LOS ANGELES ART QUARTERLY
VOLUME 05 // SUMMER 2016
o nn tt ee n n tt ss cc o Photographer CORY PATTERSON captures his Southern California surf adventures. // page 10
INSPIRATION Asymmetric mood board
COLOR EXPRESSIONISM by Tony Devoney
MUSIC SPOTLIGHT with Trebles and Blues
MODERN FOLKLORE by Yi Gao
WHAT THEY’RE LISTENING TO the music that inspired this issue’s artists
FLYING BLYND by Greg Reitman
AESTHETIC ARREST by Mario Muller
FEATURED INSTAGRAM FANS
LA MUSINGS by Yvette Lodge
LAST WORD with Mia Hernandez
hen I think of summer, I think of vibrant colors, upbeat music, the ocean, surfing, long days, sunshine, and all kinds of good vibes. As most of us know, these are attributes of Los Angeles all year round. The artists featured in this issue captured the essence of the season―and the city―flawlessly. There are two artists in this issue who particularly resonated with me, as if they were speaking right from my own soul. After going through a very difficult personal time, I found myself stuck in a blurry season. It was extremely dark and quite suffocating. I needed those summer elements to breathe. For those of you who read Volume 4 (The Color Issue), you got a glimpse of my obsession with color. My summer began in darkness and didn’t feel much like summer at all. Color seemed to be my lifeline, and I grasped onto it every chance I could. As video artist Greg Reitman puts it, “The world can be a pretty dark place,
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and when I say I dark, I mean literally. For quite some time, it was like I was seeing everything in black and white. I needed color back in my life to heal.” (page 42) Similarly, artist Tony Devoney finds positivity through color in his pieces. “I think that since I often felt darkness, I wanted to make the world around me bright. Each piece in all of my series stemmed from some form of darkness, but I like to take that darkness and create something colorful. My passion is to bring that positivity through my art.” (page 32) I couldn’t agree with these artists more. And I found that, if we let it, color and light can lift us out of our dark places. So, if you’re going through a hard time and in need of some healing, this one’s for you. Or if you just want to get a taste of summer in LA with some positive vibes, this one’s for you, too. Enjoy all the feelings of the season with me in The Summer Issue.
Leah Perrino Founder & Designer
Yvette Lodge Cory Patterson Samantha Rebuyaco
Yi Gao Tony Devoney Mario Muller
To share your story, visit asymmetricmag.com/contribute.
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music spotlight: Q+A with local musician
Trebles and Blues ASYMMETRIC MAGAZINE: Tell us about your current work as a musician. LAWRENCE YEO: I go by the name Trebles and Blues, and I’m a beat-maker and producer. As a beat-maker, I find you can have so many different prongs of work. I can make work for other artists, rappers and singers, and I can also just focus on my instrumental work where I don’t have anyone else―just my song. I’ve been growing the latter side of me a lot over the last couple of years. In regards to my music, I try to diversify my craft as much as possible. My first project I put out was called The Blue Note, and it was focused on soul and jazz. I used that as source material because I pretty much basked in that type of music. I also tried to emulate my favorite legendary hip-hop producers. I think when you’re first starting out, you should start by emulating your favorite musician. Start with emulation, and then you will gradually morph into your 06 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
own sound and style. I took that route and made my first project in March of 2011 in light of the people I idolized. For my second project, I wanted to experiment with something a little different. I didn’t want to have the traditional sounds that I’m used to, and it took me two years to create it. It’s called From my Father. It was my way to tell the story of my parents’ journey as immigrants to the states. My father ended up getting deported, and he was separated from the family. It’s a tale of hope, struggle, feeling rock bottom and trying to elevate yourself back into a place that was once native to you but is now foreign. I made this project through only sampling material that my father listened to when he was my age, which was Korean folk music. I took Korean folk from vinyl and his MP3 collection, and I transcribed it into my hip-hop style beats. It tells a story of emotional battle and progress. My third project, Seasonality, incorporates a lot of Brazil-
Photo by Leah Perrino
ian funk. It was another way for me to reach out to a different source and build something based on how I interpreted it. So, my work is a lot of varying sounds. I don’t like to stick to one bubble; I like to hop around to different things. Currently, I’m in the midst of doing a 60 day challenge, so I’m making a beat every day for the duration of two months. Prior to this, I didn’t make a beat for four or five months, so I was starting to feel like my creative muscle was atrophying and degenerating. It’s like if you don’t walk at all for two weeks, and you get up...You’d just fall down. It’s the same thing with creativity―I think it’s a muscle that needs to be exercised. I thought, Either I can walk away from this and wait for inspiration to hit me, or I can try to do it by exercising that muscle daily and hopefully give it feeling again and have it regenerate. I feel this will help me achieve a state of flow. So right now, I’m completely submersed in this challenge.
