Sprezztura: Italian, noun: graceful conduct, nonchalance or performance without effort.
Literally every single day of my life, I am nowhere near nonchalant or carefree about my career as a director.
In fact, I often have an existential crisis that I believe I am not good enough and that someone will find me out — that I’m an imposter and this will all go away.
So, in order to deal with this cultural anxiety, I have to turn inward to search for validity for what I’m doing, for the art I’m making. And it is exactly those obsessive, lonely moments that make your work and craft your voice.
I want to highlight the things around my workspace and life that help keep me inspired and my mind at ease as I inch closer to achieving a dream creative voice that is effortless; that is sprezzatura.
One day I'll find it, but probably never.
The Words To Meditate By
Books. From theory to fiction to biography, I read not only for knowledge but also for meditative reasons.
I’ve never been able to meditate the way everyone else seems to do, you know sitting and breathing and getting lost in thought. In fact, that is just about the worst thing possible for someone like me. Getting lost in someone else’s words, in someone else’s story, helps me find meaning in the chaos and calms my nerves.
It forces me to slow down, put down the devil machine (iPhone) and actually just be.
Just stay in a moment, in a real thought and reflect on not only what I’m reading but where this person was, or how insignificant I actually am in the grand scheme of life and history of people on Earth.
This is Blanco.
Whenever I’m feeling trapped or in conflict with my creative self, or I’m lacking in inspiration, feeling land locked in my own home, I pop on my kicks and hop in my whip.
Don’t let the paint job fool you, Blanco has a sublime system that allows me to get lost in a vibe and really self-reflect.
From Beach House to Q Lazzarus to Nirvana to Nipsey Hu$$le to Audioslave there’s never an exact type of sound I need to lift me up, but sometimes just hitting shuffle on Apple Music (yes, I use Apple Music) will find me a track like Depeche Mode It’s No Good, or TQ Westside.
Something I haven’t heard in years tends to set my mind off right.
The Wall (And Sometimes Floor) Stuff
I mostly collect paintings, like this bizarre Rick Ross watercolor I found at an art fair in Frogtown for $100, but also sometimes sculpture and photography; all fairly abstract and fairly representational.
Whether on a work trip or just here in LA, consuming art and going to galleries and museums is a thing I love to do.
I can get away and not just find inspiration and new views and critiques on culture, but also engage with the physical side, to help me broaden my view of life and sometimes redefine my creativity.
The Inertia Counter
AN OBJECT AT REST HAS ZERO VELOCITY.
I move around a lot.
As much as possible.
This is the dance of creativity.
I need calm but also need to be active.
This little wrist widget thing tracks it all and makes it almost a game to stay moving and keep pressing.
Being active is one of the things that brings me the greatest joy and frees me of the stress of life and work.
Whether it be hoopin', soccer or just going for a run, being active forces me to focus on that one physical act and allows me to clear my mind when I have too many mental tabs open.
And then I can focus on whatever creative task I need to finish with a clear mind.
The Jitter Juice
A stimulant is calming, you say?
In a way… but coffee is just that necessary dance with the devil I have to make to overpower the adenosine that robs me of my alertness and will to make throughout the day.
In those down, lonely moments when you're asked to come up with an idea, a fix, a solve, a line of dialogue to make everything work — you always hit a wall.
This machine pumps out that fresh caffeine to give me the little itty bitty jolt I sometimes need to find the extra gear.
The Watch And ID
I usually wear this watch, but between my Lolo (grandpa) Estepa’s watch and his ID, they are constant reminders of my roots and the people who came before me; that allowed me to be me.
Little permanent keepsakes that allow for self-criticism and sentimentality.
Whenever I feel upset or unappreciative of what I do have, I look to things like these to slap some sense into myself and know how lucky I am even to chase my dreams.
This is my dog.
Actually named A$AP Rocky Balboa.
Between her and her sister BB [Picture 2] they are necessary in my life to help me clear my head.
And, of course, dogs are always the most happy thing in the world; they make you feel important and good, no matter what.
The Camo Packapack
Nothing outrageous here, it’s my backpack.
No matter how old I get, I’m still a backpack and sneakers kinda dude.
TBH, my backpack is not only where I keep all my stuff but its kind of my safety net, especially when I’m traveling.
It allows me to travel light and take walks.
When I’m on the road, taking walks is the best way to learn your way around and ground yourself in the world; especially when a lot of the time you’re marooned to a laptop in a room.
When I get antsy, I put my books, headphones, snacks and water bottle in this here pack, get out and start steppin'.