Artist Decoded

"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists. This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside. My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic. When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”. In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art." - Yoshino (@yoshinostudios)
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Artist Decoded







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Nov 23, 2020

Jeffrey Martin Zacks, American psychology educator, member of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, and the Cognitive Science Society. 

His book, Flicker: Your Brain on Movies, delves into the history of cinema and the latest research to explain what happens in your brain when you sit down in the theatre and the lights go out.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • How the brain helps us think perceive and aid us in solving problems
  • Mirror neurons
  • The impact that film has on it’s viewers
  • Mimicking attributes of the brain and how it specifically helps us in daily life
  • Film perception
  • Evoking and implementing cues for specific responses within films
  • “The willing suspension of belief”
  • Kids viewing violent films and how it affects them when they are adults
  • Mindset and engagement
  • Age and films
  • Neuroplasticity
  • The “nimble brain”
  • The brain’s development and how we can shift the way we think in order to retain a greater amount of plasticity
  • Movies and the brain’s correspondence with what we are visualizing
  • “Feeling” what we are viewing
  • Creating plots and narratives that affect your emotion
  • The power of non-analytical effects
  • The documentary “The Social Dilemma”, and Jeff’s views on the way technology is progressing
  • “What are you subscribing to?”
  • Children and social media
  • Reflecting on how we use social media and how it influences our brain and habits

Nov 12, 2020

Self-taught, David Uzochukwu (b. 1998, Austria) creates (self-)portraits that speak of both placelessness and belonging. His work sees bodies shifting through nature, performance, and digital reconfiguration. Uzochukwu’s photographs have been exhibited at Bozar, Photo Vogue Festival, and Unseen Amsterdam. He has collaborated with artists FKA twigs, Pharrell, and Iris Van Herpen, and received commissions by Dior and Hermès. Since 2019, he is a participant of CPH:DOX’s talent development program. British Journal of Photography named him One to Watch in 2020. He currently lives in Berlin, where he pursues his first degree in philosophy.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • David’s development and obsession with photography
  • Looking at other photographers work and being inspired
  • Distraction and aesthetic within David’s work
  • Emotions and the expression of an image
  • David’s photography process
  • Finding your signature approach
  • Navigating your youth, and standing your ground
  • Leaning into your intuition
  • Organic transition within artwork
  • Simplicity
  • Swallowing your feelings and fighting to have your needs met
  • Finding your artistic voice and rooting yourself within that
  • David’s interest in philosophy
  • Ethics and practical reasoning for the things that you do
  • Aesthetics being used as a “glazing” to your art
  • Masculinity and the roles of gender
  • Strength and vulnerability
  • Futurism
  • Getting to the point of reflecting your opinions within your art
  • Bias 
  • The future for Davids self-portraiture and photography 

Oct 26, 2020

Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz are both directors and writers, known for Antebellum (2020), Rapture, and 17 Seventeen (2017).

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Required solitude
  • Shifting perspective within a paradigm
  • Truth
  • Bush and Renz’s collaboration and how that has evolved
  • Acceptance of failures and misfortunes
  • The process of working together within relationships
  • Discovery within the arts
  • Companionship within the process of creating
  • The process of trusting your art
  • Spiritualism
  • The collective consciousness
  • Inspiration and how an artist taps into it
  • Leaving behind a legacy
  • When to put on and shed your ego
  • Being afraid to feel something
  • The emotion felt while filming Antebellum
  • Social change
  • The foundations and future of America

Oct 16, 2020

Justin Mortimer (b.1970) is a British artist whose paintings consistently invite us to question the relationship between subject matter and content, beauty and horror, and between figuration and abstraction. While the imagery is almost exclusively pitiless, the texturing of the paint, the play between light and shade, and the passages that lead from photo-realist definition to near-abstract formlessness are so sensitively handled as to make the work at least partially redemptive as well as to indicate a key philosophical dimension: the oblique relationship between evidence and interpretation.

