Artist Member Spotlight: Rebecca McMann
Rebecca McMann is a photographer from Ellington, Connecticut who creates images using digital manipulation and prints the final product on aluminum. Her work has been shown in a number of Connecticut galleries and exhibitions, including Arts Center East’s Annual Members Exhibit and Annual Photography Exhibit.
Rebecca has always considered herself to be artistic, but only recently has come to think of herself as an artist. “I went to school and became a sign artist after high school, but that seemed different, somehow, from the Fine Arts.” She initially practiced sign lettering and design, as well as calligraphy. “The lettering arts were my first love.” In 2015, she turned her interests to photography and how she could digitally change her photographs. “I started sharing my manipulated photo creations on Facebook. I got a lot of encouragement to continue, so I started an Etsy shop, and then my own web store.” From that point, Rebecca considered herself to be “on the artist’s path.”
Though sign lettering and calligraphy are no longer her primary medium, she follows the work of a number of artists, like Rob Cooper. She also admires the work of Alphonse Mucha, a 2-D Art Nouveau artist from the Czech Republic, and Kelly Taylor, a fellow ACE Artist Member.
Focusing now on photography and digital manipulation, she coins her own work as “Strange. Beautiful. Abstract.” Her work is detailed, often fixating on small parts of a larger subject, and plays with color saturation, light, and shadow. “One thing I appreciate about photography is how manipulatable it is. I can emphasize or de-emphasize certain elements by use of color, blurring, and contrast, etc., and, especially, by the way I crop the image. This is very similar to the way I arranged the elements in my lettering work and how I could use lighter or heavier fonts to draw the eye where I wanted it to rest.” Rebecca’s work follows an artistic philosophy of “ostranenie: encouraging people to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar; defamiliarizing what is know in order to know it differently or more deeply.”
Rebecca describes her artistic process as “difficult to explain” because the digital manipulation techniques require multiple steps and end up being a “drawn-out process” that she cannot necessarily replicate the same way again. While not a teaching artist at the moment, Rebecca has given artist talks at the D’amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, MA, where she had a year-long exhibit from May of 2017 through April of 2018, which she greatly enjoyed. And though her artistic process may be difficult to explain, she is happy to give demonstrations of her aluminum printing process.
More of Rebecca’s work can be seen, and purchased, on her website.