Art. Culture. Life.

LQAF Scholar Spotlight: Colby Tarsitano – Photographer with Palm Springs Life

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We caught up with Colby Tarsitano, a three-time LQAF scholarship recipient of the Nancy and David Marks Memorial Scholarship. With the help of LQAF scholarships, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Imaging from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. This summer, she returned to the Coachella Valley and landed a photography job at Palm Springs Life magazine. Learn more about her growth and renewed perspective on our desert landscape. 

Colby working at Palm Springs Life Magazine

How has LQAF Scholarship helped you grow as an artist or as an individual?
LQAF scholarship have helped me in many ways. To begin, it helped me stay afloat in school with financial assistance when it was really necessary. More so, it pushed me as an artist to make work that could be inspiring to other young artists here in the Coachella Valley. I thought that if I was making really good work and it was seen by younger artists at home, it could inspire them to work towards any aspirations they may have to pursue their art dreams. 

Iza Art School in Havana, Cuba by Colby Tarsitano

It’s been a few years since you’ve lived in the Coachella Valley. How are you seeing the area with fresh eyes?
It’s so nice to be home. I really missed California, especially the heat (I know, crazy right?). Coming back to the valley has been refreshing in a way because I am now seeing things that I didn’t notice when I lived here full time. It’s been really inspirational in terms of my personal photography. I find that I am eager to explore my surroundings here and shoot non-stop. Also, the light here is unbeatable so that’s a huge plus for me. 

Congratulations on your creative job! Tell us about your new role working in the photography department at Palm Springs Life.
My new role at Palm Springs Life is a dream. I get to work in a creative environment where I am constantly surrounded by creative people. It’s awesome. Working in the photography department, I help to hire photographers for shoots, and research archival images for the magazine. Also, I have been given some leading roles on shoots and events, hosted by the magazine.  My favorite part of working here is shoot days. They are chaotic and fast paced, but fun to be a part of the experience. 

One of Colby’s images on Palm Springs Life Magazine’s Instagram, when she covered social media at Splash House.

While at Tisch, you worked for the student run magazine ISO. Are there any skills you’ve been able to transfer in your work at Palm Springs Life?
Working for ISO helped me in more ways than I can explain. Not only was I able to master programs that I use on a daily basis at Palm Springs Life, but I was also able to learn the operations of producing a magazine with an editorial team. Although Palm Springs Life is on a much higher scale than ISO, I have been able to transfer those team skills and I feel very comfortable starting out here. 

Behind the scenes – Polaroids for Palm Springs Life photo shoot, arranged by Colby 

To learn more about her art, visit colbytarsitano.com and enjoy her photos on instagram: @colbtarsitano_

In keeping with LQAF’s mission of “Promoting and Cultivating the Arts,” annual scholarship awards are made possible with proceeds garnered from LQAF public art events including the La Quinta Arts Festival, plus La Quinta Arts Foundation memberships and contributions by sponsors, community partners and memorial contributions.  

The Nancy and David Marks Memorial Scholarship creates opportunities for talented, aspiring artists from the valley and the La Quinta Arts Foundation is grateful for the continued partnership with Marks’ family.