In his recent solo show, his works create paradoxical beauty in the landscape of oppression and violence around the world. With the Covid-19 pandemic and the escalating racial conflict, Justin Mortimer's solo exhibition sets the stage for reflection on the 'tomorrow' of our society.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Welcoming the idea of things breaking down
  • Feeling separated from society
  • Art being a survival technique
  • The human body as a fractured and dismorphed structure
  • Childhood experiences overflowing into Justin’s artistic work
  • Justin’s interest in the body
  • The concept of latex, and how it relates to the individual
  • The loss of imagination within art
  • Reimagining with digital artwork
  • Constant observation qualities within art
  • Retaining a mystery within the work you produce
  • Empathy and how it relates to Covid-19
  • Justin’s recent solo show, “Tomorrow”
  • Technology and how it affects the way we deal with stress and anxiety
  • Inspiration
  • Portraits

Oct 11, 2020

Mike Lee is a world-ranked professional boxer who has fought in some of the world’s most iconic arenas like Madison Square Garden, Cowboys Stadium & The MGM Grand in front of millions of fans. In 2014 Mike was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis, that almost ended his career. In and out of hospitals for over two years he became tired of all the medications and treatments. Mike began searching for all-natural alternatives which lead him to discover CBD and all of its incredible physical and mental benefits! Using his background in finance and business, Mike felt that creating Soul CBD would be the perfect way to share his knowledge while helping others to defeat whatever battles with the pain they may be facing.

Columbia Tatone is an American film director, writer, producer, and photographer. Known for her dynamic cinematic action and relational, relevant storytelling, she often features unique elements of sci-fi in her work. Tatone studied Jazz at Berklee's College of Music in Boston and later received her Business degree at Vanguard University. As a commercial, music video, and narrative director, Columbia empowers her audience through eye-popping, thought-provoking action sequences. As a champion for women and the underrepresented, Tatone often uses her work to promote social justice while also taking us into different realities that highlight the emotional scar tissue of life.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Fight and flight mode
  • The state of flow
  • The fullness of living out your destiny
  • Mike’s early stages of boxing
  • Performing with gratitude and happiness
  • Mike’s autoimmune illness
  • Empathy and wellness
  • Grit
  • Eastern Medicine
  • Looking at pain as a gift
  • Mind over body
  • Reprogramming of your mind
  • How COVID has put everyone on an equal playing field
  • Identity
  • Mike’s work with his company “Soul CBD”

Oct 10, 2020

Edon Guraziu specializes in Concept Design & Consultation. These various industries range from Entertainment, Industrial, Defense, Medical, Consumer Products, and more. Many years of collaboration have resulted in meaningful relationships with the following companies, some of which include: 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Microsoft, Netflix, NVIDIA, MPC, Method Studios, JBC Safety Plastic Inc., StrikerVR, TheVRCompany, Swiss Federal Railways, and more.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Upbringing and immigrating 
  • Not allowing fear to inhibit productivity
  • Logic and emotion
  • Age and skills 
  • Movies and their influence
  • Mentors and relationships
  • Being present, here and now
  • Decision making and their ripple effect
  • Valuing yourself, your art, and your business 
  • Art and business
  • Stoicism & identity of work
  • Work, failure, and recontextualizing

Sep 30, 2020

Jesse Draxler was born in rural Wisconsin, studied in Minneapolis, MN, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. A formal mixed media & inter-disciplinary artist, Draxler has exhibited extensively both domestically and internationally. 

Draxler had solo exhibitions in New York at the Booth Gallery in 2017 and 2016, and has been in exhibitions across Europe at galleries in Munich, London, Paris, Hamburg, and Berlin. Draxler collaborates with brands including Hugo Boss, McQ Alexander McQueen, and Ferrari, with original artwork appearing in Elle, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among other publications. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The path of friendship 
  • The intentionality behind social media 
  • Thinking about the motivations behind what you are doing 
  • Dedication within your craft 
  • Artists relation to sports 
  • Mental fortitude and willpower 
  • The meaning behind Jesse’s latest show, “Table of Losses” 
  • Letting artwork play itself out 
  • The payoff of patience 
  • The sense of urgency that comes with social media 
  • Having a sense of mental separation between yourself and your artistic practice 
  • Ego death 
  • Copying yourself and it equating to an artistic death 
  • Jesse continually re-inventing himself 
  • The emotional weight behind the artwork 
  • Taking criticism as an artist 
  • Modern and Post-Modern art 
  • Moral limits, and how art challenges your morals 
  • Finding inspirations within everyday life 
  • Jesse’s music project “Reigning Cement” 
  • Jesse’s “Love, hate” relationship with his environment 
  • Collaborative pieces of art being influenced by the environment 
  • The concept of a suffering artist 
  • Success and drive 
  • Understanding and creating from a place of purpose 
  • Setting goals within life

Sep 29, 2020

Yasmine Nasser Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice navigates overlapping tensions around religion, gender, and third-culture identity. Her recent work includes immersive installation, fiber etching, and mixed media collage using personal archives and found imagery.

