Just Leave Me Alone It’s Winter Break!

Elaine Pelz Art School, Getting Into College, High School, Parent/Educator, Student Resources, Visual Arts, Visual Arts 0 Comments

A Winter Break To-Do List for High School Visual Artists.

Here’s a December dilemma: Winter break is just around the corner. That long-awaited time to relax is almost here. Ideally you can sleep in, hang out with friends, spend time shopping, or just chill to Adele’s latest. Time for a well deserved respite from your responsibilities, right? Yes, and no. You deserve a break, no doubt. But I’d also suggest using your time wisely to strategize, plan and take action towards your artistic future in college.

Winter activities and deadlines will vary depending upon your current grade in high school. Here are some tips to help keep you focused:

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Carlos Nieto III Paints a Halloween Skull

Marshall Ayers Visual Arts

Want to get in the mood for Halloween? Enjoy this fast paint video by Carlos Nieto III.

In celebration of Halloween and Day of the Dead traditions, Carlos Nieto III did a fast paint of a spooky skull in his studio for Artzray. Carlos is an artist of Colombian roots born and raised in Los Angeles. Growing in the area of Silverlake/Echo Park, he was influenced by the mash-up of Central American and South American cultures.


Follow Artzray on:

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6 Back To School Tips For High School Artists

Elaine Pelz Getting Into College, High School, Practical Advice, Student Resources, Visual Arts, Visual Arts

August means back to school and getting caught up with friends you’ve missed over the summer.

If you are an artist it’s also about early morning studio classes and building your portfolio, in addition to the tests and homework. Instead of looking ahead with dread, consider making a plan to ensure you have the future you want and get the MOST out of high school.

Whether you’re a rising freshman or senior, it’s not too early to begin thinking about what your artistic future may look like. And it’s never too early to take steps towards making your dreams a reality. Are you an artist who wants to tell stories with your illustrations? Do you dream of designing residences or the next cool electronic device?

Making a plan, and acting on it while you’re still in high school is a great way to start down your dream path.

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Lear’s Shadow Premieres at Pasadena Film Festival

Marshall Ayers Events, Film, Performing Arts, Theatre

Known for their innovative work remixing and rearranging Shakespeare’s texts, the Ensemble Shakespeare Theatre Company has produced their first new independent film Lear’s Shadow which will premiere at the Pasadena International Film Festival this month.

The film puts audiences in the middle of a simple story of friendship and loss. The story begins in the days following an accident, as two good friends from a modern-day theater company cope with a shared loss and repair their troubled relationship. As the two friends navigate their grief and friendship, they turn their frustration with each other into an argument about Shakespeare’s King Lear, acting out scenes to prove their points. Lear’s Shadow is at its heart a story that suggests unflinchingly that the solution to many of life’s problems can be found in friendship and art.

“This is a very special production for us,” said director Brian Elerding “Not only because the subject matter is so close to home, but also because this film allows viewers to feel like they’re right there on stage with these incredible actors, with this incredible language.”

The film’s three stars, David Blue (“Eli Wallace” from Stargate: Universe, and “Cliff St. Paul” from Ugly Betty), Fred Cross (American Crime, Arrested Development, The Office), and newcomer Katie Peabody quickly pivot between Shakespeare’s original language and modern colloquial speech. Written and directed by Elerding, Lear’s Shadow features plenty of Shakespeare, but is accessible to both the Shakespeare fan and skeptic.

The film premieres this month on March 11 in the Pasadena International Film Festival which brings together filmmakers, artists, businesses, and the public for nine days filled with entertainment and education. Panels and workshops provide the general public with knowledge and culture, screenings provide entertainment, and business is generated as people mix and mingle after each screening, stopping into shops and stores, restaurants and lounges.

Director Brian Elerding works with actors during shooting of Lear’s Shadow.

Shakespeare serves less as source material and more as the setting for a simple but challenging contemporary story. The entire film takes place in real time, set in an actual theater rehearsal space in Pasadena, CA.

The Ensemble Shakespeare Company was founded in 2013 when its founders, a group of actors from television and film in Los Angeles, decided to get back to their theater roots. They started off with a simple mission: to stage Shakespeare’s works the way the actors had always wanted to see it done: with a focus on storytelling and character that leaves audiences wanting more.

“Lear’s Shadow” is made possible in part by the City of Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and by the Nancy E. Barton Foundation.


The Ensemble is dedicated to intimate, inspiring contemporary performances for all ages and backgrounds. Based in Pasadena, CA the Ensemble has taken a play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and partnered in performance for four seasons with Descanso Gardens. Lear’s Shadow is the Ensemble’s first feature film.

Starring: David Blue, Fred Cross and Katie Peabody

Directed by Brian Elerding

Produced by The Ensemble Shakespeare Theater

More information: www.learsshadow.com (film), or www.ensembleshakes.org (company)

FOLLOW Ensembleshakes on Facebook, Instagram and twitter


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Art + Science Align for Space Artist Estevan Guzman

Marshall Ayers Art, Artist Profiles, Illustration, Visual Arts

Estevan Mykhail Guzman is an artist and animator at the Griffith Observatory, in Los Angeles, CA who self-identifies as a “space artist”. With such high interest all over the country in astronomy due to the recent solar eclipse, we wanted to know how he came to have such an usual job and what got him into this line of creative endeavor. It’s also refreshing in the face of the current political anti-science rhetoric to hear from an artist who so clearly loves his work and deeply embraces the world of science.
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Middle School Rock Band Opens for Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt in NYC

Marshall Ayers High School, Music, Performing Arts

Guest post by Robert Moya

Call it a dream come true for The Fusion, a middle school rock band who will be traveling to New Your City to open for Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt, as part of the Little Kid’s Rock Benefit 2017 on October 18th at PlayStation Theater. The Fusion, formed a year ago from a modern band class at the Eliot Arts Magnet in the Pasadena Unified School District in southern California was one of only two student-bands from around the country selected to perform at the benefit. Little Kids Rock (LKR) is a non-profit organization based in Veron, NJ that trains public school educators, and donates all of the instruments, curricular resources, and support they need to make sure that their kids have the right to rock.

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Pro Tips for Young Dancers – 4 Things You Need to Know

Marshall Ayers Career Advice, Dance, Getting Started, Performing Arts

Featured photo by Tomasz Rosa, Bodytraffic

Guest Post by Jeff Slayton

Dance in Los Angeles is as diverse as the city’s population. It includes over 100 dance companies and over 300 dance artists ranging from ballet to hip hop. Since the early 1900s, California has trained a large majority of America’s dancers with its vast network of colleges and universities that offer degrees in Dance. Here are some tips to help young dancers navigate their early career choices.

Lula Washington DT Photo by Jon Deshler.

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Musical Activism: Who will be the Next Soundtrack of the Resistance?

Kate Harveston Music, Performing Arts


It’s not your imagination — music really is getting more interesting these days. You’ve probably noticed a resurgence of socially conscious and politically relevant music cutting through the usual noise about messy breakups and drinking culture. That stuff has its place, but in these frequently menacing times, they seem more and more like trifles.

That’s why we’re talking about musical activism today — and the established and emerging artists who are leading a kind of cultural renaissance in popular and arcane music. Musicians everywhere are writing songs of resistance now that America and much of the developed world is, for lack of a better word, under siege.

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YoungArts: More Than A Competition

Caribay Franke Opportunities, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Writing

Before my week spent observing the workshops and performances for winners of YoungArts Los Angeles, I knew of this program by reputation alone. I knew, for example, that it attracts some of the nation’s most promising young talent in the visual, literary, and performing arts. I also knew that after a week of master classes led by industry leaders, these emerging artists would then showcase their work and maybe win a scholarship while they’re at it.

What I didn’t know was that beyond the prestige of the competition and beyond the national acclaim, at its core, YoungArts is a community. It’s a professional network and a supportive family that can stay with you forever.

Work by YoungArts Winners: “Twisted” by Jordan Semprevivo / “Bleed Heroine” by Clara Collins / “Josh” by MaKara Blake

Behind the Scenes

My first clue about the impact of this community came when I was talking to Rebekah Lanae Lengel, Director of Artistic Programs. I had been asking her about the technical nitty-gritty when she mentioned that she was a YoungArts alum herself and was a finalist of the play writing division.
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