Ronnie Kroell: There’s a ton of heart behind that smile

I have been blessed to know Ronnie Kroell for quite a while now. I am honored to call him friend, grateful for the adventures his friendship brings me, and look forward to many more years of both! Ronnie is a model, actor, activist, artist, singer, soon to be author, and one of the best human beings I know. He founded the Friend Movement along with Laughing Eddie Lobo and through this, they have been feeding homeless people in LA, bringing people together, and promoting the importance of self love and friendship.

On my most recent trip to Los Angeles, Ronnie and I had lunch and lots of coffee with the best conversation, as usual. We started talking about things we wanted to do and how we  might be able to work together on something special. The idea of a Facebook Live show came up and I totally felt Ronnie would be perfect for that space. Shortly after, Behind the Smile Live was a reality that I feel was overdue and needed. We thought it would be really nice to chat about it and about the other things Ronnie has going on so we could share it with you all as well.

We’ve had many conversations over the years in private but I’m always proud to share the ones I can with you! So, let me introduce you to Ronnie Kroell, the man (and heart) behind the gorgeous smile:

Q: Tell me a little about the concept behind the Behind The Smile book and how that became Behind the Smile Live. I am honored to have been part of the BTS Live process but I want everyone to know how it evolved. 

Ronnie Kroell: The concept for my Behind The Smile book is simple really, it’s about authenticity.

My goal is to dive beneath the surface, eliminate the filters, destroy the masks, and achieve a deeper level of human connection with my family, friends, and fans. I plan to challenge my readers to step outside of their own comfort zones, become more vulnerable, and live their most authentic lives. To do this, I will be sharing my personal life struggles, successes, and a few lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Each chapter will discuss an important topic, but the coolest part is, readers will be able to immediately implement what they have read by way of a real-life challenge that I pose at the end of each chapter!

While I am writing the book, I thought it would be fun to get the creative juices flowing and do something special! SO, I teamed up with my friend Tommy Geraci and together we created, BTS – LIVE on Facebook. It airs every Sunday at 3PM ET / 6PM PT. We have a new guest each week, share an inspirational quote, and pose a weekly challenge to motivate and energize our audience for the week ahead. www.facebook.com/ronniefriendkroell

Q: You have been on a journey to help others AND to learn more about yourself. Do those two goals ever get in each other’s way?

Ronnie Kroell: I have found that it is possible to help others while working on myself, but it is MOST important to find a healthy balance. If you give too much of yourself away, then you have nothing left and can burn out pretty easily. Practicing self-care and learning to love yourself is the key to learning how to extend that same kindness to others in our lives.

Q: Friend Movement started as an anti-bullying platform but has also evolved into so much more. Can you tell us a little about it and how it is different from other movements out there?

RK: Friend Movement believes that what you focuses on expands, thereby, if we are focused on “anti-bullying”, we are still giving bullying power. So, to counter that, we have decided to be “pro-friendship” and find ways to explore what it really means to be a friend to ourselves and others. We are in the business of preventing and healing the effects of bullying by producing fun events, edgy photo-campaigns, and inspiring diverse social media content that aims to unite us in friendship and find solutions to challenging problems.

Q: In episode one of BTS Live, you discussed how you can look at photos and know what was going on behind your smiles and which were forced. What truly makes you smile?

RK: Life is a beautiful, but often very complicated thing. It comes with complex challenges, confusing emotions, and scarce resources. Our collective society / consciousness creates and dictates how we should walk, talk, look, etc. But to me, living by those norms is SO boring. What makes me smile is when I see people breaking out of their cages, challenging the status quo, thinking outside the box, and being unapologetically themselves. It’s taken me a bit of time to become comfortable in my own skin (for numerous reasons that I will touch upon in the book), but I smile the brightest when I have no other intention than that of showing up and enjoying the ride.

Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without? 

RK: I cannot live without my friends, they are fuel and sustenance for my soul.

I wish we could all live without judgement.

Q: In episode one you also discussed the change in tone the internet can take. When social media first became big, it seemed to be nicer, more friendly. Do you think we can get that back? Go back to a global community? 

