Sonos explores how artists are living, working, and listening at home through a series called Still Lives

Tell us who you are!
My name is  Zen Sekizawa, I am a second generation Angeleno and a 4th generation Japanese American. I am a  photographer, director, and artist. I also collaborate on projects with my partner, artist, Mario Correa.

Anything about your background that you would like to share?
My childhood was spent at The Atomic Cafe, a Los Angeles punk rock institution, owned and operated for over four decades by my family in Little Tokyo. I also blackout rage when I eat chocolate, it’s a very rare allergy.

Where do you live? Where do you work/create?
We have a live workspace in Chinatown that allows us to take pictures, shoot films, paint, have a woodshop and hang out with our cool cat Topo.

What kind of work do you create?
Right now I’m making colorful and surreal still life images. I really love creating these weird and very technical worlds in the studio. I’m also working on a feature length documentary about my family's restaurant.

What other things do you like to spend your time doing?
Supporting local communities and organizations in the fight against gentrification, art washing and police violence. I also really like mezcal.

What is the inspiration for your still life?
I’ve been really into experimenting with light refraction, color gels and playing with the compositional philosophies of Ikebana.

What do the objects or materials in your still life symbolize? Where did you find them?
The crowbars are from a Sabo-Tabby inspired art piece I made for Art Auction Fundraiser to raise money for Queer and Trans Black Womxn in LA affected by COVID. The brick is from The Atomic Cafe building when it was demolished to make way for a Metro Station in Little Tokyo. The selenite slabs are known to provide clarity of the mind, expanding ones awareness and surroundings, promotes flexibility, clears confusion and aids in seeing the deeper picture. I found the pink ornamental pineapples at the downtown flower market a few days ago.

How do you listen while you work? While you play?
There is constant music playing in the studio but lately we have been cringe playing Cody Bellinger’s walk up song...Hotel California has got to be one of the worst songs but go Dodgers! What’s Wrong With Groovin’by Letta Mbulu has been on heavy repeat. This song feels so joyful and hopeful but in the context of the world today it feels completely bizarre to me. I’ve also been listening to a lot of 80’s pop music, my mom’s DJ sets and police scanners. Happy to see my pals at Dublab featured on Sonos Radio.

Did any particular sound/music/podcast, etc. inspire this work?
We the Unhoused is an powerful podcast about houselessness from the perspective of Theo Henderson, a black houseless person here in Los Angeles. This podcast is such a clear example of radical compassion, incredible perseverance to create, uplift and inform.

How has your work changed during the global pandemic?
I have really embraced the idea of simplifying and really trying to focus on what matters.


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