We had the good fortune of connecting with Celeste Voce and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Celeste, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
Somewhat counterintuitively, my tendency to procrastinate is has become a huge asset to me. I have a propensity to overthink things, to the point that it stifles my creativity. Too much time makes either me overly ambitious or mired in self-doubt, to the point that I get so overwhelmed, I end up doing nothing. By working under a tight deadline, I can’t dwell on things. When I don’t have actual deadlines, I set artificial ones that are still fairly rigid. When I’m in this zone of focus and efficiency, I rely on my skill and intuition, which is where I find my best work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I still make fully analogue photographs, which is becoming less and less common. Even though photography is more accessible than ever, I want to find ways to continue to explore and exploit the medium closer to its origins. It excites me to create problems that I have to solve — I like to pull at illogical threads of ideas and make something new and interesting out of them. Lately, I’ve also started incorporating collage. It’s a constant challenge to balance personal satisfaction and outside definitions of success, but I try to focus on fulfilling my own vision and not worrying about the rest. I’m tired of worrying about gatekeepers; there’s not much I can do about the fickleness, but if I make the work I want and have a community of people I can talk about it with, I feel good about things.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love making specific itineraries for people who visit me in Los Angeles because it’s such a challenging city to be a tourist. Ideally, any itinerary would include a hike because the nearness to nature is my favorite thing about living here — there are so many places to go, this is a particularly fun thing to tailor to the specific visitor. I love exploring any city through food, so I usually keep in mind where a person is from and make sure they get things they couldn’t get back home. Szechuan food is almost always on the list, and I’m still mourning the loss of my favorite spot Chung King, but Chengdu Taste has more than filled that hole in my heart. For something a little faster, I love the burritos at Al & Bea’s. Guelaguetza is another place that’s great to take any visitor. There’s a new sushi spot in my neighborhood, Morihiro, that I look forward to taking people to for a nice dine-in meal post-pandemic. No one ever seems to visit me in the summer, but if they did, I would take them to the Hollywood Bowl for one of the classical nights, bring our own picnic, sit in the upper benches, and just have a really relaxing evening. There is one place I make everyone go, and that’s Dave’s on Broadway in Glendale, for karaoke. Even if you don’t sing, it’s a gem of a dive bar and always fun.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to Katherine Bieschke, who has helped me work through all kinds of ideas and feelings, especially over the past weirdo year, and she is also an incredible artist in her own right whose work constantly amazes and inspires me.
All images © Celeste Voce