On the 4th floor of Siren Studios in West Hollywood, actor and photographer Lance Gross is scolding the showroom, looking at his pieces, making sure each matte black frame is hanging as flawlessly as the art it houses. White couches and a single bar in effortless sight accents the spaces minimalist décor. Just as the sun nestles into the crevice of Saturday’s back pocket, he’s anxious and excited as guests start to arrive.
Lance has been busy traveling across China as Howard University’s newest global ambassador, wrapping up acting gigs with the season finale of Crisis airing just a few weeks back. He’s also preparing to welcome a baby into the mix with longtime girlfriend, stylist Rebecca Jefferson and now, hosting his first private exhibit. We got the invite and an exclusive with this creative to shed some light on the inspiration behind the exhibit—and to pick his brain about photo taking technique.
LA CANVAS: What is the first thing that comes to mind before opening your first exhibit?
LANCE GROSS: The details. I’m a stickler for details. I’ve been to a lot of shows […] I don’t want to diss anybody on presentation but I’m all about the details. I want it to look good, I want everything to be uniform, framed, matted and I emphasize that.
LAC: People hear Lance Gross and could immediately jump to Marcus Finley, Calvin Payne or any other character you’ve played on TV. Tell me about Lance Gross the photographer + what about expanding beyond performing arts sparked your interest?
LG: I know it sounds cliché but there is something about capturing moments that are timeless and that can live forever. I’ve always been interested in it, since I was younger. Photography for me, it’s mine. When I get called to act in a play or movie or TV show, it’s not mine; it’s someone else’s script. But this is truly mine, my outlet, my therapy if you will. It’s a hobby I’ve had for a while and I just enjoy doing it.
LAC: What was the inspiration behind Greyscale?
LG: This is my first show and brainstorming the concept, I wanted to do something that was important to me and that was darker-toned African-American women. It’s because I’m a darker-toned African-American male. I was picked on when I was young for being that and I feel like there’s a void still. It’s getting better. I don’t want to turn it into a light-skinned versus dark-skinned thing but I am team darksin so I wanted to represent what I know.
LAC: Judging by your work, you’re no amateur. You showcase a series of portraits, landscapes, architecture, and even a little bit of glamour via your Instagram account. How would you describe your style?
LG: My style switches up a lot, so it’s really just based in the mood I’m in. It’s really about capturing a moment with an image that I love and so I like to switch it up often.
LAC: How do you choose your subjects?
LG: It’s really just something or someone that catches my eye. It could be an agency model, it could be celebrity or just someone walking down the street I think is interesting.
LAC: You would stop them?
LG: [Laughs] Yea, well it’s a constant struggle. I’m shy and nobody really believes that I’m shy and that’s the awkward part, asking people to shoot. I’ll have my friends ask for me or sometimes I’ll have my fiancée ask for me. That’s the part I’m still working on.
LAC: Tell us what we can expect from Lance Gross the photographer in the future.
LG: It’s growing; I’m getting a lot of clientele. I just shot the cover art for Goapele’s new album. The sky is the limit at this point. I do want to stress that this is a hobby, my side hustle, my outlet, my therapy. I’m an actor and it’ll always be my first love. This is the fun stuff for me.
Lance Gross Photography ONLINE Gallery will be launching on Sept 15. It will be open for viewing as well as purchase. To view his gallery of one-of-a kind art pieces, click here.