AM: How would you describe your style across all of your work? LY: I’d say funky but rooted in hip-hop. It’s very diverse in nature, but everything I create evolves from some form of hip-hop―just with a lot of different influences baked into it. I like to create mellow music, as well as music you can dance to. Sometimes musicians and artists get pigeonholed into one form or style and get stuck there. So, that’s why my goal is to try as many different things as possible. AM: What’s your biggest inspiration? LY: I’m inspired by the notion of being completely present when I make music and being immersed in a state of flow when I am working on my craft. Music―or any art form―is a snapshot in time. It’s a way of personally capturing your visions and your ideas in that very moment. When you’re in your element, everything else drowns out. I love the asymmetricmag.com //
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Either I can walk away from this and wait for inspiration to hit me, or I can try to do it by exercising that muscle daily and hopefully give it feeling again.
thought of another person interpreting my work and tying a song of mine to a powerful memory or snapshot in their own life. This can allow them to feel present in that emotion and really immerse themselves in those feelings, as well.
and knowing that I can put out instrumental beats and make my own brand is comforting. Art communities are everywhere, and there’s something really powerful about being around the creative energy in LA.
AM: Where is one place where you feel completely in tune with your creative self―completely present? LY: I do something I call “beat retreats” in places like Big Bear or Joshua Tree where I go to create because I think creating in your home can get a bit stale after awhile. Joshua Tree is a specific place I love to go, and I feel super in tune with myself there. There’s just something about that place. You feel the energy, and when you sit down, you’re just in the zone. Maybe because it’s so empty and you have nothing to gaze into except your art, but it just centers you.
AM: What other musicians are you currently into? LY: I’ve been really into Anderson Paak, whose music is really soulful. As for beat-makers, I’ve been bumping that new Kaytranada and also listening to Knxwledge.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work? LY: I was born and raised here, and as a result, I’ve been a part of many different communities and met so many different types of people. LA gave me the ability to get immersed in different cultures that I may not have been exposed to if I had grown up somewhere else. I got into hip-hop when I was in junior high, and all of those cultural influences are reflected in my work. Also, the community here really supports the beat scene. Today, there are so many different genres and styles, as well as ways to access music, and I think that really started in Los Angeles. The community is so welcoming to different types of artists and the idea of beat-makers as artists instead of just in the background of rappers and singers. Low End Theory comes to mind because beat-makers can get up and just perform their work. I think LA really embraced that type of art. So, knowing that it’s very embraced
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AM: We hear you’re starting a collaborative space for artists. Can you tell us about that? LY: I’m starting something called CreatorsNest, and it’s a private creative space for all types of artists. I repurposed a garage and gave it a rustic vibe in the hopes to draw someone in to simply create. We have lockers, desks and different equipment. The idea was inspired by the popularity of collaborative working spaces right now, but I feel like artists desire private space. The problem is that they are locked away in expensive studios and hard to access. I want to provide a space for any type of artist to use anytime they want, on demand and for an affordable rate. It came from my frustration of working in my apartment every single day and wanting a change of pace, somewhere I could go to just be by myself and work for a few hours but also somewhere inspirational. AM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? LY: An awesome friend of mine recently told me to learn to let go. This came about in regards to this 60 day challenge. At first, it was really difficult for me because I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to create a premium beat every single day. I had to ask myself if I’m doing this challenge to become
a better musician or if I’m doing it to feel in touch with the roots again―of why I started making music, why I was so in love with it and why I want to do it every day. I realized it was more of the latter. It’s not about me becoming more technical or making better beats through this exercise. It’s about accessing that feeling of presence again by making music. He said to learn to let go of the pride and ego that can be linked to your art sometimes. When you can’t let go, you’re constantly thinking it can be better, and you compare yourself to others. You compare your own work to your previous work, and you enter a cycle where it’s just not fun anymore. I think that’s the reason why I wasn’t making music for so long―because I was so caught up in what I was going to do next. So, learning to let go of those expectations is a great piece of advice.
