Artist Decoded by Yoshino

"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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Now displaying: 2020
Jun 28, 2020

About Steven: 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

About Damian: 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”

Damian’s Letter For “All Together Now”

Rebecca Solnit - “'The Impossible Has Already Happened': What Coronavirus Can Teach Us About Hope”

Jun 19, 2020

About Blake: 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. 

Show Notes:

  • 0:00:00​ - Introduction
  • 0:04:38​ - Origin of the Name of New Record "Mutable Set"
  • 0:07:19​ - The Bigger Picture of the Album
  • 0:11:41​ - The Self Above Any Specific Role in Music
  • 0:17:44​ - Working On Own Projects VS For A Client
  • 0:22:09​ - Collaborating and Experimenting with Perfume Genius on "Set My Heart On Fire Immediately"
  • 0:26:28​ - Creating Unique Tones and Characteristics Lead to Artistic Fulfillment
  • 0:31:16​ - Using The Environment and Studio as a Unique Characteristic of the Process
  • 0:37:27​ - Sound City Studio, The Hybrid of Professional and Home Studio
  • 0:40:40​ - Partnership With Tony Berg Through The Years
  • 0:44:12​ - Mystery Job of Record Production
  • 0:46:48​ - Constant Desire to Write New Songs
  • 0:49:32​ - How "Mutable Set" Began and the Many Collaborations
  • 0:56:23​ - In Love With A Sound That Can't Be Recreated
  • 1:04:43​ - Future Plans
  • 1:06:53​ - Wrap Up

Blake Mills Instagram 

Jun 16, 2020

About Christine: 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

About Bao: 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

Vimeo - Bao Nguyen

Sundance - “Be Water”

Jun 8, 2020

About Ludovic: 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

May 23, 2020

About Janna: Canadian painter Janna Watson uses abstraction as both an escape from and return to the real. As the world we know dematerializes into paint strokes, so too does her paint take stage as its very own character in a multi-act drama of composition. Bundles of colour, made up of discrete yet inseparable instances of pigment—what Watson refers to as “moments”—are teeming and poised as though caught mid-multiplication. Sweeps of paint re-direct sharply and fold over themselves; thin, rigid ink lines cut into the pictorial field as rudimentary elements in an increasingly complex system of painterly language. All the components play out on a surface of slow, chromatic gradation. Like many of Watson’s players, these backdrops tenderly gesture toward the familiar, stopping just short of representation. The result is a conceptual project (and distinct, stylistic signature) that speaks to a contemporary milieu in which abstract painting is not the retreat of meaning into an unrecognizable realm, but rather the emergence of medium as a “figure” in its own self-inscribed world of feeling and being. Watson does more than reveal paint’s potential to emote—she gives it a space to reveal itself, in its own time.

Janna Watson holds an honours degree in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design, and since graduating has exhibited extensively across Canada and internationally in over thirty solo exhibitions. Her work has appeared in notable public collections including those of TD Bank, CIBC, Telus, the Ritz-Carlton, ONi ONE, the Soho Metropolitan Hotel, and Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2013, she was commissioned to create an impressive, 11-foot painting for the lobby of AURA, Canada’s tallest residential building.

Watson’s paintings circulate regularly at international fairs, including Art Toronto, CONTEXT Art Miami, and in Seattle, where they were recently featured by Artsy in its list of “10 Works to Collect at the Seattle Art Fair.” Watson’s work has been covered by publications such as The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, and House & Home.

Janna Watson also runs Studio Watson, a business dedicated to redefining interiors with hand-tufted floor pieces inspired by the artist’s abstract compositions.

She lives and works in Toronto.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Janna’s experience as a youth growing up in a small town in northern Ontario with her father being a Pentecostal pastor. 
  • “Living in somewhat of a bubble… “naive atmosphere” as a child.” She was an introvert and spent her growing life in the church, which Janna says added to the naïve atmosphere. 
  • Janna reflects about her experiences coming out at the age of 18, her process of beginning to question the very faith she grew up believing, and how the world might be moving around her. 
  • Janna explains how she came to a particular point of surrender in the wrestling of her faith and personal life. – Critical point within her story; being a major catalyst for who she is today. 
  • Janna realized later on in her life how much she needed to “touch into” the spiritual world and tap into surrender. 
  • The process of covering all of her paintings with resin during a rough period in her life. “Shiny and sexy – glossing over the flaws.”  
  • Janna explains speaking in tongues and how she personally uses it within her prayer life and her thoughts on how speaking in this manner somehow transports her to her subconscious state of mind to be able to translate those feelings in her artwork. 
  • Janna’s grandfather pushing her to draw the “essence of things” in her drawings and how they needed to be wilder. He taught her the art of abstraction. 
  • Janna reflects on the title of her show speaking to the way we are currently living our lives as the coronavirus is occurring.

