November 18, 2008

What's up @ Holy Land (and by 'Holy Land' I mean Panavision)

I could have looked at the camera tests at Panavision all night. Yes, show me desert badlands on 2-perf 35 mm film. Go ahead, show me the Genesis Test of cars on windy road, I can take it. I can't get enough.

I love how Panavision embraces both worlds of digital and film, making the artistic process a priority. Thanks to the Alliance of Women Directors for making an evening @ Panavision happen!

:: bogna ::

November 12, 2008

Having fun with vinyl

Lately I've been working with vinyl. Yes, vinyl. The stuff of non-plasma billboards, outdoor signage, and rockstar underpants. I've been working with it, and I have to say there is something special about it. It is, in essence, an exhibitionist, intended for public consumption, yet it seems to yearn for meaning or relevance, beyond what an ad campaign could ever give it. Thank goodness I'm working with vinyl, otherwise vinyl would be depressed, or just go crazy and tear up our landfills in a fit of rage.

A fun thing I got to do recently was create an individual cover for Crystal Allen Cook's forthcoming book Bombardirovka. And since anything went, it went vinyl. In working with it I found it to be pliable, vibrant, and amiable. So a little collage was born. Oh, and I added a small giraffe using a silver sharpie - as an ode to that crazy SNL video that has been making me laugh for a week.

So why would Crystal encourage me to deface one of her book covers? It's all part of her Art Knows No Borders event in downtown LA next week, an "art, literary, and music event to have fun and raise awareness of the work of Doctors Without Borders." Personally, I am a fan of the charity and am very happy to participate. I've got a couple of small pieces in the auction as well. It should be a good event.

And again, how great is Downtown LA getting? Even Urth Cafe will be setting up shop in the art district soon.

:: bogna ::

October 22, 2008

Bailout THIS! Gamers Celebrate Doomsday

Last week I went to the best office party ever. It was on a crisp clear evening in Downtown LA, with geeks, rockers, and beauties all together in one big kumbaya. There was a nuclear wasteland, an open bar, and a game lounge. It could only mean one thing: the Fallout 3 launch party.

As I walked through a field of oil drums peppered with empty martini glasses, the smell of clove cigarettes in the air, I remember thinking that this is proof that we can heal from any terror. I mean, does anyone even remember when the thought of nuclear annihilation was actually terrifying, and not just a gaming environment? One of the reasons all this fascinates me is because one of my favorite directors did a movie called eXistenZ (totally ahead of its time) in which our emotional attachment to a synthesized world was explored. And now, with 3d animation technology where it is today, the synthetic worlds are getting more complex, therefore more beautiful, as more and more nuances are artfully rendered. I can definitely appreciate the level of production and concept design of the Fallout world. All I can say is: zeitgest. Plus, Fallout pokes fun at the ridiculous mentality of the 1950's - so what's not to love?

And to the people who are against video games because they are too violent, think about why we need them. In fact, our need is so great that video gaming formed a huge entertainment industry of its own, rivaling and surpassing hollywood blockbusters while possibly being recession-proof. Video games quench our society's thirst for gladiator tournaments in a virtual coliseum. The technology may be new, but the collective need is as old as a dusty fossil.

One of my favorite highlights of the evening was seeing the Foo Fighters live. Dave Grohl is funny. In between rock anthems, he would say things like "We've never played an office party before. This is heaven: you get to play video games and drink beer. Kudos. It's the American Dream." and "See you at the next office party. Are you having a Christmas party? Cause we'll f*@#in' do that one too."

And by the way, how cool is downtown LA getting? No matter how many penthouse lofts go up, you can still quadron off a couple of city blocks, have a rock concert, and spray your logo in light all over the sides of the adjacent skyscrapers, which is exactly what the Fallout peeps did. That's why a video game launch party makes my blog, another moment that is rockstar friggin' awesome.

:: bogna ::

August 11, 2008

Pin Ups Revealed

I am a big fan of art photography which is as strong in concept as it is in execution. And I feel like I haven't been stumbling upon it that often in galleries lately. Mostly I've either seen technically well-executed photographs without a complex concept, or, I've seen complex concepts without a commitment to photographic execution. So I constantly yearn for the best of both worlds, where concept meets execution at a peak, elevating photography - and any aspect of it - to the higher art form that it can be.
Luckily, I recently saw an exhibit which was terribly satisfying. Currently at Regen Projects, you can catch Gillian Wearing's Pin Ups. And if there is anything worth catching, it's that exhibit. Gillian questions our need for transformation and artifice by offering exactly that to amateur models who want it very badly. She then shares the results with us; it's like a scientific experiment to expose a hunger in our modern psyche to be made over, airbrushed, and presented to the world as the sexiest beast alive. And it's not just the ladies who want to be objectified, "Pin Ups" is an equal opportunity exploiter, granting sexpot transformation to both men and women, making their Pin Up dreams come true.

