Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Dark Room

        It was an awkward time for us. I was starting to forget when it wasn’t. There had to be a time when this was easy. When hours slipped into seconds and we wasted away beneath a linen ocean. The sun fell out of the sky over and over again. We didn’t believe in time any more. We didn't have to. We were everlasting. All we could hear were hearts beating in tempo and lungs expanding, collapsing, expanding, collapsing. We were in sync. We were a song; my favorite song. Better yet, we were music. And when we were together the whole world, and everyone in it, was listening. Or at least that’s how it felt. Even if they weren’t, we didn’t care.
It’s a funny thing. You know you felt it. You can remember feeling it but you just can’t feel it. Not any more at least. Will it ever come back? Lightning doesn’t strike twice. Or is that some kind of urban legend? I mean, no one ever won the lottery twice in a lifetime. Then again we’re talking about two different things here. Money and love aren't the same thing. Well, at least not to some people. I just don’t see how I could ever get back to that place. I think I did this all wrong. It’s like, no one gets to paradise and then wants to leave. No one except me I guess.
         He’s starring at me. He’s always starring at me. Those dark blue pools he calls eye. I used to swim in them, now I’m drowning, lungs filling with icy cold water ready to burst. The miniature black holes in the middle, at the center of his galaxy are ready to take me kicking and screaming to the very place in the pit of his chest that’s been decaying since I left, or probably even longer. There I am at the bottom of the blackest hole, a familiar setting. Why are the beginning and ending always the same thing? We always end up the same place we started. The exact place we dreamed of leaving, forever. I guess this all happened for a reason. Isn’t that always the go-to response for things we can’t explain? All the things we’d rather not face. Death. Disaster. Failure. Loss. Regret. The things we’ll never learn to accept. At least not openly, but they’ll fight their way into our reality. It all happens for a reason. The same reason you can’t erase your past. You have to be connected to the events in your life somehow. You have to be connected to every single choice you’ve ever made. Good or bad. And sometimes you’ll forget the mistakes you’ve made, but someone remembers. And something will remind you.
He was right again. I always make everything about me and my life, my dreams, my career, my beliefs. The choices I’ve made. But if I don’t live for me then who will? He says he will. But that’s just not fair. Cause no matter how hard you try to shove two separate objects together no amount of force will make them one object. No amount of force will make us one object

        This hurts me too. I don’t even think he realizes that. The only thing he understands is his own pain. How ironic, in the middle of this run down tattoo parlor. I shouldn’t even be here. We made these plans before ours fell apart. He’s talking about how dark his room always is. I pick up on the metaphor but I can’t look at him directly so I stare at the needle pulsing atop his skin, over and over, injecting color into his flesh bringing pictures to life all over his arm. I wanted to ask the artist to put the tattoo gun to his heart. Give that some life again.

        Here I go again, bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, between where I am and where I want to be, between whom I am and who I’d like to be.  He coughs. He knows he’s lost me again.
Suddenly I’m back in that dark room he’s been telling me about except I’m alone. He’s not there. I can see him outside the window. He’s wrapped in sunlight. There he is. He’s more real in this imagination then he is sitting across from me right now. I remember him before I knew. It’s strange how you ask the questions and want the truth but the second you get it you wish you could give it back. Like he’s my receipt, it’s been less than 90 days, I’d like to return this information please. It’s strange how the truth changes your perception of reality completely, but tragedy does a lot of things to people. I can’t relate to the things he’s seen. I have my share of scars but I’ve never had to crawl out of the depths of hell like he has.

        The buzzing of the tattoo gun brings me back to the parlor. Finally, everything is real. It’s all still happening. It’s so weird because no matter how I try to describe what’s happening here, another person will never really be able to fully understand. Sometimes even detailed stories leave too much unresolved. All stories are mysteries. Cause answers always lead to more questions. Like at the end of a love story or a romantic comedy. They finally end up kissing and BOOM. Roll credits. Wait?! What?! Do they get married and have kids, or do they focus on their careers before settling down? Do they argue a lot? It can’t be pure bliss from then on out. I mean if we’re going to watch these movies and read these books like they’re instruction manuals then they can’t just stop at steps one and two. I need three, four, five and six as well! We’re being cheated here. No, better yet we’re cheating ourselves. We’re treating fiction like nonfiction and then trying to live our lives based on falsified events. And it’s getting harder and harder to come to terms with the fact that nothing is as perfect as it should be. Those two giant people making googlie eyes at each other across the silver screen probably go home to someone else. They go home to another life and they’re probably wishing the same thing we are. They’re probably wishing their fake lives were the ones they crawl into bed with at night. The things we imagine are always so much better than the things that actually happen to us. Not everyone gets a happy ending. If every action has an equal and opposite reaction and if it’s fact that dreams come true then nightmares do too. And if happiness exists then so does misery. It’s all part of the theorem. Who knows?

