WHAT I DO: I have been taking photos for a long time and many of my most satisfying photos are close-ups of architectural elements or flora. I have worked in ceramics and calligraphy previously, but my current method of artistic expression – which I call “photographic abstraction”- begins with taking a photograph. I generally photograph an object close-up in which I can see an architectural element. I then alter the photo on the computer until it is often unrecognizable and usually very colorful, or, as I like to say, “strange and beautiful.” This gives me much joy. The original photographs become a pattern, a quilt, a collection of colors, shapes, and lines, and textures, much like the quilts I played under as a child while my grandmother and mother stitched them. This is known as Ostranenie: Encouraging people to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar; defamiliarizing what is known in order to know it differently or more deeply.
I enjoy the manipulation process immensely, and I don’t stop until my work is just so. I follow my instincts and cannot retrace my steps or recreate a piece. This turns my photos into works of art which I find very exciting. My final step is to have the piece printed on aluminum, which makes the image luminescent and gives it a subtle reflective glow.
HOW I LEARNED IT: As a small girl I remember being fascinated by the colors, patterns, and textures of my mother’s and grandmother’s quilts, and I also recall practicing calligraphy with my cherished gift set with a discipline uncommon for a child. However, my first official artistic instruction was a two-week residential experience covering many disciplines. This was followed by two years of graphic arts training specializing in Sign Lettering and Design where I fell more deeply in love with letterforms and design. There I learned not only the trade, but more importantly, composition. Due to this training, I am always aware when creating my photographic works of the weight of a line, the relative heaviness of white space, how and where an element of the composition enters or exits the piece, and the arrangement of the elements themselves, not to mention the influence of color and texture. Balance is very important to me. At the same time, I also studied Sign Lettering books from the Art Nouveau era, noticing especially how the makers played straight lines against luscious sinuous ones. This led me to an appreciation of contrast in elements. All of these considerations are important to me now as I compose my photos and create my current pieces.
PHILOSOPHY: My philosophy in art is my philosophy in life: Joy and personal power. I try to minimize all that does not contribute to these ideals. When I am creating my art, time ceases: hunger ceases: I am only creating. In such a state, I become quieted yet fully alive, which is similar to a contemplative practice. My desire is to disseminate my works as widely as possible so that others might experience this same joy.