Lucia you are often known or referred to as Miss Lulu and the Teaspoon Shortage. How did you get this name?
It's actually pretty silly! When I was little my cousin came up with nonsensical spirit guide names for all of her friends and family, as a joke. My twin brother was deemed "Teaspoon Shortage" and I immediately wished it was mine, being a serious tea drinker even at a young age. Years later when I started MySpace and Flickr pages, I decided to steal the nickname. For some reason, it really stuck with people! Years ago I was actually asked if I'd consider opening for the band Phantom Planet, at a bar in Rhode Island, because the name gave people the impression that I was in a band! Now that photography has become more of a profession for me, and less of a hobby, I've been thinking I should shake the silly nickname. However, I do still use it for Flickr.
You have a Master of Fine Arts, what was it that made you put down your paintbrush and start photography- also, were you self taught?
I went to Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for undergrad studies, where I majored in illustration. Anyone who knows RISD knows it takes many sleepless nights filled with actual blood, sweat, and tears to earn your degree. NO JOKE! After RISD I went right on to grad school at New York Academy of Art, with only a summer break in between. By the end of my grad school studies I was completely burned out and I didn't want to even see a paintbrush or a pencil! I knew I needed to take some time off from the world of painting, but I still needed a creative outlet. Though I previously didn't have much interest in photography, or give photographers the credit they deserve, I decided to get a digital camera and started to experiment with some self-portraiture. Quickly, I realized how much I enjoyed taking photos and even more so, editing them! I considered it nothing more than a hobby, but was soon approached to take photos for pay. I was worried I wasn't going to deliver professional level photos because I am self-taught. However, as the hobby blossomed into a more serious calling, I realized I had the natural ability to take good pictures and the fact I hadn't studied photography in school did not seem to affect my skill level.
How did you get your break as a photographer to be reckoned with?
That is too generous! I guess I'd say the first "break" for me was when my friend, Nicole Atkins (an established singer/songwriter) asked me if I would take her picture for the cover of a local music magazine. After the success of the magazine cover, I did a few more photos for Nicole that were used for her site, as well as for a few online articles. Then, Butch Walker, an amazing musician/producer who loved the photos I did for Nicole, asked if I was available to take some photos of him for his upcoming album. I was REALLY nervous because it was the first shoot for a stranger, who was even flying cross-country to work with me. The shoot went incredibly well and I was soon contacted by his management to do photos for other artists. In the meantime, I gained a bit of an online following via MySpace and Flickr because of my self-portraiture. I began receiving requests to do lookbooks, where I modeled the clothing myself, and then eventually to photograph other models.You are well known for your self-portraits, often having vintage backdrops, many boasting a macabre, yet whimsical feel. I have seen bloggers try to imitate your work! Where do you find your inspiration?
The main sources of inspiration for me are classic books, films, retro magazines and vintage photographs. I love symmetry, anything kitsch, saturated colors and pretty much anything and everything strange and unusual. That's probably why I have an obsession with directors like Wes Anderson, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Hitchcock, Polanski and classic Tim Burton (you know, from the Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands years).
Many more narrative photographs have been greatly inspired by books and poems as well. Authors and poets such as J.D. Salinger, The Bronte Sisters, Jane Austin, Sylvia Plath, and T.S. Eliot, to name a few, have served as major influences to me when it comes to my personal photography.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
If we are talking about photographers, I have several that I absolutely love and greatly admire: Cindy Sherman, for her gutsy exploration of female self-portraiture and bizarre concepts, Francesca Woodman, another female self-portrait photographer who, in her brief 22 years, captured the obscure and beautifully dark side of herself, and women in general, Philip Lorca diCorcia and Gregory Crewdson, for their wonderfully surreal and dream-like lighting and elaborately staged scenes, Holly Andres for her strong narratives and saturated colors and Alex Prager for her retro and kitsch, storyline visuals. As I've become increasingly interested in film photography, I've added some new favorites such as Ellen Rogers, who explores lost art of analog photography.
What are some of your favorite things to shoot?
People, people, people! I love to shoot human beings, particularly women. I love the aesthetics for the female form. I also love creating images that have some sort of storyline to them. I tend to think of photographs as film stills, or the visual translation of a passage from a book. I think of the people in my photographs as characters in my own personal stories. Even when I'm shooting for fun, or just messing around on Instagram, you'll find a woman in the shot most of the time! Unless, Roger, my beagle, is around. He usually takes precedent over anything else, as he is such an amazing model!
You also have produced some music videos for the likes of Nicole Atkins and Butch Walker, whom you mentioned before. How did you get into video production, and do you have any projects coming up soon?
Both Butch and Nicole have been good friends of mine for a while now and are huge supporters of my photography. When Butch was in town a few years back for a show, he wanted to do a simple music video for his latest single, and because we worked so well together and because he was pleased with the photos I took of him, he asked if I would be interested in creative directing the video. I was again, a bit hesitant and nervous as I had NO experience in video production, but decided to go for it. I learned a lot from that video, which was co-directed by my best friend, Roy LaManna of Trendsetter Media, and co-creative directed by Mandy Bisesti. A few years later, and after many successful shoots with Nicole, Razor and Tie hired Mandy and I, along with our friend Joe Jennings, to direct a series of promotional videos for her new album. It was a lot of work, but it was also really rewarding. We had a very small budget, but with the help of many wonderful and talented people, we were able to create several videos for Nicole, including one for her single "Vultures", which premiered on the front page of VEVO.
Recently, I have felt the desire to experiment in the world of video again, and have plans for a few personal projects over the summer. I'm aiming to film a bit and possibly learn how to use some video editing programs.
If you could visit any place in the world right now, where would you go?
Anyone who knows me personally knows I am extremely fearful of flying! It has hindered me as an artist, as I've spent the majority of my life looking at pictures of places I want to go and art I want to see, rather than being able to see it all in real life. I've always wanted to travel, particularly to the UK, France, and Italy. A few years ago, I semi-conquered my fear and I’m very excited to be traveling to France and England in September 2013. If I have it my way, you'll find me at Versailles and Highclere Castle (the real Downton Abbey, yes, I know I'm a nerd).
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I never know how to answer this question because it always changes! Hopefully I’ll have great success as a photographer and possibly in other artistic ventures!
You are a very stylish girl, what would we find if we looked in your closet?
First, you would find about 200 things that I've purchased, but never actually worn. I have somewhat of a problem where I buy beautiful items, that I know I'll probably never wear. Most are just in case I need them for photos! I love vintage clothing, mainly from the ‘60s and ‘70s, so a lot of my haul revolves around bell-bottoms, overalls, mini dresses, and Gunne Sax pieces. I also love modern clothing that's inspired by vintage stuff. My latest kick, which has replaced my velvet obsession of 2012, revolves around white, lightweight dresses (think Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona) and oversized, bell-sleeved tops. Because I am a shrimp, you will rarely find me in flats, unless they are my Harley boots. Also, I’m not going to lie, I have a strange fascination with swimwear that has words on it, this year!
Biggest guilty pleasure?
Doughnuts, 90210 reruns, and my Glee station on Pandora… or maybe that would be the Hall & Oats station…
What's on your iPod playlist right now?
Tame Impala, Daft Punk, and some serious yacht rock… you know, because it's almost summer!
Favorite Gypsy Warrior item?
That's a tough call! My more recent faves are the Pentagram Leggings, Black Craft Seance Tank, Jac Vanek "Let's Get Weird" Tee, and the Jax Harness Boots.
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