John DeFazio on the set of The Canyons, July 2012
|Born||February 9, 1975|
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Occupation||mixed-media artist, cinematographer|
John Paul DeFazio (born 1975) is a Los Angeles-based mixed-media and glitch artist, furniture designer, experimental film and music video director, and award-winning director of photography in the film and television industry.
DeFazio has served as the director of photography on numerous music videos, 35 mm and high-definition movies, some of which have been screened at notable film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival ("Crossing", "Roam") and the Cannes International Film Festival ("9:30"). He has shot movies for Hollywood directors and producers Joe Dante (director of "Gremlins"), Paul Schrader (director of "American Gigolo" and screenwriter of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull), and Roger Corman (producer of "Death Race", "The Little Shop of Horrors") among others. His second feature, Undoing (film), was singled out by the Los Angeles Film Festival for its "striking imagery," and Tobe Roberts from Cinema Without Borders called his work "stylistically shot and emotionally charged." While DeFazio's diverse background in the visual arts offers him a unique perspective and approach to cinematography, his work has been criticized for its overuse of color-drenching, over-exposure, and under-exposure.
DeFazio film credits include Director of Photography on the film, The Canyons, released in 2013 and directed by Paul Schrader; Director of Photography on Undoing, a 2006 neo-noir drama film directed by Chris Chan Lee and Joe Dante's 2009 horror webisode series,Splatter, for Netflix. He directed music videos for rapper J-Flexx (former Death Row Records producer), Evan Elton and producer DJ Lethal (La Coka Nostra, Limp Bizkit), pop vocalist Rae Ray, and crunkcore rapper J Bigga.
A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a MFA from University of Southern California, he is a member of Film Independent, the Music Video Production Association, the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600, and Local 80.
Early life and education
John DeFazio was born and raised in Pittsburgh where he also received a Fine Arts and Design degree from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a minor in psychology. While at Carnegie Mellon he focused in typography, interaction design, black and white photography, classical and machinic sculpture, and electronic media. Upon graduation from Carnegie Mellon, he traveled to Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts where he received a Master's of Fine Arts in Film Production with an emphasis in cinematography. He currently resides in Korea Town, a neighborhood south of Hollywood.
In July 2012, DeFazio commenced production on the erotic, neo-noir feature thriller The Canyons (film), written by Bret Easton Ellis (author of American Psycho and Less Than Zero), directed by Paul Schrader, and starring Lindsay Lohan, Gus Van Sant, and James Deen. The film received media coverage for the innovative way in which it was financed and produced, utilizing new media techniques including crowdfunding, online casting and social media sites including Twitter and Facebook. The film also received extensive attention for the casting of lead actress Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen.
In Joshua Ruebl's September 2013 review he wrote, "The cinematography in this film has an icy beauty, stripping away all artifice. We can see it in the blues, the decayed cinemas, and the Southern California sun that bleaches everything to the bone. We can see the cold dead quality of the cinematography as it reveals the imperfections of the body. We can see the reality of bruises on Lindsay Lohan’s naked body...the marks and wounds on a body damaged by Hollywood. The gorgeous cinematography adequately assists the concept of the film -- that we are seeing a coroner’s report for the state of Hollywood. " 
Scott Foundas of Variety wrote in his July 2013 review, "Gratuitous lighting effects aside, the guerrilla shoot seems to have reinvigorated Schrader, and the result is his most stylish picture in years, probably since “Auto Focus.” Shot in sleek widescreen HD by John DeFazio." 
Film writer and blogger Alex Withrow wrote in his review, "Cinematographer John DeFazio does digital wonders with his Arri Alexa Pro camera, making The Canyons look like it’s far more than a quarter million dollar picture." 
In Andrew O'Hehir's August 2013 review for Salon (website), he wrote, "Schrader and cinematographer John DeFazio, shooting with Video On Demand release on the small screen in mind, notice character quirks and capture the ambience of iconic L.A. locations in ways other filmmakers might miss. As a visual symphony, “The Canyons” is often masterful, and while it may be pornographic in places, it’s never campy. At the center of its cold, beautiful and half-dead world is the almost incandescent Lindsay Lohan, burning like a flawed diamond." 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (January 2014)|
DeFazio's mixed-media work utilizes non-traditional materials such as grunge remnants (dirt, hair, dust, organically grown rust), grease, oils, fabric dyes, fiberglass resin, medical imagery (magnetic resonance imaging, computed axial tomography, X-rays) and decayed organic substances mixed with more traditional materials such as photographs, glass, steel, copper, concrete, plaster, paraffin wax, and found metal objects.
His pieces "Where is the Love" (2013) and "What's Inside My Head" (2012) consist of MRI and CT-scan imagery taken from his own body.
DeFazio's earliest work, between 1990 and 1998, consisted primarily of traditional black and white photography and sporadic experimentation with mixed-media and machinic sculpture. It was not until his move to Los Angeles, and into the early 2000s, that he began mixing these two mediums into cohesive, symbiotic wholes. His first notable mixed-media piece, VIVISection I (2000), consisted of a series of drastically deteriorated 3"×3" squares haphazardly cut from Penthouse Forum literature which were then further butchered and layered upon each other, giving rise to newly formed text/image relationships through the juxtaposition of revealed slices of image and text within and throughout their layers. These squares were further layered with aged tape and glue, then mounted onto 5"×5" sheets of shower curtain material and compressed between glass plates.
DeFazio's later work shifted towards large photographic enlargements layered with various materials such as oil-soaked tissue, water-based paint, and fiberglass resin. "Kiss in a Red Storm 1-5", consisted of a series of identical photographic prints of a man in mid-kiss with a woman. These prints are layered between deteriorated pieces of yellow, liquid absorbing paper (with poor mechanical strength characteristics) that had been soaked in oil and haphazardly littered with red paint in nondescript chaotic patterns. The translucence of the oil-soaked paper and paint layered over the photographs adds an additional layer of texture and transformation.
A technique commonly used in his photographic work is degrading the initial image with various methods such as moisture contamination, scrapes, aging, and dyeing before enlarging to its final form. "Mother of God" and "Torso I" demonstrate this technique. Both pieces originated from decayed and degraded images which were then enlarged and further layered in paint and fiberglass resin.
Experimental short film
DeFazio's directorial work uniformly relies on spoken-word as the predominant driving force of the narrative, particularly in the form of abstract and poetic inner-monologue and stream of consciousness (narrative mode) rather than traditional expository voice-over. This is very evident in Stream, Arc To Vega, and Samsara. His short films adhere to fluid, yet definitive structures propelled by loose image/sound relationships and abstractions.
DeFazio's directorial work consistently examines the nature of the existence of the sole being ("Gravity", 2012) and the importance of the individual consciousness in relation to the encapsulating macrocosm. This is most apparent in his 2007 experimental film Arc To Vega. Arc To Vega is a short experimental docu-drama propelled forward through a fast-paced, first-person narrative voice-over. The film chronicles the day in the life of one man during a drug and alcohol-infused quest to search for something without knowing exactly what it is and to ultimately understand his place in the chaotic, nonsensical world in which he lives. By the film's conclusion, he finally comes to terms with the overwhelming trivial nature of his life and all life.
DeFazio's films explore the weakness of the human condition and the cycle of decay and rebirth of consciousness. Both Stream, and Samsara in particular, examine the mind of a woman during moments of emotional collapse. They attempt to explore how this breakdown of the psyche affects cognition and the nature in which it manifests in behavior. These films differ in that Stream is the precursor of Samsara. Stream focuses heavily on the moment of collapse and the stream of consciousness that results while Samsara deconstructs the aftermath—struggling to come to terms. DeFazio's common motif of rebirth of consciousness is especially evident in these two films.
1. Trash Cocking (1998)
2. Stream (2008)
3. Arc to Vega (2008)
4. One Flesh (2010)
5. Samsara (2010)
6. Judgements of Sentience (2013)
6. TRIP (In development)
7. CE7 (In development)
8. Drain (In development)
- http://www.cine.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2004-CINE-Winner-Directory.pdf page 20. Retrieved 2/20/2014
- http://cinemawithoutborders.com/reviews/1436-undoing-review.html Film “Undoing”- the Asian film noir of Korean-American Director Chris Chan Lee
- http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie/canyons/review/594642. Retrieved 2/20/2014.
- http://www.salon.com/2013/08/01/pick_of_the_week_lindsay_lohan_in_the_canyons/ Retrieved 2/21/2014
- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dvd-undoing-sung-kang/11497266?ean=825284200508.Retrieved 2/20/2014
- http://www.undoingmovie.com/undoing_home_v2.swf Retrieved 2/21/2014
- http://herocomplex.latimes.com/uncategorized/splatter-is-vintage-roger-corman-fresh-on-the-web/ Retrieved 2/21/2014
- http://moviebuzzers.com/interviews/interview-defazio. Retrieved 2/21/2014.
- http://www.yourepeat.com/g/J-Flexx Retrieved 2/21/2014.
- http://vimeo.com/25332914 HOLLYWOOD - EVAN ELTON (OFFICAL MUSIC VIDEO)Retrieved 2/21/2014.
- http://imvdb.com/video/j-bigga/murder-scene Retrieved 2/21/2014
- http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie/canyons/review/594642. Retrieved 2/20/2014.
- http://www.undoingmovie.com/undoing_home_v2.swf Filmmakers Bios Retrieved 2/21/2014