Paved New World Offers Brave New Role for Actor Daniel Pinder


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Daniel Pinder, well known for his role as Michael on Chicago PD – and for his love of skate boarding – is about to start in a new film project, Paved New World . With a powerful role inspiring his craft, he found the transition to a big-screen project inspiring.

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“We start filming in October in Los Angeles and I can’t wait. The movie is set in the 90s and follows two teens, Slim and Kilgore on their last day of summer as they travel across town to watch their skate boarding idol attempt a suicidal skate trick,” Pinder explains. “It’s really a coming of age story about these best friends on a journey of finding themselves.”

Pinder terms the story eminently relatable, and he feels he’s fortunate to be able to help tell it. “My character Slim is really spectacular. He’s very artistic; he’s a rebel at times with a sensitive side. He’s the kind of friend that everyone wants in their group of friends, the friend that will take a bullet for you.”

The film, written by Bio-Dome creators Scott Marcano and two time Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winner Kip Koenig of Greys Anatomy is directed by Skate God director Alexander Garcia. Pinder will be sharing the screen with actors such as Nash Grier from The Outfield and You Get Me, and as his love-interest, Claudia Lee of Kick-Ass 2 and Hart of Dixie.

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Pinder has loved acting since his childhood. “I get to entertain whoever the audience is and hopefully make an impact on their lives.” He says that he always knew that he wanted to impact other people’s lives, but wasn’t always sure how.

“Through watching movies or television shows that I liked, I started to see that the characters in these shows go through things I might have been going through at that time or things I might go through in the future, and it’s like the characters were teaching me or showing me ways to deal with the things in my life.” Calling this a moment of discovery, Pinder says this was when he knew that “acting was the thing for me, and the way I wanted to help other people.”

Pinder was raised in Fargo, North Dakota, far from the Los Angeles and New York acting scene. His friends and family have been supportive. “We all push each other to work hard to succeed at whatever we want to do,” he relates.

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Pinder’s first role on Chicago PD made him fall in love with acting. “Michael was my first role. I got the part two months after dropping out of culinary school,” he laughs. “I was living in Minneapolis at the time and I actually self-taped my audition in my basement. I got called back again the night after my tape was submitted asking for more video of me, and I was told it was down between me and about 8 other guys.” He got the call every actor wants to hear – you got the role – the night of his father’s birthday party.

Pinder says he relates well to the character, and was able to bring his favorite hobby – skateboarding – to the character, too.

Along with Paved New World, the actor just finished working on Alexander Garcia’s film Skate God. The skateboarding hobby Pinder has long enjoyed is useful for this role, as well.

The just-released film, which also involves actor Peter Fonda, deals with the descendent of Greek gods in a dystopian future. Pinder plays the role of Clash. Director Garcia is also working with Pinder on an upcoming mystery, Gallatin 6.

But it’s Paved New World which is most on Pinder’s mind right now. Having a lead role is an exciting first.

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“I really did fight for this part. I actually flew down from Fargo to Los Angeles to meet with Scott Marcano and Kip Koenig who wrote the film. They told me their vision, and I told them what I wanted to bring to the project and we really clicked. I think what makes me right for this part is that I understand Slim and in a weird way I feel like I’ve been very close to this character most of life,” Pinder asserts.  “What I most identify with in him is his passion. I’m very excited for everyone to meet Slim.”

Pinder adds “Besides the amazing team behind the movie, what really drew me to Slim was that he makes choices that I didn’t have the courage to do in my real life.”

Of course, pursuing acting itself was a courageous choice, and Pinder does have a few salient words of advice for anyone who wishes to follow in his footsteps. “Always stay unique because that’s what people are looking for. Work hard, stay true to yourself, and don’t change just to fit into the L.A. scene. You can do it no matter where you live as long you’re willing to put in the work,” he smiles. “If I can do it while I was living in Fargo, you can do it too.”

  • Genie Davis; photos provided by Daniel Pinder

Paved New World is set to release June 21, 2018.