RK: The world we live in today is certainly technologically more connected than it has ever been, but yet somehow it feels we are more disconnected at times. The truth is, we are starving for real human contact and deeper connections — not the surface level interactions we have come to know. Some social media outlets have become real toxic wastelands that are breeding and perpetuating fear, anger, bullying, isolation, depression, and egocentric life-styles. I don’t think that we can go back in time, but I do think that together we can #BeTheChange on an individual level and create new healthy habits.

Q: Describe yourself using three hashtags.

RK: #KingOfHeart #Artist #Friend

Q: As long as I’ve known you, I have never heard you preach for the sake of it and I know you always walk the walk. What do you hope BTS Live will be to others and what do you hope it can be for you? 

RK: I hope that BTS Live will be a raw slice of life look into my world, my friends, and my dreams — thereby inspiring others to rise above fear, reach for their goals, and experience all the happiness and abundance they deserve in life. For me, it is another creative outlet by which to continue to challenge myself, know myself, and maybe even surprise myself from time to time.

Q: You have spoken of self love and since I know you practice what you preach, can you name three qualities you think are your strongest or that you are proud of?

RK: Loyalty

Empathy

Integrity

Q: Since we are also discussing themes of self reflection, can you name three qualities you think you can improve on? 

RK: Patience

Delegating

Saying NO

Q: Where can everyone find you on social media and online?

www.ronniekroell.com

www.friendmovement.com

www.facebook.com/ronniefriendkroell

www.twitter.com/ronniekroell

www.instagram.com/ronniekroell

Q: What’s up next for Ronnie Kroell? For Friend Movement?

RK: My three main focuses right now are painting, acting, and taking Friend Movement to the next level! You can expect to see me working consistently in mainstream film, television, putting on art gallery shows, and speaking out about the importance of friendship through various channels, including, but not limited to — The Ronnie & Eddie Show. We could not be doing this important work without the kindness, love, and support of our growing #FriendFamily and for that we are deeply grateful.

Together we are making a difference —  one friend at a time.

I really want to thank Ronnie from the bottom of my heart for his friendship, for doing this interview and for giving me the opportunity to work on Behind the Smile Live with him. Please join us every Sunday at 3pm PT/6pm ET for a thoughtful, meaningful conversation that will start off your week perfectly! Here’s a previous episode so you can see for yourself:

Have you met Clinton T Hobart and his Fine Art?

If you love all things Disney, you’re going to dig the artwork of Clinton T Hobart. Clinton is a Disney Fine Artist, which means his work is among the rare art that is blessed by the Mouse himself. But don’t think it’s all fairytales and cartoon characters, there are also plenty of portraits, still lifes, and seascapes to be enjoyed. You can find Clinton and his work at Wizard World Comic Cons all over the country and you can find out exactly where he will be by following him on Twitter and giving his Facebook Page a like.

I met Clinton a few weeks ago for some pizza in New York City and had a really cool chat with him about his work, his travels, social media, and life, among other things. I wanted to show you some of his work because I’ve been trying to introduce you to a few talented people I think you will all enjoy knowing for my Have You Met series. You can also visit Clinton’s website to see even more work and find out how you can own a few pieces. True Disney collectors will want to see this!

