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FOR ART'S SAKE: Changing Perception

An interview with Lori Apthorp By Carolyn Stampeen
FOR ART'S SAKE How can we change the perception of what contemporary art is really all about? Lori Apthorp, of the Pixel Corps "Create a Show Pilot" competition, comes up with a winning idea. An interview with Lori Apthorp by Carolyn Stampeen finds out some of the answers.

The Pixel Corps teamed up with ON Networks to find talent to create a new show which would shine a light on modern and contemporary art. The Competitive Challenge: Create a Show Pilot challenged members to come up with 2 short format episodes plus a promo. After due deliberation of all the submissions, the winner was declared to be... Lori Apthorp! Lori won a $5000 cash prize, as well as a contract from ON Networks to produce a season of episodes based on the show pilot.

I had the opportunity to talk with Lori about the challenge experience, what started her on this road and what may lie ahead.

CS: Lori, tell us a bit about your background?

Lori: Basically, I started out in Graphic Design. I got a BA from California State University Northridge (1981). I worked in graphic design and publishing, then went into Industrial Design. I got a BS in Product Design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California (1988). I worked as a shoe designer, 2.5 years, for LA Gear (1991-1993) and 2.5 years for K Swiss (1994-97) designing athletic and casual footwear. After that, I learned Motion Graphics/ Compositing while interning at Stargate Studios and Novocom (1997). Around that time, I got into doing Animatics for Commercials with a small company called BrainForest. They have been my main employer for the last 10 years, off and on.

CS: What's your experience with podcasting?

Lori: I have been listening/watching podcasts for quite some time. I learned about them when Leo Laporte first mentioned them on his radio show here in LA. That was before he started making podcasts. I really love the format.

CS: What's your production experience in general?

Lori: As a person who creates animatics, I take a script or storyboard and see if the idea will really work for the 30 sec. commercial. We make a test commercial using photos, drawings, special effects, animation and sound. I get to edit the piece, add camera movement, retouch drawings, do photo collage (creating backgrounds from many different pieces to make it look like they all belong together), change expression or talk, create rough voice over audio tracks... whatever it takes to simulate what the final commercial would be like. It is meant as a tool for refining the design of a commercial.

CS: What made you decide to enter the ON Networks competition?

Lori: I had already joined the Podcasters Team and attended the Gear Media Tech Conference. I was very interested in learning how to do video/audio podcasts. And when I discovered they wanted an Art related show produced, I felt I had something to say on the subject and enough talented people in my circle of friends and acquaintances to get some interesting interviews.

Photo by Stephen Reip

From left to right: Brian Apthorp, Comic Book Artist, Los Angeles, California, and Interviewer for these episodes... John Frame, sculptor, Wrightwood, California (episode #001)... Lori Apthorp, creator of For Art's Sake

CS: How did you approach this project?

Lori: I felt that Modern Art has become kind of a joke to people in this country. Too many people trying to get attention for doing wildly "original art". It has become a joke in many people's eyes. But there are many artists that are expressing things that are easy to grasp, in more traditional forms. Here is where we can change the perception of what contemporary art is and educate people on how Art can enrich their lives. It seemed a little intimidating to undertake such a project when I had no experience with shooting professional-looking video and sound. I actually thought it was a little crazy to try... but something inside me really felt it was the right time to do this kind of thing. So I just started designing the animation for the beginning, while researching equipment and techniques, and scheduling the shoots. I needed time to buy and try the equipment out before going out on location and shooting the interviews. My husband was my guinea pig. He also became the interviewer. I tried to leave a good week and a half at the end for editing and post production.

CS: How did you come up with the ideas for the look of the show and which artists to approach?

Lori: I know many artists and have heard many conversations concerning Art. I just felt that I would try to go for the deeper, more meaningful subject matter that people rarely ask artists on television. So, I wanted really professional interview set-ups, with close-up views of the artwork. I originally wanted to emphasize the angle that all these people know each other and are linked together in a community, but the short form of the episodes didn't leave enough time to do it gracefully without losing too much content.

Peter Zokosky,painter, teacher, Signal Hill, California (episode #002)

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