Wearing presents her Pin Ups as gorgeous, colorful photo-realistic airbrushed paintings, based on photo shoots of the models in sexy attire and attitudes. But Wearing also anchors the eye candy with a strong narrative component. Behind each painted panel lie snapshots and written essays from each model, offering the viewer a healthy dose of reality behind the fantasy, quite literally. The subjects, often self-diagnosing their self-esteem issues in handwritten pleas to be photographed, are given life by their own words. And while their words express a desire to be presented in sexy perfection to the public at large, the casual snapshots reveal how far from that each model is in daily life. The viewer might feel a bevy of feelings - such as temptation, compassion, scorn, pity, admiration, intrigue - all at the same time. By showing us both the vulnerability and the magnificence of each model, Wearing continues her explorations of identity while sharing with us the manufacturing process of image, the way a magician might reveal a slight of hand. And at the end of the day, the The Pin Ups have been humanized. You might feel a little educated, a little human, maybe even a little dirty afterwards, but like most successful art viewings, it will linger long after you leave the gallery.

:: bogna ::

July 25, 2008

Rolling along with Bucky

I think we all know I have a soft spot for animals and road trips, (my recent solo show SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT pretty much proves it), and I recently saw another artist's take on those two subjects that are close to my heart, so I'd like to introduce you to David Dechant's Bucky Rolls Like That (pictured below).

Bucky Rolls Like That is an ode to Rauschenburg, since there is the presence of taxidermy, there is a tire, and the lines between sculpture and painting are blurred (see Rauschenburg's "Monogram" pictured right). Dechant adds a playfulness to his subject. The vibrant pigments painted on the bear's fur, nose, and even tongue, give the beast a surreal beauty and humor. David also painted the tire treads white and repeated their geometry in three substantial panels mounted on the wall behind the piece, using that visual language to promise us a nice flowing ride. And by adding exaggerated, ornamental low-rider style handlebars, Dechant poses the question, is Bucky the bear simply roadkill? or is he actually in control of the ride?

And by using Rauschenberg's Combines as a point of departure, David is practicing his own manifesto he calls Varyism by arranging art objects spatially in order to construct intellectual, not physical, relationships. Bucky Rolls Like That is constructed as an interactive arrangement, where the visceral and the elegant can coexist.

:: bogna ::

July 19, 2008

"Also I like to rock" and other cultural phenomena

It is good to live in LA. There are many reasons, one of which is the Also I like to rock series of free concerts at the Hammer Museum by FM station Indie 103.1. Last Thursday The Duke Spirit and io echo rocked the Hammer Courtyard. The Duke Spirit, one of my new favorite bands, is a tight band from London. The lead singer Liela Moss is a little Siouxsie, a little Jefferson Airplane, a little Mazzy Star, with a powerful voice in her own right. Being from London, she thought that the Hammer gig was at "a museum of hammers." No, the Hammer is definitely not "full of tools," especially if they are putting on awesome shows like this for the community. Recession, shmercession, we've got our music. As long as awesome rockers are belting it out in nice museum courtyards for free, we are all going to be okay.

I left the Hammer crowd elated, only to see massive crowds lining the streets in Westwood and feeling a fervent electricity in the air, which only meant one thing: the first screenings of the new Batman movie by Director Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight. A much anticipated film with a record-breaking opening, The Dark Knight deserves the crowds and the accolades, for it is stunning filmmaking of a dark and complex drama. It's great to see that Director Christopher Nolan, who wowed the Sundance crowd with the nonlinear indie Memento, could evolve the Batman franchise into such an intriguing realistic entity with a life of its own, far beyond hopes and expectations, and oh so satisfying. And speaking of Sundance, that's where I was when I heard of Heath Ledger's death. It was snowing and cold, I was on a festival shuttle, and some girls in the back were talking about it. It instantly felt like a tragedy, such a great loss to the film community, and I have been looking forward to seeing this final performance ever since. I've read reviews of Ledger's performance of the Joker as "Cagney meets Brando," and I have to agree, but with the caveat that it was even better and deeper than that. Unforgettable.

