Category Archives: Artist Profiles
The film, “The Humbler: Danny Gatton.” is about a D.C.-based musician whose reluctance to be in the limelight earned him the title “the greatest guitar player you’ve never heard.” My good friend, film producer Virginia Quesada, is currently-in-production on the documentary about Danny’s life.
Virginia is an award-winning film producer and editor, specializing in cultural programming and documentaries. She began working on this project in 1989 when she founded Video Culture, Inc., a nonprofit tax-exempt arts organization to make films about artists.
Val: Virginia, tell me about the film you are producing about Danny Gatton’s life?
VQ: “Myself and the other Video Culture, Inc. board members just love the work of our local Guitar, Hero Danny Gatton. He was awesome!! Danny Gatton was a big, big guitar hero with a big, big blues story. We started this project in 1989 before Danny left us. We are producing the film with the full support of Danny’s daughter, Holly Gatton and his widow, Jan Gatton. “The Humbler – Danny Gatton” is the first in-depth exploration of the life, music, and legacy of a troubled genius. Though he never got the accolades he deserved during his short life, Danny Gatton was quite possibly the greatest electric guitarist who ever lived.
Danny’s had a mastery of blues, jazz, country, rock, and rockabilly styles that was so impressive, other guitarists nicknamed him.”
Val: Did Video Culture record interviews and performances of Danny Gatton?
VQ: “Throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s, Video Culture taped Danny in performance and exclusive interviews, and we have continued to collect Danny footage. We are ALSO honored by the many people who have shared their Danny material with us. After 27 years, we have amassed an extraordinary archive of Danny Gatton and his awesome musical colleagues – much of it will be new to his devoted and ever-growing fan base.”
Val: What other artist are featured in the film?
VQ: “We have interviewed many of Danny’s friends, family and musical colleagues:
We interviewed Danny Gatton himself at his farm in Newburg, Maryland in May of 1990.
The Musical Colleagues include: Les Paul, Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Albert Lee, Joey DeFrancesco, Jack Casady, Dave Elliott, John Previti, Bill Kirchen, Robert Gordon, Arlen Roth, Jay Monterose, John Sebastian (who wrote Nashville Cats about Danny), Tom Principato, Delbert McClinton, John Jorgenson, Steve Wolf and others.”
“Members of Danny’s family that we interviewed: His mother, Norma Gatton who ran NRG records that published a lot of Danny’s music. Danny’s wife, Jan Gatton and Danny’s daughter, Holly Gatton. Other colleagues – Ed Eastridge from Big Mo Recording studios that did the bulk of Danny’s recordings; Bob Dawson from Bias Studios in Springfield that did several albums for Danny; Jay Monterose who was Danny’s Guitar Tech.”
Val: What impact do you hope the film will have?
VQ: “We will know that our film has had an impact when more people, especially young guitarists, know about and are inspired by Danny’s consummate musical artistry. But the music business is very hard on musicians, and Danny’s too-early death can focus attention on the vulnerabilities of young men and women, especially artists, as they navigate their ways through minefields of art and life. In his all-too-short life, Danny Gatton brought much joy to all he touched both as a man and as a musician. Now, our work is to make sure his legacy continues to inspire music lovers everywhere.Together, I know we can bring Danny’s story to life.
Be part of the team that honors the American Master guitarist, Danny Gatton.”
Val: How can people interested in the film get involved?
VQ: “We are a nonprofit, tax-exempt arts organization, and we believe that we help bring the work of this extraordinary artist to life. We are getting very close to finishing the movie, and we hope that people interested in the film can help us now. We are live with an Indiegogo Campaign. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-humbler-danny-gatton-movie-film/
Val: Thanks VQ! I’m so looking forward to seeing the finished film!
Dyer’s work bestrides cinema and gallery, time and technology, animation and animus, and effectively re-imagines animation through its long, lost past.
-Paul Wells, author, Re-imagining Animation: the Changing Face of the Moving Image
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
“The buzz-worthy band that lives at the intersection of the Beatles and Motown gets audiences dancing with its “joyous, upbeat songs and big, groovy vocals” (The Guardian).
This badass group will be at the Filene Center Thursday, June 16 at 8pm.
A good friend sent me the video of Lake Street Dive singing the Jackson 5
“I want you back.” I was blown away by the arrangement and by Rachel Price’s vocals.
The group was was founded in 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The band consists of Rachael Price (lead vocals), Mike “McDuck” Olson (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums). They met while attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. The band was named after a street with many dive bars in Olson’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The first time I saw Carey Bradshaw’s work I was blown away! His photographs are not only beautiful, they have a graphic arts, surreal quality about them.
As a photographer with a graphic arts background, I reached out to Carey in hopes of picking up a few gems of creative knowledge.
Do you get a lot of comments about your name with the Sex and the City character?