May 21, 2020

About David: David Cheifetz is an internationally acclaimed and collected artist who continues to push the limits of contemporary realist oil painting. David and his family live in Olympia, WA.

"Reflecting the language of dreams, these dark, hyperrealistic tableaux suggest bizarre and intriguing narratives. Cheifetz paints alla prima, an oil painting technique in which wet paint is applied to previous layers of wet paint. He works without detailed underpainting or studies, creating atmosphere through prominent, expressive brushstrokes and strong chiaroscuro."

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • David’s time in quarantine, and reflecting during this time
  • David’s workshop cancelation in Italy due to COVID-19
  • Feeling out-of-the-game, but only in perception
  • His family life, and time with his children
  • Painting and the inspiration that goes behind it.
  • Allowing himself to find meaning in a painting after it is finished
  • The dynamic of Cheifetz’s painting vs. writing practice
  • Experiences of having children and David’s reflection on approaching his own personal life with an element of forgiveness.

May 18, 2020

About Erin: Erin Nicole Henry is a contemporary artist based in Atlanta, Georgia, where she began working in the arts at an early age. After leaving art school, her cutting edge paintings made a loud arrival into the art world since they began regularly showing in multiple galleries around the city.

Erin examines her environment through surrealist portraits of the human figure. Her work is intentional, with confident brushstrokes, rich layers of color, and details that pull you in. Her unique style and curious subject matter have captured the attention of art lovers and collectors across the globe. Working from her studio in Atlanta, Erin has chosen to use her growing platform as an artist and a working model to spark conversation and bring awareness to issues surrounding LGBTQ equality, sexual harassment, and abuse.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Differences in her work as a painter in contrast to her work as a mode
  • Her love for horror films
  • The superficiality that exists in the fashion world
  • Consumerism
  • Healthy understandings of body image
  • Being nomadic
  • Finding purpose
  • Museums: The Broad
  • Artists: Matthew Barney, Jenny Saville
  • Films: Midsommar (Ari Aster
  • Authors: Nancy Farmer, Lidia Yuknavitch, and David Foster Wallace

May 4, 2020

About Aja: “As a psychic and medium, I find meditation to be a mandatory part of my private practice. Meditation is a foundational piece of my ability to connect to the other side, and to refresh my energy.

This meditation is part of an ongoing project that my partner and I are working on entitled, “Tides”. Each meditation is channeled through my automatic writing practice, allowing the spirits I work with to directly connect each listener with themes and imagery they believe can activate change, healing, and release. The listener is encouraged to allow themselves to be guided through this third eye journey without expectation to experience whatever comes through. Whether or not you receive messages or guidance from your spiritual teams or your subconscious - it all matters. Do your best to surrender to whatever your mind wishes to share with you.

Enjoy the meditation.” - Aja Daashuur


May 3, 2020

About Young Pueblo: The inward movement can be summarized as follows: we observe ourselves, we accept what we find without judgment, we let it go, and the actual release causes our transformation. We are already always changing, but when we focus on healing we can change in the direction of our choosing; these are moments when we intentionally reclaim our power. Every moment we take to know ourselves, we return as someone new.- Yung Pueblo

Diego Perez is a meditator, writer, and speaker who is widely known on Instagram and various social media networks through his pen name Yung Pueblo. Online he reaches hundreds of thousands of people every month through his written works that focus on the reality of self-healing, the movement from self-love to unconditional love, and the wisdom that comes when we truly work on knowing ourselves. His first book, Inward, was self-published and quickly became a bestseller on Amazon. A revised and expanded edition of Inward has recently been published and is now available in bookstores around the world.