Throuple is the Little Drama that Should and Could with your help

I have known James Townsend for a few years now as an artist and photographer but I was recently introduced to another side of him, Filmmaker. I came across some information about a film he is trying to fund called “Throuple” when I found a group he has on Facebook.
The concept of the “Throuple” is fascinating to me from a psychological standpoint because relationships have changed so much and continue to do so all the time. Traditional values may not work for some people while for others it is all they are comfortable with. Is there a right and wrong or does it depend on the individuals involved and the circumstances?
I was very happy to be able to interview James about it since this is the first time we have really gotten to talk in depth and I was interested to learn more about him as well as “Throuple”.
Q: Throuple was originally a 2007 project. Can you tell me a little about what happened that stalled it and why you decided to resurrect it?
JT: THROUPLE began in late 2007 as a small character drama centered on what attributes define, make and break a relationship. At the time, I had just wrapped production on another psychological-thriller, A SIREN IN THE DARK, and THROUPLE was to be a quick little project to stir some creative drive until a larger project would move forward. The original idea of THROUPLE had been there from the start. Some of the story was sparked from personal experiences with cheating boyfriends of the past and the conflict of having been in a long-term relationship previously with someone myself, but knowing I was still in love with someone else outside of things. While I had the basic plot in focus, there was still a lot to be explored by it. I wanted the film to be small, intimate and even claustrophobic, with its minimal locations and next-to-nothing list of characters… think Richard Linklater’s “TAPE”… or Roman Polanski’s “Carnage”– pieces that resulted in great tension and character breakdowns without much overall action… 

In trying to bring the story full circle, my friend Caleb Carter got involved. We had a lot of similar tastes in film and in turn, our storytelling meshed well. With Caleb, as a co-writer, the film started taking a darker twist, allowing it to meander from reality to dream, present to past and future, in a more philosophical yet nightmarish way…

Originally we had very little budget for THROUPLE… We had cast and crew working for meal/credit and hopefully deferred pay. We were filming it on nonconsecutive days in our spare time when we were able to get everyone together based on their work schedules, etc. We were paying for everything needed from our own pockets. Needless to say, it was a difficult task and wore people thin on patience. We were having to cut a lot of corners due to certain agreements falling through with locations originally offered for free, having people simply not show up to help out as promised for various reasons etc. It got to the point that we actually built the recurring “dive-bar” in the story, in my living room, since the location we had planned to use backed out… THROUPLE was really pulling at our creative drive and making us utilize what we had on mere pennies. 

We reached the point that we had about three days of filming left, and we found ourselves at a stand-still… People had left town for work or vacations, school had started back up again– I was moving to a new apartment, which became a huge obstacle, as 90% of the film took place in my current residence… With so many holes in our path, we decided to take a breather. 
With everyone being so busy with conflicting schedules, it was difficult to get back on track but we knew it had to be done. We were so close to being finished. Several months passed and I wound up calling Caleb specifically about the film and we brainstormed on how we could make it work, being that we no longer had access to the original apartment, etc. We decided to just utilize what we had, establish in the story that the characters had moved or whatnot– implement some lines and a scene or two to warrant such changes… We were going to make it work. Caleb seemed energized and ready to go. I immediately started putting word out to those involved, so that we could schedule things out… It never panned out.

About a week or so later, in February 2009, I logged onto Facebook one morning as I always do and stumbled upon some posts… Caleb had passed away. Over the next few days, more would come forward about his death… he had taken his own life. I instantly lost interest in the film. We had lost one of our lead actors, and more importantly a good friend…

Over the years, THROUPLE, has come in and out of my mind. At some point we did try to finish it by pulling a David Lynch type trick and having characters change identity so that we could finish their roles with new actors. It was a disaster and I shelved the project feeling that it would be unfair on too many levels to pull such an antic.

For the past year or so, the film hadn’t really crossed my mind much. But, recently I found an original hardcopy of the script in a box I was going through. It had all of our handwritten notes, doodles, inside jokes, etc. scribbled on its pages. I sat down to read it, following along with the notes included. I just had this huge urge to make it all come to reality… with a new cast and a few rewrites and needed updates. I hope to move forward… to make the film from start to finish with the budget and attention it deserves… while being able to show some of the original footage, behind the scenes moments, etc. to shed light on the history of the project and bring it to a close properly… That strong urge do to get it produced and released feels a lot like Caleb yelling at me to simply do so! 

