Carren's Pitch

Life by Design


Michael Kolster's Handmade Photographs

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Michael had such a wonderful energy about him when we met on the banks of the Los Angeles River. It was obvious from just a few minutes just how much enthusiasm he had for his medium, despite its rigor and difficulty... or perhaps because of it. 

Text and Photos by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Drew Tewksbury
Published: 24 November 2014, Artbound

A handmade photograph in development | Photo: Carren Jao
Dressed in a silver nitrate-splattered white shirt and ripped jeans with a red headlamp strapped just below his eyeglasses and blue surgical gloves on his hands, Michael Kolster has the look of a eccentric professor with his laboratory set on the banks of the Los Angeles River, creating prints using anachronistic methods.

Kolster, a 2013 Guggenheim fellow and associate professor of art at Bowdoin College in Maine, has set up shop for fourteen days along different parts of the Los Angeles River, advised by Jenny Price of Play the L.A. River and guided by the group's playing cards. "It was a great way to find access to locations along the river and it even tells you where to park," says Kolster. The professor's journey is a continuation of his long term project, "Down by the River," where he captured four other American rivers in the East, forty years after the introduction of the 1972 Clean Water Act. [read more]


Laying the Foundation

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

My second assignment for Anthology was a pleasure. I interviewed a young couple, Kristine and Richard, who had daringly built their home from the ground up, while living in it most of the time too. Oof. That's quite an accomplishment.

Again, the article is available in print, but Anthology has offered a sneak peak at the issue below. 

~ *C
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Anh-Minh Le
Published: Issue No. 17, Fall 2014, Anthology

Design Matters


Local Flavor

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Starbucks sometimes gets a bit of flak for creating a generic, coffee world, but it's actually taking steps to change that. Here's why.


Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Carolyn Horwitz
Published: August 2014, Entrepreneur

Click on photo below to view article

Stories like this are a constant reminder that there are people who do need to be given the same services and consideration as everyone else. It's also a wonderful story of renewal.


With Pigeonly, Frederick Hutson is using technology to keep convicts connected to friends and family -- and maybe turn their lives around.

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Rob Brunner
Published: 30 October 2014, Fast Company

Entrepreneurs often tap personal experience for startup ideas. In Frederick Hutson’s case, that experience was incarceration. "I just saw so many inefficiencies when I was in prison," he says. "The way the system worked was archaic. There was obviously a problem. I knew technology had advanced far ahead on the outside, but no one has built anything to address it." [read more]

How far would you go to get things back the way they were? This trio went very, very far indeed. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Mary McVean
Published: 21 November 2014, Los Angeles Times

Owner Gerald Casale watches the sunset from the top-floor patio of a Richard Neutra house originally designed for journalist Josef Kun. Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.
Musician Gerald Casale knows the value of a second chance.

A founding member of the new wave band Devo, he had planned to buy Richard Neutra's Kun House nearly 30 years ago. "I had been a fan of Neutra since graduating from Kent State University, and I was going to buy [the Kun House] in 1985 for $250,000, and Devo lost their deal with Warner Brothers before it went into escrow," leaving him without enough funds, says Casale.

About seven years ago, Casale got his second chance. He now owns the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home. He, modernist preservationist and artist James Rega and designer and researcher Christopher Steele have been creating a time warp at the 3½-story house perched on the rock face of Nichols Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. [read more]

I'm a reader. I read pretty much anything you put in front of me, which is why Rosten Woo's work is so fascinating for me. His current project involves making the informational signs many of us dismiss every day, but he adds a little political twist to it that makes us think. I love it. 

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Yosuke Kitazawa
Published: 19 November 2014, KCET

Rosten Woo and his first L.A. River sign | Photo: Carren Jao
As long as humans have needed something to mark a spot, signs have been used, and then overlooked. In Ancient Rome, signs helped weary travelers navigate the many roads of the empire. In early British history, inn signs identified, advertised, and oriented wayfarers. On a chilly October day in Los Angeles, one new sign made its debut on the banks of the Los Angeles River.

Masquerading as a California State Parks signage, artist Rosten Woo's 42" by 32" sign seeks not just to inform, but also to provoke its readers. "We're essentially in a state park and not many people have an understanding of what it is," said Woo, as we chatted a few yards from artist Michael Parker's Unfinished during the second Los Angeles River campout last October. "I wanted this sign to be interpretative of the natural environment, but also reflect the political and social environment on site." [read more]


Experimental Dance by the Los Angeles River

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Text and Photos by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Drew Tewksbury
Published: 23 October 2014, Artbound

Harriet Bailey run "Guided Viewing Dance" with her four dancers | Photo: Carren Jao
With no shade in sight, surrounded by a sea of cemented roads and industrial buildings, Laura Berg, Lindsey Lollie, Jordan Saenz, and Gracie Whyte began a rhythmic movement set to an unheard music.

Together, they cling to the green fences that separated the Ed P. Reyes Greenway from Avenue 19; they climb and vault off the short silver poles that lined the fence; and they run to and fro, constantly changing directions like billiard balls after a break shot. [read more]

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