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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Artist Decoded by Yoshino











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Oct 30, 2022

Oliver Johnson aka Dorian Concept will release his new album What We Do For Others on 28th October on Brainfeeder Records. It’s the third studio album by the Austrian producer and synthesizer savant, famed for his singular, beautifully detailed sonic tapestries and wild, utterly joyful live keyboard jam videos.

What We Do For Others is a relaxed, quietly confident and intimate record, founded on delightfully loose arrangements, feedbacked soundscapes and blessed with snatches of cryptic vocals that are presented more as additional instrumentation rather than lyrical phrases. All the elements and layers were recorded without interruptions and deliberately not edited. “I think that's why this record has something of a ‘band sound’” says Oliver. “It's me playing all kinds of different key- instruments, singing and using fx-units to create these freeform compositions.”

The title came to Oliver in a dream and stuck with him. “One thing I often find interesting about my creative process is that when I believe to be making something that others could like, it tends to not really connect with people,” he says. “Whereas when I get to that special place and just work from my gut – the music tends to often speak to the outside world naturally.”

Johnson says that he tried questioning his internal voice of self-judgment and temper his constant urge for improvement during the making of the album.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Dorian’s earliest memories of being introduced to music through film soundtracks such as Batman Returns (1992)
  • Sound synthesis
  • The earliest influences on Dorian
  • Dorian being influenced by Dj Spinna’s “Heavy Beats Vol. 2” in his youth
  • Experimenting and improvising with Micro Korgs
  • Dorian learning how to play the piano around the age of 6
  • Prepared piano
  • The importance of having teachers that can nurture one’s individual creativity
  • Connections between music and video games
  • 8 to 16-bit music used in early console games
  • Psychedelics
  • Set and setting
  • Questioning one’s perspective on using time
  • The intentionality of decisions made throughout one’s life
  • The compulsion for creating art
  • Dorian’s reasons for choosing to become a professional artist
  • His new album “What We Do For Others”
  • His track, Survival Instinct being the “heartpiece” of his album
  • Drawing parallels between creating a sculpture and creating music
  • Presenting complex points of view to a wider audience
  • Commercialization vs. arthouse creations
  • Breaking rules and questioning the process
  • Paradigm shifts in one’s own unique consciousness
  • Dorian creating lo-fi music videos for himself with the use of archival footage and processed through Blender

Artists Mentioned:

  • Dimlite (Musician)
  • Mike Slott (Musician)
  • Tupac (Rapper)
  • DJ Spinna (DJ)
  • John Coletrain (Saxophonist)
  • Edgard Varès (Composer)
  • Aphex Twin (Musician)
  • Little Snake (Musician)

Oct 20, 2022

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Discrimination against women in the film industry
  • The Weinstein investigation
  • 94% of women working in the film industry experiencing sexual assault
  • How film objectifies women through the use of camera angles, camera movement, and lighting techniques
  • Updating the narrative point of view
  • Predatory perspectives within filmmaking
  • Portraying love and intimacy in film in more nuanced ways
  • Addressing the male gaze
  • The need for more government funding for the arts in the U.S.

Artists / People Mentioned:

  • Iyabo Kwayana (Cinematographer)
  • Jeffrey Martin Zacks (Psychologist)
  • Sandra De Castro Buffington (Producer)
  • Catherine Hardwicke (Filmmaker)
  • Laura Mulvey (Film Theorist)
  • Eliza Hittman (Filmmaker)
  • Werner Herzog (Director)
  • Claire Denis (Director)

Films Mentioned:

  • Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • Blonde (2022)
  • Blade Runner (1982)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
  • Titane (2021)
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Oct 3, 2022

Louis Cole is a singer-songwriter and sickeningly talented multi-instrumentalist with a strong DIY aesthetic from Los Angeles, California. He is on a mission to create deep feelings through music and is the figurehead of an LA jazz-adjacent scene that includes Genevieve Artadi (with whom Cole co-founded the alt pop / electrofunk band KNOWER in 2009), Sam Gendel, Sam Wilkes, Jacob Mann, Dennis Hamm, Pedro Martins and more. He will release his new album “Quality Over Opinion” on 14th October 2022 on Brainfeeder Records.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • What initially attracted Louis to wanting to become a musician
  • Olfactory memories
  • How Louis approaches creating music now
  • Louis’s love for harmony and chord progressions
  • Musical gifts from the universe
  • Louis’s daily routines
  • The multiple albums Louis has coming out including a collaboration with Metropole Orkest in Holland
  • Louis’s wide range of eclectic musical taste
  • His experiences going to USC for music school

Artists Mentioned:

  • Frédéric Chopin (Composer)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer)
  • Bill Evans (Pianist)
  • Gil Evans (Pianist)
  • James Brown (Singer / Performer)
  • Stevie Wonder (Singer-Songwriter)
  • Igor Stravinsky (Composer)
  • Genevieve Artadi (Jazz Musician)
  • Thundercat (Singer-Songwriter / Bassist)
  • Sam Gendel (Musician)
  • Blake Mills (Musician)
  • Pino Palladino (Musician)
  • Kurt Rosenwinkel (Jazz Guitarist)
  • Meshuggah (Band)
  • Gustav Mahler (Composer)
  • Skrillex (DJ)
  • Doug Mosher (Saxophonist)
  • Keith Jarrett (Composer / Pianist)

