Tag Archives: New York City

Artist Feature: Joanna Poz-Molesky

Joanna Poz-Molesky

JUNTOS addresses the need for human connections to inspire one another to create positive change and simultaneously to heal suffering…By using community outreach in art, I hope to offer expression, inspiration, healing, sharing, and most importantly, love.

– Joanna Poz-Molesky

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

JPM: I was born in Berkeley, California and currently reside in Oakland. Although I spent most of my life there, I’ve also lived in Guatemala and New York City. 

I recognize that as artists, we all share part of our story and message. I was born into a bi-cultural household – my father a Maya from a rural village in the Guatemalan highlands who finished high school, my mother an ex-nun with her Ph.D from a middle-class San Francisco family. I realize that as a bi-cultural woman, life presents me with wonderful opportunities to experience the richness and understandings of various heritages as well as offers me possibilities to communicate with these cultures. I recognize art as my way of celebrating my heritage as well as sharing my knowledge, especially with those living in isolation.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

JPM: I really do believe that if anything has a chance to create a more peaceful world, it’s art. We don’t decide to be artists: we are called. Our voices are all so different – each stemming from past experiences, how we view our environment, time we share with individuals, and cultures we are surrounded by – but each voice speaks to its own truth. We have a responsibility to respond to hate, violence, and pain we humans bring this world. If we use our varying voices to speak to these issues, we shine light that becomes truth and beauty. I have come to recognize artists as therapists for the soul, spiritual versions of chiropractors. Art is healing and we are its vessel. Sometimes, we too are the ones that are in need of this healing and when we create and share, we gain strength and knowledge.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

JPM: My work is not an individual piece of art. I founded and direct JUNTOS Collective – a non-profit dance company that empowers individuals and inspires community building across national boundaries with a strong focus in Latin America through teaching, learning, and exchanging dance.

JUNTOS Collective

JUNTOS Collective

JUNTOS addresses the need for human connections to inspire one another to create positive change and simultaneously to heal suffering. It is the first collective comprised of university students at various competitive dance conservatories dedicated to creating community across international borders through dance. In partnering with various communities in Central America and the United States, JUNTOS introduces an innovative method in which participants maintain and strengthen national and international relationships while encouraging individuals to become persons serving others. JUNTOS recognizes the many problems humanity faces and attempts to reconcile differences, offering a new method to create change.

JUNTOS Collective

JUNTOS Collective

By using community outreach in art, I hope to offer expression, inspiration, healing, sharing, and most importantly, love. Being in love does not consist of loving everything; being in love with life and with what you do exerts kindness, imagination, drive, how you live your life and can lead to a compassionate and honest world. I propose to offer a piece of this love with my company. I hope to inspire others to share love, weave communities, people, and differences together to create a more peaceful world.

JUNTOS Collective

Who or what inspires you?

Continue reading

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Annie Rigney

Annie Rigney

[As a dancer] I enjoy putting myself in physical situations where I’m not sure how my body will respond. For example, allowing myself to be perpetually off balance, no matter how subtly,  in order to be in a constant state of fall and recovery, where each action that follows is a response to the previous one.

– Annie Rigney

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AR: I grew up in Berkeley, California on sunshine, meyer lemons, and an infinite number of ballet classes. I majored in dance performance and choreography at SUNY Purchase, in New York and after graduating, moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, to follow my dreams of dancing with the Batsheva Ensemble. This led me to a contract with Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack Dance Company, the following year, with whom I had the opportunity to tour and travel the world. We performed in theaters in Israel, Norway, Macau, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador, Japan, Malta and the U.S.. After almost 4 years abroad, I’m finally back living in Brooklyn, New York, a place that is home to many of the people I love.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AR: I think that reflection and response are the essence of the artistic process. An artist reflects on his or her experiences and feelings, and then funnels them through whatever medium he or she chooses, be it music or paint or movement, in order to create a piece of work: a response.

What interests me most about this question, is understanding the ways in which I use reflection and response in my body when I dance. When I think of the word “Response”, I think of my nervous system and my sensory system and how they respond to stimuli. How this response of the nervous system creates an instantaneous action; a movement. I’m interested in making myself available for things to happen to me when I move– for my body parts to affect and respond to each other. For example, if I rotate my forearm far enough, the rotation of the shoulder and the twisting of my spine are both almost inevitable responses. It’s a chain of events that happens out of necessity. I enjoy putting myself in physical situations where I’m not sure how my body will respond. For example, allowing myself to be perpetually off balance, no matter how subtly,  in order to be in a constant state of fall and recovery, where each action that follows is a response to the previous one.