LISTEN TO TREBLES AND BLUES ON SOUNDCLOUD + FOR PLAYLISTS & MORE INTERVIEWS, VISIT ASYMMETRICMAG.COM.
what they’re listening to This issue’s contributors share the tunes that inspired their work. Odesza’s Summer’s Gone album // CORY PATTERSON I listen to a lot of Parliament Funkadelic. I guess I’m old school. George Clinton, Isaac Hayes, Bootsy Collins, Ohio Players, Rose Royce and The Brothers Johnson. The bass lines of Nile Rogers make me swoon. Lady Gaga’s cover of Rogers’ I Want Your Love is like an anthem for me right now. I think it’s only available as the Tom Ford Video she did it for. But my passion for funk is matched with a love for George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington. I make unusual playlists. // MARIO MULLER
It depends on the mood. I listen to a lot of Jazz/funk/soul lately, and the classical music helps me concentrate. A song on my mind now: Little Dragon - Sunshine // YI GAO Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up listening to Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. I spent many of my college summers following Phish all over the place, so it’s fair to say I love improvisational rock and roll. Lately, it’s been Ryan Adams, Tom Petty and old school rap. Guys like Diggable Planets and Gangstarr. I’ve been getting into more electronic sounds lately, as it lends itself really well to the vibe I’m going for in my art. // GREG REITMAN
music I listen to a wide variety of music while I work - from Dylan to Debussy. Although music itself is not the inspiration for my photos, it stimulates my creative process subliminally. I often choose an artist who will enhance the mood I wish to convey and usually remember who I was listening to when I created any given piece. As an example, for Tinte Azul, it was Santana. // YVETTE LODGE It depends on my mood, but I usually listen to classical or upbeat pop music while I paint, and it’s always reflected in the flow of my work. // TONY DEVONEY
MF Doom has greatly inspired me and opened me up to many interesting people who also share my appreciation of his work. // MIA HERNANDEZ
photo story by CORY PATTERSON
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Cory Patterson is a traveling photographer inspired by his surroundings. He is best known for his surf and ocean photography. View more his work at corypphotography.com.
arrest selected works by MARIO MULLER
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ASYMMETRIC MAGAZINE: Tell us about your submission. MARIO MULLER: This body of work is all about Los Angeles. I moved here in 2005 and was immediately struck by the quality of the light. The lack of humidity in this desert climate creates a light that is as sharp as a scalpel. Because the light can be so all-consuming, a lot of attention is paid to blocking the light out of the home. All manner of blinds (horizontal and vertical), shades and treatments adorn the windows of LA. Nature and urbanity coexist in remarkable harmony here, as well, and that’s why you’ll see chain link fences as well as bamboo leaves. AM: What’s your biggest inspiration? MM: Light―plain and simple. My work has always been about form rather than feature. I work in that playful space between shadow and silhouette. My iconography is the urban experience as seen from a pedestrian perspective. AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work? MM: Well, it’s my adoptive home, and as such, my affection
for this city plays a pivotal role in my art. I choose my subjects by my familiarity with them. I’ve been here ten years now, and I feel like I have just scratched the surface of its onion-like layers. I can tell you that the more I witness, the more I love this city. Urban images have always played a big part in my art. Los Angeles has added an aspect of natural flora and fauna that didn’t exist in my work before when I lived in Bushwick. AM: All of your paintings are done in India ink on paper. Can you tell us a bit about your process? MM: ‘Round about 1999, I chose India Ink as my primary medium. It’s a lightfast medium that captures the purity of my chosen iconography. If my images are shadows and silhouettes, in essence I’m painting the lack of light. India Ink is perfect for depicting that blackness. That having been said, India Ink is an unforgiving medium to work with. There’s no erasing. I never paint white, so all the white/light that you see in my paintings is the white of the paper. I’ve been 30-40 hours into a piece and made a mistake, and I’ve had to start all over.
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My method comprises a four-step process. First, there is photography. Iâ€™m constantly harvesting images with my camera and my cell. Second, I select images and manipulate them, often combining several into a single composition. Third, I draw the composition in a light 4H pencil. Lastly, I ink the image. AM: We notice you paint a wide range of subjects including geometric patterns, architecture and nature. What is your favorite LA subject to paint? MM: I guess the geometry that Iâ€™m drawn to comes out of the architectural flourishes so prevalent in LA. Thereâ€™s also an inherent geometry and pattern of nature. And sometimes those overlap. Mario Muller is an LA-based contemporary artist focusing on light, shape, pattern and texture. View more of his work at mariomuller.com.
