EMPTY KINGDOM http://www.emptykingdom.com You are Here, We are Everywhere Fri, 31 May 2019 05:53:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.11 http://www.emptykingdom.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ekstar.png EMPTY KINGDOM http://www.emptykingdom.com 32 32 EK Interview Revisit: Rocío Montoya http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-interview-rocio-montoya/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-interview-rocio-montoya/#respond Wed, 27 Mar 2019 15:30:42 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=115186 EK_ROCIO_MH
Rocío Montoya‘s work is intriguing, her collages are a melange of emotion, pattern, and color. Her subjects are eye-catching and her backgrounds, though sometimes stark, serve to draw the viewer in and highlight her discussion. Check out her interview:

Were you born in Madrid?
Yes, I was born South of the city, in a small working-class neighborhood. I’ve lived here all my life but about five years ago I moved to the center with my boyfriend.


What is your favorite part of the city? Where is your favorite place there?
There are many beautiful and interesting places in Madrid, I am a regular at the museums area and there are two places that I particularly like and visit quite often, the greenhouse and royal botanical gardens.


Tell us about In Bloom, what direction did you give to the model? Did the photographs turn out as you expected? Where did you get the material to add? What does it mean to you?
This series was made in my home / studio. It was fun and the result was satisfactory. I worked with Cynthia Leon, a makeup artist whom I love. I always prepare my projects before taking pictures, so the models know how the images will be once collaged (aproximately). I like natural and spontaneous models, Brunna was easy because she’s a great professional. All the floral elements I used have been taken or rescued from books and magazines. This series has a strong aesthetic charge as it is approached as “fashion beauties”, I wanted to make a personal interpretation of beauty that reminds me of the arrival of spring, Brunna is like a flower within the composition.

in bloom


What was the inspiration and thought behind Lagrimas Secas? Where did you shoot it? Do you shoot most of your work for collage inside?
“Lágrimas secas” is a very personal series that is still in the process of creation. My muse is a great friend with whom I have a very special connection. These photographs were taken in my house with a white cloth and nude model. It was one of my first experiments with photography and illustration. I drew flowers and in this project I intend to reflect what comes after emptiness, they are an ode to femininity and women’s strength against adversity. I always try to look for the beauty in my compositions and the contrast between feelings, and thanks to collage I can create a dreamy and unique space out of a seemingly real situation, I love it!

lagrima seca1

lagrimas seca2

By combining people and trees, what were you seeking to say in Nosotros? How do you choose what to collage your photographs with?
“Nosotros” is a project I did with Alejandro Meitin (friend and art director). This series is an ode to love and return to the real things. An encounter between two people who survive the torment of the big city and need to reflect on the absence caused by routine. As for the chosen images, I always have an idea in my head before, I do a lot of pictures of my models and I also make a lot of landscapes pictures. I sit at the table and sketch out a thousand combinations until I find the one best expresses my idea.



Some of your work like, Hands and Maraña, have geometric patterns, others like Life With Bird and Human Landscapes are more free form, do you use patterns to create meaning? Do you feel different emotionally when making collages that are ordered versus free form?
I am a very impulsive person and in my personal work I like to get carried away by my own feelings and moods. I like to experiment and try different techniques and styles (if not, for me the work would be boring). I have always expressed my obsession with the merger between humanity and nature, both concepts are repeated continuously in my work but with different approaches in each piece. I like to disturb the viewer and my collages represent “open doors” to unknown places to create new aesthetic and emotional experiences.



I really enjoy working with clients who give me creative freedom, it is very rewarding. Really what I like is to do my personal work, then I feel freer and can channel my most authentic and artistic side.


How does your approach to art change when you are working exclusively on photography, instead of photos that you intend to collage?
Normally when I make a photographic series, the place becomes a much stronger role, everything matters here because you will not remove or add any item. I love taking pictures outdoors and have my models interact with the elements around them. I take the portrait and the model is always the center of the image but I do not like to do “perched”, I much interested in generating action, something is happening in each picture.


When I think of collage I try to do the most clean and minimalist images, I think of “silhouettes” that can enter or leave the composition. Both techniques amuse me a lot and each has its charm.

Where did you photograph Room? How did you feel photographing the series? How important is your emotional state when taking photographs? Does it influence your work?
This series consists of self-portraits made in my own bedroom, with natural light. It is a very intimate work because I show a part of me that is normally hidden. I undress before the camera to let the emotions flow. These photographs were made in a difficult personal moment in which I was sad and take pictures of myself sometimes turns out to be a very positive therapy, also at times helps me to think and looking at reality from other perspectives, it is comforting. Yes, of course it affects me, the emotions (positive or negative) are the engine of my work, without them the inspiration would never come.

room 1


What are you working on now?
Besides realize my personal artwork, I work for brands and customers and I am also graphical editor and press photographer in a national newspaper.





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EK Interview Revisit: Steve Salo http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-interview-steve-salo/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-interview-steve-salo/#respond Mon, 25 Mar 2019 15:30:01 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=114870 EK_MH_Steve Salo

Big brush strokes. Fat chunks of paint. The work of Steve Salo colorful as hell and incredibly human in its expression. Check out his interview:

Where in Australia are you from? How would you describe the emotional culture of where you grew up? Is it open? Are people talkative? How has your home informed your emotional self?

I live in Geelong, a regional city one hour’s drive from Melbourne. Growing up, this place had two sides. It’s a natural wonderland by a river, bay and a short drive to stunning beaches on the peninsula and the Great Ocean Road. It was also a manufacturing hub hit hard by the social impact of economic downturns and change. A local-based building society (that nearly everyone in town banked with) collapsed when I was a teenager and I remember the sadness and angst on the adults’ faces, it was the sort of thing people openly discussed with strangers in the street. I’ve always been sensitive to people’s emotions – and my own. Also, as a child I had severe asthma and was in and out of hospital…you do a lot of observing in that situation and it’s also where I discovered my love of drawing, it was my solace.


What are you feeling when you paint? Where do you go emotionally? Is each painting a different side of you or do they all come a single place? And how does your emotion inform and guide your painting?

It varies. Every time I paint I go into my own world where I’m not aware of time. Often I feel completely content. Other times, depending on the subject, I get my feelings of frustration out on the painting; I’m driven by something I saw on the news or felt in my life or noticed in someone else. My paintings are different corners of my mind – or maybe different sides of us all, from pure lightness to the dark.


How is it that thick, obscure, brush strokes that contain little detail can convey meaning? Why is your work so emotionally meaningful when many of faces you paint are, and I mean no disrespect by this, a smear of color? Do you feel your work relies on, or takes advantage of the viewer’s imagination? How much do you rely on posture to inform your audience?

When I’m doing thick brush stokes, I try to see underneath first. I’m aware of the feeling and often paint in layers with the thick strokes almost like a mask in areas. If each brush stroke is done with feeling and intent, then surely that comes through. Likewise, a smear of colour done with purpose shows through. When I’m really in tune with the subject or emotion, I might do smooth areas that are gentle, almost realistic depictions of the subject, then I’ll scoop up thick paint and switch to raw and expressive. I have a no-fear approach to painting, sometimes I’m almost on auto-pilot instinctively knowing what to do next, it’s built from many years of experience.


When I paint, all I do is convey my feelings and inner-self and often I don’t consider the viewer. But I know if I do it right, someone somewhere will connect with it. I’m not telling the viewer what to think, but they do add their own imagination. It’s like I form a crossroad and the viewer can work out the rest based on their own personal experiences, emotions and capacity for empathy. If a person takes a few moments to stop and ponder the painting or the subject – or something about themselves – that’s a satisfying response to my art.


I see ‘Passerby Union Street’ and I imbue the painting with emotion, that might not be at all what you intended, but if that emotion is meaningful to me, and emotionally impactful, have you succeeded? What do you want from your viewer? Do you think it all important for a viewer to respond in the same emotional vein that the painter was when making the piece?

In ‘Passerby Union Street’ I painted what I saw in a young man’s eyes, then used forceful strokes to depict his outward confidence and energy. Different people may have felt different things from him and the same happens when people view the painting. I’m depicting the many sides that people have – and I love that people respond in their own way to the painting, it adds another layer of human complexity.


Tell us about your process. About how you actually put paint to canvas. What are your rituals, what do you do if you err, what is your favorite part of the process?

There is no repetitive process I use, it varies. Most paintings I start with a charcoal drawing or sketch then lay down paint with palette knife or fingers. Other times I’ll use a paint brush to sketch out the subject. The background and delicate areas are mostly done with a paint brush. Usually I spend a lot of time creating the colours on the palette, but sometimes I’ll throw paints on the canvas and start mixing there. Generally I use a limited palette, but there are times when I’ll pull in more colours. I like using areas of muted or greyed colour and adding areas of intense colour that reflect my mood or the subject.


If it’s a planned piece, I sit on the couch and think. Once the painting is in my mind, it may flow out or I need to contemplate it at various points. Often I have several works on the go and come back to them, even weeks later. I don’t hesitate to abandon or paint over something if it’s not working, even if I’ve spent hours on it. I feel full confidence to not be attached and to start over.

A private ritual I haven’t told anyone about until now is that before I start I have the canvas on the easel and for about five seconds I extend my energy into it – my Jedi power, haha. It puts me in the right frame of mind. My favourite part is signing the painting.


What is an everyday item or practice that you are awed by?

The love of my wife. The birds in our garden.














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Microneedling: Is It Worth the Hype? http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/test/ Thu, 31 Jan 2019 06:48:52 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=130951

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    Born Just Now with Robert Adanto http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/born-just-now/ Sun, 06 May 2018 07:20:02 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=125678

    Robert Adanto’s new art documentary Born Just Now delves into the life and performance work of Marta Jovanović, a Belgrade-based artist struggling to cope with the pain accompanying the end of an eight-year marriage. Through several performances, she seeks confront and liberate her own pain in the name of art.

    The film, which offers an intimate look at a fearless female artist, participated in the 2016 Sundance Institute Documentary Program’s Rough-Cut Lab, and was produced by Anthony E. Zuiker, the creator of the C.S.I. franchise. The film will make its world premiere next month at BELDOCS International Documentary Film Festival in the former Yugoslavia, where it will screen with Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow.

    The Los Angeles-born, Miami-based filmmaker made his directorial debut with The Rising Tide (2008), a feature-length documentary exploring China’s meteoric march towards the future through the words and works of some of the Middle Kingdom’s most talented photographers and video artists, including Wang Qingsong, Cao Fei, Xu Zhen, and Chen Qiulin. His next film, Pearls on the Ocean Floor (2010) focused on Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. It features interviews with Shirin Neshat, Shadi Ghadirian, Parastou Forouhar and received the Bronze Palm Award for Best Documentary at the the 2011 edition of the Mexico International Film Festival. His films have enjoyed screenings at over forty international film festivals and have been presented at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow, The MFA Boston, LACMA, The Hammer Museum, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and The National Museum of Australia in Canberra, amongst others.

    EMPTY KINGDOM: In your previous movies you explored art scenes and the work of different groups of artists. However, in your new project – Born Just Now – you decided to document the work of one artist – Marta Jovanović. Why Marta in particular?

    ADANTO: Art scenes have never really been a focus of my films although when I was making The Rising Tide, back in 2006, there was a lot of attention being paid to contemporary art produced in China. The film’s subject was the rapid rise of China and its transformation into a global power, so the market phenomenon did find its way into the film. I consider my previous films (The Rising Tide (2008); Pearls on the Ocean Floor (2010); City of Memory (2014); and The F Word (2015), in many respects, essays that explore the ways in which visual artists respond to rapid, sudden, sometimes catastrophic change. Back in 2008 when I was researching Iranian contemporary, I felt there was no better time than the present to examine the Islamic Republic, a nation at a crossroads, and no better approach than through the visual imagery of female artists. It was women who had collectively bore the brunt of an oppressive regime and the bias of a western media that had repeatedly constructed one-dimensional images portraying them as humorless, repressed, second-class citizens in black chadors. So, looking at a group of women artists felt right.

    I have chosen with Born Just Now, to look at one artist, Marta Jovanović. There are a few reasons why. In addition to being a talented multidisciplinary artist, Marta’s personal story encapsulates a great deal of Yugoslav and Serbian history. This coupled with her courageous attempt to resuscitate the Belgrade art scene at a time when unemployment is high, wages are low, and confidence in the political class runs even lower, makes for a compelling documentary.

    EMPTY KINGDOM: Tell us a bit how and when you first encountered her work? What was the trigger that made you decide to do a documentary about her art?

    ADANTO: I first encountered Marta’s work in New York in February of 2014, when I was still working on The F Word. My friend Kathy Battista had just curated REPUBLIKA, Marta’s first solo show in the city, and while I was reading Kathy’s book Marta Jovanović: Performing the Self, I was reminded how little we in the west are taught about the history of the Balkans. Personally, I love subjects that are going to take over my life when I’m in the process of making a film, and I knew I had one in Marta and the former Yugoslavia. Several of the works in REPUBLIKA addressed questions of identity, specifically Marta’s experience of growing up in communist Yugoslavia, a time when she and her classmates donned red scarves and navy blue hats with red stars, and marched as proud Pionirka (pioneers)–Tito’s young communists.

    EMPTY KINGDOM: What aspect of her life and work is treated in the movie? What was important for you personally to show in the film?

    ADANTO: When I first arrived in Belgrade in the winter of 2016, Marta’s eight-year marriage was coming to an end, and several of the performance pieces she created in the ensuing months were very personal explorations of her experience as a woman and as an artist. Marta was very open about what she was going through, her feelings, and the film depicts that period of her life, as well as all that she was producing as an artist. I was able to cover several important performances including Motherhood, The Beauty of Tight Binding, Pillow Talk and my own personal favorite: LJUBAV, which means “Love” in Serbian. This was a large-scale performance which on one level explored the darker days of the wars of the 1990s and the 1999 NATO bombardment of her native Belgrade, and on another, the need to remember that despite the fact that we live in a word filled with war and bloodshed, there is also a place for peace and love.

    EMPTY KINGDOM: Could we say that your movies are empowering to women? Is that your intention from the beginning?

    ADANTO: I am not the person to ask if my films are empowering to women. I think everyone who sees them will need to answer that question for themselves. At the very least, I would say I’ve done a good job in terms of numbers and representation. In The Rising Tide, four of the eight Chinese artists in the film: Cao Fei, Chen Qiulin, O Zhang, and Xu Shuxian, are women. Pearls on the Ocean Floor features interviews with sixteen Iranian female artists and every expert, historian, and curator in the film is also an Iranian woman. Half of the New Orleans-based artists featured in City of Memory are women, and The F Word looks at fourteen 4th wave feminist performance artists.

    EMPTY KINGDOM: The title refers to…?

    ADANTO: The title comes from something Marta mentioned in one of our initial interviews. She was discussing how she felt during Motherhood, a performance she did back in February of 2016. Born Just Now refers to being present in the moment, not in one’s head thinking about yesterday or what might be, but just being here now in this moment.
    EMPTY KINGDOM: Do you already have an idea about your next documentary? In which direction in the future would you like to move your filming in terms of topics?

    ADANTO: I do! I’ve already begun working on it, conceptually. This currently unnamed project will be an animated non-fiction work, based on oral histories that have recently been translated from Mandarin. I have begun scripting these first-person accounts so that they form a single narrative exploring different facets of a campaign enacted by Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution. That’s all I can say about it at the moment, but I am excited about the team of artists I’ll be working with, which includes a talented graphic artist Syd Fini, whom I met at one of my screenings back in 2014. I am honored to be telling these stories and working with this heartbreaking material.

    Director: Robert Adanto
    Executive Producer: Anthony E. Zuiker
    Executive Producer: Robert Adanto
    Director of Cinematography: Lazar Bogdanović
    Editor: Michael Gonzalez
    Composer: Kolja Brand

    Featuring: Marta Jovanović, Ivana Ranisavljević, Kathy Battista, Ph.D., Director of Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, NY; Anja Foerschner, Senior Researcher, The Getty Research Institute; Milica Pekić, Art Historian and Curator; Jovo Bakić, Ph.D., University of Belgrade; Vladislav Scepanović, artist; and Jean-Daniel Ruch, Swiss Ambassador to Serbia and to Montenegro.

    Photograph Credits
    2) Marta Jovanović as seen in Robert Adanto’s BORN JUST NOW
    3) Marta Jovanović as seen in Robert Adanto’s BORN JUST NOW
    4) Marta Jovanović as seen in Robert Adanto’s BORN JUST NOW
    5) Marta Jovanović performs Motherhood as seen in Robert Adanto’s BORN JUST NOW
    6) Marta Jovanović performs The Beauty of Tight Binding as seen in Robert Adanto’s BORN JUST NOW

    EK MoviePass Interview with Ted Farnsworth http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-moviepass-interview-with-ted-farnsworth/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-moviepass-interview-with-ted-farnsworth/#respond Fri, 08 Sep 2017 01:53:22 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=121212 If you’re a cinephile that enjoys going to movies on a regular basis, your golden ticket to movie theater heaven has just arrived.. with a moviepass.com membership, you get to watch a movie a day.. every day if you want. All for $9.95 a month! *Wwhaaaattt???*

    No, this is not a joke, and it certainly isn’t a drill. The Netflix of theatrical experiences is here, and we are jumping for joy.

    With no blackout dates, you can watch movies even on opening day, but there are a few restrictions, such as IMAX and 3D films that are excluded from the pass (fine by us), and AMC is apparently not participating (Boooo AMC). What I am personally excited about is the potential to get more butts in the seats to watch indie and mid-budget films that are being vastly ignored by modern audiences. Hopefully having a MoviePass will not only increase attendance but give casual viewers a reason to gamble on the type of films that are suffering to the point where great artists and national treasures of cinema like David Lynch are even considering not making films anymore is not just a travesty, but an indictment of American Movie goers, who vote for which films are financed by ticket sales.. nothing more and nothing less. Hopefully MoviePass will help change the tide.

    Reddit user xur17 made a super handy map to search for MoviePass theaters near you..

    I signed up for my own Movie Pass so I could give it a shot and will follow up in another article later, but for now let’s enjoy an Empty Kingdom exclusive interview with Ted Farnsworth.

    Ex MachinaEx Machina, 2014

    Please Introduce yourself and Moviepass, what is it all about?
    I’m Ted Farnsworth — Chairman and CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HMNY), which has just acquired a 51% stake in MoviePass several weeks ago. With this acquisition, we also unveiled a new pricing structure: instead of the previous tiered-plans, now MoviePass subscribers can see a movie every day – a virtually unlimited amount – for $9.95 each month.

    Why Moviepass? How long has this been on your radar and what made you pull the trigger?
    The HMNY business model creates value to its stockholders by investing in cutting edge technology companies – that have first mover advantage and aim to disrupt their industries. With that in mind, MoviePass is a perfect match.

    I really liked MoviePass CEO, Mitch Lowe’s vision to revitalize a challenged industry and really give the people what they want. I’m a data guy, and I saw an opportunity to analyze patterns that we saw, while helping an industry ecosystem. I like to think that Mitch lit a match when he joined MoviePass, and HMNY poured gas on it. What we’re seeing now is the resulting fire.

    DunkirkDunkirk, 2017

    How are you hoping to affect the culture of movie-going, or the experience of movie theaters by doing this?
    The exponential growth we experienced in practically no time is an evidence that HMNY-MoviePass is what consumers were waiting for. After years of studying and analysis we found that people want to go to the movies more often, but the price of a movie ticket keeps going up, preventing people from seeing flicks in theaters. After all, why would you pay $15 for a movie in New York City when you can wait a few months and catch it on Netflix. The ‘Netflix’ route comes at the cost of that ‘Night out at the Movies’ experience – which we are now making more affordable. How do we know? Millennials comprise the biggest segment of society leaving movie theaters because of the cost of tickets. Simultaneously, Millennials make up 75% of MoviePass’s subscriber base. They’re the ones that have grown up with subscription models and like it.

    What cultural or social changes do you hope/expect to see in the future because of this?
    The movie theater industry has been struggling – When movie studios aren’t making money at the box office, it trickles down through the entire ecosystem, affecting the quality of scripts, performances, marketing – everything. With more, let’s call it, ‘butts in the seats’ – we hope to revitalize this entire ecosystem and really bring people back to the theaters, where we know they want to be. That will also encourage a ‘high on quality–low in budget’ transformation.

    Blade Runner 2049
    Blade Runner 2049, 2017

    How is the theatrical experience different than that of streaming at home? What are the different values for audiences?
    Movies and films are really designed to be experienced in a theater — the scores are designed to be heard with that surround sound, the details of facial expressions and lighting to be viewed on a bigger screen. That being said, theaters aren’t devoid of ‘obstacles to enjoyment’ — theatergoers often have to deal with high priced tickets, and other patrons who may be talking. That’s the benefit of MoviePass’s new pricing structure. With subscription at just a one-time fee of $9.95, movie-lovers can see a film every day if they wanted — even the same film multiple times — just in case of a talkative patron.

    What is your response from the movie industry, specifically producers and filmmakers?
    Generally, the response has been really incredible. Studio Movie Grill, based in Dallas, TX, is heralding MoviePass as something that will allow ‘ease of use’ for its guests. Unfortunately, AMC theaters hasn’t been as welcoming and although MoviePass pays the theaters full-price for all the tickets, AMC has made statements saying we aren’t acting in the best interest of the industry. We’re wondering what part of the model they aren’t understanding. From our perspective and the perspective of movie-goers, it seems like a win-win for everyone.

    Do you think this will affect the kinds of movies that make it in theaters, say the mid-level dramas that suffer these days or films that would have needed more time to grow with audiences?
    We’re finding that when consumers can see an unlimited number of movies, the films they end up seeing more of are the smaller-budget independent movies and documentaries. It’d be great to see these poignant and often-overlooked movies get the public recognition they deserve.

    MoonlightMoonlight, 2016

    What is the end-game for Moviepass, how will the data received help audiences get a better experience with entertainment in the future?
    There’s great value in data for companies like Facebook and Google — who host movie trailers. At this point in time, if you get a trailer right now for Spiderman on Facebook, Facebook can’t tell if you ever actually go to the movie. When we look at analyzed data from MoviePass — we can. We can tell if you look at ‘Spider-Man’ and look at ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Mission: Impossible,’ we can tell you exactly what movie you went to out of all three trailers. This data will be invaluable to trailer hosting sites, who can charge for that real estate. It’ll also be valuable to movie studios — who can use MoviePass data to do targeted marketing for films and related merchandise. Once MoviePass a that million-strong subscriber pool our ability to pack a theater will make that difference between hit or flop. Also to note: as stated in our 8-K filing, MoviePass will be holding an IPO in 2018.

    What can local clubs and movie-going organizations do to join in and make moviepass successful?

    We’ve been enjoying some great media attention following our pricing restructure and love hearing from enthusiastic consumers. Now that we’ve surpassed the 150,000 subscriber mark, we’ll be looking to continue this momentum as we move to file an IPO.

    Where can people go to learn more or sign up?
    For more information and to sign up, visit www.MoviePass.com

    TedFarnsworth The man himself, Ted Farnsworth

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    Yung Cheng Lin http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/yung-cheng-lin-2/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/yung-cheng-lin-2/#respond Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:44:03 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=121112 Yung Cheng Lin

    The raw and peculiar fine art photographer Yung Cheng Lin is Tainan, Taiwan based. He has a calming yet straight forward approach when it comes to contorting and distorting his viewers. Lin has been featured on Empty Kingdom numerous times and we also had an interview with him back in 2016.

    Yung Cheng Lin2

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    Yung Cheng Lin8

    Yung Cheng Lin9

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    Jacqueline Secor Interview http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/jacqueline-secor-interview/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/jacqueline-secor-interview/#comments Thu, 04 May 2017 17:24:14 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=120952 We got a chance to interview an up-and-coming artist we believe has a depth and potential to be a very positive force for women, their bodies, and for the art world in general. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jacqueline Secor. She is a mixed media artist inspired by primitive art. Secor was born in the historical Gold Rush town of Placerville, California and grew up in Pollock Pines at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Growing up in an area full of natural beauty and historical significance has given her an appreciation for nature and our past. Secor relocated to Utah in 2006, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Utah Valley University; she now resides in Salt Lake City.This is her interview.

    Please introduce yourself, who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?

    My name is Jacqueline Secor. I am a mixed media artist and nanny. I am from Pollock Pines, California, but currently reside in Salt Lake City, Utah. Right now, I am working on a series that focuses on the individuality and elemental power of the female body.

    What is your earliest memory pertaining to the creation of Art?

    My mom and dad married pretty young and started a family quickly. I am the youngest of five. We grew up in the woods and didn’t have a lot. I never had any real exposure to the art world. The only museums I went to as a child were mining museums.

    My dad was a woodshop supervisor at Folsom Prison, and later became a high school woodshop teacher. I spent a lot of time on the ground of his shop building things with wood scraps, sawdust, and wood glue. I was always drawn to my dad’s process of creation and fascinated by how he could take a piece of wood and turn it into something so useful and beautiful with his bare hands. Dad was a true artist in finding pieces of burl and using his lathe to create works of art with intricate and unique grains.

    I’ve always loved how it feels to create something. A work of art is an experience of the artist itself. My dad died when I was eleven, and I admire his creative legacy.





    What mediums do you work in and why?

    I work with watercolor, acrylic, chalk and discarded materials: old drawings, paper, or fabrics. My dad’s technique rooted me into my process today–without the loud and dangerous machinery–to take a medium and give it a whole new meaning within my work. I like the challenge of integrating delicate and heavy materials together.

    What about primitive art fascinates you, and what connection or lessons can modern artists take from primitive art?

    My brother was on a Mormon mission in New Zealand when my dad died. The church encouraged him to stay, so he did not attend the funeral in California. A friend of my family sent my mom, three sisters and me to New Zealand a year later to meet my brother at the end of his mission. The indigenous art I saw there was the first time that I realized art had meaning. I was drawn to how the most basic medium of all was the human body. Tattooing and scarification was a language; each telling a story of pain, endurance, identity, status, beauty, courage, sorrow or grief. How art connected past and present, the
    people to the land, and the supernatural with reality.

    From art history, I became interested in Prehistoric Art, especially the female figurines – it portrayed that society may have been more matriarchal rather than patriarchal. It also depicted worship to a supreme female earth deity.

    In my first art series, I painted whales and whale bellies. Inuit whalers portrayed primal woman and whale as one, offering themselves up as food to help the people survive, thus holding a special position of honor and respect. I like the repetition of the oval and feminine shape found in nature. The spirals represent the notion of growth, fertility, life, and death.

    Overall, I was able to relate to this art as a whole. Hopefully, one walks away with a renewed respect for the primal aspects of nature.

    How has growing up in the Sierra mountains informed your art by subject and/or practice.

    Growing up, I was surrounded by powerful women within the majestic Sierras. I want to portray my series with these two vital qualities: beauty and strength. Each piece celebrates the model’s individual strength, mood, and intensity within natural elements of the landscape.






    Where did you get the inspiration for your series “Diversity of Nature?”

    In Utah, there is a widespread, unspoken rule that women should conform to a very narrow definition of “perfection.” I felt some of that pressure to conform when I moved here from Northern California, and painting has helped me conquer that impulse. I want to artistically communicate the need to overcome a history of shame, misogyny and patriarchy.

    I choose to paint vulvae because the vulva symbolizes birth, where earth is the primary womb. Everything living emerges from the womb and returns to the earth in death. It was instinctive for me to reimagine vulvae with imagery of land and sea, which are elements of the natural world we are a part of. The survival of nature depends on diversity.

    What do you hope people get out of it?

    In order to start changing society’s norms as a whole, we have to start with ourselves.

    I hope my art can influence cultural attitudes to transform the way they see the female body – mostly the taboos surrounding genitalia. This series converts the vulva from object to subject.

    What responses have you gotten?

    On the positive, I have had women from all around the world: friends, family members, casual acquaintances, and total strangers contribute as models for my work. I’ve had many men and women contact me, some publicly and some privately, expressing gratitude for the way this series helped them to see beauty in each body.

    Some opponents of my work say it’s pornographic or sexual, but my art shows the diversity of the female form; whereas, the vulvae in porn tend to have one look. The “Diversity of Nature” pushes back against the photoshopped ideal of beauty. It’s a really unapologetic look at what is truly “normal.”

    Others have claimed to be body positive, but comment that the images look like “infected or dissected vaginas” and that they “just can’t look.” Obviously, these individuals are perpetuating the negative stigma. This attitude is a major reason why labiaplasty is an increasingly prevalent surgery to change the vulva’s appearance.

    A Utah arts magazine published an article stating that I “sketched” female genitalia and that my pieces, “lacked the risk of vulnerability on behalf of the artist that advancing equity asks of us.” I am not sure what that means, but my paintings are not sketches, and all art is vulnerable, especially considering the political turmoil women have endured are facing today!

    What did you learn about yourself after completing your series?

    This series helped me to reclaim my body, power, and voice which I had lost from living in an unhealthy environment. I became extremely self critical.

    Each piece reminds me of my embeddedness in nature and strengthens my bond with Mother Earth.

    What is next for you?

    I am a part of two upcoming shows in New

    The “SHE INSPIRES” Group Exhibition curated by Indira Cesarine at The Untitled Space Gallery. Opening Reception: May 2nd, 6-9pm and will be on view May 2nd –
    20th. See more info here.

    The “Recycle 2017” International Exhibition juried by Harriet Taub. This show runs from May 13th – June 18, 2017 at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists
    Coalition. More info here.

    Thank you Jacqueline for sharing, and everyone in the areas, check out her shows!
    (special thanks to Nathalie Levey as well for arranging the interview)









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    EK Podcast Interview: Embers & Dust http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-podcast-embers-and-dust/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-podcast-embers-and-dust/#respond Fri, 03 Feb 2017 20:20:43 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=120599 Just longer than 9 minutes, this short film takes the viewer back to the evening of October 30th, 1938 where Orson Welles’ voice was vibrating across radio waves, bringing word of an invading alien army from Mars. And although the audio was performed as a Halloween special called “War of the Worlds”, the theatricality and delivery of the performance, along with recent memories of the Hindenburg disaster a year before, sent many listeners into a panic. Nothing but a bad coincidence when Concrete, Washington experiences a blackout after a power transformer blows, sending the city and surrounding areas into darkness. 

    These circumstances are the backdrop of Embers & Dust; a passion project written and directed by Patrick Biesemans.
”Embers & Dust” is a dream turned reality for Beisemans when in April of 2016, Patrick’s treatment for the project won the Musicbed Annual Film Fund Initiative – giving him the ignition and support he needed to bring this ambitious project to fruition. The reward along with Patrick’s resources, accumulated through previous projects, gave him the opportunity to finally set out and craft this meditative love letter to imagination, creativity, and Orson Welles.

    Check out this exclusive Empty Kingdom podcast interview with Patrick as he walks you through his life and how Embers and Dust came about, and a longer in-depth roundtable interview with cinematographer David Kruta and star Henry Gagliardi!


    PATRICK: So I went to Expressions in Emeryville and that’s actually where the idea for “Embers” came from. A buddy of mine, classmate, named Ryan McCoy. He’s an amazing visual effects supervisor and he actually worked on “Embers” as well. He and I were in a class, a Media studies class, and we had learned about the the Orson Welles broadcast of War of The Worlds and we thought, “Wow this would be really cool to do a little short film on.” And short films in like 2003, 2004 weren’t quite what they are now. There was really no place to put them. There was no Vimeo. There’s no Short of the Week. There’s just basically no online outlet for them. And YouTube thinking came out right in 2005, which was the year we were graduating. So it wasn’t like there was no real community for it and the cheap digital filmmaking technology wasn’t there yet, either. I mean you had like Panasonic HVXs and things like that. And you could fudge the look of film a little bit, it wasn’t the big show that ended up coming from the birth of the HDSLRs and you know that the Canon 7Ds and the 5Ds and whatnot.

    DAVID: Patrick and I met on a commercial job for a well known hair product and we hit it off instantly. Beyond both of our obsessions with cooking (you should see our text history, it’s basically an ongoing cookbook), Patrick is a energetic and collaborative director who values the input of those around him, and can take ideas and make them better. Shooting commercials can get formulaic but he came in every day and tried to make the spot better than it was the day before. To not only have a vision but to also be open to what others bring to the table is a special quality in a director, so when he asked if I would like to join his no-money passion project I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

    HENRY: I met Patrick at a callback audition in NYC. My original audition for “Embers & Dust” was actually for a different film but a casting agent for that other film was also the casting director for “Embers…” and she thought I was a great fit for Patrick’s film so she requested that I film an audition for Patrick and she sent it to him. So, I didn’t know Patrick before but now I think of him as a friend and hope we get to work together again. I miss him.

    PATRICK: So I actually was able to fortunately get connected with an up-and-coming Casting Director, and she read the project and she really shepherd the whole process of actually casting. We had a lot of options and. And it really helps having somebody else such as a casting director be aware of, the temperament and attitude of the people who are casting and the right face for the job, you know?

    I directed a feature film a couple of years ago now and it was released earlier this year through The Orchard and it was a great experience. Working with the people who had written it and they produced it and ultimately they started it. They really used it as a vehicle to ignite their filmmaking careers. And I know that they got some interesting things going on. In fact I thought about working with them again because they had a script that I really enjoyed. But, as much as I enjoyed it and as good as a movie I think it can be, it wasn’t my voice. And I spent like the last couple of years really ignoring my voice, frankly ever since Nirvana, I’d kind of ignored my own artistic voice for the sake of just doing work.

    “Embers” was sort of the recalibration from what “Nirvana” left me with. And now I’m really cognizant of that. I’m really making an effort to… I don’t want to say keep the integrity because that almost alludes to the past projects not being worthy of that. But, definitely staying true to my voice.

    DAVID: This year I put an emphasis on pushing myself creatively and working with people that I like, and I was lucky enough to do 4 very rewarding projects, Embers being one of them. My focus in this film was to achieve a big budget, almost tentpole look and feel with very few resources. By that I mean wide, complex shots, coverage that felt like we had unlimited time to work on, camera movement that was dynamic and steady, and to avoid any sort of modern items, which is difficult on a period passion project. To me, the night exteriors were the most rewarding, mostly because we could not afford to light and shoot them like the blockbusters do.

    I really don’t have anything but praise for Patrick. He pulled off with flying colors something that many people can’t do at all. I got to see part of the development process, embodied in his office at his house in Cold Spring: a room covered in notes, storyboards, visual references, you name it. He believed in the film and that motivated me to also go above and beyond to try and make it happen for him. When someone pours their heart and soul into something, anything – that’s to be admired and encouraged. I think that’s what life is all about – following your passion and diving in head first.

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    MITCHELL: Henry, what was your approach to acting in the film?

    HENRY: My Dad and I talked a lot about the life of farm families in the 1930s because my Great Great Grandmother was from a farming family during those times and lived until 2009 when she was 104 so we knew a lot from her stories and experiences. I also listened to the entire “War of the Worlds” broadcast and thought a lot about what it might have been like for people to experience that thinking it was really happening. Additionally, Patrick asked me to watch “Spirited Away” and “The Iron Giant” to get a feeling of what mood he was looking for and that helped me a lot. Plus, I trusted Patrick and his directions to me while filming were great in helping me understand the character.

    MITCHELL: What was the character and what did he mean to you?

    HENRY: My character, Gene, was a young farm boy in the 1930s who grew up in a happy but hard life, a situation where he could not properly explore his imagination but as he got older, his imagination could no longer be restricted and especially because his teacher, Miss Leslie, inspired him to let his mind be more creative. Gene meant a lot to me because he reminded me of myself a little bit since he explores his imaginative side a lot and because he is a little afraid of where his imagination is leading him, into the woods and an unknown future. In real life, I am afraid of growing older and not being a kid any more but we both push through our fear to let what is going to happen happen anyway.

    _DSF8585 copy

    PATRICK: You know, I just happened to be able to pull together a great team that, they really.. They were people I’d worked with before in the commercial world and they just happened to end up being good friends and absolutely willing to take on the challenge with me. So you know I was already going in with a good foundation. And I think because I had them around I felt more comfortable about taking my vision from paper directly to screen. And that’s the first time I’ve ever really been able to do that. “Embers” started off as almost just a sentiment or emotion. And I didn’t even know what the story was, really. And I had worked with a couple different writers at various stages through these 10 years that I had wanted to do it just to explore it and nobody can really nail the script down just because it had become too narrative or it would explain things too much or it would be too clever. And, you know, a short film, it has the opportunity to be a poem.

    And frankly, there was part of me that was kind of worried about that, with “Embers” like, “Oh are people going to tune out because it’s not gimmicky enough or doesn’t have an immediate hook?” Because I think a lot of what’s online definitely has those things and it’s great. I mean we do kind of live in a commercial culture so people are kind of used to getting something right up front and understanding what they’re going to be settled in for for the next several minutes.



    MITCHELL: Regarding the film, it is very poetic and you mentioned the emotion that you had. What was that emotion? What were you hoping to convey to your audience?

    PATRICK: That’s a good question because I don’t think I’ve answered it the same way twice. Mainly because there’s so many mixed emotions going into it already. There’s the fear side of things. I’m not sure how much of that actually comes through but it was definitely one of the primary themes to begin with was fear. You know fear of the unknown, fear of approval, or disapproval of fear of… you know, this, that, and the other. And I think that’s what we were, or what I was trying to get out of the era. 1938 was a very fearful time and not to get too political, but the fear in the air wasn’t unlike what the fear in the air is now. At the time, a year before that broadcast had happened, the Hindenburg Disaster happened nearly a year, exactly, previous. So people knew what a horrific situation sounded like over the airwaves because they broadcast it and it’s actually a terrifying piece of audio of you’ve never been able to listen to it. Not War of the Worlds, but the Hindenburg Disaster. And you know also Hitler’s voice was being broadcast across the airwaves. Radio was still relatively new. So people used it as a way of scaring people and World War I, wasn’t that long ago and World War II was just on the horizon. And Dust Bowl years were in the same area, you know, the Depression. So fear was palpable and just depression in general.

    MITCHELL: Henry, what did the story mean to you?

    HENRY: I liked that I felt like Gene’s accepting of his imagination is like my accepting of getting older. The story was a lesson for me that sometimes even though you may not be sure if you want  certain things to happen in your life, it is sometimes best just to accept that you can’t stop time or progress and it’s best to just go with it openly rather than fight it.

    MITCHELL: What was it like working with Patrick?

    HENRY: It was a great adventure. He was so good at giving me time to have fun with the crew and having fun with me himself (he definitely is still a kid inside) but he also knew when it was time to focus and get the work done and I never wanted to disappoint him because of how much he was counting on me so I was always ready to get serious when he needed it, even super-late at night when I was exhausted.

    PATRICK: ..working with Henry, the kid who played Jean that kid had us basically on our toes, the whole time. Even at 1:00 in the morning. You know, he’d be joking with us and kind of just throwing some jabs out there just to keep people going and he was like ultimately entertaining and really focused when I asked him to be, you know, he’s a kid and the last thing you’d want to do is stifle a kid from being a kid when he’s supposed to be playing a kid you know? So it’s a very delicate balance. And he was right there with us, between takes like I said he’d be playing with people. And then when it was time to do business it was, “Hey Henry, let’s focus on this.” And he would, he’d turn on a dime and basically do anything that he could to make the take better and it was incredible working with him.

    DAVID: We try and keep it light. I find that a joke now and then makes people comfortable and happy, and that makes them feel like they’re a part of a team. Crew feels like they’re on the same side as us, and want to help achieve the goal. Problem solving becomes less frustrating, and even fun. So at the end of a long, hard day, with rain and lightning and bears, we can go have a drink with the crew and everyone feels like they’re a part of something special. Most of my closest friends I know from working long hours on set, and getting to know them as people. Patrick is no different; when we’re not actively working on a project, we talk about cooking and travel and his dogs. At some point it doesn’t even feel like work anymore, just a couple of people having a great time.

    MITCHELL: Patrick, did you have any rules or paradigms that directed the types of shots you had, or the types of camera movements, or the way that you moved in the space?

    PATRICK: Everything was storyboarded out every single frame. I never wanted the camera to feel nervous. I didn’t necessarily ever want a living camera. As I was mentioning earlier about the kind of the short films that are out there and the things that are available to watch right now, they have a shared vocabulary and that shared vocabulary, it’s great, but having a shaky cam or a living camera during a tense situation I feel like its a go to.

    MITCHELL: David, What was your approach to lighting the film?

    DAVID: The lighting for Embers was a balancing act. Since we had very little money for equipment, I had to pick lights that could be used in a variety of scenarios. For example, I couldn’t have a daylight HMI package, a tungsten package for night, and another package for our creature effect, so we went heavy on LEDs – ARRI SkyPanels and BBS Area 48 panels, for the most part. We supplemented with a handful of small HMI and tungsten units, always riding the edge of what our generator would allow. Creatively, we wanted Embers to feel natural, but with a bit of fantasy, so riding that line between real and “artistic” was a fun challenge the whole way through.

    The biggest challenge were the night exteriors when Gene is heading towards the creature. Patrick had already locked the location before I was involved, so on our scout he has us climbing down a steep ravine and traversing a creek. After falling in and coming out the other side soaking wet, he turns to me and says “This is it!”. Needless to say, the bigger units stayed at the top of the ravine, which actually gave the effect of using condors and balloon lights, but in reality it was just a few panels on stands. Our grip department rigged rope around trees to create a safer path down and we brought the bare minimum required to shoot in the ravine.  It was definitely a physically grueling shoot, but was worth every sore muscle and scraped knee.


    PATRICK: Filmmaking is often forgotten as being an art form. You know there is a person being an artist behind it. Because it blends into commerce so easily. And then you find yourself just kind of doing it because that’s the skill you have, but you’re not doing it to express yourself anymore. And I think, now that “Embers,” another passion project daydream come to life is out and about and I’m done with it. I know that the next big thing, the next feature film, has to be in that same vein it has to be and it has to be that same caring quality.


    MITCHELL: Thanks guys! And for everyone else, check out the podcast interview with Patrick to go in depth about his process and what it was like winning the Music Bed Film Initiative, and definitely watch the film itself, which is online.

    Embers & Dust from Patrick Biesemans on Vimeo.

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    EK Podcast: Jenny Suen Interview http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-podcast-jenny-suen-interview/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/ek-podcast-jenny-suen-interview/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 08:21:43 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=120384 EK_JS_MH

    Hello lovely listeners! today we have the pleasure of sitting down with Jenny Suen! She is a talented young director, producer, and artist hailing from Hong Kong! We talk about the nature of art, criticism, life, and the her collaborations with the famed cinematographer and artist Christopher Doyle! She is currently in pre-production for her first feature film and we talk about the lovely documentary film called Hong Kong Trilogy! It was a beautiful, philosophical, and honest interview and we are looking forward to her future work so stay tuned!

    Jenny Suen




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    ICON http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/icon/ http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/icon/#respond Thu, 03 Nov 2016 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.emptykingdom.com/?p=120347 ICON1

    ICON is a portrait series photographed by Evelyn Bencicova and Marek Wurfl who are both based out of Bratislava, Slovakia.














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