Video Games Mentioned:

  • Mario Kart
  • Starfox
  • Streets of Rage

Aug 29, 2022

Joseph Lee is an actor & self-taught artist who studies faces and the emotions that inhabit them. Lee focuses on the parallels between external reality and the internal process by manipulating everyday faces and objects through segmented brush strokes, color choice, and volume, converging them into a complete and balanced whole.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Joseph Lee’s upcoming solo exhibit opening at GR Gallery in NYC on September 8, 2022
  • The importance of taking care of one’s own mental health
  • Examining the origin of pain and trauma
  • Joey moving to LA to pursue acting
  • The moment when he decided to become a painter
  • Potency in making decisive and guttural decisions
  • Spiritual connection through art
  • Having an insatiable curiosity of people
  • His currently unreleased Netflix show “Beef” (starring David Choe, Steven Yeun, Patti Yasutake, Ali Wong)
  • Utilizing gratitude prayers and journaling
  • Simplifying one’s life to help alleviate anxiety
  • Reconnecting and remembering our child self
  • Challenging our needs for external validations
  • Fighting against jadedness

Artists Mentioned:

  • Marie-Louise von Franz (Psychologist)
  • Martha Graham (Choreographer)

Books Mentioned:

  • The Book of Five Rings (Miyamoto Musashi)

Podcasts Mentioned:

Films Mentioned:

  • The Godfather Trilogy
  • Paterson (2016)

Aug 22, 2022

The long arc of Joshua Hagler's oeuvre, with its focus on painting, could be traced by its slow, physical and conceptual disintegration - of it's imagery, politics, art historical underpinnings, and philosophical erudition - from its early pictorial messaging to a need, in more recent years, for direct physical experience of the numinous. Material layering is at the core of Hagler's work, combining a range of self-developed painting processes which force a loss of skilled control, making for radical pictorial transformation. The works situates itself in the paradox of absence and presence, the internal and external, and the sacred and profane.

Whatever research occurs with regard to issues such as mass shooting, wildfires, and religiosity in America, only demonstrates itself to the degree that it's relevant to the artist's own background and direct life experience. The personal is thus foregrounded and given preference over academic defenses, which are subverted at every opportunity. Hagler's distinct signature manages to span paintings both physically slight and vast, figurative and abstract. The work is intentional about avoiding redundancy common in an era of self-conscious branding, preferring endless evolution, while seeking to ground itself in deeper authenticity over time.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The Tenets of Nihil
  • Exile & Absence (The Archaic Brother) - The first tenet of Nihil
  • The reasons why Josh moved from California to New Mexico in 2017
  • Paradoxes
  • Private vs. public conversations
  • Arvo Pärt’s compositional style, “tintinnabuli”
  • Josh’s observations in abandoned spaces throughout New Mexico
  • Believing in consciousness
  • Axis Mundi
  • Patterns emerging out of observations
  • The Archaic Brother
  • How being a father has given him a deeper meaning and appreciation for life
  • The role meditation has played in his life

Artists Mentioned:

  1. Ruben Östlund (Director)
  2. Arvo Pärt (Composer)
  3. Mark Rothko (Painter)
  4. Aja Daashuur (Medium)

Books Mentioned:

  1. The Daemon (Anthony Peake)
  2. The Seat of the Soul (Gary Zukav)

Films Mentioned:

  1. The Square (2017)
  2. Force Majeure (2014)

Aug 17, 2022

Yoshino is a multi-hyphenate artist and the host of Artist Decoded.

Topics Discussed:

  • Channeling the muse
  • Seeking the higher self
  • Questioning one’s own intentions and motivations
  • Journaling

Artists Mentioned:

  • Anthony Peake (Writer)
  • Gary Zukav (Writer)
  • Carl Jung (Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst)
  • Michael Pollan (Writer)
  • Margaret Atwood (Writer)

Books Mentioned:

  1. The Seat of the Soul (Gary Zukav)
  2. The Daemon (Anthony Peake)
  3. Caffeine (Michael Pollan)

Yoshino’s Links:

Aug 5, 2022

AJA, The Spirit Guide Coach, is a spiritual counselor who specializes in connecting you with the guidance and wisdom of your unique Spiritual team.

The advice from your Spirit Guides is incorporated into AJA’s intuitive coaching process in order to help you create a plan for breaking negative patterns, finding your path, and accepting the love and support that your Guides surround you with every single day.

As the bridge between you and your Guides, AJA considers this to be sacred work and is honored to help those who wish to deepen their connection with their higher self and learn to love themselves on a deeper level.

Spirit Guide Life Coaching is an incredibly intimate and rewarding process that allows you to hear the advice and support that your Guides wish to offer you.