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for full interviews, videos, playlists and more, go to asymmetricmag. com.
TIDETURN // The colors and shapes in this dramatic turn-ofthe-tide image, bring to mind Katsushika Hokusaiâ€™s Great Wave paintingâ€•created on the opposite side of the same ocean.
photo story by YVETTE LODGE 22 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
DURANGO // A rich street image I found in Playa del Rey. In this interpreted piece, I remembered the hot horizon sizzling in a glorious haze across the Sonora desert leading to Durango.
ASYMMETRIC MAGAZINE: Tell us about LA Musings. YVETTE LODGE: Los Angeles was an unexpected surprise when I arrived from England, anticipating a crazy mélange of billboards, surfers, traffic and Hollyweirdness. Yes, those were present, but I was about to open a Pandora’s box of intrigue and subtleties. The artist in me saw a unique vibrancy with textures and colors shimmering in a Mediterranean light. I was smitten! I am never without a camera, and I wander the Westside and beach communities seeking out the nitty-gritty. I capture both abstract and realistic representations of life here and translate them into artworks. My instinctive approach to photography is through the eyes of a painter, resulting in images that are often mistaken for paintings. My interpretation of each of my pieces is driven variously by emotion and whimsy, and I allow my imagination to flow without interference. I use simple hand-held cameras and work with available light only. I am passionate about every picture, and each one has a special story, which I am delighted to share. AM: What’s your biggest inspiration? YL: Nature―particularly at the break of day when waves crash louder, birds gather to gossip and palm trees glisten. Fluctuating light alters the essence of everything from the tiniest pebble to the creases in the Palisades bluffs. It creates exciting abstracts everywhere and it feeds my imagination. 24 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
AM: How has moving to Los Angeles changed or shaped your style? YL: I found an ambient sense of clarity that I had not experienced in Europe. There is a bright, non-judgmental spirit here―an openness which allowed me to shed the stiffness of being British and let my imagination run without fear of criticism. AM: We love how you approach your work through the eyes of painter. When you’re shooting, how much of it is instinctual vs. planned? YL: It is 100% instinctual―never planned. I rarely go out with a particular destination or a theme in mind. I photograph what the mood of the day has to offer, and the day usually delivers! Back at my computer, I download my images with the anticipation of a child opening presents and feel so excited when I see a shot that has the potential to become a piece of art. AM: Your abstract take on photography is so unique! Can you share a bit of your process for creating each piece? YL: My love and practice of abstraction is second nature to me. Applying learned art skills allows me to visualize a result as I look through the lens. I usually shoot within a few feet of my subject matter, and once I frame a composition I’m happy with, I take a dozen or more shots at slightly different angles. I prefer to work ‘bare bones’ and not allow the camera to create for me. Like a paintbrush, my cam-
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era is a tool that allows me to capture shapes and colors. I don’t use tripods or tricky lenses; I shun Photoshop and do not cut-and-paste―preferring to keep the compositions formed by nature or urban happenstance. In editing, I crop, clean-up, experiment with colors and hues and play with orientation until I’m happy with what the piece conveys. I see whimsical, often wry images in most of the pieces I create, and I title my works accordingly. But in the end, it’s each viewer’s own interpretation that matters, and I certainly encourage people to see whatever pleases them. AM: What is your favorite thing to photograph in LA? YL: There are many, but I love the images I discover in sidewalks and my beach ‘findings’. Both subjects offer stories, hold history and express the beat of the people who live here. Yvette Lodge is an LA-based photographer from England. She studied art and design at Southampton College of Art in Southampton, England. Her art has won in numerous competitions and showcased in exhibits in the UK and Southern California. View more of her work at yvettelodgeart.com and Saatchi Art.
RIPPLE AND FLOW // The semiprecious elements of granite pounded by Pacific tides compliment the golden ripples in the fluid sand at Zuma Beach. CATNAP // I saw the face of a sleepy cat, gently carved into a sandbank by the ebb and flow of waves at Dockweiler Beach. Nature’s own sand sculpture! LA WINDOW // Surreal reflections of old-time LA speak from my neighbor’s window, epitomizing the essence of movietown and much of what we love about her hidden places.
