Meet Maya Deren
She was a dancer, a performer. She dressed like a gypsy even in the 1940’s, decades before the bohemian style was made fashionable. She was an author, an artist, a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, and although she is now best known for her innovation in avant garde filmmaking, more than anything Maya Deren was a woman fascinated with exploring and exposing human emotion.
You might not have ever heard of Maya, but the influence of her work has surely touched things with which you are familiar. Her films are Surrealist and Symbolist, playing with concepts of reality and time, but they are also just so damned beautiful in their progressive cinematography, dreamy imagery, and haunting, personal subject matter.
Below I have included her best known short film, Meshes of the Afternoon, which was shot here in Los Angeles in 1943! It’s insane to see how ahead of her time she was. If you’re thirsty for more of Ms. Deren and live in the L.A. vicinity, the Los Angeles County Art Museum is offering a viewing of all her completed shorts tomorrow night (March 23rd) in conjunction with their current In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States. Click HERE for details on the event. If you’re not in the neighborhood, you can always rent the 2002 documentary In the Mirror of Maya (check out the trailer below). And as if her work wasn’t enough inspiration, her physical beauty and style is totally worth noting, so I’ve sweetened the pot and included some images of Maya to boot. 🙂