The name Yung Pueblo means young people; it serves to remind him of his Ecuadorian roots, his experiences in activism, and that the collective of humanity is in the midst of important growth. Diego's practice of Vipassana meditation, as taught by S.N. Goenka, has given him a deeper understanding of liberation that inspires his writing. Through writing and speaking he aims to support the healing of the individual, knowing that when people release their personal burdens it helps humanity build a global peace.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • A discussion on Yung Pueblo's recent book, “Inward”
  • How creativity has emerged from letting go in his meditation journey, and exploring healing through writing
  • Attending meditation retreats and his practice of Vipassana 
  • The importance of practicing meditation even for individuals who haven't had major life traumas 
  • Selfless and unconditional love
  • Self-love
    A reflection on Yung Pueblo's addiction to pleasure and his awareness of how much it dictated his life
  • The idea of embracing change, and being present in the moment
  • Overcoming an aversion to introspective reflection of himself, and becoming ok with being alone
  • Finding balance amongst his writing practice, administrative work, and meditation
  • Books: Bhagavad Gita

Apr 28, 2020

About Daan: Daan Noppen (1977), born in Arnhem (The Netherlands) is an international artist mainly working in drawing and painting. He is best known for his realistic larger than life drawings of portraits and bodies. Physics and it’s relation to our being, our emotions, plays a big part in his work. The artist plays with notions of reality by projecting time as a physical dimension. Rather than becoming something ‘scientific’ this opens up a visual world of our hidden layers of our desires, our pain and our cry for being loved.

‘Amsterdam based artist Daan Noppen brings a special dynamism to his pencil drawings of still life and portraits. His works are not only eye-catching for their precise layering of details, but also in their massive size that gives his subjects a more palpable presence. A closer look at each piece reveals mathematical equations in between the pencil lines that relate to our reality. More recent works express the artist’s continued fascination with mathematics, geometry, and physics, as his figures appear to be gauged, dissipate, and intermingle in a void of empty vector space’. - Hi-Fructose Magazine (March 2016)

Daan Noppen’s work has been exhibited in New York(USA), New Orleans(USA), Mexico DF(Mexico), Shanghai(China), Metz(France), Luxembourg(Luxembourg), Munchen(Germany), Traun(Austria), Antwerp(Belgium) and in Amstedam (The Netherlands). The artists Symmetry I&II drawing recently won an A’design Award 2016 in the category Arts, craft and ready made.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • His origin story within the arts
  • The breaking down of traditional gender roles
  • A residency that he did at Andrew Salgado’s studio in London
  • The differentiation between tasteful nudes and pornography
  • Using different creative skill sets in conjunction with your current art medium
  • Book: “The Way Of The Superior Man” by David Deida

Apr 13, 2020

About Yore:

Equal parts emotive and angelic, Yore’s voice is one of those rare wonders that can make the hairs on your arms stand to attention. Quietly arriving on the scene this year with his hypnotic single “Knew Better,” the LA-based artist is bringing a conceptual approach to modern soul music, blending electronic and classical influences with meticulously layered vocals.

It has been a long time coming – having previously held down a career in music under a different moniker, an intense period of meditation and solitude led to a reinvention as Yore. There’s a certain yearning to his compositions, something Yore describes as “the nostalgia of what could have been” – combined with his shadowy, cinematic visuals it makes for an intense experience. - HUNGER Magazine, 2018

Apr 10, 2020

About Cory: “Create space in your heart and mind. Live in the present moment.

There are many styles of meditation, approaches to mindfulness, and paths to living a more present life. However, each of those schools are confined to their own strict guidelines. This course is not. I believe that every person is different and needs a unique style of meditation that works for them.

I have studied meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. Throughout that time, I took what I found to be the most useful parts of each school of meditation and wiped away the mystery. I combined my personal discoveries, and a blend of classic foundational techniques to create a new approach to the art of mindfulness.

In this downloadable 6 week audio course, I’ll share an approach to meditation that allows you to learn what works best for you. Whether you’re taking your first steps or are further down the path, this course is something you will grow with.” - Cory Allen

For more information on “Release Into Now” go to

Type in “Release” @ checkout for 50% off the 6 week guided meditation course.