Q: The concept of Throuple is about three people getting into a romantic relationship. Do you think that such a thing is possible without it getting complicated or someone getting hurt?
JT: Everyone is different on their ideas of love and relationships. I have known most people to believe that strictly one partner is the correct thing… Yet, others believe in open-relationships… And, I’ve even known some that believe in “sets” (whereas there are multiple partners all under one roof and everyone belongs to everyone). For me, I can’t say anything but one person at a time would work romantically. But, there are so many different forms of love and understanding when it comes to relationships, that some of these less common make-ups could definitely work better for others…
In THROUPLE you see these characters move forward with what seems to be one-on-one relationships… But, as the layers are pulled back, things are not quite what they seem. They sort of find themselves in this forced situation of “love” as they are unable to define what it is one or the other wants. There is a lot of compromise involved that leads to people getting hurt, going behind each others’ backs, manipulating events for their own attention, etc.
Every relationship has moments of hurt and jealousy and complication… Nothing is ever perfect. With THROUPLE, we see that from the one-on-one on into the “permanent threesome” (as some have called it) that occurs. However, how it pans out in the end– that is all up to the individual and their own personal beliefs and paths of love. 
Q: Do you think the theme of the film is more controversial because it is about three homosexual men? Do you think it would be less so if it were two men and one woman or two women and one man?
JT: We tend to only really see these sort of “threesome” relationships when it comes to comedy films. Even then, it is usually a case of trying to keep “so and so” a secret from one another… I really can’t think of a film that has explored such subject matter in a dark psychological way as THROUPLE attempts to do.
As for all male… or two women and one man… or vice versa… Hate to say it, but society is still more accepting of such a plot or relationship device if it is a mix of man-woman.
THROUPLE would be controversial on any level though as it does explore relationships with more than one person involved, cheating, addiction, abuse, and some other dark and twisted things we shall keep as a surprise! 
Q: Do you think we will ever see a day where art is not described as “gay themed”? Are we making strides in the direction where all films would be human stories?
JT: “Gay Themed” has basically become its own film genre. While there are so many facets to it– comedy, drama, horror and everything in between, it still seems that if you have gay characters or plot lines, a lot of people are still going to refer to it as “that gay movie”. I do think it is getting better though… the ‘gay themed’ tag doesnt seem to be as prevalent as it was a few years ago. Even despite all the critical and audience acclaim for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN the joke or reference of “that gay movie” was very strong… Today, you have films like THE NORMAL HEART sweeping the Emmy nominations and getting the same critical acclaim but the tag of “gay themed” has seemed to lesson. Perhaps people are starting to focus more on the actual storylines rather than just the sexuality of the characters. 
I think as long as “gay themed” films focus on creating well rounded characters, rather than stereotypes, and allow themselves to tell stories that could easily be told with a straight cast as well, we break out of that box of categorization that we were put into. For so long, it seemed that the gay character always had to be the closeted or flamboyant guy, trying on his best girl friends shoes and delivering every line with sass. Films are getting away from that… There are more and more films where the gay character are real life, well-rounded, everyday representations… The gay characters are slowly but surely being written and portrayed not as “characters” but as believable, real life people… 
