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Julia Holter x gorilla vs. bear takeover: DICKY BAHTO

photo: dicky bahto
photo: dicky bahto

I’ve worked with artist Dicky Bahto for years. He’s a big inspiration for me, both as an artist and a person. His work to me is so moving because it’s at once romantic and also very real—his subjects tend to be either the things he holds most dear, like his beautiful cat Katouche, or a piece of paper he is folding and some trash on the street, or like a mix of all haha—in his work I feel so much love. He captures things seemingly quickly and impulsively, but he’s been experienced working with film for years and his craft and sense of form are very strong. He’s done the photography for almost all my records, starting with Ekstasis, and also has made a lot of music videos for my songs, including ones for “Words I Heard” and “I Shall Love 2” from Aviary. He’s also documented a lot of our studio recording sessions. For this record cover, I was inspired by his work layering slide projections on pieces of his like Accretions and in various live performances (see performance below), and I had this kind of medieval+ noir-ish future-past ”blade runner” city time warp imagery in my head, so we went out and he took film shots of the denser parts of LA at night and also some medieval stuff, and then a lot of close-up shots he took of plants so that they are kind of larger-than-life feeling, and he mixed them all together by putting them in different slide projectors in one space and overlapping them, and we just played with these layers until we got some inspiring combinations. I had imagined the cover kind of expressing this “cacophony of the mind” image and weirdly we came to it by trial-and-error, and the flowers ended up a bit like invasive birds (!), floating over my head, maybe threatening but beautiful.

Likewise, for the music video for “I Shall Love 2″–there is something magical about what he did and I think it comes back to how he shoots seemingly impulsively and effortlessly, but it’s with so much love, his movements with the camera have a lot of emotion, almost him dancing more than me! — Julia Holter

This page has some of his latest incredible work:

Here is a performance in LA late last year at Human Resources, of Dicky performing with Corey Fogel and Tashi Wada.



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