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TRUSTING // I found this peaceful image etched in stone in a Venice alley and saw a fragile bird being observed by a curious man, each trusting the other. BUFFALO ROCK // This resilient prominence on Will Rogers Beach conjured an image of a sturdy buffalo filled with determination. THE BIG SCREEN // Irony in Hollywood. A branch-beaten screen covers the fence of tennis courts at a well-known country club, ensuring its affluent movers and shakers are shielded from view.
TINTE AZUL // In this painterly image, a flash of blue softens the machismo of concrete met by tar, creating excitement in the pavement outside of an otherwise plain civic building in Culver City.
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A PLACE IN THE SUN // My take on a 60’s technicolor still. Photographed at Venice Beach, California, early on a crisp November day, the scene stirred memories of Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits and its “kaleidoscope of dreams”. BUSTIER // A mélange of paving, pebbles, tar and cracks, muddled together over time, form this wondrous abstract work of urban art. I see a curvaceous female torso in a bustier, a snail, and more…but you must see whatever pleases you!
CAFÉ TABAC // “Glassware on the bar top caught the sun’s early rays as René opened the café doors for the wine delivery. It would be a good day.” I’LL BE GOOD // As I began to prune this wily creeper, I saw the beauty in its resilience and imagined it saying, “I’ll be good if you leave me alone.” So I did.
color expre ssion ism selected works by TONY DEVONEY
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Since I often felt darkness, I wanted to make the world around me bright. Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your abstract work. Tony Devoney: I consider myself a color expressionist, and I like to divide my work into different series. I have three right now: Angels In My Mind, Foggy Days and Pieces of Me. In terms of my artistic style, I like to use a lot of color and layers. The colors I chose, the designs and the flow all stem from emotion and what I’m going through in life. Ever since I was a kid, I never liked to paint or color in the lines. A lot of times, I found myself wanting to rebel and just do me. That’s something I’ve stuck by throughout life―as an individual and in my art. It also was a big reason why I grew to be so attracted to abstract―because there’s free range to express yourself and not one particular idea or vision you have to stick to. AM: What’s your biggest inspiration? TD: A lot of Picasso’s work influences my work. Also, the things I’ve been through in my life just motivate me to express myself through art. 34 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
AM: What themes do you typically pursue in your work? TD: My pieces are definitely very bright, and I try to put out positive work that just makes people feel good. I’ve been through a lot of negative experiences, so I really just want to inspire people and make them smile. I think that since I often felt darkness, I wanted to make the world around me bright. Each piece in all of my series stemmed from some form of darkness, but I like to take that darkness and create something colorful. My passion is to bring that positivity through my art. AM: We saw you just finished a mural in Echo Park. What was the concept behind that? TD: I’m starting a street art campaign called Find The Beauty, which stemmed from my Foggy Days series. In my Foggy Days series, I experimented with simply putting paint to the canvas, adding water and letting gravity take its course. The mural is a large scale version of that, where it looks like the paint is dripping and raining down
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on whoever is standing in front of it. But instead of dreary, it’s bright and colorful. Growing up, I went through a lot with my family, and at the time, I could never find the beauty in the bad things that would happen. In the end, I learned a lot from my experiences, and I was able to see the positive outcome of it. So, I want to remind everyone to find the beauty in bad situations. AM: So, what does the campaign entail? TD: I want to have a series of murals in different locations all over Los Angeles to spread the message.
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AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work? TD: I’m really inspired by the homeless population here. I’m from New Orleans, and when I moved here, I was surprised by the amount of people living on the streets. I want my art to impact the community and society, and I want to address social issues. I have a plan to spend a week on the streets and paint every day to make money and then give that money back to the homeless. I think it’s important to see what it’s like to live like that, and I want to incorporate my art and brighten up the streets.
Arist TONY DEVONEY in front of his first Find the Beauty mural located in Echo Park.
Tony Devoney is an LA-based abstract artist from New Orleans. â€œI take from what others may see as small and minute, possibly even unnoticeable and translate it through my eyes into free flowing beauty.â€? View more of his work at t4art.com.
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selected works by YI GAO ASYMMETRIC MAGAZINE: Tell us about your series. YI GAO: My work contains both autobiographical and dreamlike elements, combining Chinese folklore with my own childhood memories. The characters in my work find themselves in a constantly changing utopia. My narrative playgrounds incorporate curious characters and landscapes transcending time and space; they portray a sense of immediacy through poetic means within the subconscious mind. AM: What’s your biggest inspiration? YG: My inspirations can come from early medieval art to the latest artists found on today’s social media. Some of my favorite artists are Piero della Francesca, Francisco Goya, Mamma Andersson, and Antonio López García―among others. I like the idea of travel; I often bring my sketch books with me and immerse myself in nature. Observation from daily life has also played an important part in my creation process―I would say that my works are an externalization of my innermost feelings from these experiences. When I look at paintings, I like to pay attention to their countenance.
