Aza Cody AKA Codifyer

This interview is with someone I met adventitially via Twitter. I love the serendipitous nature of Twitter, how you can follow threads of different conversations, hashtag-driven lists of contributions on subjects that range all over the landscape, traipse through themes, chance upon memes, and encounter delightful people like Aza Cody.

I met Aza indirectly through a connection I made a while ago with Lurain Penny, about whom more later. Lurain is a deep and kind soul who introduced me to Aza. During occasional conversations we've shared, I've come to learn about her work.

Recently, we spoke about a new work, a mixed media tale, or should I say 'tail'? (Hmm, guess I HAVE already said it).

Bill: Aza, you are an obvious animal lover. How did you come to this love of animals?

Aza: My earliest memory is of the family basset hound, Buffy, pushing his nose through the playpen mesh. Buffy was my first friend. My deep love and regard for all beings was formed by this initial curiosity and affection.

Bill: You impress me as a very artistic individual, as is seen in these web sites: theCodifyer, and Byrnes Cody.

What do you think is the source of your creativity?

Aza: A wild sprite as a child, I saw ALL the molecules dancing. This put me at odds with ‘reality’. It took many years to realize that not everyone viewed the World the way I see it. I've always accepted that Nature is consciously alive. Though material existence was often difficult for me to negotiate, I've been at Home in natural environments, especially those of my birth – the green fecund forests, waterfalls and breathtaking Ocean of the Pacific Northwest.

Bill: Nice.

Aza: The mystery of the Natural World never ceases to amaze. There seems to be nothing 'evil' in it – only utilitarian, which can sometimes seem heartless. Nature has no 'opinion'. Its only aim is continuation of Life; bud, bloom and wither, becoming the seed bed for the next generation. Such reverence for Creation ultimately became my theology, which dispenses with doctrine and adores the source.

Bill: I too believe that nature is not evil or necessary benign; it's just doing its own thing, and could be characterized as indifferent, while still awe-inspiring and beautiful, sometimes in a terrifying way.

Please tell us about your art.

Aza: My visual art is a juxtaposition of technology and this adoration of nature. In photographs of flowers, for example, I discover occult patterns, tiny creatures and landscapes of myth, or as Jung posited: the Collective Memory.

I'm ever surprised by their appearance, though they are there whether I find them or not. Awe is an attribute of innocence and one, thankfully, I have not lost.

Bill: Aza, I am as impressed by your words as I am by your images.

Aza: Thank you. Humans can be very disappointing. We are a selfish and quite intentionally un-evolved species. Animals are always exactly who they are. This makes them eminently more trustworthy. People would be much better stewards of this beautiful Planet if we followed their example.

Bill: Can you tell us about your background?

Aza: I was a child actress. My theatrical career included stage, screen and television, as performer, writer, teacher and director. Luck afforded me work in wonderful venues; I lived in great cities, like London and New York.

As I grew older, I found I needed a more contemplative existence, and felt the urge to express my art visually. To this end, I taught myself photo manipulation. With no one explaining to me how to go about it, I was free to make mistakes and discoveries, and formulate my own style. People still ask me if I use acrylics, but actually, it's important to make the point that this is a new form of photo manipulation.

Bill: Very interesting. I must say, your style is very distinctive; many pieces have obvious texture, as in this beautiful self-portrait, "Lens":

Aza: I'm glad that comes across. Digital art is too flat to me. I wanted my art to have a tactile dimension.
Lurain Penny's YouTube channel has a number of videos that have been graced by Aza Cody's touch:

Aza: My latest project, Pirate.KittyCat.Toon, is the first in what I plan to be a series of picture books with companion Art Toons. Inspired by my pal Indigo, who adopted me after my beloved dog Cody passed.

Bill: May I be so bold as to copy/paste the description you have on your YouTube video page:
A Codifyer Art Toon, Pirate KittyCat Toon is the creation of digital artist Aza Cody. Photo manipulated using a live cat and several felted actors. An animated story of a homeless kitty who dreamt he was captain of his own ship and a hero to his crew. His dream comes true. Video, moving to swing jazz from the 1920's; out September 19, 2012.

Aza: Indigo was homeless for many years. In spite of obvious abuse (he has a mangled foot from past trauma), he trusted me completely instantly, and has always been a perfect gentleman.

He is a constant, confident talker – carrying whole conversations in well understood melodic voice. When I bought him a pirate hat, and he wore it – I had the beginning of my story.

Indigo is a very patient model, who knows that the camera loves his face. Along with the felted actors my best friend Carole Jean made for the project, and my old stuffed dog Buffy, it is the most agreeable cast I ever worked with. :-)

Bill: Folks, here are some examples of work done for Pirate Kitty:

Cleo Goes for Help

Pirate Kitty doffs his Hat

Star Mermaid

Bill: What are some anecdotes you can share with us about your life with the inimitable and seemingly indomitable Miss Lurain Penny?

Aza: Miss LuRain Penny came into my life when I was producing my first cabaret show.

She was at that time a very sad drunk with a hilarious but bitter humor. She undervalued her talent and little comprehended the impact she would eventually have on her audience.

Her self confidence and sobriety grew as the people who witnessed her performances and heard her songs realized the depth of her experience, and her empathy with those who suffer from despair or injustice.

I have watched Miss LuRain Penny evolve into a true "Humane Being", as she likes to say.

It's absolutely humbling to see how much her on-line friends admire her.

Her wisdom is the standard by which I live.
Bill: So, are you two close?

Aza: As she is fond of telling people – we've become 2 sweet peas in a prickly pod. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. :-)

Bill: Aza, thanks for this fascinating and candid interview. I'm proud to share community with you, (and with Miss Penny, of course), and I enjoyed our chat, however brief it was. Many thanks so much for taking the time to share, and, see you on line :)

Aza: The pleasure is mine. Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers, Bill. You are a gracious interviewer.