Last week, StudioVox announced it's partnership with Sundance Cinemas to help curate artwork for their fine art gallery exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, and Madison, WS.
As a Kick-off, I had the pleasure of interviewing two fantastic women; independent film power house Nancy Klasky Gribler, the Executive Vice-President of Marketing for Sundance Cinemas and our fantastic selected fine artist, Lori Dorn, whose work is being featured at the Sundance Cinema’s gallery here in Los Angeles from now through November.
Both woman are passionate champions of the arts. Enjoy the interview on LA Talk Radio's Get Famous Friday! Or read the transcription below.
LA Talk Radio, Get Famous Friday interview with Nancy Klasky Gribler,
Lori Dorn and Amanda Slingerland
AMANDA: Today we're uniting a cross industry focus of two overlapping art forms; independent film and fine arts – and how on earth am I going to pull that all together and make it work? But we will!
So, let me explain a little bit. On the line I have the independent film power house Nancy Klasky Gribler, who is the Executive Vice-President of Marketing for Sundance Cinemas; the movie branch of the Sundance Group, which was founded by Robert Redford. Most of you are probably familiar with the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Channel and the catalogue and the Sundance Cinemas is an extension of that Group. Nancy is really a theatre industry pro, having been with Century Theatres and CinéArts for I don’t know - at least 25 years, I am not really going to say for sure. Nancy can give you all the dirt on that, but she has really spent her career overseeing all the marketing and advertising and branding and strategy for theatres and now for Sundance Cinemas.
Also not only does the Sundance Cinemas show incredible independent films, which is really an upscale movie experience which she can tell us more about - but they also provide an amazing gallery space for fine artists, and we’ll talk about more of that as well.
AMANDA: Hey Nancy!
AMANDA: I know you've been at the Toronto Film Festival all week. Are you still there or are you back?
NANCY: I got back about midnight last night. My throat is a little froggy because for some reason they decide to crank up the air-con and spending you know – like 8 hours a day in a movie theatre where the air-con is cranking, does things to me for sure. But here I am and I’m so happy to be here back at my home office. Very happy.
AMANDA: I looked at your blog this morning, because I wanted to see what you were busy doing in Toronto. And it looks like you saw a lot – A LOT of amazing films over the week.
NANCY: I did! I think it was a pretty good year. I think it didn't have a lot - well, I remember one year walking down to get on the airplane to come home, and calling my boss - and the last movie that I saw at that festival was The King's Speech - and I’m on the phone saying, ‘Oh my gawd! Oh my gawd! This is going to be the biggest, best cross over art film of the year!’
And it was. It was phenomenal. I don't even know how many months we played this movie. And of course, all the Academy Awards. So, there wasn't a King's Speech, there wasn't a - what was it - 127 Hours, there weren't these sorts of big quality pictures. There were a few. Probably my favorite was Wild, which was based on the book by Cheryl Strayed.
AMANDA: Is that the one with Reese Witherspoon?
NANCY: Yes, Reese Witherspoon doing a very magnificent job. It's a very emotional movie. I think I called it a ‘five hanky’.
AMANDA: That's what I heard. Something I read earlier about it was like, "Bring a lot of Kleenex."
NANCY: Absolutely, yeah! But, in a good way! I hate to say it - oh my gawd do I hate this word - but it was cathartic. So, although I wish I hadn't been sitting next to my LA Times Rep. through the movie and have him see me cry the whole time. I wish I hadn’t done that!
But, it was a good year, it was a lot of fun. It's the festival that we go to, to see what we’re going to be playing through the Oscar season. And then in January, of course we go to the Sundance Film Festival to see what we’re going to play the rest of the year.
AMANDA: OK. So, that's how it gets split up. Are those the two big main festivals that are your targets?
NANCY: Those are our two main festivals. Those are the ones that kind of, gather the films that sort of fit into those two part-of-the-year categories and stuff. We pretty much take care of it. And of course during the year, we go to other screenings or we get screeners or things like that. Because, films are always popping up.
AMANDA: I can imagine trying to kind of stay on top of the flow of films, getting into things that are current that people want to see. While you have certain festivals you go to, which happen twice a year, there has to be other sources to get movies in, or maybe things are coming out at other festivals that you haven't attended.
AMANDA: I was looking at some of the films, and you know, I just kind of had a question from your perspective because, you know it looked like Reese Witherspoon was in Wild and While You Were Young was another one that was playing with Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts and there was one called Top Five which stars Chris Rock and Learning To Drive with Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson.
So, my question is, here are these big brand named actors doing independent film and you have a tendency to think of independent film for the little unknown guy trying to get their movies made. But now all of a sudden there seems to be a shift to these really big, A-list actors sort of moving in that direction. Has that been a shift?
NANCY: Well, I think that's an interesting question. I think that there’s sort of like 3 levels of film that we look at to play; there’s the big Hollywood blockbuster kind of film, there is what I call ‘The King's Speech’ film (which Wild would come in under), and then there is the truly independent film like this film called Wetlands (that is actually opening today) from a company called Strand Releasing. I looked up reviews in the LA Times today, now it got very good reviews but it's a very independent film and it’s a very unusual subject. And at our Los Angeles theatre, we only play art and independent films. I don't think we would play Wild, but we would play more of the sort of ‘pure independent’. And at our four other theatres we play 50% of The King's Speech and maybe 25% of the really off indie and then 25% of some of the Hollywood faire, especially like in San Francisco
You know we are a hybrid kind of movie theatre company. Mr. Redford had said that he remembered going to the Aero when he was a kid because he grew up in LA., and he really wanted that kind of experience. And the other thing was, here at Sundance Film Festival, which is 10 days in January; he really wanted to have a theatre circuit that was respectful to the patron, and respectful to the artist.
And I feel really proud of the theatres that we have built, that fulfill Mr. Redford's request. I know personally that he loves our theaters, he really does. He is very proud of them and he thinks that we have done a very good job. He has got a bit of fantasy about wanting an all-independent theatre all the time, but at the same time he understands - no, we are for-profit arm. And when we started out, we actually came up with a saying which was; we want to balance art, commerce and environment.
NANCY: And, if I may say, where the environment part comes in, if you don't mind - is that if you go to our theatres you can't buy anything that isn't in a recyclable or compostable packet. You just can't buy it. If it's a favorite kind of movie candy, it’s either going to be that way or we are going to buy in bulk and put it in PLA. We worked with manufacturers of popcorn bags, so that now all of our popcorn bags are not only compostable but if you like real butter, it's not going to leak onto your pants!
AMANDA: HA! Somebody thought that through.
NANCY: We use a lot of reclaimed wood. I know that you guys have been to our Sundance Sunset on Sunset Blvd, there is a lot of reclaimed wood in that building. There’s rebar from an old construction job, that’s been artfully placed. So, this is just what we like to do with our theatres.
AMANDA: Now along the lines with the theatres, there is a whole experience too, of seeing a movie there that has been very carefully taken into account that just makes it feel like a great experience. What kind of experience are you trying to create for movie goers there?
NANCY: I really appreciate you saying that. Well, first and foremost, I think that the people who started this company, Paul Richardson is our President and CEO and I was there from the beginning and our construction person was there from the beginning - we all wanted to build theatres that we would want to go to. So, it’s a much more adult experience, and I don't mean that it's a porno theatre! All the seats are reserved for every single show, so that you don't have to worry about: a. Are you going to get a ticket?, and b. People like to sit in a very particular place.
And then there’s always a food and beverage component in every theatre and in some of our theatres you have to be over 21 at all times to get in and in some theatres at some shows. But people love the idea of drinking a glass of wine and watching a movie. And then part of what we’re talking about today, which I am particularly proud and involved with, is that each and every location has an art gallery. And what we do is, we curate an art show every three months that changes out every three months, with a local artist. So, this is something that we have been doing since day 1 in all of our theatres, and we’re very excited that StudioVox happened to be watching at a theatre in the Sundance Sunset and said, "Wow, this could be a really cool partnership", and this is the beginning of this!
AMANDA: It's really exciting. There had to be some vision early on from Sundance’s side that why fine art and indie film? Why did you decide that a gallery inside the space made sense?
NANCY: I ‘m going to guess that part of it is because our president and CEO is an artist himself, he is a Plein-Air artist. And so I know that he loves art, I love art, everybody in our group really loves art. And we felt that, you know in all of our theatres there is lot of place to just sit and hang, where you don't have to be going to a movie. And we want people to sit down in a beautiful space, enjoy art, enjoy glass of wine, and talk about the movie with friends. So, I think it was part of that whole; we really wanted it to be a gathering place. I think having a gallery there, sort of, plays up to that. I go to all my theatres, I look around and I watch people as they walk around the galleries and they just stop in front of every peace. It just adds to the experience.
AMANDA: It really enriches - it makes it a total experience. I know the, LA location, Sunset, you can go and there are these great wonderful leather comfy sofas surrounded by this incredible art and you can get a glass of wine or order some dinner and sit up and enjoy the art, you know and wait for your movie to start, and completely enjoy the environment and relax and I thought, "Oh my gosh! What an incredible concept, it feels so adult and so like what-you-are-searching-for an evening out." It really is a sophisticated experience.
NANCY: Thank you! I really appreciate that and I will certainly pass it on to my boss. I really think he was the visionary on this, along with Mr. Redford, whose wife is actually a magnificent artist, very well known. Sibylle Szaggers Redford, she does some beautiful work too.
AMANDA: Well, this month was the first city for Sundance and StudioVox to collaborate on, and StudioVox helped create a selection of artists for Sundance Cinemas and we submitted those artists to Nancy, who then selected an artist to feature. You know, we have to give a little bit of background; Nancy and StudioVox are now searching for artists in 5 different cities, because that's where the cinemas are. What cities are those Nancy?
NANCY: San Francisco, Los-Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Madison, Wisconsin. Did I say 5, I hope?
AMANDA: [Laughs]. Let’s see Seattle, Houston, Madison, San Francisco and LA. Yeah!
NANCY: There you go. There you go. Thank you.
AMANDA: So, you know when you’re looking for what's important for a well curated show Nancy, what sort of are you looking for?
NANCY: Well, by the way you mentioned that there’s these big beautiful leather couches. We have those in all of our theatre locations, and all of our furniture comes from the Sundance Catalogue, which is another way that we kind of play with our sister entities. But, what we’re looking for is, something that grabs people’s attention but cannot be something that is off-putting in the sense that we are an open space open to the public, in some of our theatres we do get kids going through. We are looking for artwork that is large format because our art galleries are pretty large. Because each theatre while it fits into you know, like for LA, we talked about the rebar that sort of is like our LA touch and at Sundance Kabuki we have got some Japanesque touch. So all of the theatres are reflective of the markets they are in, by the finishes that we use and I think that the art needs to be something that is complementary. I find myself choosing a lot of large abstract pieces.
I also personally love photography and I personally love black and white photography. And as my boss says, if it were up to me he might see almost every show being 1930's black and white photography, which really wouldn't fit.
AMANDA: Not like in every city, every time.
NANCY: No, no it wouldn't. But you know, it’s so subjective, it's so subjective. And it is an honor for me to be able to pick the art that gets placed at our cinemas. It really is and I love it. I love it when the artists are walking around the space and say, “Wow! This is great!”, and they have their friends come over. I especially love it when art gets sold and we don’t actually touch any of that. The artists deal with that directly.
AMANDA: Well, you know today in the studio the incredible fine artist Lori Dorn, who is launching our Sundance Cinemas and StudioVox alignment and she is showing her work at the Sundance Cinema’s gallery here in Los Angeles from now through November. Lori is an abstract acrylic artist and also a photographer here in Los Angeles. She had really, a very extremely successful career as a photographer of actors here in LA for probably more than 20 years. But she completely changed gears and became a full time painter and a fine artist. Her paintings are absolutely fabulous. They are these extraordinary large-scale canvases of color and texture that really convey this richness and deep emotional connection for people. So I want to take a moment and introduce Lori Dorn.
Fine Artist, Lori Dorn
AMANDA: Hi! How are you?
LORI: I'm good.
AMANDA: Good! Thank you so much for being here today.
LORI: I am thrilled to be here.
AMANDA: Now we connected after you joined StudioVox and we saw your work. We connected you and Nancy, and then you and Nancy were deciding how to sort of curate your work for the show. How did that whole process kind of work?
LORI: Nancy arranged for a time to call me, and we basically did it over the phone. I emailed her some images and then she also looked at my website, so she could see everything. And then she ended up picking all the pieces that she wanted.
AMANDA: Awesome! Was there something Nancy, was there something about Lori’s work that resonated with you?
Spirit, Lori Dorn
NANCY: Well, you know how I said this balancing art, commerce and environment - in a lot of ways, Lori 's work has a very environmental feel to it. To me, it almost feels like, if you go to look at granite or some stones that have a lot of color and life to it, that's what really hit me about Lori's work. And I just thought it couldn't be more perfect for whom we are and her color schemes were beautiful and she is also a very pleasant person to work with.
AMANDA: HA! Man! Doesn't that help?
LORI: Thank you!
AMANDA: When you’re working with an artist who is also a great person to be around and a good communicator and understands how to submit work and make the whole process easy, that is just bonus points.
NANCY: Right. Absolutely! Well, I hope that you’re happy with the show and how it looks up.
Mythos, Lori Dorn
LORI: I am so happy! I have put it on my Facebook and my friends have all responded and said, "Wow! What a cool looking space and your art is perfect there."
I want everybody I know to go and check it out and hangout there. And I want to go and hangout, and eat and have wine. The popcorn smells so good when I was in there setting up the show the other day.
NANCY: I’ve got to say that it is good popcorn and it is real butter!
LORI: Oh good!
AMANDA: Nancy I know that you need to get on with rest of the day and wrap up, so I want to thank you so much for joining Get Famous Friday today and taking a moment with us. And thank you so, so much. We invite everybody to go to Sundance Cinemas this weekend and take in an independent movie. They’re absolutely fantastic places to see film and to see art.
NANCY: Well, and I would like to say that my experience of getting to know Studiovox has been amazing. Because a lot of the artists come to me directly, looking to be at our theatres, all over country, and I am now sending them to StudioVox. And I am telling that, this is another opportunity for your work to be shown, for your work to be promoted in so many ways and you never know. I think artists deserve to have their work seen. This is just so – you know I kept saying to you guys, so what's the catch?
This is just magnificent for us. And I look forward to a long relationship and I would really encourage artists to go to studiovox.com and join, and send a note to say that you are interesting in being at a Sundance Cinema. I’m not going to say that Robert Redford is going to see your work, but he sure does come to the theatres sometimes.
AMANDA: Yes he does! So, excellent! Alright, thank you so much Nancy. Have a fantastic day, and we will talk again soon.
NANCY: You as well. Thank you for having me and goodbye Lori! Congratulations!
LORI: Thank you so much!
AMANDA: Okay! Bye-bye. Awesome! So thank you so much Nancy for tuning in and joining us today. But more importantly, Lori, I am so excited for you, and for this opportunity. We were talking a little bit about your art but radio isn't always the most visual medium for sharing fine art. Explain to our listeners what one of your paintings is like from your perspective.
LORI: Well, I love the way that Nancy described it, because I am always trying to figure out how to describe it myself. Because I look at a lot of images before I paint, but I’m not really looking at anything while I am painting. So, it just sort of happens organically. And I think that's why they look the way that they do because when I start applying paint, I start applying texture and things start to stand out more over another and then it’s choosing which elements to keep in and which to kind of smooth out. I’ve found that I really love color even though I try to do sometimes neutrals because I love other images I see that are neutral, and I usually just end up adding more color.
AMANDA: Trying to figure out what color would complement this neutral.
LORI: Yes! It needs an extra something. It was actually really good for me to put up the show the other day, because seeing everything up, I could see even more of the continuity that has developed. And I went home and made an adjustment to one of the paintings I thought I had finished and now it is really finished. Because I got inspired and knew what I needed. So, it was really good for me in that sense too, to see. I think the paintings are abstract - I am self-taught, so I don't know exactly how to describe. I wouldn't say they’re abstract expressionism or anything specific, but I’ve found that I have really fallen in love with the colors, which is kind of funny because when I was a photographer, I loved black and white. So, I understood what she said about the moody black and white, that's what I loved about photography.
AMANDA: And how many years were you a photographer? What was that part of your life like?
LORI: Probably over 25, maybe altogether. But over 20 just doing mostly headshots and actors.
AMANDA: Anybody we would know?
LORI: Yeah a lot of people! Samuel L. Jackson always used to come to mind, he was really fun to spend the day with. I shot Jim Carrey, Mathew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc. A lot of the shows when they came out, I had shot them before. So that was one of the reasons people kept coming to me because they thought that people got famous after they got with me.
AMANDA: HA! They thought you were like the genie in the bottle. Let's rub our arm on Lori.
Harmony, Lori Dorn
LORI: I’m not going to disagree with that. Okay! That's right.
AMANDA: Shoot with me and I will make you famous!
LORI: It was fun, it was really fun. And I fell in love with black and white. Photography is luckily the one thing I could do is head shots that I could shoot black and white. Because for a long time, things have been changing into color. But that's one area that stayed the same for a really long time. And I loved it - that was my forte.
AMANDA: And you did it for 20 years, and then at a certain point did the industry change? What happened that you shift from, you know, having an extraordinary career in one field, in an art field no less, because it’s very difficult to get established some place and then to decide to turn a different direction.
LORI: Well, I think the first thing was it switching from black and white to color to digital. Basically everything started to switch to digital, and I had my set up where I had my photo lab and I had my technique with black and white. And people recognized that I had my locations, I had everything. So, when it shifted I wasn't quite ready for it to shift, personally.
AMANDA: Yeah, and then the shift was that everything went to digital from film. Was that for you like, this doesn't feel like art anymore?
LORI: Right! Exactly! That is exactly what I felt like. So, I thought I could hold out and be the only person shooting black and white shots! But it doesn't work like that. So, and I am sure this has happened before when one switched from silent films to talkies! I would tell myself these things, but it still didn't make it any easier to do it. So, I finally did the digital and I painted my own backdrops - which was the first things that I ever painted. And I got a few tips from people that knew me, "Well, it’s really easy, just get the canvas and throw it up." So, I made really big backdrops, because I wanted to have my own, I didn't want them to look like anybody else's. And I couldn’t get that same cool look in black and white, so I had to have specific colors. So, it wasn't until years later that I thought, ‘Hey maybe I will make a painting for my room that's kind of like that’, and I thought, “How hard could that be?" And then, I realized it was really hard.
AMANDA: Well, when you were not taking it too seriously because you were doing it for something temporary, then you don't then sort of think through the whole process in the same way.
LORI: Then it gets you intrigued because you realize it’s a challenge and you think, "Oh boy, well maybe I could do this better, this needs something. How do I create that?" And I would talk to my sister, because she is also an artist – and she studied art, she has a degree from Cal Arts. I said, ‘Gosh you have to put the composition in, the painting’. If it’s not there when you are photographing it - it’s there when you align the camera, you connect with the person. And then all of a sudden when you are painting, you are on your own and you’ve got to come up with everything from the beginning. But I loved it, it was different, it was nice to be able to be by myself. Any time of the day I could paint, I didn't need my subject to be there. Nobody ever says, 'I don't like my hair.'
AMANDA: "Are you really going to work in your pajamas?" "Yes, I am!"
LORI: That's another good thing too. It doesn't matter what I wear when I am painting.
Aquifer, Lori Dorn
AMANDA: So, the exhibit that you have created for Sundance, you gave an amazing name to it. What have you called that show?
LORI: Yeah, I decided to call it 'Evolution.' Because, I felt like it was a combination of things when I was talking about it with some people. It was not only my own evolution, I noticed it when we put everything up, it started to come together. I thought, "Wow, this has really been a journey”, and this shows me where I have come from because I actually moved out of the apartment that I had been in 20 years. That was me.
AMANDA: Doing your photography, that was who you were, that was your space.
LORI: Exactly! And I felt that I had to make the change because I wanted to lower my overhead so that I could really focus on the art. I think if you’re going through that adjustment, you have to do what you have to do. If you know this is what you want to do, part of it was breaking away from LA for me, so I moved to Long Beach. So, I wasn't in the same place.
AMANDA: Same groove, same people, same places, same grocery store.
LORI: Yeah. I just wanted to be on my own and start over. Have my little space - I paint in my apartment and I was pretty happy there for a while. Because it was so surprising, because it’s so nerve wracking to make that choice.
AMANDA: Right! It’s the making the choice. It’s the 'should I?' time you know before the decision has been made, that’s probably the most difficult part.
LORI: Yeah! It was so hard. I mean the hardest thing for me was when I didn't know what I wanted to do next. And when I found painting, I kind of knew, but nobody else really got it. Everybody else was, "But you are a photographer, you are so good." But I am like, ‘I don't know something has shifted in me and I need to change.’
So, that was kind hard but I knew. I’d done this before and I knew I had to make a change, I had to really go for it, I had to put everything to it. That's why.
AMANDA: So, the show being titled 'Evolution' sort of is a reflection of your personal journey, as you went through some changes over the last 5 years and as your art has got more well known. Is it also reflective of sort of how the paintings look?
LORI: Absolutely! I think so. I don't know why they look like that!
LORI: It's true. You know, it's funny when I see other artists talk about their work, lot of times they get so you know "Oh, I did this, because of this and this." And I am like, ‘Wow! That's so cool. How do you do that?’ I don't know why I do what I’m doing, but if I let myself go, that's where it goes. And I think that whatever you’re going to do, you have to find your own way. Well, you could look at other people's work, it's good to look at everybody's work, but I think sometimes it can be intimidating or depressing when you go ‘Wow! They’re so good!’ But it should also spark you to go, ‘I’m going to get back in there and figure it out.’ It doesn't work to try to copy anybody else's. You have to find your own style.
LORI: It took me years I think to find my style in my photography, and once I found it, I knew. ‘Oh! This is it! This is what makes me different.’
So I can try to do all of the others things to make people happy. When I was shooting models for the agencies in LA, there are trends; all of a sudden we want everybody jumping in the air. I don't really shoot people jumping in the air and you try to do it and it looks dumb because it's not what you do, so I have learned a lot of lessons...
AMANDA: “Go see the jumpy photography. It’s not me. “
LORI: Well, yeah! Fortunately, I got brave enough to tell people that if they want a shoot like that, they need to go to the person that that’s what they do. But it takes a while before you can really have the courage to do that.
LORI: Because people will go, "OK, well thanks a lot, anyway. See you later. I will go pay that guy to shoot me." That's the thing you do develop your own style and then people know you for that. And then everything can shift again and that's kind of what happened to me. I started hearing people would say, "Oh yeah Lori Dorn's photos are beautiful you know, but that's not really what’s in right now. So, we want to shoot with this guy because it’s edgy and weird and he follows you around the street and you don't really look that good." Oh gosh!
Gleam, Lori Dorn
AMANDA: HA! Not enough Photoshop in the world.
LORI: Yeah! But that’s what was cool. So, everybody will say, “No. We don’t want you to look made-up and we don't want you to look pretty and like that." That doesn't make any sense to me. If you want to be an actor, you want to look good. No matter what you’re going to do, you are going to probably need to look good. So, I had my own style and that’s what worked for me. And also, when I felt like if I wasn't going to be appreciated for that, then maybe I need to find something else. This is such a different way to work because it’s totally, for me, I am on my own and then I do the painting and you hope somebody is going to like it. So, this is very different than having a collaboration where someone comes in and says, "I need a picture." You can spend the day with them to create it. I like both actually, because I can become a hermit and not go out of the house for days. Sometimes it’s good for me to have the interaction with people because I do like that.
AMANDA: Well, I know your work is also at very well respected gallery on La Brea here in Los Angeles called WallSpace that shows your work. How did that collaboration happen?
LORI: Yeah. You know Valda Lake is the owner, she is fantastic. I am so thankful to her for giving me the chance because I was just starting out really. I had to go in several times to impress her, to finally wear her down so she would say, "Okay, we’ll take a couple of your paintings."
Because, you know I hadn't gone to school, I hadn't sold very much yet, I was really just starting. I can't blame her but I kind of just knew I like this place, I like her, I could do this. I think I just had to keep going in and showing her, I am not giving up you know!
One day I finally took them in, I don't think you’re supposed to do it like this, so I don’t know if I should tell you! Don’t walk in to the gallery with your artwork, I’ll get in trouble!
She really wasn't telling me to get lost, she just said, “Maybe you’re ready yet.” You have to learn to understand when someone is kind of saying, "Hey, maybe I can help you out but I am not sure if you are ready for this."
LORI: So, I just kept doing my thing and it took a few months and then I’d get up the nerve and would go back in. I went in with some paintings and she said, "Okay! Let's give it a shot." We sold one within couple of weeks, we rented. She rents also to the industry, which I love. So, I had some things in commercials and on TV shows and that's really fun for me.
AMANDA: Right! Because you... It just feels good and it’s kind of exciting too.
LORI: Yeah! You get to watch the TV show and there’s your artwork in the background and it’s like "Yay! I feel famous."
AMANDA: Do you license any of your work?
LORI: I have done a little bit of that but not very much yet. I would love to do that. I would to love to have like you know, when Nancy said that some of the art-work’s at Sundance - I would love for them to sell duplicates of my paintings in their Sundance Catalogue!
LORI: To me, that’s very much how I see things going. That would be my dream. I would love to have classic things where someone would go, “ Oh, I would love to have a high res copy of that in my house.”
AMANDA: Right! I would like to have a Lori Dorn!
LORI: Yes! Exactly!
AMANDA: And that's the way it happens.
LORI: Not in a cheesy way, I don’t want to go crazy but I think - yeah I would love that. I look at a lot of decorating images and I am always thinking in terms of that. I work with decorators. This is only my second solo show actually and it’s really exciting to see them in a show, to see them in that kind of an environment.
AMANDA: Yeah! See them in a collection.
Scarlet, Lori Dorn
LORI: Yeah! I never know – I’ve done a couple of series but its mostly, they’re individual pieces but they are starting to look much more related. So, sometimes I break out a little bit but I wanted to find my style. That kind of was my focus for the last couple of years. Especially once I got with the gallery, she kind of honed me in a little bit and said, "You need to find a more specific style so that people do start to recognize this is what your work is."And that's good. That's what you need when you’re starting out. You need to get advice from different people. They help me with my prices and all that too. Because it’s hard for an artist to determine...
AMANDA: It really is hard. I think there is a kind an uncertainty about, "Why is this worth $50,000?" And putting a value on it and sometimes people really struggle with that. I know that the artists do.
LORI: Yeah it’s good to have someone who really knows. I’m still on the hesitant side to go too big too fast, just personally but they’re kind of trying to nudge me a little bit. So, we’ll see, the more that happens the more I am willing to go, Okay, let’s go.
I kind of felt like I hit a point in my photography where I stopped. I stayed in the same space where I was comfortable. I am hoping with artwork that I can go past that.
AMANDA: It opens up sort of a new creative channel that you can kind of keep moving beyond for a long time. It’s pretty freeing I would imagine.
LORI: Yeah! I don’t know where this is going to go. So, it’s kind of exciting.
AMANDA: Well, the other thing that's really exciting to me is that, you had a tremendous career as a photographer which is an art field you know. But, now you’ve a complete shift over to another art field; where you’re having tremendous success as well. I mean, some people never have a successful career in any sort of art field and now you’re getting to have it twice. So there has to be something about how you approach things or how you show up or how you take certain opportunities. Do you think it has to do with your attitude, about how you approach your art form?
LORI: Yeah I definitely think – I mean the thing that I feel from my own personal, I think you just have to do it. If you want to paint, you’ve got to paint all the time - every day, as much as you can. And I think that’s with anything. You know I used to feel like with actors that I’ve worked with, if you want to be an actor you’ve got to act. You have to get out there, whether you’re in an acting class or whatever you’re going to do. Because, people it’s easy to kind of go, "Yeah I want to do that!" But it’s kind of vague. The best way to get better is just to keep doing it, doing it, doing it. It’s not always easy, it wasn’t easy at first because I didn’t really have the money for supplies, and I still don’t have tons of money. But every time I sell something, I go right back out and buy more canvas and more paint. And then I also paint over paintings!
LORI: Shhh! Don't tell anybody.
AMANDA: No, no! You have to make use of those bloopers that maybe didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted. "What was my mood that week?"
LORI: I can't afford a new canvas so which one is going to bite the dust here? But I really do, I think, even though I was scared, once I figured that I wanted to do the painting, I thought I have done this before, I can do it again. I don’t know what I am going to do, I don't know who to talk to, I just knew I had the bug and I was going to do it. It was like I said, hard for some people that I knew to understand that - but I knew it. I just thought you have to just kind of go with it. I think when it comes to other work, and I am probably lazy. But, when it comes to what I love to do, forget about it.
AMANDA: Just flows right out. It becomes a priority.
LORI: My neighbor’s are like, "My Gosh!" Because you know it’s just constant, constant, constant – I’m always making a new painting. And even the gallery is like, "You bring us more paintings than we want! You bring in more than people do." I’m like, ‘Really! I thought that’s what you do.’
But I just can't stop. I hope that they’re all good ones. But, it’s something that’s just inside of you. I think if you have that inside of you, it’s in you. It’s just finding the right thing. I know something else related to that too is that, because even before I was a photographer, I rode horses. I started late at 19, but I ended up through a series of things that happened, I was very fortunate to end up having my dream horse and I got to ride on the circuit out here and do everything. I didn't know how that was ever going to happen but it ended up happening in my life. When I left that, I didn’t know what I was going to do. Then I took up photography. But even when I did photography, I thought, ‘You know you did it with the horses, you didn't know how you were going to do it, and you can do it with this one.’ So, in those days in photography you had to actually go to school and learn how to use the camera.
LORI: Because it was black and white film and everything and now with digital, everything is a lot easier. But, I studied photography at Santa Monica College and got the basics. And then I couldn't wait to get out and start just shooting on my own. I think whatever it is, I’m feeling good enough now where I am like, Yes! I made the right choice. This is paying off. I knew I could do it!
AMANDA: Those successes along the way are definitely validation and it’s climbing and you have to like look when the validation comes and you are like, "Check that one off the box! Like okay, we made it through another week and I am this much farther along and I feel great!"
LORI: Yeah. And it’s good to let people know if you accomplish one thing, share it and let people know what you are doing, because, sometimes I don't know whether people are paying attention to what I’m doing or not. But you don’t know who is and one thing leads to another. You know and then something like this happens!
AMANDA: Yeah! Absolutely! You look it like, you know when you’re having openness to different kind of opportunities and you never know where something like being a part of StudioVox is going to take you.
LORI: Exactly! I mean it’s great to think that you could list your work there. I have tried places like Etsy and it didn't really work for me because that’s not really the way that I’m applying myself. But something like StudioVox is good, especially because people are actually looking at your profile. And you have to sometimes maybe be aggressive and let people know that it exists. But, you have to get yourself out there. If you think, well even if you’re not sure if you are ready, you have to do it at some point anyway.
AMANDA: You have to go for it. If you had, before we wrap up, one last best tip for success for a new artist, what would that be?
LORI: Oh gosh! One thing I like to do is, I like to follow some of the other artists that I admire. Artists that are right now, that are making work. Personally to me work that sells is one of my goals. So, I have a few that I follow and it inspires me. And I think some of them may have different education or whatever, but that and just doing it, just doing it and doing it. If you love it, it’s just so rewarding. I am so thrilled for this opportunity that I got to have through StudioVox and getting to work with Sundance. That is just super cool! Sundance! It’s awesome!
AMANDA: It is. Congratulations. Thank you.
LORI: I hope that I could inspire somebody to get on it.
AMANDA: For all of our listeners out there, now would be the time to buy a Lori Dorn painting! Because it's only going to go up in value!
LORI: Yeah! That's good idea.
AMANDA: Alright! Thank you so much Laurie. I really appreciate it.
LORI: Thank you!
AMANDA: Congratulation on your show at Sundance Cinemas Gallery running now through November and for sharing your story. And thanks to StudioVox, The Creative Network for getting Lori and Sundance together. That's really awesome too. If you’re interested in submitting your work for consideration, you can do that on StudioVox.com and you can message me on the site to let me know or you can message me on Facebook or Twitter and I will kind of help you figure out what to do if you want to go that route. You can look and see Lori’s work at Sundance Sunset Cinemas here in Hollywood. You can also check out her work on StudioVox and at loridorn.com.
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