YG: The use of materials plays an important role in my work. With a background in oriental painting, I have developed a love for traditional materials, handmade rice paper and raw pigments as media. In addition to conventional artist materials, I started to replace burnt Umber with instant coffee. The rich golden texture of coffee shows a nice glowing amber tone on paper. There are many great coffee shops in Los Angeles, and while I used to only drink tea, after coming here, I’ve become addicted to the rich taste of coffee. I worked at a specialty coffee shop in Santa Monica, and that’s when I started to use coffee as a medium to paint and to prepare my paper surfaces. AM: What themes do you pursue in your work? YG: Water is a constant theme in my works. I grew up in a town filled with rivers, and so it invokes sentimental feelings for me. I feel like the vast desert and blue ocean here in LA have brought a new definition to my interpretation of water. I think more about space now when I work.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work? YG: Los Angeles is a youthful city where people can dream big, and the streets are bursting with energy. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2007, I immediately fell in love with the translucent sky and vibrant sun. My works are filled with natural elements, and I feel that LA is great place for those who love nature.
AM: How do you think art impacts society or social change? YG: Art stimulates a variety of perceptions and thoughts. The arts enrich and give meaning to our life and even change people’s way of living. I’d like to think that art is a direct experience of life, as well as giving insight into life. Especially in today’s fast-paced modern society, art has become a kind of lubrication between logic and emotion, balancing human society and encouraging social change.
AM: We love your use of coffee throughout your pieces. How did you begin using it and what is your process?
Yi Gao is an LA-based artist from Nanjing, China with a background in oriental painting. View more of her work at yigaoart.com. asymmetricmag.com //
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video art by GREG REITMAN
For quite so like I was se in black and color back i
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ASYMMETRIC MAGAZINE: Tell us about your work as a video artist and the concept behind your Flying Blynd project. GREG REITMAN: Flying Blynd is my Instagram account where I create :15 second video art installations. The project started as a collaboration between myself and Alejandro Nieto, a close friend and incredible NYC musician. I had just moved to Los Angeles in 2013 after living in NYC/Brooklyn for 15 years. We wanted to start a project together from opposite coasts as a way to stay in touch and start creating. I was brand new to Los Angeles, trying to find my way, with a lot of downtime those first few months while looking for editing work. I’ve always loved Instagram, and they had just enabled the :15 second video upload feature [at the time]. Alejandro was totally onboard and was the first music contributor to the project. I had never created video art before but I did have a pretty strong vision of the aesthetic I wanted to go for. I named it Flying Blynd mostly because I had no clue what I was doing, though I was pretty confident it was going to be a unique project. AM: What’s your biggest inspiration? GR: My biggest creative inspiration for my videos is color. I’m fascinated by how various shades, tones and hues can evoke raw emotions. I’m hitting a pretty significant mid-life age milestone this summer, so I’ve been in total reflection mode. I lost my Mom in 2010, which was obviously a really challenging time for many years, and I was devastated. The world can
ome time, it was eeing everything d white. I needed in my life to heal.
