You can’t force art



I think that this has been the busiest past few weeks of my life. I am so used to taking things as they come, without giving a thought to deadlines, but lately I have been swimming in them.

My feelings toward this way of life have been mixed. While my gratitude for so many things and people is overflowing, so are my frustrations with myself and my art. I have been doing so many things half-way, without sufficient time to ponder the idea, to marvel at the beauty, and to live in the moment. For this project, I live to serve the deadline, even if what I produce isn’t something I like.

It all has been worth it, because the discoveries I’ve had about my own personality have given me great reward, even though I am prone to stress, and often feel the need to release it onto the people nearest to me. It has given me multiple chances to see how I am under pressure, and to be better. Although I still give in to negative emotions and allow them to control me, I know that I will have many more opportunities to rid myself of them and choose happiness.

These past couple of days I have been going out and doing mini photo-shoots for the project I am working on (The project is with a company, hence all the deadlines). In the beginning I was just shooting everything that excited me, including the image above. Unfortunately the shoot that I had initially planned to do ended up failing. I wonder if it was because I had tried to force something that could never happen, instead of just letting things happen naturally, and to be the witness of it.

It feels like that idea can be applied to more than one thing in life. The more you try to force things to happen and to plan them, somehow they end up turning out completely different from how you expected. I have learned this: You can’t force art, it has to be there already. You just have to learn to see it.



On “My Name Means Gold”

ikebana-ayako2-smallThis new Ikebana series is wonderful for me, because I am allowing myself to work with whatever happens. Even if one picture seems to differ extremely from the other, I know that that is what will unify them. I want this series, in a way, to match up to the characteristics of nature. To only be concerned with growth, and to be abundant in variation and beauty. My aim is to mimic it’s tendency towards the unpredictable, along with it’s cries for elegance in it’s simplicity.

We shall see what happens.

One thing also to mention about this series is that I am trying to focus on the person in the image being part of the Ikebana piece and not separate from it. That if she was removed from the scene, the image wouldn’t be complete, and vice versa. In a way, it is my own little message about how we should live in our world.

I shot this image in Nara with my very fun model Ayako. She has appeared in my “Tales From Japan” series, and I was pleased that I was able to work with her again. (She is fabulous!)

And a little background story on the title. Reylia comes from the name “Aurelia”, which was my grandmother’s name, and it means “Gold” or “Golden one”. I have always been attracted to that color, and of lately completely enchanted by it, so for this image I thought it would be fitting.

Please enjoy the piece! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below, or on my FB!




Conceptual photography workshop!



New fall plan guys! Super excited about this one! For early details please contact me at or through FB message. Early reservation is recommended.

**We will be working with 2 models, 2 assistants, and a variety of costumes**
Basic schedule for the day (Subject to change):

10:45 Meeting time
11:00 Proper introductions. Presentation on Fine Art Conceptual photography in Nara park. Discussing inspiration, how to find your own style and voice, motivation, fears, and the love for photography.

12:45Inspiration exercizes to get the creative juices flowing!

1:00 Lunch break (Meal included in the fee)

2:00 We will go around to 4~6 previously scouted locations and explore conceptual photography in a way that will make the photographic experience more fun and enjoyable. The focus will be on YOU. Discovering new ways to put your best photographic foot forward.

5:00 Back to the park! I will be giving a short presentation on editing your images with Photoshop. Briefly showing you how to use your tools to get the best possible image.
5:30 Finish.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!



On “You Have Yet to Grow”


How can I describe what has been on my mind the past few weeks? I have been so full with thoughts that it is impossible to for me to say everything, so I end up revealing next to nothing. In a way I prefer it that way though, at least for now.

At the moment photography obviously constitutes the whole interest of my life, but I have felt the need to aim creative energy elsewhere, so I decided to choose Ikebana (生け花). Which somehow ended up going back to photography again.


Certain frustrations with myself have been piling up a little, so I’ve been falling back on the things I’ve loved most of my life. Simple things like reading or stretching can oftentimes bring me more peace of mind than anything else, so hopefully that consciously adding Ikebana to that list will be a good thing. But I don’t want to force it, either. My main source of stress has been the pressure I put on myself to produce images when I was tired or uncomfortable, so I am doing my best to avoid that. It needs to be a fun thing, and it is necessary for it to come smoothly and effortlessly. The thing you love should never be also something you can come to hate.

The meaning for this image came about as soon as I finished my Ikebana. When we do something for so long, we feel like we have reached a place when growing or getting better stops; all the flowers have already bloomed, or so to speak. But as I was arranging the flowers, I noticed that there was still one bud left. In that sense, there will be always something left to grow. There will also be winters in our lives, but we must never forget that Spring is around the corner and we will again have the freedom to blossom.




The more I photograph

The more I photograph, the more I discover something about myself and about life. Art itself is the study of life. You make observations about the world you live in, or how it looks to you and you recreate than in an art form. Of course there is more than one way to study life, but art, I feel, is the one way that will permeate you completely. You begin to feel and understand the world with both your soul and mind. Everything becomes an art piece after you become an artist.

My main frustrations with art have involved the growing stages or getting sufficient attention for certain pieces. It is unfortunate and strange that the artwork of mine I like the most have been the ones that have received the least attention, but it is extremely understandable at the same time. I see things in the image that the audience doesn’t, so the select few that are willing to delve deeper into what the image means to me will be the ones fully enjoying it. Each piece I choose to display online is a “success” for me, but they are many I never reveal.

It is almost comical how much I fling myself into a frenzy because of a failed art piece. It happens often, even when what I created wasn’t bad, but simply not what I had envisioned and could be better. In those moments I am at my lowest, fully convinced that I am the worst artist in the world and don’t deserve the kindness and praise that was given prior to the consequent failure. The only remedy to this antagonizing disappointment in myself is a successful image. Not necessarily successful in how it is received, but something that I love and understand. Unfortunately, though, the healing powers of the success are short lived, because it is never long before I want to create another piece. If it fails, I am again thrusted into a momentary depression. It is definitely a strange way to live. It also doesn’t match who I am, because I am generally quite upbeat, and often a bit weird, but I have a serious side to my personality as well that ties everything else together.

Despite being fully aware of how far I have previously fallen into depression when unsuccessful, and apprehensive at it’s reappearance, I push on. Most of the time I never fully know what I’m pushing on to, and my end goal is not in the end, but in the intricate process of growth. It is through the reoccurring experience of failure and disappointment in myself that shows me how much more I have to learn and strive for. That if there was true perfection each time, it would be too easy, and life would cease to be wild, full of surprise and unpredictability. Though my failed shoots, I was given chances to see places I am lacking. Even though it is physically painful for me to fail, I know deep down that it is helping my life and my heart. So I continue to explore this funny life that we are in though the art that I create and by fully being who I am, without comparing myself to the more charismatic or business-minded artists, but to myself the day before. Only through that can positive growth be achieved.