Creative License

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Art is the path of the creator to his work.” For these local visual and performing artists, there’s a personal journey behind every audience ovation. For these local visual and performing artists, there’s a personal journey behind every audience ovation.

Musician, Hermosa Beach

FINDING A GROOVE I got really into the singer/songwriting circuit when I was in college at Loyola Marymount University. It was in those four years that I really started to take performing seriously and realized that this was something I really loved. I loved writing music and getting out in front of people and sharing my songs. The feedback I received and the people who became inspired by the music is something that made me want to continue to perform.
CREATIVE SPARK Inspiration really comes from all over. Of course a lot of it is from personal experiences, but I also write from the viewpoint of others. It can honestly come from anywhere, the view I am looking at, other art forms, sculptures, books, movies, etc.  Most of all, other music and performers very much inspire me.
KEEPING FOCUS Anything comes with highs and lows. I feel like the most challenge comes with situations that start to focus less on the music. It’s all about the music, and we have to remember that with everything we are doing, so that it does not stray from the true meaning and reason we are doing this.
STRONG ROOTS The South Bay is home to me. It is where I have been able to grow and better myself, and smaller arenas have become comfortable to me. I think it will always be a special place for me to come back to as I start touring with my band.


Choreographer, Los Angeles

LATE BLOOMER Although I was born in Kenya and knew of some tribal dances, I did not dance as a child. I started classes at the ripe young age of 26!
DECISIVE MOMENT Dance chose me. I was given a scholarship to the Winners dance workshop in LA, but I had no way to get there until a friend mentioned she was driving here the next week. Someone mentioned I should apply for the Edge Performing Arts Scholarship Program. The only problem was that you had to be 21. I lied on my application, auditioned and got in! I finished the program and worked immediately for Power Rangers, Prince, Fame LA, etc. I then started teaching at Edge, and still do today.
INTEREST The dancers of Commonality Dance Company are my muses. Even if I’m creating a dance for someone else, I usually choreograph with my company in mind because they bring out the best in my work. We’ve been together for more than 10 years now, and although some dancers have continued on their own personal journeys, they have left an irreplaceable impression on me.
I can say that if I stayed working in a computing firm, I might be richer, but I would never have experienced such diverse people, colorful cultures, or delicious foods from around the world that I have today. I used to weigh 230 pounds before dancing, and now I’m at 154. I am privileged to be able to work with children from time to time and help them see how dance can not only help with exercise, but give them skills in discipline in their academics. I don’t regret where my journey has taken me. 
I’ve been able to show people the benefits of dance in your life. Whether it’s getting some exercise, blowing off some steam, exploring your own creativity, creating a discipline for yourself or connecting to other people, dance has the power to do all those things.


Production designer, Venice

IN HIS BLOOD Growing up in Laurel Canyon, my fort was on the back lot of Disney. My father was a designer-builder specializing in theme parks, and my mother was a jazz pianist. Home life was always slightly bohemian and inspired. The influences were always there to carve out a life of design in the world of film.
EYE SPY Inspiration comes to me in a variety of ways. It’s in the ritual of going to films of all types and genres. It’s in traveling, which allows me to see with different eyes. The world news inspires me. Street behavior is a constant revelation. The art of listening is important. Everything finds its way into my interpretive power.
To make a work come alive, I research the material—the narrative—completely so I understand the subtext and the possibility of metaphor. Then I deal with reality: the budget and time constraints. Everything seems impossible until you dig in. The magic is in managing the ethereal and the material.
When working on a project, everyone takes part in the ground-up experience of creating something from very little. We get to visually interpret life. There’s no better moment for a designer than when he or she gets to say, “Let’s build the town here.”


Artist & Architect, Manhattan Beach

FINDING STRUCTURE  My family moved to a rural area outside Houston that was undergoing a big building boom. I would walk through (quite literally) the wood studs of the houses during their framing stage, sometimes collecting odd bits of wire or building debris. In retrospect, this is probably where the initial idea for Barbed Wire Skirt was born!   
THE BIG PICTURE I chose to become an architect because I like to work large. I have always approached my architecture from an artistic background.  
MAINTAINING MOMENTUM  Patience is the biggest challenge. I get very excited by ideas, working intensely for a bit. Then often something comes up that pauses the process. For instance, the Single Pin Red project, where the large red surfboard shaped like a bowling pin moves around to unexpected places, has an extensive lag time between deciding where I’d like it to go next and getting it there. I’d love to have Kelly Slater surf it off the Manhattan Beach pier, but as you can imagine, there are a lot of logistics to sort out. 
CULTURAL EXCHANGE Art is nothing if not a dialog, so engaging with other people enriches my life. It’s interesting to understand in greater detail what others do. Even if nothing comes of it, we end up having amazing conversations on the street, on the beach, at parties.