Similarly, “reflection” can be a look back or a processing of something that has already occurred, but it has another meaning–it can be an echo. The act of reflection in sound is when a sound wave bounces off of a surface and returns. Movement can behave in the same way. It can create an echo. I’m interested in riding this echo; listening to the memory and resonance of an action in my body and allowing my whole sensory system to process it. I often ask myself “What does the movement feel like?” while I’m performing, to help keep me in the moment. Cold, tense, empty, sweaty, or powerful, these are all physical sensations that have abstract connections to emotion. I guess the ultimate point of it all in dance, is that an audience gets an emotional response to viewing the physical events happening within the body of the performer. Ideally, it makes the viewer feel something. Feel alive.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AR: I’m in the very early stages of a solo for myself…it’s untitled at the moment.  After becoming so deeply embedded in the community and aesthetic of Israeli modern dance, I now find myself back in New York, with an ocean separating me from the dancers and people who formed and defined most of my professional career thus far. Now I feel I can begin the real process of reflection. From this distance, I can decide what in my dancing I want to hold on to and take with me. What was someone else’s vision of me, and what is my own? I think in the research for this solo, I’m trying to understand myself in this new context of NYC. How will I chose to move, now that I am filled with  knowledge that I didn’t have 4 years ago, last time I was New York? It will be a solo about sorting and searching and re-searching. Unwinding myself and my habits or familiarities. The time I’m spending in the studio is really just an exploration of how I want to move now. I hope that the solo will be some sort of  response or answer to the questions I’m posing for myself. But we’ll see! I’m more interested in what I don’t know yet…

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

AR: I’ve been working as a practitioner in a method of therapeutic bodywork called the Ilan Lev Method. I am very excited to introduce the Ilan Lev method to New York as it’s mostly being practiced in Israel and is fairly unknown over here. I fell in love with the work during my time in Israel, and I find it to be revolutionary in the way that it can help people who are suffering from pain, as well as being a source of never-ending inspiration for my work as a dancer and choreographer.

Annie Rigney - Ilan Lev

In the method, we use gentle movement to create a rich and thoughtful dialogue between the patient and the practitioner. In this way, new maps and pathways are formed between the body parts and movement is restored to parts of the body where communication was cut off or blocked, due to pain, injury, or emotional obstacles. From Ilan, my teacher, I learned that the body has immense capabilities to heal itself, that pain is not an enemy but an indicator that there is a problem, and that movement can surpass physical limitations, break down emotional barriers and undo old patterns or habits. The possibilities are endless when you learn to let go, and when you release yourself into mess (“Ballagan” in Hebrew) and chaos. From chaos we can find the things we didn’t even know we didn’t know; a possibility will arise that wasn’t there before, a possibility that is usually the solution to the pain. The method has also taught me the value of laziness—something that many years of dance instruction was specifically designed to combat. Now I understand that laziness is a wonderful tool we possess to actually become more efficient. To do less, and with less effort, and to get bigger results. It’s something that’s very important to hold on to and remember in a city as busy and hectic as New York.

I recently started dancing for LeeSaar the Company, and I’m happy to see where it will take me. Lee Sher and Saar Harari are a couple of Israeli choreographers who started a dance company in Israel, and in 2004, brought their company here to New York. Beginning to work for Lee and Saar has made many things in my life come full circle. I left New York immediately after graduating to dance with the Batsheva Ensemble, where they train in Gaga- a movement language rooted in sensation-based improvisation, with no mirrors and no pre-determined form. When I joined Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack Dance Company, the work took me into a different direction entirely. Pinto and Pollack’s bizarrely imaginative and magically twisted aesthetic allowed me to explore my theatrical side. I found parts of myself hidden in mysterious characters and ways to stretch my body’s ability to tell a story. Working with LeeSaar feels like a sort of strange homecoming. I’m coming home to the States, where I can speak the language more fluently, and I’m returning to the movement language of Gaga: the raw and textured aesthetic that first grabbed my imagination and ripped me quickly away from the world of ballet. It’s a welcome comfort for me in this new chapter to wake up each morning and begin the day with an hour of Gaga- or a meditation on my bones, my flesh, and my groove.