Diaz has exhibited and performed at spaces including the Brava Theater in San Francisco, the Albuquerque Museum of Art, and the Torrance Art Museum. She is a recipient of the California Community Foundation Visual Artist Fellowship (2019) with works included in the collections of LACMA, UCLA, and the Arab American National Museum. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The background behind the title of Yazmine’s latest show “Soft Powers”
  • The concept of “code-switching”
  • Navigating different worlds within the world we live in
  • Cultural differences Yazmine has experienced and how it has personally developed in her work
  • Growing up within two different cultures and countries
  • A nuanced discussion on arranged marriage and forced arranged marriage and the hardship that came with it
  • Online dating and “matchmaking” and how it has affected our world
  • Yasmine’s journey to New Mexico
  • Poverty, capitalism, and the disbursement of power
  • Yazmine’s current work and why she chose the 90s as a timepiece
  • Engagement between the artist, the content, and the viewer
  • The business of art and the complications that come with selling art
  • “Social practice” of art
  • The complicated reality of morals and ethics within different career fields
  • The concept of death and knowing what you stand for
  • Being intentional of why you want power and resources
  • The dynamics between parents and children
  • Subminimally thinking about art 
  • Yazmine’s latest work
  • Transforming style over time
  • Authenticity

Sep 24, 2020

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian from Ireland whose poetry and prose have been published widely across Ireland, the US, and the UK. He presents Poetry Unbound with On Being, a hugely successful podcast where he explores a single poem. Short and unhurried; contemplative and energizing, this podcast had more than a million downloads of its first season. The second season starts on the 28th of September. Mondays and Fridays for twelve weeks.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • What Padraig’s poem means to him, reflecting back on it
  • Life being circular
  • Padraig’s writing process
  • The beauty in the confluence of various things coming together
  • Padraig’s roots within writing poetry
  • Embracing the flourishing of life 
  • Isolation within artists
  • The “peasant poet”
  • Cultural conflict
  • Shelter and the shadow
  • Leaning into self-discovery within our life
  • Considering things that have been ingrained within us and actively challenging their purpose within our live
  • Poetry being the unfolding of the unexpected
  • Finding beauty within the imperfections
  • Being interested in looking
  • Meditation within daily life

Sep 13, 2020

Colin Frangicetto is a multidisciplinary visual artist, musician (Circa Survive & Psychic Babble), and podcaster (The Cosmic Nod). He lives and works in Portland, OR.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The genesis of Circa Survive
  • Colin’s experiences with psychedelic drugs at an early age, and how it affected his view of life in both the present and future
  • Empathy towards others
  • Being present with an individual
  • Lessons learned within political unrest
  • Learning to intentionally listen to those who you disagree with
  • “Being your own Buddha” and living the teachings you subscribe to
  • Colin’s journey with ayahuasca
  • Intentions of reciprocity
  • The concept of giving and taking
  • Homelessness being on the rise within L.A. and Portland
  • Giving your life to the arts
  • Life as an artist
  • The difficulty of not being able to tour throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Circa Survive’s “rhythm of touring” 
  • An artists’ work turning into a brand
  • Being connected to yourself and being comfortable in your own skin
  • Genuine artists and self-proclaimed artists

Aug 27, 2020

Carlos Torres has been tattooing for over 20 years and is mostly self-taught. Early in his career, Carlos worked at a couple of tattoo shops before he got his big break at So. Cal Tattoo in San Pedro, CA. It was there he learned the most and built his tattoo portfolio. Carlos specializes in black & grey realism and surrealism tattoos and loves creating original pieces of art. In addition to tattooing, he enjoys photography, painting, sculpting, teaching workshops, and traveling. His travels to international and domestic conventions have earned him awards including Best Small Black & Gray, Best Large Black & Gray, and Best Backpiece.

