We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie flynn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, what principle do you value most?
As a principle to live by, I try to connect with my vulnerability. This has served me as a parent, friend, and artist. I’m very curious and open by nature, probably to a fault. In my art, my photography and films, I strive to capture authenticity and accidental moments, and this requires being vulnerable. I’ve always been interested in storytelling, but it’s really taken shape for me as a photographer. I became a photographer after I became a parent and most of my early work is of my kids. It was always important to me to let them be exactly who they are and become who they want to be. Hold boundaries and love them to death, but otherwise stay out of their way. I love observing them-everything they feel is on their sleeve and changes moment to moment. Their hearts are truly honest, and every feeling so transient. I’ve always strived to capture that in storytelling and photography.
My friends refer to me as the connector. Maybe that’s another principle I live by-collaboration. I’ve never been very precious about my work. I’ve always valued and loved working in collaboration or as a team. It excites me. There is so much we can learn from each other, ways we can be pushed or inspired by each other as parents, as artists, and humans trying to just figure out the chaos we are all in.
My first film I both wrote and directed, “Townes”, in some ways was a culmination of these principles. The story is about how children’s imagination is their survival tool. It would never have been made if it weren’t the incredible artists and friends supporting me, and my muse, my daughter, who inspired me and carried the character through the film with such raw vulnerabilty. My hope as an artist and human is to become a better listener, a better storyteller and make more films about the human experience.
Young Hearts, the volunteerism branch of the Open Hearts Foundation that I created with two of my friends, also stemmed out of the same principles: building community, compassion and finding those unique parts of ourselves that we can offer in service. When we approach this alone, it feels daunting and overwhelming, but when we collectively come together with our unique skills, passions, interests, that’s where the difference is really made.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the struggles I’ve faced is trying to find the right fit for me in my work. It took me a long time to really know what I loved and was good at. Fighting outside voices, and the internal voices, of what “success means” or the definition of “a career”. It took me until now to realize that our work is ever shifting. None of it’s linear, and that my idea of success is making sure I spend a lot of time with my daughters, practicing kindness, participating in our world and community, and putting my heart into what I love creatively. I think the biggest lesson is to follow what you love and are excited by, not what you think other people might want–your work will always be better, more unique, exciting, and authentic.
I started as an actress, and I worked a bit-but it never was the right fit for me. I am shy and not a natural performer.
I love writing and have been proud of projects I’ve written that have been brought to screen. However, it wasn’t until I discovered photography that I truly found my calling in storytelling. It allows me to be invisible, which I LOVE, and connect to human emotion, or the emotion in a space. It inspired my imagination and connection to the world in ways that nothing else had. I learned to be a better observer, and therefore a better storyteller. It was something I never had to wait for or to be told I had “the green light” to do it.
Being a mother helped me with my art. I think the sensitivity, intimacy, emotion I found once I became a mother has helped me both in my filmmaking and photography.
Most of my early work has been of my daughters. I’ve been asked to show work in galleries internationally and I’ve done editorial work for Maison Modulare https://modulare.us w
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.
I split my time between Venice and The high desert (Landers near Joshua Tree) So I’m biased to those places. I love to travel and get lost on the road, but when I’m not traveling, I’m a homebody, so there’d be lots of takeout from Gjusta and wine from Simons, and sitting by my fire pit chatting.
But if I must…
Wallflower in Venice for the cocktails and delicious food
Grand Central Market Downtown
I love Food Shop (a sort of underground Pop-up restaurant-family style-with the most delicious seasonal food)
Santa Monica Farmers Market: The produce is the best I’ve ever tasted
Malibu Oyster Company for their lobster roll
Leo Carillo (a favorite spot for my girls and I to check out tide pools)
I love biking ballona creek-It’s such a visually interesting pocket of LA from the beach to downtown Culver City.
Hiking in Topanga
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate this to my daughters. They make me want to do better and be better every day. Honestly, to my mom and all of the women in my life who constantly lift me up, see me when I don’t always see myself, and encourage and support me and my wild ideas.