Who or what inspires you?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Liz Borda

We welcome photographer Liz Borda to the Collective! We met Liz through friend and fellow photographer Lou Rouse. Born and raised in the New York City area, Liz currently makes her home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Her photography represents a powerful look at the variety of the human experience and the stories that stem from these images contain deep Reflection and Response. Liz is active with her craft and is working on several new projects, including a piece about a young woman in the Bronx and the New York Dream Act. Liz drops some dope knowledge throughout this piece. Make sure to read her ideas and peep her work below!

Liz Borda

Something may trigger me to reflect on a moment, my life and my work. As a result I am active or inactive in my response. Being inactive is a response as well.

– Liz Borda

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

LB: I am a born and raised New Yorker. I grew up in Inwood, Manhattan and later moved to Flushing, Queens. Both places make me super nostalgic when I hang there. I enjoy going back to these neighborhoods and hanging out in my old spots, I love visiting my friends and family. I live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn now and dig it as well. All these places have incredible energy, people and eateries!

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

LB: I feel like reflection is a constant ongoing thing for me. Something may trigger me to reflect on a moment, my life, my work. As a result I am active or inactive in my response. Being inactive is a response as well. Will you act or not after the said reflection? I ponder this more with age.

How does your work fit in with that definition? 

LB: My work ranges from street photography, long format documentary stories and essays to doing assignments for not-for-profits, organizations, to shooting events and portraits. I feel like reflection and response happens in all these types of photography. Theresa from a project named Ladyride had panic attacks for twenty years and she felt her learning to ride motorcycles helped her overcome this. We talked extensively about it and we reflected on that time. She shared with me how she changed her life. I met her after she overcame this. The images I have captured of her you would never guess she had this earlier problem. To me these images show her response to her fears now.

Liz Borda: Theresa Takes the Lead, Ladyride Series

Theresa Takes the Lead, Ladyride Series. Theresa Thompson had a twenty-year history of panic attacks where she couldn’t drive very far in her car or truck. She believes riding was therapy for her and the panic attacks stopped after she started riding. “I think most of my life and relationships I felt pretty trapped, you know, wanted out but was afraid to leave and so this was probably the first major thing I did in my life for me that I was pretty much in control. Started my road to independence.”

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

LB: I am working on a project about a young woman from the Bronx named Janet and the Dream Act as well as the New York Dream Act. I am looking to keep working on long format stories, working with more organizations as well as to keep learning and trying new things with my photography. I want to keep pushing myself and enjoying this crazy journey I am on.

Coming Out of the Shadows

Coming Out of the Shadows

Who or what inspires you?

LB: I am inspired by many things around me. At times it can be a piece of music, walking around the city, a show at a gallery or museum, people in my life or reading/listening to a news report. I love listening to Morning Edition on NPR.

Stoop Life

Stoop Life

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

LB: Thanks Lou, Vicken, and The Lifestyle for this platform and for featuring me. Much love.

Shout out to …?

LB: My husband Joshua Auckenthaler, he is a talented retoucher and photographer. He is my rock. He is such a supportive partner. I also would like to give a shout out to my mother, sister, buddies and loving folks in my life. They offer another level of support and cheer me on. I love them all to pieces! Thank you!

Check out the following links to keep up with Liz’s photo projects:

Reflection and Response.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Kinan Azmeh

Kinan Azmeh is a clarinetist and composer we recently connected with through musician Timo Vollbrecht. Kinan grew up and studied music in Damascus, Syria, and has continued with his craft in New York City over the past 13 years. Throughout his interview, he discusses various strands of Reflection and Response, whereby artists sometimes reflect on their surroundings and on other occasions work to idealistically recreate realities. However, in Kinan’s opinion, art allows him to access another world of emotion not readily available in everyday life. Along with his words, this multifaceted artist showcases some incredible compositions that display his range and creative vision. He’s released three albums with his ensemble HEWAR, a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne, and an album with his New York-based Arabic/Jazz quartet, and the future is filled with some ill upcoming projects including a commissioned flute concerto, film scores, and tours in Europe, USA, and the Middle East. Peep the dialogue below along with some dope sonic landscapes from this dedicated craftsperson!