In October of 2017, Carlos opened his own studio, The Raven and The Wolves. This fine art gallery and tattoo studio is located in the heart of downtown Long Beach and is home to 8 artists.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Carlos’ start in tattooing
  • The power of mentorship 
  • Apprenticeship in the tattoo practice
  • Intuition and learning to be in-tune with your gut
  • The ever-changing nature of tattooing
  • The art of tattooing in relation to other mediums 
  • Carlos’ love for realism 
  • Being a “loose painter on skin” 
  • Mastering a medium 
  • Mood and stress having a factor in tattooing
  • The human element, and subjectivity towards ideas
  • The clients desire for a tattoo, versus the artist’s interpretation and advice
  • Carlos’ recent work within oil paints
  • Freedom 
  • Growing up in the ghetto
  • Staying positive in the midst of life
  • Teaching making you a better artist
  • Being informed by toggling back between art medium
  • Covid-19 and Carlos’ time spend thinking about lif
  • Taking time off and implementing fresh ideas into your ar
  • Creatives becoming caricatures of themselves
  • Having child-like sensibilities with your art practice
  • “Holding onto your dinosaurs
  • Observing people losing their creative instinct
  • The cliche’s of adulthood
  • Storing ideas and inspiration

Aug 18, 2020

Sophia Rokhlin is an author, speaker, and nonprofit organizer dedicated to supporting the conservation of indigenous wisdom and territory. Through engaged botany and ecology, she bridges the worlds of traditional ecological knowledge and Western science.

She is a Program Coordinator at the Chaikuni Institute, supporting sustainable ayahuasca cultivation and reforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. She is a co-author of When Plants Dream: Ayahuasca, Amazonian Shamanism, and the Global Psychedelic Renaissance (Watkins, 2019) on the global spread of ayahuasca. She helps coordinate Folk Medicine, a live-stream benefit for communities of the Amazon rainforest impacted by COVID-19. She sits in the Ayahuasca Community Committee for the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. Her research appears in publications including the New York Times and the BBC.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The beginning stages of Sophia’s work with indigenous people groups
  • How human communities understand and grow in community with each other
  • The differences between the “American path” vs the path that indigenous people groups take
  • The association of wavelengths and the togetherness of individuals
  • How western culture has lost a sense of togetherness
  • The concept of reciprocity
  • “Sowing seeds for the future, while living in the present”
  • Capitalism and the approach to success
  • Coronavirus and it’s affect to our larger structures
  • Working together in teams
  • Happiness
  • Technology and social innovations
  • How indigenous people groups approach health and wellness
  • America viewing health in an allopathic way
  • Environmentalism
  • The romanticization of interconnectedness
  • The traditional and modern uses of Ayahuasca
  • Meditation, present-mindedness, and prayer
  • The loss of ritual within modern society
  • Being honest with yourself
  • Living in a world full of tools, but having the lack of community to utilize them
  • Human wisdom
  • The mindset of jumping from interest to interest, rather than going deeper into a context
  • Art being an expression of exploration

Aug 6, 2020

William von Hippel, Ph.D., grew up in Alaska, got his B.A. at Yale and his PhD at the University of Michigan, and then taught for a dozen years at Ohio State University before finding his way to Australia, where he is a professor of psychology at the University of Queensland. He has published more than a hundred articles, chapters, and edited books in social psychology, and his research has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, The Economist, the BBC, Le Monde, El Mundo, Der Spiegel, and The Australian.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • William’s start in social evolutionary science
  • The fear we experience being attributed to evolution
  • Technology affecting our evolution
  • Social vs. technological innovations
  • The difference and similarities between hunter and gatherers and us now living in the modern world
  • Great ideas being found
  • Sexual selection within evolution and how it has shifted with the influence of dating apps and the internet
  • Maximizers vs. satisficers
  • Finding the fundamental purpose of your life
  • The meaning of life
  • Coronavirus and self-isolation
  • The evolution of collaboration
  • Being present-minded
  • The fallibility of memories
  • Sociopathic tendencies within humans 
  • The cost of empathy
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and self-actualization
  • “Killing the Mastadon”
  • How art and science fit within evolution. 
  • Objectivity
  • The acceptance of the truth
  • The end result of science and art being incredibly similar
  • The concept of the “starving artist”

Jul 28, 2020

Cj Hendry (b. 1988) is a New York based artist originally from Brisbane, Australia. Globally renowned for her large-scale, photo-realistic drawings of consumer goods and immense, interactive exhibitions, she has developed a dedicated following through her unique brand of technical mastery and conceptual depth. 

A self-professed “lover of products”, Hendry is heir to the Pop Art tradition that firmly established depictions of everyday objects and mass culture in the art historical canon. In the footsteps of Andy Warhol, Hendry generates instantaneously appealing images that celebrate kitsch aesthetics and it’s ubiquitous presence in contemporary digital culture.

