A collaboration between three LA-based photographers, Lily Flores, Serge Gil, and Scarlet Mann, who explore common themes by capturing nude, masked models throughout LA and its neighboring cities. LA Odyssey is a three part series that opened in 2013 with Conceptions, and continues November 14 with Reverie at the Bruce Lurie Gallery.
An LA photographer via Florida and Mexico. Inspired by her commute to work from LA’s West Side to an East LA belt factory, Lily Flores photographs the journey between neighborhoods, hoping to look past superficiality and stereotypes and capture the true history and nature of the city.
LA photographer born in Mexico and raised in transit, Gil’s work aims to capture the ephemeral and transitory natures of dreams, identity, shadow and light.
Raised in small-town Arkansas, Scarlet Mann came to LA as a model and later turned to photography. Her work, which plays with identity and the toxicity of fame and commercialization, is often set in nature in and outside of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles photographers Lily Flores, Serge Gil and Scarlett Mann have united in a common exploration of their sprawling city and its surroundings. Their three-part show, LA Odyssey, captures a series of nude, masked figures interacting with the many landscapes of Southern California. Without clothes and without a face, the models are void of identity and therefore represent nobody and everybody, a space for the viewer to fill. These dreamlike photos play with juxtapositions – celebrity meets anonymity, glamour meets labor, materialism meets austerity – echoing the way LA’s underbelly of grit and industry is tucked between its wilderness of mountains and ocean.
The trio returns this month with a follow-up to their successful 2013 opening, LA Odyssey: Conceptions, which went on to Art Basel Miami, The LA Art Fair, the Hamptons Fine Art Fair, and Houston Fine Art Fair. The second exhibition of the series, Reverie, opens November 14 at the Bruce Lurie Gallery. Flores, Gil, and Mann tell us about the project, their personal stories, and the “coincidental miracle” of their collaboration.
Where are you from?
Scarlet Mann: Southern California first, grew up in a small town in Arkansas, then back to LA at 21.
Lily Flores: Los Angeles by way of Florida via the Eagle Pass,TX/Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Méxican border.
Gil Serge: Everywhere and nowhere. I kind of grew up all over the place; different cities especially before I moved to Florida. Growing up in Mexico I mainly lived up north in wide array of industrial cities both big and small and the desserts and magic of the Mexican Sierras.
By age 11 I was permanently residing in Clearwater followed by New York City and ending in LA with a couple escapades into Italy and South Africa which forever changed me.
When did you start making art?
SM: Probably when my sisters and I decided we wanted to take sexy photos of our prepubescent selves;)
LF: My dad used to run the family business which was a hardware store in our hometown. When I was 4 years old he made me a wooden square table and painted it in mint green. I started drawing on it from then on.
GS: Montessori schooling opened my imagination as a kid. My school had materials that made me memorize all the great masters.
Trusting myself with art is a different story, it’s taken a lot of years for me to trust the process and allow me to share personal moments. I’ve created things my whole life, not sure that they were any good or art per say, it all ended hidden or destroyed. I had a long stint of silence – not to mentioned sucked dry of any creativity. As if I never had any.
“We work because we function
as a mathematical equation.
But it’s not the perfect equation.
Something is off and
somehow it’s that ‘other’ that
we seem to thrive on.”
— Gil Serge
Santa Monica-based alternative rock band formed in 1989 by guitarist David Roback and vocalist Hope Sandoval. They have released 4 studio albums between 1990 and 2013, and are best known for their mid 90’s hit “Fade into You.”
Who influenced you growing up and who influences you today?
SM: Mazzy Star & Madonna then – Lana Del Rey and Bright Eyes now.
LF: My mother yesterday and today.
I seek safety and get lost in music and lyrics. There was a lot of Spanish music I listened to growing up. And oddly enough, listening to lyrics and artist no one else my age would think of paying any attention to.
Today, I am also getting inspired by news, politics and eastern philosophy.
The exaggerated recount of events, the drama and the humor of the human failures and triumphs.
Eastern philosophy offers the depth of wisdom from that old period. Yet it’s as new age as it gets.
How would you describe your style?
SM: We have a style that is voyeuristic & bizarre yet contemporary & familiar at the same time. Our creative ménage à trois brings a fresh perspective to collectors.
LF: Los Angeles’ scenic backdrops nudes hidden behind any mask.
GS: A mere coincidental miracle. Lucky to be sharing artistic vision with two other talented artists. We work because we function as a mathematical equation at the end of the day. But it’s not the perfect equation. Something is off and somehow it’s that “other” that we seem to thrive on. Like a bad addiction and the high that comes with it.
We love this project. An emotional roller coaster, Beast untamed.