We had the good fortune of connecting with Jana Cruder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jana, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Although I’m first and foremost an Artist, for me there was no other way than to be in business for myself. I was raised in a family business where I was taught to follow my vision and create the opportunities I wanted to step into. I’ve officially been in business for myself since moving to Los Angeles in 2005 and I’ve found myself continually growing, exploring, reinventing and honing my craft, vision and approach in the roles of Photographer, Producer and Director with the role of Artist playing a key role in informing all areas of my commercial work.
Throughout the process I’ve continued to evolve into a Multi-Media Artist. My primary mediums — photography and film — now also include experiential installation and performance works, as I’ve been turning more and more towards expressing and creating around themes I’ve felt to be most pressing for our time…themes I’ve wanted the masses to digest, become inspired by, and feel compelled to shift.
You’ll find threads each theme running through all of my work, from my fine-art photographic “Barbie” series about the roles and relationships of women and how culture influences our becoming, to my elaborate art installation experiences like “Natural Plasticity” which focuses on the magnitude of our disposable plastic habit and “Audience With A Tree” with its goal of fostering a curious and contemplative moment between the general public and our great forests —the lungs of our planet — by placing nature directly in front of urban distraction.
In gaining traction and recognition for these works I’ve realized the power of creating artful visuals, experiences and content as a catalyst for inspiring people to interact and engage with complex emotions and societal issues on a deeper level, and for offering an accessible pathway towards a meaningful ‘shift’ in perspectives, choices and behaviors.
All of this has seeded the inception of S H / F T M E D / A Productions, a company aimed at filling an important need in the marketplace for merging the creative services agency and production company models with an emphasis on honoring creative creators and supporting brands and visionaries to impact social change.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At S H / F T M E D / A we are passionate about bringing a conscious voice to experiential installations and content by serving the growing need for experiential digital media and branded content libraries. We believe we can impact the planet and leave it a better place through enriching people’s experiences and hopefully inspiring and helping along the way.
My team and I love what we do and we’re committed using our creative abilities to support like-minded brands, companies, non-profits, art and science institutions and visionaries. This holistic, experiential approach to content creation generates authentic, emotionally charged messaging.
We accomplish this by aligning with individuals and brands who also wish to cultivate a balanced and positive future through storytelling and art, and by synthesizing artistic and commercial sensibilities to build, style and create a one-of-a-kind authentic experiences, which we then document in multiple layers, while giving a live in-person or virtual audience an experience they surely wouldn’t have anywhere else.
You’ll find examples of our work in our collaborations with clients like Parley For The Oceans, Brita, The World Surf League and dhyana Essentials.
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.
First, we’d go hiking in Tuna Canyon in Topanga, and stop for Sunday Brunch at Inn of The Seventh Ray. After that we’d head down to the ocean for a quick dip. The Topanga break is epic for a refreshing flash of sun and splash of water, no matter the time of year! For the afternoon, we’d roll down the PCH to Venice and camp out at Rose Cafe, sipping Americanos and checking-in on our laptops. Later we’d head to RAMA Venice for some kundalini and a session with Guru Jaget, to amp-up our creativity connections. For dinner we’d make our way to the east side to Highland Park for some culture, and pop into SHOW gallery. I’m looking forward to the great ‘re-emerge’ of art, culture and interactivity. 2020 was tricky for artists and the arts. Many venues are closed for good and artists have moved out of LA. it will be interesting to see who is still there, who has moved on and where the next scenes land.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
No artist or creative entrepreneur is ever alone. We are a channel for the source of creativity and our lives are an instrument of expression. So many have supported me on my journey. It is a constant, and it truly takes a village to show up for a profession and medium that is forever evolving and changing how we see ourselves and the world around us.
Artistically, I’ve drawn inspiration from powerful monumental female creatives like Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mary Ellen Mark and Cindy Sherman and I owe my commercial & professional start to people who took a chance on me, mentored me, and allowed me to take on opportunities that have led me to where I am today. Huge shout-outs to Jill Roy at 3Star Productions as well as Lisa Grezo of GE Projects; to Warwick Saint and Robert Ashcroft; to Kim Martindale of the LA Art Show; to Carmen Zella the founder of Now Art LA; to Brett Sperry and Melinda Sheckells; to Matthew LaPenta for support and collaboration in Natural Plasticity, and to clients like Jessica Bryan of PEOPLE Magazine.
Thank you to JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna, who is exhibiting my latest photo series “HerStory” in Chelsea, NYC this summer (currently showing through July 30 at the JoAnne Artman Gallery – NY).
Many others deserve a mention: From my Mother and Father, Roberta and Ron Cruder; to my best friend, writer Carly Hebert, who always encourages me on my wild ideas and reminds me of my gusto; to my partner Zebu Recchia, an incredibly talented writer, producer and editor who helps me keep my feet on the ground and floats my ideas in the sky; to my spiritual teachers, and my yoga and plant-medicine communities who have informed my soul’s journey and contributed greatly to my work in the world.
And of course, none of this could happen without my immensely talented production crew and the interconnected web of support I’ve received from so many others, too numerous to mention.
Thank you all!
Permission granted by Jana Cruder Studio