“Yes I do. Maybe too much. It’s kind of funny though when I show up for a reservation appointment i.e. Dinner. People are usually expecting to see Sarah Jessica Parker and not a 6’2” black man, with a Jamaican accent walking through the door.”
Tell me about yourself, where you grew up, family, childhood influence?
“I’m the youngest of four children born to Sheila and Sonny Bradshaw (the most awesome parents a kid could ever have). I was born in Kingston, Jamaica where I had some of my best life experiences. As a kid, I was allowed free reign to explore many creative outlets through music, sketching, painting, building tree houses, making toys out of household items and basic computer programming with my Commodore 64. Growing up, I had many childhood influences: my parents being number one. My mother fostered my entrepreneurial spirit and my father nurtured the artist in me.”
How would you describe your work and yourself as an artist?
“Well…my work is really all over the place (smile). Sometimes it’s dark and gritty; sometimes it addresses social and racial issues and sometimes it just tells a story. The main focus however, is to create positive and beautiful imagery of black people. There is so much buffoonery out there that glamorizes the negative portrayal of black people and our culture. I almost feel it’s my duty to be the antagonist against such trends. ***As I type that last sentence I can visualize myself in a super hero outfit with green underwear on the outside, just the way superheroes wore it back in the day, with a big “AM” on my chest: ANTAGONIST MAN***** I think I will make a self portrait exactly like that one day (smile).”
Where do you get your inspiration?
“Sorry for sounding cliché but I get my inspiration from everyday life. Inspiration is all around us. You just have to pay attention to the signs.”
Do you spend more time in pre-production or post production or equal amount of time in both?
“I spend a great deal of time in post production. There is so much magic that can happen there. The polish and feel that exists in my images are heavily influenced by my post production skills. A lot of old school photographers scuff at “too much post production” work, but I welcome it with open arms.”
What are your favorite tools of your trade, such as camera, lights, software?
“My all time favorite is Photoshop but I also enjoy using Lightroom and CaptureOne. My camera of choice is the Nikon D750 with a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens, Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 lens and a Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens. I use a lot of speedlights as well as two Alien bees.”
Your bio states you are self taught. Is that in both photography and graphics?
“I am self taught in photography but I learned graphic design in school. In actuality, the purpose of me going back to school was to get a degree in photography but the school discontinued the photography program. I was very disheartened by this but the admissions counselor advised me to take the graphic design course, which included two photography classes. So that’s what I did. I’m happy i did though because it exposed me to so many areas within the multi media ecosystem.”
Generally most people think of portrait photographers with a focus on just the face of a person. But in many of your portraits I see you incorporate the body, face, pose and background elements to complete the final image. Do you agree?
“I totally agree. Since I wasn’t formally trained in photography, I didn’t have any rules and guidelines to adhere to. I just created what I found visually pleasing. However, I felt the urge to learn the official protocols when creating portraiture and other genres of photography, which was one of the main reasons I decided to pursue structured learning in the form of the photography degree program. When that didn’t work out, I said screw it and pledged to myself to just do what I wanted to do with my photography.”
Do you create portraits based on how you see people or is it how they see themselves?
“Usually it’s how I see them. If I were to create portraits based on how they see themselves, then they would all be biting their finger nails with a nervous look on their face. My clients are usually super nervous when they show up for a shoot. Even the most confident people turn to scared, insecure shells of themselves. It’s up to me to make them feel comfortable and pull the greatness out of them. Then capture it.”
What new projects are you currently working on?
“I’ve been working on a project for a couple years now that documents the rise and fall and rise again of black exceptionalism. It will artistically depict the timeline of when we were kings and Queens, to when were were slaves and the present day.”
How do you select make-up artist for a session? Do you usually guide them on details for the look or is it a collaborative effort?
“I work with a select team of makeup artists and hair stylists that i’m happy to call family. It’s all about vibe and energy with me and I have to feel that synergy and bond with those i’m working with. I know nothing about hair or makeup other than doing my daughters hair once awhile, so I usually share my vision with the team and let them do what they do. So yes, it’s definitely a collaborative effort.”
Some of your models wear fabulous and unique clothing. Do you work with a specific clothing designer ?
“I have received tremendous support from a store in Brooklyn called Tafari Tribe. They have very uniquely wonderful jewelry and clothing. I also work with a Designer call Ichigo Black and she creates all of those colonial period piece dresses.”
I would love to watch you work sometimes. Would you be comfortable having someone shadow you on a project?
“Sure, not a problem at all. However, I might put you to work during the session (smile).”
Tell me about your YouTube Series?
“I created a story based photography piece called “I shoot people”. It was my way of introducing the world to what I can do with my photography and photoshop skills. The story is a typical geek to chic story but with a twist at the end. The interesting thing was that the model was shot in studio and superimposed on backgrounds I shot while on vacation in Canada. None of the images were shot on location as depicted in the final image. I was supposed to follow it up with a few more of it’s kind but have been busy with day to day business tasks since. Coming soon though ……
How do you spend your free time? What do you do for fun?
