Sunday, November 25, 2012

Alicia Rice

Name:  Alicia Rice
See below

What do you do?
I am an artist!  But I mainly use documentary as my form of expression, as it combines two of my favorite things: working for change and film.  I really like to take pictures of the non-moving variety, too.

Where can we find your work?

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
I am inspired to create because I have the ability to tell someone’s story when they might not be able to tell it themselves. As far as when things get tough, I was thinking about this just last night.  I have been working on my current project for about a year, and have been here in Thailand for the last 4 months.  Though I’ve been blessed with support from many people, I’ve had to work alone for much of this time.  Add in working in a different culture and health issues, and it’s gotten very tough. But, last night, I went and visited one of the slum community members who has been helping me.  He was someone faced with the threat of having his home away from him, and through that, has grown into an activist and community organizer.  He is generous with both his time and money.  And he has so much excitement when he starts to talk about people’s movements in Thailand.  When times get tough, I look at people like him.  This is a man who has faced more hardship that I’ve ever had and has not just survived, but flourished.  Yes, things can be difficult for me and my work.  But, I don’t do this work for me.  I do this work for people like him.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?  
I want my work to help promote learning and create understanding.  Because of that, the end product is pretty important.  Without it, there wouldn’t be any way to reach others about stories and issues that people might not know much about. However, personally, the process is so amazingly important.  Being an introvert, going out and making connections is not something that I am drawn to do.  Making documentaries forces me out of my comfort zone, which is the best place to be.  It’s the place where the most growth can happen.  Without documentary, my ability to challenge myself is lessened.  

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
The seemingly mundane, photographs that can make me cry, people who love me despite my faults, those who can overcome, Michael Whalen and Dorothy Fadiman, great documentaries and the people and stories I film! This might be a really cheesy thing to say, but doesn’t everything influence and inspire us?

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
Buddy Glass!

When do you get your best ideas?
I get my best ideas when I’m with the people I’m filming.  I always get a rush of inspiration after I go out into the field and am able to see and hear what’s going on.  Sitting around and talking just doesn’t motivate me (though it doesn’t stop me from doing it).

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
For me, what I use isn’t very important.  Powerful stories can be captured from any kind of device.  While it’s nice to have shots that are beautiful, it means far more to me to have something that can grab at you and make you feel something.  I’m personally not using film as a way to make pretty pictures (though it is a plus), but using it as a tool to help others experience things they might not get to otherwise.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
My university had a very small video production emphasis, of which I took every class I could.  We got to watch films and talk about them, learn about the basics, and create our own films.  I’m very grateful for having that opportunity. At the same time, everyone’s self-taught if you think about it.  You can learn about techniques in a book or a classroom, but in the end you’re the one who’s shaping your learning.  I think that’s especially true with art.  Every time you create, you’re teaching yourself.

What would your creative work taste like?
I think that it would taste like mashed potatoes and boiled chicken feet.  On the one side of the plate, you’ve got a comfort food that makes you feel nice.  On the other side, you’ve got something new and different that makes you uncomfortable, but isn’t too bad once you try it.

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
 For the past year, nearly all of my thoughts have been on this project here in Thailand.  I don’t think I really stop thinking about it, even when I’m not actively creating it.  So, get back to me in a few months.

 How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
It took me a really long time to call myself an artist.  I resisted in for a long time, feeling like I had to somehow earn the title .In high school, I would watch the KQED local art program Spark! often.  They highlighted dancers, writers, painters, photographers, and everyone in between.  The diversity of the work these people did was truly inspiring.  It dawned on me that art isn’t any one specific thing, something my teenage mind had yet to grasp.  And, well, I’ve been an artist ever since!

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures? 
Failure is your friend, even though it might feel like they’re stabbing you in the back all of the time.

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