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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Jun 14, 2021

Mitch Horowitz is a historian of alternative spirituality and one of today’s most literate voices of esoterica, mysticism, and the occult. He is among the few occult writers whose work touches the bases of academic scholarship, national journalism, and subculture cred. Mitch is a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library, lecturer-in-residence at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles, and a PEN Award-winning historian whose books include Occult America; One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life; and The Miracle Club.

The Washington Post says Mitch “treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.”

He has discussed alternative spirituality across the national media and is collaborating with Emmy-nominated director Ronni Thomas on a feature documentary about the occult classic The Kybalion, shot on location in Egypt. Mitch received the Walden Award for Interfaith/Intercultural Understanding. The Chinese government has censored his work.

Show Notes:

  • 00:05:50 - Mitch’s approach towards his craft
  • 00:09:52 - The origins of thoughts and ideas
  • 00:17:17 - The brain within the metaphysical
  • 00:20:57 - Tapping into an imaginal realm with art
  • 00:29:35 - Being honest with your desires
  • 00:36:10 - Artists going unrecognized
  • 00:42:42 - Being uncompromising in our desires
  • 00:50:06 - Depression and anxiety
  • 00:59:58 - Navigating dark energy
  • 01:06:43 - Free will
  • 01:10:52 - Hypnagogic state
  • 01:18:47 - The pathos of death
  • 01:29:46 - Wrap Up

Jun 4, 2021

Damon Davis is a post-disciplinary artist based in St. Louis, Missouri. His work spans across a spectrum of creative mediums to tell stories exploring how identity is informed by power and mythology. He is well known for his body of work, Darker Gods, which explores Afro-surrealist manifestations of Black culture. Davis is a Firelight Media, Sundance Labs, TED, and Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow. He is the founder and creative director of St. Louis-based music label/ artist collective FarFetched and his work is featured in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Show Notes:

  • 00:03:18 - Reflections on George Floyd and 2020
  • 00:09:55 - Power dynamics in American society
  • 00:14:35 - The soulful impact of art
  • 00:17:40 - America’s amnesia & the complexities of blackness
  • 00:20:49 - Value systems
  • 00:29:56 - Damon’s intention with the mythology he created for “Darker Gods”
  • 00:33:39 - Power, wisdom, and empathy
  • 00:39:15 -The desensitization and fetishization of death
  • 00:45:07 - Critical thinking 
  • 00:49:46 - Wrap up

May 31, 2021

Born in Beijing and raised in Singapore, Jingna Zhang is a fashion and fine art photographer and director based in New York City and Seattle. Imbued with love for the Pre-Raphaelites and Japanese anime, Jingna’s work interweaves Asian aesthetics with western art styles, bringing unique visions of painterly and fantastical images to fashion and fine art photography.

Before photography, Jingna was a world-class air rifle shooter representing Singapore at the Commonwealth Games and World Cup. She was the only female founder of a North American esports team in StarCraft 2; and was once a concept artist and illustrator’s agent, with clients including LucasArts, Amazon Publishing, and Sony Online Entertainment.

Jingna majored in fashion design before dropping out of school to pursue photography. She is an alumna of Stanford’s innovation and entrepreneurship program Ignite and a Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 listmaker.

Jingna’s works have appeared on multiple editions of Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Her clients include Mercedes Benz, Montblanc, and Lancome. Jingna’s fine art works have exhibited at Leica Gallery Milan, Tsinghua University, and Japan Creative Centre in Singapore, and she has spoken at Laguna College of Art and Design, Monterrey Institute of Technology, and Square Enix.

Show Notes:

  • 00:00:00 - Introduction
  • 00:05:24 - Self-Expression
  • 00:11:54 - Jingna's start in art 
  • 00:16:20 - Competition 
  • 00:18:12 - Working with certainty and uncertainty
  • 00:22:08 - Resources for growth 
  • 00:29:39 - Jingna's work with creative writing / the beginner's mindset
  • 00:37:31 - Childlike naivety
  • 00:39:20 - Jingna's relationship with video games
  • 00:47:00 - Wrap up

May 24, 2021

Graham grew up in Ojai, a small ranching town in Southern California with pink sunsets dipping below the mountains.  He spent his childhood exploring Europe and the Southwestern United States with his travel writer father and family.

His upbringing informs his photography, which is largely based in simplicity, nostalgia, nature, and the truth of a moment. Graham lives in Los Angeles with his wife, a kindergarten teacher, and his son, an extremely inventive whippersnapper.

