Today we’d like to introduce you to Camryn Eakes.
Camryn, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was a super shy kid, like worrisome shy. I didn’t like to socialize with anyone but my immediate family and best friends that were usually kids of my parent’s good friends. When I was three, dance was something I dreaded because of all the stranger kids and the loud music, and why was I in this leotard thing? My mom had initially put me in dance because she saw rhythm in me which emphasized the idea that maybe the dance bug on her side of the family had landed into me. Sadly, my mom pulled me out of class about a year later and then I tried dance out again when I was six. Something clicked and I really fell for dance. What was one recreational class, turned into 10 years on the Carlsbad Dance Centre competition team, which turned into four years at Chapman University as a dance major. That’s a brief and vague outline of my dance career but during my senior year of high school, a camera made its way into my hands.
I didn’t want to take a photography class in high school, but I had to in order to graduate. I didn’t want to like it, but… I absolutely loved it. I started photographing dancers and doing self-portraits. I started videotaping myself dancing in my backyard, studio and at the beach. I took my camera everywhere and started documenting everything. I started seeing everything cinematically.
I will admit that being the “weird one” within my friend groups has been both hard and gratifying. It’s not that my personality is weird but just that I follow the things that intrigue me, which are often things others don’t think about, nor feel comfortable exploring. I was weird in the way that I made bold choices with dance and the art practice I didn’t even know I was developing. In my high school years, I wasn’t as shy anymore, but quiet: the quiet artist-type. In college, I let all my walls down. I was still an introvert but I was much louder in how I presented work and how I expressed my opinion, partially because many of the Chapman dance department values and rules didn’t align with mine. I had to make Chapman a playground for me although it was not my ideal one.
Going into college I knew my education would be different than other dance majors. I knew I wanted to study more than just dance so I created my own minor encompassing photography, journalism, public relations and documentary film. Yes, taking the BA route instead of sticking to the BFA route ostracized me from the dance department since I would be spending more time within other sectors of the university but it was all worth it.
Throughout my four years of dabbling in both independent and collaborative dance and film projects, I’ve developed a career path that is unique to me and my interests. I just finished writing my senior thesis on it actually. It’s a path designed for my liking, satisfaction and excitement, to be bored with my career is one of my greatest fears and, to be honest, I’m too stubborn to pursue anything but it. I believe you should pursue what your gut tells you, whether it shows itself through fear, frustration or butterflies, but whatever it is, it’s the thing you can’t stop thinking about. All in all, I have my eyes set on being a director, something that makes a lot of sense to me and my artistic history.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am interested in combining the new and wavering with the past and nostalgic. I grew up watching old TV shows like The Munsters, Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart and I Love Lucy. For Christmas and birthdays, I’d get collectors editions of these shows and would binge them in the backseat of my mom’s car through the dvd system. To this day, I still prefer to watch TV Land over something modern. The humor, film aesthetic and fashion of all of these was what I grew up subliminally studying and it wasn’t until this year that I put two and two together.
A lot of my movement is reminiscent of the sixties, not just movement but character and themes too. Putting the new and wavering trends of today with retro and nostalgic movement, fashion and film aesthetics of, so far, the sixties is my thing. I create dance for camera rather than for stage. I recently discovered this when I made my most recent piece that was a contemporary, theatrical piece. It’s not something I try to do but something that just happens. I think my eye is just tailored to see within camera frame. This is all a new discovery but I know it’s the direction I want to go.
When people watch my work, they should leave with a question and a conversation. Intellectual and historical value in my work is a big focus for me when I’m creating work so when I hear people talking about what they saw, I’m happy. They should leave feeling a certain way which something I embed in the movement itself. I strive for my work to challenge to norms and be something that continues to evolve through discussion outside of itself. My art is ever-changing, though. I can’t tell you that this will always be by intent as a creator but it is right now.
Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
I say, do whatever you can to do what you love. Of course, my goal at the end of the day is to support myself purely through passion-driven work, but I also know that sometimes that may not always be the case. As I leave school with student loans and a more expensive, LA rent, I know I need to be smarter with how I spend my money. I’m choosing to think about what investments I must make and what investments can wait. I’m trying to think long-term with how I spend my money, not disposable.
My senior seminar class invited a professor from the business school to come talk to us about finances and he suggested putting away $10 or so every pay check you get, just to make a little reservoir of money that you can’t touch but that will keep growing. I would also say, make it known to others that you want to work. Connections are everything these days and the more you talk about your path, passions and aspirations as an artist, I guarantee you’ll get more work.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
People can see my work through my website, social media and video channels (camryneakes.com), as well as live performance, but I will post about live performance on these internet sites. They can support my work by hiring me as a choreographer and/or director for films.
- Website: camryneakes.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/c_m_y_e_k_s/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camryn.eakes
- Other: https://vimeo.com/user20589131
All images by Camryn Eakes