AJA is a true believer in the innate power every person has to achieve radical expansion through self-love.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Aja’s experiences in mediumship and channeling spirits
  • Losing connection with ourselves
  • Children being closer to the source
  • Daily distractions of the modern era and the connection to feeling disconnected from oneself
  • What led Aja to her personal spiritual awakening
  • Her experiences speaking with her spirit guides
  • Connecting to our higher self
  • How people can connect with their guides through meditation
  • The importance of journaling
  • Tapping into one’s own psychic abilities
  • Creation and destruction
  • Making the right decisions for ourselves
  • The most rewarding things about being a medium
  • Embodying archetypes
  • Actions precipitating change
  • Not repeating negative patterns that can hold us back

Books Mentioned:

  1. The Body Keeps The Score (Bessel van der Kolk)
  2. Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (Clarissa Pinkola Estés)

Films and TV Shows Mentioned:

  1. Ghosts (2021)
  2. Hereditary (2018)

Jul 23, 2022

Yoshino is a multi-hyphenate artist and the host of Artist Decoded.

Topics Discussed:

  • Thinking about habits as a necessity, similar to breathing
  • The idea of the Daemon (or Daimon)
  • Being a vessel for creative energy to flow through you
  • Channeling ourselves to our intuition
  • “Everyone is a hero in their birth.” - Otto Rank

Artists Mentioned:

  • Marie-Louise von Franz (Psychologist)
  • Philip K. Dick (Author)
  • Otto Rank (Philosopher)

Books Mentioned:

  1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Philip K. Dick)
  2. The Myth of the Birth of the Hero (Otto Rank)

Yoshino’s Links:

Jul 20, 2022

Natalie Goldberg is the author of fifteen books, including Writing Down the Bones (Shambhala, 1986), which has sold over one million copies, has been translated into fourteen languages, and started a revolution in the way we practice writing in this country.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Natalie’s first book, “Chicken and In Love” (1979)
  • Being afraid of both success and failure before her book, “Writing Down The Bones,” came out in 1986
  • Having thin values
  • “I shop therefore I am.” - Barbara Kruger
  • Consuming vs. finding meaning
  • Natalie writing two books while undergoing treatment for cancer
  • Accepting suffering
  • Thinking about one’s legacy
  • Zen Buddhism
  • “Writing closes the gap between who you think you are and who you are.” - Natalie Goldberg
  • What writing has revealed to Natalie
  • “Make this moment an occasion to live deeply, happily in peace.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Managing discursive thoughts
  • The pros and cons of the advent of the interview
  • The art of haiku writing

People Mentioned:

  1. Margaret Atwood (Writer)
  2. Amy Tan (Writer)
  3. Katagiri Roshi (Sōtō Zen Priest and Teacher)
  4. Lidia Yuknavitch (Writer)
  5. Barbara Kruger (Artist)
  6. Joan Didion (Writer)
  7. Viktor Frankl (Neurologist, Psychiatrist, Philosopher, Writer)
  8. Carson McCullers (Writer)
  9. Thich Nhat Hanh (Monk)
  10. Masaoka Shiki (Poet)

Books Mentioned That Natalie Goldberg Wrote:

  1. Chicken and In Love
  2. Writing Down The Bones
  3. Let The Whole Thundering World Come Home
  4. The Great Spring
  5. The True Secret of Writing
  6. Three Simple Lines

Books Mentioned:

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion)
  2. Man’s Search For Meaning (Viktor Frankl)
  3. The Ballad of the Sad Café (Carson McCullers)
  4. 2030 (Mauro F. Guillén)

Jul 15, 2022

Yoshino is a multi-hyphenate artist and the host of Artist Decoded.

Show Notes:

  • Giving space for one’s own stream of consciousness to flow
  • The power of writing daily
  • “What is your identity?”
  • Awakening the spirit

Yoshino’s Links:

Jul 3, 2022

Lidia Yuknavitch is the nationally bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, and Dora: A Headcase, the story collection Verge, and the memoir The Chronology of Water. She is the recipient of two Oregon Book Awards and has been a finalist for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize and the PEN Center USA Creative Nonfiction Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • “One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are, and to live without belief—that is a fate more terrible than dying.” - The Book of Joan
  • Having grit and an unwillingness to surrender as an artist
  • False notions around the idea of transcendence
  • Social conditioning
  • Patriarchy
  • The umbilical cord as a metaphoric symbol in Lidia’s writing
  • Objective correlatives
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • Her writing center “Corporeal Writing”
  • How her newest book “Thrust” is a love letter dedicated to her son and mother
  • “The edges of everything are always shimmering” - Lidia
  • Enzo circles
  • Having a competitive spirit as an athlete
  • Lidia feeling comfort in the water
  • The connection between colonization and the way we view the gender binary
  • Lidia’s process of researching while she is writing a book

People / Artists Mentioned:

  1. VOWWS (Band)
  2. Jesse Draxler (Visual Artist)
  3. David Lynch (Filmmaker)
  4. Melissa Febos (Writer)
  5. Terese Marie Mailhot (Writer)
  6. Judith Butler (Philosopher)
  7. Danez Smith (Poet)
  8. David Cronenberg (Filmmaker)
  9. Viggo Mortensen (Actor)
  10. Kristen Stewart (Actor)
  11. Jane Campion (Director)
  12. Philip K. Dick (Writer)
  13. Brandon Cronenberg (Director)
  14. Percy Bysshe Shelley (Poet)
  15. Elizabeth Moss (Actor)
  16. Margaret Atwood (Writer)

