Week 4 - Interview with Student Chris Loree

Hello! This week I decided to take a different turn with this blog and interview one of my fellow classmates. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Chris Loree over the past few weeks, and I must say that he quite the unique soul. His kindness, meekness, and wonderful sense of humor, has made my time here at LAAFA so enjoyable. The interview only scathes the surface of how cool Chris is. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Chris Loree, I would highly recommend that you savor that opportunity because he is a man amongst men!

PALMA- You and I have one major thing in common, we both live in the valley. That is a commonality to note seeing how no one else in our class lives in our area. LOREE- Yeah man, we are kindred valley spirits. (Laughs)

PALMA- I would have never guessed you are from the valley, you have an eclectic aura about you. Almost like you’ve lived in many places.

LOREE- I have not. Actually, I grew up in the city of Los Angeles and moved to the valley right before I started grade school. I have lived here my whole entire life. My parents, on the
other hand, were quite the adventurers. 

PALMA- Yes, you mentioned your mom was born in Korea, correct?
LOREE- Yeah, she was born in Korea into a very poor family. She later moved to Germany where she lived in a convent with nuns for a number of years. When she decided to make a way for herself, she move to America and took a job as a bank teller. She then opened her own business in real estate, and does that till this day. She is my main role model for a hard worker. She has worked hard all of her life, and inspires me to do the same.

PALMA- That is amazing! It’s always so refreshing to be reminded that people like your mom exist in this world. They are examples for us all. What about your father, where is he from?
LOREE- My dad was born in New York City. After high school, he drove his motorcycle across the country to California to start his own life. Through a series of many jobs, he found himself as a probation officer for a Juvenile Hall. I really learned a lot from my dad in regards to how to treat others with dignity and respect.

PALMA- That is one thing that I have noticed in you Chris. You embrace every one of our peers as your equal, regardless of what their background is. That, to me, is monumental and I think every one can learn from you. What philosophical lens do you look through in order to see things the way that you do?
LOREE- I have always believed that we are all interconnected to one another. Believing that there is a oneness that exists amongst us takes away any pretenses and animosity that I may have towards others. It really keeps me centered while I am here spending a lot of time with people from all different walks of life. I can enjoy them for exactly who they are, with no need to receive anything in return.

PALMA- That is wonderful, as well as rare. That being said, what brought you here to LAAFA?
LOREE- I began taking an interest in art when I was a young skateboarder. I used to love looking at the graphics on the back of the deck of the skateboard and in many cases tried to design my own. I began taking workshops at 3 Kicks Art Studio as well as at LAAFA, but I noticed my work was not really getting any better. I was left with the conclusion that I needed to commit myself full time to my work. I also needed way more confidence in what I was doing with art. I had no confidence in myself as an artist because I never received any training. If I didn’t have confidence in myself as an artist, how could I move forward in a career in the arts?

PALMA- It would be almost impossible. There has to be solid level of self -assurance in the work you create. If you don’t believe in your work, how can we expect others to?
LOREE- Exactly, that’s what I love about this school. Its only been 4 weeks and I am already so much more confident in my work. I also love how the instructors share their professional experience with us. So as I am learning, I also am being prepared for the world outside, after LAAFA.

PALMA- What would be your favorite class here at LAAFA?
LOREE- I would have to say Ron Lemen's Figure Construction class. The way Ron combines anatomy and live model figure drawing really challenges me on so many levels. I feel like I am really learning the right way to draw when I am in his class. 

PALMA- Is there anything that you learned that potentially surprised you?
LOREE- I didn't realize how much knowing anatomy would help with my live model figure drawing. I see my drawings get better every week. I was shocked at how our studies of the human body would play such a huge role in the way I see the model. It's insane, it's like I see the posing figure in a whole new way.

PALMA- What has been the most difficult class for you?
LOREE- I would for sure have to say that Rey Busto's Anatomy class is the most difficult. Rey's class is a class that demands more than three hours, so it can feel really fast paced. The complexity of the subject matter demands your full attention at all times. I feel the most challenged in that class. It really forces you to be completely present. 

PALMA- What are your plans after LAAFA?
LOREE-I really have no idea. I wish I could say that I have big plans and bright dreams. But I have really understood the value in education and learning. I’ll be honest, I’m not thinking too much about the future. I’m just enjoying the now, the experience of learning and growing. I really think that growth can be stunted when we are not present in what we are doing. The only plan I have for the future is to keep learning and growing as an artist. Whatever career path comes my way as a result, then I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

My conversation with Chris Loree was more than rewarding for me. I'm reminded about how important it is to take the time to find out who some one is. When we meet people for the first time, we are meeting them in the middle of their life. When we take the time to find out some one's story, we are venturing back to the start. When I learned the story of Chris Loree, I grew such a respect and appreciation for him. It was honestly humbling for me. I began to think about all of the lives that surround me here at LAAFA, and how each of these individuals have their own incredible story to tell. Not only is investing myself in the curriculum here a great priority, I also am beginning to see that investing myself in my friends here is also a great priority. Part of what makes LAAFA the school that it is are the people. That is something I cannot forget. Thank you Chris Loree, you have allowed me to see you and many others in a completely new and fresh way.

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