Show Notes:

  • 00:00:00 - Introduction 
  • 00:04:55 - Teaching all aspects of history 
  • 00:08:53 - Homogenization of culture 
  • 00:12:22 - The importance of community 
  • 00:15:56 - The confluence of non-sequiturs 
  • 00:18:36 - The shifting landscape of commercial photography
  • 00:25:00 - Human psychology within photography 
  • 00:33:16 - Graham’s projects during covid 
  • 00:42:45 - Having a “jack of all trades” approach 
  • 00:48:15 - Personal values influencing the way you approach your career 
  • 00:54:54 - Having a balanced life 
  • 00:56:51 - Learning and adapting from experience 
  • 01:06:00 - Mentorship 
  • 01:08:00 - Technical learning vs practical learning 
  • 01:14:32 - Wrap up

May 19, 2021

AD Non-Weekly Round Up #8 with artist, Jesse Draxler, and Yoshino.

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

Draxler collaborates with brands including Hugo Boss, McQ Alexander McQueen, and Ferrari, with original artwork appearing in Elle, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among other publications. 

Show Notes:

  • 00:00:32 - Seasons in life
  • 00:07:18 - Focusing on the process instead of the result
  • 00:12:05 - The confluence of running and creativity
  • 00:16:32 - Self-reflection
  • 00:22:16 - Personal values
  • 00:34:35 - The practical reality of art
  • 00:39:53 - Creativity thorough destruction
  • 00:47:56 - Jesse’s personal growth throughout the years
  • 00:53:05 - Life and death
  • 00:57:09 - The importance of being conscious of one’s physical and mental health
  • 01:13:20 - Perspective shifts
  • 01:26:14 - Understanding guilt
  • 01:42:34 - Wrap up

May 17, 2021

Nadia Waheed, BFA 2015 School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a Pakistani-American painter who makes partially autobiographical allegorical figurative paintings that explore selfhood, choice, and cultural trauma. Exhibition history includes shows with Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, BEERS London, Thierry Goldberg in New York, and Gallery 1957 in London. Upcoming exhibitions in 2021 include shows with Andrea Festa Fine Art in Rome, Lawrie Shabibi in Dubai, and Aicon Gallery in New York.

Show Notes:

  • 00:04:18 - Being aware of your youth 
  • 00:05:52 - Having numerous perspectives 
  • 00:09:40 - Nadia’s childhood 
  • 00:16:40 - Cultural nuances 
  • 00:23:07 - The core language approach and inner generational trauma 
  • 00:27:54 - The influence of mentorship 
  • 00:31:12 - Politics within the art world 
  • 00:37:46 - Telling someone who you are, through your actions 
  • 00:39:30 - Dating and relationships 
  • 00:46:39 - The loss of community and connectivity 
  • 00:53:01 - Intentionality and being vulnerable 
  • 01:00:45 - Being comfortable with who you are
  • 01:08:33 - Engaging with emotions and understanding the context 
  • 01:20:16 - Nadia’s hesitance towards talking about her work 
  • 01:27:54 - “The curse of the expert” 
  • 01:34:23 - Commitment 
  • 01:42:45 - Wrap up

May 10, 2021

The son of Chinese immigrants, Nicholas came to LA by way of Hawaii and Hong Kong. Working as a truly international director, he has helmed global campaigns for brands like Google, Samsung, Disney, P&G, Kia, Dewars, and Nestle, working closely with top agencies such as BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather, and Iris Worldwide. In the music world, he is an MTV VMA nominated director having shot videos for Nick Jonas, Blink-182, Sara Bareilles, Bastille, Snakehips, Jess Glynne, Monsta X, and more.

Known for his cinematic, emotional, and dynamic visual language, Nicholas' films often center on character-driven stories deeply grounded in humanity and sensitivity. His work has been featured in most major publications including The LA Times, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Variety, The Telegraph, The Independent, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Forbes, Booooooom, Shots Creative, Little Black Book, and many more.

When not on set, Nicholas will be found tearing through the canyons in his cars or motorcycle, creating new recipes in the kitchen, or talking watches with fellow nerds.