More recently, the artist has incorporated new subject matter to delve into deep-seated concerns and anxieties of current society. After seven years of studying architecture and finance in Australia, Hendry abandoned the endeavor in 2014 to pursue art full-time. She has since presented 6 solo exhibitions across Australia, the U.S., and Asia. In 2017, the artist collaborated with esteemed fashion house Christian Louboutin to present her first works in color during the 2017 edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Adaptability
  • Not being bogged down by life and “going on with the show”
  • The dynamic of achieving greatness without falling into individualistic, isolated, and greedy viewpoints.
  • Discipline, and its relation to our daily life. 
  • The importance of community, and how opening yourself up and allowing people to be involved with what you are doing brings about a particular level of freedom.
  • The concept of creative energy - Being relaxed, calm, and effortless within your life and art practice.
  • Art not about being able to draw something well. Rather, art being more about the conceptual nature behind it.
  • Creatively letting go of what others think about you, and doing work that is fulfilling for yourself within art.
  • The concept of working hard and living humbly.
  • Triumphing in the midst of defeats.

Jul 23, 2020

Anna Park is a contemporary artist based in New York City, creating pieces that blur the lines between figurative and abstract work. 

Creating a dazed, yet emotional experience, Anna’s central content revolves around larger bodies of people within social settings while provoking a vaporous and ethereal sensation.

Her most recent work takes on a new form, having a larger, tangled, and fragmented abstraction that envelops the viewer as the cacophony of black and white charcoal reveals intimate messages relating to society and the people we interact with.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The inspiration behind her most recent work describing them as an “amalgamation of people”
  • The desire for “the viewer can become the voyager” 
  • Anna feeling that the inspiration for her new body of work can be attributed to her living in New York City 
  • The dynamic of paintings feeling nostalgic and how our subconscious draws from past memories without truly knowing why
  • Work and life during the quarantine
  • The dynamic of creating art in a self-fulfilling way vs creating art specifically for other people
  • Anna’s upbringing moving from multiple states and her interactions with her mentor, Bruce Roberson, and how he “taught her everything” and how it solidified Anna’s desire to be an artist
  • Gratitude surrounding Anna’s move to New York
  • Submergence within different cultures
  • Community
  • Power structures and how toxic masculinity has permeated the world and made it difficult to empathize and move past our hierarchical viewpoints

Jul 17, 2020

Ryan York is a Doctor of Philosophy, postdoctoral scholar within the department of neurobiology at Stanford University, and an author of over a dozen publications. 

His research is focused on the evolutionary genomic basis of brain and behavior with a specific interest in the courtship behaviors of Lake Malawi cichlid fish.

Having a passion for music and working in constant collaboration with individuals such as Justin Daashuur Hopkins, Ryan borders the line between highly intellectual compositions and spontaneous, free-flowing, and seemingly primal soundscapes

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Ryan’s work as an evolutionary biologist, and his specific project working within computational methods in understanding behaviors
  • Applying concepts used within artificial intelligence and using them for work in other areas of science
  • The overlap of art and science 
  • The idea of repeatability 
  • Collective consciousness and collaboration 
  • Provisional answers and the unknown 
  • Continually shifting based upon your ever-changing context 
  • Scientific having ties to elements of spirituality 
  • Free will 
  • Humility 
  • The power of the mind 
  • Philosophy of science 
  • Different levels of understanding 
  • Dogmatism 
  • Placebo’s having a similarity to art 
  • The subconscious vs analytical instinct 
  • Slow vs fast understanding and experience 
  • Creativity being an exploration of what the world is

Jul 7, 2020

Bolelli reads a passage about fear from his book, “Not Afraid: On Fear, Heartbreak, Raising a Baby Girl, and Cage Fighting”

Daniele Bolelli (born January 11, 1974) is an Italian-American writer, university professor, martial artist, and podcaster based in Southern California. He is the author of several books on philosophy, and martial arts, including On the Warrior's Path. Known for his writing since the 1990s in Italy and the early 2000s in the United States, Bolelli rose to greater public prominence in the 2010s, beginning with his appearances on popular podcasts such as The Joe Rogan Experience. He went on to create his own podcasts, and has hosted The Drunken Taoist since 2012 and History on Fire since 2015.

Bolelli holds M.As in American Indian Studies and history from UCLA and California State University, Long Beach, and did postdoctoral research in history at Cardiff University. As a professor, he has taught a wide variety of courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences on topics including Native American history and culture, Taoist philosophy, and Ancient Rome. He teaches at CSULB and Santa Monica College.

