I have spent the past 3 weekends with my dear friend, actress/musician Sarah Carter. First when she came out to model for my San Diego workshop, 2nd when she played a show with her band SanguinDrake in San Diego, and lastly when she was down here last weekend for Comic Con with the TNT show she stars in, Falling Skies. I’m sad I won’t get to see her for a while as she is off to shoot Falling Skies Season 3 for several months, but so happy to get some much-needed time in with her these past few weeks… what an inspiring and loving girl!
I will be posting my shoot of her from the workshop very soon, but in the meantime, Sarah took some Polaroid portraits of me yesterday as we were all lounging around by the pool at my house, and not only do I LOVE these, but I am also so excited to see her get into photography- she clearly has immense talent in this art form as well!
You can read the interview I did with her for my Artist Interviews project HERE, and see my first shoot with here HERE.
The 2-day workshop at my house & studio was awesome. It might be the only workshop in history to ever partially take place in the pool…! I will have a full post soon with tons of photos etc, but in the meantime here’s a photo of me in my studio, taken by Briana Morrison Photography during my shoot with Sarah Carter… Thanks to everyone for the best time!!
June 19th was my bday, and lots of crazy rad stuff has been going on! And also I thought it would be appropriate to share photos of me as a kid, because well, it’s my bday! And also because I’m feeling a little vulnerable…
(above left to right. (1) In Israel- fucking up dad’s tapes, incidentally I did this with his rolls of film too. what a little asshole. (2) Israel, contemplating in the garden. (3) four! (4) chillin’. (5) It’s my dolly, bitch! (6) ? (Photos 3-6 all taken in S.Africa. All images by dad)
You may have seen this post I wrote about the epiphany I had a few days ago where I decided to donate my next San Diego workshop for free to struggling artists who wouldn’t regularly be able to afford it, but who could really benefit from it. I knew of some people who had been in contact with me for years, wanting to come to a workshop but not being able to make it happen. But I did not expect the absolutely overwhelming response I got! We had so many people register that it was like 10 times over-sold-out within a few minutes! When I checked back a couple days later, I had to shut registration down right away. I really did not expect that. People wrote the most amazing messages, they donated money, and the overall feeling I had was just *speechless*.
Years ago I attended a workshop that changed everything for me. I didn’t have the money for it. In fact, I scrounged up the $900 which was my entire profit for the year and told my husband that I just had to do it, and fortunately he totally understood and supported my decision to go. And I was so glad I did. I had no idea how I was going to survive financially, but I just knew I would be ok because it felt like it was the right thing to do. Plus I was so used to always being broke, I figured- “What the hey! It’s not like it really makes any difference anyway!” That’s exacty the same feeling I had when I had my epiphany a few days ago- I had no idea how I was going to afford the expenses I have to pay for the costs for this workshop I was giving out for free- but it felt right to do it and I just trusted that, and I trusted that everything would work out because my body told me so.
(Above: for all the dogs I’ve loved before… photos by dad in S. Africa)
I followed my intuition because it’s never failed me, even when, especially when, it’s a risk. I approach my art in the same way: I use my intuition. In fact, I would never be where I am today if it weren’t for the risks I took, the finances I sacraficed, the struggles I had, the extreme ups and downs, and the commitment to follow my gut as often as possible, always knowing that everything would work out somehow if I trusted it. *Follow your bliss* I always hear Joseph Campbell’s voice in my head at times like this. And it has always worked out. I didn’t die (yet), I always managed to figure it out, find a way, and learn from everything I have had to go through. Taking risks, following my gut, especially during times where I didn’t know how I would make it – combined with my hard work, has been the MAIN reason for any of my accomplishments thus far. And that’s the truth. THAT is what connects you to that place where your art grows from. And THAT is what I am so focused on in my workshops. I want to help people realize that the connection is right there, waiting to happen, if they engage it. We are Artists: we sacrifice, we take risks, we step into the unknown… fuck, we live in the unknown. Our job is to try and learn to get comfortable there… And then it gives back to us when it sees the evidence of our efforts, our ability to face our fears. It starts to notice us and therefore begins to feed us…
(Above: Nasty teenager in need of a major attitude re-adjustment. (1) For my fake I.D. Santa Fe, NM (2) Nice Outfit. La Cienega, NM at the hippie school Nizhoni (3) S. Africa, photo by dad.)