Kinan Azmeh | Photo by Jill Steinberg

Kinan Azmeh | Photo by Jill Steinberg

Making music is an act of freedom by default.

– Kinan Azmeh

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

KA: I was born in Damascus, Syria, and have been living in New York for the last 13 years.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

KA: If we think about it on the most general level then we do realize that this is how nature works, cause and effect, action and reaction. In the arts, reflection and response are a little bit more complex. There are several schools of thought when it comes to the arts, one that says that the artist’s role is to reflect on the world around him/her, others say that the artist’s role is to recreate the world in the most idealistic way. I don’t subscribe to either camp; my personal philosophy is that we make art to experience emotions that we don’t have the luxury of experiencing in real life, some kind of fantasy world that is more complex than what is experienced in our daily lives.

What have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

KA: I grew up playing western-classical music in Damascus, a city that is very rich and diverse in its musical traditions, then moved to New York. That opened my eyes (and ears) to a variety of music that I enjoy performing today. I have been wearing different hats at different times, sometimes playing as a soloist with orchestras performing western classical repertoire, at other [times] you would find me playing with my Arab-Jazz quartet in New York, and other times playing with electronics and visual arts. I am now at the stage where I am trying to bring all these heads under one hat. I am working now on a concerto for improviser for soloist and orchestra. I do feel that music is a continuum and I would like to [replicate] that in my musical life as much as possible. I have a number of projects that are coming up including a commission to write a flute concerto, a couple film scores, and also a number of tours are coming up in the US, Europe and the Middle-East.

Who or what inspires you?

KA: I am inspired by what’s around me, my life, the lives of others and nature. However, the main idea that is occupying my brain for the last three years is home, Syria. Since the revolution began three years ago, I started to wonder about the role of art: can a piece of music feed a child, can it stop a bullet? Certainly not. But it inspires me to know that I have the power to inspire someone else, to reflect and to think. I am also inspired by the belief that making music is an act of freedom by default, which continues to provide me with the tools to keep creating. The piece “a sad morning, every morning” was written to commemorate one year of the Syrian revolution in March 2012. The title says it all, you get up in New York, first thing you do is you turn on your computer and you “put your hand on your heart” as the saying goes, waiting for the sad news to come from home (since Damascus is 7 hours ahead). The piece was written in very little time and it gave me the peace of mind i needed at that particular moment. It was also the first piece I wrote after almost a year of a silence.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Ebru Yildiz

Ebru Yildiz is a New York-based music photographer that we met through Adela Laconte. Active in the New York music scene, she breaks down the role of Reflection and Response in music photography/portraiture into two concurrent yet distinct concepts: a photographer’s effort to capture the musician in his or her response to/through music, and the photographer’s own response to the performance. She showcases some of her recent music photography work, talks about the process of creating meaningful, expressive portraits, and discusses expanding her craft with an upcoming project using a photographic process developed in the 1850s called “wet collodion.” Check the dialogue and prints from this artist steeped deep in exploration and creation!

Ebru Yildiz | Photo by Mitchell King

Ebru Yildiz | Photo by Mitchell King

In order to make meaningful portraits, you really need to have interest in people other than yourself; you need to have a genuine interest what they have to say, what their story is…No two people’s stories are the same, no two people’s feelings could ever be the same when they are faced with similar situations.

– Ebru Yildiz

Ebru Yildiz - Shilpa Ray

Ebru Yildiz – Shilpa Ray

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

EY: I was born and raised in Ankara, Turkey. I moved to New York-where I have always dreamed of living- the minute I finished college. And I started making photos few years after that. When I was in Turkey, I always preferred to go to live shows than any other club scene that was so popular back then. So when I moved here, it took me a minute but I eventually found “the” places to go and see music. I was always at shows, so making photos at the shows came as an extension of that lifestyle. After I developed a certain style that I was happy with, in order to keep things exciting for myself, I decided to take a little break from shooting live shows with exception of occasional shows here and there and focused on personal projects and making portraits. Right now, I think it is a healthy mix of all three.

And I am still in New York where I hope to live for the rest of my days if I am lucky!

