BRIAN LOTTI: URBAN SANTA CLAUS BY RYAN WARD

Brian Lotti is a natural born gift giver.  I discovered this within the first week of meeting him. I was heading up the web department at Adio footwear at the time, and Brian was brought in to direct the Adio video, which was sadly never released. While collaborating on this video, Brian gave me a set of three children's bath toy sailboats.  This was supposed to keep me inspired to work with him on an animation starring construction paper whales.

About a year later I received a manila envelope in the mail from Telegraph Skateboards, which is Brian's company.  On the back of the envelope a hand written note read, "Cheers Ryan! Thanks for the inspiration, animation ideas & the like.  Here's some fun & games.  C ya soon. - Willy D."  Inside I find a rat trap wrapped in newspaper along with a rubber stamp with the Telegraph logo carved out.  These were both props from an animation we worked on a couple of months prior.

Earlier this year I was essentially homeless and living out of my office here at the Berrics. Maybe you've seen our office in videos - it's a dark, creepy, stinky warehouse.  I was unhappy with the situation to say the least. In May of this year, just as I was about to reach the end of my rope, Brian calls me to meet for coffee and incidentally gave me his best gift to date.

Brian informs me he and his wife Laura are moving up to San Francisco because Laura was accepted into grad school. Their lease wasn’t up until September, so he offers to show me his place and asks if I wanted to take over the lease. I’m stoked at the thought of having my own apartment again! He invites me over that day, and a couple of weeks later, I move in and Brian hits the road.

With the help of Broadcast Wheels and Abby Portner, Brian gives us all another unexpected memento with this short collaborative project. With a wide array of credentials, including music videos for Altamont and Animal Collective, Abby’s creative touch is undeniable and mesmerizing to watch Around the video's 2:50 mark, we’re introduced to George. George is a next door neighbor that I inherited from Brian, as well as the manager of my apartment complex. The painting behind him in the video was painted by Brian and then stolen by George. That’s right – Lotti’s painting was stolen by his landlord.

One sunny LA day, Brian left one of his pieces out to dry while working on another masterpiece up on the roof of the apartment building. When he returned and found the previously drying painting missing, he asked George if he knew where the painting went. George, claiming to have no idea of the painting’s whereabouts, went as far as to take Lotti around door-to-door within the complex asking the tenants if they'd seen the painting. Talk about going above and beyond as a landlord!

A couple of years later, while lending a hand in George's apartment, Lotti sees the missing painting, plain as day, on display above George’s bed. Busted! However, not only did George refuse to return the painting, he forces Brian to sell it to him for less than he had initially intended. Not an ideal situation, but that’s just George.

When not stealing his tenants’ paintings, you can find George breeding kittens with aspirations of turning them into superstar soccer players, climbing into my apartment window at 8:00 AM to fix non-existent shower leaks and telling wonderful stories of a communist Romania. George also occasionally rides his skateboard.

You never know when you meet people how your lives will become intertwined or what gifts of memories and experiences you will give to each other. I’ve learned a lot from Brian and really admire his talent, creativity and passion for his craft. Above all else though, I’ve learned to lock my windows at night, nail down my artwork and, "Shut up and skate!"

Ryan Ward is editor of the Aberrican Times. Ryan has worked for The Berrics a little over two years and thinks his job is the raddest. You can keep up with Ryan on twitter or contact him via email at ryan@theberrics.com.





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