This is a story of Elliott being Elliott.
As one energy, we’re meant to offer our natural gifts to the world through harmonious collaborations. And it’s my instinct to help people move towards their goals – working alongside them, adding my artistry.
I’m also known to ask a lot of questions – floating through the world and listening to the visions and obstacles on everyone’s mind. The central theme for most people is a fundamental need to be seen.
And it’s clear to me now that the diversity of my experiences have always been quests to eventually share wisdom with my community.
We’re all interconnected – never separate nor alone – and the Presence Almanac is born from my tendency to amplify other’s presence.
I’m able to hear the impact of my own presence by spending time by myself – journaling, sitting in parks, and abandoning everything I believe to consistently approach each day with a beginner’s mindset.
The only objective is to be our natural selves – nowhere to arrive or a destination to feel “accomplished.” So let it all go.
Let go of your anxieties and the fear of what’s coming “next.”
Those thoughts are distractions from living in this moment, right now. Being here is all there is, and these chronicles are my way to exhibit artists and my present experiences.
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One sunny afternoon, I was walking around my neighborhood when a friend called out my name. I joined his excursion, and as he mingled with some colleagues, I meandered around a storefront and learned about Jeff Pink.
Then someone asked me the question, “what do you do?”
“Oh… I do a lot. Producing live shows, publicizing special events, oftentimes project management” I replied.
Then another person chimed in, “Wow, I was just thinking about needing a project manager.” This stranger revealed herself to be Latoya Shaw, an artist going by the name LØVCHLD. We swapped emails, and then reconvened later that week.
In this first meeting, I learned more about Latoya’s artistry, and she learned more about my history of helping people achieve their goals. Before parting ways, we scheduled a 2nd meeting for Monday, March 6th.
This next chat began with a leisurely walk up Fairfax Ave, and over the next 45 minutes Layota shared that her current projects were coming to an end, but she made a short film that’s still in fragments on her laptop.
As I listened to her story, my mind began piecing the details together.
E: Do you still have a publicist?
L: Yes, but they’re mostly getting press on the other projects.
E: What about your new ideas? When will you exhibit those?
L: Probably not until November.
E: And it’s March… I’m trying to figure out how all these parts make sense together…. your next project is 10 months away, but you also have a short film that tells the genesis of your artistry…
I then advised Latoya to have a screening of her short film.
L: I was going to just upload online.
E: Make a memory of it! Eventize this moment in your life. For this timeline to make sense, uploading the film to youtube will feel random – may not even be seen, possibly ignored. But if this film communicates your perspective as an artist, then we need to make a moment of it.
L: That makes sense…
E: It doesn’t have to be big, but screening the film for others to see in person is more impactful than just uploading your art to youtube.
L: I’m actually meeting with my sound guy this week, I could probably get it done by next month.
E: It should be this month, and your must-mention in any more press coverage needs to be about the film.
L: That’s really soon!
E: How’s the end of March? If you find a venue by this Friday, we can announce the screening next week. And then share the trailer as promo the following week to attract more RSVPs for the screening.
And then it was official – Latoya Shaw would screen her short film on Thursday, March 30th at 8pm.
A few days later, I met up with a friend named Chris Kim, also known as Hyun Suk. I’ve always known Chris to be a talented animator, but during this lunch he revealed a new painting series he was working on.
It sounded like a perfect project to exhibit, and my only question was, “Can it be ready by March 30th?”
Over the next three weeks, Latoya and I communicated every other day – I recommended where to find a venue, an app for sending invites, content to share on social media, a timeline for setting up the space, preparing for a second showing, creating a playlist, printing posters, having drinks and snacks… then the night arrived.
And over 40 people from Latoya’s life attended the two screenings!
We took photos, I hosted a Q&A, Chris showcased his work, we managed concessions, operated the projector… a successful premiere!
And throughout the evening, I learned that many of Latoya’s friends had been hearing about this film for the past four years…
Yet it took two strangers – who essentially met on the street – to invest time into each other’s visions and produce an opportunity that enhanced both of our lives. Setting a date for the premiere is what pushed Latoya to finally finish her film, and it became a key event to help me recognize my need to invent the Presence Almanac.
This story encapsulates who I am, and my work for the advancement of arts & culture. An honest collaboration, and a moment in time to remember that I’m Elliott Desai – “a visual artist helping people achieve their goals” – yet there’s so much depth behind that one, simple sentence.
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