Creativity Coach - Artist Desiree East

You want to THRIVE and live in the PRESENT MOMENT. You want to CREATE THE REALITY YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED through CREATIVE LIFESTYLE HABITS.You want to tap into that hidden, CREATIVE POTENTIAL that is ready to be UNLEASHED to the world. When your inner voice, your intuitive heart --- YOUR creative genius --- is nourished and pampered, you know you can create profound changes in your LIFE that is the art.

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creatively Fit Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

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chasing the bad spirits away...balinese style

following the parade. photo by desiree east How I Brought in the Balinese New Year: Part Two

Thursday, March 22nd: the eve before NYEPI 2012

After a day at the beach, we went home to get some food in our stomachs before the evening's festivities. Tonight, our goal was to see the ogoh-ogoh parade. Time to make some loud noise and chase those bad spirits away!

I whipped up some saimin. It's been our staple food, at least at home. I threw in scrambled eggs, green onions and crushed mint leaves to fancy it up. It was a quick meal, as we wanted to head out before sunset.

We had no idea what we were doing, or where to go. We just went.

My little red pay-as-you-go cellular beeped, and I checked the text message. "Hi Des, where do you want to meet?"

"I don't know, where is a good place?"

"We are driving right now...we'll let you know if we find something."

Finally, after a series of mini-texts, back and forth, a phone call comes through. "I see a huge group of people standing in line at Hardy's. I don't know why there are standing in line. But something is going on..."

moped frenzy by desiree east

So, we headed down toward Hardy's, a local market, where our friends decided to park it. (Everything in Bali is kind of word-of-mouth. No fliers, nothing online, you just have to ask around if you need any information. About anything - no really - anything.)

On our way down, we saw a large group of people dressed in Hindu attire - well, actually, half temple attire and half street clothes - and a giant purple ogoh-ogoh statue with multiple arms extending in the air.

"Oh, look...ogoh-ogoh! Stop here! Thanks, Babe." I'm such a pleasant passenger-seat driver. My husband loves it.

We found a perfect little spot to park, right behind the group. Talk about timing. They were getting ready - or actually, they were all sitting, relaxing on the ground. Traffic was still going by, but slowing down, while passerbys took quick snapshots of the statue.

ogoh ogoh with white hair. photo by desiree east

We decided to park and wait till the group decided to leave. They had to have been going somewhere, and we figured if they head down the road, they'd eventually end up at Hardy's.

So we followed them. It was pretty cool. Exciting. We have it on video. We walked down the hill, toward the bypass, following the drumming, the music, the ogoh-ogoh. Meanwhile, a plethora of mopeds and cars were still attempting to through, going the opposite direction as the parade.

It was kind of nuts, but fun and exhilarating at the same time. We came to the conclusion that they don't really close off the streets for parades. Ummmmm...kay.

As we marched behind the ogoh-ogoh, along with the mopeds and the cars, we approached one of the main traffic lights. Our village's ogoh-ogoh started to merge with the main parade on the bypass. "Look, more ogoh-ogohs!" I felt like a little kid at a Disneyland parade. Except it was different. Waaaaay different.

The group from our village turned right, and we turned left, fighting our way through a river of people and idling mopeds, to head in the opposite direction toward Hardy's. It was like swimming upstream, except instead of getting water up your nose, we were sucking in exhaust fumes.

dodging mopeds by desiree east

We finally met up with our friends at Hardy's parking lot. Yay, we made it! Their car was smoking for some reason. Go figure. Maybe it was the freon. They just got their air conditioning fixed. Oh well. Let's walk! Downstream we go...

So we walked  alongside the parade, walked through mad traffic, and followed the ogoh-ogoh madness, colorful, ginormous, statues flying high above us. We headed toward the end of the bypass in Nusa Dua - walked about a good mile, or so it seemed.

this one I like to call, 'the flying drunk one' by desiree east

At one point, I started walking through a group of people, oblivious to the fact that they were all wearing the same color T-shirts. I suddenly realized there was a giant ogoh-ogoh coming my way. Oops! The parade had suddenly come back toward our direction, and I was walking right through a group of parade people."What the...???"

You should have seen my face. I was so confused. Pure comedy.

See, this is why we need traffic control, people. You know, like traffic cones, and officers in reflective vests. Not in Bali, though. But it's okay, I kinda liked it. The chaos.

As Brendon protected me with one arm, I got pushed (gently) into some bushes in the median, while the rest of the crowd - families, kids, tourists - followed suit. Here they come...loud whistles, drums, cymbals, torches, music...and a gigantic ogoh-ogoh, flying above us. "Wait a minute, didn't I see that one already?" Oh yeah, they magically made a U-turn somewhere. That's right.

I learned later, that while carrying the ogoh-ogoh statues, they purposely stop at intersections and u-turns, and rotate the statues around in circles in order to confuse the bad spirits...??? Oh, okaaaay. Now it all made sense...

After getting our fill of seeing the brightly colored, impressively built statues, we headed back, like a herd of cows. It was a long sweaty walk back to Hardy's. The temperature doesn't drop much here in the evenings, either.

We all decided it would be a good idea to hop in one car and grab a cold beer and a grab a bite to eat. But we ended up in traffic, unknowingly getting stuck behind another ogoh-ogoh parade from another village. And then another one. To top it off, all of the warungs (small side-of -the-road eateries where you can eat local food) were pretty much shut down. After a good  45 minutes of sitting in ogoh-ogoh traffic, we finally made it back to Nusa Dua.

Was it worth all the madness? Totally.

a family enjoying the parade by desiree east

red ogoh by desiree east

flames to chase the bad spirits away  by desiree east

bright colors by desiree east

 a lion-looking one by desiree east

How I brought in the Balinese New Year: Part One

daily surf check. bali. by desiree east bali surf and exposed reef by desiree east

Thursday, March 22nd: the day before NYEPI 2012

Today, like most days, we went to look at the surf. It was low tide. It was a gorgeous day, post rain, with bright, clear skies and fluffy white clouds scattered about. The air was still and the sun was beating down directly overhead. Buckets of sweat rolled off of my forehead from the 10-minute gander at the surf. I'm sure I lost a couple of pounds of water weight.

There was a fast, little, bowly left, about shoulder to head high, sweeping past the half-way-exposed reef. The boys decided they wanted to paddle out. Me? Well, I'm a chicken. Especially, when it comes to shallow, tide-is-still-dropping reef breaks. Thanks, but no thanks.

Even if I wanted to paddle out, I couldn't. My board was out of commission. It's in the ding-repair shop. The first day I pulled my board out of the board bag, I discovered little fragile bits of resin and a huge chunk of crumbled foam among layers of bubble wrap and duct tape. My eyes welled up in tears for about a good 5 seconds. And then, I was over it. I accepted the fact that after so many years of traveling with surfboards, I had finally become a victim of luggage-handler-brutality. I shrugged it off. I guess it comes with the territory. But, that's another story...

pathway to beach. bali. by desiree east

stairway entry. bali by desiree east

We followed a little path that led to down to the beach. A short staircase brought us to a sea cave, adorned with umbrellas, offerings, and the sweet smell of burning incense.

I could hear a woman's voice coming from behind a wall of old lava rock. She was talking to someone else, but I couldn't see them; all I could hear were soft, echoing voices.

After coming down the last step, we stepped  onto soft, white sand, and almost immediately had to crouch down and make our way under the lava rock.

The Indian Ocean greeted us on the other side. Aaaaaaah...time to cool off!

the indian ocean greets us. bali. photo by desiree east

sea caves to the left. bali. by desiree east

dreamy coastline to the right. bali. photo by desiree east

hindu offerings at stairway entry. photo by desiree east

While the boys were surfing, I found some shade under a small  cliff side. I enjoyed watching people come down to the beach to leave offerings throughout the afternoon.

When I first arrived, an elderly Balinese woman left an offering, or 'canang sari' under one of the small sea caves. She came up to me afterwards and said something in Indonesian - or Balinese (I'm not sure).

Always with a grin on my face, I replied, "Maaf, saya tidak mengerti...Saya...ummmm...saya bukan orang Indonesia."

(Translation: "Sorry, I no understand...I...ummmm...I am not a person of Indonesia.") Then, I flashed an even bigger smile, a little embarrassed in my attempt at Bahasa Indonesian.

Smiling back, she responded with something else. Surprisingly, I totally understood what she said.

Just kidding.

What really happened next is beyond me, but I kind of bowed, putting the palms of my hands together and said, "Ma kasih...Terima kasih."

I don't know why I did that. I just said, "Thanks...Thank You." It just came out, whether it made sense or not (probably, because that's all I knew how to say). I had absolutely no clue what she said to me...

She smiled back as she returned to the other sea cave that lead back to the trail.

balinese offering in a sea cave. photo by desiree east

offerings out to sea. bali. photo by desiree east

light thru sea cave. bali. photo by desiree east

The local people often mistake me for being Indonesian, usually saying, "Oh, you have Indonesian face." So, a local Balinese bartender taught me to say, "Sorry, I don't understand. I am not Indonesian." 

So far, it's helped, especially when locals approach us and immediately start having full-blown conversations in bahasa Indonesian with me (while completely ignoring Brendon). It's pretty hilarious.

Back to my story. After the woman left, I could see the offering she had left from where I was sitting, along with the incense stick that accompanied it. It was unlit. Then I thought to myself, "Hmmmmm...maybe she was asking me for a lighter...duuuh."

Perhaps I should start carrying a lighter or some matches with me, just for these instances. And for the fact that everyone here loves to smoke - the locals, the international tourists, everyone, it seems, has a stogie in their mouth, even if it's raining cats and dogs. But that, too, is another story...

seaweed harvester leaving offering at sea cave. bali. photo by desiree east

monkey prints. photo by desiree east

The Balinese leave offerings for the Hindu gods throughout the day, on a daily basis. You can see them everywhere: in front of homes, restaurants, hotels, and businesses; on sidewalks, along roadsides, in the middle of intersections, and in cars and mopeds; in the forests and on the beaches.

They leave offerings to the good spirits, so that those spirits will continue to provide prosperity, good fortune, and good health. They also leave offerings for the bad spirits to keep them satisfied and quiet, in hopes that those spirits will leave the people alone. Daily offerings are a way to thank the gods and to keep the relationships between human beings and spirits in harmony.

With Nyepi approaching, it was a busy day. As the afternoon went on, more people came to leave an offering of their own.

First, it was the woman who didn't have a lighter. Then another woman arrived, alongside her tiny boat over-flowing with seaweed. About 20 minutes later, an elderly man, dressed in temple attire, left another offering. After that, another elderly woman approached with a teenaged girl - the elderly woman dressed in traditional attire and the girl dressed in modern-day fashion. They, too, left an offering, except the girl - like all teenagers - stared out to sea, ignoring the whole offering thing, as if she was daydreaming about her friends and the evening's ogoh-ogoh festivities. Finally, before I left, a young man came to leave an offering.

I sat quietly on the beach, keeping my distance, and exchanged smiles as people came and went.

It was a beautiful thing.

two umbrellas and incense burning. photo by desiree east

balinese offerings on lava rock. photo by desiree east

random and untitled update #1

bali roads by desiree east Hello from Bali! My apologies for not updating sooner, but it has been somewhat of a whirlwind since our arrival. Brendon and I are finally settling into the groove of things.

The internet service is kind of spotty, so my blogging will be pretty random until I figure out some sort of routine for it, as it seems like we get the best connection at nighttime. Because of this, I'm not sure how I will go about updating my blog. So far, I've got two weeks worth of photos and random stories to go with them.

I'm not kidding when I say random, either (because that's just how it is here, no joke). In a nutshell, I've learned quickly, that the best way to adjust to the pace of the Balinese lifestyle is to just 'go with the flow', follow your instincts, accept the blessings as they come your way, and most important, laugh off any little frustrations that might test your patience.

Like the internet connection. (At this very moment, I am frantically typing at a million words per minute, hoping that I am not cut off whilst in the middle of uploading stuff). And I probably won't have time to edit my grammar and such, so cheers to that.

Someone hand me a bintang, please.

On that note, I will archive everything the best I can by dates. Feel free to to click on the calendar (on the right, in the side bar) to see what we've been up to. My success in uploading photos will also depend on how strong the internet connection is, so...we'll see how that goes, too.

Sooooooo...what have we been up to???

For now, I will start with how our day went today...the MELLOWEST day since we arrived. Pretty uneventful, but a nice change, because we have been going non-stop for the last two weeks, while our friend Mike was here. Unfortunately, we had to say good-bye to Mike yesterday. I'm pretty bummed. No more side-of-the-road robot dances.

good-bye beers at the airport. bali.

Today, we took it easy and settled into our new place. We walked around our neighborhood. No car. No driving. No traffic. We strolled around, took our time, and went really slooow. Although, it was very hot - kind of like walking in a giantic, outdoor sauna, or a very large, enclosed greenhouse, if you will - it was relaxing. Oh, except on the main street, where we were dodging buzzing little mopeds and the occasional construction work truck making its way over dusty potholes.

entry towards our street or 'jalan' by desiree east

country road and neighborhood dog by desiree east

We walked further to see if we could find laundry service. We found a little laundry place right around the corner. You can see quite a few of them along the streets of Bali. There are no laundry mats, just laundry services. You drop your clothes off. They wash and hang them to dry for you. You pay by the piece.

It's been raining in the evenings, and it's been very humid, so hopefully, we will get our clothes back somewhat fresh and dry. It could take one day, or two days, or maybe even three or four days. We'll see. That's been our mantra for the last two weeks, "We'll see..."

laundry time by desiree east

On the way back, we stopped by the Silly Snail Cafe. It's also a base office for the R.O.L.E. Foundation (Rivers Ocean Lakes Ecology Foundation).

A Balinese woman greeted us (shoots, I forgot her name), and we attempted to communicate back-and-forth between Indonesian-English and then English-Indonesian, by using the usual hand gestures, facial expressions, and head nods.

She asked if I had any children, then in turn, I asked her if she had any. I thought she said that she had 20 kids, as I repeated after her, "Duapuluh? Duapuluh?" I vainly attempted to count to twenty with my fingers, "Satu, dua, tiga..." 

Smiling, the Balinese woman kept on nodding her head, "Ya! Duahpuluh." 

(I thought to myself, 'how cute...she is so proud of her twenty children').

But, still very confused, I looked at her petite, little frame, and I asked one more time, "Duapuluh???"

After smiling, giggling, and gesturing through a good two to three minute conversation of charades, I finally figured out that she had only one child who is twenty years old, "Oooooh, okaaaay..."

It was pretty comical. While I thought she had twenty kids, she was probably thinking, "Wow, this girl can count to twenty really well..." I think I need to hire an Indonesian tutor.

The R.O.L.E. Foundation provides education to local women and children, and offering programs that cover areas such as:

  • Women’s Literacy and Vocational Skills
  • Children’s Environmental Awareness
  • Eco-Friendly Business Start Up
  • Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Projects

This looks like something I'd love to be involved with. If we end up staying in Nusa Dua, and if I have more time, I would love to learn more about teaching/volunteering here...but who knows, "We'll see..."

the silly snail cafe and ROLE Foundation. nusa dua, bali. photo by desiree east

medicinal plants by desiree east

i heart orchids by desiree east

Q&A with Choreographer Devin Fulton of ZINGDEED: a dance film


ZINGDEED: A Dance Film featuring The Pin-Down Girls

Produced by Devin Fulton & Jamila Glass

Director & Writer: Jamila Glass

Choreographer & Creative Director: Devin Fulton

Soundtrack: AWOLNATION - "Sail" & "Burn It Down" (InnerPartySystem Remix)

Premiered at the Sweat Spot in Los Angeles, CA on January 14, 2012

SYNOPSIS: The Palashakopians are the native, estrogen-powered people of ZINGDEED, a mystical land of otherworldly deer-like super beings. Their world is dramatically altered when their leader sends the pack to a planet called Earth to rescue a lost soul.

zingdeed photo by James Scolari

The Palashakopians: Charlene Bittinger, Genevieve Carson, Devin Fulton, Jamila Glass, Chereese Mackey, Amanda Meyer, Jaime Randall

The Earthling: Estefano Suazo


Featured Artist: Choreographer & Creative Director, Devin Fulton

Q&A by Desiree East

One word: Phenomenal

That is what comes to mind while watching Zingdeed.

And you might say that I am a teenie-bit biased solely because I personally know the mind-blowing talented Choreographer, Devin Fulton. (Or, perhaps it's because I became a fan of Awolnation's music after I had learned that my brother, Kalae Gam, worked as an Art Director for Awol's production of  'It's Not Your Fault' and 'Sail'...)

So yes, I am proud of my family and friends. I am always inspired by Influencers in society, and yes, even though I am a little biased toward (absolutely loving) the work of the people closest to me, here's the reality: the world is filled with pure, creative geniuses.  And their creative intelligence is quite contagious. The dance film, Zingdeed is proof of that. It is evident in everything - from how the dancers interpret the storyline through their movement and emotions to how the allure of post-modern costumes fit the mood of the narrative.

They say if you share your love and talents with the world, then good karma will come back to you ten-fold. Well, Devin has been a huge influence in my (dancing) life for several years, and I feel very grateful and humbled to have the opportunity of being showered with her ingenious bits of choreography in the studio.  I am pretty sure she has shared the same drive and inspiration with other dance students, as well as company members at LACDC (Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company) and in her own company, The Pin-Down Girls. Devin has been blessed with a successful career as a professional dancer and choreographer for many years, and her generous spirit and passion for dance is contagious. And now, after partnering with talented dancer and filmmaker, Jamila Glass of The Cutting Room, it will only open the door to bigger, spectacular opportunities for these truly gifted artists...

Zingdeed. Dancer Devin Fulton. photo by Abby Darby

Desiree East: What was your inspiration for Zingdeed and how did you come up with the concept?

Devin Fulton: The choreography from ZINGDEED was something I originally created for a live fashion show called Urban Odyssey. One of my company members in the Pin-Down Girls, Jamila Glass was part of the cast, and when we exited stage that night she said, "I think we should turn this piece into a dance film, whadya say?" She is a USC film school graduate and an incredible talent, and I trusted her whole heartedly with my work and my vision. I simply answered, "Lets do it" and we immediately started the pre-production process. We wanted this to be more than just shooting dance for the sake of shooting dance, but with a storyline and concept. We locked ourselves in my house for 4 days, until we had a cohesive idea. She wrote the treatment and we sent it off to our dream team. We got all yes replies and were shooting two weeks later. 

DE: From Costumes to Photography, Choreography to Production, and everything in between, it sounds like you had an amazing group of artists to collaborate it safe to say you are hooked on the process of combining Dance Performance with Filmmaking?

DF: Jamila and I are still completely overwhelmed by the 42 person cast and crew who donated their time and skills to make this thing come together in the incredible way that it did. This was so humbling and inspiring and we are absolutely thrilled about keeping the ball rolling! There is not enough dance film making happening in the U.S. and we are excited about being pioneers, if you will, in getting people thinking and producing more in this way. We have started pre-production for the next project, and have about 3 more concepts in mind to follow. It is indeed fair to say, that we are totally hooked :-)

DE: As a professional dancer/performing artist, what do you think is the biggest challenge in the industry? 

Dancer and Choreographer Devin Fulton. photo by James Scolari

DF: I think that there are two main challenges in pursuing dance as a career. 1) Figuring out a way to pay your bills and survive. 2) Being respected in the same way that artists in other forums are. These two things go hand in hand really. I will fight to my death about dance being by far the hardest art form to go after. I am still trying to figure out why we are so under appreciated and how to help in making changes in the right direction. 

DE: As a choreographer, what is your creative process like? How do you get motivated and where do you draw your inspiration?

DF: My inspiration first and for most, comes from the 9 insanely talented dancers in my company. I work with the most unique and versatile women, which makes it so easy to create dances and shows that have many layers, and different tonality that is constantly changing and evolving. I believe in hiring dancers who can do a whole lot of everything, which keeps it fun for me because I am then able to apply all of my background and training, and also keep trying new things and pushing in new directions. When doing these things, I believe as an Artistic-Director that you must create a safe environment for your dancers. Also, a balance between a fun and productive work space. Second to all that, music of course is a huge part of where my motivation comes from.

DE: Do you have any advice for young, aspiring dancers for overcoming any of the challenges they may face?

DF: No matter what path you pursue in your life, there will always be challenges that come along with it. It is so important to do and go after what YOU love, not your mother, father, or Sally Joe down the street. I am scared to death every time I try something new. That is never a valid reason not to try it out though. In the brilliant words of those Nike ads..."Just Do It!" Trying not to give a shit what others think about you is a perfectly normal battle that I think most people face. I am still learning how to not give a shit, and Just Do it. The result in doing so, is usually incredibly fulfilling. 

ZINGDEED. photo by James Scolari

Producers: Devin Fulton & Jamila Glass Director & Writer: Jamila Glass Choreographer & Creative Director: Devin Fulton

The Palashakopians: Charlene Bittinger, Genevieve Carson, Devin Fulton, Jamila Glass, Chereese Mackey, Amanda Meyer, Jaime Randall

The Earthling: Estefano Suazo

Music: AWOLNATION - "Sail" & "Burn It Down" (InnerPartySystem Remix) **We own the rights to the choreography, not the music. This falls under "Fair Use" as no revenue is being generated from this film. Purely for entertainment.

Associate Producer: Jessica Bodner Cinematographers: Brad Haskell & Ben Clarke Costume Designer: Kellsy Mackilligan Headdress & Harness Designer: Kittinhawk Sculptor & Boot Designer: Jessica Bodner Set Designer: Kathi Leineke 1st ADs - Connor Casavan & Tiffany Sweat 2nd AD - Estefano Suazo Editor - Jamila Glass Camera Operators: John Kennedy & Raymond Demeritt Makeup & Hair - Michael Kelley Salon Sound - Taylor Quinn Set Wardrobe - Sara Duarte Set Photography - Abby Darby & James Scolari Catering - Duke Gervais

"Is it true that you only become famous after you die???"

[youtube] One of my 10-year-old art students recently asked a question in class the other day, "Is it true that you only become famous after you die???"

To be quite honest, I wasn't quite sure how to answer that question. As I was trying to think of a sincere answer, my thoughts were interrupted by another young student who innocently added, "Yeah...I heard that you're only famous if your artwork is really, really old..."

(Ahem)...where in the world do kids learn these things???

The idea that artists are 'ahead of their time' and not fully recognized or appreciated for their art during their era, until much later after their death --- for instance, 'posthumously' famous artists such as, Vincent Van Gogh and Emily Dickinson --- is one that is widely accepted.

(However, this idea is debatable - and a whole-nother story - because the definition of fame and success have very different meanings from one artist to another. Not all artists create art for the sake of being famous. Also, many great artists' talents have been and are recognized and appreciated while still alive...just like my young, beautiful, and wonderfully talented art students!)

This brings us to my latest obsession, the late (posthumously famous) photographer, VIVIAN MAIER (February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009). As we approach the 2nd anniversary of her passing, it is just absolutely astonishing how her images have almost instantly revealed a culture from the past - more like a time machine, if you will - and one that the world will learn from in the days, months, and years to come.

(Alright, so let me back up)...I don't know if any of you have been following the story of Vivian Marier, but the more it unfolds, the more intrigued I am.

FIRST, let's talk about photography (I'm kind of working backwards, here, so please bear with me). The fascinating thing about capturing images, is that you get a glimpse of what the person behind the lens is viewing. It's how they interpret the world as they see it.

Now, I'm not talking about specific assignments that professional photographers are hired for, and I'm not talking about a project that was assigned to you as homework in Beginning Photography 101. I'm talking about raw, candid shots. Shooting from the hip. Street photography. Urban photography. Whatever you want to call it.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT AN IMAGE, ask yourself:

What was it that motivated the photographer behind the lens to take that shot?

Is there a compelling story on the other side of the lens?

Perhaps the lighting had casted the perfect hue on the subject...

Or maybe the objects presented a strong composition in relation to each other...

It might have simply been the quirky expression on a child's face or the crow's feet extending from the sparkling eyes of an eldery person.

"Okay, so what's your point?" you ask?

Most artists have an opportunity to express what their intent is. Reading an Artist's Statement along with their work is the norm. It invites the viewers into their world in a compelling way, explaining the style of their work, or perhaps, the intent or message of the series of artwork that they are featuring.

Then we have the late Vivian Maier. Not a world-renowned artist (at least not, yet). Just a nanny. No artist statement. No nothing.

Except for the astounding images, of course. Oh, and the mystery audio tapes and documentaries captured on endless reels of film.

No one knew who Ms. Maier was until the random bulk of prints, negatives, and undeveloped rolls of film was acquired at an antique auction by historian, John Maloof, in 2007.

Since then, the story of her mysterious past have been unraveling before our eyes. Hundreds of thousands (literally) of negatives and rolls of film have been carefully dodged and burned onto photo paper. As each print is currently being rustled through, we are slowly starting to learn about this amazingly gifted artist.

As an educator and art lover, I am very excited and very thankful that John Maloof and Jeff Goldstein and their amazing network of support have decided to share this process of this project with the rest of the world. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU...

This is ART HISTORY, people. It is unfolding in front of our eyes, and WE are part of it. This is the moment to appreciate the unveiling of a great artist --- the Emily Dickinson and Vincent van Gogh of photography, the hidden world of VIVIAN MAIER.




To learn more about this fascinating project, please visit the official site of Vivian Maier.

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The STILL POINT a Taki Bibelas film

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

The STILL POINT - Official Trailer

A film by Taki Bibelas

Produced by Pixi Fish Films

santa barbara international film festival

WORLD PREMIERE: Metro 4 Theatre, Tuesday, February 1st at 5pm.

2nd SCREENING: Metro 4 Theatre, Wednesday, February 2nd at 10am.

(Please note the schedule is subject to change)

SYNOPSIS: A T.S. Eliot Poem inspires a film about water and the ocean that is told by worlds legendary pioneer surfers.

‘At the still point of the turning world .... Where past and future are gathered .... Neither movement from nor towards .... Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.’

The images from these words bring us to a place where there is everything and nothing, an image found in eastern thought and a concept found in quantum physics. Surf is a metaphor.

We hear about all life being made of waves, from the waves on our planet to the waves of light. Wave and Particle theory deals with mater on a sub atomic level, but being in the ocean is the only place we can tangibly feel a wave like motion. Is that why it feels good in the water?

Does time change in the ocean, can one become water, what is mana, why does it feel good to jump in the ocean, is all life made of waves. Does it offer a rite of passage? Is all life made of waves? How does science fit in? Where is the art form, what is the dance? Is the ocean alive, does it have a consciousness? If we believed it, we might be more respectful of it. The curl of the wave is a Fibonacci spiral, the golden ratio, a mathematical form found everywhere in nature from the shape of the galaxy, to patterns in plants, to the double-helix spiral of our own DNA.

What we learn from the ocean must surely apply to all of nature: plants, animals, people. Being in tune with life, understanding the concept of nothingness, having respect having respect for everything, will in the end lead us down the path of seeing all things in a simpler way. A film about waves, surf and the connection of all things.

Cast: Simon Anderson, Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Peter Cole, Mark Cunningham, Jeff Divine, Mike Doyle, George Downing, Skip Frye, Leroy Grannis, Ricky Grigg, Glenn Henning, Kimo Hollinger, Joey Cabell, Buffalo Keaulana, Brian Keaulana, Tom Morey, Mickey Munoz, Dorian (Doc) Paskowitz, Claudia Parmenter, Michael Peterson, Steve Pezman, Jericho Popler, Tom Stone, Paul Strauch, Jock Sutherland, Tom Wegener.

................................................................................................................................................. Paris, France - A few months before Miki Dora passed away he was at a dinner at the Madrid Hotel in Guéthary, France with Stacy Peralta and Agi Orsi to discus a follow up film to their movie Dog Town and Z boys to be based on Miki's life. Photographer and film maker, Taki Bibelas, was at that dinner, the next day he told Miki that if he ever made a film about surfing there would be almost no surfing in it, you would just have to feel it. It is touching and fitting that Miki's father, Mikos, agreed to narrate the film.

Taki wanted to understand how he or anybody else could be so attracted to the ocean's waves. The Still Point is a documentary about the ocean and waves as seen through the eyes and thoughts of some of the worlds most legendary water-men.

a still point a film by taki bibelas


WAY OF THE OCEAN: a film by Matt Kleiner

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

WAY OF THE OCEAN - Official Trailer

Directed by Matt Kleiner

Produced by Circulate Motion Pictures

santa barbara international film festival

WORLD PREMIERE: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Saturday, January 29th at 1pm.

2nd SCREENING: Metro 4 Theatre, Monday, January 31st at 1pm.

SYNOPSIS: "Way of the Ocean: Australia, SYNOPSIS: explores the connection between man and sea through a visual feast of poetic motion. The world’s largest island provides a breathtaking backdrop to some of the best surfing found on the planet. Since it was first introduced in the early 1900′s, surfing in Australia has become a mainstream pursuit and for this country devoted to the ocean lifestyle, it is more than a way of life. From the tropical paradise of the Great Barrier Reef down through the frigid Southern Ocean and up to the arid desert of the west, the film captures an intimate portrait of this unique land. Vibrant super 16mm and High Definition cameras bring to life the stunning visuals, set to a heart thumping original score. Welcome to the odyssey of your life. Welcome to Australia."

STARRING: Asher Pacey, Josh Kerr, Taj Burrow, Adam Robertson, Jordy Smith, Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson, and Kelly Slater


Words of Wisdom by filmmaker Matt Kleiner

Q&A by Desiree East

We are surrounded by a growing number of aspiring and talented artists, especially here in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties with the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and Brooks Institute of Film in Ventura. I've seen a handful  of student-turned-professionals from these schools, whether it be through word of mouth, coming across their portfolios online, or even through friends and family (like my brother, Art Director, Kalae Gam and his crew of colleagues).

There are also many blooming self-taught artists in the area, and I've seen first hand, the hard work and long hours that these young artists dedicate themselves to. Whether it's blindly scouting a location for a shoot, designing and building a set with a five-hundred dollar budget, or losing faith or motivation in between projects, being an artist in the photography or film industry takes patience and diligence, and you definitely have to pay your dues while building a growing what do you do?

As an educator (and a life-time learner), I constantly look up to other professionals for creative insight and solid advice, and if given an opportunity, I will ask them questions about what 'drives' them...what makes them tick? How do they come up with solutions to problems? Where do they look when they need more inspiration or motivation?

Because no matter what field of work you are in or what type of business you are running, you can always learn from those who are successful. And if you surround yourself with successful people, then you will be successful. AND then, when the time comes, and the opportunity presents itself, you can become a mentor to others (in direct and indirect ways) and have a profound and positive effect on someone who needed that extra push.

So, although these might be a similar set of questions (my favorite ones to ask, can you tell?), the answers are all very valuable, because the people and mentors that we look up to always have a different answer from a different perspective, and if you ask the right questions, they may have a few words of advice that we can all learn from.

Without further ado, here is some valuable insight and encouraging words from surfer and film director Matt Kleiner of Circulate Motion Pictures. (Oh, and by the way, don't forget to check out their blog at Way of the Ocean ... the photography is insane, and Art Director, Ryan Kleiner, is working on a hard cover book which will consist of the photography and art behind the movie).

DE: There are a growing number of young film students (and self-taught filmmakers, for that matter) breaking into the indie film scene. As an independent filmmaker, what advice would you give to the next generation of filmmakers?

MK: It's pretty exciting right now with new technology making it more affordable for emerging film makers. There are a lot of really creative people that finally have the tools necessary to share their vision. One of the main things I would say as advice to up and coming film makers is to be patient and enjoy the film making process. If you really put your heart into it and spend the time to do it right, people will notice your work and things will happen naturally. Dont ever let budget restrictions stand in the way of your goal, get creative and if there is a will, there is a way.

DE: Budget, Budget, Budget...If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself regarding the challenges of working on a limited budget?

MK: Well I wouldn't have to go in a time machine to discuss the challenges of working with a limited budget. Ha. I think no matter what, you are always going to be working with less than you would like to have and for me, I like the challenge of having to make things work. It forces me to get creative and find ways to do things I wouldn't normally have thought of. It gives you a great sense of satisfaction to create the illusion of a giant budget and in the long run it makes turning an actual profit into a much closer reality.

If I had to give one word of advice to myself when I was starting out , it would be not to get discouraged and be ready to be extremely resourceful.

DE: As artists, we tend to fall 'in and out' of creative mode, kind of like writer's block. When you feel like you have a creative block, what do you usually do to get motivated? What is your biggest source of inspiration?

MK: For me, I find that taking breaks is really important. Almost as if to let the creative part of the brain refill and refresh. Traveling always inspires me. No matter how much of a creative slump I seem to be in, once there is a change of pace and new scenery everything seems to flow.  Surfing has been a huge part of my life and has taken me to some amazing places and it always seems to help keep my mind on the creative side. It keeps your imagination going and there is always somewhere new to discover whether in or out of the water.

way of the ocean

A DEEPER SHADE of BLUE: a film by Jack Mccoy


A DEEPER SHADE of BLUE - Official Trailer

a film by Jack McCoy

santa barbara international film festival. click for more info.

Arlington Theatre

Tuesday, February 1st at 8:00pm

(Please note the schedule is subject to change)

SYNOPSIS: Master surf filmmaker, Jack McCoy ventures into a new realm with his latest feature, A Deeper Shade of Blue. This is not a surf movie, it's a film about surfing's deepest roots: in the subconscious; in ancient lore; in the craft of surfboard building; in man's perpetual quest for a joyful relationship with the natural world.

"In eleven interwoven chapters, today's leading surfers are linked to those who came before, for a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a surfer and the soulful underlying power of modern surf culture. This is a big picture of a memorable story, beautifully told. It is a film about feeling good to be alive...and it will make you feel good." Aloha ~ Jack


Words of Wisdom by filmmaker Jack McCoy

Q&A by Desiree East

Legendary surf photographer/filmmaker, Jack McCoy, has twenty-plus films under his belt, including surf classic "Tubular Swells" (1977, co-directed with Dick Hoole). The film featured the likes of Gerry Lopez, Rabbit Bartholomew, Sean and Michael Tomson, Peter McGabe and more, exploring surf in Australia and Hawaii and untouched waves in Indonesia.

My husband and I - I'm sure, like many other surfers - have a stack of Jack McCoy's films stashed in our library, that includes Bunyip Dreaming, The Green Iguana, Occy the Occumentary (...well, pretty much anything with Mark Occhilupo, as my husband is a huge fan - and a goofy foot, for that matter) and Blue Horizon, featuring the late Andy Irons.

McCoy's latest film, A Deeper Shade of Blue, encompasses good company from surfers that we have all loved and been inspired by, including: shapers, Rabbit Kekai, Gerry Lopez, David Nuuhiwa, Joe Quigg, Barry Kanaiapuni, Phil Edwards, the Marshall Brothers, and Miki Dora; Australian legends, George Greenough, Wayne Lynch, and Michael Peterson; some of modern's surfing's best talent, Jamie O'Brien, Manoa Drollet, Jordy Smith, and 10 times world champ Kelly Slater; and influential women such as Hawaii's beloved Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn , television's legendary Gidget, and today's current champ, Stephanie Gilmore.

I feel very fortunate to ask Jack if he had a moment to share some sage advice with us in regards to his long career as a cinematographer, and here is what he had to say. (And thanks again, Jack, a million times over, for your never-ending generosity and embodiment of the Aloha Spirit. I know that we, as people - filmmakers or not - can learn something valuable from the experiences you share).

DE: There have been a growing number of aspiring and talented film students...what advice would you give to the next generation of up and coming filmmakers?

JM: Nothing comes easy. It's all about commitment, hard work, and passion. Set yourself some goals and challenges at the start of each production, usually something you really want to understand or learn. That way, at the end of each production, you will have grown as a filmmaker. I also believe you get a better education by going out and doing it, learn along the way...we used to call it the school of hard knocks.

Also, Jim Freeman, the legendary partner of Greg MacGillivray told me before he passed away, that I should make the people around me, the people you bought your film from, the lab you worked with, the people who ran the editing facilities, thru to all of the people you met when you distributed your films, right down to the guy who you bought your lunch from, to make them feel like they are a part of your production and include them in as much of the experience as possible with you. Take them on the journey and of course the credits section in your film doesn't cost you anything and do your best to try and not forget anyone. They were the ones who are the pieces of the puzzle that make the whole. Then, when you go make your next film, people will know you and put that extra bit of effort in to make your next film even better. Jim taught me that before I even picked up a camera and I'm still working with the people that are still around 35 years later.

Jim would sleep at CFI (the big Hollywood Lab where you'd process, work print, and create your release prints) during his entire production of lab work and got to know everyone from the prez to the janitor, and when I went there years later to make my own film, when they knew I was making something on surfing, everyone there would ask me if I knew Jim and I was always proud to tell them he and Greg got me going and were my inspiration and friends.

DE: Travel, Travel, Travel...If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what is one piece of travel advice you would give yourself regarding the challenges of traveling and working with your gear?

JM: Hummmmm  The challenge for me in 1975 when I started to make my films was that my 16mm film and 35mm camera gear was so big and heavy and so much of it. We were making our first films and also publishing a surfing magazine that we'd write and shoot stills for, as well as other magazines around the world.  You could say we had a few balls in the air at one time.

I carried with me two 16mm Bolex camera bodies, an Angeneaux 12-120mm Zoom lens, a 230, 385, 500mm Century lenses, and metal lens brace.  About 4/5ths fit in one big Pelican Case.  The 2nd Bolex, wrapped into a T-shirt, a Kernn 10mm, 25mm and 75mm, 17-85mm lenses fit in a little carboard box, wrapped in a T-shirt, assorted pieces and parts, all wrapped in T-shirts fit in another big Pelican.  This Pelican also held two Nikon 35mm camera bodies with motor drives, one for Color slides and the other for B & W, in T-shirts.

(As a note, after a big days of shooting, I would not go to sleep until every bit of gear was wiped down, lens spit cleaned and locked and loaded for then next day so I could wake up and immediately start shooting).

For a tripod, I had a big heavy Miller fluid head, with big, heavy wooden legs that fit in a canvas Army surplus bag, that was wrapped up in clothes and wetsuits. A large backpack for 35mm lenses and tons of 16mm film stock and 35mm Kodak slide film. Back in the day you had security screenings at gates that were X-Ray machines that could zap your stock and turn it into a foggy mush if it went through. That was always hand carried. I also hand carried a 650mm Century telephoto still photo lens in a secure tube with shoulder strap, and a large plexi glass waterhousing for the Bolex that fit in a canvas custom made bage with rubber padding.

I guess you could call me the human pack mule when I'd turn up at the ticket counter. It always gave me a stomach ache when approaching the lady in uniform as to what her reaction would be. My partner - who had just as much gear as me - and I tried to put on my "meekish sheepish dumb American traveling film maker" look and then wait for the reaction. Most of the time we'd pull it off, a few times we were sent into major debt to cover the overweight we'd get slugged for. Even though I travel today with about 1/3 less gear, I still have to go through the stomach aches at check in since the weight limits are about 1/4 of what they used to be.

The one piece of advice I'd give myself then, and to some extent up and hire an assistant!

DE: As artists, we tend to fall 'in and out' of creative mode, kind of like writer's block. When you feel like you have a creative block, what do you usually do to get motivated...what is your biggest source of inspiration?

Nature. Tom Blake had a motto,  "Nature=God".   Everywhere I look, the land, the sea and the sky, I see pictures and movies that bubble the juices.  The challenge is 'how do I tell the story' and for me, the hardest part is starting.  Once you start to lay the images, music and words down on your timeline, the rest follows.  You can always go back and change it if it's not working later, but for me, getting started really gets  the ball rolling.  The other source of inspiration is to not make the same film twice. Once you've made that sort of film, move onto a new challenge, keep the faith and hang on for one crazy ride.

A Deeper Shade of Blue was inspired by Blue Horizon. My objective was to show where surfing was at the turn of the century. For this film, I wanted to go deeper, pardon the pun, and share what I lived as a kid growing up in Hawaii. About surfing roots, about being a waterman, how surfboards evolved, about the loving and giving creed of Aloha. As I've gotten older, I've really focused on living Aloha and I'm humbled to be able to share what I've lived with other through this film.

I keep rewinding in my mind's vision library the day I met the Duke, his giant hand, and his big smile as I finally had the nerve to look at him and into his eyes. I've had that moment with a lot of my indigenous  brothers all over the world.

a deeper shade of blue a film by jack mccoyMy good friends, Derek Hynd and Garth Murphy have the same spirit within them and this film has kept us all super excited and stoked through all the ups and downs of this almost 5 year effort. Some days we'd discover something and jump and go nuts and tell each other how much we enjoy what we are doing. Even though a lot of you will know the story of ADSOB, there are millions of surfers out there that don't and everyone comes away saying they were entertained and had learned something.

A friend told me early that if you and get just one person to take away some sort of feeling from watching your film, then you've been successful. I really feel blessed having made 25 films, each one a period of time that I return to when I watch them years later. For those who have seen them and taken something from them, I thank you for watching and sharing a part of my life, I'm very grateful and humbled. Aloha to you.


transformational creativity coach desiree east

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creativity Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

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