Sunday, December 1, 2013

Luis A. Lopez

Name: Luis A. Lopez

What do you do?
I write and make film.

Where can we find your work?

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
Art is the most important thing in the world. It’s more than a communication of emotion and experience, it’s a conduit between people which is vital to human culture. It’s extremely powerful and necessary. And to me, this is where the inspiration lies.
I want to learn and share. I want to participate in the dialog between the artist and audience. The dialog between humans. It’s the only fulfilling human experience I know. It stands above emotion, and says, here, look at this, touch this, feel this, experience this with me, this is my story, it proves my existence and yours.
Humanity is a strange and special thing. It’s an experience no one has yet to figure out. It’s the greatest puzzle there is. Look at the world; violence and atrocity rule the news, everyone’s killing, weekend wars, drones, famine, religious wars, power grabs for oil, banks collapsing the economy, PRISM, etc… it’s horrid. This also has to serve to inspire and motivate.
It’s up to artists all over the world to capture and share these stories - capture the reality of their lives and speak for themselves and the voiceless. We can’t count on traditional journalism anymore, it’s all bought and paid for by the handful of large media companies. One spray painted wall can tell a better story of what’s happening in that area at that time then all the newscasts in the world. True art tells the truth.
And there’s the other side as well, the small beauties of life that get us through, the special moments, love and tenderness, wishing, wondering, dreaming: these are all important things to share as well.
Without art, without shared stories, we can’t grow as people.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?  
It’s all important. For the artist it’s a bit like a birth. After careful nurturing once it’s out and on its legs there’s nothing left to do, it becomes a different animal for different people as they experience it. However, it’s not always intent. A poem that I write for me explaining one experience, can mean something completely different to someone else. But still relevant to both.

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
I could list a slew of artists that have stayed with me over the years, or specific poems or films. But I’m more inclined to get inspiration from regular day to day activities, the things I see on my own path: Broken things. Useful things.
I get inspired by artists that show me things I’ve never seen. Or reveal to me an emotion in a way I wasn’t expecting. I saw a silent short film the other day, it was 1 minute long, and it was one of the most powerful things I’ve seen. Completely unexpected. And it’s going to stay with me for a while.
I also get inspired by perseverance. People that don’t give up what they know to be true. People that don’t throw in the towel at the slightest scare. People that stand up for themselves and for those they care about. There’s a certain protection in art, it shields and helps understanding.

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
Taran, assistant pig-keeper

When do you get your best ideas?
The best ideas usually come while driving. I don’t know the process that others use to write, but for me what works best is having the story worked out in my mind already. I’m literally writing all the time in my head, putting the story together and playing with ideas. Then when it’s time, I put it to paper. I’m not the sort of person that sits every day at the keyboard at a scheduled time and forces the writing. For me, the keyboard is just the final execution component.
Whenever I’m stuck on a story or poem or whatever it is, I drive. Usually over Hwy. 17 to the ocean. Then I write while sitting on the rocks overlooking the water. There’s something about the sound of the ocean that helps free up thoughts and dream.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
Laptops and Film equipment.
Books. Always books.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
For the poetry, I am self-taught. For the film work, formally educated.
It’s interesting because I’ve been writing poetry and short stories since I can remember. I won my first short story writing award at 12 or 13. It’s always been a huge part of who I am. I believe that poets are born not made, so it’s not something that I ever thought twice about. Growing up, I read every poet I could get my hands on, and still do. I devour poetry. So to say that I’m self-taught on the poetry is a bit skewed; I’ve learned from the greatest poets.
In a blurb for my first book, Jimmy Santiago Baca said that I “cut through the lukewarm room-temperature poets of our times”, and it blew me away. I’ve never taken a poetry class. And because of that, I think it has allowed for me to try new things, to not be afraid to break rules, and allows the passion to fly true. I also think it made me study a bit harder. Following my own path allows me to see the poetry with my eyes, to touch the words with my soul and not through someone else’s. I am so close to the art form it feels like an extension of me, another limb. I don’t fear a grade on my poetry, it stands on its own and answers to no one but the reader, and that’s between them.
For the film work, I thought it would be presumptuous to think I could just become a Director overnight. Film is a craft that I knew I needed guidance and mentorship for. It is a huge undertaking, and you can’t ever lose respect for that. I took the time to go to film school because I felt it was important. I didn’t want to cheat myself or cheat the story simply because I wasn’t exposed to a certain film concept or method. I want to understand every tool.
I’m just embarking on the film career, so we’ll see how it fares. But it’s a craft that I’d like to master as I go forward. It’s one of the most important mediums known to man. It touches everyone.

What would your creative work taste like?

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
Reading and music are two of the most important things to me. They keep me whole.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience? 
There’s a poem by Bukowski called, “So you want to be a writer?” and another poem by Neruda called, “Poetry”. The poems are very similar to me and very profound in regards to this question. They explain it much better than I can: 

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures? 
At the end of the day, all art forms are really one and the same. It’s all poetic in some sense. Find the poetry in your art, and don’t be afraid to look for it. Life is dirty and tough and mean and beautiful and breathtaking and so many other things. Take them all in and be true to them all. Don’t be afraid of yourself. Your experiences and laughter and joy and pain are no different than anybody else’s. Don’t ever question your validity in this world.