Nestled in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles’ famous Garment District, just one block west of Santee Alley, is Astroetic Studios, which occupies a portion of the seventh floor of the newly remodeled 90-year-old El Santee building. With the majority of the building’s tenants working in fashion, Astroetic Studios sets itself apart as a premiere photo/video production and event location.
Co-founders Jonathan Haloossim and Dave Roston only began leasing the space in July, but despite the still-bare, industrial walls, the 2,800 square foot studio reeks of potential, with expansive views of downtown Los Angeles and high, echoing ceilings.
The pair’s friendship dates back to high school, but it wasn’t until recently that they took the plunge to become business partners and realize their dreams in the form of Astroetic Studios. When asked about the studio’s name, Haloossim admits that the word doesn’t (yet) exist in dictionaries and is meant to be interpreted broadly, construing everything from the cosmos to the infinity of space to the poetic.
Expounding on that, he prophesizes, “We have the ability to see into the future. We have the ability to create something extremely beautiful. We have the ability to combine all of these things into one single space. Our space is pliable, you can manipulate it, and that’s why I think we’ve already had such a great response. People see our place and they see potential, you know? The possibilities are endless.”
It’s true that when I walked into the studio that afternoon to conduct my interview, I stumbled upon a group of soon-to-be renters tittering excitedly and hypothesizing the set-up of their proposed event, a superheroes and villians theme party. They’d already signed their contract, but couldn’t seem to tear themselves away, continuing to circle and plan, overwhelmed by the studio’s potential.
As Roston explains, “There’s a lot that goes into it besides just signing the lease. We do have a vision. We want to reshape this place into one that’s better, and that makes people come in and say wow, this is a great space, but it’s more than just a great space.”
It would seem that the duo are accomplishing their mission so far, and in only a couple of months, Astroetic Studios has helped dozens of local artists achieve their visions; housing everything from heavy metal music videos to actor’s workshops to photoshoots, interviews, and more.
Haloossim concedes, “To be honest, we’re still figuring out what we’re going to do with the space. The idea is forming itself as we’re going along. So far we’ve had a lot of interesting people in here in terms of doing a lot of different things. We’ve had a really eclectic group and are hoping that it grows into something where we can do our own productions and partner with others to create. The goal is to create a space that our fellow artists can enjoy.”
“I feel like there are a lot of creatives in LA that need space, so being able to manage that as far as who comes in and what happens and to be able to collaborate with those people, it’s a really good position to be in. We’ve both done our own artwork throughout our lives, whether it was photography, drawing, film, performance art, or music, so it’s good to now take those artistic juices and make it bigger and have a place to perform that and share that with others,” adds Roston.
There is pride in Haloossim’s face as he realizes aloud, “I think that we are now contributors to our artistic community.”
At a time when the majority of 20-somethings in America owe more in debt than they retain in assets, monetizing your passion, particularly when it comes to the creative industry, is essential. Few are able to do so on their own terms, but Roston and Haloossim seem to be making it work.
However, the young visionaries are far from naive, and Haloossim is quick to point out, “You have to get your hands dirty. You have to take the risk in order to take yourself and the community around you to the next level.”
Roston interjects with, “I feel like it’s kind of our duty to do this. For a long time we were doing our own things, but we want to get more people involved, we want to get the community involved, we want to get all kinds of people in here to make their art.”
This Saturday, on September 13th, Astroetic Studios will hold it’s first event entitled Sensory, which promises to engage and activate the senses of all those who attend. According to Roston, Sensory is the first of many events the pair plan on throwing in their new space.
“We want to throw art events throughout the year, but this is our trial run so we’re involving artists and musicians and other performers that we like and whose work we enjoy. I feel like if we’re going to put on our own events then we should highlight artists who are close to us that we feel deserve more exposure.”
Engaging all five senses seems like quite the feat, but Haloossim and Roston have their bases covered and are even going one step further by incorporating a variety within each theme. The jam-packed musical line-up features genres as imaginative as the studio’s name, and includes psychedelic rap, electronic dance, sultry folk-rock, foot-stompin’ blues, and a house DJ guitar virtuoso duo.
The bill of visual artists also span a range of media, with local muralist Hieronymous set to exhibit and do live paintings. Multimedia artist William Leach, illustrator Billy La Traille, and oil painter Britt Harrison are also scheduled to show, and co-founder Jonathan Haloossim plans on joining them by displaying some of his own photography prints.
Taste, or more specifically, food, is an integral piece to any successful event, but even more so for a party that seeks to activate the senses. Haloossim and Roston have taken measures to make sure that every guest’s palette is delighted, with food options ranging from homemade churros to a nostalgic ice cream cart to the all-organic, chemical-free Fresh Street food truck. To top it off, Sensory will also debut Astroetic Studios’ in-house brew Bearded Lullaby, a heady Double Belgian IPA that brags an alcoholic proof of 18, or roughly 9%.
The remaining senses, scent and touch, would seem the hardest to capture in a party atmosphere. While there’s little doubt that the wafting scent of cinnamon from the churros will engage our sense of smell, Roston and Haloossim are hardly the type to cut corners and instead booked Venice-based skincare group Pulse Organics, who will soothe guests with aromatherapy through essential oils intended to awaken the mind.
Arguably our most intimate sense, touch, will be represented through what Haloossim coyly refers to as a “textured playground,” in addition to an impressive and interactive light show put on by Luke Hobbs Design. The illuminating spread will flicker and dim based on touch, and will even react to third-party touch; thereby, if you touch someone who is touching someone else who is touching a lamp, the light will conduct accordingly.
Sensory, which is scheduled to run from 8pm to 2am on Saturday, is guaranteed to be a full night, and to top it off, the cost of simultaneous five-sense activation is a paltry $5. They’ve even partnered with Lyft to offer new riders a $25 credit with the promotion code “SENSORY.”
In closing, Haloossim emphasizes that, “We’re community-oriented and we want people from around here to be involved, and to establish ourselves downtown. We’re basically in the heart of it. To put it simply, we’re two Los Angeles natives with a goal to continue building and improving this city in every way that we can.”
So come out, network, check out the space that could very well house your next creative venture, and stimulate your senses at Sensory, Astroetic Studios’ debut event!
For more information about Sensory and to RSVP, visit their Facebook at facebook.com/AstroeticStudios.
And don’t forget to visit Astroetic Studios’ website at AstroeticStudios.com!