Apr 9, 2020

About Allie X: Somewhere amidst the outer reaches of iconoclastic pop darling Allie X’s mind, you’ll find the limits of a surreal hamlet inspired by the East Coast’s infamous playground of the pedigreed, Cape Cod. That said, it doesn’t take long for all the overbearing, Americana-worshipping idyll to melt into a gloomy, grandiose fantasy world of Allie’s creation.

A distinct departure from her previous effort — the irreverent, observational Super Sunset — this new writing is an intimate, healing journey focused inwards. Told through the perspective of character rooted in Allie’s own reluctant reflections upon her teenage alienation, it’s an invitation to recontextualize the banality of our shared suburban coming-of-age angst via wry romanticization and darkly-dreamlike production. To rethink ostracization and ennui as a vehicle to unite,
rather than isolate, all of the anxiety-ridden outsiders.

“I was waiting for the right moment and place and maturity level where I could comfortably and accurately put these feelings into song,” Allie says, before adding, “This sort of margin in time, and space helped me dive in, and explore some repressed feelings.”

Interestingly enough, her new work was created within the span of few whirlwind weeks. A literal world away from the hook-driven writing rooms of Los Angeles. Thanks to the help of like-minded Swedish producer, Oscar Görres, and co-writer James Alan Ghaleb, lead single “Fresh Laundry” unfurled into a gaudily melancholic, whimsical encapsulation of the surreal world Allie always dreamed of belonging to.

Meanwhile, tracks like “Regulars” explores the struggle of a fish-out-of water forced to adhere to the conventional, while the Troye Sivan duet “Love Me Wrong” expounds upon these feelings — turning it toward the often fraught relationships with our family that we eventually end up internalizing.

A carefully constructed meditation on universal themes of identity and belonging, most importantly, this new work is also a declaration of the autonomy we have when it comes to redefining ourselves and our place in the world. Although, Allie herself may still be on a journey toward reconciling with her past, by allowing herself to continue exploring the margins of contemporary pop, she’s ended up finding herself, at last, a little bit closer to home.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Her collaboration with Mitski (singer / songwriter) for their song “Susie Save Your Love”
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Her writing process for her newest album, Cape God, which was inspired by the 2015 HBO documentary entitled “Heroin: Cape Cod USA” directed by Steven Okazaki
  • Sifting through disparate elements
  • Challenges faced in her music career
  • Adaptive resilience

Apr 4, 2020

About Ron: Ron Hicks was born in Columbus, Ohio but spent most of his childhood growing up in the modest and friendly neighborhood of Park Hill in Denver, Colorado. Ron always knew he would be an artist. Ron's family later relocated back to Ohio where during high school he was awarded several awards, and honors for various art shows and competitions.  His talent became obvious and noted throughout his high school career, and Ron was awarded a full scholarship to Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH. He later returned to Denver then subsequently earned a degree in Advertising Design. After college, Ron applied his degree, and natural talent to working for ad agencies, magazines, and as a freelance illustrator. He would soon realize his true passion. Ron's natural talent, and eye for beauty encouraged a shift in the direction of his style of painting.

"I see things very abstractly, so I think of myself as a painter who sees shape, value, edges and texture. It could be the most mundane thing to any passer-by, but I find great beauty in that. I can't imagine not painting...not creating. If I'm not painting, creating, and sharing my gift then what's the point?"  - Ron Hicks

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The recent LA Art Show with his paintings on view at the Gallery 1261 booth
  • His early art inspiration as a child specifically from his mother
  • Starting a Saturday art program at the Columbus College of Art and Design in high school
  • Moving back to Denver to finish college, and a short-winded pursuit in advertising design before diving into his art career
  • An early mentorship that allowed him to tap into the "soul" of his art, and thoughts on developing an intuitive toolbox
  • Hicks' evolution of his art, and the abstract dialogue that comes through his paintings
  • Creating honesty in his art but leaving room for his viewers' interpretation of his works
  • Processing the traumas of thirty years of racial profiling

