I started about 3 years ago. First, I was a little lost. I felt like I was searching for something creative. I started picking up my phone a lot and I really loved taking photos and editing and that’s when I decided to get a camera. I got my first advanced camera, it was a point and shoot, a little small sleek low profile camera that no one really talks about so no one really noticed I had it around. It was great for street photography so I would have it with me everywhere. I went through of a phase of taking pictures of everything. Overtime, that’s when I started to be more selective and that’s when I developed a style in a sense. I’ve always loved black and white photography and my major was art history because I wanted to work in a gallery. It was a lot of schooling and a lot of work, and afterwards I still wanted to do something creative but I didn’t know what it was I wanted to do until I picked up photography. My friends who are photographers taught me a lot, and being self taught in watching YouTube videos and just experimenting.

Right now, I just started a new project called Solid Form Studio. I’ve taken the photos for it and it definitely helps having that foundation first, to have that knowledge of photography and using it in different aspects for lookbooks, and other projects, including my own! It’s been so much fun like when I shot a lookbook for One of None using film. For that shoot, I used a Pentax camera and it’s a medium format and it was really cool seeing the outcome since I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out.

I remember having a little more time on my hands in the last few months and I was looking online and for different planters and pots. I started looking for geometric shapes and I found some great DIY blog posts and videos that inspired me to do it. I felt like I was taking a leap because it was something I didn’t really know about but I wanted to try it. You know when you want to try something for the first time but you have doubts asking whether or not it’s worth it? I really questioned myself, but I ended up buying the molds and supplies, and I didn’t really know what I was doing at first and I just kept watching the tutorials over and over and when I tried it, it turned out pretty good. It was a lot of fun and it’s definitely been a different avenue of creativity I haven’t explored yet. I’ve done photography and it’s all visual and digital, but there’s something about holding something tangible and solid that you made from scratch. It’s a whole different feeling and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it!

It gives me a different aspect to explore aside from photography. The process can take a day or two, because depending on the mix with colors and combinations, some look great and some aren’t that great. It’s all been trial and error throughout the process.

I always thought I’d work in a gallery or big museum and that I’d move to LA or New York, anywhere with a bigger art scene. I feel like the art scene here in San Diego is definitely growing and I felt like if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. And with the direction the art scene is going here, it’ll keep growing the way it needs to. Everyone moves away that once they get to that point, they leave instead of staying.

I just realized leaving wasn’t really what I wanted. I have my wife here and she moved here from Stockton about 12/13 years ago, went to state, and when we met we were seniors in high school through badminton. We have a life here and it made sense. I found photography and now just created Solid Form, and throughout all the changes, I learned to be happy. I learned to be happy with life, learned to be content with things you can and can’t change. Back then, I was still young and naive and I had to grow up and realize what I dreamt at one point is not what I envisioned.

I used to think I wanted to pursue that “American Dream” stereotype of climbing up a corporate ladder and answering to someone else. But being where I am, I realized I’m okay living this type of life because I get to do what I love. It’s different now, especially since I’ve picked up photography. My perspective changed completely. I used to be very materialistic, and valued the wrong things. Now it’s completely different. I’m so thankful and grateful for where I am now. There was always pressure to meet family’s standards, and I feel that there was always some sort of sacrifice of your own happiness for theirs. It’d be so hard for me to work a 9 to 5 and still have the energy to do what I love after. It makes me happy making other people happy with the things I get to create, especially through photography and with Solid Form.

I’m definitely learning new lessons everyday. I think the most challenging thing for me has been staying inspired. Especially with photography, I try to stay away from social media because I feel when we see other people’s work we compare ourselves and it’s one of the worst things we can do. I try to be in the moment and be present, but it’s hard when I have my camera or phone. I learned recently that I have to find a balance. Since I’ve started making products for Solid Form, I don’t frequent social media as much. And I think actually taking care of my health has been a change for me as well.

That’s the number one thing I learned, was to take care of myself more. Especially after getting married, I started to get some peace of mind, keeping everything in check including my mind, spirit, and body. I’m the type of person when I start something, I get lost in it. I have to remind myself to have fun with it and give myself a break at the same time. It’s so important to take care of yourself above all else.

From studying art history, to discovering photography, and creating through Solid Form, Cece has a passion and big heart for creating and being a part of the art world. We learned so much about her growth as an individual and how important it is to realize the process is always changing. She reminded us that putting ourselves first should always be a priority, whether that’s through health, discovering our passions, or letting go of the past. We admire her tenacity for life and how she’s stayed true to herself no matter what and we can’t wait to continue to see where Solid Form, her photography, or her future projects take her!

Follow Cece

Black Monochrome Photography

Instagram: @black.monochrome
Website: blackmonochrome.com
Twitter: @blkmonochrome

Solid Form Studio

Instagram: @solidformstudio
Website: solidformstudio.com