Actor / Stuntman / Drummer / Surfer / Photographer
Cultural Artists Spotlight: October 16 – October 29, 2019
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I do and have done a number of different artistic things. When I was 24 I started a rock n roll band based in Detroit, MI. I played drums in the band and, as our popularity grew, we ended up touring the US and Europe for quite a few years. When I was home from being on the road, I worked for two cities in the Metro Detroit area in their communications/video department. I would direct, produce, edit, shoot, mix audio, and work graphics for all types of community TV productions. After deciding I’d had enough of Michigan winters, it was time to move west. I left the band and my jobs and made the move to LA to pursue music full-time in Hollywood. I was hired for a couple music gigs, but quickly found myself working as an actor on TV, film, and commercial productions. I’m a little person (4’4″) and so my size made me appealing to agents and casting directors who were looking to fill unique roles. The most notable role I’ve landed was that of a murderous and dangerous cast member on the show Twin Peaks, directed by David Lynch. My interests have also led me to the worlds of photography, graphic design, and surfing.
Most recently I started competing in adaptive surfing competitions against other surfers with different conditions (dwarfism, blind, deaf, amputee, spinal injury, etc.). It’s been a thrill to watch and compete alongside these very spirited and uniquely capable individuals! I’m so excited to report that I just won my division at the US Open of Adaptive Surfing in Oceanside, CA this past September! Surfing has changed my life in so many ways. I’ve been obsessed with riding waves since I was a teenager in Michigan. Now that I live in SoCal, I try to get in the water three times a week to keep up my skills. I’ve found that surfing is one of the most beautiful, challenging, and uniquely personal forms of art. I’ve also found that there are so many unique parallels between music and surfing. You certainly need to have some technique to paddle, pop up, and ride a board. But you also need to be able to let go, live in the moment, and react to what your surroundings throw at you in order to have the best experience with the things you can’t control.
I also just started a podcast which delves into the lives of myself and other people with dwarfism. It’s called I’m Kind Of A Big Deal. Please check it out on Spotify and other platforms (here or here)!
How did you first become interested in art?
I have been a fan of music for as long as I can remember. I bought my first drum set at age 15 with the plan to immediately start a band. At the time, I was listening to Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green Day, and Bad Religion. I played in a few bands in high school. In college I really started to get into jazz music. I learned about Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Then I learned about the jazz that came before them and the crazy stuff that came after those greats. I pretty much fell in love with it all. I loved seeing live performances too. I would get into jazz clubs in Ann Arbor and Detroit, I think the doorman was too intimidated to ask a little person for his ID. So, as an 18 year old, I was ordering White Russians and beer while watching the Ray Brown Trio and Charlie Hunter in smokey Detroit clubs. I thought I was so cool! I realized that through those experiences I was absorbing important performance moments. I would watch the interaction between the musicians and really enjoyed observing their communication. Little did I know this knowledge and observation would help me throughout my musical career.
How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
The presence of art in a community is such a beautiful and important thing. Having an outlet where artists can express themselves is so important. It also benefits the people consuming the art in the community! Artistic expression strengthens your confidence, lightens your mood, and creates space in your mind. For those people consuming the art, it’s just as beneficial. Watching music gets people excited, allows them to move, and to be inspired by what they experience. See a live musical performance, take in a play, go to a photography exhibit, or try to create something on your own!
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Make mistakes. Try not to be afraid (which can be scary) to make mistakes. Allowing yourself to just play and experiment can be so powerful. Let yourself be free to experience making mistakes because great ideas can come from mistakes.
To find out more about Christophe’s work, visit https://www.christophezd.com/
or follow him on Instagram @bigdealpod @christophezd