“I’m a bit of a geek so I spend a lot of time doing geeky things. I’m obsessed with gadgets and gizmos, flying my new Drone (so much fun!) I work on lots of D.I.Y projects for my home and for photography purposes and I enjoy making silly comedy skits with my daughter.”
Can you share the story behind a few of your personal favorite photos?
“The one i’m most proud of is my Black Nefertiti image. I had this idea for a very long time to create a representation of Nefertiti as a black woman with a crown made of dreadlocks. I sat on it for a while because I was looking for the right face that would be able to portray the beauty and strength that I envisioned. I then met the model, Ms. Brigid Turner via Instagram and instantly knew I wanted her to play the part. My next obstacle was to figure out how to make a crown of dreadlocks. I spoke to my hair stylist and she assured me that she could get it done. I spoke to my makeup artist, Lisa Jones and expressed to her that I wanted to depart a little bit from the typical rendition of Egyptian makeup, making it a more contemporary beauty look. I got the team together and it was actually one of the quickest conceptual shoots I’ve done. Everything came off without a hitch. Over the next week, I did my thing in Photoshop and the rest, as they say, is history.”
“My second favorite is my “Creation of Woman” image I had a photoshoot with Deneika Fletcher, a personal trainer from Toronto who just flew in fresh off winning one of her competitions. I had suggested to her that she should let me paint her bronze. I thought it would accentuate her physique quite well. This was the first time I used metallic paint with an airbrush….. and oh what a disaster it was. I couldn’t get the right consistency to spray on evenly and I was back and forth mixing and trying, mixing and trying. This poor woman was standing in my bathroom, freezing cold without any clothes while I fumbled trying to get it to work. FINALLY I scrapped the airbrush and just used a paint brush and things went by fairly quickly. The shoot was a success and now it was time for post production – I retouched the image of her laying on the floor but something was missing. I then decided to add dust particles floating above her. It created some visual interest but something was still missing. So I decided to photograph my ashy hands sprinkling dust on her. That did the job and made it one of my favorite images yet.”
Check out Carey Bradshaw Photography -http://www.careybradshaw.com
Being a moon child (July baby) I love the way a full moon lights up a night sky . . . So it’s no surprise I’m excited about tonight’s rare blue moon sighting.
If you are lucky enough to be in an area away from the light pollution of a city, it should really be a fabulous site!
I have a friend who occasionally liked to belt out a verse from the song “Blue Moon.” We hadn’t talked in years, so it was ironic she called last night on the eve of this blue moon.
If you get outside tonight and get a few good pictures, please share. I’d love to see them. In honor of tonight’s blue moon and my very talented friend, I’m sharing a few of my favorite renditions of the famous old song. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Oh, I also added another “moon song.” See if it is one of your favorites too.
A friend sent this link to me. I put off looking at it for a week, now I wish I had watched it so I could have shared sooner. This video is for everyone. Please share and hopefully one day it won’t matter who anyone chooses to love!
HAWKHOUSE Raw Crystal Jewelry
Gay Head, Massachusetts
Jessica Kramer hails from Lincoln, Nebraska and is a self taught mixed metal artist. Since leaving the land of Lincoln she has traveled 6 of the 7 continents of the world and gathered gems, minerals and inspiration throughout her travels.
She lived in the Bay area, California for nearly 5 years working in metal fabrication and black-smithing. She also worked in Event Production with the awe inspiring company Obscura Digital.
She left California in 2012. Driving her cat and belongings to Martha’s Vineyard to waitress during the tourist filled summer season, ended up meeting the love of her life. She has rarely left the island and his side, since.
HAWKHOUSE emerged as a creative outlet for Jessica to channel all of her artistic musings in the slow and frigid winter months on the island. Her inspirations come from nature and science and her work reflects this.
Owner, Maker, Designer, Curator,
“I was born in the early 80’s and grew up in the midwest. My mother is a potter and has inspired and taught me so much. I am well traveled and have picked up inspiration from around the world. I love to try new mediums and make messes.”
You can find more of this designer’s work on Etsy
I love this!
I always enjoy seeing the images from yearly Smithsonian photography competition. These are just as awesome as ever.
Pham Ty was awarded the grand prize for his photo of seamstresses sewing a fishing net in a small Vietnamese village. Six category winners were also selected along with two Readers’ Choice winners, who were the top vote getters from over 10,000 votes received.
For the complete list of finalists and winners, visit Smithsonian.com where you can also enter next year’s contest.
Women of a small village near Vinh Hy Bay, Vietnam, sew a fishing net while their husbands fish. (Vinh Hy Bay, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam, November 2013, Sony NEX-6)
Natural World : Winner
A green iguana surfaces for air. “I had decided to take…
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