Angel Ceballos

Angel Ceballos (@robotangel) is a Seattle based photographer, creative virtuoso, and fashion plate. Her work seamlessly blends the concept of band portraiture with the imagination of the most conceptual of instillation artist, and a flare for fashion and colour that wouldn’t look out of place nestled within the glossy pages of the uber ‘style bible’ Vogue. 

 

Angel’s impressive list of clients features the kings and queens of the current alternative music scene, such as Har Mar Superstar, Peaches, The Slits and Nina Persson, reflecting her quirky unique style, and DIY approach.

 

A self proclaimed wearer of many hats, a Renaissance ant she has recently made the transition into layout design, her work having appeared in the latest offerings of bands such as Cock and Swan, The Polyamorous Affair and Perfume Genius.

 

Her most recent project saw her blending photography with video, when she teamed up with electronic goddesses Robots in Disguise to work on their successful Pledge.

 

Who are you? Angel Ceballos – http://robotangel.com

 

What are you wearing?

 

·         A black cardigan that is Victorian cut with 3/4 cuffed sleeves and a large silk ruffle down one side that is dark green with white polka dots. Clipped to the cardigan is a small hair clip, actually for babies, that is a a tight square bow, red with black polka dot.(I tend to put red somewhere in the outfit if I’m wearing dark green-I’m weird.)

·         A fitted tee with all over oversized hounds tooth print. An above knee length black chiffon skirt with vertical black chiffon strips sewn all round it (I’m pretty sure the strip effect is gleaned from Yves Saint Laurent’s design.)

·         Bright orange tights
·         Black leather motorcycle boots
·         Accessories: stainless steel laser cut earrings, a Tatty Devine Robots in Disguise blue lipstick necklace, a 2 finger knuckle duster, black leather purse with a blue fox tail pinned to it by a Tatty Devine oversized safety pin that has pink and purple guitar picks hanging from it.

 

What do you do?

For my Day Job (read: how I make cash), I’m a project manager in the software industry for processes that  scope across ~ 5000 people.

But what I really do is outside that realm. I’m an indie rock photographer, amateur film documentarian for bands, fashion television correspondent for a Chinese TV show, amateur writer for Ectomo.com. I’ve also started doing a little band promotion for a couple bands.

 

How did u get started?

Pretty much everything I do in life from professional to art is something that I have never learned how to do. And the fact that I don’t know how to do it, is what makes it attractive to me.

 

For my artistic endeavors, I used to illustrate and paint when I was younger. My grandfather passed and left me his old Mamiya 35mm, and I just started using it unaware of the impact it would have on my life. Taking photographs came so natural to me and I immediately became obsessed. I started by taking sneaky street photography. Strangers around me who didn’t know I was photographing them.  I was modeling at the time in indie alternative photography circles, and the thought of taking photographs of people actually posing was really unappealing to me (to a degree it still is). I spent some years taking what can best be described as photo journalistic photos (to get an idea of what I mean, you can look at the Where we Tread and Wild galleries in my portfolio.)

 

I didn’t start shooting people who were aware my camera was pointed at them until I started shooting bands many years ago. When that happened, I felt if I was going to shoot a person, then I needed to create a story of some sort, probably so I didn’t get bored (^_^) – taking a picture of someone just standing there is so boring unless you are capturing a candid moment. Luckily the bands I was shooting were hella lax and were totally open to me shooting a scenario. My favourite shoot with a band to this day was one of my first with Cock and Swan, where I shot them on a hot summer afternoon in their trailer park as ‘trailer trash’. I styled them, did their makeup, set up the scene with props etc. There was tall boy drinking, cigarette smoking, arm wrestling and engine work. I shot this during the golden hour and cross processed the film. The outcome was really fab.  I wasn’t a ‘rock photographer’ I was just friends with loads of people in bands, so I didn’t outwardly seek these shoots but the story telling aspect quickly became my favourite thing. I started coming up with a surfeit of scenarios, but there weren’t enough bands, and the story really has to fit the band so that’s when I started shooting models (I know!) I did a complete 180, and used them as my little dolls to play all my little parts I’d dream up. I would do the styling, makeup, hair and shooting.

 

I kept this up for some time purely as an outlet for my overflowing head of ideas. Then one day I felt empty, sure I was creating pictures and art but what for? Really just for me. It was a lot of effort and energy just to take photos that only a few people would see and enjoy.