:: bogna ::

July 10, 2008


I was thrilled to read the review of my solo show in this month's ArtScene. Suvan Geer's review of my art has brought certain themes to my attention, themes that challenge me to grow as a person and as an artist. I am grateful for that.

Part of the reason I make art in the first place is to constantly answer the simple questions, like "who am I?" And the answers keep on coming, which in turn only make me ask more questions. I am sure I am not alone in this.

Without any further ado, here is a peak at the article.

Excerpted from ArtScene
By Suvan Geer (July 2008)
Arlene Bogna’s "Safari Americana" photographs make the viewer sink into a nostalgic reverie. She asks us to consider what it is in human nature, or the American psyche, that makes us delight in the sight of painted, three dimensional animals perched atop sign poles or hawking honey from flat bed trucks. Bogna’s images have the spontaneous feel of snapshots, yet the carefully orchestrated camera angles and artist’s repeated down-low perspective capture the sheer naive exhibitionism of the roadway animal signs.
[Click here to read the full article.]

:: bogna ::

July 3, 2008

Art as a Dangerous Conversation

Last weekend was a cultural treat. My gallery excursions included a visit to Jack Rutberg Gallery where I got to hear Jack Rutberg speak. And I followed up a day at the galleries with an evening at the REDCAT theater to see The Actors Gang do a stage adaptation of George Orwell's 1984. And I realized a common theme: Art can be a very dangerous conversation.
First of all, Jack Rutberg is an amazing gallerist with an insightful and encyclopedic knowledge of art and art history (thank goodness he is writing a book!). It was interesting to hear Mr. Rutberg explain how revolutionary Francisco Zuniga's work was in his time, and how the artist had to fight exile because of it. I remember seeing quite a few Zuniga sculptures in the front gallery over the years, now I know it is one of Jack Rutberg's many ways of acknowledging art and its place in our history, beyond the aesthetics. Mr. Rutberg went on to discuss how totalitarian regimes always try to suppress art, which only demonstrates how truly vital art is to our cultures and lives. The lesson was clear: no matter what, art is beyond necessity.
This was the perfect conversation to prep me for my evening with The Actors Gang's stage adaptation of George Orwell's 1984. Apparently the project came about when director Tim Robbins revisited 1984 and realized that the work is even more relevant today than it was eight years ago, twenty years ago, or even sixty years ago. And the stage adaptation is literally a dangerous conversation: Wesley is being interrogated and tortured by a wing of the government that prosecutes "thought criminals." It is truly a dystopian world of totalitarianism, where the administration monitors all your behavior and thoughts, meeting all forms of self-expression with extreme cruelty. Tim Robbins also pointed out the totalitarian logic that wars are fought not to conquer other nations, but rather to deplete the aggressor nation's resources so that its own citizens are suppressed. The Actors Gang has traveled all over the world with this piece, from Athens to Hong Kong, and they claim that international audiences are clamoring "to find out what is really going on with America."
The conversation shifted this weekend, when I read "'Wall-E': A stealth Michael Moore-style attack on America?" in Patrick Goldstein's blog in the LA Times. I was already planning to see Wall-E over the weekend, and I'm glad I did. I thought it was a brilliant film and story, and whenever they come out with Wall-E plushy toys, I will definitely need one because I am a fan. But was it a scathing attack? No. But it was social criticism. Which is healthy. And entertaining. Read anything by Mark Twain to know why. And Mark Twain happens to be on this month's cover of Time Magazine (finally) with the cover story: "The Dangerous Mind of Mark Twain." Now that's a conversation!

:: bogna ::

June 25, 2008

Safari in the Summer? Oh yes.

