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Griffin Stanton-Ameisen

It seems your work pushes the boundaries.  Is that one of your goals as an artist – to push the envelope a little bit?

I used to run a Shakespeare company for five years in Philadelphia and I've always been interested in work that talks directly to the audience and is in your face and fun. Hence there's always music and drinking and, you know, hopefully joy! So I think that has always been a part of me. 


My director/co-collaborator on “Free Space” (Griffin’s one-man show) and I took about two and a half years to make that piece. The reason I approached him was because I saw that he had worked on stuff like what I was trying to do with Shakespeare but on a much smaller, more intimate scale. Like in an apartment room, where I was doing that in a park, so it was marrying the two worlds in a way. I thought he was the perfect person to work with because that was the kind of stuff I wanted to do. 


So it seems collaboration is a huge aspect of your life. What are some prerequisites you have for collaborators that you work with?


Mostly being cool. I love being okay with not knowing the answer, being able to develop a vibe and, at the same time, being able to challenge and push each other. Knowing that being the kind of artist that doesn't want to know the answer is always key to seeking something else.


I love that. Seeking something else. What moment did you realize that this is what you wanted to do with the rest of your life? 


It's funny, I literally just started back in therapy today and she asked me the same question. I said high school. I feel very lucky that I got cast into a play freshman year of high school and I was like, all right. I got it. This is what I want to do. And I've never really wavered.

Do you have any dream projects that are in the works right now where an organization like Artcee can help with that?


Currently, a bunch of stuff in my brain, but not anything very active. I really want to write a feature that's in my brain and I haven't started yet. I don't know if I'm quite ready to do it. Maybe making another one-man show would be cool. I don't think I'm done with the one I just did. I've done it in small iterations, like four times, but I'm not finished with it. 


Are we ever really finished?


Right, exactly. Especially when it's about your own life.

So a lot of it is about your life as well? 


Yeah. It's about choice as a general concept, through the lens of my dad and I’s relationship. 

We have a lot of emerging artists and you are well-seasoned in the work that you've done. Do you have any pieces of advice for people that are starting out?


Find a mentor early on. Seek out people you know who you think have something valuable to offer you. Also, on a more logistical basis, schools don't offer business classes for this industry. Figure out how to do that early on. You're taught what to do when you go into an audition room and that is beautiful and where the work is, but there's so much other stuff (like taxes) that you need to know how to do.


From what I understand about ArtCee, from a purely networking standpoint, I think for young artists the biggest thing is your reputation. It’s the most important thing. Your craft is hugely important, but the people that you touch – you literally don't know when they will come back into your artistic lives or your lives in general. And the wider your web the more possibilities for work, for opportunity, for good stuff to come your way. 

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