I am so excited about the San Diego workshop next week, meeting all these amazing people, and sharing what I can at no charge. A one-time opportunity for people who could really use it. I’m terribly insecure and it feels like it kills me everytime I talk to a group of people about things of such importance to me. But, it’s all those responses and results that keep me wanting to do it- although I often think of quitting, to be honest, because of the challenge of facing my fears and speaking in public, and speaking of subjects so close to my heart. But I am going to continue to do this type of work because of all of you who responded & sent such heartfelt messages. And because of everyone who has attended my previous workshops and have just blown my mind with the work they have accomplished & produced since then. The risks they took. The connections that they made to the true work. Beautiful. They listened and they grew balls and they did it and continue to. I am so grateful to you for sharing time with me and listening to me babble and for making the efforts you have made to make the changes that have resulted in such great accomplishments.
So it’s all happening in a few days! I am excited, to say the least. This whole thing happened just a few days before my birthday and it’s been a whirlwind ever since trying to organize it all. I have to say it’s the greatest birthday I gift I could have ever received. I just want to say thanks so much for making me realize how my work is affecting people. I have gotten long, beautiful, sweet & honest emails from so many people who have made changes to their art and to how they approach it. People who have realized that it’s right there in front of them- they had to take risks, follow their gut, sacrifice, and listen to their work – and they made it happen. Like I always say: It’s not magic, it’s work.
And I also want to say a huge giant thank you to beautiful & brilliant Stacy, my Workshops Manager, who has been working her ass off, busting her balls, putting in tons of hours to make this all happen. I couldn’t have done this all without you, Stacy. And I know you think I’m a fucking nut (I am), but the fact that you have still been willing to put so much into this, sacrifice so much, really means the world to me, really. I know I’m a perfectionist/anal freak and that my ideas are crazy, and I know it’s not easy for you, and I am so grateful for everything you do.
(Above: Destroying flowers since 1977! smug. pleased with myself. S.Africa. Photo by dad.)
I promise to keep working hard on all of this stuff, it means so much to me and is becoming an even more important job than I had ever imagined. I also recently started a project: Artist Conversations with Noa Azoulay-Sclater where I plan to bring you many honest and revealing interviews with artists as an opportunity for us to pick their brains and discover more about ourselves and our work.
I’m going to post some outtakes from this shoot as well as more about all the talented people involved a little later… but just wanted to say how happy I am that this issue came out yesterday (on my birthday!) and how GORGEOUS it is! This shoot was from my most recent workshop in the Bay Area. Check out the latest issue of Rue Mag here. My images on pgs 54 – 56…
Sometimes it just hits you, out of nowhere… which is exactly what happened to me last night. Just like how I try to follow my muse whenever it speaks to me, a voice inside my head (albeit probably the “crazy voice”) said: You should do a workshop for free, for those who could really benefit from it but cannot afford it. And all of a sudden everything aligned, resonated… I felt it throughout my body.Then the voice said: Hell don’t even wait- just do it for your next workshop. And I was like- oh shit, YES! That feels completely right! I got really excited and decided to sleep on it, just in case my crazy-brain was just being well, crazy.
And I woke up this morning, felt the full excitment of it racing through me, and decided to follow my gut. I am still vibrating on that energy… It’s. just. happening. So here it is. I am donating my services, time, costs and expenses to my next workshop in San Diego at my home & studio, June 28th & 29th!
Those who have are already signed up will get a refund and their seats are secured.
Those who want to attend, please only do so if you truly cannot afford the full price of one of my workshops. If you have a new business that you are trying to get off the ground, if you are an artist who wants to take your work to the next level, if you want to learn to connect with your work in a deeper way, if you are a student interested in working as an artist etc- this is the only opportunity to attend one of my workshops for free! Or please pass this info onto someone you think may benefit from it.
Donations are welcome, based on what you can afford.
Clearly, space is very limited, only a handful of people, and I will be cutting off registration once it’s full. So sign up now, here.