Apr 1, 2020

About Ibarionex: Ibarionex Perello is a photographer, writer and educator. Since 2006, he has also served as the host, and producer of The Candid Frame photography podcast, which has featured hundreds of conversations with the world’s best and established photographers. Guests have included Sam Abell, Maggie Steber, Eli Reed, Jay Maisel, Elliot Erwitt, Ruddy Roye, Dan Winters, Keith Carter and many more. Ibarionex has written hundreds of magazine articles on the subject of photography and has authored half a dozen books on the subject of photography including his most recent Making Photographs: Developing a Personal Visual Workflow.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • His podcast, “The Candid Frame”
  • Content with substance vs. content consumed to distract
  • Cerebral vs. technical vs. intuitive elements to creativity
  • Book: Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “The Decisive Moment”
  • Finding comfortability in uncomfortable scenarios
  • Discussing the role of the interviewer
  • Ibarionex’s photography and writing process
  • The importance of creating your own creative community
  • Podcast: Elvis Mitchell’s “The Treatment”
  • Photographers: Joel Meyerowitz, Richard Avedon, Michelle Groskopf

Mar 29, 2020

About Denna: Denna Thomsen grew up in Omaha Nebraska, later receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado State University. She moved to California in 2007 to pursue a professional dance career and gained a spot with Hysterica Dance Company, founded by Kitty McNamee. In 2012, Alma Ha’rel gave Denna her first break acting and dancing alongside Shia Labeouf, in Fjogur Piano by Sigur Ros. She soon became infatuated with the commercial side and later danced beside Madonna, David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Florence + The Machine and SIA. With the rise of musical artist, SIA, in 2014, Denna began to assist Ryan Heffington on all future endeavors and more including Lorde, The OA, Kenzo Fashion Show, Mascots, and Homepod, directed by Spike Jonze. She has recently choreographed a scene from the new movie, Booksmart, and has been recognized for her work in the known Apple commercial, “SWAY.” Denna will next be spotted as an actress alongside Finn Wolfhardt and Mackenzie Davis, in an Amblin Entertainment film called “The Turning”, directed by Floria Sigismondi.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • How she found her love for dance and choreography
  • Applying the structure and discipline of her practice to navigate through the contemporary dance world, and life in general
  • Triggers for inspiration
  • Continuing a writing practice as a way to inform dance, and other aspects of creativity
  • Butoh Dance AKA The Dance of Darkness
  • Poor accreditation, and mistreatment of dancers in the entertainment industry
  • Challenges in sustainability that face contemporary dancers/choreographers
  • Pushing through fear to become what you were meant to be
  • Releasing tension through physical activity, and emotional vulnerability

Mar 24, 2020

About Michael: Michael Phillip is a writer, seeker, and wonder-dipping host of the Third Eye Drops podcast. In it, he melds minds with some of the planet’s most interesting artists, scientists, philosophers, and consciousness explorers.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The value of having a contemplative practice
  • Søren Kierkegaard’s “Leaf of Faith”
  • Michael’s first Ayahuasca experience
  • Ancient mystery schools, and revealing the mysteries of life and death
  • The Myer’s Briggs Personality Test
  • “Awakening From The Meaning Crisis”, a YouTube series by John Vervaeke whom is a psychology and cognitive science professor at University of Toronto
  • Addressing the COVID-19 crisis
  • The cultivation of wisdom through authentic dialogue

Third Eye Drops on Patreon

Third Eye Drops on iTunes

Mar 18, 2020

About Riley: Riley Stearns (Director + Writer) grew up in Pflugerville, Texas.

His short, The Cub, screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. His feature debut, Faults, starring Leland Orser, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, premiered at SXSW in 2014 and was released theatrically.

The Art of Self-Defense (2019) played at numerous international film festivals including the opening night slot of Munich Film Festival and was released domestically to critical acclaim. The Art of Self-Defense is Stearns’ second feature.