Books Mentioned:

  1. The Misfit’s Manifesto
  2. Thrust
  3. The Book of Joan
  4. It Didn’t Start With You
  5. Frankenstein

Films / TV Shows Mentioned:

  1. eXistenZ (1999)
  2. Crimes of the Future (2022)
  3. Titane (2021)
  4. Blade Runner (1982)
  5. Dead Ringers (1988)
  6. Possessor (2020)
  7. Mary Shelley (2017)
  8. Shirley (2020)
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)

Jun 27, 2022

Martin Wittfooth was born in Toronto, Canada in 1981 and works in two studios in Kingston, New York, and Savannah, Georgia. He earned his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2008. Wittfooth’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, including the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Akron Art Museum in Ohio, and La Halle Saint-Pierre in Paris, with solo exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Copenhagen. His paintings have also appeared in numerous publications, including Juxtapoz, The New York Times Art Review, and Vice, and cover features in New American Paintings, Hi-Fructose, Chronogram, and American Artist Magazine.

Wittfooth’s paintings, drawings, installations, and sculptural works investigate themes of the intersection and clash of industry and nature, and the human influence on the environment. Many of his works explore the theme of shamanism - rituals and practices as old as our species - through which we have attempted to dialogue with nature: the nature outside of ourselves and the nature within. His creative language uses the combination of allegory and symbolism to convey visual narratives.

Martin Wittfooth is represented by Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Martin’s upcoming solo exhibit “The Plasticene Era,” which opens on September 17th, 2022 @ Gallery Poulsen in Cøpenhagen
  • The longest amount of time he has spent on one painting
  • Getting inspiration from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles
  • The pre-career retrospective
  • Creating an exquisite corpse with oneself
  • Martin growing up in Finland
  • Martin working as an illustrator directly out of college 
  • 3D printing
  • World building
  • Speaking about one’s personal observations of the world through one’s paintings
  • The Siren in Greek mythology
  • Google’s “sentient” AI, LaMDA
  • Creating meaning out of one’s own life
  • Balancing being a working artist and having a family
  • Being a community-focused artist

People / Artists Mentioned:

  1. Gerhard Richter (Visual Artist)
  2. David Cronenberg (Director)
  3. Bret Easton Ellis (Writer)
  4. Darren Aronofsky (Director)
  5. Adrian Ghenie (Painter)
  6. Justin Mortimer (Painter)
  7. Cecily Brown (Painter)
  8. Anish Kapoor (Sculptor)
  9. James Turrell (Artist)
  10. Albert Einstein (Physicist)
  11. Blake Lemoine (Google AI Engineer)

Books Mentioned:

  1. American Psycho
  2. Less Than Zero

Films / TV Shows Mentioned:

  1. Crimes of the Future (2022)
  2. Mother! (2017)
  3. The Shining (1980)

Jun 20, 2022

Emma Ruth Rundle is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Emma leaving Cal Arts to move to Wellington, New Zealand
  • Outsider art
  • Yoshino’s introduction into photography
  • Finding one’s flow state
  • Tapping into the collective consciousness within one’s art
  • Exploring the role of an artist
  • Her newest album and visual art project “Dowsing Voice”
  • Traveling to Wales to record “Dowsing Voice”
  • Unblocking the gateway of the mind to allow the muse to enter
  • Emma exploring getting her MFA
  • Journaling
  • Arthurian legends and Celtic myths
  • Feeling less lonely when you can connect with an artist’s body of work
  • Finding people you can connect with along the way
  • Post-narrative work

People / Artists Mentioned:

  1. Henry Darger (Artist)
  2. Maja Ruznic (Painter)
  3. Vivian Maier (Photographer)
  4. Francis Bacon (Painter)
  5. Sibylle Baier (Folk Singer) 
  6. Nick Drake (Singer-Songwriter)
  7. Joan Didion (Writer)
  8. Margaret Atwood (Writer)
  9. Olivia Laing (Writer)
  10. Phil Hale (Artist)
  11. Shape of Despair (Band)
  12. Patrick Walker (Musician)
  13. Lidia Yuknavitch (Writer)
  14. Mizmor (Band)
  15. Mary Maddux of Meditation Oasis
  16. Wim Wenders (Director)
  17. Andrei Tarkovsky (Director)
  18. Dave Elitch (Drummer)

Books Mentioned:

  1. “Everybody” by Olivia Laing
  2. The Mabinogion
  3. Poetic Edda
  4. “The Misfit’s Manifesto” by Lidia Yuknavitch

Films / TV Shows Mentioned:

  1. Wings of Desire (1987)
  2. Midsomer Murders (1997)
  3. Slow TV - Norway
  4. Stalker (1979)

Jun 6, 2022

There is a way a voice can cut through the fascia of reality, cleaving through habit into the raw nerve of experience. Nika Roza Danilova, the singer, songwriter, and producer who since 2009 has released music as Zola Jesus, wields a voice that does that. When you hear it, it is like you are being summoned -- not to somewhere new, but to a place that's already wrapped inside you, somewhere previously obscured from conscious experience. This place has been buried because it tends to hold pain, but it's also a gift, because once it's opened, once you're inside of it, it can show you the truth.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Nika’s newest album “Arkhon”
  • Accepting the past and exploring the unknown
  • How her life drastically changed after the release of her album “Okovi” in 2017
  • Her journey creating her albums: Taiga, Okovi, and Arkhon
  • “When you’re trying to make music to fit into a world that already exists. It’s much less interesting.” - Nika
  • Problems with viewing one’s art within the lens of commerce and commercial viability
  • Having confidence in one’s own unique process
  • The healing powers of meditation
  • Having full faith and trust in the muse
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Creating music in isolation
  • The Definite Chief Aim
  • Losing touch with one’s internal dialogue
  • Cultivating purpose
  • Returning to nature to understand that we are part of a greater ecosystem
  • Human hubris
  • Being mindful of how one expends their energy 
  • Changing the world through our artistic contributions
  • Being completely honest with oneself
  • Subverting the algorithm
  • Defining success and value for ourselves
  • Exploring ideas surrounding monetary success and prosperity
  • “If you could only have a couple of things in your life, what would they be?” - Nika
  • Existentialism
  • “I want to focus on my experience. Not on how other people are experiencing me.” - Nika

People / Artists Mentioned:

  1. Alex DeGroot (Producer & Musician)
  2. David Lynch (Filmmaker)
  3. Andrei Tarkovsky (Director)
  4. Mitch Horowitz (Writer)
  5. Jesse Draxler (Artist)
  6. Napolean Hill (Writer)
  7. Margaret Atwood (Writer)
  8. Joan Didion (Writer)

Books Mentioned:

  1. “Catching The Big Fish” by David Lynch
  2. “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel van der Kolk
  3. “Daydream Believer” by Mitch Horowitz
  4. “The White Album” by Joan Didion
  5.  “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion

Films Mentioned:

  1. Arrival (2016)
  2. Don’t Look Up (2021)

May 23, 2022

Jay Cheel’s career in non-fiction filmmaking has focused mostly on character-based portraits of quirky, passionate obsessives, realized in a highly cinematic style. His debut feature Beauty Day premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of their Canadian Front Programming Series. The film was also an official selection at the Hot Docs International Film Festival and was nominated for a Genie Award in 2012. His second feature How to Build a Time Machine premiered at Hot Docs and went on to screen at AFI Docs, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and DOC NYC. His latest is Cursed Films, a five-part documentary series produced for AMC Networks and Shudder. The show focuses on the legends surrounding some of Hollywood’s most troubled horror film productions and has gone on to become the highest-rated documentary series on the platform.
Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Jay’s short film Twisted
  • Him being exposed to horror films at a young age
  • Recognizing the importance of a director in a film production at a young age
  • What piqued Jay’s original interest in entering film as a career
  • His podcast Film Junk, which holds a Guinness World Records for the longest-running film podcast
  • His short film Beauty Day
  • Creating deep interpersonal connections with crew members on a film set
  • The need for control as it relates to artistic pursuits
  • How Jay’s perspective of curses has changed while working on the Cursed Films project
  • How the film, The Exorcist, negatively impacted the cultural lexicon by reinforcing the existence of the devil
  • Predatory capitalism
  • Personal tragedies that happened for Jay while filming Cursed Films
  • The importance of providing context in a documentary project
  • The Manson murders
  • The murders and tragedies that have occurred in Benedict Canyon in LA
  • Ethical decisions they had to make regarding what scenes to show in Cannibal Holocaust
  • Naive actors getting involved in Cannibal Holocaust, and Carl Gabriel Yorke signing on without reading the script

People / Artists Mentioned:

  1. John Carpenter (Filmmaker)
  2. Lidia Yuknavitch (Writer)
  3. Gary Oldman (Actor)
  4. Robert Deniro (Actor)
  5. Tim Burton (Director)
  6. Bill Pullman (Actor)
  7. Steve Rash (Director)
  8. Judy Garland (Actor)
  9. Lorna Luft (Actor)
  10. Roman Polanski (Director)
  11. Dianne Lake (Writer / Former Manson Family Member)
  12. Julian Wasser (Photographer)
  13. Ruggero Deodato (Director)
  14. Andrei Tarkovsky (Director)

Cursed Films Episodes Mentioned:

  1. Twilight Zone: The Movie
  2. The Exorcist
  3. The Wizard of Oz (S2 E1)
  4. Rosemary’s Baby (S2 E2)
  5. Stalker (S2 E3)
  6. The Serpent and the Rainbow (S2 E4)
  7. Cannibal Holocaust (S2 E5)

TV Shows + Films Mentioned:

  1. The Day After (1983)
  2. The Thing (1982)
  3. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
  4. They Live (1988)
  5. Prince of Darkness (1987)
  6. Be Kind Rewind (2008)
  7. American Movie (1999)
  8. Ed Wood (1994)
  9. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1977)
  10. Weekend (1967)
  11. Andrei Rublev (1966)

May 6, 2022

Mia Bergeron's Bio

Mia Bergeron is a classically trained oil painter that uses modern techniques and concepts to create layered imaginative works. Imagery in her work often oscillates between the fictitious and the observed in equal parts.