Show Notes:

  • 00:03:04 - The “Three R’s” Philosophy  
  • 00:05:41 - Finding one’s voice 
  • 00:08:34 - Filtering your work through a personal lens  
  • 00:10:14 - Navigating through the music video and film world 
  • 00:13:10 - Hardships within directors transitioning from music videos to feature films
  • 00:18:59 - “The new aesthetic”  
  • 00:21:06 - Keeping a healthy mindset  
  • 00:24:36 - Pattern recognition  
  • 00:27:21 - Psychedelics 
  • 00:32:27 - The catch-22 nature of technology  
  • 00:37:00 - Difficulties and rewards within directing  
  • 00:41:54 - Having a balanced ego 
  • 00:46:29 - A director’s relevancy in the commercial world 
  • 00:49:44 - Nicholas’s first feature film 
  • 00:51:27 - The importance of representation  
  • 00:53:34 - Redefining the structures within the film industry & Asian American cinema
  • 01:09:38- Wrap up

May 3, 2021

Justin Daashuur Hopkins is a multidisciplinary storyteller (Director and Cinematographer, Musician and Composer, Graphic Designer, and Gallerist).

Born into an artistic household, to renowned Illustrator Chris Hopkins and internationally collected sculptor Jan Hopkins, Justin was raised in Mukilteo, Washington, but now lives and works in Los Angeles. At the age of fifteen, he was already doing professional work for multiple clients, including conceptual merchandising and design for Costco, sound design and illustration for RedBull, and music for ESPN TV spots. He also shot the short film “Baristas,” which played to enthusiastic audiences in New York, LA, and Seattle.

At the age of eighteen, Justin was hired at Olio Inc, an architectural firm specializing in major hotels in places like Vegas and Dubai. He spent the next five years doing architectural and sound design for international clients. In 2009, he struck out on his own, working as a freelance illustrator and fine art painter. He moved to New York and began showing in numerous international exhibitions, in addition to garnering attention for his commercial work.

Upon his return to Los Angeles, Justin co-founded NOH/WAVE, an art agency, and production company, with gallery space downtown. This has given him the opportunity to curate shows by internationally acclaimed artists. His unique aesthetic and attention to detail have made him a sought-after director of film and mixed media video for clients including Universal, RCA, Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Def Jam, and Domino Records.

Show Notes:

  • 0:00:00 - Introduction 
  • 0:05:00 - Analysis of “Woman in the Dunes” by Hiroshi Teshigahara
  • 0:11:56 - Lineage of NOH/WAVE
  • 0:13:19 - Being A Multidisciplinary Artist 
  • 0:16:15 - Justin's Transition From Music to Film
  • 0:17:50 - Justin’s Family Allowed For Freedom of Expression 
  • 0:22:10 - Gravitating Toward The Arts
  • 0:24:17 - Yoshino’s Filmmaking and Photography
  • 0:26:39 - Professional Careers, Making Money, and Artistic Struggle
  • 0:30:51 - Romanticizing Artists VS Personal Experiences
  • 0:35:23 - Sacrificing For The Work
  • 0:40:04 - Learning From Each Other
  • 0:41:12 - Evolution of The Self & More “Woman in the Dunes”
  • 0:48:58 - Analysis of “Tokyo Sonata” by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • 0:55:21 - Not Examining Just From Surface Level
  • 0:58:10 - “An Artist Says a Hard Thing in a Simple Way”
  • 1:00:27 - All About The Subtext of Information
  • 1:03:55 - Demonization of Drugs and Art
  • 1:05:17 - Investing and Monetization of Ignorance
  • 1:08:58 - Mythology and Psychology
  • 1:10:32 - Film and Book Recommendations
  • 1:11:26 - Advice to Artists and Creatives
  • 1:14:02 - Wrap Up

Apr 23, 2021

Johan Van Mullem (Belgian painter born in 1959) persisted in his youthful search for wrinkled faces, seeking the beauty he recognized in an experience engraved on the faces and in the hands. Since then, the face remains the major subject of his work but over time reversing the imprint of it on his own face while these subjects seem to rejuvenate, disappearing or emerging in a halo of light in old-fashioned sfumato, offering the gaze an escape into the world of emotion, because Johan Van Mullem's work is an invitation for introspection, to a journey whose omnipresent emotional charge cannot leave indifferent as the depth is often dizzying.

Johan's work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in many important collections.

The superimposition and erasure of the very many smooth layers of the diluted inks further accentuates this feeling of inexpressible presence on the canvas. The self-taught mastery of the specific and unique technicality of his work because only executed in etching ink (an extension of his experience as an engraver) gives his work an additional exceptional character.

Complete artist, designer, painter, and sculptor, (but also poet and musician) Johan Van Mullem strives to create a multiple, diverse but absolutely coherent body of work offering links and bridges to all our senses awakened by this work that projects as much into the past as into a contemporaneity.

