Initial Sparks

We asked a few local creative types to share with us the art or artist that helped influence and inspire their own career paths.

“When I was in my first year of architecture studies at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, I did a case study project on the Kappe House in Pacific Palisades, designed by Raymond Kappe, FAIA, for his own family in 1967. After 40 years of practice, I now know that everything that I know and believe about architecture is incorporated in that one building—a masterpiece of Southern California architecture.”

— Dean Nota, architect


“One of the many people who has and continues to inspire me as a photographer is film director Sergio Leone. I always loved the compositions and cinematography of his films.”

— Jeff Berting, photographer


“‘The Fragile’ by Nine Inch Nails was beautiful, complex, angry and oddly hopeful—the perfect bridge between everything I wanted to leave behind in college and everything I wanted to accomplish afterwards. Trent Reznor has become a master of reinvention, and he’s a Tony Award away from the E.G.O.T. (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony).”

— Rich Thomas, writer


“Being a child of the ‘80s, I was inspired by Madonna’s outlandish creativity and rebellious style. Although I would say that I gravitate more toward the ‘70s-era aesthetic, the ‘80s opened up a whole new world in fashion where one could customize and deconstruct their clothing. I remember cutting off the fingers of my pink lace gloves and the shoulders off my fluorescent orange sweatshirt and feeling a true sense of my own individuality.”

— Tanya Monaghan, stylist 


“I remember the impact of watching the films of Merchant Ivory, like A Room With a View and Maurice in the 1980s. Not only were they breathtakingly beautiful to my young eyes, but they also approached taboo subjects in a way I’d never seen before … with a graceful hand that was always elegant, sometimes shocking and often heartbreaking. Those moments made me a lifelong Anglophile.”

— Darren Elms, editor