Everyone has a reason. A reason to look forward to, look up to, or even a cause for motivation. Even Formula Drift has its own reasoning. Some people go for the vibe, others to see their hero sliding though the clipping point and for me, it's all about the art. It's about the visual storytelling and the cars dancing on the pavement. It's about the relationships and dynamics between people and the underlying passion of the experience. It was about perspective tailored to life.
Unlike previous events, this was my first time flying to an event rather than driving. It was less stressful and it went really smooth. Though I still had to wake up at 3:00AM, the hour and half flight was better compared to the six hour drive from Sacramento to Los Angeles. SMF to LAX I went and I arrived in socal promptly at 7:25AM. From LAX onward it was off to Long Beach.
There was a little hold up at will call and we, Jaryl and I, were already late for media meeting. However, it wasn't too big of an issue. After that bit we got our credentials and we headed into the venue. It was early and the gates weren’t open to the public. It was a great opportunity to sneak in clean shots of the vendor area. As we were walking around we ran into the ever so busy Tailyr Monette, who now is working for Nexen. It was nice seeing her again after so long.
Anyways, Elysha Lee was co modeling alongside her for Nexen. I went ahead and personally apologized to her cause of our hold up at the previous Thunder Drift event. She was working the grid and because of my sticker shenanigans with Julian Jacobs, we held up competition. Sorry about that.
So after that bit we ended up running into Ashley Sarto. What a character. She’s at the top of her game, jetsetter official, and she is still keeping it real. We had the paper stacking jokes rolling while we were looking for her coffee assistant, make up crew, and the hot lights. Oh and guys, don’t even try, she got that international UK boyfriend swag.
Before we knew it, lunch time. We decided to hit up a neighborhood joint called MVP’s Grill & Patio which serves excellent food. Pricing wasn’t bad and the fact it was so chill, we really felt at home.
After the meal, back on track. We ended up snapping some cool spots right on grid. The great thing about Long Beach is the depth of field you can get with your shots. Everything was based on the street so you can rake up some nice long shots. It was a bit of a walk though so it was a workout for us.
Shout out to our friend Miki Taka always dropping the best tunes on the grid.
From there on we shot top 16 and the rest is history.
After the event we headed to Venice to swing by Wabi-Sabi, a great Japanese restaurant. We got there around 5:20PM and the place opened up at 5:30PM. So 10 minute downtime, and I tell you, the people we encountered while waiting in front of the restaurant were either friendly or random. We met so many people there who thought we were paparazzis, magazine phorographers, and oh, since we had our FD bracelets still on, some people thought we came from some release party. Too much.
After our 10 minute timer went out, we went into Wabi-Sabi to wind down on good sushi, drinks, and reviewed the photos.
As we headed to LAX for my evening flight, Jaryl left me with a beautiful piece of advice. Be yourself. In this day in age, sometimes we get so caught up with trying to impress others that we tend to forget the main reason that got us here in the first place. As artist we are passionate creatures by nature and we need to remind ourselves of the bigger picture. We are here on this Earth to inspire one another and share our vision of the world seen through our eyes.
Never stop creating art and remember, everything does indeed happen for a reason.