model: Brandon Ogle

Get notified of new Blog PostsMy wrist is feeling stabbed by a knife from shooting so much so I’m going to post some photos from the archives that I’ve never shared with you. I’ve been looking for an excuse, and this pain is a good one.

I drove away from San Francisco after a deeply satisfying artistic experience. As much as I despise and curse this part of it, the absurd constriction of making a dance in three consecutive weeks during 6 certain hours of the day is an amazing discipline. It is so counter to how I experience creativity and I think I would make better work if I could do so when I understand and can channel directly what I am after, however it wants to arrive…but there is another aspect to dreaming that involves endlessly turning over possibilities, and laziness and the disappointment in the limits of reality that make me want to stay in the place of fantasy. Eventually you have to just make something. You have to just do it and I haven’t found a replacement for the crush of prescribed hours in the day with a room full of people who are asking for your output.

I can let unprocessed photos pile up for months.

I can put off writing my blog post for a week. In fact, here I sit, experiencing numerous false starts because I keep thinking of an email I need to answer. And then I get an idea about the falacy of time that I need to research online…which leads me back to Facebook. And I even truly, with great malice, hate Facebook. On Facebook was this Buzzfeed video about a museum collection of sketchbooks. So then I pull out my sketchbooks and notice how many of them are unfinished because I didn’t have one when I needed one so I bought a new one. And I want to start drawing again so I go through my luggage to find my marker pens. And I find this blank postcard I bought and it reminds me of the postcards I used to make by hand using collage and ink (and sometimes insects that had died in the window) and then laminating with my special patented Scotch Tape method and I remember I did that in Los Angeles the first time and it makes perfect sense to start doing that again because making postcards feels like Los Angeles and also I want to so I go to look and see if I packed an X-acto Knife. And then I remember that BalletX really wants to know my music for the piece I’m about to make for them and I don’t feel even close so I start listening to The Five Stairsteps. Now it’s past 10 and there’s no way I’m going get this blog finished for Wednesday.

working with dancers Sasha De Sola, Lonnie Weeks, and Jennifer Stahl of San Francisco Ballet
photographer: Erik Tomasson

I have an addiction to the rehearsal deadline in the sense that I’m dependent on it when I know it’s not the best thing for me. Once I have the deadline and the structure, it’s not like I stress to eke it out at the last second. I finished the piece for San Francisco Ballet in basically the 1st week. I have some shame over the need in this and wish I could find the self-discipline to focus so plainly on each of the (probably I could say without too much exaggeration) 10-15 projects I have going at once. It is such a delicate dance creatively. The push and pull between the freedom necessary to create and the structure necessary to finish.


  1. Hi Trey, your work is exquisite, as per usual! It’s a lovely contrast being the same model in color and in B&W. Both have their merits. Now if I could only get myself back to SF to see your dance pieces. I’m pretty much hung up with a couple more chemo sessions then radiation that will see me through November and December. (Things are going well.) But in January I will be a free man and ready to visit my friends in SF. That would be perfect time to see your dances. Now one totally unrelated question. What uploader app or process do you use to upload your pictures to Instagram. Any suggestions would be appreciated. What I had before doesn’t work with the new iOS, so frustration abounds and FB benefits… In any case, thanks for your beautiful work in all media! –Doug

    1. The last shot is so mesmerizing! And I don’t think there’s a shame in needing a deadline. All artists want to probe and tweak and explore and sometimes you just need external structure to organize your internal ideas. Whatever gets the job done in my opinion…

    2. Hey Doug: Thank you so much. I hope you are doing great in the new year. The SFB shows are in April.
      For IG, I just use the Instagram app. Maybe delete and reinstall?

    3. Hey Doug! I don’t know how I missed your comment. Coincidentally, I’m back in SF for the performances now. I hope that you are feeling healthy enough to make the trip for the shows! Let me know.
      For Instagram, I just use the Instagram app on my phone. Is yours working now?
      Thank you for the lovely compliments. I am glad you are enjoying the work.
      Hope to see you soon.

  2. Yeah, these images are mezmerizing. I had no idea you have to do so many projects at once. YIKES! So much energy. By the way, the solo created for FREEMANTLE had me in tears. Silky. Fluid. Oozy. Raw. Bravo!

    1. Deon! Thank you so much. I’m going to try and focus on a few at a time instead of all at once. Thanks for watching the livestream. It’s such a weird experience especially after just having been in such an intimate experience in the studio…suddenly pretending to rehearse while being broadcast. I’m so glad you liked the solo. I took some uncomfortable risks with that one that I think are paying off. We will see.

  3. On a cork board next to my computer desk I have an early collage postcard of yours, titled Choreography on Airplanes. I treasure it, as I treasure you. So there.

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