We had the good fortune of connecting with Pia Brannen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think of assessing risk as the ability to discern which of life’s many ultimatums will best preserve my health and happiness. Taking a risk forces me to get honest about what I want to happen and how resilient I’d actually be if things don’t work out. The better I understand the ways an opportunity could help or harm me, the more confident I am betting against obvious odds. I’ve had my fair share of impulsive moments. Those are necessary. They teach you valuable lessons that you won’t learn by remaining patient. But when it comes to taking risks in life’s most sacred spaces, my pleasure or profession for example, I take my time. I slow down to do the emotional, spiritual and literal math. Discernment, perseverance and resilience are all skills involved in healthy risk taking that can and should be developed. And if you’re ever faced with a difficult decision and aren’t sure if the risk is with the reward, remember: anything that costs you your peace is way too expensive.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Like many artists, I’ve struggled with the concept of identity. I’ve worked through imposter syndrome, perfectionism and insecurities around what the quality, frequency and validity of my artwork said about me as a person. After becoming a Yes Man to my ambitions and several close encounters with burnout, I’ve learned that I can achieve much more through flow than force. I’ve gotten a lot better at recognizing when it’s time to give my work some breathing room and that it’s ok to let inspiration take the wheel occasionally. Now I’m able to embrace that there are ebbs and flows in all aspects of life, and definitely in creation. I’m still a creator when I’m not producing. I’m still an artist when I’m not sharing.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For the friend who loves brunch, check out the original Bottega Louis or Edibol. For the beer lovers, head to First Draft Taproom, Karl Strauss, Boomtown Brewery or Imperial Western Brewing Co. For the stiff drinker who enjoys a dark room and loud music, head to Tony’s or The Little Easy. For the friend who enjoys a cozy vibe and great food, head to Kombu Sushi or El Coyote. For the friend who enjoys a lounge-y ambiance, head to Tao or Mrs Fish. For the cultured friend, check out the Getty Villa, Getty Malibu, The Huntington Library & Gardens and The Marciano Art Foundation. For those who want a taste of Old Hollywood, try to catch show at the Pantages Theater or a Tease If You Please Burlesque show.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To my best friends, Jen, Elli and Krystal: I’m so inspired by the way your ambitions drive but don’t define you. You’ve shown me deep, meaningful friendships can thrive even if both people involved are highly independent and in constant pursuit of their dreams. To my sister, Bree: You’ve seen me through all my failures and doubts. Thanks for keeping me grounded and reminding me there’s always someone in my corner. To my husband, Matt: Thank you for buying me my first easel, creating a studio space for me in every tiny apartment we’ve lived in and being my greatest source of love and inspiration. Your support has been the driving force behind so many of my proudest moments.