Music, art, and film have been three constants in my life albeit not always in that order. I probably started taking my first photographs with a camera my parents had bought me for an AP art class at the same time I bullied them into buying my first electric guitar. Then punk hit Los Angeles. My best friend was an English kid who played drums and we went in one week from listening to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Deep Purple in art class to The Clash, The Jam, and The Sex Pistols and started a band. We would go to Hollywood two or three nights a week to see whoever was playing at the Whisky, Starwood, Roxy, Cathay Du Grande, Madame Wong’s, and other more underground clubs. This was the moment of finding my tribe – Mexican American kids, queer kids, runaways, misfits of all shapes and sizes. I dyed my hair blue, sported army boots and thrift store clothes, making myself different to hide my difference, the first awareness of an identity. And I snuck my camera into the shows and took pictures…

I broke up my last band in college when I got obsessed with filmmaking. I was making sculptures then photo text works and didn’t think making a film was possible until I took a film course with Jean-Pierre Gorin, 60s collaborator of Jean-Luc Godard, who taught me that you could make a film with two sticks and a rock if you had good ideas. And so, I started making 16mm films.

It wasn’t until my second and third feature films that music started seeping back into the work, first as part of the soundtrack and then more intertwined with the narrative. I didn’t know Storm Thorgerson but when a friend of mine told me that he had been in his studio and that he was part of the album cover design group Hipgnosis, I knew what he had done. Before punk, my friends and I had loads of rock vinyl LPs that we played to each other, studying the covers and liner notes intently and Pink Floyd had been the first concert I had been to as a teen. I dropped a narrative film I was planning and spent the next three and a half years making a film on Storm. The disappearance of vinyl records and how I was still shooting in 16mm seemed part of the story I would work into that of Storm’s and we built a deep friendship during as well as after the film. On a trip together in Los Angeles, Storm asked me over breakfast “What do you know about Syd Barrett?” I told him that my band had tried unsuccessfully to learn his songs as they were so peculiar and that I thought his lyrics were extremely raw, honest, and modern. Storm took a bite of his eggs and said “Maybe you are the one.”

As Storm’s cancer began to spread and his health began to decline, the film was at first a sprint and then a marathon. After his passing, it became very clear to me that the film was partly a goodbye letter from friends to a long lost friend and now the film would also become my goodbye to Storm. Would anyone care about the story of Syd Barrett if Pink Floyd hadn’t become one of the biggest bands of all time? Would Pink Floyd have existed without Syd? I miss Storm probably in the same way as many of those in our film miss Syd, someone whom they dearly loved and shared fond memories and adventures.  Syd just happened to become one of the most famous cult icons in music.