Spotlight for Inspiration - Kavan Cardoza AKA Kavan Navak AKA Kavan the Kid
I feel this is going to be a fun interview!
I'm excited for it! : ( )
Me too! :D
That was supposed to be a smiley face!
Yea what you did.
See! I knew it. LOL
So, tell me Kavan, where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I'm originally from Boise, Idaho. Whenever I tell people I'm from there they ask if I like potatoes... Naturally I do. I don't know if there is a connection there or not. Now, I live in Los Angeles, Crenshaw and Jefferson to be exact. It's for sure a different type of scenery then Boise. haha
HAHAHAHA! That really made me laugh out loud!
What made you move?
Well, I'm not the type that likes to stay in one place. I originally, left Idaho when I was 18. I moved to Florida to go to film school. After I did that, I moved back to Idaho for a couple months but then I headed out to LA for a first time. Didn’t have much success so I moved back to Idaho again, stayed there for a bit. That's when I worked on the Framed show and had the pleasure of meeting Layne Boyle, who is one of my dearest friends. I learned a lot from him and that's when I started doing music videos. One of my first music videos was for this amazing girl named Nova Rockafeller. Who is now my girlfriend and is the reason I moved out to La for a second time. And that has easily been the best decision I've made in my life. So those are the reasons of my moving. Sorry I just wrote a novel.
HAH I love this.
Let's back up a bit though. I was just going to ask you if you were married but you have a girlfriend. I assume no kids right?
No kids, not yet. It's something I would like to have in the future but I still feel I am in the process of getting myself established. Yes I have a girlfriend and she is my best friend and honestly the best thing to happen to me. If it wasn't for her I can say this photo project wouldn't be here. She is incredibly supportive. When I first started the project I was so scared to put photos out depicting myself in a dark and bizarre manner. But she gave me the push and the encouragement to keep doing it. And I did.
Wow. That's great. It's always great when we have that type of support! My husband is the same way with me. I'm really glad she gave you that push though because we wouldn't know your incredible work!
What made you go into film school? When did you first pick up a camera?
I've always wanted to make films. I used to steal my parents video camera and record movies starring my action figures. I would then charge the neighbor kids 5 cents to come watch them. No one ever came after the first one...I went to film school because I thought it would teach me everything I needed to know to start creating films. It didn't. As the education wasn't the best and I don't suggest anyone to take school to learn anything film or photography related. I think you can do it all on your own. There are so many people that hold their own workshops that are far more talented than some teachers at some of these schools. And that's just one example.
I first picked up a photography camera right around the time I met Layne. I didn't use it for photos though, (it was a canon 7D) I used it primarily for Music Videos. It wasn't until 8 months ago I started taking photos. …I think it's been 8 months.
WOW, love hearing that story. It definitely shows you had passion from early on.
How did you meet Layne Boyle?
I used to work for this company called Ids websites; they got bought out by Framed /Media Point. So he became my boss, but just after hanging out a couple times we realized we had a lot in common and shared a lot of the same dreams.
What did you do there at the company? What was your job?
I edited the framed episodes and would also shoot some of them.
Awesome. It definitely sounds interesting.
Tell me more about your time at the Framed? What was the best part? What was the biggest thing you learned?
The best part was all the people I got to work with. Hands down. I got to work with a lot of talented individuals that were also just fun, cool people. I would say the biggest thing I learned was probably how to use my camera. When I first had my camera, I didn't even know what to do with it. I shot some things with it and they were all so, so, so terrible. Meeting Layne and all the others… I got to get little pieces of information from all different sources; which helped me more than I can even describe.
I bet. I can only imagine how much you learned.
Let's talk about your music videos then. Tell me more about that!
Well, I started doing those around late 2011. At first I did them for free, just so I could expand and learn what I was doing. I worked with another really good friend of mine, Andy Byrd. Together we made several videos and I learned so much, after I made the 2nd move to L.A. I started it as my own business, at first clients were few and far between and some of the videos I would get, I really wouldn't enjoy the music so it made it harder. But over time everything I kept growing and advancing and now I feel like I am shooting every weekend. But I love it, the songs are great and the people I get to work with are dope.
Love it. Are these people emerging artists as well?
Yea, most of them are artists that haven't even released an album yet. At least, the last few ones I have worked on.
It's cool to help emerging artists though. That's how I feel anyway! HAHA
Now, let's get to the photography part! LOL
What made you want to pick up a camera to do photography?
Honestly, I was really depressed. I felt I was done making music videos. I didn't feel like I was doing anything artistic but more just working (this was back when it was a lot of songs I didn't enjoy). And even if it was a song I enjoyed I would have to convey the visions of the artist that I am working with rather than my own. Obviously, I would have some input on the videos as well but nothing that truly represented myself. So, I remembered… back when I worked at Framed… about artists mentioning 365 projects and at this point I really wanted to do photography. I didn't know where to start, though. And that's when it hit me. I would just jump right in and do 365 photos in a row. At first I found it hard because I was dealing with how far I would be willing to express myself but once I removed that wall, It started to become easier and incredibly rewarding. It was soothing like therapy but addicting like a drug. It's like when you meet someone for the first time and you know you are going to be friends for life. I knew once I started this would be something I would do for the rest of my life
OMG, try reading this while listening to inspiring music. That's what I just did and boy was I inspired.. you truly inspired me when you said you had made friends for life with photography! It was a beautiful thing to "hear"!
How long after starting did you realize... "aha"... photography and I are friends for life?
Hmm, I would say probably after the 20th photo. As it started to become a new routine in my life, and something I enjoyed so thoroughly I knew, "yep this is something I will never quit".
Love it. I don't know if I could ever keep up with a 365 project. You must truly love doing it more than anything! I admire that. What photo are you on now?
Today I will be putting up photo 187
I'm pretty excited about today’s!
It’s one I relate to personally and lately, I have had a real obsession with painting the subject of the photo. I feel it's like looking at a different species of life
I have noticed! haha!
For sure. Tell me about that! What first made you want to paint the subject and after that... paint people or yourself over and over again?
It started a while back, I painted myself black because I wanted to represent how I felt inside. But when I started experimenting with different colors… it was when I really started to love it. Especially so when I can mix non- painted people with paint. I have A TON of ideas involving a kids, but finding a parent that will let me paint their child isn't exactly easy to find! haha
Haha. LOL I bet. It sounds fun. What kind of paint do you use?
Acrylic. It's non-toxic. I didn't know if it was or not the first few times I did it, but eh. haha
Hahahahahaha. Made me laugh!
How long do you spend taking it off?
It use to take almost about a half hour but I got a new kind of paint that just rinses right off. Unless it gets on your hair then it becomes a bit of a battle!
So, how do you get your ideas for your next image? What inspires you?
Well, anytime I get an idea, I write it down in a notepad on my phone. Some are more elaborate or require a location that I may not have close. So the real trick I have found is on days where I only get like 1 hour to take a picture and have to be around my house or wherever I am, it requires me to branch out and expand. Which at times can be a struggle. But also rewarding when you make something awesome in your own bedroom. But I feel inspiration can be found anywhere. You just have to kind of look for it and be accepting of it, even if it comes in a way you don't expect.
I agree! I need to learn to do that... branch out and be more creative!!!
Do you feel that you gravitate towards a certain theme in your photos?
Oh yea, almost every photo that I do is a reflection of myself or the way I feel or think. That usually follows a darker, grittier feel. The sad realities of man in an abstract view.
Do you ever do any other photography projects besides the 365?
Nope, this is the first one. But I plan on doing some projects after.
That’s great! Do you plan on ever converting your photography into a business?
Possibly, I've already been hired to do a couple shoots for musicians, where they give me free range on what we shoot… which is cool. So if I can do it like that, then yea, I would consider turning it into a business. However, as soon as I have to shoot something I don't want to…. that will be the end of that. I have no intention of photographing things I have no interest in. Photography has become more my hobby, as I said earlier… my therapy. My escape. So, I don't really want to tarnish that. I want to keep it personal.
That is great to hear! Sometimes you just have to put limits on things and you definitely know what you want and what is yours!
Let me ask you the question I ask everybody. Do you think PS is a necessary tool for photographers like us?
No. One of my favorite things to look at is photos from the 50s and 60s where they pulled off crazy illusions and didn't need photo shop. I think Photoshop is awesome, as I use it a bunch. But if Photoshop suddenly just disappeared, I think all the photographers in our group are talented enough to create amazing images without it. But let's be honest PS makes it to where we can make amazing images as well. I'm for sure not one of those people who is against Photoshop. If the photo is great, it's great. However you achieve it.
I agree. It totally makes sense... what you said about PS and about our group. I think PS in a way... sort of makes us lazy!? HAHA! Do you use a lot of PS in your images?
I use a lot of color correction in my images, some are more Photoshopped than others. It really all just depends on the image.
What is your biggest dream for the present and where do you want to be in 5 years?
I would like to have my business running smoothly; have an office in either LA or NY, wherever I happen to be living at that time. Made a feature film. That is my ultimate dream, so that will have to happen. In personal life, I hope to be married and either have a kid or kid on the way :) Then, I'll have one to paint. Haha
What advice do you have for the members of our group?
I would say just be yourself and create what is special to you. And never let anyone or anything discourage you from doing what you love.
Love it. Thank you so much! It was amazing talking with you and getting to know you! A fun interview, as I had predicted!!
You too!! Thank you so much. :)