He is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under, Renzo Gracie black belt, Shawn Williams.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Stearns' seven-year journey training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and studying at various schools including Renzo Gracie's academy in LA
  • A discussion on Stearns' recent film “The Art of Self Defense”
  • The concept of toxic masculinity, and its effects on society's expectation of people
  • His use of dark comedy, and absurdity in breaking down the stereotypes of men and developing an overall message on the importance of being yourself 
  • Using his art as a means to express his emotions and deal with personal traumas, including a recent divorce
  • On Stearns' writing process, incubation period, and organic approach in editing after the script is finished
  • Finding a recent passion playing the mandolin
  • His collaborations in film, and maintaining healthy relationships with those he works with
  • Having wins and balancing what people like versus having a healthy ego as an artist, specifically concerning his reception of his 2013 short film “The Cub” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
  • Reflection on Stearns' 2014 film, Faults
  • The Art of Self Defense is available to stream on Hulu

Mar 17, 2020

About Akira: “Making pictures is one of the earliest memories I recall. Before learning to write the alphabet I was drawing from my imagination in crayons. And over all the years that followed, there has never been a period where I didn’t continue the practice. I remember for example just after graduating high school and living on my own as a dishwasher with no ambitions in life but to get drunk and high. But when the party was over I would be in the kitchen of a house I didn’t live in, drawing past dawn. Or even when I was a student at the University of California Berkeley, on my way towards a corporate life, having never conceived even the possibility where art could be a profession, I filled my notebooks not with words from lectures, but with sketches of teachers and classmates. And though later I would become a ‘professional artist’, I sometimes look back at such moments if confused with the roots of my creativity. It started purely as an act of autonomy, where nothing outside myself influenced or affected it. I simply drew because I enjoyed it above all else. Sure, like anyone I’ve had plenty of typical life experiences that have brought their own joy, but nothing compares in consistency and meaningfulness that making art has provided. Even during those unavoidable periods with living that challenge us most, drastic life change/loss/death, art has functioned as a medium with giving meaning to suffering, transforming it into an experience with healing. This I hope, begins to describe the art I make. The drawings and paintings you see on this site, are similar to snapshots where the lens points in Life's direction with penetrating force. Every piece reflects a story only Life could tell. Up until my middle twenties it was enough to make art for its own sake. When I discovered making pictures offered so much more in such ways, a journey of exploration began. It’s fascinating to see how far it has come, and continuing forward never knowing where it may go.”
- Akira Beard

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Akira's journey into tattoo art versus his drawing and painting practice, and how concepts of spontaneity, the subconscious mind, and thinking work into his creative decision-making 
  • Using art initially as a necessity to undo years of emotional repression
  • Getting out of his head, and living in the present moment
  • Winning the Redbull art competition, and recontextualizing his preconceived notions of commercial art
  • Akira's personal experience with expectations, and their effects both on relationships and art
  • Leaving UC Berkeley, and corporate career aspirations for art school
  • The important mentorship of an art professor
  • Reflection on his time as a vagabond 
  • Incorporating uncomfortability into his life
  • Beginning his practice in jiu-jitsu and self defense
  • Documentaries: "The Real Mr. Miyagi" and " Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present"
  • Thoughts on the hero's journey, and the human experience

Mar 14, 2020

About Jennifer: Jennifer Pochinski is an American figurative painter. Her work is characterized by gestural marks and bold color. Relationships, the male-female power dynamic, and humanity are key themes in her work.

She was raised in Hawaii and received her BFA from the University of Hawaii in Painting in 1991. Much of her young adulthood was spent traveling and living on the mainland USA and Europe. Since late 2010, she has been living and working in California.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Pochinski's journey, including moving to Hawaii at a young age, experiencing her senior year abroad in Germany, living in Greece, and ultimately finding her way to Sacramento, CA
  • Her decision in college to change her major to art at the University of Hawaii, and later a brief stint studying interior architecture at an art and design school in Greec
  • Finding an escape and freedom from people pleasing in her artistic practice
  • Pochinski's methods of exploration and experimentation in her art, such as layering, linoleum printing, and collage
  • The act of letting her paintings "sit" and taking time to construct and deconstruct her work
  • Pochinski's passion for art, art books, and learning about other artists' lives. Names mentioned: Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse, Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Markus Lupertz, Georg Baselitz, Cherry Pickles, Christopher Brown, R.B. Kitaj, Eric Fischl, Richard Diebenkorn, Paula Rego, Philip Guston, Jack Oden, Willem de Kooning, Lucian Freud

Mar 6, 2020

About Kit: Kit Dale was born on January 24, 1986, in Melbourne, Australia, growing up in the area’s eastern suburbs.

