We had the good fortune of connecting with Ava Alamshah and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ava, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I think about risk, I think about moments where I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone. It’s scary, yet also exhilarating and everyone should try it. Things like, saying yes to projects I’d normally shy away from, and making really personal art. My early thirties were a time for self discovery and growth, with many personal challenges. Art eventually took a back seat and it felt hard to find purpose. Throughout adult life, I’ve always had slight existential dread, and this year really threw me. Feeling comfortable was no longer an option at a job where I am considered essential. I know for a fact I’m not the only person rethinking their path and shifting perceptions of importance.
That’s risky, too, right? Change takes risk. This time has been hell, but it’s given me a chance to start my online shop, Maroon & Kales. It’s an online vintage and art emporium named after my grandmas, and something I’ve wanted to explore for a long time. It would be a dream to eventually be able to sustain a living doing it and honestly feels less risky than staying in an unhappy, unsafe environment. To never take risks is a risk, if that makes sense? I understand the privilege in risk taking and I think about that a lot. It’s ok to play it safe too. Some do not have a choice and surviving is enough.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I shoot film, with an emphasis on medium format and in August, I started my online vintage shop. I sell garments from the 1920s to the 60/70s, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years since collecting. It’s always been difficult for me to describe in words, but I see photographs and textiles as one in the same. I think about the idea of ‘Time’, existence, and how vintage clothing has traveled through it. Photographs capture a moment in time and it’s all so beautifully fleeting. I’m sure a lot of people are thinking about ‘time’ these days.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In no particular order… 1642 Bar, Pine and Crane, Amoeba (RIP), New Beverly, The Vista, Vista Hermosa Park, Chinatown, Philippes, Starday Vintage, Magnolia Blvd., Bloom and Plume Cafe, The Queen Mary, Catalina Island, maybe see a show at The Echo (I miss seeing live music), walk around Angelino Heights, record shop at Mono…. The city is changing so rapidly, I truly hope most of the establishments I mentioned will survive this year. It breaks my heart.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My boyfriend, Philip, has been my number one cheerleader. He’s an awesome artist who is always creating, always thinking and inspires me to keep going. Phil’s so supportive in everything I do. I’m very lucky.
My friend, Macquarie is psychic and predicted my opening a shop, so she definitely deserves a shoutout. She makes magic and IS magic, and I miss her dearly. She lives one day in the future, aka Australia.
A book that’s resonated with me is Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids’. Her writing has such an energetic pulse that you feel what it was like to live in NY in the 70s amongst so many magnetic creatives- plus it’s such a poignant story about love. Truly inspiring and motivating.
All the friends I’ve made through social media that share this collecting bug and who are doing their thing and surviving this capitalist system the best they can. I’m constantly in a state of awe.