We had the good fortune of connecting with Rick Craft and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rick, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When I was in middle school, I remember doing a mock-career/living budget for math class. We had to look at a local newspaper and find job postings and take one of those with the hourly wages/details provided. Then, we had to do the same for an apartment, a car, insurances etc. Keep in mind the internet wasn’t as prevalent for listings/businesses as it is today, so we physically had to call into these offices and ask for quotes. After getting my job as a pizza delivery driver with a Toyota pickup truck, living in a one bedroom apartment and factoring in the minimum groceries to survive, I was feeling good… I was theoretically an adult with all of my own stuff! Then came the math… With my hourly wages, I was going to be short every month by $600 or so. Most people in the class came to this same conclusion and our teacher took the moment to lecture everyone on why schooling was so important. It felt like an episode of scared straight where we stepped into D-block and would end up holding the pocket of some dude serving a life sentence if we didn’t go to college immediately after graduating. This didn’t sit well with me and I worried that I would just never make it. My family didn’t have money set aside for me to go to college, nor did I have any real interest in extending my time in a classroom. I did however, know that I enjoyed creating. From drawing and carving wooden ducks with my dad to playing guitar, making art always made me feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. I figured, if I wasn’t going to make it from my newspaper chosen life anyway, I may as well try to make something out of nothing and pursue my happiness! Fast forward to a few years out of high school, I was writing albums in a band and toured around the country for a few years. I met so many amazing people and had unforgettable life experiences. I started doing photography right around the same time for fun, and that parlayed into shooting music videos. I realized that I had the same feeling of creating and sense of purpose, making people excited/inspired by our visual interpretations of another art form. It has always been about that fulfillment that I feel from sharing my art with others, and daily challenges on how to make something new that has pushed me through all of the struggles and tough times along the way, but after 12 years of doing this full time for a living, I have never once gone hungry and absolutely love what I do! I encourage anyone feeling this way to do the same. There wasn’t any secret recipe or factor of me knowing someone in the industry, I just keep creating and growing just as I did since I turned in that scare tactic of a math class project.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s hard to say from my perspective what would set my art apart from others, but I think everyone has a unique perspective on the world. Thats what I love about making and viewing art. You can have a room of people close their eyes, tell them all the same story with the same characters and they would all imagine slightly different versions of it. In a more practical sense, I do know that I love using color and expressions along with the framing to tell a story. I feel like so much can be said from one still image. At least in my mind, I tell my models the background story for their character and where they were 10 minutes prior to showing up in “this scene”. It is fun for me to have that discussion and to see them get into character and even add details of their own! Even though it ends up being a singe image, I’ve been told by people that they thought it was a still from a movie and that they wanted to see the rest! And ultimately that is my goal to direct feature length films to have the actual time to set up and resolve a storyline in my colorful worlds. I have learned many things along the way, as in small tips and tricks with lighting or making a location look different than it does to the naked eye. But what I keep learning is how to adapt and make things work with what you have. Many people are scared to create art because they want it to be “perfect”. So sometimes, they might start something and wait to release it to the world because it’s not perfect yet. Nothing will EVER be perfect. even on the big budget films I’ve worked on, we still always have to make something work because of unforeseen circumstances. Locations can be ruined because of a nearby fire physically destroying the sets, it can rain all day for a sunny themed movie, actors can be replaced mid way through shooting etc. The fast paced way of the industry keeps you on your toes but also has an exciting element of that quick thinking that sometimes can shift an idea in an entirely new direction that makes it even better than before!
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?
Los Angeles has so much to offer. Unfortunately I am writing this during a global pandemic sooooo…. haha. Let’s say everything was open again and things were a bit back to normal, I would still be one of the worst people to ask about hot spots because most of my time is spent at home or on set! I do love a small restaurant near my place in Hollywood called Thai Pepper. I take all of my friends there because its such an authentic dining experience. Super small interior with only like 5 tables, and its run by 2 women from the homeland that remember your orders from months ago! Otherwise, I really love how much Los Angeles has to offer as far as interesting locations goes. I sometimes just ride around getting lost on side streets and places I typically wouldn’t drive just to see if something jumps out and inspires me for a shoot. So much history mixed with brand new architecture, it really does have something for everyones taste especially when you can visit so many different climates/looks within 2 hours of the city!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I really owe everything to my parents/sister for always supporting my arts! Since the humble beginnings of band practice in our garage until 2 am (sorry guys) to the big stages, they always took time to listen to/look at my art. Even when I decided to move out to Los Angeles 10 years ago, not knowing a single person out there, they always were nothing but supportive and encouraging even during the times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get the next film/photography job. There are too many people to list from along the way that have been an influence in my life as I feel like you can learn something from everyone. I am a mix of everyone I have ever worked with and absolutely love meeting new people and creating with others. So many of my projects involve a lot of the same team/talent because of these close friendships and fun working environments. I also want to thank every single person that has taken the time to reach out and say something in person and online through messages or comments. It really does mean the world to me!
Models: Holly Madison, Kelly Eden, Page Ruth, Ashlyn Coco, Alina Lee, Luna Lovebad, Evan Bonifant