Los Angeles is the city of opportunity for artists looking to break into acting, modeling, comedy & music. In order to be considered by the industry for representation, booking jobs and taking careers to other levels, artists need to have many tools, including professional photos! Getting headshots or portraits done by professionals can be very expensive, especially when an artist is putting together their portfolio, press kit, changes their look, or promoting a new project. Photos can cost hundreds of dollars depending on the photographer, how many looks you’re doing, hair & makeup, stylist consultants, touch-ups and more. Many artists who have talent, take themselves out of the competition because they don’t have the professional photos they need! Good news! There’s an amazing community of professionals in the entertainment industry working together to help artists! There’s something really special happening in Los Angeles and it’s called “The Starving Artists Project”.
Being a performer, I wanted to experience everything they do for artists. I set up an appointment on the day they were photographing comedians, and it was a day I will never forget! “The Starving Artists Project” team welcomed me with open arms into a beautiful home in Hollywood. Hair stylists, makeup artists, photographers, sponsors all around the house, donated their time, talents and products while working together for the purpose of helping artists feel and look their best! I wanted to learn more and share what I discovered about “The Starving Artists Project”, so I interviewed Producer/Photographer Tasia Wells:
Denise Vasquez: Please tell me about the The Starving Artists Project.
Tasia Wells: We are Getty Images/WireImage photo contributors that invite talent to come in our studio for press portraits and keep the rest of the day and staff (hair/makeup, stylists, photographers, editors, etc.) open to invite struggling artists to come in and get the photography they need to kick start their careers but may not otherwise be able to afford. We leverage the power of brands and celebrities to help the careers of starving artists.
DV: What is The Starving Artists mission?
TW: To help starving artists kick start their careers by providing the photography they need to get started (head shots, modeling portfolio, etc.) but cannot otherwise afford.
DV: What was the inspiration behind creating The Starving Artists Project?
TW: Founder/Photographer Michael Bezjian wanted to find a way to give back to the community and also noticed resources going to waste during other photo shoot events (i.e., there would be staff, hair/makeup, craft services, etc. set up for an entire day, but only a small portion of time and resources would be utilized, leaving the rest going to waste).
DV: How long has it The Starving Artists Project been around?
TW: 2 years, started in January 2014
DV: Is the Starving Artists Project exclusive to Los Angeles?
TW: Right now, yes, but we have discussed expanding should we be able to find teams who can replicate what we do
DV: You have an amazing team! Please tell me about your team members & how did you all come together?
TW: Tasia Wells-Producer/photographer- Came to Michael as a photo intern in September of 2014 and became involved in the project that way
James DiLullo-Came to us to get photos for modeling/acting and ended up sticking around to help the project. He is now our main production assistant
Jade Martinez- Hair/Makeup met Michael in Los Angeles at other events and offered to head up a beauty team. The above names are our core team, the other interns come in and out every few months and help when they can. We usually post ads for interns on internships.com. We also have a host (Mandy Ross) and videographer (Nick Hernandez) who are part of our core team.
DV: How often do you have events in the studio for performers?
TW: We hold shoot dates 2-3 times per month
DV: Is The Starving Artists Project open to all types of performers? Are there any performer requirements?
TW: No, we are open to any artist that needs photography
DV: How many performers do you photograph during a Starving Artists Project Event?
TW: 12-25 starving artists per event
DV: How do performers schedule their time with the Starving Artists Project?
TW: Email our admin team to set up an appointment (I do this at this email address firstname.lastname@example.org)
DV: What does a performer need to do to prepare for a shoot in the studio?
TW: Get lots of rest, drink water
DV: How many wardrobe changes do performers need to bring for their shoot?
TW: They can bring up to 3 looks
DV: Do you always provide hair & makeup artists?
DV: How many photos do performers receive & where can they find them?
TW: They receive all photos they take…could be 30 could be 500 depending on their needs. If someone wants a quick head shot in one look it may be 30-50 photos. If they are doing 3 looks to build up a modeling portfolio it could be 400 photos
DV: Can the performers use the photos for anything or do they require permission from The Starving Artists Project?
TW: No permission is required, photos can be used for anything
DV: Are there any fees?
TW: No. We accept donations on a “pay what you can” system but nothing is required. If someone cannot afford to donate we do not want them to.
DV: What is “The Starving Artists Project” ultimate goals?
TW: To help as many artists as we can start their careers through the photography they need… to have shoot days more often ( and sponsors to help make that happen ).
To learn more about “The Starving Artists Project” visit http://thestarvingartistsproject.com/about-us/