I had the best summer solstice ever. The opening of SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT packed the gallery at its peak last Saturday (here is a photo by before the crowds gathered):
I was so happy to see my friends, some who I haven't seen for a while, come out and support me, willing to spend some time in a crowded white room with me on a hot summer LA night. What a great feeling! And it was fun to talk to people I just met. I loved everyone's interpretations and observations about my work, and I must have had the same empty water bottle in my hand for hours because I was on a roll fielding questions non-stop. And I absolutely loved it when people went over to the audio installation and got the courage to push the button that was there to tempt them (the name of that piece is Satisfaction, and it's okay to push the button, and I'm not telling what happens if you do).
I was quite excited that METROMIX had written an awesome article about my show, and I was thrilled to find out that ARTSCENE is running a preview article by Suvan Geer! It was also a blast to get to meet Peggy Fogelman, so brilliant, so sophisticated, and an absolute curatorial rockstar (you can thank Peggy for putting contemporary artists' work into The Getty Center...yeah, she's that great) only to find out that she helped select my show for the gallery! I am over the moon.
My show is up through July 18th if you haven't already checked it out. And please, if you can, do check it out. I am so happy to have this opportunity to share my work with you.

:: bogna ::

June 19, 2008

The Unveiling at Steve's

With my the opening of my show SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT just a couple of days away, it was great to go to see Steve at Finishing Concepts and have a peek at my mounted photos. It felt like a reunion! Here is a pic of Steve unveiling my mounted print of Bronco just in time for the show.

It's funny, I think all roads lead to Steve when it comes to fine art photography finishing, and I think it's been that way for generations. And to think that I just stumbled upon him because I liked his work, only to find out that he owns THE place to go in Los Angeles to get fine art photography prints ready for the walls. As you might be able to see, Steve's space is awesome, and there are amazing photographs there (John Baldessari anyone?). So I have to give him a proper shoutout because he made my day. So Steve, if you are out there, you totally rock!

:: bogna ::

June 15, 2008

NELA surprise

This weekend during an NELA art crawl on York Boulevard, artist/collector/store owner Clare Graham blew my mind. Part obsession for flea marts, part sincere journey to find an object's true gestalt, and part unbridled imagination, his work filled the space like an installation gone wild. That he can make such beautiful, complex, even entertaining forms out of singular repeating items such as bottle caps (or buttons, or yardsticks, or scrabble tiles) is truly impressive. I think we've all seen art, especially these days, made out of recycled materials that is a bit raw, unfinished, and proud of it, reminding us that the medium-formerly-known-as-trash is rebelliously enjoying its meteoric rise in social status while simultaneously smearing our noses in it. But Graham's work has a complex logic and clarity that to me defies the medium. What I mean is, I will never look at tin can tops the same way again.

This was just one of the many goodies I saw on the North East side of Los Angeles this weekend on one of the famous gallery tours led by Artist Quinton Bemiller.

:: bogna ::

June 9, 2008

Having an Art Attack... and Loving It!

I am very excited to share this preview article of my upcoming solo show SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT in METROMIX. Please enjoy!

Art attack: Arlene Bogna's 'Safari Americana'
By Kimberly Waid & Alie Ward, Metromix

Here is an excerpt:
"Photos from her new series, "Safari Americana: Scenes of Delight" pop off the paper with rich pigments and a gorgeous stillness. Exploring the very specific and bizarre theme of roadside animal effigies (fiberglass cows, anyone?), Bogna presents a show that’s hauntingly vintage in aesthetic but also an homage to modern, plasticine life."

You can read the entire article here.

I absolutely cannot wait for the show!

:: bogna ::

June 6, 2008

A Celebration of Directors Who Happen To Be Women

"A celebration of directors who happen to be women" happened at the DGA last night. That quote came from Penelope Spheeris, who moderated this event, still cool from the Dylan screening.

Except for some funny anecdotes about how some people saw a woman on set and asked her to get some coffee (even if she was the director), there really wasn't any whining. It was a celebration of storytellers who happen to be women, something every society needs.

And not just storytellers, but vital storytellers who have entertained us with high-concept mainstream action sequences populated with A-list talent and oodles of special effects, tv storytellers who have intrigued us, and indie storytellers who have changed lives. The panel included Catherine Hardwicke, Amy Heckerling, Lesli Linka Glatter, Mimi Leder, Kasi Lemmons, Angela Robinson, Arlene Sanford, Betty Thomas, with Penelope moderating. Quite frankly, the ladies rocked the house. And it was great to see the clips and realize how much great work there is out there already by so many women directors.

The message of the evening was, "we [women directors] have the stuff that you want, and you gotta come get it." And the second message of the evening was "when you do what you wanna do then good stuff happens."

Kudos to the DGA for doing this, and thanks to the Alliance of Women Directors who made it possible for members to attend.