Show Notes:

  • 00:00 - Being conscious of your work changing
  • 10:04 - Finding meaning within the things we do
  • 13:18 - Giving and receiving
  • 19:24 - Living a life of intention
  • 21:14 - The blessing of life
  • 24:12 - “Do what you feel”
  • 27:28 - Gratitude
  • 31:52 - Adaptability within trials
  • 32:45 - Johan’s progression within his body of work
  • 36:48 - Investigating your personal values
  • 40:27 - Relativity of good and bad
  • 43:02 - Parenting
  • 50:46 - Wrap Up

Apr 17, 2021

Mauro Martinez juxtaposes common pictorial forms from art history with the monotonous streams of online imagery that we, as an increasingly digital society, are so often subjected to. Skillfully utilizing metaphor, irony, and dark humor, Martinez’s paintings respond to the doctrines of internet culture, at once critiquing and mocking our relationship with contemporary imagery.

Show Notes:

  • 00:00​ - Introduction
  • 04:09​ - Humor and the Meme Paintings
  • 07:53​ - The Process of Self-Acceptance
  • 10:46​ - The Breakdown to a Breakthrough
  • 11:43​ - The Privilege Behind Social Media in Reaction to George Floyd's Murder
  • 14:55​ - Documentation Through Art
  • 20:48​ - Not a Provocateur with “Sensitive Content Series”
  • 24:37​ - Drug Addiction, Rehab, and Art Center
  • 27:35​ - The Loss of Mauro’s Brother and Using Painting as Healing
  • 31:38​ - Using Painting to Escape Drug Addiction
  • 36:33​ - Dark Humor and Past Trauma
  • 39:14​ - Next Stage of Career & Cancel Culture
  • 42:47​ - The View of Disposability Within Our Society
  • 49:19​ - Advice for Artists
  • 53:05​ - Wrap Up

Apr 6, 2021

Lorne Lanning is an American game designer, director, writer, and voice actor. He is co-founder and creator of Oddworld Inhabitants. He is best known for creating the Oddworld series including the games Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, and Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty. The next Oddworld game titled Oddworld: Soulstorm will be released on April 6, 2021.

Initially studying photo-realism and commercial illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Lanning soon attended the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, where he graduated with a BFA in Character Animation.

Working as a Technical Director at TRW, Lanning later moved to Rhythm & Hues Studios in Hollywood, where he would later meet producer Sherry McKenna, who helped co-found Oddworld Inhabitants.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Lorne’s journey from fine art into developing video games
  • The change of perception within art
  • Perceiving the value of art
  • Art as a form of commerce
  • “Fragility of the perishable”
  • The dark side of globalization
  • Lorne’s passion for environmentalism
  • The genesis of emerging technology in the late 80s
  • The power of visualization and how to sell big ideas
  • Making your own luck
  • Lorne working for a military defense company
  • Marketing yourself as an artist
  • Following an intuitive pursuit
  • Staying hungry within your craft
  • Understanding “what your audience is eating”
  • Being a talent vs. being a creator
  • Finding business opportunities
  • Video games
  • Artists’s unique perception and ability to express that
  • The symbiosis of engineering and art 
  • Compromising with a team while making a video game
  • Understanding various subjects and adjacent industries
  • Empathy within video games
  • Game speak
  • The impact of George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” on Lorne’s storytelling process
  • “Lo-brow access points to high art.” 
  • Emulating the player interacting with real-world objects. 
  • Self-publishing
  • Oddworld’s latest release, “Soulstorm” 
  • The depth of character creation, controls, and tone of the story 
  • The new generation of gaming technology 
  • Systems of monetization within emerging technologies

Mar 31, 2021

Dr. Bruce Hoffman did not choose the Medical Arts as a vocation. Originally, he wanted to be a writer and poet. His interest in health and healing developed later in life, after a long and winding road of self-discovery, life experience, and learning. He only applied to medical school, so he could complete a residency in psychiatry and subsequently study Jungian analysis to understand the human condition and behavior. As life would have it, his destiny took him on a different journey. He never did formally pursue a psychiatry residency or Jungian Analytic Training, but his love for art, poetry, and psychology remain.

Dr. Hoffman was born and educated in South Africa and obtained his medical degree from the University of Cape Town. After two years of compulsory military training, his distaste for the local regime convinced him to emigrate to Canada in 1986 where he pursued family medical practice in rural Saskatchewan, Canada.

Once ensconced in the practice of family medicine, he quickly realized that his interests in medicine were broader than just drugs and surgery. The allopathic medical practice was limited to treating symptoms and illnesses but failed short in restoring the patient’s health entirely.

