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Life & Work with Rick Bay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rick Bay.

Hi Rick, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was an eager, energetic young cousin in a large family. There were many of us who lived near each other in Northern California and the extended family would congregate every now and again at our house. The front yard was small, and sunny, and quiet. My Grandmother was in charge of us most of the time, and she had a game that she loved to play with all the young cousins. She would fill a bucket with water and give us each a little paintbrush, directing us towards the wooden picket fence that separated our property from the sidewalk. Every cousin would dip their brush in the water and brush it on the fence, as though painting. The sun cooked off the water before we would get to the end of the fence, and so we would start again. This could go on all day, and we loved it. The great joy of painting water on the fence was in exercising our imaginations and in finding a process-based zen. We could lose ourselves by enjoying the action and putting practical results entirely out of our minds.

Of course, we knew it was just water and that it would be gone without a trace in short time, but there was something hypnotizing about the group effort. As I grew up, I sought out that same energy and came across it in the art of filmmaking. As a creative or a crew member, one can lose themself in the filmmaking process while understanding that the goal is not to change the world. Certainly now, with all of the media that is being created and shared every minute of every day, a filmmaker can understand that their work will evaporate from the public consciousness. It is the process, the operation, the action however that engrosses both the artist and technician alike. I moved out to Los Angeles to see if I could hack it in 2016, and I’ve been painting water on the fence ever since.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The financial hurdles of making indie films and living in LA force me to spend more and more of my time and effort working jobs that do not develop or supplement my creative repertoire and this has been demoralizing. That said, I have been fortunate enough to work freelance in the television industry on and off for the last four years. It is here that I have met some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met in my life. Many are ambitious, industrious, and serious while also maintaining a tenderness and sense of humor in spite of their alienating work schedules. I cannot give credit enough to the fortitude and hospitality I’ve seen throughout the years by my fellow gig workers. The sense of community that has taken root in me by way of The Industry is uplifting, and I would not have made it this far without it.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
While I am still growing as a filmmaker, at this point in my life I am most proud of my work as a photographer. Photography was the gateway drug to filmmaking for me, and it seems to be what most of my friends, colleagues, and fellow artists know me for. When I’m asked to contribute to another artists’ work or collaborate with a friend, it is generally through photography. That said I think L.A. has helped me grow so much as an artist because there are so many talented and creative people that live in this city. I have met poets, actors, writers, musicians, dancers, painters, and each has introduced me to the magic of their chosen medium. This has in turn challenged me to expand my skillset, to learn how to write and how to act, how to paint, and how to better understand music. So while my roots are in photography, I am excited to see what new forms of self-expression I can grow into while I am here.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
The fence painting I mentioned earlier would be my favorite childhood memory. If they make a film about me, that will be my Rosebud!


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Model Credits in order of appearance: Kiki, Jamila, Kristine

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