Myan Soffia may be a genius. As a self-taught photographer, she has mastered the art; her photos whistle tales of the sun and West Coast living. Her work is evidence of what happens when we pay attention to the lessons that we teach ourselves. She is an artist, a painter, a wife and a mother; she has a sweet love affair with Los Angeles.
I love Myan's spirit -- kind and grateful. She says "Thank you," after receiving a compliment and ends a lot of her emails with smiley faces; she is radiant and untroubled. I respect and admire her grind. She is known for her travel photography; her portfolio reads like a dream, with pieces featured on 'Modern Family', HBO's Enlightened, Urban Outfitters, Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence album art work and in Elle Magazine, Target and Better Homes & Gardens to name a few.
Myan is too cool for selfies (I googled her and nothing!) and humble enough not to mention such. She's a woman that you should want to know because she's not trying to be a woman that you should know. Myan is just being Myan; ain't nothing wrong with that.
We sat down with her to find out how she began her career, her advice to aspiring photographers/artists and what music she is listening to.
CM: Where are you from?
MS: I'm originally from Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia but have lived in Los Angeles for almost 10 years now.
CM: How were you introduced to photography and the arts?
MS: I've been an artist ever since I can remember. I loved to get lost in photos of paintings. I was always intrigued by photography and even bounced around in the field a little. I didn't take it seriously until we moved to Los Angeles.
CM: Tell us about your career and how it began.
MS: I worked briefly as a photographer for my university alumni paper while I was a wedding photographer's assistant. Then, I had an opportunity to work as a television graphic designer and then as a television promotions producer. I barely touched my camera, but I always thought about photography. Finally after we moved to Los Angeles and my tiny experience in film ate me alive, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to document everything about Los Angeles -- especially downtown where we lived. I tried to teach myself as much as I could about photography. A few years ago after my paternal grandfather passed away, we found out that my great grandfather was a successful photographer. It made me realize I was finally on the right career path. And we even named our son after him.
CM: What is a typical day like for you?
MS: My baby boy is pretty much my day planner. My days are spent chasing him around while answering emails, placing orders, packaging orders, post office runs, brainstorming, editing, preparing meals and caring for our cats and dog. I also try very hard to squeeze in a yoga session and meditation every day. If I don't do these things I will unravel quickly.
CM: Who/what inspires you most?
MS: So many things inspire me. My son, street photographers, painters, tattoo artists, Buddhism, music, the cello, and daydreamers. Los Angeles is a huge muse for me. If I had to pick specific artists it would be Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Dan Eldon and Remedios Varo. Our son's middle name is Varo, as a nod to her. Her paintings are my absolute favorite.
CM: Your portfolio is amazing! How did you connect with Lana del Rey for her album artwork?
MS: First of all, that is really kind of you to say. I appreciate that. I was so lucky in the fact that she found my work online. I couldn't believe it when I got the email. I was beyond excited. She is an amazing artist and it was such an honor.
CM: Your prints are absolutely beautiful. Tell us more about your love affair with Los Angeles.
MS: Thank you so very much, I really am flattered. I feel bad for saying this but I wasn't very happy back home. One day I told my husband that we should just sell our house and move to Los Angeles. Thankfully, he said yes! So we did and when we arrived in L.A. it just took my breath away. There is so much culture, music, art, amazing food, and inspiration everywhere. The beach, mountains, desert are all within a day's reach. The traffic, heat, earthquakes, expense and the chaos can get to me sometimes, but California has everything you can dream of. You just have to find your slice of paradise here and a sanctuary within it.
CM: Why travel photography?
MS: I love to see new places and experience the food, the people, and the energy that create a city or town.
CM: What are some projects that you’re working on right now?
MS: I have a bunch of projects that I am excited about! A few with some wonderful interior designers, a cafe shoot I'm so thrilled about, a fragrance locket collaboration with a super talented jewelry artist, and a collaboration with an amazing fashion designer that hopefully will be released very soon! I also have a new photo series that I am trying to finish.
CM: What advice would you give to women who aspire to be artists and photographers?
MS: I am normally an anxious person so I always have to remind myself of these principles to stay grounded and find the courage to keep going:
· Believe in yourself and don't let others talk you down from your dream.
· Find your own style, voice and perspective.
· Be kind and patient with yourself.
· Keep learning. I have so much to learn about photography. It's endless.
· Realize and appreciate the gifts you've been given in order to enjoy, create and experience life.
· If you work hard enough and are true to yourself, then things will fall into place.
CM: Do you have a favorite art print? If so, which one?
CM: Name one thing that you cannot live without.
MS: My sweet baby boy.
CM: What music are you listening to?
MS: Tool is hands down my fave since 1998. Fugazi, The Budos Band, anything that Paz Lenchantin does, Thelonious Monk, Brownout, Jean-Guihen Queyras, the New Mastersounds, Radiohead, Bjork, Pharrell (he's from my hometown!), The Coo Coo Birds, Dolly Parton (seriously, I love her!), Deerhoof, Blonde Redhead. I could keep going if you let me!
We all have the innate ability to be our own teacher, if we trust ourselves. Myan Soffia does.