Bruce embarked on a journey to understand what constitutes the human experience, what are the triggers and mediators that perpetuate human suffering. He wanted to assist his patients not only to be free of disease but to realize their maximum potential.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Dr. Hoffman’s early interest in poetry and writing
  • Exposure to alternative lifestyles
  • Exploration of oneness
  • Properly diagnosing patients
  • The pitfalls of having a purely allopathic approach to treating patients
  • The “7-levels” diagnosis
  • The failures of Western medicine
  • Non-duality
  • Reframing negative events in life to reexamine them as positive experiences
  • Unconsciously placing ourselves in a type of purgatory
  • Practicing the  “medical arts”
  • Remaining intuitive throughout one’s entire life
  • Creating a new curriculum for “healers”
  • Beauty, truth, and meaning

Mar 28, 2021

Jesse Damiani is a writer, curator, and cultural producer living in Los Angeles, CA. He covers art, media, and technology on Forbes, and serves as  . Other writing appears in Billboard, Entrepreneur, Quartz, The Verge, and WIRED. He has consulted with Google, Oculus, and the Sundance Institute, and served as a mentor in the YouTube VR Creator Lab. He is also Founder and Series Editor of Best American Experimental Writing. He was the Curator/Producer for the XR art exhibition, Spatial Reality, at sp[a]ce gallery; Co-Curator of Virtual Futures with LACMA for LA Art Show; and Co-Curator of SIM-CINEMA with FLOAT and Wevr. He is Curatorial Advisor for CURRENTS New Media and founded the AWE Arts Initiative, where he curated and produced the Immersive Arts Symposium. He also curates The Tech Zone at DesignerCon and XR For Change, the XR summit at Games For Change.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • NFTs and the blockchain
  • The future of NFTs 
  • Artists managing the sale of their work 
  • VR exhibitions powered by NFTs and blockchains
  • Unlocking the potential of NFTs
  • The ecological impact of NFT transactions
  • How an artist can use NFTs to sell their artwork
  • Jesse’s entry point into emerging technologies
  • Human and A.I. collaborations
  • Translating high-level concepts into tangible and practical applications
  • Simulation Theory
  • Poetry as it relates to emerging tech

Mar 7, 2021

Nolwen is a first-generation Colombian-French photographer and director, working in Los Angeles. As a mixed-race queer woman, her identity plays an active role in the type of narratives she is drawn to.

Her interests lie in shifting social consciousness, breaking down gender norms, and representation. Exploring portraiture within the landscape of American culture, Nolwen’s photographs deal with vulnerability and gaze between both subject and viewer.

She has photographed a multitude of prolific figures and her client list includes The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Netflix, Dove, amongst others.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Nolwen’s career journey
  • Multihyphanate artistry
  • Importance of broadening your artistic toolbox
  • Financial management for artists
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Addiction
  • Nolwen’s spiritual experience before sobriety
  • Breaking free from trauma
  • Focusing on the present moment
  • Life being a puzzle
  • Feeling connected to a greater calling
  • Being intentional within your fearlessness
  • Keeping the process in mind rather than the outcome
  • Leading with honesty
  • Validation
  • Sexuality
  • Having a career within the arts

Feb 25, 2021

Brian Booth Craig (b. 1968; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary American representational sculptor. Sculpting from life and imagination, Brian’s work translates traditional techniques into depictions of contemporary human presence, capturing moments of individual self-assertion. Through ambiguous actions, surprising talismans, and subtle gestures, Brian endeavors to reveal the subjectivity of narrative perspective.

Brian holds a B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. For ten years he was the apprentice and studio assistant of the painter and sculptor Audrey Flack. Brian is represented by Louis K Meisel Gallery in New York City.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Brian’s start in sculpture
  • Intellectual pursuits
  • Economic fears of being an artist
  • The internal, external, and emotional narrative to art
  • Creating something unique vs. creating something that “fits” within a craft
  • Representing the body and human nature through sculpture
  • Philosophy and psychology in art
  • “Evidence is the means of making”
  • Materials not being neutral
  • Being addicted to the process
  • Childhood
  • New techniques being advancements
  • Agency of the subject and the male gaze
  • Plant medicine

Feb 17, 2021

Vanessa Prager (b. 1984) is an American artist, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Known mainly for her large-scale, abstract oil paintings, Prager‘s main subject is the female figure. Thick, loose, heavily impastoed bodies melt in and out of their form, and what we consider beauty and identity is often a central theme to her work.

Prager has had solo shows at The Hole, New York; Richard Heller, Los Angeles; and Kristin Hjellegjerde, Berlin and London; and group shows in Los Angeles with Over The Influence; M+B; and Diane Rosenstein Gallery.