Rooted in her upbringing in New York City with continuous exposure to modern art, her paintings also reveal her choice to study classical painting in Florence, Italy under Charles H. Cecil in her twenties. Heavily influenced by historical artists such as Diego Velázquez, Titian, Anthony van Dyck, and John Singer Sargent, her paintings are also shaped by contemporary artists such as Alex Kanevsky, Ann Gale, and Adrian Ghenie.

For Mia, the process of making paintings is similar to meditation. Each painting is the listening and contemplating of the surrounding world. The minutes at the easel are similar to focusing on the breath- there are times when the scrutiny is welcomed and quiet, and other times when the mind is loud and unintelligible. It is this dynamic contrast that is at the center of Mia’s paintings. This dualistic nature of life is what pushes and inspires her work.  

Mia has been published numerous times in international magazines. Her painting “Tranquil Ghosts” was the cover image for the January 2022 Issue of American Art Collector Magazine.  She continues to teach throughout the United States and Europe. She and her husband, artist John McLeod, lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

John McLeod's Bio

Living and working in Chattanooga, Tennessee, John McLeod graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi in 2001. His earliest influences come from studying ancient Mesoamerican and Egyptian sculpture and imagery.  John works with a wide range of materials and methods to explore emotional experiences, communicate beliefs in visual terms, create enigmatic situations, or simply to share beauty, pain, or both.  Featured in Beautiful Bizarre and American Art Collector magazines, his work is collected internationally.  John is currently represented at Abend Gallery.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • How Mia and John originally met
  • Their experiences living in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Their newest duo show “Totems and Vessels” @ Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Mia and John describing each of their processes
  • Cultivating a solid relationship
  • Creating a work/life balance in their lives
  • How John sees the confluence between all of his vast interests and hobbies
  • Finding a meditation practice through physical activities
  • The joy that comes from having multiple creative outlets
  • The anxiety of constant self-improvement
  • Meditative qualities and subject matter within Mia’s work
  • Understanding the technical aspects of a painting in order to express more personal ideas

Books Mentioned:

  • “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion

Apr 20, 2022

Riley Stearns grew up in Pflugerville, TX, a suburb of Austin. His feature debut FAULTS premiered at SXSW in 2014 and went on to play festivals around the world. THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE, his second feature, also premiered at SXSW in 2017. The film was released by Bleecker Street domestically and Universal Pictures internationally. DUAL is Stearns’ third feature as writer/director and first as a producer. When not making films you can find Stearns on the mats training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Riley’s origin story
  • Riley’s first memories of growing up
  • The memory retention of “highly sensitive people”
  • Riley’s past life as a musician
  • How Riley started writing short films and feature films
  • Riley initially finding his voice through mimicking other people’s writing styles
  • When Saman and Riley met at SXSW in 2013
  • Where the initial idea of Dual came from
  • How Riley creates the tone in his films
  • Riley’s time working as a staff writer for TV shows
  • Riley speaks about legacy
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Logistics for getting films made

Artists Mentioned:

  • Aaron Paul (Actor)
  • Karen Gillan (Actor)
  • Jim Jarmusch (Director)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (Director)
  • Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Filmmaker)
  • Jack Nicholson (Actor)

Watch the video version of the podcast here

Apr 5, 2022
Saman Kesh (born Saman Keshavarz) is an Iranian-American filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. He is known for his narrative music video work for notable artists such as Basement Jaxx, Calvin Harris, Kygo, Placebo, !!! Chk Chk Chk, Vitalic, Apparat and Porter Robinson.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Living and being isolated in the desert
  • The Definite Chief Aim - a concept by Napolean Hill through way of Mitch Horowitz
  • Grieving the death of his girlfriend Jean Guo
  • Gaining momentum through commercial success
  • Understanding purpose
  • Working through failures
  • Accepting ourselves
  • Being magick
  • Balancing out the need for control
  • Changing negative perspectives
  • “Hollywood has this ability to arrest you in this psychosis of delusions” - Saman Kesh
  • The gift of an existential crisis
  • Power in analyzing dreams
  • Functioning under depression
  • Saman’s “Zoom” call analogy
  • Martial arts

Books Referenced:

  • “Fierce Intimacy: Standing Up to One Another with Love” by Terry Real

Artists Mentioned:

  • The Daniels (Directing Duo)
  • Martin Scorsese (Director)
  • Jonah Hill (Actor)
  • Joyce Carol Oates (Writer)

