RENEE AKANA, fine artist

Who's Out There?

I am a formally trained photographer and painter from Los Angeles, California. I lived in Los Angeles for 45 years and currently live in Central New York if for perhaps only a minute because it is another experience.  We all have visions of where we are and where we wished we were.  We think.  We dream.  I am inching my way back to the West, but taking in every bit of this part of the world before I leave.

When I was  painting and drawing, my style focused on juxtaposition and surrealism because I have always been drawn to mystery or things that didn’t make immediate sense.

When I was a kid, my aunt used to keep us up before bed and ask deep questions about life, religion and of all things, UFOs.  Being the good Catholic that she is and the superstitious Italian that she is, it was a fine way to mix it all up in our little minds. I’d go to bed wondering who was going to land in the back yard – Jesus or the little gray guy with big eyes.  Most importantly, I knew someone was going to land out there while I slept.

On the other side of my crazy family, the Un-Italians, but equally superstitious, my eccentric rich grandmother surrounded herself with psychics and fortune tellers. I met some pretty interesting people, but it was definitely not the norm.  I’ve even lived in a haunted house later in life.

I’ve been all over the board with my photography, shooting just about everything and not landing on anything in particular until I connected my own dots to tell my own stories. My starting point is "who's out there?" From there, it gets creative. We all have deep fears.  That's ageless.  That's mythology, fairy tale, superstition. 

I am still aware of the noises I heard in church when nobody was in there except me, the smell of incense, the candles, Jesus and the dark. I’m still afraid of funeral parlors.  I am still afraid of the woods.  Fear of Trees is me.  That’s my mother.  I still sleep with the lights on at night. I am afraid of dying.

Technically: I thought I wanted to be a commercial photographer, but I was a bit rebellious to undertake it and even though I can technically execute, I have had more success selling my original pieces or licensing work to people who have a connection to the vision.  People tell me I take too many classes.  I guess I have a bit of OCD about getting better and better and learning everything that is out there.  I can restore old photos, I can do professional retouching, compositing, studio work, etc., but in truth, none of it talks to or about me.   I came to realize that I didn’t need two gig files and fifty layers to tell that story.

I am attracted to black and white photography and especially to infrared photography in black and white and to infrared in color (it’s called “false color”) because it helps me search for those mysteries I wanted to know and it brings those fears I had to light. Infrared sees light that is not in our visible spectrum. I like that.  I am not unique.  I just admit to the very dreams and fears we all have.

I do client work on a limited basis. As an artist, it’s difficult for me to execute someone else’s vision. I can, but the work feels too mechanical, so for the most part, people have purchased my work or licenses of my work based on a matching of our minds.  My work speaks to them.  I’ve been my own model because I work cheap and furious and when you try to get someone attached to your idea, they often give you a blank look.  That's okay.  I'll still tell a story. 

CONTACT RENEE REGARDING PRINT SALES.  SOME PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE ON WWW.SAATCHIART.COM

 Shows, Events & Awards:

  • 2015 (March) Featured Photographer, New Landscape Photography
  • 2013 MOPLA Pin Up Show, Robert Berman Gallery, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica, CA
  • 2011 & 2012 International Photography Awards

           * IPA 2011 - Honorable Mention - Editorial : Environmental Category
           * IPA 2011 - Honorable Mention - People : Lifestyle Category
           * IPA 2012 - Honorable Mention - Special : Digitally Enhanced Category
           * IPA 2012 - Honorable Mention - Fine Art : Other_FA Category

  • 2012 Pico Artist Coalition 
  • 2010 / 2009  5x7 shows, Blue 7 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
  • 2009 Water Show, Santa Monica College Exhibit, Santa Monica, CA
  • 2008 Exhibit for Pico Blvd / Pico Improvement Organization, Santa Monica, CA
  • 2008 National Geographic Bioblitz, Santa Monica Mountains, CA, contributing photographer
  • 2008 Sierra Club auction contributor

Education:  

  • Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California
  • Private mentoring with a professional photographer since 2007