Vanessa’s latest solo show, “Static” shows at the Diane Rosenstein Gallery from February 20th to April 10th, 2021

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Emotions felt through the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Processing emotions
  • Painting what one sees
  • Understanding one’s reality
  • Motherhood
  • Vanessa’s upbringing
  • The depiction of woman within a patriarchal society
  • Breaking away from stigmas
  • Recognizing patterns in life

Feb 10, 2021
Julian Doan is a second-generation Vietnamese American filmmaker. He enjoys exploring the uncomfortable corners of our existence through awkward, yet heartfelt comedy. His past projects include the sentient zombie digital series “Everyone I Love Is Dead”. He is currently working on the editorial team of HBO's “In Treatment”. He loves the great outdoors and looks forward to seeing a Vietnamese American film renaissance in his lifetime. He is thrilled to be premiering “Raspberry” at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is beyond thankful for the stunning cast and crew who all brought this film to life.

Raymond Lee was a series regular in Alan Ball’s HBO series, “Here and Now” opposite Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter. He has recurring roles on “Prodigal Son”, “Mozart in the Jungle”, and Scandal. Theater credits include the world premiere productions of “Vietgone at Manhattan Theater Club”, which he was awarded the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Debut, “Office Hour” opposite Sandra Oh at South Coast Repertory, and “Cambodian Rock Band” also at South Coast Repertory. He will be next seen in the PARAMOUNT feature film “Top Gun: Maverick opposite Tom Cruise, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly and as a series regular in upcoming the AMC series “Kevin Can F*ck Himself”. Raymond resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The subject and absurdity of death
  • Speaking openly about death
  • The origins of “Raspberry” 
  • Being emotionally available towards inspiration 
  • The creative process behind character creation 
  • Yoshino’s personal approach to photography and inspiration 
  • Processing death and dealing with loss 
  • Reactions to “Raspberry” 
  • The tone of the film
  • Subtle nuances of expression
  • The differences between Eastern and Western thoughts 
  • Julian and Raymond’s collaborative relationship 
  • Creatively pushing yourself and others 
  • Asian men within the arts and film
  • Advice to artists and creatives

Jan 31, 2021

Mark Wolynn is the director of the Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco. He is a leading expert in the field of inherited family trauma.

His book It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle (published by Viking/Penguin) is the winner of the 2016 Silver Nautilus Book Award in psychology and has been translated into 19 languages.

His articles have appeared in Psychology Today, Mind Body Green,, Elephant Journal, and Psych Central, and his poetry has been published in The New Yorker.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Inherited family trauma - a detailed overview of trauma’s resonating effect
  • Our bodies reaction to trauma and how we can biologically pass those reactions to our offspring through our genes
  • Current research within the scientific field of trauma 
  • The potency of language
  • Mark’s “Core Language Approach” or otherwise known as trauma language, which is seen through the observation of verbal and non-verbal cues
  • Mark’s background and journey into healing 
  • Avoiding negative emotions
  • Our symptoms being our guides
  • Mindfulness and meditation practices

Jan 29, 2021

When a musical ensemble chooses to self-title an album mid-career, it usually signifies their conviction that they’ve struck upon the motherlode, hit the jackpot, stepped up, and generally arrived at a point they’ve always strived for but never quite attained. Coming from GoGo Penguin at this stage in the game, it’s quite a bold statement: the instrumental trio from Manchester, England have fielded plaudits and rave reviews for inspiration and originality at every turn since 2013, when they settled on their dream line-up of Chris Illingworth (piano), Rob Turner (drums), and Nick Blacka (bass). Fusing jazz, classical and electronic influences (amongst others) with a thirst for innovation, they’ve been garlanded as makers of one of the Mercury Prize album of the year (in ’14), and have enjoyed success on record and in the live arena matched by precious few vocal-free groups post-millennium.
After that prestigious Mercury nomination for 2014’s v2.0 album, Chris, Nick, and Rob worked hard, consolidating their musical bond across a further two albums, which were written and recorded while juggling hectic touring commitments. For GoGo Penguin – their fourth album together (and the third to be released by the legendary Blue Note label) – they decided to jump off the rollercoaster and devote the majority of their working time in 2019 to pushing at the limits of their music.
“In the past, we'd have to get in the studio and finish the album in what felt like three days. This time we had six months of writing, and two weeks of recording, so everyone had a lot more time to contribute to each track. There was more experimentation, trying things out and often throwing them away. As a result, the album is more sophisticated. We had quite simple lives in the past. We were younger, so there wasn't so much drama, and there hadn’t been so many important events in our lives that fed into the music. This time, there's a lot more facing the realities of becoming older, and mortality, and watching people that you care about being very close to death. At the same time, Chris became a dad. The longer you live, the more complicated your reality becomes, so we felt our music had to reflect that.”