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Indie artists and projects today? Has it gotten easier as time has gone on and people have become more familiar with crowd-funding?
JT: Technology! The technological advancements have been amazing and yet at the same time, they have made the indie world of film so much more difficult on so many levels. As cameras and other equipment get smaller and more powerful, and even more inexpensive compared to years ago, it seems that anyone and everyone that has a camera is out there producing content. It has gotten very competitive because with so many positive attributes of today’s technological advancements, it is really easy to put together a web series, or get some friends together and make a film on limited funds, etc. The need to have huge trailers of equipment and large crews etc is diminishing in many levels for film. Another facet is distribution! DVD sales are far from being as successful as they were just a few short years ago. So many things are going digital and V.O.D.– people are not buying films in a tangible medium like they used to. So, profits are obviously down. And, with so many low budget films being made so quickly and easily, the options are much greater… Distributors are feeling the crunch too. Rather than invest to produce actual original content, they are relaying on pre-made films that they can scoop up from the festival circuit and license cheaply for distribution…
With crowd-funding, there seems to be an over saturation. Going onto social media, it seems everyone is crowdfunding for something these days. I admire the people that set out, do it and make it happen, for creative causes or things more important like health matters, etc. But, as crowdfunding becomes more and more popular, a lot of people are using it as a quick money maker and it is turning away a lot of people that have lost patience for it. For, now we have college kids funding their spring break vacations and people making $50,000 for raising funds for potato salad. It has become a joke, or sort of a competition in a way– like, what stupid idea can we do to make money?! It can be very frustrating to see some guy post a potato-salad joke and bring in endless cash… while you see struggling artists and people in even more important need, raking in a few pennies despite their drive, talent, and passion  or overall need. 
Q: Where can we find you, James Townsend, online?
JT: Oh, I am not hard to find. Simply google my name or “JTownsendPhotos” and I usually turn up a lot of pages… 
For photography, we my official site is down you can find me on Tumblr (http://jtownsendphotos.tumblr.com) as well as related sites such as ModelMayhem and OneModelPlace…
Facebook: facebook.com/jtownsendphotos
Q: Where can we find out more information about Throuple and donate to the campaign?
JT: THROUPLE’S official facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/ThroupleMovie
Our indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/throuple–4/x/33566 
Q: I know you have other projects going on and you are also into photography. Anything to share on those fronts? 
JT: The most recent project was a horror-comedy entitled KISSING DARKNESS. I wrote and directed the film and it starred Sean Paul Lockhart and Ronnie Kroell. It is newly available on Amazon. I hope to have more information on its overall distribution/release soon!
Aside from that, I am also in preproduction for a comedic webseries entitled DOG HAUS (
https://www.facebook.com/doghausseries ) . It is in association with LA Based clothing company WhiteyTighties.com and follows the antics of a gay couple that find themselves out of work unexpectedly. In a chain of comic events, they wind up launching a hot-dog company and things get even more complicated. It’s like THE ODD COUPLE meets 2 BROKE GIRLS! We are currently recasting a few roles and then hope to film our pilot and launch crowdfunding for the rest of the season, which we have planned at 10 episodes, within the next several weeks. 
While all this is happening, I am available for photographic needs!!! Check out some of my photography at:http://jtownsendphotos.tumblr.com and/or follow me on FB at: https://www.facebook.com/JTownsendPhotosPage (note the Tumblr gets updated almost daily, but it does contain some NSFW photographs!!!) 

