STILLS + MOTION
“I’ve always loved the idea of balance, and I believe that harmony can come from combining imagination with a discerning perspective. Knowing there is always a sweet spot between divergent and convergent thinking, achieving balance in the work I create first requires freedom through experimentation and play.”
I’ve always loved the idea of balance, and I believe that harmony can come from combining imagination with a discerning perspective. Knowing there is always a sweet spot between divergent and convergent thinking, achieving balance in the work I create first requires freedom through experimentation and play. Guidelines are welcome — project constraints can focus my energy like the narrowing of a stream, where water, like ideas, increase in speed and power. The results are communicative stories that reveal a harmony between the different influences in my life; art, humor, and nature.
I can thank my mother for instilling in me the value of focus. As a college art professor, she often shared her discerning views on aesthetics, design, and fashion, helping lay the foundation for my own art appreciation. I’ve found that focus and clarity go hand in hand, and because of that, I can start a project without placing any restraints on the possibilities. It is a place where I can play, collaborate and create freely.
From my father, also a professor and former superintendent of schools, I realized the importance of sharing knowledge and the leadership qualities that came from it. Education was a top priority, a means to success, and a form of self-fulfillment. So, it was not surprising that I also chose to teach. To me, teaching is a special kind of harmony; one where I seek to find and push my students to explore their own growth edge. I lean into the idea of differentiated learning — every student needs a unique balance of inspiration, instruction, and accountability so that they are able to take risks and feel empowered along their own artistic path.
I view creative briefs as a gift that provides a starting point, giving an opportunity to think differently and create without restraint. This state of mind requires resourcefulness that I rely on without fail. For me, an image is like a puzzle, where each piece is important and has a purpose, understanding that one decision will inform the next. With every detail considered, the puzzle becomes whole through a balance of collaboration, creative styling, lighting, and expression captured in camera.
Just as I push my students to the edge, I push myself. And I like when the work I create pushes the audience too. I want to keep a balance between creativity and participation, so I give just enough clues to make people think. Did you notice the nod to the Dutch Masters in the Kiva Confections campaign? Or the subtle “fails” like lipstick on Julia Louis Dreyfus’s teeth as she reenacts famous Audrey Hepburn moments for the New York Times Magazine? How about my conceptual project on retirement featuring two elderly monkeys “instead of people” enjoying a TV dinner together?
I am inspired by the quirks of culture and clever observations about the world around us. When relevant, I make sure to infuse both in every creative pitch, treatment, casting, styling decision, and of course, every story I create. Nature also fuels me, and the more connected I am to it, the more switched-on I feel and the clearer I think. From the wild energy of the waves I surf to the calm and stillness of the giant old-growth redwoods I walk through; nature is the magical ingredient to my creative process. Whether in the form of minimalistic, narrative-driven storytelling or backdrops populated with natural elements; nature is always a part of my creative process one way or another. And, it is those colors and textures of nature that influence my painterly look.
Ultimately for me, achieving harmony in storytelling means recognizing and embracing how art, humor and nature have influenced my work. I look to my clients for collaboration and together we balance creativity and strategy to artfully communicate a desired narrative. Together we complete the puzzle.
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