GROWING UP NEW YORK

Born and raised in New York, Käla Mandrake has been photographing the avant garde art and music scene since she was 15 years old. As a teenager, she documented the abandoned buildings and underground venues of the Lower East Side, befriending punk bands, squatters and the homeless. She frequented political social non-profit organizations in ABC NoRio, The Collective Unconscious, the Garage, and the local community gardens. At 17 years old she spent a year playing keyboards in a girl-fronted glam-rock band which introduced her into the world of girl bands. Photographing women rockers brought her into lesbian culture and make-shift venues for exclusive parties. It is through all of these early experiences that Käla learned what it truly means to carve out your own unique path in life. Staying true to her vision of the underground, Käla has always sought out venues and galleries for her photography exhibitions that are artist owned and operated, or are simply part of the New York underground community.