Ebru Yildiz - Savages

Ebru Yildiz – Savages

Ebru Yildiz - Savages

Ebru Yildiz – Savages

Ebru Yildiz - Psychic Ills

Ebru Yildiz – Psychic Ills

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

EY: When you say response, I can’t help but think the other end of the spectrum, which for me is reaction. I believe being able to respond to things happening to you rather than reacting to them is a difficult form of art to master. Not everybody can succeed in taking the time to think about what is actually happening, listen to how they really feel about it and/or put themselves in the shoes of the other person before they decide how to go about it. I always make a conscious effort to respond to things around me but having the hot Mediterranean blood in me definitely makes it a challenge at times. I only hope at some point in my life, it is going to come naturally.

Ebru Yildiz - Jason Pierce

Ebru Yildiz – Jason Pierce

To me, reflection means to take the time to look at what I have done so far and going forward questioning if I should change anything about them. During this process, being able to acknowledge good as well as bad with all honesty is super crucial. I never understood why people cannot be humble and are so afraid of admitting negative things about themselves. These only show you are a strong person and nothing else. Either ways, I believe even the acknowledgement of the need to change is a gigantic step in and of itself. Being able to make the changes you think you should is a completely other animal though. And it takes time.

Ebru Yildiz - Mitchell King

Ebru Yildiz – Mitchell King

How does your work fit in with that definition?

EY: Well, I have never thought about reflection and/or response in terms of my photography but now that I did, I can see that it comes out the most for portraits. The photographer and the subject respond to each other continuously. People feed off of each other. If you are in a good mood, it is going to rub off on people around you, if you are not in a good mood, that is going to rub off on people too. So it is a constant flow of emotions back and forth. I remember I used to try to get a certain emotion out of people, for that reason I liked making people uneasy, and uncomfortable by asking incredibly private questions during the shoot. But right now, I take joy in letting the people I photograph just be. I become mindful of what they allow me to see and try to focus on those. So I guess it is kind of reflecting what I think they project to me back into the photograph, if that makes any sense. But everything is so subjective. At the end it is collaboration. It is my interpretation of what my subjects let me see. Regardless, I personally think that in order to make meaningful portraits, you really need to have interest in people other than yourself; you need to have a genuine interest what they have to say, what their story is.

Ebru Yildiz - Frankie Rose

Ebru Yildiz – Frankie Rose

Ebru Yildiz - Tamaryn

Ebru Yildiz – Tamaryn

As for live photographs, I think in those, I am focused on catching musicians’ own response to their own creation, of course that combined with my own response to their music. And like everyone else I respond differently to different music. I heard my husband talking about my work to a friend once; he was saying that he thinks that most of my live photographs are like portraits of those people who happen to be playing a live show. I don’t think I have ever heard a bigger compliment than that.

Ebru Yildiz - Thee Oh Sees

Ebru Yildiz – Thee Oh Sees

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Linda Wartenweiler

We met actress Linda Wertenweiler recently through some friends of ours in Brooklyn. Linda has been living in New York since 2006 working on her craft, performing, and acting on camera. In this interview, she discusses her journey from a rural setting with a distinct culture to the fast-paced and eclectic city she now calls home. She cites the importance of dedicated moments of Reflection to provide breaks in the rapid pace of life, and she considers the data gathered from Reflection as necessary input when Responding via the dramatic arts. Recently, this artist appeared in a 1980s-style horror short film, Imprisoned Souls, and is filming another short entitled Canvas, set to shoot in May of this year. We are excited to have the unique perspective of this active craftswoman who is consistently dropping dope projects!

Linda Wartenweiler

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

LW: I was born and raised in beautiful Switzerland (Amriswil TG), right at the border to Germany, Lake of Constance. In 2006 I left my banking career at “home” in order to chase my childhood dream: ACTING! New York City has been my residence ever since and I am loving my new chapter and my life fully!

Being from such a different continent, culture and being from the country side, New York has enriched my life, perspective, lifestyle etc. tremendously! Lots had to be learned, lots had to be explored, lots had to be understood, lots of adaptations needed to be made…. Looking back today to where I was 8 years ago…. WOW, how much growth has happened in me in this fast paced city!!! I am truly grateful and happy with every single experience and lesson that currently is in my back bag. I am looking forward to fill my bag with many more adventures and experiences.