WATCH THE VIDEOS AT ASYMMETRICMAG.COM. be a pretty dark place, and when I say I dark, I mean literally. For quite some time, it was like I was seeing everything in black and white. I needed color back in my life to heal. So, when I started Flying Blynd, I promised myself that every single video would be super colorful. I mean over-thetop colorful―deep purples, pinks, neon green and baby blues. The colors really do reflect my healing process. AM: What themes do you pursue in your video art? GR: My videos are free form and don’t stick to a strict narrative. There are plenty of movies, reality shows (debatable) and stuff on TV if you want a real linear story. Not everything you watch needs to have a beginning, middle and end. If you take a step back, why should this be the only option? Sure, I get that people need to feel part of something and identify with the characters in a linear way. I’d like to think that people don’t need to be spoon-fed on how to feel and react. My videos are theme-based where it’s all pretty subjective. Some of the themes I love exploring are greed, fulfillment, rage and compassion. AM: We love your mix of imagery and content in each work. What’s your process for finding the pieces for videos? GR: I have over a dozen music contributors who submit original tracks for each video. The first thing I do is listen. Once I get a certain sort of vibe from it, combined with how I’m feeling that day, I start pulling together an idea for a theme. I find public domain footage on various websites, and I’m secretly obsessed with stock video. I have subscriptions to a few [stock sites], and it’s incredible what you can find via that search box. “Man running on beach with suit in slo mo” is my current favorite. As far as the exact imagery, I’m totally into anything related to early academic films. I remember watching those in grammar school and even thinking at the age of 10, WTF am I even watching? These government films were totally lecturing us on sex ed and proper table etiquette among other random topics. But I watch them today, and I’m like, THIS. IS. AWESOME. Growing up on the east coast in the 80’s, I loved watching public access TV. Especially all the NYC ones, so I love exploring those, too. Early computer art and drive-in movie ads are other favorites of mine. 44 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
AM: When creating a piece, do you always create the video based on a specific song, or do you ever choose a soundtrack based on a completed work of video art? GR: Almost all of the time, I search for footage and create the video after listening to the soundtrack. I’ve tried it the other way, but it falls short most of the time. I have really incredible and supportive music makers from all over the world sending me tracks, and I’m so grateful they have the confidence in me to trust my instincts. AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work? GR: It’s funny. I moved here in 2013 and really did not like Los Angeles. I was that typical annoying New Yorker who compared everything to NYC. You know that guy who’s like, “You have to drive everywhere!” and “Traffic is the worst!”? That was totally me. But you know what’s worse? Having to get to work at 9 a.m. on a Monday during a snowstorm walking through disgusting slush, getting on the subway with a billion other commuters only to have your “local” stop turn “express” without any prior warning. I’d be in the village having to go uptown three stops to work and the announcer is like “next stop, 72nd street!”. Yes, I’m a bit jaded. But I’d say over the past year and a half, I really fell in love with this town. New Yorkers complain there is no culture here. It’s total BS. There’s so much art and neighborhood culture―it’s insane. I don’t think I’d ever be able to pull off Flying Blynd if I were still living in Brooklyn! As I mentioned earlier, color really does play a huge role in everything I experience, and LA takes the cake on that one. The sun is so much sunnier here, and the landscape is so much more colorful and lush. It’s really inspiring to walk outside every morning to incredible weather and opportunity to do stuff outdoors all year round. Some east coasters who live out here miss the four seasons. I couldn’t care less. Sure, days sort of flow into one another, but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing. Greg Reitman is an LA-based video artist and editor from NYC. View more of his work at reitman.la.
photo by SAMANTHA REBUYACO asymmetricmag.com //
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LA ST WORD
q&a with animator mia hernandez
ASYMMETRIC MAGAZINE: Tell us about your recent film. MIA HERNANDEZ: My recent film Academia explores mental health and academic success in teens. I decided to interview different teens and create different animated shorts to go along with their interview responses. I then went on to project the correlating animated short onto the physical interviewee and filmed that.
AM: How does this film compare to your other works? MH: This piece is much more experimental than my previous films. Having utilized not only computer animation, but also projection and live actors, the difficulty level went up and required a lot more focus to detail. I have always done the average stop motion animated films, so this film was a huge leap towards mastering the variety of programs required to create a computer animated film while also dabbling in projection mapping work. AM: What do you hope to achieve with your animated pieces? MH: Every one of my films thus far is influenced by my environment. Whether it’s a social issue or just documenting or highlighting a location, I hope to convey my thoughts and opinions to an audience through my films. I hope to shed light to those issues or bring forth awareness to a certain topic.
AM: What’s your biggest inspiration? MH: My biggest inspiration has to be my environment. What I witness and experience tends to always tie back into my work. Living in LA has exposed me to so much and has led me to explore so much more in my art. AM: Tell us more about the role LA plays in your work. MH: LA, as cheesy as it may sound, is my heart and soul. It’s so eclectic, and it’s easy to find inspiration everywhere you go. My work has been inspired by various theatre productions I have seen and places I have been to in LA. My environment has always impacted my art, and I have LA to thank for all of that. AM: What separates you from other animators? MH: I always try to utilize different mediums with my films and tend not to be very linear with my storytelling. Mia Hernandez is a 17-year-old animator based in LA. She has been animating since the age of nine, and her latest film was premiered at Cal Arts.