Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Artist Spotlight: NOA AZOULAY

Noa is a rad lady that I recently met and instantly fell in love with. An established photographer, her own photography company (Feather Love Photography), an upcoming show April 9th at the Tin Can... I had a lovely interview with this lady the other day.

MAGIC BROTHERHOOD: Noa, you are an amazingly talented photographer. How did you get your start taking pictures?
NOA AZOULAY: Thank you for the kind words. I grew up surrounded by it. My dad was a photographer for most of my childhood. We had a dark room at home and I was always so intrigued with the entire process. Watching someone love something like that makes you want that experience too. His best friend was this amazing Russian weirdo stoner photographer, and the esoteric conversations they used to have were so fascinating. I think I saw the connection between being an artist and those philosophical, metaphysical, and other strange subjects and I became captivated with all that and have been ever since. I’m really not very into technical or “correct” photography per se in regards to focus, crop, correct exposure etc.
I feel that most of the work I see out there that really speaks to me generally breaks most photographic rules, hitting those other layers that I am so into- as I like to say: give me a choice between Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus, and I’m going with Arbus… My father started to teach me about photography and bought me my first camera when I was 11 years old. I still shoot on it, and in fact many of the photos that will be at the show were shot on that same camera.

MB: Tell us a little bit about your life growing up.
NA: I’m a Sabra (born in Israel) and we immigrated to South Africa when I was 4 years old where I had to quickly learn how to speak English. I always had an intense connection with animals, which we had many of. My sister used to say that on the farm we lived on, when they couldn’t find me anywhere, they would go look in the dog bed where I would be cuddled up with some lovely creature.

Photo by dad on our farm in S. Africa
I moved to the states on my own when I was 15 after a terrible, yet heavily life-altering acid trip, to attend this amazing hippie global consciousness school in New Mexico. We did tons of meditating and walking on fire and standing on ice and past-life regressions and running around naked and stuff like that.
Chris Griscom & The Nizhoni School - Photo credit: unknown
I lived with people from all over the world who are still my friends and anytime I go to Europe there’s always someone there that offers a place to stay, even if we haven’t seen each other in 20 years. It’s really beautiful. I had also attended another international boarding school in South Africa and have the same connections through that until this day.
I was in that school in Santa Fe for a year then moved back to South Africa, but within a few months moved back (ran away) to the states with my family- It was a terribly scary and violent time in that country then. Right after Mandela was released from prison, the “New South Africa”, and the entire government changed and everything was so dangerous, people could barely leave their homes. Our house got shot up by machine guns and well, anyways, we had to bail on that so we moved back to Santa Fe, (which has been my home 3 different times so far in my life). I moved to San Diego when I was 19. I haven’t been back to Africa since we left.

MB: Who or what inspires you?
NA: Most recently, artist/icon/fiery soul Vali Myers has been a huge source of inspiration. I’m reading the biography written about her, written by her lover of 30 years, and the synchronicities between her and I are blowing my mind. Especially the relationship she had with her wild fox/animal familiar “Foxy” – known as the “beloved daughter of Vali Myers”. I had a relationship like that with a beautiful black cat named Russia for 17 years- the love of my life- who died on December 2nd 2011.
Vali’s philosophies on life, her unique style, her quotes and ideas, her incredibly beautiful work, and her fierce spirit both inspire me and connect with me deeply. I feel so much in common with her. “She believed that an artist should never have [human] children, especially a female artist, who should give all their heart’s blood and spirit to her work”. And apparently, she also really loved getting her ass rubbed.  
Another huge source of inspiration to me over the past couple of years has been Larry Moss, one of the top acting coaches in the world, and I have attended 2 of his intensive workshops in LA as an auditor. He truly deeply understands and loves artists more than anyone I have ever been around.

Besides that, there isn’t much that doesn’t inspire me- I’m fortunate enough to know so many beautiful artists, actors & musicians.

This is a little video I shot of Tim & Nicki Bluhm during a photo session I did of them at my home for their Duets album:

Much of my work is heavily inspired by the esoteric, occult, metaphysical, psychedelic, and nature/universal law.

MB: Are there any creative endeavors you would like to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven't yet?
NA: I have made one short experimental art film:
The Alchemical Poisoning Of Magus Sherwood (featuring music by, & starring members of, ASTRA):

The Alchemical Poisoning Of Magus Sherwood from Noa Azoulay-Sclater on Vimeo.
I would love to make a full feature one day. I have also played music in several different projects over the years and haven’t really had the time to dedicate myself to it for a while. I miss it immensely, so I would love to eventually dabble in that again. I’m not very good at either of those things but I still love them. Acting is definitely the art form I hold at highest regard and is simultaneously my biggest fear. I haven’t done much of it but it would be incredible to be able to study and pursue that one day.  
 The most ultimately creative thing to do is travel, and I do that as well and as often as possible.
MB: I'm so excited about your upcoming show April 9th at Tin Can, which will feature some of your latest work! What can we expect to see at this show?
NA: Absolutely my most personal work yet. Mostly featuring images I haven’t shared yet that I have shot over the past year or so, since my entire life has changed drastically, in every way. I’m still making the selections, which may be a combination of some older work as well as the new work. Expect some portraiture shot on film- a study of myself through other people, people who have profoundly influenced my life as of late- friends, lovers, beautiful muses. Each one of them has changed me or inspired me in one way or another. I guess if I had to title this show, I would title it: MUSE.
MB: Any projects we can look forward to in the near future?
NA: Yes. Except for I don’t know what they are yet.

MB: Thanks so much for sharing with Magic Brotherhood, and can't wait to see you and your work at Tin Can Tuesday April 9th!!
NA: I am truly, deeply so honored to be a part of this. Thank you! I’m beyond excited.

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