:: bogna ::

May 30, 2008

Bob Dylan's Documents

If anyone in Los Angeles felt something in the air lately, like the cool factor just went up inexplicably, it's because the "Bob Dylan's American Journey" exhibition has been hanging out at the Skirball. I was lucky enough to be invited to go to a sold-out screening of Eat The Document - an unreleased documentary about Bob Dylan. Rumor has it that Bob Dylan took scissors to the film and cut it himself after being deeply unsatisfied with a previous edit. And after seeing it, I actually believe that. I cannot recommend the film because a) it is unavailable, b) the unmastered sound quality makes it almost incomprehensible, and c) as the host Director Penelope Spheeris herself commented, "you shouldn't watch it alone because it is completely illogical." But, if you are a fan, or just curious, there a moments that make it all worthwhile: the musical performances, jamming with Robbie Robertson on guitar, an impromptu duet with Johnny Cash, and a London cab ride with John Lennon. They say it's an impressionistic film. It's definitely about something, even if no one can really articulate what that is. On the most basic level, it is a film about artists doing their thing.
Seeing the exhibit right before the screening was a perfect way to get ready. There in the Getty Gallery, a map of beatnik New York helped place everything. Folk concert posters and their artwork served as precious relics. Even the letters Bob Dylan wrote to friends and family showed his mastery of writing and made everything come alive. And one of my favorites was the interactive exhibit where you could play an instrument along to a Bob Dylan tune. In this case, the context is culture, an it only heightens the experience of something that isn't just music.

May 9, 2008

Oh, it is definitely ON! Ready for SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT

Life is sweet. Lately my days are filled with the images from my upcoming solo show. They are always with me. I get through each day just fine, but I am living with an extra quality to my life as I prepare. I love it.

Somebody recently asked me what inspired me for SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT. Well, let's see if I can answer that.

You could say that someone's impulse to fabricate a gigantic plastic cow to house a roadside business triggered an impulse within me to stop the car immediately and photograph it. Think about it, imagine you are driving down a remote rural highway when you see a gigantic fabricated plastic cow on the side of the road, and you think to yourself, 'Wait, is that a Jeff Koons installation? Oh, it's not - well, what's that about?' And my point is: exactly. After that experience, I started to see more and appreciate just how pervasive animal symbols are in modern life. I started to chuckle at the thought that a plastic bovine could give street cred to almost any business: barbecue restaurant, rv dealership, honey stand, you name it. And it's like we exist in such a world without noticing how wonderfully strange that is. Well, I noticed, and I started to explore that.

And since I know that absolutely anything could be done in terms of digital art and photo-realistic special effects, I decided that my personal art was to be raw and analog in order for it to have the most meaning for me. Perhaps because of my background, that is the line in the sand between 'work' and 'art'. I have to find ways to experience my freedom, i.e. did the expired film in my overheated holga make the Mississippi River look like a red nuclear pond? Fine. Good. Print it. Yes.

I've been reflecting about my Artist Influences for my show, and here they are:

Gerhard Richter
I am simply awestruck by his work, especially by his photo-based paintings and his abstract paintings. I love that he is such a master of visual representation yet he can also go totally abstract. He is vital to me.

Mona Kuhn
The softness and dreamy intimacy of her work gives me a sense of connection. Her photographs exist in a world all their own.

Jeff Koons
Provocative, bold and playful. I enjoy how the scale of his work instantly forces a confrontation. And I think the world is a definitely a better place because of his balloon dogs.

So, if you find yourself in Los Angeles on June 21st, please come on by to the SAFARI AMERICANA: SCENES OF DELIGHT Artist Reception @ Gallery 825. It is my delight to be able to share my work with you.

:: bogna ::

April 18, 2008

Fancy Cat Wrangling on the Neutrogena Set

There are many ways to start off one's morning: a coffee and a newspaper, a morning jog, and cat wrangling.
Today I chose cat wrangling. And as a result, you might see the adorable face of my cat B.C. in the upcoming PSA spot for Neutrogena starring Malin Akerman, directed by Theresa Wingert and produced by Anthony Ferranti.
First of all, Theresa is an accomplished commercial director who runs a great set, and I was happy to meet her. Second of all, I was flattered that she was excited to employ the talents of my cat. Because if there is any cat that deserves a beauty shot, it's B.C.. He has the perfect palette, the whites and beiges of his soft silky fur surrounding his cute ice blue eyes. I have actually bought furniture just to match him so that he looks good when he is lounging around. The set at Smashbox Studios had a similar neutral palette, with a soft light coming from a window sheer in the background. I sat on the ground near David Darby, the ultra-talented DP, and I tried to inspire B.C. to throw some good looks over by cooing and cat calling, tapping the ground to get his attention, and petting him in between takes.
I can't wait to see how B.C. looks in the spot. He did have a little bit of stage fright (understandable I suppose, it was his first time on a set), he did meow a lot, and I did have to keep running after him and getting him out of trouble, but hopefully he was able to give that second of cat beauty they wanted for the spot.
So the next time you think of beauty, softness, and luxury, remember to think of B.C., who symbolizes it all.

:: bogna ::

March 1, 2008

Group Show at the Bird Museum

To those who think art is for the birds, artist Michael Giancristiano salutes you! He has recently created the Eli Bird Contemporary Art Center, a miniature museum in which
he curates art shows with accurate miniatures of original fine art pieces. I am happy to say his first show features a wide range of work from many contemporary artists, and it includes a miniature of my abstract color photograph the abyss.

I can usually spot Giancristiano's work right away. He knows how to work with wood and media to create something elegant yet organic. I've mostly seen his 'On Thin Ice' series of paintings on plywood which minimally reveal the deeper layers of his work, showing a process that feels persistent, measured, and natural.

As for the Eli Bird Contemporary Art Center, otherwise known as the EBCAC, part of Michael's concept is to have work that invokes nature, and I believe that the EBCAC shows will also benefit children's foundations.

The inaugural EBCAC show has work by the following artists:
Lori Agostino, Dori Atlantis, Arlene Bogna, Paul Blieden, Richard Bruland, Ellen Cantor, Rebecca Hamm, Yoichi Kawamura, Linda Kunik, Daniel Lara, Lynda Lester, Erika Lizee, Rebecca Lowry, Freyda Miller, Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli, Hung Nguyen, Ana Osgood, Paul Pitsker, Bryan Ricci, Gina Stepaniuk, Elizabeth Tobias, David Eli Vaughn, Valerie Wilcox, Karen Frimkess Wolff, Kyoung Ha Yoo.
It's nice to see how many artists find Giancristiano's concept absolutely irresistible.

:: bogna ::

February 23, 2008

A shout out to the Stripe Factory

I recently wandered into the gallery in Chinatown known as Sister and ran into 'Stripe Factory' by artist Danica Phelps. Stripe Factory is a series of panels with perhaps thousands of little stripes arranged on them. Meticulous? Yes. Fastidious. Oh yeah. Method to the madness? Absolutely. Apparently the artist really made these panels factory-style with assistants to help make all the stripes in the name of efficiency.
What's nice about these panels is how different they seem when viewed from different distances. From one vantage point, a panel seems to hold purely an abstract texture. If you get a little closer, you can detect a pattern. From one angle there is a slight optical illusion, from another you can really see the detailed work. And if you get a little closer, each little piece of a stripe has its own shape and integrity, which can start to feel maddening when seeing so many of them. And I mean maddening in a good way. It's a nice exercise in seeing the forest, or the trees, or the veins of each leaf, depending on a couple of steps.

:: bogna ::

(Detail of a panel from Stripe Factory)

February 14, 2008

'My Life as a Filmmaker' and other soapboxes

Recently I was asked to speak at Gabrielle Kelly's "My Life as a Filmmaker" class at Los Angeles Film School. I was happy to come and talk about the skills of survival needed in the big filmmaking world out there, but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fill in the hour and a half. But the students were very cool and very excited about their projects and their goals after graduation. I was impressed that they all seemed to specialize in a trade that complemented their long term goals.
I shared my stories of survival, showed a couple reels, talked about Vista Point Pictures, and listened to their concerns. Then I gave a little bit of tough love that I wish someone had given me: that it is your responsibility as an artist to be resourceful and to do some strategic planning so that you may continue your art and your craft. That it's okay to have professional experience, or to learn something about finances and commerce along the way, without worrying that knowing those things might somehow make you less of an artist or a pure creative. And that it is up to you to keep developing and strengthening your craft and your voice. I think many artists just want a patron to swoop in and develop their raw talent for them, but this ain't the Renaissance. There are things you can do to buy your own independence, even if only in little chunks at a time. Being savvy isn't something that need come only after huge 'overnight' commercial success. Self-reliance means being authentic and responsible throughout the process of your journey as an artist. And as an artist, you may not have a way out of that...
Before I knew it, the class was over, and I was all pumped up from having jumped onto my soapbox. I don't know if my talking was helpful, but I hope to see great things from these students in the future. We are all in this together, after all.

:: bogna ::

February 1, 2008

Getttin' ready for SAFARI AMERICANA

Yes, it's just around the corner. 'It' being SAFARI AMERICANA: Scenes of Delight, my solo show this summer at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles. I'm excited that I get to have the big space that I wanted in the back, and I get to fill it. And I will. With big, fun colorful images taken with toy cameras from my road tripping. And it's analog, baby. Except for the multimedia component of course. But it's mostly large format color photographs dominating the walls with the images that dominated me when I saw them in "real" life. And since I am about to experience a very rewarding process both as a visual artist and as a filmmaker, I am pulling up my sleeves, rubbing my hands together, and giggling on the inside. I cannot wait!

January 23, 2008

The secret to Sundance

It's all about the slopes. No, really. That's where it's at. Since everyone is at Main Street or at a screening, no one is hitting the slopes except for a handful of die-hards and locals, and you can get some really nice rides in. A change of pace after dealing with packed shuttles, traffic, agro volunteers (although some are nice), and managing a schedule. It's not for everybody to sneak away from the festival, but if it's for you, kudos on finding time for life. And enjoy the ride.

:: bogna ::

This year, it's personal

It seems that a theme for this year's Sundance is personal filmmaking. Take the premiere of DEATH IN LOVE, a dramatic feature by director Boaz Yakin, who Sundance Festival Director Geoffrey Gilmore calls a "master." DEATH is filled with strong, poignant performances and graphic images, leading the viewer down a dark and twisted road where only the deepest darkest secrets can be revealed. With an interesting theme of the "sins of the mother" being passed onto two sons, DEATH takes place in modern-day Manhattan with a past set in a WWII Nazi concentration camp. As a self-financed indie film, DEATH IN LOVE feels emotionally uncensored. Yakin is giving us what we need to see even if we were afraid to ask for it. Very powerful whether you are ready for it or not.

:: bogna ::

January 22, 2008

Seriously Inspired

I am deeply moved by the work of Morgan Spurlock. All of it.

I just saw his latest documentary 'Where in the World is Osama?' in which he travels to Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Saudi Arabia, France, Afghanistan, and Pakistan on a personal quest for truth. And in doing so, he lets us meet so many interesting people on screen, people we would have never gotten to meet otherwise, 'people like us' who are ignored by the media, who are moderate in their viewpoints, and who just want a good life for themselves and their families. The new experience of fatherhood apparently helped shape this film too, since Spurlock's drive came from wanting a good and safe world for his child. And after seeing the film's end credits which show us the people he met in his travels, with the song 'Why can't we be friends' playing in the background, I saw that world. Maybe it was just a glimpse, but I saw it.

And I find myself thinking about the film and the filmmaker who calls himself a Warrior Poet and actually walks that walk. Am I starstruck? I doubt it. I'm from LA, and that's just not my style. More like -- seriously inspired. It's like he's always busting out the Socratic Method on all of our unsuspecting asses while delighting us with his witty and entertaining filmmaking. From 'Supersize Me' to '30 Days' to the documentaries like 'Czech Dream' (part of the 'Morgan Spurlock Presents...' series), the questions keep coming and we have to keep growing to keep up.

It is so good and humbling to feel this much admiration for an artist's work. An artist who is asking us all to evolve. And, who knows? It could happen.

(Photo of Morgan Spurlock by Arlene Bogna)

:: bogna ::

January 20, 2008

What the world needs now... another Sundance blog. There simply aren't enough of them around.
I will endure minus one degree temperatures, packed shuttle buses, and crowded restaurants just to remedy this situation and make sure we have another much needed Sundance blog. You have my word.

:: bogna ::

January 12, 2008

Yes, we definitely need to be entertained

Maybe it's not included in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but it should be. Our need for entertainment runs deep, as seen lovingly in the signage of this neighborhood video store pictured above, which provides movie rentals as well as pool service and supplies (in that order).
It just goes to show that no matter where we are, we definitely need to be entertained. And, say what they will, movies are better for you than even more distracting forms of entertainment (see below).

:: bogna ::