MonaLisa Whitaker On The Magic of Connection
If you are looking to be inspired, then today’s show is for you. MonaLisa Whitaker is our special guest and her warmth, dedication, and passion are infectious.
MonaLisa is a photographer and mixed media artist with an enviable resume and decades of experience. In our conversation today, MonaLisa talks about her work in the Inglewood art community and the advocacy she has been involved with in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. We hear about her start in photography, where she shares her passion for analog and the value she believes it offers all budding photographers.
MonaLisa also talks about why she has chosen to explore the individual connection to the divine in her work. Through having her own children and learning about religions of all kinds, MonaLisa came to realize how similar many religious beliefs are and how they have been pitted up against one another despite their commonalities. We also chat about the magic that exists in the world, how artists can show us what we might not see, and the value of connection. Tune in to hear it all!
“The beautiful thing about our world is that we have artists to show people how things are connected. That's one of the wonderful things about being alive today; we have a lot more access to information and ways to share imagery and thoughts. We didn’t have that 30 years ago the way we have it today, so I’m thankful for that. I just hope that people take more time to pay attention to it. Because, as you can see, based on what happened last year, we need one another more than people previously wanted to acknowledge. Hopefully, going forward, people will take those learnings into account and do what’s necessary to stay connected to one another. ” — MonaLisa Whitaker [0:44:38.0]
New Book By Katie Love
From Cult To Comedy, A Memoir, by Katie Love
The year is 1970. The horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” is all the rage, the Vietnam War is raging and nine-year-old Katie, an imaginative and independent latch-key kid, comes home from school to discover her mother’s suicide.
Taken in by her older sister who has recently become a Jehovah’s Witness, Katie is shown an illustration from a bible picture book featuring wild animals peacefully lounging by a pool of water, surrounded by happy people picking fruit. An enticing offer is made: “Katie, this is Paradise. Do you want to see Mom again, happy and living forever? All you have to do is follow all of Jehovah’s commandments and you can be with Mom again.”
Mom happy and living forever? Two tickets to Paradise, please!
So begins Katie’s zealous quest to attain perfection and entrance into a utopian world which promises peace, love, and happiness. She discovers a much darker world. “Two Tickets to Paradise, from Cult to Comedy” tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of an earnest, bible-toting kid intent on saving the world, and follows her metamorphosis into a boisterous comedian intent on saving herself through the healing powers of humor.
Key Points From The MonaLisa Whitaker Episode:
- Hear the story of how MonaLisa met Man One, her and Sourdough’s mutual friend.
- The artist collective MonaLisa has been involved with for 20 years.
- Insights into the work MonaLisa did with Inglewood Cultural Arts.
- The work MonaLisa is most proud of; advocating for artists!
- Paying respect to the incredible Michael Massenburg.
- How MonaLisa got her unique name: her mom had a friend with the same name.
- The interesting story of how MonaLisa was introduced to photography.
- How old MonaLisa was when she got her first camera.
- What sandwiching a negative, a technique people no longer use, entails.
- The incredible learning opportunities that come with analog photography.
- Where MonaLisa’s passion for connecting with the divine comes from.
- What MonaLisa has learned about religion on her journey; everyone has the same desire to connect.
- Details about MonaLisa’s current work.
- The different moments MonaLisa thinks will be most remembered when she passes on.
- There is so much magic all around us, and we are much more connected than we realize.
- Artists can help people see the connections they can’t always see for themselves.
- Why MonaLisa’s surname, Whitaker, is spelt the way it is.
- We need connection and to be near one another; we are human beings.
- Looking toward this year’s NRA Artist Grant.
“One of the things that I came to realize was all of the religions, they have the same intent, it’s just a matter of how that particular religion chooses to go about achieving that particular purpose.” — MonaLisa Whitaker [0:30:38.0]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
- MonaLisa Whitaker — https://www.monalisawhitaker.com/
- Inglewood Cultural Arts — https://www.actaonline.org/profile/inglewood-cultural-arts/
- Michael Massenburg on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/mmassenburg/?hl=en
- Larry Shapiro — https://www.larryshapirophoto.com/
- Man One — http://www.manone.com/
- Man One on Twitter — https://twitter.com/ManOneArt
- Scott “Sourdough” Power — https://www.instagram.com/sourdoughpower/
- Not Real Art — https://notrealart.com/
- Not Real Art School — https://school.notrealart.com/
- Not Real Art on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/notrealartworld/
“I actually started learning about photography because I wanted to be an archaeologist.” — MonaLisa Whitaker [0:18:44.0]
“I don’t think people learn as much today with the tools they’re using as they could using analog photography.” — MonaLisa Whitaker [0:26:24.0]
“People don’t take the time to realize how connected we are to one