We had the good fortune of connecting with Mia Krystyna and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Honestly there wasn’t much of one – for better or worse! I have always had an awareness that sitting at a desk working toward someone else’s goals everyday would be beyond unsatisfying, and a waste of what I felt I had to share with the world. If I had to do it all again I would definitely try to have more of a thought process going in, more of a practical approach. But it really was a day-by-day, figure it out as you go situation for me. I’m still figuring it all out, but I never really felt like I had another option since my skills and interests are so specific.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started out as a film photographer when I got out of school. At first I had no idea what I was doing, and through a series of events met a mentor who showed me the ropes. I love history and honoring it is really important to me, so starting a new career as a photographer in the realm of large format film felt very right. I sort of went through all the historical processes (or many of them) and learned about each one, and it gave me a massive amount of confidence knowing my way around almost any camera. Shortly thereafter I started shooting in 16mm film and that’s when I really started feeling ignited to write and direct projects. I made 5 short films in the span of a year, but by then, the pandemic was already happening so it wasn’t long before I had to table the idea of filmmaking for a while and focus on other things. I started doing digital photography for fashion brands to get by during those years, and I think throughout that time my mind started to wander a bit away from photography and film and more into other mediums. Namely, metal. I just really felt like I needed to get my hands dirty and get back into my body by using all five senses.

I spent this last year working on a series of metal sculptures made from lead (yes, the poisonous kind) and ink or silver leaf. Lead is such a special and interesting material and one of the most plentiful and sustainable resources on the planet. And even though we were all trained to be scared of it (and rightfully so), with some care any toxicity can be easily avoided. Some of the smaller gauges have the texture and pliability of leather, and over a period of about 6 months I devised a way to create these pieces safely in my apartment to get ready for a show opportunity I was lucky enough to be offered. I sewed the metal like fabric by hand or on a machine, I cut it into panels so I could carry it up my 3 flight walk up, I hammered it into place until I liked the way that it looked, and then either doused it in black Sumi ink or gilded it with genuine silver leaf. It was maddening and also very cathartic.

When I got out of school my goal was to be a photographer and filmmaker who traveled the world and made films and did fashion and editorial shoots. I still would love to do that, but since that time and everything that has happened in between (I’m looking at you pandemic) I’m just taking the time right now to execute some of the inspirations I had during those two years, and then look on to greener pastures. I lost everything trying to open a physical space for my business in the form of a darkroom/studio right before everything shut down in 2020, and so it’s been a very slow process of getting back on my feet with my photography. Certainly has not been easy but I think something pretty great came out of the slow times.

You’ll be able to see the show at RYKN in the Arts District September 20th through October 31st.

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?
Ooh! Okay well I am a full-time East-sider, so that’s where my knowledge lies. First things first I’d say hop off the plane and grab a coffee at Cafecito Organico, Stereoscope, Maru or Dayglow depending on who you are/what your vibe is. Then dinner at Atrium and drinks at Pinky’s. Brunch at Sqirl, lay on the grass at Elysian, catch a movie at New Beverly and then wine and dinner at Lolo. I’m also a sucker for the Hollywood-on-the-east-side vibe at the Cara Hotel and surprisingly not many people I know know about that place but the service/food/drinks are great. Bacetti for the best Italian and it’s sister wine bar Tilda, Bacari for tapas, El Prado for NY style wine and disco. Of course Cafe Stella and Bar Stella are a classic, and if you want to play pool and take photobooth pics instead then 4100. Melody for oysters & wine. And although this is a West Hollywood wildcard I have to say Remedy Place for a day or night when you don’t want to drink and replenish some electrolytes and have an all out health-centric time in a.broody, sexy lounge environment.

I feel like that’s a lot, no??

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents, my photography and so many other artists and filmmakers who are unyielding in their approach to their work. I spend so much time doing “homework” researching and learning about processes, trying to figure out how things work. If it wasn’t for the countless hours other Creators spend making documentaries or youtube videos or online courses or Instagram posts teaching other people things and inspiring others, I would be no where, so I definitely have those invaluable resources to thank.

It’s one of the reasons why I want to do the same and give back in a way with the new project I’m working on now called An Interest. It’s still in the works but will hopefully be a place where people can come and learn about new things and spark their own creative fire. I’ll be updating everyone when that’s launching on Instagram @miakrystyna.

Website: miakrystyna.com

Instagram: @miakrystyna

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