 

Music has been a huge part of my life, my whole life. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was putting on Motown records by myself at age 3. Picking the ones that I knew I liked, and playing them. My mother was way into music, and it was a common theme for me to be asked to perform a song for her friends as entertainment. I remember her favourite songs for me to sing to her friends were Crystal Gayle’s “Angel of the Morning” and Rickie Lee Jones’ “Chuckie’s in Love”. I guess it’s funny to see a 4 year old to sing grown up songs in completion? I don’t know…  Back in those days it was before MTV and we had music shows like the ever amazing Solid Gold, and then there was American Band Stand. In fact, the one major scar I have is on my eyebrow from when I was two and dancing to Sha Na Na  that was on the TV in my living room, I hit my head on the coffee table. (Bowser was my favourite). When MTV premiered it was a MAJOR event in my house. There was a countdown for the months and days till it aired. After that it was all over for me, I was able to see in person so many of the bands that were on the records at home that I would play. And it was on ALL DAY. Music ALL DAY. Then around the time I hit age 12 we would get constant free records and tapes, boxes of them, because my mother was a hairdresser and did weaves for a radio DJ (it was a classic Joey Elliot do). This allowed me to discover my own music and not be influenced by what was ‘cool’ or ‘in’ because I was able to find obscure and alternative music quite easily at my fingertips and listen to loads of variety. I remember when I was 14 this indie record shop managed to somehow track me down by asking people about me (I kind of stood out a bit-hick town) and ended up calling me at my house. They asked me to work at their store based on the collection of vinyl I had bought on a trip there. I wasn’t at legal working age but I did end up working there after school  and sometimes at lunch during the school day anyway. I would sell records and make flyers for shows in the punk scene that was really the only thing that ever happened in my town.  (I grew up in the middle of an extremely un-developed vast desert in Eastern Washington.)

 

Anyway as you can see, I dig music (^_^) – so when I was coming up at a crossroads as to what the hell I was doing with my photography, the choice of music slotted in so easily, made perfect sense. So I turned my focus purely to bands and have been collaborating with Alexander Laurence (http://portable-infinite.blogspot.com/ ) who acts as my primary agent to line up shoots for me. Since I work with indie bands that usually don’t have promo budget, I  take the photos for free (I actually end up spending money on the shoots), to promote the bands and for them to promote themselves. It makes me feel good to create art and actually enable other artists to promote themselves. That’s not to say I don’t take paying gigs but they aren’t the norm. Once I started focusing on bands things really just snowballed. I’m a bit of a workaholic and have shot more bands in the last year than most music photographers do in 10  years. The biggest challenge has been coming up with ideas that work in a backstage green room since I shoot touring bands there is usually no time to do a proper shoot, and  I get a budget of about 20 minutes to shoot them.

 

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Everything. Music, fashion, film, art of all kinds, funny people, sex, good food, other creative people, smells, textures, laughing (I honestly get ridiculous and clever ideas after a good laugh, it’s almost like it opens up some place in my head), most things vintage – ranging across the board from like crazy antique medical practices to liquor ad campaigns in 70’s issues of Playboy-it’s all over the shop.  I’ll stop here before I give another long winded response.

 

Upcoming projects?

I’m shooting Fuck Buttons, Maps and Atlases and maybe Freelance Whales and Frightened Rabbit this weekend. Then later this month Toro y Moi and First Aid Kit.  Although to be honest all shoots are usually pending until they happen. Touring bands can hit snags during travel and sometimes there isn’t time for a shoot and at the last minute things get cancelled. Aside from that I am interviewing a designer on my trip to London at the end of June for this Chinese Fashion TV show, and shooting as many bands as I can manage.

 

Your involvement with RID’s Pledge Project?

I had been wanting to have a photo shoot with the Robots for ages. I had been in contact with them for a year on it. Things never fell into place due to much traveling etc on their side. Then I thought of profiling them for the TV show since they are such unique fashion icons and was able to catch them at the same time since they were recording Album 4 in London. We did some filming mostly following them around for the day to a couple of their favourite haunts, and checking out their studio.

 

For Pledge, we took the opportunity to film a few fun segments to promote their pledge effort. I also urged the girls to use Facebook to their advantage and to promote the heck out of pledge there. Before I came to see the girls, I asked the band Chk Chk Chk to hold a banner asking to support the Robots in Disguise pledge effort for Album 4 and took their photograph. The girls really liked that so Sue asked Eddie Argos while I was in town and he did it,  then  when I got back to Seattle I asked Peaches and Har Mar Superstar to do it and they did as well. It was so cool and wonderful for the other artists to support it like that. Then I created little vignettes to promote pledge from the video we took. There is a full on interview and other footage fans haven’t seen yet. I will get working on that soon –things have been pretty busy for me.

 

Career highlight to date?

This is tough, probably getting to spend the day with and shoot The Slits. Although shooting Jello Biafra and Daniel Johnston bears a close 2nd.

 

Ambition for the future?