Ryan Seslow is Simply Making Art that speaks to us

This piece is by Leon Reid IV for the Installment

I have known Ryan Seslow for as long as I have been active on social media and have been a fan of his artwork since day one. Ryan’s work is innovative, thought provoking, and timely. His passion for art is evident and I am sure the students he teaches have benefited greatly from having him touch their lives, as have all who know him.

Whenever Ryan shares his work or projects with me, I feel lucky. I have actually learned a bit about art from him myself. When he came to me with his latest project, Technophemera, he explained he had partnered with Leon Reid IV and that they were also doing a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it. I was more than excited to share it with all of you, so luckily he agreed to do a little interview with me.
Technophemera is a technology inspired installation by street artists Leon Reid IV and Ryan Seslow which highlights the speed of technology’s evolution. With new digital devices produced every minute, technology both reinvents itself and renders obsolete at an exponential rate.
Check out our interview and then head over to the Kickstarter page, I think you will love the perks. Who wouldn’t want to own a piece of this art!

Q: Tell me a little about how you came up with the concept for Technophemera?
RS: Im fascinated by how quickly technology has sped up, and how ephemeral it is. Look at how fast hardware devices are outdated. We are attached to them, and share so much intimacy with them (business and personal) but then we are seduced by the next new shiny thing, and it is in that moment when we decide that we want that next new device that we forget all about our previous one, and I find this curious, and the more that I think about it, and participate, I expand upon what I think I understand behaviorally speaking, but I still desire what is coming next… I coined the term “Technophemera” as a result of this, and reached out to my good friend Leon Reid IV to collaborate on the development of the term and how we could best communicate it to the public. Generating casts of outdated hardware in cement is the perfect medium as it is dormant, visually recongnizable, and also permanent, unlike the actual devices themselves
Q: Do you think we are a little too impatient and rush into the “next best thing” these days, especially in the area of technology?
RS: Yes and No, because we first need to define who we are in relationship to how we understand technology and what it does for us as individuals. Until we do that, we are operating from default, by what we “think” it means and what it “should” do for us. Advertising can be very seductive, especially when it is synthesized with human emotions! It is hard not to buy into this. Im still trying to process the speed at which our mobile devices last. 1.5 years tops, then it glitches….and when our patterns are disrupted, it seems to disrupt the way we are used to behaving. Its actually kind of funny.
Q: What does ART and being an artist mean to you? 
RS: This is a question that I keep redefining more and more as I get older. Creating and understanding the meaning of Art is incredibly personal. Yes, it is a platform that heeds the freedom of self-expression, but Art is also something that we must define in images, objects, experiences and feelings. We need to have experiences, and think about them, and then process and react to them. through the awareness of this process we can cultivate the words and means to express who we are in relationship to them. Being an artist is who I am. I express myself in various forms. Sometimes it is objectively, and sometimes it is non representationally. We can always choose who we want to be from the inside out and live that truth in the physical world.
Q: Do you think schools put enough importance and attention on art and art programs?
RS: Sadly, I dont. I cant speak for the whole world on this, but as a teacher here in NY, I have seen mostly loss and deteriorating programs over the years. It is my intention to bring awareness about art and the creative human potential in general. Im an optimist so when I hear and see the word “NO” I say the opposite on the inside and act from that. Change starts with us, and it starts from with in.
Q: You have always made a statement with your art. What has been your most difficult project/statement to date?
RS: I love making art. A lot of my work is about the subject of simply making art. Not every project and series needs to be conceptual or specifically asking people to react. I love making art for the process and subject of making things. We are all so incredibly effected by what we see, think and feel, all of this lives inside of us. Sometimes ideas are very clear and I will know what to do, but other times its not that way. I feel really grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and the ones I continue to create for myself and others. I cant say I have really had a difficult project because I believe that we can never fail. We can only produce results and move forward from there.
Q: Do you believe everyone is capable of creating some form of art?
RS: Yes, 100%, but for some reason a lot of people do not feel this way. Art can be individually defined, we do not need the approval of anyone to live the truth we define. Maybe thats too much power for some, but we are all born with the same potential for creative output. I really believe this. We can learn.
Q: Do you think Social Media has helped artists to be discovered and to get their work out there or do you think it has created more competition?
RS: Social media has been a tremendous resource for me, 100% and I value the relationships I have made. I have made friends in several other countries which have resulted in opportunities like exhibitions, curated events, educational programs, live streams and social meet ups. I think social media is in its infancy, its really a metaphor for how interconnected we all are as human beings. Just as the internet is a reflection and metaphor for the interconnectedness of all human thought, information, and potential (good and bad!)
Q: The rewards for contributing to the Kickstarter campaign are pretty awesome! It’s like you are offering people parts of the project itself. How has the reaction been?
RS: YES! That is exactly right. Backers will receive unique works of art developed for the project. Backers become participants.
Q: Involving students in the project is a pretty great idea. As a teacher, what have you learned from your students?
RS: Tommy, I have learned, and continue to learn so much from my students. I just finished my 10th year of college level teaching so I have had quite a few students over those years! I have learned more than anything else, we all want the same thing, love and attention. We want to be heard, and want to express who we are. I love being a medium to give people that platform.
Q: Where can we find you, Ryan Seslow online?
RS: Im all over social media as @ryanseslow or Ryan Seslow. My site hub is Ryanseslow.com
Q: Where can we find out more about Technophemera and contribute to the project?
RS: Simply follow this link, all the info you will need is right here, We have 14 days left on our kickstarter campaign! -https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leonreid/technophemera 

Let Magdalena Vlad’s Photography Change the way you the world and the people around you

