We had the good fortune of connecting with Connor Garelick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Connor, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Art is about risking failure. I feel it’s important to understand that risk is what makes something beautiful and without any failures or mistakes there would be no reason to create art. And when we create something really from inside ourselves, and dig deep to our core, there is no greater feeling in the world. There is no right or wrong when it comes to art, but there is interesting and not interesting. Artists put a mirror up to society and remind them of what is deep within themselves. Our work can remind us all of the emotions and feelings that we keep hidden in our everyday life.
My life has been an accumulation of me saying yes to opportunities thrown my way. Being open, being willing to take a chance, and being curious of the world. I had my first speaking part in a film in 2014 and on my first day on a set as an actor, I knew if I wanted to make this more than a hobby I needed to learn about the craft of acting.
After my role in the film Elyse, I enrolled full-time at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, took a gamble on myself, pulled out my 401k, took a break from my career in finance and risked it all because of the burning passion to tell stories. I took singing as part of the conservatory training at Strasberg and realized that I can sing (and that we all can), and the rest is history.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
If I could talk to myself a decade ago, I would say to be more patient and that it’s okay that things do not always happen on my timeline. There have really been some close calls that could have been amazing for my career, but for some reason or another it just didn’t pan out. There are controllables and uncontrollables in this career path and it has been a journey for me to really understand this idea.
An artist must have the soul of a rose and the hide of a rhino. Must easier said than done!
It’s been fun to explore other facets of creating. Writing a play, short film or music lyrics has been empowering for me to create my own work. The power doesn’t have to be somewhere unattainable or with others, we can find our power ourselves and use that as a foundation for good work. Good art has good taste, and good taste comes from experiencing the world and all it has to offer.
I don’t think anything worth having just comes easy. It’s important to roll up our sleeves and get dirty when times call for it. I want people to know that there are more similarities to us than differences.
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?
Going to Griffith Park and then heading up to the Griffith Observatory has really helped me gain clarity. There’s something about getting a different perspective on our happenings, seeing things from a higher lens, taking a step back from our daily grind to see the beauty of everything that really appeals to me.
Hiking Wisdom Tree with my dog Olive then going to Voodoo Doughnut at Universal Studios City Walk is my ideal Saturday morning. Taking the Metro Red Line to Downtown LA and hanging around Grand Central Market is a great way to spend the day. I love to observe people. Strolling the Hollywood Walk of Fame, getting inspiration from all those before me and then grabbing a bite at Mel’s always brings a smile to face.
There’s this secret beach in Malibu that my friend and I found when we went to Pepperdine. We call it Paradise Beach. This place is special to me, and I go when my soul is called there. Feeling the sand on my feet helps ground me and makes me feel connected to the universe.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shoutout my parents because they encouraged me from a young age to explore my interests. I played baseball growing up and got to spend a lot of time with my parents (traveling to and from practice and games). Baseball is a game of failure, and I would fail and have bad games sometimes, and the experiences with my dad in the car afterwards have always been meaningful to me. The need to keep going. The need to keep pushing and knowing that I’m enough and to trust my talents. Before my baseball games my dad would crank Bon Jovi or The Rolling Stones on loud in the car to pump me up. Get me in the zone.
I also want to shoutout my sisters Haley and Brooke. It’s been amazing watching them grow up, and they have always been supportive of me and are there for me when I fail. I’ve been reflecting on failure, and failure is so necessary for growth. How do we really learn from success? I’ve yet to figure that one out. My failures have been the best teacher.
I had three experiences with my parents as a teenager that really impacted me: We visited Elvis’ house in Graceland, TN and got to spend New Year’s Eve there. My parents and I went to the asylum in Saint Remy in France where Vincent Van Gogh painted hundreds of oils on canvas, including “Starry Night” and “Olive Trees.” I also stayed with a host family in Hermosillo, Mexico when I represented Team USA in baseball. Showering from a garden hose and not having clean drinking water is something I’ll never forget.
I also want to give Anthony Hopkins and his wife Stella recognition. I have known them since childhood, and they have always encouraged me to explore my talents and been supportive of my dreams. I had the opportunity to act in Stella’s first feature film called Elyse and couldn’t be more thankful for them believing in me.
Each picture is a different photographer. Please give credit — Acting Headshot Image: Marc Cartwright Me in Yellow Jacket: Dynamo Lewis Me looking up with the denim jacket: Jorden Keith Me in Joshua Tree in middle of road: Bodi Shannon Me with tongue out and doing rocker sign: Dynamo Lewis Black and white photo with angle looking up: Trey Smith