Mar 28, 2022
Mitch Horowitz is a historian of alternative spirituality and one of today’s most literate voices of esoterica, mysticism, and the occult. Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Explaining his new book Cosmic Habit Force
  • Exploring the psychology of mediocrity
  • Harnessing honest self-expression and creativity
  • Asking oneself with brutal honesty, “What do I really want from life?”
  • Breaking through social conditioning
  • The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim
  • Concentration producing force
  • Gaining perspective on personal “failures”
  • Taoism
  • Paradoxical events in one's life
  • Mitch gives a personal example of how a perceived failure turned into a blessing in disguise
  • Rediscovering himself as a writer in his late 30s after working in publishing
  • Writing his first book, “Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation”
  • 2 famous definite chief aims from Octavia E. Butler and Bruce Lee
  • The power of focused aims
  • Healthily dealing with fear and trauma
  • The law of reciprocity 
  • The power of the mastermind

Books Referenced:

  • “Cosmic Habit Force” by Mitch Horowitz
  • “Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation” by Mitch Horowitz
  • “The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim” By Mitch Horowitz
  • “No Longer Human” by Junji Ito x Osamu Dazai
  • “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey
  • “Non-Violent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg
  • “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill

People Mentioned:

  • David Foster Wallace (Writer)
  • Jacob Needleman (Philosopher)
  • Barry Zito (Professional Baseball Player)
  • Neville Goddard (Writer)
  • Octavia E Butler (Writer)
  • Bruce Lee (Actor and Martial Artist)
  • Napolean Hill (Writer)
Mitch’s Twitter
Mitch’s Instagram

Mar 21, 2022
Rina Yang is a director of photography based in London. She grew up in a small city in Japan, where she studied still life and portrait painting.

She has been selected for the BAFTA Breakthrough 2020, and she is also the first female DOP ever to win a cinematography award at the British Arrows, as well as being nominated for the best cinematographer in fiction at the BAFTA Cymru Awards 19', making history in both commercials and narrative categories.

Her recent narrative projects include NANNY (Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner), Euphoria (HBO/A24), and her upcoming feature with MGM Studios, entitled ‘Flint Strong’. Topics Discussed:
  • Rina’s outlook creating goals for herself
  • Rina’s creative stamina
  • Taking breaks between shoots
  • How she structures her time
  • The differences between shooting a feature film, music video, and a  commercial
  • How she started cinematography
  • Her experiences growing up in Japan then moving to London
  • Working hard at a very young age
  • Getting accepted into university by creating a short film about an older man’s running journey
  • Technique vs. intuition
  • Building technical knowledge as a cinematographer
  • The importance of communicating to your crew as a DP
  • Existential realizations spurred by the pandemic
  • Personal values
  • Her journey into becoming a successful cinematographer
  • How her childhood affected her outlook on work
  • The occasional lonely reality of being a working cinematographer
  • Exploring purpose
  • The feeling of being an underdog
  • Creative longevity
  • The importance of exposure and PR
  • Being patient in cultivating skills in any artistic medium
  • Giving up too soon

Projects Discussed That Rina Has Worked On:

  • Nanny (Directed by Nikyatu Jusu)
  • Euphoria
  • Flint Strong (Directed by Rachel Morrison; Written by Barry Jenkins)

Books Referenced:

  • “The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim” by Mitch Horowitz
  • “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami

Movies Referenced:

  • Tokyo Sonata (Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

Feb 25, 2022
April Maxey was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and is currently based in Los Angeles. She was 1 of 8 Directors chosen to be a part of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, where she made her short film Work, which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

April was recently selected for AWD’s Directing the Actor Lab. She is also an alumna of the prestigious Berlinale Talents Short Film Station. Her drama pilot screenplay for Work was a top 5 finalist in the New Orleans Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Her previous short film, After You Left, won the Shorts Jury Prize at the Milwaukee Film Festival and has screened at Academy and BAFTA-Qualifying festivals such as Palm Springs Int’l Shortfest, Flickerfest, HollyShorts, and Outfest Fusion.

April’s short films have collectively screened at over 60 festivals across 14 countries and won 8 awards internationally, such as the 100Autori Award for Best Screenplay at the Sicilia Queer Film Fest in Italy, and Best International Narrative Short at Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival in India for her 2012 short Polaroid Girl. April was also a guest writer/director on the lesbian web series Same Same, and her episodes premiered at Newfest in 2016.

April’s directing approach is informed by her background in working as a cinematographer, editor, and actor. She is most interested in working on stories that center on underrepresented perspectives that challenge the mainstream. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute in Film/Video.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Destigmatizing sex work and sex workers
  • Shame culture
  • Her short film that premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival entitled “Work”
  • Challenging the traditional patriarchal lens
  • Writer Amy Tan’s Masterclass
  • Following one’s own creative sensibilities
  • Her writing process
  • April’s experiences working with AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women
  • Underground lap dance parties in New York
  • “Election” a 1999 film by director Alexander Payne
  • “2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything” a book by Mauro F. Guillén
  • April’s advice to her younger self
  • The Nostalgia Bone on the Throughline podcast

