13 Questions with: Toy Designer / Night Photographer Troy Paiva

by Jena Ardell

lost america 0 Night Photographer Troy Paiva.

1. Name / occupation / location:
Troy Paiva AKA Lost America / Artist / NorCal
2. How long have you been doing what you’re doing?
Night photography, since 1989, but I’ve been a working artist my whole life.
3. What was your last ‘day’ job (or what is your current day job)?
I was a toy designer / staff artist / illustrator / project manager for Galoob Toys, mainly on the Micro Machine line. We were bought out and all laid off in 1999. I’ve freelanced (ie: struggled) ever since.

lost america 3Surreality TV © Troy Paiva

4. Favorite writer / artist / photographer?
Stephen King / DaVinci / Roger Deakins. I’d probably have 3 different names for you tomorrow, and the next day.
5. Who or what inspires you to create?
I have no idea where creativity comes from. I think the less thought given to this kind of thing, the better your art is.
6. Describe your last DIY project:
I had 2 new amazing locations open up to me this winter and I’ve been shooting the hell out of both of them for the last couple of full moons.

lost america 2Shiny Side Down © Troy Paiva

7. Decade you wish you could visit?
The 1970s, but with modern camera and lighting gear, so I could shoot all the drive in theaters and roadside towns before they all got bulldozed.
8. A place you’ve visited that was almost too beautiful to capture?
I’m blanking on this, I’m a guy that finds junkyards and rotten decaying buildings beautiful, so my interpretation of beauty is skewed.
9. Describe your pre-work ritual:
It usually involves a long drive across the desert in the middle of the night listening to ’70s prog/art rock.
10. An image you’ve created that is nearest and dearest to you:
I shot these back in 1990. I think these images and several other lighting and exposure experiments I was doing from back then were like a proof of concept for a new way to shoot these kinds of sites. Now the abandoned/night/lit with flashlights aesthetic is fairly common, but back then it was pretty screwy.

lost america 5DC-8 and 880 © Troy Paiva

lost america 6I 8 Puppies © Troy Paiva

11. Something you care deeply about:
My wife. I love her.
12. Current project you are working on:
Gearing up for my Spring Night Photography and Light Painting workshop. I rent a junkyard / movie prop storage yard and lock in a small group of photographers to shoot until 2AM for 3 nights. It’s probably the weirdest photo workshop on earth, but I have a 50% return customer rate. I’ve become very absorbed with creating some oil paintings lately too.
13. Goal for the future:
Get my work seen by more people that make decisions in the Fine Art world.

lost america 4Backstage Pass © Troy Paiva

Troy’s incredible night photography is a visual reminder that there is beauty in EVERYTHING; you just have to shed some light on it. ;) You can view more of Troy’s work on his <a href=”http://lostamerica.com/”>website</a> and join one of his <a href=”http://lostamerica.com/night-photography-workshop/”>workshops</a> to learn how to lightpaint from the master himself.

 lost america 1Muscular Atrophy © Troy Paiva

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