We had the good fortune of connecting with Mariana Tosca and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mariana, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
Being proficient at one thing is not enough. The business of art is more multifaceted than ever before and we are called upon to not only be aware of, but be adept at, numerous disciplines ancillary to whatever our main skill set may be. Ford invented division of labor, which on a production line is very effective, but for an entrepreneur in the arts, would be near suicide. Being a good photographer, for example, is only one piece of an ever-expanding puzzle. It used to be that in addition to your professional proficiency, you had to have a well-produced portfolio in which to showcase your work. Then the portfolio became a website. Now it’s a website, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, etc. In art, photography, or filmmaking, all the disciplines of story on numerous platforms become intertwined and each is informed by the other. Today, one could easily ask, “Am I creating because I’m inspired by the subject, or because I know it will be a good fit for Instagram?” So even our motivations for making our particular art are evolving. There has always been a necessary awareness of the audience and the venue for the work, whether it was a magazine, print ad, exhibit or installation. Maybe it’s not that it’s changed so much, but those considerations have become much more immediate and personal to the extent that a lot of one’s business/public profile is created on a cell phone, or at the very least, funneled through that ever increasingly critical piece of gear. Resistance to the trappings of our modern culture, the evolving social norms and the interaction technology has enabled, is a form of self-hobbling. So the lesson I’m still learning is: Embrace the evolution… it’s the only way to survive.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m extremely excited about a film that I’ve produced which will be released in February. It is a documentary/feature hybrid written and directed by my production partner, Chris Johnson, entitled Journey To Royal: A WWII Rescue Mission. I’m excited about it because it’s the fulfillment of a promise that we made to the veterans whose stories we tell. We promised that their service, dedication and sacrifice would never be forgotten. Making this film was a feat which required substantial endurance over the course of a decade. Seeing it come to fruition and find distribution fills me with great satisfaction and pride. I’m also thrilled to be continuing my work on a collection of historical portraiture, which has allowed me to combine my interest in and reverence for history & art. Being able to capture the sensibility of an era or time period through light, color, texture and style is something that galvanizes me every day in the studio.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Whenever the pandemic is in our collective rear view mirror and we can, once again, entertain visiting friends, I’ll be leaping at the chance to share a few of my favorite spots in Los Angeles. My itinerary usually includes: *A day trip to the Autry Museum of the American West, where you can sidle up to a poker table or the bar of an 1800s saloon, or experience the gold rush by panning for gold. *A day trip split between the Huntington Library, Art Museum & Botanical Gardens and the Norton Simon Museum, because spending time with John Singer Sargent and Auguste Rodin never gets old. *Vegan Pizza at Ciao Cristina, for a healthy, delicious, cruelty-free nutritional boost to sustain us on our way *for the obligatory taste of Hollywood, a VIP Tram Tour of the NBCUni lot, one of my favorite studios which holds a lot of fond memories for me *Finishing the evening with a wee dram of The Macallan and dancing to the Ploughboys at the Tam O’Shanter pub. Slainte!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My production partner, Christopher Johnson (www.ChrisJohnsonFilms.com), deserves an enormous shoutout. Throughout production on any of our projects, I have been consistently awestruck by his skill, dedication, artistry and grace under pressure. All of these attributes have been an enduring inspiration for me and a continual confirmation of the value of collaboration.
Mariana Tosca Tosca Photography