The transformation from the banking world into the acting one was quite an interesting journey! My acting experience was very small, my desire of my heart and soul to pursue it was and still is super strong. Looking back on my growth and path as an actress/artist/human being makes me very happy and evokes a satisfying feeling all over me. It was THE PERFECT decision that I made back then!! “Don’t dream your life, live your dream!” is what is driving and pushing me. The future is unwritten, it will be what we are making out of TODAY and the NOW. Anything is possible if you believe it is! 😉

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

LW: Reflection definitely is a very, very important part of my life. It shows me all the colors of my past, it shows me where and who I was then, who I became and where I am heading towards. To me response contains sort of a reality check. I get to see if I am still on the “right” track or if there needs some adjustments to be made. In general I believe that whenever someone intentionally stands still for a little while and starts his/her own reflection process then it means to me that this person cares about himself/herself. It means that this person was running and running and doing and simply functioning without being aware anymore of its initial intentions. Or this person is focused on his/her way and is simply checking in if everything still is ok with what is going on. Sometimes we come off track because of many distractions in our lives or our needs and wants simply change as we do daily.

How does this definition fit in with your acting career?

LW: All the knowledge about myself is more than essential for my work as an actress! The better I know myself, the more I feel myself, the better my work will be as my inner life always reflects my outer life after all. As an actor you need the understanding of your behaviors first, you need to be able to see life in general from a psychological point of view. You need to have the understanding of yourself, your surroundings and of the whole world in general. With your own interpretation of it all you then will be able to use all that data in order to let it flow freely into your work. Reflection will be your helpful guide and director in order to grow faster if you are willing for this exciting adventure to happen…

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

LW: During the past few months I have actually given a lot of my time and focus to myself and to my inner world. Reflection was and still is a big thing in my life and will always be. So it is truly funny to me that I am doing this interview about this subject with you right now Peter! That’s just how the Law of Attraction works after all. 😉

One of my last exciting acting projects was the 80s horror slasher short film “Imprisoned Souls” in which I am portraying the villain “Jeanne Wrayy”. My talented writer and director friend wrote this part for me. Thanks to this character I had a true breakthrough in my craft and that character opened up a whole new dimension in my acting reality. It’s absolutely inspiring to me and I am now applying all the new knowledge into my work.

I just got cast in a short film called “Canvas”, which we will shoot in the beginning of May 2014. This time I will play a lawyer’s wife who is an avid supporter of the artistic community. It will be a very fun project that includes some of my talented friends in cast and crew. My other focus is also in taking new headshots within the upcoming 2 weeks and updating my acting reel. Within the past year I have grown and evolved a lot in my personal and artistic life. It is more than time to capture this “new” me at this point in my life/career in order to sell myself more specifically and effectively.

Who or what inspires you?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Perry Young

Perry Young has been a dope actor and performer since we met back in Berkeley during our high school years, and he continues to tear up the stage in NYC and around the country, having recently performed as part of the musical In The Heights. Perry talks with us about the consciousness of reflection that leads to awareness in the present, while he views response as one’s intuition to get where they want to be. The Coming World, another one of his recent works, locates its characters in deep Reflective dialogue and Responsive action as they traverse difficult circumstances. Moving forward, Perry is also looking to work on an original web series dealing with his reality of moving to NYC as an artist. Check out the interview for more insight and info!

Perry Young

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

PY: Born and raised in Berkeley, CA. I’ve had the pleasure of living and performing in several cities and countries, as well as touring all over the US with the musical In The Heights. I’m currently growing my mustache in Brooklyn, NY.

In The Heights

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

PY: Reflection to me has an inherent feeling of the past, a look back on where I was and where I am today. There’s an almost meditative quality to reflection, a consciousness that you are aware of where you’re at in the world and how you got there. Response is your own gut feeling to where you are, where you want to be, and the steps you’re taking to get there. They’re both equally important – reflection being the potential energy and response the kinetic.

How does your work in The Coming World fit in with that definition?

PY: I recently worked on a play entitled “The Coming World.” The play largely dealt with the in-between – the words on the tip of your tongue that you just can’t seem to utter, and the actions that we lay awake at night thinking about but never take. It followed three characters and how they responded to the weight of their circumstances when they were pushed to the edge of reason. What are they willing to fight for, what do they regret about what they’ve done and how do they cope with loss? In that sense, the show very much can be broken down into Reflection and Response. There was a very reflective quality to the play as the characters dealt with certain tragedies that arose and their own responses/feelings of responsibility for what has happened in their lives.

