Annie Motel week rolls on with another brand new set featuring the New Hollywood Icon Annie Motel. A few weeks ago Annie and I made plans to hit the town, take in a few art shows, other miscellaneous events, and wound up doing a full on photoshoot (as tends to happen with us). Our intention was always to shoot some photos that evening but we only had one destination thanks to the invite by street artist IMHUGE (known largely for his various Mini Me parody wheat pastes). On our way we stumbled on a high end photography art show where our gothy punk rock aesthetic stuck out like a sore thumb, but did not prevent us from having a good time nonetheless. All in all we had a great night out and our photos, though semi-planned also contained that base of authenticity that allows us to blur the lines of reality. It's only fitting that based on our adventures that evening I tell you the story of how Annie Motel and I started working together.
A few years ago I was running a monthly art magazine (which can be downloaded via this website) called Kung Fu Breakfast and I was just starting to really shoot street art thanks to my friend German Lopez. German had been going out for years photographing street art and graffiti and was an active poster of it on social media under the banner of Dubstylee (later changed to the current Wallstylee). German and I were working together at the time and would go out during lunch breaks, after work, on weekends and just seek out killer pieces. Sometimes we would drive across LA just looking down various alleys. This skill would later come in handy as I added model sets to repertoire. On one such occasion we found ourselves in Culver City in front of a large, gorgeous, colorful mural by Haste outside of a Capoeira Studio. We investigated the mural only to encounter an art show inside of the studio. We were invited in to a rad assortment of pieces, but the work that jumped out at me the most was by a girl named Annie Motel. I photographed the pieces, posted them on social media, and interacted with the artist who was grateful for the love.
Not long after this social media encounter, I contacted Annie to see if she would be interested in becoming a contributor to the KFB Magazine. She was stoked to do it and became one of our most frequent contributors including several features and ending as the cover artist for the final issue. At the time I did not know it would be the final issue, but I knew I needed to take a hiatus from the publication to focus on my own work. At the time I was in a job I was unhappy with, gaining a following as a documentarian of street art, and starting to stretch my wings as a photographer.
Several months later I parted ways with my job and decided to pursue a freelance life. Part of that plan meant getting my website up and building a new portfolio. I already had a plethora of street art work but I wanted to round myself out. At a certain point I had gone from simply photographing street art on my phone to picking up my DSLR and taking the photos seriously. Part of the reason for this was that a certain point I begun encountering street artists working on their murals. Shooting art on your phone is pretty great and handy, but to properly photograph people I knew the kind of tools I had at my disposal with my DSLR. During that time I realized how happy I was photographing people, possibly even more so than the murals themselves. Once I left my job I knew that I wanted to not only photograph street artists, but portraits as well.
I pursued a variety of methods to figure out my subjects, but I've always been a networker so I searched through my rolodex of artists in LA that I had relationships with. I remembered my work from months prior with Annie Motel. Annie and I had corresponded online but never met in person, however I knew she was knockout from her photos. I contacted her, proposed a shoot together, and though my portfolio of model sets was small at the time, she responded in the enthusiastic affirmative. We made a plan to head to Rancho Palos Verdes and the rest is history.
Click the photo below to enjoy Annie Motel's Night Out