City Of Angels

Weds. 10/02 - Day 7

Munny and I took the blue line north to downtown LA and transferred to the silver line to get to Union Station, where Ryan and Daniel picked me (us) up.

We headed to San Antonio's winery to grab refreshments for the panel. It was my first time meeting Daniel. I like him - he is an opinionated and passionate person who calls himself "the most adorable art critic".

We set up the space...Ryan was nice enough to let us do the whole panel in his beautiful studio and gallery tucked into The Brewery Arts Complex. This is an industrial area, which seems to be populated by a wide variety of creatives. Just outside Ryan's space, a man was crouched down sketching the outline of a cartoon scene to be painted on a freshly primed vintage car.

I continue to be impressed and thankful that people have come together for the panels. I'm constantly thinking "Man, this is thrown together," but the discussions have been fun and relaxed. I really appreciate people's time and expertise.

The inside of the studio was colorful and full of Ryan's brilliant and controversial artwork. Most of his pieces make a bold statement about pop culture and our underlying desires or fears...the pieces glorify things we hate to love, and the mechanics of safety. The pieces are usually simple and design-y; his work is very modern. It speaks to my sensibilities. It does what art should, in my opinion, which is force you to think.

People trickled in... Ken, my friend (and host for the night), then Mary Bee a musician and marketing director for NARIP. It was a high-test group: An artist/gallery owner, art critic/gallery owner, marketer/facilitator, musician/marketer, film editor and myself DIY spokesperson/musician/author.

Everyone networked and got to know one another over delicious Purgatory Pizza, and wine which, by the way, was the sweetest wine I have tasted in all my days...almost a dessert wine!! It will make a great salad dressing or Marsala sauce...LOL!

The panel itself was fantastic...great discourse. We tackled the meaning of DIY across industries, the tools for the job, and the perils of getting too far afield in ones DIY tasks that core work gets buried.

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Mary has just released an app for Android to help promote her music, and successfully met her goal through the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. She employs a blend of mainstream industry tactics and DIY tools such as Mailchimp, social media and Livestream to deliver her product to fans. Mary sits in a unique spot. She, herself, is a musician and employs traditional business models like having a full production team, and leveraging rights management and royalty structures to make a living. However, the tactics and ways she connects with audiences are strikingly DIY (the app, the Kickstarter, the social networking). She also works for an organization, NARIP (National Association of Record Industry Professionals) which really strives to assist folks in the sync licensing, commercial music, film and television and traditional Label/Publisher/Deal-based models find success. She has her feet in both worlds, and has developed a pretty cool hybrid approach. Check out Mary's music here.

Daniel is a writer for several art publications. In contrast, he spoke on behalf of the visual arts world... he is a supporter of direct and personal communication which could arguably be defined as DIY, but employs the oldest trick in the book. In fact, he and Ryan are in business together (Intellectual Property Prints) creating very personal and real art products in a world where things are very digital. Daniel is a fan of building networks and utilizing social networks like Twitter to create a storefront, but is quick to emphasize that his business dealings are face to face and the product is far from digital. His philosophy is that true artists spend most of their time on the core thing they are passionate about... to the exclusion of almost everything else. In a way it is a paradox, but it's a tried and true method. Check out Daniel's site here...it's adorable!

Jeff Abramson chimed in talking about how agents, facilitators and opportunity makers are affected by DIY and the economy. He discussed the way we are all entrepreneurs, and how the tools out there make it possible for everyone to participate in business. He was a big part of Gen Art and currently facilitates projects and convergence of art, technology and ideas for businesses looking to convey their story and create a buzz. His background is also rooted in film, which is an industry that is very attached to the "old ways" of doing things, and has been slow to embrace new technology on the indie level. He spoke to the fact that filmmakers now must go out and tour their films, and that the industry ironically still puts a premium on the most difficult delivery system (theater showings), when there is a huge range of opportunity to reach people differently. You can follow Jeff on Twitter.

Ryan was a bit quiet, but everything he said packed a serious punch. Daniel confirmed that he is always like that...appearing shy, then saying something hilarious or poignant. We shot the session in front of a wall of Ryan's statement-based art. The paintings say things like THERE IS NO CONCEPT, THERE IS NO APPROVAL, THERE IS NO FUNDING, THERE IS NO AUDIENCE, etc. I asked him to comment on how it felt to be chatting about these topics in front of this particular art. He said something extremely defining about DIY. He said that the paintings state things that people believe, which stop them from making their art, and really you don't need someone else's gallery, or audience or approval. You can make your own space to show work, and make your own scene; build success that way. You can see Ryan's art on his site here.

When I get back to NYC, I really look forward to editing the videos and audio and sharing the full transcript! This panel was awesome and really left me thinking.

After the panel wrapped, Ken and I headed back to Highland Park, where we grabbed $2 beer at a sort of pirate/luau/heavy metal themed bar. It was nice to catch up. Ken is mentioned in the introduction of my book as having been part of the catalyst for its existence. Things have come full circle.

That's it for Weds. I'll be catching up with updates today and tomorrow! More to come...