dogs

SHAPERS / / / JESS RONA

If you've never witnessed the glory and gorgeousness that is a well-coiffed, slow-mo Los Angeles pooch on the grooming table of Jess Rona, your life needs a dose of this magic right now. Justin Bieber, Kurt Vile, Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Beyonce, Simon and Garfunkel, Bowie, and a boatload of obscure LA-based indie pop bands, provide the soundtrack to 20-second videos of Rona's canine clients being blown out, lathered up, or just throwing some serious shade to the camera. As an actress, writer, singer, and super funny woman, Jess is on Funny or Die on the regular, currently is putting together a photography book, writing a pilot somewhat based on her life in LA as a dog groomer, and has, along the way, amassed a staggering 106,000 followers on her @jessronagrooming Instagram

Needless to say, we were stoked to have her on board for a SHAPERS Q+A interview! Thanks so much, Jess! You're pretty awesome. 

xx - Rebecca

Your personality and humor definitely shine through in your videos and you brilliantly capture the quirkiness of each dog’s personality with your chosen musical accompaniment. As an actor and comedian who now has a thriving dog grooming business and over 100,000 followers on Instagram, do you find your creative pursuits overlap and if so, how?

Wow what a great question! Yes! It's happening more now than it ever has. I recently got to teach Eric Stonestreet how to groom a dog, I made a video for The Standard Hotel, directed a music video for Tegan and Sara (which was the coolest thing I've ever done), I did a segment for Groomer to Groomer TV making a grooming demo, and I'm working on an original pilot with my creative partner Sammi Cohen about a groomer (if you're a fancy person reading this, buy my pilot and throw money at me so I can make it thanks!)

I watched your hilarious “Love Song” video featuring you and Jason Ritter and laughed out loud at your psuedo homage to the film “Misery.” Tell us a little bit about making this video.

I asked Sammi Cohen if she'd want to direct another music video with me (she also co-directed my first video "Oh Shit We Forgot About Jess Rona" with Milana Vayntrub). She story-boarded it out, came up with the concept and made it happen. We took over my friend's house for the day, and secretly filmed a few scenes in Griffith Park. I was in full make up with a basket of apples among the hikers who were staring at me. It was a lot of fun. We had a look-out in case the ranger came. But it went smoothly! I asked Jason Ritter on a whim thinking he'd be too busy (he's good buddies with my husband Eric Edelstein) and he actually said yes. It was amazing to work with him. His expressions in the video are priceless. He definitely makes the video.


What kind of surprises has this business brought you, personally and professionally?

The whole instagram success is a surprise. People's reaction to me when they meet me is a surprise and I don't quite know how to handle it. I had a girl grab my arm and cry when she found out I was the one who made these videos. 

I only started making the videos cause I was going stir crazy in my garage. I needed to create, I needed an outlet. My friends were out auditioning all the time, booking jobs and traveling and I was antsy. I kept my grooming a secret for a long time because I only wanted to be known as an actress. Now I'm known as a bunch of different things (actress, comedian, groomer, director, musician, hottest girl on the planet) and I'm embracing it. 

 

If you could have breakfast with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And what would you order? 

This question is TOO HARD. I have so many that come to mind. (Larry David, Allison Jones, Katherine Hahn,Tony Robbins, Lena Dunham, Oprah, Jill Soloway, Obama, Bette Midler, Pema Chodron! - you ask the best questions by the way.) 

I'm gonna say Julia Louis-Dreyfus because I recently had a vivid dream about her where she was on a huge [cruise line size] boat and I was in the ocean and she saved me. I feel like we're going to work together one day.  

I would order my go-to breakky: Eggs over easy on a bed of breakfast potatoes with avocado, sautéed greens and carmelized onions, and coffee with homemade almond milk. 

Describe in one word each of these dog breeds:

Pug: Snorty
Bichon: Poofy
Jack Russell Terrier: Spazzy
German Shepherd: Sniffy
Standard Poodle: Elegant
English Bulldog: Stinky
If you put all those words together, 
you'll have the name of my next book. (jk!)

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
I'm a night owl, but my schedule makes me a morning person.


What's currently on your bedside table?
A lamp, ear plugs, phone charger, candle.


Favorite song to get down to? "Helpless" by Poindexter off the Kitsuné America album. 
Favorite song to cry with? "In my Life" The Beatles
Favorite song to relax with? "Oh Honey" by Delegation
(These are just ones I picked because I have 100 favorites per question)

*Lily Spindle’s SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity in what they do. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series.

 

 

 

 

Mid-Mod JT Getaway

When you've got more dogs than humans in your house, it's a massive undertaking to take them with you on a road trip. And my man and I LOVE a good road trip. A few years back, when we were 50% less dog, we traveled for days with Lucie and Fred in tow, stopping off to visit friends (and drink amazing, smoky, dangerously delicious mezcal made by Ron Cooper) in Taos and Sante Fe, taking our time on long, aimless walks with the dogs, watching them frolic in their first (and only) snowfall, running into Paul Ruscha serendipitously and having an incredible brunch with him the next morning. 

Since we've doubled our in-house rescue dog population, it's been a challenge to take our knuckleheads with us on trips in the 4-Runner. We're also fairly picky in where we'd like to stay (I cannot abide wall-to-wall carpeting, bedskirt ruffles, or pink carnation wallpaper -- and, yes, these things continue to exist in the 21st century) and we don't want to put the dogs through an epic trip wherein most of the time is spent in the truck, en route. And so, we head to JOSHUA TREE! A mere two-hour drive to arrive at the quiet, calm, and transcendent beauty of the desert. There's nothing quite like it and I've been mad for the desert since my first introduction to it eight years ago. 

In serious need of this getaway weekend, we managed to, by nothing short of a miracle, find an incredible, mid-century modern ranch house on AirBnb that accepted dogs (!!) and had fenced in acreage (!!) and could fit our three-day stay into their booking schedule (!!). We were psyched, and even more psyched upon arrival. Not only were our hosts, Colleena and Nathan, two of the nicest humans I've ever met, but they were super cool, to boot. The ranch's record collection included Love and Rockets, REM, the Rolling Stones, Donovan, the Killers, Chrissie Hynde, David Bowie, and more. We played records while making lunch, eating dinner, and pretty much every moment we weren't just sitting outside on the patio, breathing deeply, reading the paper, and watching our pups romp gleefully and safely within the sandy confines of the fenced yard.

Donut, taking a load off after many, many hours worth of sun and sand-filled fun. 

Donut, taking a load off after many, many hours worth of sun and sand-filled fun. 

The wonderfully designed, super comfortable and dog-friendly house is just a few minutes from Noah Purifoy's Outdoor Art Museum (now returned to the desert since its LACMA exhibition earlier this year) and a hop, skip, and a jump from Yucca Valley's hip shops and restaurants. We were in seventh heaven. As were the dogs, who managed to have so much damn fun that they were falling asleep sitting up (photo evidence included in this post. see below.). 

Frederick: TOO....MUCH...FUN....zzzzzzzz

Frederick: TOO....MUCH...FUN....zzzzzzzz

Heads up, all my design-loving and dog-adoring friends! Check out this magnificent spot in the magical, restorative high desert. Go. Relax. Romp. Nap. Eat. Stroll. Boogie. Breathe. Get outta the city and into the ineffable quiet of endless sands and yucca trees. It'll do your soul some good. And at the very least, you'll finish that book you've been reading. 

xx, 
Rebecca

Exploring Noah Purifoy's Outdoor Art Museum for the second time in several years. Incredible sculptures from a restless and imaginative mind...

Exploring Noah Purifoy's Outdoor Art Museum for the second time in several years. Incredible sculptures from a restless and imaginative mind...

Colleena's creating this mosaic masterpiece on the exterior wall of the recording studio, which looks onto the backside of the main house. 

Colleena's creating this mosaic masterpiece on the exterior wall of the recording studio, which looks onto the backside of the main house. 

Hello, new year

Donut, Greta, Fred, + Lucie wishing you a healthy + creative + fun + beautiful 2016.

Donut, Greta, Fred, + Lucie wishing you a healthy + creative + fun + beautiful 2016.

It's 2016!

My husband and I stayed in last night, of course, as so many of us with animals do on these bacchanalian holidays, and endured a panting, pacing, panicking shepherd mix twisting her head maniacally towards the celebratory explosions in the sky until around 2 AM. Yay! Kablamo! Happy new year! Crikey.

OK, all that wild, inconsolable canine terror aside, a new year invites the very real opportunity to loosen the grip of whatever (or whoever) isn't serving you well and to create your own damn future, filled with much more of what you love, much less of what you loathe, and an expansion of this thing we're all in together.

I read this recently on Instagram and, heck yeah, it sounds hokey as shit, but it can be enlightening + powerful, seeing the disparity in those things and recognizing that you have the power to make changes in your world.

MAKE A LIST OF THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY
MAKE A LIST OF THINGS YOU DO EVERY DAY
COMPARE THE LISTS
ADJUST ACCORDINGLY

with love from me and Deb and the rest of the Lily Spindle cohorts.
xx - Rebecca

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
― Neil Gaiman


SHAPERS /// LORI WEISE

A 501c3 based in Los Angeles, DDR is changing the face of animal rescue here in California and beyond.

A 501c3 based in Los Angeles, DDR is changing the face of animal rescue here in California and beyond.

Downtown Dog Rescue's executive director and founder Lori Weise is a gentle, zen-infused force to be reckoned with. Since it began in 1996, DDR has made (and continues to make) an indelible impact on the socioeconomic ripple effect of homeless dogs and low-income families. In just the last year alone,  Lori Weise has been nominated as a CNN hero, Vanity Fair highlighted DDR as one of their "Charities We Love," and the Bark featured Lori in a piece titled "People Who Matter."

Beginning in Skid Row, DDR moved their services to South LA, then Compton, then Watts, and now the entirety of South East Los Angeles (part of both the city and the county). By providing spay/neuter services, veterinary care, food, and covering municipal fees for pet owners, the resulting DDR numbers are staggering. For example, in 2011, the Compton Park clinic sterilized close to 800 dogs and the number of "owner surrender" euthanized pitbulls in that same year dropped an astounding 30 percent. Truthfully, if you're a family struggling to feed yourselves and your kids, spaying your dog isn't likely to be on your list of feasible expenses. But, as these numbers reveal, spaying/neutering is a vital part of animal rescue and by making this simple fix (pun intended) accessible and free, DDR is helping to dramatically reduce LA's overwhelming shelter populations.

We don't actually know when or if Lori ever sleeps, because when she's not traveling the country educating others about the value of intervention programs, writing books like "First Home, Forever Home" (a wonderful holiday gift we'd highly recommend for the animal lover in your life), or running her own dog kennels ("Second Chance Kennels"), she manages over 80 employees at Modernica. Yeah, she's kind of a super woman. We're psyched to get this SHAPERS Q+A with such a spectacular, exceptional human. ENJOY!


Your ingenious approach to keeping dogs in their "first home forever home" is making an incredible, positive impact on the number of euthanized pets here in Los Angeles. Could you tell us a little bit about your South Los Angeles Intervention program and how it's affected the community and the numbers of animals being relinquished to the shelter?

The program started in April of 2013 the day the new South LA shelter opened. Thanks to Found Animals Foundation, who funds the majority of our program, we are able to have a full time counselor and we just hired a part-time counselor.  Amanda Casarez, our full time counselor, is wonderful. I have learned so much from her.  While the original goal on paper was to keep pets out of the shelter thus reducing shelter euthanasia at the South LA shelter, it has evolved into a lot more.  When I started working with dog owners who were homeless, the work was shelter intervention for the most part.  Because I had no where for their dogs to go even if they wanted me to take them, I did everything in my power to keep them together in the most humane way possible.  This was all I knew and for the most part worked well.  The same skills I learned, I've applied to the shelter intervention program. It was no surprise to me that the community needs a lot of help, stemming mostly from poverty.  I've always believed that we don't have a "pet problem" we have a poverty problem.  When we set up ways for people in a crisis to be successful, counseling them with respect, in a non judgmental way, we are offering solutions and options  Ultimately the decision is the pet owner, sometimes limited in their options because of bad decisions or decisions made for them due to living in such an extreme state of poverty.  For example if one has finally found a place to live after months even years of being homeless only to find out the housing will not accept their pet, that person is at a real crossroad in their life.  We can all think or say I would never give up my pet but most of us have never been in these dire positions.  Positions where it's a choice between keeping the human family members together so that child protective services doesn't take the children away or giving up the pet to the shelter, it's these types of cases we see, more specifically our counselors deal with on a daily basis.  Most of our families are spending more than 60-75% and more on housing for those who have housing. When you do the math, there's not much left over for anything else.

The most exciting part of the shelter intervention program is the concept of moving the services away from the shelter, so that families won't come to the shelter in the eleventh hour looking for resources.  My goal and the goal of the organization is to raise as much money as we possibly can to fund programs  that go out into the community such as free spay/neuter, vaccinations, microchips, wellness care, dog training and more, much more.  Employing people from the community, like our newest counselor Jennifer, is another aspect of helping the community.  The community we serve needs more job creation.  We are doing our tiny part but the beautiful thing is we are doing it.  

When you consider our original goal was to keep 400 pets out of the South LA shelter back in 2013 and we achieved that goal in a mater of months, it's amazing.  We are now over 5000 cases and counting.  When we started, our program was the only one in LA, now there is the North Central Shelter and East Valley shelter intervention programs.  The ASPCA modeled a program after our program called Safety Net that operates out of the Downey and Baldwin Park shelters.  I believe helping people keep pets out of the shelter is the next most important phase in animal welfare but it's always just been all that I know how to do.  Plus I love the work and can't wait to see what's going to happen tomorrow.

            We LOVE this book! Written by Lori Weise, illustrated by        Nicole Bruckma  n . Available on  AMAZON

            We LOVE this book! Written by Lori Weise, illustrated by Nicole Bruckman. Available on AMAZON

We've heard people say (too many times, frankly), that if "people can't afford a pet they shouldn't have one" or that "homeless people aren't good pet parents." Your program confidently disproves these snap judgment theories. Can you delve into this a bit deeper?

The assumption is on a false belief, that the pet owner has always been poor and or will never transition out of poverty.  In some cases, if a pet is healthy, it's actually not that expensive to provide care for a pet.  I also think that people who love pets love pets, period.  While it might make sense to not adopt or acquire a pet until one is out of debt.  However, rules are made to be broken and some of the pet owners we meet did not plan on getting that cat or dog.  Like anyone who cares, a loved one died and didn't have a will or a plan for the pet, so they decided to keep the pet.  A neighbor moved out in the "middle of the night" type move and that's how the pet came into their life.  Rescue, often time, we don't hear the word rescue but that's what's going on.  Dogs wandering on the street for months, families putting out food and water until one day the shy little dog is their new family member.  The question we should be hearing more is why aren't there more resources for people living in poverty with pets.  Not why do they have them.  I was that person when I found my cat I had all through my 20's into my late 30's  I was broke, working, barely paying my bills and no I didn't need a cat.  She was pregnant and I couldn't just leave her.  The San Gabriel Humane Society spayed her for I think $20 and it was years before she had any medical issues and when she did, I figured it out.  It wasn't until her last years of life, at 16 years old did I own a home and could afford a pet.  

12240157_976054872456718_5748427434456852456_n.jpg

As the general manager for Modernica, Inc for the last two decades, what can you share with us regarding timeless design, its staying power, and its ability to dramatically and wonderfully change a space?

It's been a dream job and never really seemed like a job to run Modernica.  I started off finding amazing modern design in the trash, at the Salvation Army auction and other thrift stores and countless yard sales.  I've always loved architectural inspired modern design.  It has a staying power because it's functional and if vintage is usually amazingly built and beautiful. 

There are certain pieces I never get tired of looking at  I have a Nakashima lounge chair that is so beautiful.  When you acquire an amazing piece, you will always love it and it will bring you so much happiness, a few well chosen pieces still make me smile when I look at them.  I  love Finnish mid century modern design and California craft from the 1960-70  All of it inspires me daily. 

             Dabs Myla's "dream art-house" at the Modernica Factory this October.

             Dabs Myla's "dream art-house" at the Modernica Factory this October.

I work with amazing team of people who keep Modernica evolving all the time.  Now, I'm interested in what the next generation of shoppers is interested in.  Partnering with artistslike our recent collaboration with DabsMyla, seeing how many people came to the show and purchased the fiberglass chairs we produced with their designs, proves the staying power of this great design.  

Modernica's collaborative fiberglass chairs, imprinted with Dabs Myla's original designs.

Modernica's collaborative fiberglass chairs, imprinted with Dabs Myla's original designs.

Have you always been so bonded with dogs? Please tell us why you find dogs to be such amazing creatures and souls.

 My mom is a major animal lover and when I was four, she got a German Shepherd from Mr Kline, my grandma's neighbor who bred GSD.  He spayed her and did a yard inspection, according to my mom.  We named her Heidi and she was basically my sister and best friend, the one I would tell all my problems to after school.  She was the best dog and died when I was 16 years old.  I'll never forget when the vet lea her to the back and I never saw her again.  That moment in my life made me understand how important it is to have families be with their old ill pets all the way to the end of their life.  However,  I'm not one of those people that love animals more than people  I like people and I'm fascinated why people do whatever they do, whether it's shopping for furniture or surrendering a dog, I'm always curious, kind of like a dog.  I love how they live in the moment, through living with lots and lots of dogs, packs of dogs, I often think more like a dog now which in turn helps me in business!

A couple kissing pooches at the DDR Kennels.

A couple kissing pooches at the DDR Kennels.

What are some easy and free ways that compassionate, caring people can help to save animals’ lives in Los Angeles and beyond?

Listen to someone who is struggling with a pet, whether they are considering surrendering the pet or they have to "get rid of the pet" because they are moving. Listening is sometimes the one thing that a person who is struggling never finds.  Too often the struggle has nothing to do with the pet, it's far more complex but helping the person helps the pet, sometimes, keeps the pet out of the shelter.  Help someone with a pet who is very close to you.  Whether it's an elderly neighbor who is struggling to walk their dog, or a family who can't afford some type of care or can't afford to pay for pet food,  pay for it, no strings attached.  Go to your local shelter and even if it's a couple hours a month, see what you can do to help  Use your talents to help get more pets adopted.  

Lori Weise and Precious, one of the thousands of dogs she's managed to save with DDR.

Lori Weise and Precious, one of the thousands of dogs she's managed to save with DDR.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 

Morning for sure.  If I could, I would be happy to be in bed asleep every night by 8:30  I live with so many dogs, I'm up every day by 4:30AM and I love it.  The morning is so still, it's a great time to think and plan and when I'm most receptive to creative ideas, thinking about a problem in a new, unexpected way.


If you could have lunch with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be?
And where would you dine?

Jiddu Krishnamurti I'd take him to  a vegetarian takeout place that I've been going to for 25 years called Orean Express


What is your favorite room in the house and what surprises would we find there? 

The kitchen at my last house in Altadena.  I had a Richard Schultz Redwood petal dining table and Bertoia wire chairs I would sit in to work.  I used that little dining table as my work table to do writing, laying out bills, it was my office, with dogs passing in and out to my huge back yard with a regulation dog park in the rear of the property.

                                                       RIchard Schultz redwood petal table for Knoll. 

                                                       RIchard Schultz redwood petal table for Knoll. 

SHAPERS /// Todd Squires

Take one glance at Todd Squires' Instagram account (along with the considerable 46.5k followers already enchanted by him) and you're immediately a smitten kitten, enraptured by his urban architectural shots from any and all parts of Southern California, his irreverent and charmingly deprecatory selfies, his ingenious portraits of the beautiful humans he intimately knows or has just moments ago met for the very first time, and the magical captures of his constant and steady companion - Sonny the handsome Labrador mutt mix. He owns an independent framing shop here in Los Angeles, Fourth Corner Conservation Framing, and, as a photographer and the son of a lithographer, totally gets the artistry of framing and his now ten-year-old shop is a go-to for the heavy hitters of the art world like, ahem, Ed Ruscha. Todd also happens to be a lovely person, in addition to wildly talented, and we're honored to feature him as the first profile of many in our SHAPERS* series.

Ghost Bike, Todd Squires

Could you tell us a little bit about your framing company, Fourth Corner Conservation? How long you've been in business, who some of your favorite clients are, your most fun project you've worked on?

I’ve had my business Fourth Corner Conservation Framing, Inc. since 2003.  The idea behind starting it is to provide a nice experience for people who want to feel safe about the way have their artwork framed.  My approach is rather minimal and simple, and I make sure that the artwork will be protected from the outside elements that can cause future deterioration by using only archival materials.  A lot of people are afraid of going to the framers because they think they’ll be taken advantage of, or make the wrong decision with some sort of pretentious framing  designer.  I try to make it as easy and friendly as possible, using only the simplest explanations and making sure everyone understands the whole picture (no pun intended). I also enjoy woodworking with my hands and making a lot of the frames myself.  We hand join most of the frames, sand them down and finish them ourselves. I suppose there’s a certain pride to that.

You're pretty much an Instagram superstar and have IG meet-ups with fellow Instagrammers throughout California, yes? What makes Instagram so special in its outreach and sense of community, support, and creative energy?

I love Instagram because it has helped me rediscover my love of photography and has brought so much positivity to my life.  It started out as fun little picture sharing app, and soon turned into a creative obsession.  It has made me open my eyes to the world and see things a little clearer.  I also notice and appreciate so many more things. Soon after I started using Instagram, I noticed there were these things called instameets, where a bunch of like-minded lovers of photography (and the app in general) would get together and meet each other and explore the city together.  The fact that a social app can actually get people outside to be more creative, socialize, exercise and see more, I think is a true testament to the developers of the app.  I also love to use Instagram as a curator for my work when I have actual exhibitions.  I naturally only post photos I truly love and that resonate well with me.  Instagram helps tell me which ones resonate well with others, thereby allowing me to create a great comprehensive show.

How long have you had Sonny and has he always been such an outstanding model? Describe Sonny's personality and what makes him such an amazing companion.

From the moment I laid my eyes on my dog Sonny and stuck my hand through the bars at the Pasadena Humane Society, I knew he was the dog for us.  That was about 14 years ago when he was only 1 year old.  He is now 15 and still just as cute.  He of course has majorly slowed down over the past year, but he still maintains this playful spirit and nature that keeps me feeling alive too.  

 

When he was a lot more flexible, could hear, and was more athletic, it was easy to get him to run or sit or pose in all the ways I needed him to so I could take pictures of him.  He was always happy to do it too because of the attention it brought him.  There were also a lot of treats nearby too.  He has always been such a good listener and loved having the camera on him.  He especially loved it when I would set the camera up so I could be in the shot with him doing whatever silly or serious thing we needed to do to make a great shot.


Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m both a morning person and a night owl.  It all depends on when my creative juices are flowing.  I’ve been known to stay up late continuously working on my own personal writing, editing photographs, or editing my video art that I used to do. Mornings are when my mind and body are freshest, so I like to use that time to run or hike or exercise.  I’d try to trick my body before it totally woke up into doing active things, and it’s been pretty successful so far.

Name your top three favorite contemporary photographers and describe their work using one word.

Nan Goldin  — intimate
Catherine Opie — epic
Todd Hido — mysterious

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What are some of the things that influence you/your work and your aesthetic?

My influences change and stretch all over the place.  I am generally influenced by great philosophers who encourage people to think for themselves. Creatively, I can’t deny that Ed Ruscha has had a profound effect on my work.  His style, with light or object invading entire spaces from a corner, or his effective angles in his photographic documentations of his time in our city of angels. I think I’ve been influenced a lot by Rothko and his blends of color, and the way he might change perceptions of solid blocks of those colors by simply having them intrude into each other.  There are a myriad of filmmakers (Kurosawa, Kubrick, Wes Anderson, Orson Welles, the list goes on and on) and their cinematographer counterparts who have all shaped my vision of the world and the different ways you can present it through a lens.

What is your favorite room in the house and what surprises would we find there?

My favorite room in the house is the living room because it’s the place where all our friends mostly sit and talk and have a good time.  I also love the little office that is my mancave. It’s where all my technical creativity comes through.  The only surprise about the office is that it looks extremely cluttered regardless of the fact my mind is very structured.

If you could have lunch with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And where would you dine?

I’d love to have lunch with Paul Rudd or Louis CK. If Hal’s were still around, I’d love to have lunch with them there.  One factor of my personality is deeply rooted in humor.  I think it’s actually one of my driving characteristics.  Both of these actor/comedians have brought so much joy to my life with their dry wit and hilarity.  I always wonder what it’d be like to just sit down with either one of them and see where our conversations would take us.


*Lily Spindle's SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity in what they do. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series.

 

You and me and everydog we know

“A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can’t get it by breeding for it, and you can’t buy it with money. It just happens along.”
- E.B. White

And that’s how all seven beloved Lily Spindle dogs came into our lives . . . they just happened along.  They crossed our paths at that perfect moment when our hearts wrestled brief control from our rational minds (always questioning if we really need another dog – UM, OF COURSE!) and in they came. Every stinky, silly, frustratingly perfect one of them!

So when this little painting happened along we immediately fell in love with it, too!  We delighted in the way the artist’s adept brushwork captured the sturdy alertness of a terrier (of which we each have many), while the solitary vulnerability of the wee pooch grabbed our heartstrings and tugged hard! The artist’s undeniable sensitivity to dogs brings a quiet emotion to her painting that we don’t often see in canine portraits.  And although a contemporary work of art, the beautiful luminosity of the color palette and the abstract approach to landscape recalls some of our favorite mid-century Bay Area Figurative painters like Bischoff and Diebenkorn.

Tiny terrier painting
Tiny Terrier detail

 

Fortunately, there need not be a struggle in your heart or mind about bringing this petite dog painting into your life and home. The framed 5” x 7” oil on canvas gem can be yours for $250 by emailing me at debra@lilyspindle.com.  Hurry before this pup painting goes up on our website!

And remember, ALWAYS ADOPT!

-- Debra

Independence Day - Jasper Johns and Lost Pets

Jasper Johns, FLAG (1983). Encaustic on silk flag on canvas.

Jasper Johns, FLAG (1983). Encaustic on silk flag on canvas.

One night in 1954, Jasper Johns slept and while sleeping dreamed of the American flag and, according to legend, immediately set about to create his own version of this “pre-formed, conventional, de-personalized, factual, exterior element(s)" (Johns, quoted in 1965). Three decades later, he painted this particular Flag (1983), which sold at Sotheby's Contemporary Art auction in 2014 for $36 million. Of this iconic imagery, Johns has said, ". . . the painting of a flag is always about a flag, but it is no more about a flag than it is about a brush-stroke or about a color or about the physicality of the paint, I think.”

And on another Independence Day note, for all y'all animal lovers, this weekend of exploding fireworks and raucous revelry is extremely stressful for our pets! Animal control officers across the U.S. see a 30-60% increase of lost pets between July 4th and July 6th. And the 5th? That day is one of the busiest days of the year for our animal shelters, nationwide. And a crowded animal shelter means higher rates of euthanasia for already crowded shelters as they try to make room for the displaced animals found on the streets.. So, what can you do to help? Here are some top tips:

1 - Designate a safe place in your home for scared pups and cats to hang out while "bombs bursting in air." I feel like the bathroom tends to be a safe room for my pup, Lucie.
2 - Play loud music or watch a loud movie to overpower the sound of the fireworks.
3 - Distraction methods with treats (bully sticks, et cetera).
4 - Always make sure your animals are wearing collars with relevant name, address, phone number.
5 - Keep your animals indoors and make sure all windows and doors are closed and secure. Fear = darting and darting = lost pets.
6 - You could try a holistic/homeopathic anti-anxiety treatment, such as dog-calming pheromones or a Thundershirt. There are also myriad treats and chews with passionflower extract, valerian, L-theanine, lavender, or chamomile that can be super effective for stressful situations like fireworks (or traveling, going to the vets, etc).  Do your research first, though, and never give your animals anything without consulting a vet or animal healthcare expert.

Happy red, white, and blue! In the words of Jasper, "Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it."

yours,
Rebecca
rebecca@lilyspindle.com