IN MY CONSTANT PURSUIT TO COMPREHEND THE “ARTIST CREATURE”, I HAVE BEGUN A SERIES OF CONVERSATIONS AND INTERVIEWS WITH ARTISTS WHO I PERSONALLY HAND-PICK FOR THIS NEW SECTION OF MY BLOG. THESE ARE CREATIVE PEOPLE THAT I AM INTRIGUED BY AND WANT TO LEARN MORE FROM. THE INTERVIEWS WILL BE SHARED HERE UNDER “ARTIST INTERVIEWS” AND WILL SOMETIMES BE IN WRITTEN FORMAT, SOMETIMES VIDEO. THE PURPOSE OF THESE INTERVIEWS IS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTIST’S PROCESS, HOW THEY FUNCTION, WHAT INSPIRES THEM, HOW THEY WORK, HOW THEIR WORK AFFECTS THEIR LIVES AND VICE VERSA, ETC. MY FASCINATION WITH THIS SUBJECT IS EXPLORED IN MY ARTIST WORKSHOPS, AND THIS IS AN EXTENSION OF THAT RESEARCH. WE CAN BE TAUGHT THE TOOLS, METHODS, HISTORY & PRACTICES OF ALL ART FORMS, BUT I HAVE FOUND THAT LEARNING HOW TO BE AN ARTIST AND WHAT THAT MEANS, IS RARELY DISCUSSED – BUT, IN EDUCATING OURSELVES AND LEARNING FROM OTHERS ABOUT THE SPIRIT OF THE CREATIVE MIND, THE CHOICES ARTISTS MAKE, WHAT IT TAKES, AND WHAT TYPE OF PEOPLE WE ARE IS ESSENTIAL IN THE DESCOVERY OF OUR OWN PROCESS AND IN LEARNING TO WORK WITH IT. THESE INTERVIEWS WILL ATTEMPT TO DELVE INTO THE TRUTH; I WILL BE INTERESTED IN HONEST AND REVEALING QUESTIONS, ANSWERS AND CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE WORK & LIFE OF THE INTERVIEWEES SO THAT WE CAN FURTHER TAP INTO THE TRUE UNIVERSAL MIND FROM WHICH ALL ARTISTS WORK. MY INTENTION BEHIND THESE EXPLORATIONS IS TO SERVE 3 PURPOSES: 1) FOR MYSELF TO CONTINUE TO LEARN AND GROW FROM OTHERS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF MY OWN WORK 2) TO EXTEND MY KNOWLEDGE OUT BY TEACHING AND PRESENTING THIS INFORMATION TO OTHER ARTISTS AS A CONTINUATION OF THE WORK I DO AT MY WORKSHOPS. 3) TO CREATE A PLATFORM FOR THESE ARTIST TO FEATURE AND PRESENT THEIR WORK. THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE FREE TO ANY PERSON INTERESTED IN THIS TYPE OF SUBJECT MATTER. EVERYONE IS WELCOME.
(Photos above taken on our trip to Santa Fe Jan 2011.)
1. How would you define your relationship with your art/s? What do you feel you have learned from it about yourself/people/life?
My relationship to life is becoming the same as my relationship to art. I believe creation is our purpose. I believe art is healing, and I believe life is always on our side even, perhaps especially, when it presents a challenge. The purpose of life for me has come to be an authentic expression of my truth, the truth as I see it, which is usually some kind of a question or dilemma. Truth is a process. Life is a process. Art is a process. Ultimately, we each have an individual journey, with an individual spirit, individual desires, impulses, and needs to grow. Art, for me, is the result of a choice to attempt to master my life’s expression through absorbing and connecting with others and information who / which inspires me, with an intention to create new life … touching other people’s hearts and hoping they’ll be inspired to do the same.
2. Artists often need to sacrifice. How do you feel you have needed to sacrifice on a personal level in order to truly give to your work?
Ha. I sacrifice everything and nothing at all. My friendships aren’t conventional. The friends and family I am closest to respect that my work will always be a priority, so that circle is smaller than it might be if I spent more time nurturing a lot of relationships. I love people, so I sometimes wish I had more time for them. Sleep. Sleep is often sacrificed in this line of work. Sanity. Structure, I guess.
3. What’s your process before you perform (music/acting)- do you need time alone? Do you practice incessantly? Do you prefer to be around people, or relax, get a massage, sing, stay in character for a while?
It’s always different, but dancing wildly is usually a part of my process no matter what I’m preparing for.
4. Do you feel like we need to take risks in art? Why?
Of course! Nothing valuable is without risk. We’re in the business of birthing what’s never been. We have no idea what will happen in the process. What we’ll learn, what we’ll lose, and what it will bring.
5. Who would be your ideal character to play, fictitious / real, living / dead, and why?
Oh man. I hate that question. The answer changes every moment. In this moment, Alice in Wonderland, set in the mundane aspects of my life, intercut with tripped out dream sequences. Hey, that’s good.
6. As a professional artist- what advice would you give to artists who want to make a living solely on their art?
Just do it. Do it well. Study. Know yourself. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to figure it out. Never give up. Life employs us when we’re ready. Be patient.
