We had the good fortune of connecting with Marisa Osollo Montellano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marisa Osollo, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I honestly think I had no other choice.
I worked so hard to avoid pursuing a creative career. I always worked with artists, and photographers, and convinced myself that working on the periphery with creatives was enough. It wasn’t.
Reflecting upon it, I see that it was more about self-doubt. There will always be a sensible reason to not follow a creative path. I thought I would lose my desire to create if it was something I depended on to survive. But the thing is, there is always something simmering. Writing, photography, collage work. I am always processing, considering, working on, or working out something and looking forward to a forthcoming final output.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Surface level doesn’t interest me in the slightest. My intuition and desire to honestly capture a moment are the driving force in my work.
I get the opportunity to see and appreciate places and work to honor a moment in time and/or space. Trees, a color scheme, shadows, anything, will trigger my exploring a place via photos. My desire is to evoke a feeling or a memory. Of course, I seek out beauty, but It’s not just pretty for pretty’s sake.
I spent a lot of the last year going through my negatives and finding frames that I somehow missed completely in edits years ago. The span of time, along with the great amount of free time available via the pandemic gave me the perspective to see that I have never worked to capture “now”.
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?
A non-comprehensive list of some of my favorite spots:
The 110 Pasadena Freeway
Chinatown: Philippe The Original, Phoenix Bakery,
Placita Olvera, América Tropical by David Alfaro Siqueiros, The Avila Adobe, Ceilito Lindo Tacquitos
Musso & Frank
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Fern Dell Nature Trail
Sanamluang Cafe (Hollywood)
The Old Farmer’s Market, Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My father was a draftsman, and his drafting table with the different graphites, papers, and vellums was my idea of heaven. He was also a musician. Through him, I saw that sometimes you have to go outside of your comfort level to flourish. If it wasn’t for his example, I don’t think I would have ever put myself or my work “out there”.
My dear friend Michael Gonzales is a beauty and fashion photographer, we met in high school and have been close friends since. We have had a mutual appreciation of our work since high school. He gave me my first polaroid land camera, and that format changed the game for me creatively for years. Our style and final products are different, but that is what allows us to be good sounding-boards or critics for one other. He has always figured out a path and has an unparalleled drive that I admire.
My husband, Randy Montellano. He is a constant source of strength and support. He appreciates me, my work, respects and understands my need to create and, is always there to help if/when I need him. There is nothing like love and family to push you through to new levels of inspiration.