Jul 2, 2020

Acclaimed and revered painter, Jerome Lagarrigue, was born in France to a father who was an illustrator and a mother who was a writer and journalist. Being rooted within a world of creativity and culture, Jerome’s life - from youth to adulthood, can be described as a type of compelling metamorphosis, including experiences both from a creative and racial point of view which directly saturates his current work as a painter. 

Finding love within depicting movement inside of his work, Jerome continues to create powerful work that calls into question particular aspects of the world we live in and frames the subtle and reflective essence of human beings. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Jerome being exposed to two different cultures, and how it offered both confusing and later, harmonious element to his life as a whole
  • The topic of race – its objectivity, functionality, horrific nature, and the struggles that have come with being associated with a specific race
  • Jerome’s upbringing - living both in France and Harlem, and how he was always drawing as a child
  • The effects of social injustices on racial identity 
  • The layered nature of the social justice protests and riots
  • Capitalism shaping the way we live our lives
  • The genesis of creativity
  • Decisions of engaging in a subject matter 
  • Searching continually within art
  • The power in saying no
  • Creative instinct
  • The wave and the weight of the reaction to coronavirus 
  • Captivation within the movement and process of painting
  • Stanly Kubrick’s process and its relation to creativity
  • The growth from the mentality of seeing the world as either one or another absolute into viewing the world as being “gray” 
  • An Individual’s desire to be comfortable rather than be challenged
  • Jerome’s decision to paint riots 
  • The connection of energy, nature, and humanism within paining
  • Feeling, rather than reacting

Jun 28, 2020

CJ Johnson is an acclaimed Speaker and Digital Marketing Consultant, servicing Fortune 50 clients worldwide and a prominent digital influencer with hundreds of thousands of online supporters. CJ is best known for creating successful influencer marketing campaigns as both an influencer and a Consultant, helping content creators and companies maximize their ROI. As a successful influencer, CJ uses his voice for creative storytelling to provide inspiration, digital marketing tips, and work/life balance advice in our modern era. As a Consultant, CJ specializes in digital brand strategy, creative campaigns, influencer marketing, future of work, diversity & inclusion, and trend forecasting. His work specializes in the technology, fashion, lifestyle, political, travel, and entertainment industries. Currently, CJ is a GQ Insider, Google Next Gen Policy Leader, and a Digital Marketing Consultant to innovative companies.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The joys of having a daughter
  • Couch surfing while finishing college in Los Angeles
  • Finding success through design and conscious actions
  • Doing marketing for tech companies
  • How money plays into an overall idea of success

Jun 28, 2020

Steven Assael (born in 1957), is an award-winning American painter, credited most for his masterful artistry within his figure work and modern re-envisioning of the neo-classical, naturalist, and romantic techniques of old. 

Being captivated with what the human form and image represent, ever-changing and seemingly random elements and deeply rooted emotional intelligence, Assael traverses what it is to be human, and the subtleties included within an organic connection. 

Assael’s latest work includes his collaboration between himself and his represented gallery titled “Now We Meet Again” which focuses on individuals presenting images of loved ones, or individuals of significance to Assael through Zoom calls. Working through the purpose of the painting, Assael paints not only the image, but interweaves the very emotional framework and intentions the recipient presented beforehand.  

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Seeking out advantages within painting and connecting with people during quarantine
  • Separation bringing us together
  • The intimate process of working with models and how they directly or indirectly affect the painting
  • Allowing for change within his overall creative vision
  • Teaching painting over Zoom
  • What makes a good teacher
  • The search for finding the right questions to ask
  • Experience motivating change and providing a renewal of what you want
  • Creating situations of exploration for oneself
  • Extracting the right vocabulary while creating
  • The element of control and power that children express when drawing different objects
  • Understanding the dynamic of copying a subject while painting, and how that evolves into a deeper exploration of shapes, tone, atmospheres, and the figure itself. 
  • Giving breadth to form 
  • A great work of art being infectious
  • The nature of romanticism
  • Working from life being an “inquiry into your own humanness” 
  • The idea of questioning and rebelling within a visual outlook
  • Human nature
  • The environment of New York throughout the last forty years, and how it has changed
  • The importance of theatre and the work of actors
  • Symmetry and asymmetry, and its importance within artform and observation
  • “Everything is everything” approach to life
  • Learning what to see flowing into learning how to paint
  • Nature being sporadic, and how we must become “like water” in order to succeed in our strategies in life
  • A commercialized outlook within the art world
  • Art becoming entertainment
  • Faith and doubt
  • Questioning of spirituality and existence

Jun 23, 2020

Damian Joseph Kulash Jr. (born October 7, 1975) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and music video director who is best known for being the lead singer and guitarist of the American rock band OK Go.

