How do you get such rad clients? Is there some big mythical creature of a secret that you can share?– No there is not. This needs to be said: You’re going to have to work your ass off, and the rewards are totally worth it. And you will learn so much about yourself. And you will become a better artist. And you will create the career that will be a dream-come-true, but not because it’s magic, because you created it with your own two hands, hard work, love and dedication. But if you can’t handle the heat, the patience, the struggle, the hours, the stress, then get out of the wedding photographer kitchen. This is the best advice I could give to anybody wanting to get into this thing. It is not easy, and although lots of successful photographers make it look that way, it really is not.
There is no way to skip the hard part and get amazing overnight. There is however, a way to become a better artist and build a business out of it with love, care, patience and dedication. If you are interested in finding ways to do this, learning different perspectives and tools that will assist you in reaching your goals, and want to know what to do and what not to do, then I invite you to attend one of my workshops (next one is in San Diego at my house) because that’s the kind of stuff I discuss. I love meeting people who are passionate about their work because I am one of those people and at my workshops we all share that. I am not one of those photographers who pretends to be better than others or pretends they have their shit together, or feels disconnected from the people who have come to spend time with me. Quite the contrary, I make the time to hang out and that’s why I put on an after party to get to know people, I have facebook groups that are exclusive to the members of that specific workshop so that we can continue to discuss, share and advise each other, I run webinars after the workshop for those interested in continuing to get feedback, ask questions and I hand out projects for us to continue to challenge ourselves, improve our craft, and break our minds open. My workshops are also my job, and just like with weddings, my clients become my friends because I truly enjoy the people I attract in both of my jobs. Which is also why I don’t believe in pretending to be someone I am not. I feel honored that people come from all over the US (and the world!) to spend time at one of my workshops and I give everything I have to these events because artists and passionate people are fascinating and incredible to me. People who have attended my workshops have tons of great feedback. I receive emails from previous attendees who share their new work, new projects, new ideas, who now have the balls to face their fears and challenge themselves, and who have reached a new level of communication with their art which is blowing their minds (and mine as well).
And to be perfectly honest, I am terrified every time I do a workshop because of how insecure I have always been as a person, and how scary it can be to talk to a bunch of people, especially about something that is of the utmost importance to me– a fear I am always trying to overcome, sometimes it’s crippling even… but then I see the results from the attendees and I think to myself: fuck my stupid fears, these workshops are helping people, so I”ma keep going with it.