- Rob Turner (GoGo Penguin)
Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Emotions while writing the newest GoGo Penguin album
  • Personality conveyed through music and art 
  • The positive and negative dualities of life 
  • Conflicting emotions 
  • Spirituality 
  • Personal Philosophies 
  • “The Overview Effect”
  • Empathy 
  • GoGo Penguin’s desire to be “genreless” 
  • Self-imposed limitations and creative limitations imposed by ourselves 
  • The state of music 
  • Breaking away from boundaries within your art 
  • Conformity and intentionality behind the composition 
  • Chris’s background as a classical musician
  • Finding inspiration 
  • Reverting back to one’s child-like state 
  • Driving force 
  • Examining one’s self, so that others are positively affected 
  • Being present-minded
  • Being the master of your own work

Jan 8, 2021

Shari Frilot is a filmmaker who has produced television for the CBS affiliate in Boston and for WNYC and WNET in New York before creating her own independent award-winning films, including Strange & Charmed, A Cosmic Demonstration of Sexuality, What Is A Line?, and the feature documentary, Black Nations / Queer Nations? She is the recipient of multiple grants, including the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Media Arts Foundation. She is presently working on a feature film project about the crisis in water supply with producer Effie Brown's production company, Duly Noted Inc.

In tandem with filmmaking, Shari also maintains a career in festival programming, occupying a distinguished position on the curatorial vanguard through her pioneering development of immersive cinematic environments. As the Festival Director of the MIX Festival in New York (1992-1996) she co-founded the first gay Latin American film festivals, MIX BRASIL and MIX MEXICO film festivals. As Co-Director of Programming for OUTFEST (1998-2001), she founded the Platinum section which introduced cinematic performance installation and performance to the festival. She is presently in her 22nd year as a Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. She is the curator and driving creative force behind New Frontier, an exhibition and commissioning initiative that focuses on cinematic work being created at the intersections of art, film, and new media technology.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Collective consciousness and being on the cusp of the new year 
  • Shifts within communities
  • Finding confluence within multiple subjects
  • Art and science working together 
  • Visualization 
  • Shari’s love of culture, and her work within curation and art 
  • Wave-particle dualities
  • Measuring the concept of love within our life 
  • The differences in seeing something versus feeling something 
  • Neuroplasticity 
  • Perceiving reality 
  • Storytelling 
  • Sundance Festival and New Frontier 2021, and the innovations that are taking place
  • Subjective and objective truths
  • Empathy
  • The lost art of listening 
  • Shari’s experiences with filmmaking and changing the framework of the industry itself
  • The complications within creating and presenting Sundance’s 2021 festival
  • Focusing on humanity 
  • Pushing into the new year with aspirations of inclusivity and connectedness 
  • Finding clarity within your vision

Dec 31, 2020

Mark Henick is an internationally recognized mental health strategist, advocate, speaker, podcaster, and media commentator. His TEDx talk is one of the most-watched in the world. He regularly speaks to diverse audiences about mental health, hope, and recovery.
Mark Henick’s TEDx talk about being saved from death by a stranger is one of the most-watched in the world and has been viewed millions of times. His search for “the man in the brown jacket” whose bravery and strong arms kept him from falling to his death went viral around the world (and was successful!). Henick has been on television and radio and has written many articles on mental health. He has hosted more than 60 intimate conversations about mental health with notable public figures and celebrities on his podcast, So-Called Normal, and has executive produced and hosted the Living Well podcast for Morneau Shepell. 

Henick has served on the board of directors for the Mental Health Commission of Canada and was the president of a provincial division of the Canadian Mental Health Association — the youngest person in either role. He has worked as a frontline clinician, a program manager, and the national director of strategic initiatives for CMHA. Mark is currently the CEO and principal strategist for Strategic Mental Health Consulting.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Destigmatizing mental illness
  • Mark’s personal story and TedX Talk
  • The search for the man in the light brown jacket 
  • Struggles and hardships being a source of strength
  • Self-actualizing and truth 
  • Commercial art
  • Compartmentalizing particular aspects of your life
  • Life being an artform 
  • Going all-in on your passion 
  • Building your passion 
  • Resilience and grit
  • Recovery 
  • Not knowing your full self yet
  • Toxic productivity
  • Toxic masculinity