        I wonder if he ever thinks about this kind of stuff. He probably has all the answers or doesn’t even need them. Maybe having all the answers has made him this way. Curiosity always ends up killing something. His has landed him six feet under for some time now I’m guessing. The ones who have suffered the most have an incredible and somehow unexplainable beauty. It’s always the ones who have suffered the most pain that are at ease with the way the world works. I guess when life repeatedly steps on you, you have to find inner peace or you won’t make it. There are two ways to deal with life: you learn to live with it or you escape. And escapism breeds art. Cause art isn’t possible without suffering. Because the best songs are always sad. Art is escapism, the same way drugs are escapism. The same way a couple shots can make you forget your problems. I hope I wasn’t his escape, because in a sense love is the most dangerous escape.
I can’t say I don’t love him because I do. Just not the way he wants me to. Not in that epic Romeo and Juliet, so unhealthy that one of us is going to end up dead kind of way. Not the same way he loves me. We don’t want the same things; we’re headed in different directions. We’d be better as friends. And now I’m turning into a walking, talking cliché. Great. He’ll never understand and he won’t help me to help him. He’s gone through so much and I’m just adding to the equation. I’ve never been good with numbers.

        Then he takes my wrist. I digress but this time he has my full attention. He’s talking in that tone. And the last time he sounded like this he was letting me in. This time I’d wished I hadn’t asked. That night, all I could do was listen as he gave misery a face and a time and a place. I really shouldn’t have asked. Coming back to today, he told me something I won’t ever forget. He said that pain is a strange thing. At first, it hurts like hell and you don’t even know if you’ll get through it. But then, he said, it’s weird, it hurts less and less. This happens slowly but it happens. Until finally you feel nothing at all. He said if there is one thing he knows about, it’s pain.

        It seemed like years before I finally escaped his gaze. I looked at the new colors on his arm. I realized that he never told me exactly what he was describing but I was praying to God he was talking about the ink on his arm and the tear of the needle. I didn’t want to look up again but from the corner of my eyes I could swear I saw him check his pulse. He seemed surprised that it was still there. I guess, when it comes to life there is big difference between being alive and actually living.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Do You Understand?

"What we don't understand we can make mean anything."

So what's it all about? What does it all mean? Why art and fashion, why music and design? Why do we do it? It has to be about popularity, and fame. We wear the clothes we do so people will think we're "somebody". Because we're media drones and we wear what the T.V. tells us to. That has to be it. It has to be about immaturity and revenge. We listen to the music we do in spite of our predecessors, we love it simply becase they do not. We don't know any better, we'll grow out of it someday. Is this making any sense? It has to be about putting on a facade. We create new art and innovative design to seem cultured and prestegious. We do it merely to make an impression, get good jobs, and make lots of money. None of this is about passion.....

Don't you agree?

Let's hope you don't. Because passion is the blood of art, creativity is the brain, motivation is the skeleton, and individuality is skin. Art is the result of our lives. Because who we are is the same thing as what we create. Different isn't wrong, it's different. And different is easier to hate, it's easier to judge, and demean. Because different is harder to understand.

We are a society of definitions and instruction manuels. But some things go beyond the scope of what we have documented. Some things can not be named and defined and set down in a step by step process. We should embrace these things that we don't understand and open our minds to them.

We have not yet established the difference between what we don't understand and what we fear. It is the things we don't understand that we fear. So before you write something off as wrong, or evil, or idiotic, these things you simply don't understand could be making perfect sense to someone else. The only thing dangerous about the unknown is never wanting to know it.

So in case you're still not sure how to open your mind to the things you can't understand let me help.

STEP ONE: don't waste your life waiting for step two.

Jorge Manuel Leyva

The most amazing part about building relationships with people is being able to take away something from that connection that adds to who you are as a whole. I have had the extreme pleasure of being close friends with Jorge for the passed five or six years and there was never a doubt in my mind that he is an artist. He didn't choose to be necessarily, it chose him. From the way his room is decorated, to his own personal writings, to his vibrant sense of humor Jorge is inspired as well as inspiring in every way. He has been such a inspiration to my life and especially to my writing. If you know Jorge, you know that he is the type of guy that has everyone smiling; he's got the whole room in hysterics. Jorge's relaxed demeanor shows his appreciation for the "sweet" and "simple" of life. However, the most interesting thing about Jorge is the darkness and desperation of his work. His art is anything but simple. It is witty, and angry, it is confused, and terrifying. But anything that exists in the art already existed in the man.

                               Photography and art: Jorge Leyva Model: Gianna Petro

The Young and Inspired: What inspires you most?

Jorge Leyva: Music definitely, every time I hear a song of any genre that makes you stop and think, that's what makes me want to write. My favorite forms of writing are lyrics, the ones that tell stories and with the rhythm of the music along with it, it just makes me want to move physically and mentally.

TYAI: Where do you get your inspiration?

JL: I get my inspiration from life situations, sometimes when a friend tells me a problem or something going on in their lives, I try to picture it in my head and I try to describe what's going on from my point of view.

"Can your words step forward, and make a difference?
Can they be held up and observed?
Not like all the rest that just pass or fall to the floor.
Make up your mind just so they can take it apart
Fasten your logic, release your imagination, and hold onto your heart.
Don't be afraid to get caught in the storm, sink your ship before you drop anchor.
Stay on the prowl for their attention.
ready to take it, abduct it.
Strip your focus down to me.
I'm a pirate foaming from the mouth as i speak my mind.
I'm a widower at a wedding eating his heart out.
"Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?"
Yea right, I feel more crowded in an empty room.
alone, abandoned, left for dead
I slander what most compliment.
My imagination will be the death of me.
Do your words make it out alive, or do they melt in your mouth?
Leaving you that stale taste of "what if.."
Do your words usually make you choke,
or do you tend to puff on them like smoke?
Blowing O's over the "wouldn't you like to know's" and the what's and the how's and the when's and the where's.
Turning them to stone, hoping everybody stares.
Jaws wide open until they hit the floor, some inside out.
My rush, my high.
This is the sick feeling that I'm talking about."
           - Original work by Jorge Manuel Leyva

TYAI: Explain what you experience when you're writing/drawing?

JL: When I'm drawing I'm completely relaxed. It comes so naturally and when I see the end result I sometimes wonder what the hell is going on in my head haha. I start off with a doodle of an eye or whatever and it just takes its own shape. When I write though, I have to put a little more thought into it because I want it to be intense. I want to describe everything and I sometimes have to decide what to keep and what to scrap. I have to take breaks at times because I get writers block but in the end the result is always rewarding.

TYAI: Does inspiration come easy to you?

JL: Its about a 50/50, sometimes I want to create something amazing (writing/drawing) and I'm just stuck but as soon as I get going, there's no stopping it. I can't stop thinking, even if I'm not working on it, I'm creating things in my head as I go through my day. That's my favorite feeling.

TYAI: Do you believe art can change the world?

JL: No, I don't think it can change the world but it makes it a lot more fun. Art has been around for many many years and it hasn't changed the world yet but it makes everything a lot more interesting.
I love how simple, yet complex it is . Mindfuck me? Yes please! Haha

"with a pen i can give this empty page some scars
theres a method in my madness
theres a woman who can’t cast a shadow…
she lays out by the beach waiting for the world to wash her off shore, onto her next life.. 
keeping the great whites at bay
sit and wait for the days to decay, holding hell in a hand basket
the look that she gave always seemed to go skin deep
with her smile in a clutch..
you have no idea
theres a boy with a cavity in his brain..
overdosing on sweets hoping to one day go insane
he is at loose ends and has nobody left to blame
looking up at the clouds with his eyes put away
we all seem to be tired of familiar faces..
cheers to the city that never changes..
i was right along."
-Original work by Jorge Manuel Leyva

TYAI: What is the purpose of your art?

JL: It doesn't really have a purpose, my art is just something I can bring to the table. If you like it that's great if not than send it right back. I create things because I enjoy it and if I have people who I can enjoy it with than that's always a plus but I don't create with a purpose. I just create what I would like to see, that I havent seen yet. If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.

TYAI: What do you want it to say?

JL: "What the fuck are you lookin at?"

Need a little more devastation? Need a little more fascination? Get more of Jorge on his tumblr

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sophie Rybalov

Sophie Rybalov is a young photographer from Los Angeles, California.
She is self-taught with true passion, creativity, and talent.
I have been fortunate enough to work with her multiple times. She has a way of making you feel totally at ease in front of the camera that really makes a difference in her shots.
As a guest on this shoot, it was even more apparent that Sophie is a truly gifted photographer as well as a wonderful person to be around. It's no wonder her photos are so beautiful.
The Young and Inspired: How did you become interested in photography?
Sophie Rybalov: I became interested in photography through my uncle. On family vacations he was always taking pictures. I started with a Nikon point and shoot, dressing up and doing photo shoots with my friend Angela.
TYAI: What is your favorite thing to shoot? 
SR: I love to shoot people and animals, especially my cat. Anything that has expression and can tell a story. I don’t really like shooting still life and landscapes unless they help tell that story. I've recently been shooting a lot of product photography, which I like because of the unexpected artistry of it. 
TYAI: What photographers influence you?
SR: No one specific photographer influences me, more like a combination of different photographers, artists and models. A few of my favorites are Annie Leibovitz, Alphonse Mucha, Tyra Banks, and my good friend Angela. 
TYAI: What inspires you? 
SR: Movies with really good cinematography. Especially The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I love the colors. Also magazines and catalogs for Urban Outfitters and Free People.
TYAI: Age and time spent in an industry bring experience and knowledge, but what advantages does being young bring?
SR: I think because I'm young I'm not afraid to experiment. I'm not stuck in doing what is correct or the proper method. And I learn fast. There is so much new technology that is great and I'm able to learn it and adapt to it very quickly. 
TYAI: Is there anything else you'd like to say? Anything to fellow young photographers/artists?
SR: Find your style. Do it your own way.
Check out Sophie's website and Facebook page

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Where does it come from?

"All the effort in the world won't matter if you're not inspired."

This quote. This man. I have been endlessly inspired by both. Chuck Palahniuk is the man responsible. He is most famous for his novels including Fight Club and Choke. Palahniuk's novels are mind bending; questioning your beliefs and trying your philosophies.

My inspiration for this blog actually came partly from a conversation I was having with my aunt about this particular author. We were discussing the types of novels my sister (an English major) likes to read and, like myself, my sister said Palahniuk was one of her all-time favorites. My aunt said it is a shame that my sister is so in to contemporary literature and not more "classic works like those of Mark Twain. Not to say that she doesn't appreicate and enjoy the work of Mark Twain, however her taste remains with more contemporary authors. I contemplated this for a while and I found my aunt's statement to be rather regressive. Isn't it quite possible that a future generation will consider Palahniuk a "classic"? It is curious how we fail to see what is right in front of us sometimes. We don't need elitist critics or published history books to tell us who is inspirational and who is not. We make the decision ourselves.

How many times do you hear people say, "Oh yea, Cream, I remember when they played at that shitty bar downtown when I was 17. Too bad I didn't realize they would become so famous." If only they had paid closer attention to the art of the present, the masterpiece just waiting to reach the surface. This performance that most likely served as background music to a night of drinking with friends could have been the performance that changed their life.

So next time someone tries to tell you who to believe, what philosophies to live by, what music to listen to, what novels to read, what clothes to wear, what art to appreciate, what kind of person to be....think about your inspiration; about what inspires you the most. Where does it come from? Next ask youself, Where does it go?

Go. It's time to create.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Young and Inspired....the beginning

We spend a lot of time learning about the past, about people who have been, things that have already occured. They say we study history so that we can learn from it, but we never do. Maybe our approach needs to be reanalyzed. Could it be possible that we spend way too much of our time trying to dig up the dead? Don't get me wrong I believe that understanding history is important, it helps us to understand where we came from, but does it really help us understand where we are going? We don't need to build a time machine to meet J.S. Bach or Marilyn Monroe or Albert Einstein or Jim Morrison or Oscar Wilde. We simply need to open our eyes. They're walking around the streets of Los Angeles. They're renting studios in New York City. The world is their's. They are creating and expanding. They are today and tomorrow and they are trapped behind the shadow of yesterday's heroes. From fashion to music to art to cuisine to science to literature. The talent is out there and I aim to make it the focus of our studies. They will be heard. They are young and they are inspired.