The Coming World

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Maryanne Ventrice

Maryanne Ventrice is a Brooklyn native and resident photographer. She focuses her work on live music events throughout the city featuring a range of styles and sounds. In our dialogue, she discusses goals of documenting and representing the world through the arts, along with how she uses her lens to capture the energetic and emotional feel of a live show. Her words are accompanied by many examples of her dope photos. Peep the entry below!

Maryanne Ventrice | Photo by Jessica Amaya

Maryanne Ventrice | Photo by Jessica Amaya

We strive to represent our world though an artistic medium – trying to give meaning to the world around us, interpreting what we see into what we feel.

– Maryanne Ventrice

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MV: I’m a photographer from New York City – born and raised in Brooklyn – still live there. New York is an amazing place. I have always been surrounded by the faces and voices of people from all over the world.  Sometimes it’s hard to be on top of all of these people but the pros outweigh the cons.

I shoot live music events, mostly. I began by photographing friends in bands and then moved on to shooting for various music blogs.

I never studied photography formally, I studied History. For me, documenting has a lot of potential. I hope that when someone looks back on [my] body of work they will be able to get a good feeling of the time and place of the NYC indie music scene.

In 2012, I curated my first show. It was a group show of 13 female concert photographers entitled 120dB. I’ve gone on to curate several more exhibits and look forward to continuing to showcase the work of other artists.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MV: Reflection can be about anything — people, places, objects. We strive to represent our world though an artistic medium – trying to give meaning to the world around us, interpreting what we see into what we feel. Photography easily lends itself to this idea. The live music photos reflect the energy of the band and audience at a particular show. For my curatorial projects, I usually spend some time reflecting on images of artists’ work first and then develop a concept in response to join the work and title a show so that it represents that concept to the viewer.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

MV: I mainly photograph live music events. I’ve been shooting the Kidrockers music series since 2007. It’s my favorite live event. Bands come and play their regular set for children. My friends Beth and Morton founded this as a way for parents to have access to new bands since it’s hard to get out once you have kids. I believe that we are creating a future audience for live music. It’s a real labor of love and I hope we never stop.

Maryanne Ventrice - DIIV Kidrockers (Brooklyn Bowl)

Maryanne Ventrice – DIIV, Kidrockers (Brooklyn Bowl)

Maryanne Ventrice - Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice – Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice - Jesse Malin Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice – Jesse Malin, Kidrockers (The Rock Shop)

Maryanne Ventrice - Twin Shadow, Kidrockers (Winter's Eve)

Maryanne Ventrice – Twin Shadow, Kidrockers (Winter’s Eve Festival)

The [following] images come from my first exhibit, More Guitar in the Monitor, which a friend of mine asked me to put together. I feel that these images capture the mood of the performances.

Maryanne Ventrice - The National (Bowery Ballroom)

Maryanne Ventrice – The National (Bowery Ballroom)

Maryanne Ventrice - Drink Up Buttercup (Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Maryanne Ventrice – Drink Up Buttercup (Music Hall of Williamsburg)

Maryanne Ventrice - Pet Shop Boys (Hammerstein Ballroom)

Maryanne Ventrice – Pet Shop Boys (Hammerstein Ballroom)

Delineate was a project that’s process based. I was testing some new equipment on myself and made a photo that I thought was pretty interesting. I convinced 11 others to let me shine a bright white light inches from their faces and make these portraits:

Maryanne Ventrice - Kristin Martinez (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Kristin Martinez (Daughter)

Maryanne Ventrice - Simon Henderson (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Simon Henderson (Music Industry Professional)

Maryanne Ventrice - Jen Hirano (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Jen Hirano (Friend)

Maryanne Ventrice - Elon James White (Delineate)

Maryanne Ventrice – Elon James White (Political Pundit, Entrepreneur)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Timo Vollbrecht

Composer and improvising jazz musician Timo Vollbrecht lives and works out of New York City and Berlin — collaborating with various musicians along with leading and performing with his own group. He discusses Reflection and Response as a multi-faceted concept, and highlights the subtle difference between creatively responding to specific experiences and responding to a collection of indistinguishable stimuli. Timo’s music represents the moment-based nature of improvisation as well as the decidedly trained character of composition. Check the dialogue and showcase of his work below!

