Episode 20: Hannah Stephenson

This week, our very first poetry episode with Ohio poet Hannah Stephenson! I first started reading Hannah's blog, The Storialist, a year or so ago, and although most of the poems she posts there are short, they really invite you to spend some time with them. For this week's show, Hannah and I had a great talk about her 2013 book In the Kettle, the Shriek, and the thought process behind her poems.

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Episode 19: Ken Rosenthal

Tucson-based photographer Ken Rosenthal's work has always stuck in my mind for both its striking visual style and the way that he uses images to represent and explore his internal emotional and psychological state. Whether he's looking at landscapes or family members or familiar objects, his photographs resonate because they represent the personal. We talked about several bodies of work, including his recent series The Forest and a work in progress called Days On the Mountain. For the second segment, Ken and I talked about change, and how when it comes in our personal lives it can spur us to new heights in our work.

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Episode 18: Aline Smithson

Aline Smithson may well be the busiest person in photography. Not only is she a brilliant artist in her own right, she is also the editor of one of the top photo blogs in the world, Lenscratch, where she posts new material every single day. On top of that, she teaches workshops around the country, gives lectures at photo festivals internationally, participates as a portfolio reviewer, juries all manner of photo competitions, and still manages to exhibit and make her own work. It's astonishing that one person can do as much as she does, and yet there she is, day in and day out, doing it.

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Episode 17: Amanda Dahlgren

Amanda Dahlgren was one of the first friends I made in the San Diego photography community, and I always look forward to a chance to talk with her. Amanda's work combines a strong sense of formal composition with an inquisitive mind, and we had a great conversation about her work, as well as about the benefits of going through art school and the value of community. Building community is something that is important to Amanda, and in the second segment we talked about her work with Open Show and the Society for Photographic Education.

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Episode 16: Jennifer McClure

If there's a recurring theme that runs through photographer Jennifer McClure's work, it's about connection, the presence or absence of it. We talked about her ongoing portrait series of singles in New York, and that led to a rich discussion about working with portrait subjects, finding your own style, and self-acceptance. For the second segment, we started off with the topic of what our end goals are as artists, and that quickly branched out to fallow periods and how we deal with them, self-care, community, and the representation of women among photographers.

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Episode 15: Carrie Elizabeth Thompson

Carrie Elizabeth Thompson is a photographer whose work I've been following for several years. Her work is rich in storytelling, and I was drawn in by its complexity and emotional honesty. We recorded our conversation the day after Prince died, and of course that was on both of our minds as we started talking. But as we talked about her work one idea we kept coming back to was the idea of sharing, and how being open lets other people feel like it's OK for them to be open as well. For the second segment, Carrie and I talked about love, and particularly about where love goes after it's gone.

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Episode 14: Pastilla

I met San Diego artist Pastilla in March at the MAS Attack event at the San Diego Art Institute, and after talking with her for a few minutes I knew that I wanted to continue the conversation. We started off talking about the piece of hers that had moved me so much when we first met, "La Metamorfosis de Kafka F2," about the story behind its creation, the frustration and tension in the piece itself. For Pastilla, the act of creating art functions like meditation, and we talked about her background in photography as well as the idea of accessibility. For the second segment, she chose as her topic the ways in which an artist can engage with and impact her community, which led to a discussion of stereotypes and stories.

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Episode 13: Carolina Montejo

Carolina Montejo is a San Diego-based photographer and writer whose work looks very futuristic, but don't be fooled: it's all about the contemporary. Carolina and I had a fascinating talk about the inspiration behind her in-progress series "Era: Fragments of an Evolving Landscape," covering everything from her visual technique, her combination of text and image, and the influence of Jorge Luis Borges.

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Episode 12: Andi Schreiber

Photographer Andi Schreiber was one of the first people whose work inspired me to try to make meaningful photographs, myself. Andi's bold, vibrant work is a reflection of her life, looking at family and raising her two sons, and more recently looking at herself and how things are changing for her as she enters middle age. In our wide-ranging conversation we discussed parenting, growing and aging, the ways that each of us came to our work, the importance of connecting with both audiences and other artists, as well as sexual identity and how it's informed by both our stage of life and the way other people interact with us. For the second segment, Andi and I dug into a bunch of artists who inspire our practice.

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Episode 11: Daniel Abraham

Daniel Abraham has written or co-written over twenty novels, among them some of my favorite recent science fiction and fantasy series. You may know him as one of the creators of the popular SyFy show The Expanse, but most recently he's just finished up his excellent series The Dagger and the Coin, the last installment of which—The Spider's War—came out in March. In our conversation, Daniel and I talked about many of the ideas and characters from his books, as well as what it's like to collaborate with another writer, and the process of adapting a story for television. In the second segment, Daniel started us off with a discussion of Johan Huizinga's book Homo Ludens, and its central concept of play behavior being the root of all human culture. From there we branched out to everything from the idea of money as a form of ritual magic to the competing narratives playing out in contemporary American society. It's heady stuff, but I had a blast talking to him.

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Episode 10: Claire A. Warden

The images from Claire A. Warden's series Mimesis are visually striking and delightfully inscrutable. Like most viewers, I was immediately grabbed by them when I first saw them, but it wasn't until I talked with Claire and read her artist's statement that I really understood what she was trying to say with these pictures. Having that experience, though, really deepened my appreciation for the work. This week, Claire and I talked about her unique process and the reason why it's so important that this series exist in the context of photography. In the second segment, we discussed race and being and immigrant, and how that affects the way one's identity forms.

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Episode 9: TML Dunn

I first saw TML Dunn's work last month at the opening of the "Energy: Made in Form" exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery, and his work stopped me dead in my tracks. Visiting his studio later and getting to see the breadth of his work was great fun, and we sat down and had a conversation about his work and process. For the second segment, Matt was interested in talking about art education and why it's such an important (but sadly neglected) part of school curricula.

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Episode 8: Bryan Ida

I've known Bryan Ida for a long time, which makes sense because we're family. But that's not the reason that he's one of my favorite living painters. Bryan's work uses bold colors and geometric forms to suggest the urban landscape, and his layered paintings function as a sort of personal archaeology, delving into memory and emotion. We had a great conversation about how his creative expression has changed over the time I've known him, and how his unique process developed. In the second segment, Bryan chose community as his topic, and we talked about everything from the LA art scene to everyone's first community: family.

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Episode 7: Jeffery Saddoris

Jeffery Saddoris is a painter and amateur photographer, and the host of several popular photography podcasts. I’ve been a longtime listener to his shows and am happy to have him as a guest on KTCO. We talked a lot about Jeffery’s background and how he came to photography and writing about the arts, as well as about the community he’s helped to build with his listeners. For the second segment we talked about a recent photograph of Mark Zuckerberg at the Mobile World Congress, and what the future of human interaction might look like.

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Episode 6: Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is one of my favorite contemporary fantasy authors. His Divine Cities series—so far comprising the novels City of Stairs and City of Blades—is unlike anything I can recall seeing before, combining urban and epic fantasy with noir thriller to tell a story of adventure and politics and dead gods, redemption and sacrifice. In this week's episode we talked about the series, as well as about genre expectations, writing diversely, naming fantasy characters, and his highly entertaining Twitter presence. In the second segment, Robert's topic was generational differences, though as we went through it we ended up touching on everything from city planning to Fox News.

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Episode 5: Samantha Geballe

Samantha Geballe's photographs made a deep impression on me when I first saw them back in 2014. Her fearless series of self-portraits are some of the most intense, honest portrayals of an artist's inner life I've seen, documenting her emotional journey from obesity through gastric bypass surgery toward self-acceptance. In this week's episode we talked about her work, about honesty and fear, and about the importance of connection and being heard. Samantha's discussion topic, which we talked about in the second half of the show, was benefit of the doubt.

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Episode 4: Drew Nikonowicz

Photographer Drew Nikonowicz ruffled a few feathers at the 2015 Medium Festival of Photography with his series This World and Others Like It, but far from being put off by a divided audience, Drew looked at it as an opportunity to have a conversation. In this week's episode we talked about his work, photographic manipulations, and photographic truth. In the second segment we talked about video games, and how online and gaming experiences can be just as real and meaningful as those in "real life."

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Episode 3: Elke Luyten & Kira Alker

I've known movement artists Elke Luyten and Kira Alker for a long time, and I always love getting the chance to talk to them. In this week's episode we spoke about their history with movement theater as well as their recent work on David Bowie's video "Blackstar." In the second segment, we talked about the focus and craft involved in Japanese food, and how a trip to Japan became a source of inspiration for their work.

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Episode 2: Rebecca L. Webb

Photographer Rebecca Louise Webb recently opened a two-person show at the San Diego Art Institute looking at the way that young people interact with the natural world. Rebecca's portion of the show drew from her new series Mother: Nature, which came out of her profound feeling of ambivalence about the impact of technology on the life of her teenage son. I had the opportunity to sit down with Rebecca, and we talked about technology, parenting, and how both of us make deeply personal work. Later in the conversation we discussed a recent article about Elinor Carucci and our thoughts on the balance between intellectual and emotional art.

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Episode 1: Trinh Mai

Trinh Mai is a Vietnamese-American interdisciplinary artist whose incredibly empathetic work encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture, and more. I was pleased to be able to sit down with her for the inaugural episode of this show, and talk to her about her work, her artistic process, and the importance of connection, respect, and compassion in the stories she tells. In the second segment we discussed the importance of cooperation between artists.

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