Damien was born in Washington DC and spent a large amount of time studying at the Interlochen Arts Camp. He was active in bands at his time at Brown University, eventually winning a prize in music composition.

From the time span of 2005-2007 while the band released and was touring off of the “Oh No” album, the music video “A Million Ways” ended up being the most downloaded video with over 9 million downloads.

The band decided to cut ties with their major record label deals with EMI and Capitol Records, and eventually started their own label, Paracadute, in 2010.

OK Go released their most recent album completely free on their website, which includes rarities, B-sides, and covers of other songs. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Damian discusses how both he and his family contracted coronavirus and how in hindsight, the time spent quarantined yielded different effects and revelations that Damian was not expecting.
  • Damian speaks on how he personally finds hope within the world and how it comes to him emotionally rather than a linearly or algorithmically.
  • “When the world breaks down or the rules shift in such a drastic way, it’s a little like the shackles come off and everything begins to reconfigure. That is terrifying but it also brings an element of hope…” 
  • Deconstruction and equalization of power structures within the world and hope shining through the cracks of society shifting. 
  • The depth of what we experience and how it relates to the “Truth”.
  • Life being a puzzle with the pieces everchanging, how it relates to our humanity, and how we see others and ourselves change. 
  • Giving yourself the freedom to tread new waters, and to genuinely feel emotions.
  • Dynamic of how we are all working together for a common goal.
  • Collaboration and calling back to others who have to tread the path before us. “We are not individual actors”

Jun 19, 2020

Blake Mills is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer, producer, and owner of “Record Collection” and a Grammy Award-winning artist based in California. 

Mills has performed on over two hundred recordings, released four solo records, and worked with artists such as Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple, and Bob Dylan.

Playing as both a session guitarist and composing his own material, Mills meticulously masters both the abstract and intentionality of multiple instruments and seeks to explore the sounds they each have to offer. 

After working with artists such as Fiona Apple, and Andrew Bird, Mills revisited the studio and developed the sounds and resonant textures that became “Mutable Set” - a collection of eleven songs that focus on the dissonance of modern life. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The origin of the name of his new record “Mutable Set” 
  • Collaborating and experimenting with Perfume Genius on his latest record, “Set My Heart On Fire Immediately”
  • The dissonance of being an exploratory musician vs. a stagnant one, and how exploring a specific instrument’s unique tones and characteristics lead to artistic fulfillment
  • The differences between personal work versus client work
  • “There is an art in giving direction.”
  • Blake reflects on his evolution as a musician, and how the limitation and exploration of particular instruments have expanded his cognitive and musical sphere
  • Record production being a “mysterious role” because you are attempting to fill in the gaps creatively and/or logistically
  • The process of sitting with a song, and allowing it to transfigure and mature; sometimes for years on end in order for the song's meaning to evoke a desired reaction

Jun 16, 2020

Christine Yuan is an Emmy-award winning director whose television documentaries have won Best Culture & History Documentary at the 2018 LA Area Emmy, Best Documentary at the 2018 Golden Mic Awards, and Best Feature Documentary at the 2017 National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. Her narrative work has screened at the Cannes Film Festival Court Metrage, Marfa Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, The Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, San Francisco International Festival of Short Films, and more. Her commercial work has been shortlisted for D&AD’s Next Director Award, 1.4 Awards Show, Young Guns 15 Awards, and Shoot’s Director’s Showcase. Her short films and music videos have been featured on Nowness, i-D, Dazed, Fader, booooooom, Vice, and more.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Discipline being instilled through the act of running and physical activities
  • Haruki Murakami’s book “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”
  • Painting as an introduction to Yuan’s interest in creating
  • Lessons she learned from her grandmother about the joy of living a simple life
  • Staying grounded and present
  • Her short film, “DIYU”
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Her background growing up in Christian schools
  • Talent and discipline
  • The idea of “Imposter Syndrome”
  • Creating substance in one’s own being
  • Growing up as an only child
  • Accepting and finding catharsis in loneliness
  • The differences between directing a commercial, music video, and/or a short film
  • Gender inequality that exists in the film industry

Jun 11, 2020

Bao Nguyen is an award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles and Saigon. As the child of Vietnamese war refugees, he first pursued law to appease his parents but soon found his passion in film. His directorial debut, Live from New York!, opened the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. He is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents and the Firelight Media Documentary Lab. He earned his BA at New York University and his MFA at the School of Visual Arts.

