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Wallace Flores

Wallace Flores - sound engineer broadway.jpg

Was there a specific point when you knew that sound design was for you?

I was living in Downey, CA, and I got a bulletin in the mail from Cerritos College. In it was a class on studio recording. At the time I thought, “Oh how unique, how interesting. I always wanted to know how a record was made.” I was working at a department store, it got me through high school and college, but I finally took the class and [I thought], "Wow, this is what I want to do. This is what I want to do with my life."  

I was looking at your digital photography online, SmugMug. What was the impetus for sharing those images?

Digital photography opened up that world because you knew right then what you got.  Digital is cheap. In the end, you take a thousand shots and you throw away 995. It's fascinating to me. That's where the really creative part comes from and then it's just "How do I capture the world around me? I want to document what the world is."

 

So is photography a hobby of yours?

Yes, I guess it’s a hobby, but it’s something I really love.

 

(At this time, I am getting a virtual tour of his personal gallery, a collection of his photography.)

 

This one is from a show, Burn the Floor. It’s a black and white but you see how the lighting is just on the characters. Like you see her face, and you see hers in silhouette, and you see the odd back. Then you go to this and it’s Manhattan at night, and to this which is a subway tunnel not too far from where I live. They’re completely different things! I have my art all around me.

I work as a sound person. I work as a stage-hand. I do sound design. I work as a photographer. (He proceeds to show us one of his proudest things and it’s hanging in his kitchen.) This is an exposed beam, and these are kindorfs which are things we use in the theater to hang things with. These are s-hooks and these are eye bolts. I like to bring these things with me, things I use every single day. I jokingly call it “kitchen design by McMaster Supply”.

A lot of ArtCee users are going to be emerging artists.

Everybody does everything in a different way, and this is one of those things. It's taking advantage of the resources that are around you.

 

I’m building a show right now called Leopoldstadt. It's Tom Stoppard's latest play coming into New York in the next two and a half months. We're in a sound warehouse, a sound shop in Yonkers, so we're building the show. This company provides sound equipment for Broadway shows, tours, one-off concerts, things like that, and so they have gear constantly delivered. Brand new and in pallets because it's big stuff. It's road cases, it's amplifiers and because there's an overload of just pallets, they have an ad in craigslist saying, “We have pallets, if you want pallets, come get these pallets." There are people who come and take them away, and god knows what they're going to do with it, but they're going to do something artistic with them. 

Wallace Flores B&W.jpg

What is your perspective on the term Broadway? Someone who's worked on Broadway, what does that mean to you now?

Broadway is kind of the pinnacle of what theater is in this country. But it also tends to be the place where things can get out and just push boundaries. You have a production that either opens cold in New York or they've been out in D.C. It could be LA, it could be Chicago. That people are trying out new bits of art, but they want to come here. And if you come here, you actually have an audience. You will have a market for that because everybody wants to come to New York and come to Broadway. 

Thank you for inspiring me. Do you have any final words about collaboration? 

Collaboration is a beautiful thing. Collaboration is necessary either with fellow artists or it is you and the audience, and we can't have one without the other.

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