(Above left: 35mm film I shot at Sarah’s home from this shoot Dec 2010 / Right: On our trip to Santa Fe Jan 2011)
7. What is the importance of “truth” in art?
What’s the point of art if it’s not true? I say that with the assumption we all agree truth is relative, truth is purity, truth is individual, truth is love, truth is subject to change, but yeah, valuable art captures the truth of a moment and can make it eternal without concern for how that truth may evolve.
8. I find that lack of confidence & self-doubt are common denominators for the artist- How do you deal with it?
A large part of life as an artist is living with no idea what the hell is going on, and being haunted by questions like why do I care so much, why do they care so much, what does it all mean, why am I here, what’s my purpose, why did I spend every penny on my last project that nobody seems to give a rats ass about, what am I going to eat tonight, why did I take that money to do something that makes me feel like a fucking hooker, why can’t I just sit and watch television like a normal person, why do I freak out all the time, why can’t I sleep at night, why does everyone love me so much, why does everyone hate me so much, why does my mom worry about me, why am I calling my parents for money when I’ve already earned over a million, why do I want so much more from life, am I worthy… it’s a trip. Having said that, great artists have more confidence than most human beings if they have found their center and are unwilling to compromise it. It seems.
9. Why did you choose acting? Why did you choose music?
It wasn’t as conscious when I chose acting as when I chose music. Acting teaches me a lot about life. I’m good at it. It comes easily. I love letting stories run through my being and expanding my own life’s wisdom as a result. Acting is a ‘no brainer’ for me. Music is a passion. It’s far more intimate. It’s more dangerous for me. It’s exciting. I’m more inspired by music at the moment than any other form of expression, so I’m doing it.
10. I attended Larry Moss’ Actors Masterclass workshop with you, thanks to your recommendation and my name-dropping abilities ; ) You have worked with Larry extensively and I find him to be one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. What have you gained from working with him and learning from him? Why is he such an inspiration to you? And how do you feel his work speaks to all artists?
Larry inspires deep work. He demands a keen understanding of the material being performed coupled with an expectation that you take responsibility for your limitations as an artist / human being. He encourages his students to seek therapy so that they have full access to their instrument’s emotional triggers and awareness of their neuroses to better inform their process. He calls you on your fears, your laziness, and pretty much any bullshit keeping you from doing your best work. It can be tough to swallow his harsh criticism, but when you realize he’s fighting for you, you can’t help but feel enormous gratitude for his plight to create strong actors who are capable of executing the best material. I don’t think there’s anyone alive out there who is a better acting coach. His book ‘Intent To Live‘ is like a bible.
11. You also have a background in dance, musical theater, and debate. Do you find it difficult to choose which art you want to focus on? Do you miss one form of art when you have to dedicate yourself entirely to another?
I’m always wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life and if I’ve made the right choices. Opportunity / demand is usually the deciding factor … that’s why my journey with music is so liberating, it started inside of me, it’s not the answer to an outside invitation like acting’s always been. I’m grateful to be responding to callings inside and out, but, yeah, focus can be a challenge for me. I try to balance my work so I don’t fall too out of touch with one project while I’m concentrating on another.
12. Were you given artistic freedom as a child and how did that affect you?
I was given artistic freedom to an extent, but I did always feel I wasn’t good enough to just be and do whatever I was inspired to create time for. Creativity always seemed to be for the purposes of some end. I was always a successful dancer, singer, musician, writer, speaker, teacher, student, producer, but growing up I didn’t give myself much time to just be without agenda, which is probably why my path as a professional artist started with acting. As an actor the map is almost always laid out on the page for you to follow, and there’s a guaranteed pay check for the work you agree to do, but the product didn’t come from you entirely and is ultimately not yours to claim, which is not as satisfying, but certainly safer. Now that I’m an adult, my desire to create purely is what turns me on and it’s causing all kinds of turmoil in my film and acting career, not to mention my belly. Just this morning I turned down the opportunity to play ‘Penny’ in the remake of Dirty Dancing because I wasn’t feeling it. That’s a big paycheck and a lot of opening doors I’m not walking through … but I have to trust the right door is opening as a result. The door that won’t be so mysterious. I’m looking to live the life that’s just for me. Art has become a vehicle for that, but for most of my life art was the crazy train. Long answer, but there it is.
13. When performing live music- do you feel like you need to get into character? Or do you feel like you are just yourself?
Neither feel like getting into character, so much as opening up to what wants to come through me. Playing live music is about letting the song run through me, playing a character is letting another being run through me, and both require a strong connection to myself as a foundation. In both cases, I feel more myself than ever. My body is an instrument. I need to know it to play it.