We had the good fortune of connecting with Ethan Phan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ethan, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
My parents were always creatives at heart, regardless of their actual professions. From an early age I was always surrounded by the different cameras and gear my parents would bring home and use on the weekend when they had free time from work. Due to this, I always used to try to pickup their cameras and try to copy what they did when I was younger. I guess because of this, the process of creating images always had always been something that has garnered my interest. In addition to that, I was always obsessed with the print magazine ads of the early 2000s while growing up so that also probably had a massive impact on what caught my eye. Being a creative as a career was always something I wanted to do but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I went through a rough breakup that I had the realization I should just go for it. It was a cliché heartbreak and I didn’t know what to do with all I was feeling. It was then, when I found a film camera and just started going out and shooting photos with my friends. The more I did it, the more I fell in love with it and eventually I started to get better at different methods of getting my messages across visually.
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 started off with most of my work being just film photos of my friends and what we were doing. It progressively began evolving into what it is now after really tapping into what I feel like I should make and what I thought looked cool. For much of my work, I use multiple cameras from different eras to get specific qualities depending on what kind of feeling I want to get across. I am a big fan of having bold, contrasting colors in my photos and graphics so that is also something that can be seen throughout my work. I co-directed my first music video recently so I am excited to keep diving deeper into the world of videography. So far, I think I am most proud of being featured on I-D magazine for a photo I took, since I-D is easily my favorite publication out there. I am definitely far from where I want to be professionally but I’m confident I can get there in due time.
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.
Rose Bowl Flea Market is always an essential stop every month, its the most vintage clothing and random knick knacks you will ever see in one place! Dover Street Market in Downtown LA is another proper shopping location since they have all the best brands there. For food, Malibu Seafood is always the spot for a good meal with a view. And of course no trip to LA is complete without visiting museums like LACMA or The Broad.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely need to thank my parents first and foremost for giving me life and inspiring me from the start. Need to give a shoutout to some of my best friends Arshia, Ali, Derek, Andre, Cobi and all the rest that continue to push me past my comfort zone as a creative and a person, you know who you are! Shoutout to Braeden for the nomination! Also would not be right unless I give a shoutout to Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Julian Klincewicz, Wolfgang Tillmans and Frank and Tyron Lebon for the constant inspiration!