I really enjoy doing album covers, I’d like to do more of them. I’ve done 3 this year so far and even did the layout as well for one. What I’m absolutely busting to do though is documentary work for bands. Video and film photography. I want to tour with them and snatch all that life all up in my camera and hold it and pet it and love it and call it ‘George’. (For those too young to know, that’s a reference to a looney tunes yeti character.)

 

Advice to the creative?

Take risks. All the time. And do crazy things. Not all the time just when it counts. Choose wisely J

 

If you weren’t you, who would you be?

Probably Optimus Prime or Mazinger Z.

 

On Fri, May 14, 2010 at 6:33 PM, robot angel <robotangel@gmail.com> wrote:

Sorry, typos were in it, so I’m pasting a new version:

 

Who are you? Angel Ceballos – http://robotangel.com

 

What are you wearing?

 

·         A black cardigan that is Victorian cut with 3/4 cuffed sleeves and a large silk ruffle down one side that is dark green with white polka dots. Clipped to the cardigan is a small hair clip, actually for babies, that is a a tight square bow, red with black polka dot.(I tend to put red somewhere in the outfit if I’m wearing dark green-I’m weird.)

·         A fitted tee with all over oversized hounds tooth print. An above knee length black chiffon skirt with vertical black chiffon strips sewn all round it (I’m pretty sure the strip effect is gleaned from Yves Saint Laurent’s design.)

·         Bright orange tights
·         Black leather motorcycle boots
·         Accessories: stainless steel laser cut earrings, a Tatty Devine Robots in Disguise blue lipstick necklace, a 2 finger knuckle duster, black leather purse with a blue fox tail pinned to it by a Tatty Devine oversized safety pin that has pink and purple guitar picks hanging from it.

 

What do you do?

For my Day Job (read: how I make cash), I’m a project manager in the software industry for processes that  scope across ~ 5000 people.

But what I really do is outside that realm. I’m an indie rock photographer, amateur film documentarian for bands, fashion television correspondent for a Chinese TV show, amateur writer for Ectomo.com.

 

How did u get started?

Pretty much everything I do in life from professional to art is something that I have never learned how to do. And the fact that I don’t know how to do it, is what makes it attractive to me.

 

For my artistic endeavors, I used to illustrate and paint when I was younger. My grandfather passed and left me his old Mamiya 35mm, and I just started using it unaware of the impact it would have on my life. Taking photographs came so natural to me and I immediately became obsessed. I started by taking sneaky street photography. Strangers around me who didn’t know I was photographing them.  I was modeling at the time in indie alternative photography circles, and the thought of taking photographs of people actually posing was really unappealing to me (to a degree it still is). I spent some years taking what can best be described as photo journalistic photos (to get an idea of what I mean, you can look at the Where we Tread and Wild galleries in my portfolio.)

 

I didn’t start shooting people who were aware my camera was pointed at them until I started shooting bands many years ago. When that happened, I felt if I was going to shoot a person, then I needed to create a story of some sort, probably so I didn’t get bored (^_^) – taking a picture of someone just standing there is so boring unless you are capturing a candid moment. Luckily the bands I was shooting were hella lax and were totally open to me shooting a scenario. My favourite shoot with a band to this day was one of my first with Cock and Swan, where I shot them on a hot summer afternoon in their trailer park as ‘trailer trash’. I styled them, did their makeup, set up the scene with props etc. There was tall boy drinking, cigarette smoking, arm wrestling and engine work. I shot this during the golden hour and cross processed the film. The outcome was really fab.  I wasn’t a ‘rock photographer’ I was just friends with loads of people in bands, so I didn’t outwardly seek these shoots but the story telling aspect quickly became my favourite thing. I started coming up with a surfeit of scenarios, but there weren’t enough bands, and the story really has to fit the band so that’s when I started shooting models (I know!) I did a complete 180, and used them as my little dolls to play all my little parts I’d dream up. I would do the styling, makeup, hair and shooting.

 

I kept this up for some time purely as an outlet for my overflowing head of ideas. Then one day I felt empty, sure I was creating pictures and art but what for? Really just for me. It was a lot of effort and energy just to take photos that only a few people would see and enjoy.

 

Music has been a huge part of my life, my whole life. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was putting on Motown records by myself at age 3. Picking the ones that I knew I liked, and playing them. My mother was way into music, and it was a common theme for me to be asked to perform a song for her friends as entertainment. I remember her favourite songs for me to sing to her friends were Crystal Gayle’s “Angel of the Morning” and Rickie Lee Jones’ “Chuckie’s in Love”. I guess it’s funny to see a 4 year old to sing grown up songs in completion? I don’t know…  Back in those days it was before MTV and we had music shows like the ever amazing Solid Gold, and then there was American Band Stand. In fact, the one major scar I have is on my eyebrow from when I was two and dancing to Sha Na Na  that was on the TV in my living room, I hit my head on the coffee table. (Bowser was my favourite). When MTV premiered it was a MAJOR event in my house. There was a countdown for the months and days till it aired. After that it was all over for me, I was able to see in person so many of the bands that were on the records at home that I would play. And it was on ALL DAY. Music ALL DAY. Then around the time I hit age 12 we would get constant free records and tapes, boxes of them, because my mother was a hairdresser and did weaves for a radio DJ (it was a classic Joey Elliot do). This allowed me to discover my own music and not be influenced by what was ‘cool’ or ‘in’ because I was able to find obscure and alternative music quite easily at my fingertips and listen to loads of variety. I remember when I was 14 this indie record shop managed to somehow track me down by asking people about me (I kind of stood out a bit-hick town) and ended up calling me at my house. They asked me to work at their store based on the collection of vinyl I had bought on a trip there. I wasn’t at legal working age but I did end up working there after school  and sometimes at lunch during the school day anyway. I would sell records and make flyers for shows in the punk scene that was really the only thing that ever happened in my town.  (I grew up in the middle of an extremely un-developed vast desert in Eastern Washington.)

 

Anyway as you can see, I dig music (^_^) – so when I was coming up at a crossroads as to what the hell I was doing with my photography, the choice of music slotted in so easily, made perfect sense. So I turned my focus purely to bands and have been collaborating with Alexander Laurence (http://portable-infinite.blogspot.com/ ) who acts as my primary agent to line up shoots for me. Since I work with indie bands that usually don’t have promo budget, I  take the photos for free (I actually end up spending money on the shoots), to promote the bands and for them to promote themselves. It makes me feel good to create art and actually enable other artists to promote themselves. That’s not to say I don’t take paying gigs but they aren’t the norm. Once I started focusing on bands things really just snowballed. I’m a bit of a workaholic and have shot more bands in the last year than most music photographers do in 10  years. The biggest challenge has been coming up with ideas that work in a backstage green room since I shoot touring bands there is usually no time to do a proper shoot, and  I get a budget of about 20 minutes to shoot them.

 

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Everything. Music, fashion, film, art of all kinds, funny people, sex, good food, other creative people, smells, textures, laughing (I honestly get ridiculous and clever ideas after a good laugh, it’s almost like it opens up some place in my head), most things vintage – ranging across the board from like crazy antique medical practices to liquor ad campaigns in 70’s issues of Playboy-it’s all over the shop.  I’ll stop here before I give another long winded response.

 

Upcoming projects?

I’m shooting Fuck Buttons, Maps and Atlases and maybe Freelance Whales and Frightened Rabbit this weekend. Then later this month Toro y Moi and First Aid Kit.  Although to be honest all shoots are usually pending until they happen. Touring bands can hit snags during travel and sometimes there isn’t time for a shoot and at the last minute things get cancelled. Aside from that I am interviewing a designer on my trip to London at the end of June for this Chinese Fashion TV show, and shooting as many bands as I can manage.

 

Your involvement with RID’s Pledge Project?

I had been wanting to have a photo shoot with the Robots for ages. I had been in contact with them for a year on it. Things never fell into place due to much traveling etc on their side. Then I thought of profiling them for the TV show since they are such unique fashion icons and was able to catch them at the same time since they were recording Album 4 in London. We did some filming mostly following them around for the day to a couple of their favourite haunts, and checking out their studio.

 

For Pledge, we took the opportunity to film a few fun segments to promote their pledge effort. I also urged the girls to use Facebook to their advantage and to promote the heck out of pledge there. Before I came to see the girls, I asked the band Chk Chk Chk to hold a banner asking to support the Robots in Disguise pledge effort for Album 4 and took their photograph. The girls really liked that so Sue asked Eddie Argos while I was in town and he did it,  then  when I got back to Seattle I asked Peaches and Har Mar Superstar to do it and they did as well. It was so cool and wonderful for the other artists to support it like that. Then I created little vignettes to promote pledge from the video we took. There is a full on interview and other footage fans haven’t seen yet. I will get working on that soon –things have been pretty busy for me.

 

Career highlight to date?

This is tough, probably getting to spend the day with and shoot The Slits. Although shooting Jello Biafra and Daniel Johnston bears a close 2nd.

 

Ambition for the future?

I really enjoy doing album covers, I’d like to do more of them. I’ve done 3 this year so far and even did the layout as well for one. What I’m absolutely busting to do though is documentary work for bands. Video and film photography. I want to tour with them and snatch all that life all up in my camera and hold it and pet it and love it and call it ‘George’. (For those too young to know, that’s a reference to a looney tunes yeti character.)

 

Advice to the creative?

Take risks. All the time. And do crazy things. Not all the time just when it counts. Choose wisely J

 

If you weren’t you, who would you be?

Probably Optimus Prime or Mazinger Z.

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