Dec 26, 2020

Sean Cheetham was born in 1977 in San Francisco, studied at the College of San Mateo, in California, and earned a B.F.A. degree with honors from Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, California. His paintings have been included in numerous significant exhibitions internationally including the National Portrait Gallery in London. He has a devoted following of collectors and art students that are inspired by his work and distinctive technique. Primarily a figurative painter, Sean is known for his technical prowess in achieving accuracy and harmony in his alla prima paintings which he credits to a deep understanding of drawing and his own system of mixing colors which he uses adeptly to govern shadows, midtones and highlights. In addition to having an exceptional ability to understand, draw, and paint the human form, Cheetham’s selection of subjects typically in familiar urban scenes contributes a truthful and often raw spirit that makes his work distinctive and a contemporary testimony of our time.

Kate Zambrano is a self-taught fine artist who applies major influences and themes such as the systemic urge to understand human nature, behavior, and the beauty in the expressive nuances.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Kate and Sean’s relationship 
  • COVID’s effect on workflow 
  • Personal hobbies and the meditation behind them
  • Endless curiosities within relationships and art
  • Community and interaction in the midst of COVID 
  • Appreciating the mundane experiences of life
  • The origin of Kate and Sean’s art practice
  • Balance
  • Teaching and lessons learned from the experience 
  • Remaining flexible within your career 
  • Relying on other mediums to feed into your main passions
  • Refinement
  • Flipping your mentality 
  • Ego
  • Natural talent, and doing the hard thing 
  • Persistence

Dec 22, 2020

Laura Fried is a Los Angeles-based curator and is a Co-Founder and Director of Active Cultures, a nonprofit organization that explores the convergence of food and art in contemporary life. Through collaborative projects by cooks and artists, Active Cultures' programming takes a multitude of forms such as performances, workshops, meals, and education initiatives. Throughout her career, Fried has advocated for artists and institutions while pushing forward new models for engagement and exhibition-making. She recently served as founding Artistic Director of the Seattle Art Fair, for which she organized a comprehensive program of large-scale installations, performances, talks, and projects. Fried was previously on the curatorial staff of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA, as well as a curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Fried received her MA in the History of Art from Williams College and the Clark Art Institute.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Laura’s journey in curation
  • Working within non-profit organizations
  • The convergence of food and art 
  • Collaboration 
  • Unique opportunities that are provided through the community
  • Laura’s work with her business partner 
  • Laura’s advocation for artists and institutions 
  • The innovation of the exhibition 
  • The interconnected nature of art and food 
  • The beginnings of “The MSG Club” 
  • Future endeavors of Active Cultures in the midst of COVID-19

Dec 14, 2020

Cliqua is a directing duo (Pasqual Gutierrez and RJ Sanchez) born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. They have directed music videos for J Balvin, Rosalia, Bad Bunny, and others. In the span of a year, the duo has amassed over 700 million Youtube plays. They have also worked with brands like Adidas, Nike, Amazon, and Tecate. Currently Cliqua is continuing to shoot music videos and commercials while developing a feature-length film and an episodic television show.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Pasqual and RJ forming Cliqua
  • Reflections on past commercial and music video work
  • Intentionality within Cliqua’s planning process
  • Going into the trenches within business and collaboration
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Shared business values
  • Examining the future, reevaluating work practices, and moving forward
  • Inspiration through others
  • Taking a step back from one’s work
  • Controlling one’s process
  • Being aware of faults
  • Workflow
  • Cliqua’s recent music video for The Weeknd’s track “Too Late”
  • Thematic filmmaking within music videos
  • Creating something that is bigger than you
  • The distillation of aesthetics and ideas

Dec 7, 2020

Densil McFarlane is the lead singer and guitarist of the Canadian rock trio, The OBGMs. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The origin of The OBGM’s
  • Complications and stresses of the business of music
  • Densil’s honest self-reflection on why he creates music
  • Not caring too deeply about what others think of you
  • The new clarity and purpose found within Densil’s latest album.
  • Being in touch with how you are feeling
  • Success being a multi-dimensional phenomenon
  • Batteling the identifiers of success
  • Balancing your ego
  • Shifting negative energy into positive and productive motivation
  • The energy found within Densil’s latest album
  • The changes within the music industry
  • Staying innovative
  • Specific values that current listeners have
  • Incentivization within social media
  • Keeping musicianship alive throughout covid
  • Cultivating real friendships
  • Staying committed to your craft
  • Differences between Canada and America

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