The people at Talenthouse recently held a competition called Talenthouse Contest  Expand Your Network with Diego Valdez and I was given the opportunity to interview some of the winners.  If you are an artist, I suggest you check out Talenthouse for more information on how you can be a part of their community and get your work seen by others. They have sections for filmmakers, photographers, artists, musicians, and more.
The first artists I was able to connect with is Magdalena Vlad, who is a photographer with a eye for making the something we may pass daily look extraordinary.  She describes herself perfectly in this paragraph:
Photography for me is my dream, my desire and my obsession. It has changed my way of looking at the world and the people around me. I am trying to go beyond simple appearances in search of depth and real beauty. People are beautiful. Some are trying to hide it and some are trying to show it. We all are fighting the same battle and our attitudes are all that matters. I would like to have the opportunity to show the world that everyone is beautiful and that everyone means something. Everything has a message, a meaning and there is always something to learn not only for me but also for others.I communicate with people through my lens.
Here is a brief question and answer session we had about her work, Talenthouse, and Diego:
A: Let us know your opinion about Talenthouse and about your experience with the invite to expand your network with Diego Valdez. 
Q: I am working with my model James Mcknight for about 4 years now. We took thousands of artistic pictures together. When I saw Diego Valdez invite I thought this would be perfect for James and I. A model looking for a model. We were not expected to win. We were so happy when we found out that we won People’s Choice Award! A few days later we received an email from Diego Valdez congratulating us. Not only that but since then a lot of wonderful things have happened. I started working in partnership with Diego Valdez. James and I recently had an interview with Michael Taylor Gray in LA at the Talenthouse office in Melrose. I have been introduced to a few people in this industry and all this this thank to Talenthouse and Diego Valdez.
Q: How did you start with Photography?
A: I started photography 14 years ago with a Canon A-1 35 mm film camera that I absolutely loved. I bought my first digital camera in 2004 and immediately I knew that this is what I want to do.I had no doubt about it anymore. I got it in Chicago and I remember it was a cruel winter that year and it was really cold but I had to take pictures. I end up spending the entire day and night taking hundreds of pictures. I thought I lost those pictures but a few weeks ago I was looking for some old cds and I actually found the first pictures I took that day. I was thrilled that I found them. I attached to this email 3 of my favorite pictures i took that day.
Q: What attracted you to photography?
A: I was born and raised in Romania. I graduated from the University of Bucharest with a degree in psychology and I was the project coordinator of the Institute of Child Development in Romania, where I studied and researched the effects on orphan children of different living environments and how it affects their emotional state (happiness, sorrow, joy, outlook, etc).
This is when I first became interested in photography as it relates to capturing humans in suffering and in joy.
Q: What Projects are you currently working on?
A: Currently I am working in partnership with Diego Valdez on a few projects.
One project called “Voices of hope” The goal is to connect the spirit of people with the real important things in life “the simple things” Through this project we are trying to make people understand one important thing “the ego it´s our worst enemy”.
Second project is called “Dare” and this is about one’s fight with addiction, recovery and courage to fight it. My best friend Dyanne Sellers is a recovery drug addict. Taking to her about it I realize how hard it is for anyone to see the cruel fight this addiction brings. She is drug free for 10 years now but listening to her and the nightmare she has been through all those years, inspired me to start this project.
Third project is called “Survival-Revival” and its about ones fight with cancer. This is a tough project. One of my friends Matt Lord was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 35. The reason I wanted to start this project is his attitude towards this terrible disease. He is a very positive guy, full of hope and dreams.I truly admire him. I think his attitude can inspire and make people understand how important the attitude is.
Q: What are your long terms goals in regards to your career?
A:My ultimate goal is to change someone’s life through my photography. I love to start projects that benefit people. I love to share their story though my lens.
Q: Where do you see yourself in say, 6- 10 years from now?
A: I see myself having my own art gallery and work as a photographer in New York.
Q: Do you recommend others artists to join and be part of Talenthouse?
A: Absolutely YES! I think every artist, musician and photographer should be part of Talenthouse “family”. They are looking for talent and they find it. Everyone has a equal chance of winning. I think that artists should support artists and that is exactly what Talenthouse does.
Q: Let us know where we can find out more about you links, Websites, twitter name: