Story and Interview by Miwa Sakamoto
I think feeling comfortable in your own skin when you go out in public, or even by yourself for that matter, is important. I’m more comfortable if what I’m wearing outside looks like how I feel inside; so I’m one unit, internally and externally. Surround yourself with what you need to feel aligned and that will become your personal style.
Beyond the fact that it just fits me better than modern clothes, I love the history behind it. I like knowing that there was another lady somewhere, at sometime, who very likely made this dress for work, or for a dance, or to impress a boy. It makes me feel connected to those who’ve come before. This is why I love the cuts from the 1940’s, I find them to be very flattering and classy on the female figure.
I’m drawn to challenging thoughts. People who challenge me, and make me question my viewpoints on things. I like to see how I interact in different situations so I don’t shy away from the uncomfortable, or the unknown. I feel those are the times in which I expand the corners of my personality.
I listen, I watch, I read, I go. Honestly, one good album, one episode of This American Life, one good museum exhibit, one good quote can turn an uninspired time into something very transformative. It’s usually the smallest things, or the stillest moments, that I find give space for something to come in. Usually, when I think I’m thinking about nothing, something comes.
I love abandoned things. Houses, forest dwellings, caves, things that used to have life but now do not. Growing up, the woods behind my house in Iowa were full of old knick-knacks and abandoned sheds. I spent everyday going through every “artifact” I could find, trying to map their origins.
Nina Simone is a huge emotional force when it comes to creativity. Her songs, for their time, or for any time for that matter, really pushed the envelope when it came to song structure and thematics. She let you into her inner struggles and outward hopes. Each song is like a diary entry and she doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff. Whenever I need someone to remind me of the benefit of laying it all on the line, I listen to her.
“Working” by Studs Terkel, “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, “Brave New World” Aldous Huxley, and “This American Life” –NPR – Not a book, but just as informative if not more.
I would say since I was about 10, I ‘ve spent about two hours a day starring at a wall, day-dreaming. I think this may have been my early form of meditation, but I still do it. I sit awake and think for a few hours. It’s not even particularly on purpose, I often just find myself drifting off. A lot of good ideas come from this time.
It interests me to no end. I love to watch how you change as an actor the more information and life experience you accrue.
I think there needs to be curiosity above all else. I try to follow the things that make my head spin, that make me interested. Whether that be acting, music, writing, sculpture, physics, history, whatever. For me, it’s more important to stay interested than to stay with one thing I decided upon ten years ago. Mostly everything I do in the art world seems to be connected in a way, so I try to encourage the differentiation of interests (rather than discouraging them, as is often done). I think everything sums up in the end, adding to who you are as a person, and who you are as an artist.
In most cases, with the right person, collaboration is such an exciting way to go. I find collaboration can take away a good portion of self-doubt before it sneaks in and slows you down. I love bouncing ideas off someone else — I find their rebuttal often shoots the idea so much higher than it was before. The back and forth leaves you with something far more whole. Yet there are certain circumstances where something must be done alone, and trying to meld two ideas together dilutes the original. As so often, it really depends upon the project.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a deadline for something, it forces you to push through times of low inspiration, focusing on your process; but, of course, it’s the moments when it all just comes together that are the most freeing. My mother often tells me when I’m getting too caught up in not getting something just right that “the great is the enemy of the good.” Meaning, of course, striving for perfection can often leave you paralyzed and without a product at all. It’s a balancing act, everyone has their own standards for what is good and when something is good enough to be shown to the public. Without this disparity, the art world would be very homogeneous.