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VENICE stories

karen marina-masumoto Filmmaker, KAREN MARINA-MASUMOTO, conveys her love of skating and surfing through the action films she edits and helps to produce. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAYE BUCHBINDER


orn and raised in Santa Monica, Karen has grown up alongside a changing Westside. Overall a beach girl, Karen is a regular out in Venice – a jaw-droppingly graceful surfer, paddling out from ankle biter to overhead days out at the Pier to Breakwater. Most noticeably, findable during those summer sunset sessions where the sun does not go down.

She translates this board ability to her skating too – making a community out of friends that ‘shred’ of all sorts. It makes sense – she’s working towards changing the dynamic in the way action sports frame women: by putting women behind the lens also. It works into her day to day working on production and editing at Ryot, working on topics largely of social injustice around the world. She describes it as a lifelong love for cameras building into the career of working with them and her love of action sport. Currently, women are in action sports and absolutely crushing it, but the film is all so polished. Imagine the shots of women on the beach, women gracefully cruising down huge waves. Karen wants to bring the punk rock back: the outtakes of wipeouts, failed, but

attempted drop-ins, half aerials, not landed, typically saved for the men. It takes a cool girl to do this. It’s refreshing to see someone who both believes in retro overalls and in the true heart of westside LA. Karen notes that Venice has changed but doesn’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. While it will always be tough for struggling artists to stay in an area with rapidly increasing housing costs, there is something to be said for growth and development. It would not be an artistic neighborhood without people pushing towards the compelling edges. For her own home, it’s a simple thing: keep everything simple but make it feel like home. Keep the linens white, the furniture simple and make sure you have photos of family on the wall. Her own parents driving that mentality: making it always feel like home and cozy, but embracing the simple beach lifestyle. Growing up in a west LA home, it’s hard to leave. And when you do leave, it’s hard not to come back. Karen came back, and rather than harboring the nostalgia for the way Venice used to be, she’s bought in to the heart of the creative culture, bringing her own calm energy and creative skill to fuel the legacy of artistic community that continues to thrive beneath the cover of an ever-hanging neighborhood.


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LA HOME Summer 2019  

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