Feb 14, 2022
Curious & creative mind working at the intersection of art, blockchain, and Web3. Founder and CEO of Vertical Crypto Art - a web3 native studio & artist-first community dedicated to NFTs, crypto art, and elevating web3 culture in the metaverse.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Micol working with creators in the tech industry at Facebook and Instagram
  • Artists living off of making art and tokenizing work
  • The origins of her platform, Vertical Crypto Art
  • Helping artists navigate the new territories within the NFT world
  • The online artist residency component of Vertical Crypto Art, which consists of a WEB 3.0 educational program
  • Sustainability within the NFT space
  • Artists creating art through coding, smart contracts, and the blockchain
  • The work that she’s doing in collaboration with Tezos
  • Hic Et Nunc
  • Frieze LA (Feb 17th - Feb 20th, 2022)
  • Tezos vs. Ethereum
  • Versum NFT Platform
  • The importance of properly displaying digital artworks

Artists Mentioned:

  • Sarah Zucker
  • Kevin Abosh
  • Sarah Meyohas (Founder of BitchCoin)
  • Mitchell Dan
  • Simon Danny
  • Rhea Myers
  • Sol LeWitt
  • Lucas Aguirre
  • Marjan Moghaddam
  • Manolo Gamboa Naon

Feb 8, 2022
Shantell Martin is one of today’s most groundbreaking multimedia artists. Known for her ongoing exploration of the vast potential of the spontaneous hand-drawn lines, below the surface of her signature black and white drawing is an exploration of the reciprocal relationship between artist and viewer, in which a work of art is more than an object of admiration. Exploring themes such as intersectionality, identity, and play, Shantell is a cultural facilitator, forging new connections between fine art, education, design, philosophy, and technology.

Simultaneously with her work as a fine artist, exhibiting at institutions such as Albright-Knox, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and MoMa, Shantell’s practice continuously pushes the boundaries of creative expression through thoughtful, innovative collaborations with artists, brands, and cultural institutions such as Pulitzer Prize-winning performance artist Kendrick Lamar, acclaimed designer Kelly Wearstler, the New York City Ballet, Tiffany & Co., and Nike. Shantell is also fascinated with the relationships between storytelling, visual art, and technology. She is an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) and completed a two-year tenure at an MIT Media Lab as a visiting Scholar, where she worked with the social computing group to use drawing as a medium to explore the interaction of social processes with physical spaces.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Tapping into child-like sensibilities as an adult
  • Moving from darkness into light
  • Creating artwork with a “good intention”
  • “What if we asked all children, who are you at the core, instead of what do you want to be?” - Shantell Martin
  • Letting go of societal baggage in order to create our own way
  • Creating purpose
  • Spontaneously creating artwork
  • Drawing and how it can have an impact on one’s mental health
  • Physically drawing vs. drawing digitally
  • Expressing one’s self through various mediums, not being restricted by a single medium
  • “Kites”by Martin with the Boston Ballet, ChoreograpHER
  • “The Importance of Conversation” by Martin, an NFT Project in collaboration with Nifty Gateway
  • “You are where you are meant to be”, Martin’s personal affirmation to herself
  • “Does progress really exist, or is it the scenery that changes?” - Shantell Martin
  • Having existential thoughts
  • The power of making and sharing
  • Finding herself when she moved to Japan from the UK in the early 2000s
  • “There’s a freedom in being lost in the sense that you get to discover and find yourself.” - Shantell Martin
  • The perspective of success and failure in Taoism

Jan 25, 2022

Stephanie E. Hanes was born in Alberta, Canada in 1985. In 2009 they received a BFA from The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax, Canada. Hanes is a recent MFA Graduate of Ceramics at the Rhode Island School Of Design in 2017 and received the prestigious Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship for a graduate student with exceptional promise. Stephanie was one of the artists awarded the 2020 NCECA Emerging Artist Prize. In addition, they have exhibited Internationally with a solo show at C.R.E.T.A Rome Gallery in Italy and several group shows at Lefebvre et Fils Gallery in Paris, France. Their ceramic sculptures have been exhibited throughout the USA in New York City, Providence, Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles. Hanes is a full-time lecturer in 3D4M at the University of Washington in Seattle, where they teach sculpture and ceramics.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The male gaze vs the female gaze
  • The art of turning the internal world into external objects
  • Female bodies always changing to suit the patriarchal norms of the time
  • Using the techniques of “chiaroscuro” and “englaze luster” in their sculptures
  • Their research into queer and feminist theories
  • Identity and gender expression
  • Pansexuality
  • Grappling with pain and suffering
  • “À Priori” and “À Posteriori”
  • Immanuel Kant’s writing on metaphysics
  • Semiotics
  • Following false prophets in our patriarchal society
  • Their residency in Rome in 2014 where they started creating ceramic sculptures and where they created their body of work entitled, “Into The Looking Glass” @ C.R.E.T.A. Rome.
  • The Medusa in symbolizm
  • The extinguishing of female powers by the patriarchy
  • Their decision into why they decided to get an MFA
  • Teaching her university students about gender, equality, and diversity
  • Making ideas palatable in art
  • “Find a way to make work no matter what”

Authors and Book Recommendations:

Artists Mentioned:

Films and Documentaries Mentioned:

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