William Leavitt: Cycladic Figures at Honor Fraser

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Movie sets, paintings, and sculptural installations comprise William Leavitt’s fascinating Cycladic Figures at the Honor Fraser gallery in Culver City through October 23rd. It’s a quintessentially Los Angeles exhibition, vibrantly artistic and infused within the form of the film industry. After all, we are still a filmmaker’s town as much as a blossoming art center, so what better way to combine the two creative heartbeats of the city than in an exhibition that makes Honor Fraser into a personal sound stage. Leavitt is a Los Angeles-based artist, known for his immersive installations, and is a true L.A. renaissance man, writing plays, building sets, making films, creating paintings, drawings, and installations. The artist has said that his work frames a story through an object, situation, or painting. From there, the viewer is left to continue the story, making his work gently interactive.

The title of the exhibition sets the stage, so to speak, for what the viewer experiences. It refers to sculptures created in the Cyclades Islands located off the coast of Greece five thousand years ago. The name of these islands refers to a circle, and the islands were said by the ancient Greeks to surround the holy island and sanctuary of Apollo. Little is known about the Cycladic people and their world – and perhaps we, too, know little about our own — perhaps we circle an unknowable sanctuary.

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In Leavitt’s work, the sense of mystery that surrounds the Cyclades Islands also surrounds our contemporary world. At Honor Fraser, there are intimate universes that the viewer walks through and around, part noir, part sci-fi. Color and light make each work into a separate and immersive space. With “Lennie’s Set,” the effect is pure noir, all that’s necessary is for the femme fatale to walk into the room and engage the services of what surely must be private investigator Lennie. Sunglasses, an almost archaic wind-up clock, and a rotary phone are on the desk, while a shadow, undeniably feminine, dark against a wash of golden light, is projected onto the brown venetian blinds behind that desk. There’s a brief case on the floor, a standing lamp with a dusty brass base. And yet – there is also an empty, clear green plastic leftover container which no noir p.i. would have ever seen. Are we time travelers?

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With “Faraday Cage” we are surely entering the realm of science fiction, with a wood and metal mesh cage surrounding a plastic lawn chair. Behind these objects is a garage cum Rube Goldberg-esque science lab. Once serving as a set in Leavitt’s film Cycladic Figures, an interesting transition happens when this set is displayed as an artwork.

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It is like watching a film within a film – a set artfully rendered becomes a sculpture that could serve as a film set, one in which the “audience” is invited to break the third wall of cinematic framing and walk on through. Viewers are thus invited to alter the narrative scope of the sculpture – their very presence changes it.

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Also a part of the exhibition are Leavitt’s paintings and works on paper. In a similar fashion to his installation work, he creates layered scenes that invite the viewer to develop them. Leavitt’s conceptual work in his “Head Space” series reveals two silhouetted faces against a background that morphs fields and cities as distant landscapes, while the faces themselves contain floating objects and architectural ruins.

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We are where are as much as who we are, Leavitt seems to posit, and where we are is not only this time or corporeal space but the past and future landscape as well.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Courtesy of artist/gallery and Genie Davis

Richard Chow’s Photography Converges at the Neutra



Get ready to evolve. Convergent Evolution, a solo show by photographic artist Richard Chow at the Neutra Gallery in Silver Lake is a beautifully evocative mix of black and white images and a vivid color palette that show a wide and evolutionary range of Chow’s work.

Exhibiting images from radically divergent bodies of work, Chow takes bold risks in presenting disparate images that transcend beauty or social commentary, stimulating, challenging, and engaging the viewer in dialogue with the art.

Curated by Dulce Stein along with Chow,  the work here features predominantly black and white images, making the vibrant full color photographs in Chow’s “URBANSCAPE” series a striking focal point.

IMG_3481“A New Angle,” above, is a strong example the artist’s exploration of how color and form can be reimagined within the construct of the urban landscape. Bold use of color is an essential component here, and it seems as if Chow is painting with his camera, using his surroundings as a palate.  The intense colors and tight compositions that are characteristic of this series create compelling, dynamic images with an abstract modern aesthetic.


In sharp contrast, images from Chow’s more recently developed body of work, “Distant Memories,” are an ethereal black and white, crafted by inserting secondary lenses between the subject matter and the camera.  In the series, the artist acts as curator of visual memories, questioning how they influence our individual humanity. Although the images, like the recollections they depict, are softy diffused and rely heavily on the use of light to convey emotion, the compositions are classic and strong.

“Memories,” Chow says, “are the result of a subconscious sifting through life experiences filtered through our emotional response. This process leaves them fragmented, somewhat indistinct.” The works, set against backdrops that are fertile ground for memories, explore subject matter that spans the emotional spectrum, triggering the viewer’s own memories.


Chow’s most recent body of work, “Into the Light,” returns to his architectural roots, but features black and white photography. These images, frequently larger in scale and devoid of color, allow the artist to plumb the depths of light, form, and function, exploring the urban landscape in relationship to those who inhabit it. While the series shares subject matter with its architecturally based predecessor, “URBANSCAPE,” here the photographer uses light, not color, to convey tone, atmosphere, and context – resulting in compelling images with an abstract modern aesthetic. No less vibrant and engaging for the absence of color, these images show Chow’s  progression as an artist, the works becoming more experimental in nature. Chow makes extensive use of geometry to add structure and organization to images that are more abstract than his earlier works. These compositional techniques allow him to quite literally lead viewers into the light.


The exhibition closes Sunday, so add it to your weekend list. The Neutra is located at 2379 Glendale Blvd. in Silver Lake.

  • Lisa Broadway with Genie Davis; photos courtesy of artist

Channeling Your Inner Art

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Feeling artistic, but don’t have a brush or a canvas to your name? Then it’s time to let an artist help YOU be an artist for the day. Channel your inner Monet or Picasso with a paint party that’s good for the soul.

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Above: Wine & Design 

Paint and sip classes have been around for awhile, but today there are some wonderfully unique places for you to choose when it comes to getting your art on.

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Wine & Design

Lisa Flette is the studio owner at the bright and cheerful Wine & Design in Burbank. Offering painting classes for all ages and experience levels, budding artists are led through the process of painting an original creation based as loosely or accurately on a sample work as each  attendee desires. Each class focuses on a different topic or style – whether it’s a scenic look at palm trees, a super hero, or a live model class. Pure pleasure, Flette’s enthusiasm and professionalism make this studio one of the best takes on self-made art around. There’s a fine selection of wines and Firestone Walker beer to enjoy while painting, too.

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Sure, other spots offer painting instruction and a glass of vino, but few reach the pro level of Flette’s spot, where training is concise, innovation is welcomed, and the comfortable, spacious studio is both welcoming and intelligently run. Whether you’ve never held a brush before or you’re an artist in your own right just looking for a little group fun, every participant is treated with respect, and the atmosphere is as relaxed as it is lively.

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Dank Canvas fuses cannabis with an art experience in the heart of Los Angeles, combining talented artist instructors, quality cannabis brands, and a relaxed environment in which to create.

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Owner and instructor Jennifer Korsen is also a muralist and professional artist, her skill and gift for sharing it is a high in and of itself. From classes to private events, the goal here is an immersive experience that draws participants into their own natural creativity. There’s even an arts and crafts bar for smaller projects.  The “puff and paint” experience provides fledgling painters with a cannabis product gift bag to take home along with their finished art on canvas.

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Above: Dank Canvas, Below: Paint Lab

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Paint: Lab

In Santa Monica, there’s Paint: Lab, a walk-in art studio. The sleek studio space holds two hour workshops as well as allowing clients to simply come in and paint with the guidance and encouragement of their professional artist staff. Lab fees include paint supplies, easels, brushes, workspace, and clean-up; canvasses are also available for an additional fee. Once a month, models for figure drawing are available. The goal: a welcoming space for practicing artists and folks who simply want to pick up a brush and give painting a try. Wine and Cheese nights are also offered.

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The Blending Lab


In West Hollywood, The Blending Lab puts the emphasis on wine with painting classes themselves just one of the options for a fun night out. Featuring local regional wines, this chic modern-industrial spot combines a flight of wine with canvas/brush/paints and the skilled instructors of Let’s Paint LA, for a true taste of art and vino.


So get ready to “brush up” on your artistic side – you won’t have to “canvas” the town to find the right easel for you.

  • Genie Davis; photos courtesy of art studios