Before I actually lived in downtown Sacramento I would visit it and just explore as a teenager. Between classes or when I had a night off and nothing to do, I would roam the streets of downtown and just take it all in. Having been dragged off to suburbia as a child and raised in what felt like the middle of nowhere, being downtown was an exciting cultural adventure for me. I remember one afternoon, while going around and experimenting with my camera, I stumbled upon an empty parking lot that backed up to a cool abandoned warehouse. I took some photos around the empty lot and its building, which probably hadn’t been painted since the 50s, and then took a couple snaps of the top of that beautiful old warehouse.
Its 10 years later and I now live in that warehouse. I knew this warehouse looked familiar the second I saw the rooftop structure for the old water tanks. Somewhere deep in my very unorganized basket of negatives and their photos, I knew I had a photo of this building, which is now called the Warehouse Artists Lofts. I’m not sure if its kismet, coincidence, or just meant to be, but so many things lined up perfectly for me and this move. I literally found out about the opportunity to live here for cheap the night before the applications were due. The logo for the building is almost identical to something I made up for my own name when I was like 9, I used to sign all my art and stuff with that damn logo which was basically inspired by the FILA logo where all the letters were connected. That was the most embarrass thing I’ve ever typed, by the way. The final thing that makes me think this was totally meant to be, is this photo. There is something so weirdly historically awesome about living in a random warehouse I photographed a decade ago. I didn’t know that 10 years later that building would be dedicated to the artists of this town and become a historical landmark. I didn’t know that I would be a part of one of the biggest accomplishments for the Sacramento local arts scene. I am so in love with the history of this town and now I get to be a part of it. I get to experience it. I get to leave my mark on this city in one of the coolest ways ever.
Now my real work begins, I need to live up to what is expected of me here and I am terrified, because success is scary as hell, but I am also seriously excited to challenge myself and see what I come up with.
My longstanding love affair with Pandora has been brought to a whole new level. I first heard this song while driving out to San Francisco and immediately fell in love, so in love that I created an entire station from this one song. If that isn’t saying something then I don’t know what will. I have yet to have to “thumbs down” any song that has been presented on this playlist and it is so perfect that it matches every mood. I get daily and constant complements on this playlist from anyone who is in my car, its basically the perfect playlist. Because I’m feeling so generous I decided to share the playlist in addition to posting my favorite songs from Hippie Sabotage. You’re welcome.
A little fun fact about Hippie Sabotage– they are from Sacramento! I had NO IDEA until a client told me about it while we were listening to my playlist! We instantly bonded over the fact that we both KNEW who Hippie Sabotage is. So yay for local music! Now would be a good time to turn up the bass, hope you have a good subwoofer!
As I type this I am sitting on the corner of P & 14th streets, at about 2am, like some kind of iPhone fanatic waiting for a new release. Except I’m waiting in line for an apartment- a studio apartment at that. I feel like a crazy person just typing this because I’m not one for discomfort, especially late at night, in the cold with no bed. Just the fact that I can barely sit comfortably, let alone sleep, is saying enough. As a child I was a burden to my young 30-something parents because I was the one crying all night until we got home- nothing is like MY bed. To this day I avoid sleeping in other beds or couches if I am within 50 minutes of my bed. I have literally driven home from San Francisco at 4am because I would rather sleep in my own bed than share a room with my own snoring mother. That my friends, is dedication.
I’m waiting in line to turn in my application for the “Warehouse Artist Lofts” which are a newly renovated and built apartment complex dedicated solely for artists living and working in Sacramento. I need this apartment. I NEED this. Hours before my infamous car accident I pledged to myself to start to really truly work towards my artistic goals. I was set to collaborate with my friend and her jewelry designs, I was constantly bugging my other artist friend to work more on her paintings so we could do a fiber print and acrylic mixed media piece together. I was collecting my many rolls of shot film I’ve been hoarding for the past 3 months and setting developing appointments at my local darkroom. This accident has taken a chunk out of my bank account and life for a solid month or two now and yesterday, as I opened an outrageously priced ticket issued from my car accident, I decided something really big- for me at least.
I decided this: I am not going to let this financial setback pigeonhole me back into a soul sucking “pay the bills” type of job. I am done settling for less. I am done not living up to my potential as not just an artist, but a human. For the sake of my own soul and happiness, I need to fulfill my dream as much as possible. Even if it bankrupts me, I have to pursue this as far as I possibly can otherwise I don’t think I could live with myself knowing I never really tried. Success is scary, especially for me. I got a small taste of it in 2011 when I was published, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, and had my first show- and that was only half-assing it. I want to see what happens when I give this thing my full attention, 100%, all my ass. I need to see what I am capable of as an artist.
That is why I’m here- in 40 degree weather, sitting on concrete, with strangers, for the next 6 hours. These lofts have the potential to transform not only me but my art. I want to live a fully inspired life, surrounded by art 24/7, living and working among other people who understand the struggle that is living a creative life. I want to experience what it feels like to live in a creative bubble, be an artist, live like an artist instead of living like a girl who works on the weekends so she can do art during the week. I have a lot of wants, but really I need this. This would totally catapult my work into the next level. From talking about it, to BEING about it.
One of the reasons I love photography so much is because over time it has captured so much history. I can still remember going to the Sacramento Archives with my dad and grandparents looking over hundreds of photos taken in and around downtown searching for my great grandma Candelaria’s restaurant, La Mariposa that is now some other building. There was something so cool to me about pouring over photographs of decades past, looking at people, cars, dogs, life- frozen in time. I would look at a picture and try to animate it in my head, try to be there, like as if I was looking back on a memory- I was here once.
I think if I had to choose something to do for the rest of my life, it would be to work around these type of archives, they’re just so interesting. Its interesting to me that, sometime ago there were photographers like me who like to just goof around and take pictures of buildings, but now that those buildings are gone those pictures are written into history and are now very important photos. Photographers before me helped to build history. It totally fascinates me, which is probably why I love history so much- the photographs. Sacramento has these little books of photographs of select neighborhoods in their beginning stages, from gold rush era to present and its so interesting to me to actually SEE history. Whats even cooler is seeing those places now, seeing how they’ve changed or just stayed the same.
Somehow this week I stumbled across some old photos of Sac somewhere online (I can’t remember where now) but it got me wanting to flip through these photos again at the archives, but thanks to the digital age a lot of those photos are now online so I was browsing around and grabbed a couple of my favorite pictures, or pictures where I am familiar with the location now. Enjoy this little taste of Sacramento History.
What about you? Does your city have a similar online photo archive?
What are your favorite photos from your town history?