“Be Water
In 1971, before his superstardom, Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong to get the opportunities to be a lead actor that eluded him in America. In the two years before his untimely death, Lee completed four films, which changed the history of film and made him a household name. Through rare archival footage, memories of family and friends, and his own words, the story of that time and Lee’s prior experiences are told with an intimacy and immediacy that have infrequently been used in earlier tellings of his legend.

Growing up and living between the West and the East, Lee was ahead of his time in thinking about the transnational audience. He experienced the racist reaction of an American film industry inundated by a subservient and menacing image of Asian people—and learned he’d have to tell his own stories to escape it. Director Bao Nguyen elegantly weaves Lee’s personal struggle for visibility with that of his times and reminds us that though it was for a short time, Lee’s star burned so brightly we still see it today. 
Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Nguyen’s views on the coronavirus and the recent protests in the US
  • Racial equality
  • Nguyen’s experiences as a child, having parents who were war refugees from Vietnam, his experiences drawing out of curiosity for storytelling, and how it eventually developed into a multi-dimensional, intentional, and intimate form of filmmaking
  • Bruce Lee’s impact on American and Asian American culture, which captured Bao’s attention in a unique way
  • Within his early films, Bruce “was fighting for his voice to be heard.”
  • As Bao matured and entered college, his views on social justice and the stories that could be told through these particular individuals began to flourish.
  • The more intimate, immature version of Bruce’s life stood out within Bao’s research. Within this point of time, Lee was taught how to have a strong sense of identity as an Asian American.
  • Bao and Yoshino speak on the idea of having no regrets and letting go with particular things in life, and how being grateful and present-minded is vital.
  • Yoshino and Bao talk about the role of a teacher and the dynamic they have with their students. A great teacher differs from a normal teacher in their ability to allow students to explore themselves honestly.
  • Bruce’s desired to have his cultural viewpoints expressed in American culture
  • Creating an atmosphere of connectivity

Jun 8, 2020

On October 16, 1994, Ludovic Nkoth (LNkoth) was born in Cameroon, West Africa. Growing up in African, Ludovic learned to express himself creatively at a very young age. Through his vibrant use of color and ability to capture life through a distinct lens, Ludovic’s past time was consumed with rough sketches of the beautiful cities of Cameroon.

Ludovic’s work is heavily informed by the events in his life which led him to move, as a young boy of 13 years old, from his native Cameroon to the United States. Leaving his birth-mother and family, the young man found solace and comfort in the creative process while being raised primarily as a stranger in a strange land. It wasn’t until he migrated to the united states that he began to reconsider his own culture as a catalyst to locate his identity. For Ludovic, who learned to speak English as a teenager in a world completely alien to him, still – at times – finds himself displaced in his adopted country. In the states, he is viewed as an African, but in Africa, he is viewed American – leaving the passionate young artist in a sort of ambiguous and cyclical displacement of identity. Given the contentious issues of identity, patriotism, Confederate ideologies and racial bias growing in the States at the time of this writing, the paintings and his perspective seem of increasing relevance.

As such, the work presents a complex but highly personal investigation of a very personalized view of Africa; his family history; and the cultures, traditions, and ideas of Africa and its diaspora pre-and post-colonialism. They are approached with a type of naive brusqueness, an immediacy and boldness of colour that suggests both a passion and sense of discovery. African symbols such as masks, patterns, and other symbols of identity and culture remain consistent throughout. He states that through creation, the works attempt to “regain the things that were taking away from [his] people. Things such as power, culture, the idea of self and the idea of being black and proud.”

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Film by Werner Herzog “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
  • The origins of creativity
  • Growing up in Cameroon and moving to the US at the age of 13
  • Meeting artist Kerry James Marshall
  • Identity
  • The civil war in his native country of Cameroon
  • Loving one’s self
  • Understanding traditional “voodoo” practices in Africa versus the demonization of “voodoo” by European settlers
  • Comparing the historical colonization patterns of the United States and Africa
  • The importance of preserving Cameroonian tradition
  • Clarity through the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine
  • Political structures in Cameroon

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