Timo Vollbrecht

Some of my compositions are a direct response to an experience…Most of the time, however, my music responds to a conglomerate of different things that are often hard to distinguish. The beauty about improvised music is that you can respond to the very moment. This is what makes it so special – for musicians as well as for the audience.

– Timo Vollbrecht

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

TV: I was born in Stadthagen, a small town in Northern Germany. After living in Wyoming, Berlin, and Barcelona, I moved to New York in 2010. I am an improvising and composing artist, who plays saxophone and reeds. I live and workin between New York and Berlin, am involved in several projects and lead my own group.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

TV: Reflection can unveil your source of inspiration as an artist. If you take your time to reflect on your experiences in life, on your encounters with other people, their cultures, their points of view, your thoughts and especially your emotions and sensations, you have SO much to tell. The most important thing is to keep an open mind in life. Then, responding to your experiences in your art will happen naturally. If you are true to yourself, you will develop your own taste and thus, make your original musical decisions.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

TV: Some of my compositions are a direct response to an experience. An example is “Tale of Jordan”, which came into being during a Middle Eastern tour with my band. Among other places, we also played in Amman, Jordan, and took a bath in the Dead Sea. In Ramallah, during our concert on a roof top, the Muezzin next door started to chant and we spontaneously integrated his chanting into our free improvisation. “Tale of Jordan” reflects on these unforgettable moments. Most of the time, however, my music responds to a conglomerate of different things that are often hard to distinguish. The beauty about improvised music is that you can respond to the very moment. This is what makes it so special – for musicians as well as for the audience.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

TV: I have been composing music for my next album, which I will record in June, before taking off to an artist residence in Italy with my partner-in-crime, guitarist Keisuke Matsuno, where we will be working on a duo-program. Besides that, I am getting ready for a month-long European tour, which will start on April 3rd in Osterode, Germany, which happens to be my grandparents’ hometown.

Who or what inspires you?

 

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Lou Rouse

Lou Rouse is a Baltimore-bred / New York-based photographer who has been working on his craft since moving to the city at 20 years old. Lou brings up the bountiful opportunities that inspire response in the city – from the various active creative venues to the uniquely diverse and energetic character of the city. He strives to depict and describe the intangible in his work, eschewing more obvious images for interesting emotions of environments and specific passing moments in time. In our dialogue below, Lou breaks down some powerful aspects and responsibilities of art in relation to surrounding social environments. We’ve been fortunate enough to have collaborated with Lou before, and we’re looking forward to more opportunities to do so in the future. Check the word!

Lou Rouse

People get uncomfortable around art and artists because of [the power of art], and because art is not empirical. But because art succeeds where politics and policy fail, art plays a critical role in the survival of humanity. So artists must take care of themselves and other artists. Artists must learn how to survive in the current system while making the good work that will change it.

– Lou Rouse

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

LR: I am from Baltimore, Maryland. Grew up in the city until I was 17. Went to college in Michigan for a year and then moved to NYC at age 20 and have pretty much been here ever since. Worked on films and other odd jobs, then I started assisting fashion photographers. Being a visual person, I really got in to how photographers brought a vision to a set and carried it out with the help of other talented visual people. Eventually people began to ask me for my vision on creative projects, and that is where I happily am now.

Lou Rouse - Untitled

Lou Rouse – Untitled

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

LR: Reflection and response are crucial elements of art, of being an artist. For me, and I’m sure many other artists, the desire is to balance intake and output. In New York City you can consume a lot of great theater, museum and gallery shows, fashion, music, food, or just walk around and be inspired by the fantastic diversity and energy. It’s enjoyable just to witness…but if you are a creative type you begin to feel frustrated if you are not responding in some form. I’m always challenging myself to respond more and to better articulate my observations. But to survive as an artist you have to make the process enjoyable. It’s a tricky balance.

Lou Rouse - Habanero

Lou Rouse – Habanero

How does your work fit in with that definition?

LR: An important part of my work is capturing the emotion of an environment, form and moment. I’m really fascinated when there is this intense feeling in the light, facial expression, lines, movements or gestures, but I can’t fully explain where that emotion is coming from. If a photo is obvious to me I delete it. All the pieces you see here are me trying to describe things that are intangible and moving to me.

Lou Rouse - Untitled

Lou Rouse – Untitled

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

 

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: