LA County Fair: Floral Exhibition Murals

Half of the 64' Illustrated Color Block London Map
      I haven't been to the LA County Fair in at least a decade. There hasn't been too much of it that appealed to me to justify the expense of attending. Plus, it's always ridiculously hot! One part I did always enjoy was the Floral Exhibitions building (oh, and the big yellow slide too of course). The exhibits were always stunning and beautiful, plus there was air conditioning.
      This year I was invited by floral and exhibit designer, Jim Hynd, to paint murals above the displays for this year's show. The theme this year was London. I painted three murals of various sizes to fit Jim's overall design concept. The first was 32' long silhouette of the London skyline. I had to create the design and layout for this mural using many photographic references and maps. The second was a smaller mural with a circular window which I painted as the Big Ben clock face. Lastly, the third mural was an enormous 64' long stylized map with cut outs of various landmarks. This mural also took a lot of research and time to design the layout with the specified illustrated looking style.
       Painting these murals were fun though an incredible challenge due to the extreme heat. The experience was somewhat bittersweet since these will probably be that last murals I paint for a while. This exhibition will be open for viewing August 31st through September 30th.



     For myself, this past Independence Day was no typical holiday. This year, a friend of mine who is a professional firework technician invited me to photograph their spectacular show from the firing line. I have always loved fireworks since I was a child and always loved lying on a blanket in the grass looking up into the sky admiring the glittery explosions. This year I was not lounging on my blanket in the grass feeling the cool summer breeze, but instead I was suited up in hot and bulky protective gear complete with a helmet and gloves.
      I felt the adrenaline building before the show. The firework launchers were incredibly excited considering this Porter Ranch show was entirely hand fired. I felt lucky to be part of this rare experience, especially since hand fired shows are few these days. As the countdown begins I'm becoming excited too, but scared to find out why I needed to suit up to such an extent. As the first firework is lit and launched, I get startled but instantly begin shooting. The 20 minute show breezes by and my camera does not get a break the entire time. Burning embers are falling on me and occasionally hit me in the face. Though they are flaming hot they are also one of the most beautiful things I've seen. I could have shot photographs of the firing for hours even with the headache from all the smoke. I hope I'll get the opportunity again soon.

     Please view my album here.



     Yosemite is a stunning place, there's no doubt about that. I visited this park for the first time a couple weeks ago while on a family trip. In addition to capturing the iconic views, I took multiple photos of natural textures, ethereal falling water and hollow log graffiti. Vacations always re-energize my creativity and give me a chance to find some new inspiration through my lens. I would love to go to Yosemite again. I feel like I barely dug into it's beauty with the three short days I stayed.  


The Convert at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

     Another season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre has come to a close. This has been my seventh full season with the theatre since the opening in 2004. My start began at this wonderful space during my senior year at USC with the opening ceremony, where I assisted Production Designer Martyn Bookwalter. I stayed on to assist Martyn with his lighting design for the first production, A Perfect Wedding. I rejoined the Kirk Douglas Theatre Technical Crew after graduation and have worked on nearly every production since as part of the lighting crew with the occasional opportunity to be Assistant Lighting Designer. I have also been half of the scenic painting duo with Katie Polebaum for a number of seasons.
     Most recently, I assisted Lap Chi Chu and Elizabeth Harper with the lighting design for The Convert's remount in Los Angeles. This production was co-commissioned by Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles and McCarter Theatre Center of New Jersey. This three hour realistic drama proved to be a great assistant design experience for myself since I was lucky to work with a very talented and friendly lighting team. Since the show had debuted in New Jersey, the cueing was already written. Though this was very convenient for the remount at the KDT, the two spaces were very different especially the front of house lighting positions, which lead us to reinvent some of the cues. In the end the designs were beautiful and the performances very moving. Assisting with the lighting design for The Convert was a great way to end my seventh season at my favorite venue.

For a review of the show with a full synopsis of the story and production photos, visit Stage and Cinema's Review.

Commentary from the cast


Painting Redefined

Last week I completed another graphic arts course with UCLA Extension. This winter quarter I learned about digital painting in Adobe Photoshop. For twelve weeks I learned multiple techniques for creating digital paintings from scratch. Some of them were started by hand with paper then later scanned and rendered with brushes to become full color paintings. Other assignments were started by digital sketching and/or photo compositing. The goal of every assignment was to create a full color painting with a range of values and textures that were intended to look like paintings not reality.

Going into this class I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that learning to paint digitally would be a great tool for communicating design ideas for murals, scenery designs and lighting concepts. What I hadn't expected was that the paintings would strongly reflect my own style and would be executed much in the same way that I would start any other painting or mural. I also hadn't expected that they would look like real paintings and be able to stand on their own as art.

Overall this class was an incredible experience that has provided me with a strong set of tools that I can apply to so many areas of my work. I have been able to find a lot of inspiration with this new way of working. For me, digital painting will never replace actual painting but I have learned that digital painting can still be a very respectable means of expression. One cannot be a good digital painter without the same raw talent that it takes to paint with a tangible brush and canvas.

C-Horse "Tongues" Video Released!

Last week the video for C-Horse's song "Tongues" was finally released!!! This video was shot over one weekend last summer with a very small production team of Sean Johnson directing and Michael Guerena shooting. Both did all of the editing. I designed the lighting based off Sean's concept of using two different looks. To create greater contrast between the two looks, I chose to use silver curtains with darker ambiance for the moodier segments of the song and the existing window of the space for the brighter and more upbeat portions. The choice was made to use their rehearsal space for this performance based video. The space had a very industrial quality with large windows. Space and electrical capacity of the room proved to be a challenge. In the end the video was successful and a good reflection of the band's style.
Like the band? More C-Horse can be found here.