During his formative years Dale practiced a number of athletic activities, from karate to inline hockey, as well as Australian football (Aussie rules), a sport he competed in extensively prior to jiu-jitsu.

Australian rules football is widely recognized as one of the most physical sports in the world, generally played by large individuals. Although a very athletic competitor himself, Kit lacked the physicality of some of the other players, a handicap Dale sought to overcome by learning a few grappling tricks, starting his jiu-jitsu training in 2008 with Robert Parmakovski – a man who would, years later, become Kit’s own student.

BJJ came natural to Dale, who soon started allocating more of his time to grappling and less to Aussie rules football. While climbing the ranks of jiu-jitsu Dale trained with Bernie Jenkins (up to blue belt) and Peter De Been (up to brown belt), while also doing plenty of training and experimentation on his own or with friends/students.

Once the highly decorated grappler, Yuri Simões moved to Australia, Kit started training with the Brazilian. The two established a strong relationship as friends and training partners, and it was Yuri who promoted Dale to black belt on June, 2013. At the time of the ceremony, Dale had just under 5 years of training, this being one of the fastest rises to the rank recorded by then.

Dale would later move to California, USA, one of jiu-jitsu’s epicenters in order to improve his grappling skills while also attempting further his acting career.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • His early interests that led him to BJJ
  • His rapid success in the world of BJ
  • Challenging the status quo in BJJ. Live training as opposed to drilling.
  • Kit’s method of “Specific Training”
  • Improvement through active problem-solving
  • His personal keys to a rewarding and happy life
  • His recent interest in a career as an actor
  • His relationship to problem-solving and the Socratic Method
  • How he applies his methodology of BJJ mastery to the rest of his life.

Feb 29, 2020

About Cory: Cory Allen is an author, podcast host, meditation teacher, composer, and audio engineer. On his podcast The Astral Hustle, he finds ways for us to live with more wonder and less suffering by speaking with leading experts in mindfulness, neuroscience, music, and philosophy. The Astral Hustle has been downloaded millions of times and was featured by the New York Times. Cory has taught thousands of people how to meditate with clear and concise methods in his online meditation course Release Into Now. He is also a distinguished music producer who has released more than a dozen albums and engineered hundreds of records for other artists. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Allen's reflection on his childhood and his relationship with his family
  • How Allen strives to learn from the people he surrounds himself with
  • Thoughts on how humans react to one another and the complexities of life
  • A discussion on Allen's book, “Now is the Way: An Unconventional Approach to Modern Mindfulness”, including the writing process, the method of presenting both simple and complex ideas in a resource for all levels of mindfulness practice, and the experience of it in audio form
  • His journey as a teen studying western and eastern philosophy, meditation, psychedelics, and neuroscience
  • His feelings on abandoning structure, authority, and systems
  • The importance of eating well, and maintaining good health in the mindfulness journey
  • Creating balance between his writing practice and his home life

Feb 21, 2020

About Adam: Recurring themes in the work of Adam Lee are the act of pilgrimage, shelter and an itinerant, nomadic sense of home. Transmitted through a community of hermits, shawl-shod women and regalia-laden gentlefolk traversing deserts, forests and valleys or reposing in tabernacles or dreamed abodes, Lee’s practice ties together narratives of memory, imagination and transcendence. Through his works on linen and paper, Lee builds worlds where allegory and atmosphere coalesce to suggest a highly personal outlook informed by collective folklore and legend. These interior histories find their physical manifestation in Lee’s varied but self-contained technique, which is characterised by mercurial landscapes and a contemporary tenebrism. His oils on linen are a resonant amalgam of sanded back layers of pigment, highly saturated sfumato and a sensitively deployed portraiture, with his watercolour ink works evincing a command of shaping ethereal blooms into impressions of externalised thoughts, sensations and calls to a higher being.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Processing his experience from the 2017 residency at Glasshouse (in the South of France) and the exhibition "Monolith" that followed.
  • Balancing intuition in creativity with years of academic research.
  • Unbiased honesty in the work of children.
  • The positive and negatives aspects of the inundation of information as a contemporary artist.
  • How his thought process and work is changing
  • Taking a more specific and personal approach to work. 
  • Using art to process and understand life's difficult experiences.
  • The unavoidable implications of the influence of commerce on art.

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