Feeling Blue… Cyan Specifically

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Cyanotype making! 

One of my very favorite photographic processes is the Cyanotype. It’s probably one of the most simple processes – Add equal parts solution A to solution B, a small dash of C if you want some contrast, coat or soak, dry, expose, rinse with water. Thats it. Children can do it. I love the simplicity because it gives me so much more room to experiment with concepts, what the chemicals are going on, i.e. fabric, paper, really anything that can soak up liquid and hold dye, and the infinite possibilities that those hold.

My favorite thing to use is fabric, because it holds the chemicals so well and can be easily folded, embroidered on, have previous patterns show through, etc. It brings in a whole new set of possibilities that paper just can’t always offer.

Currently, I am working on an idea thats a little more experimental and also a little political. Yesterday I was doing some more tests, the last batch failed, so hopefully I made the proper adjustments! The medium will be drying today and within the next few days or so I will expose them and post again, so watch for the next steps!

 

Sketchbook Practices

Sketchbooks are an amazing tool to use however it best works for you. I use mine for everything including lists, ideas, drawings, writing, anything I really like I will put in my sketchbook. Though I try to use my sketchbook once a day, honestly that’s not always doable, so I just carry mine with me wherever I go and use it as much as I can.

 

I think it is sometimes misunderstood that a sketchbook has to be used for drawings or has to be done a specific way, but I think that is a real cock block for your creativity and you should just ignore people who think that. I believe that it is really important to figure out how to make your sketchbook work best for you, so I highly recommend experimentation because you don’t know if it helps unless you try it. I’m going to talk about how I use my sketchbook and what works best for me, hopefully it can inspire or help people who want to get more out of their sketchbooks!

 

Ideas: I write down every single idea for making work, concepts, etc. in my sketchbook. Terrible or genius, this is the best way I’ve found to work it out. Sometimes this involves small drawings or just writing individual words, but any way that feels best for me to get down what I’m thinking. A lot of the time they don’t turn into something that I make, but it’s a great starting point for working out the flaws of the ideas and brainstorming execution and concepts to go with it. Another thing I do is go back through my old sketchbooks and revisit some of my past ideas. This can be both humorous and helpful. Ideas that may not have had anything to them a year ago, could be usable now that you’ve had time to think about and mentally develop them or they could just be more relevant to your current work.

Lists: I love making lists, to-do lists, grocery lists, to-make lists, list of places I want to go, pretty much anything. This is one of the easiest ways to organize my thoughts and ideas, it helps me get focused when I’m starting something and it helps me feel more accomplished as I check things off. I like to spend a lot of time and effort on these lists to make them aesthetically pleasing, especially ones that I won’t necessarily be checking off. This is also a great way to organize your goals, either for the year or for some undetermined amount of time and if it looks nice I feel more compelled to look back at it or place it somewhere where I will see it often as a reminder.

Drawings: As someone whose medium isn’t primarily drawing, this is really where all my drawings live. Because I usually feel intimidated by good quality paper, my sketchbooks give me a place to draw freely without worry that it is going to be worth the cost of the paper. Connected with ideas, I will usually do small sketches to accompany them to attempt to get what is in my brain compositionally onto the paper. I find this very helpful then when I am out in the field, I have to think less about placement and composition because I already thought it out and anything extra is exactly that.

Writing: My sketchbook is also where I work out the beginning stages of artist statements as well as take notes about readings or even reactions about work that I can really only get down in the form of words. Of course a majority of them look like the ramblings of someone who has never heard of punctuation, but it’s a great starting point for something like artist statements which can sometimes be difficult to get started. I am someone who constantly checks out library books, and because you obviously don’t get to keep those books forever, taking notes on what I read can be extremely helpful later. Taking sections that I find important and then adding in my own ideas or reactions is something I have found to work for me. As much as I want to pretend that I remember everything I read, I don’t. So, being able to go back to the things that stood out and seeing my personal reaction or take on that information can really inspire new ideas and concepts.

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Additions: Adding images of reference (if you have cheap access to printing or magazines) is something I absolutely love to do. When working on an idea I add lots of reference material so I can have lots of visuals when I am out in the field. Finding things with similar aesthetic helps me figure out the qualities and the compositions to get what I want, I can see what they all have in common that gives them that aesthetic so I don’t have to go through so much trial and error.

I hope this is a helpful guide to different ways you can use your sketchbook!

The Best Art Advice I’ve Ever Gotten

“Work through the shit.”

There have been many times where I just can’t seem to make anything good, or sometimes even decent. Which is more than discouraging – critique after critique without anything worthwhile. But usually at my most frustrated my professor was there telling me I gotta work through the shit to get to the good stuff. Not everything can be the best idea you’ve ever had or the best piece you’ve ever made. So, make the bad stuff, keep the bits and pieces that work and throw out the rest. Repeat.

 

“It’s good to experiment and try new things, but it’s also okay to do what you’re best at.”

When I was trying to come up with something amazing for my undergraduate senior exhibition, I continuously tried to do things I had never done, stuff completely different than any of my previous work. Of course, this was unsuccessful and frustrating. The photography artist in residence at the time finally took me aside after a rather frustrating critique, and told me that it was great that I was trying new things, but it was also okay to just stick to what I was really good at: portraits. There is no shame in doing what you’re good at – you can always experiment, but in preparation for an upcoming show is not necessarily that time.

 

“Read about art. Look at art. Make art.”

As an artist I feel like I have to be constantly making artwork. But I never seemed to have time to recharge, find new ideas, and push my work further. I was struggling to make anything new even just once per week and I was feeling completely artistically exhausted, I asked the photography artist in residence how he did it. His response has been something that I have stuck too and has helped me immensely. Read about art, look at art, make art. You don’t have to do all three at the same time, but you should always be doing at least one of those things. You need new ideas, new material, new inspiration. You have to be watching and reading about what other artists are doing. Take time to recharge yourself. Work in your sketchbook and save ideas for when you have the time and energy to execute them.

Senior Exhibition 2016

Inner Hauntings

“We’re all of us haunted and haunting.” – Chuck Palahniuk , Lullaby

Real hauntings have nothing to do with ghosts, but have everything to do with memory and my fascination with people’s backgrounds and what makes them who they are is really what inspired this series titled Inner Hauntings. I have never had the desire to have more friends, but I constantly have the desire to get to know people, what happened in their lives, what are their anxieties and why. These five images include people I know; my mother, father, boyfriend, sister and myself and as I was photographing them I asked them what they regret, what their worst memory was, and to think about the ways those things affect them today. Inner Hauntings captures these silent obsessions of the past that intrude into the present.

Inspired by Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s use of such pure emotion and the mystification of banality, Inner Hauntings focuses on the universality of these personal disturbances of everyday life looking at average people in normal places who are experiencing a lapse between moments. With references to human feeling and mood of Romanticism as well as the monumentality and drama of the Baroque, these portraits immortalize our escape from linear time through remembrance and imagination. Every person in these portraits is somewhere else; they have left this moment behind them and are remembering some other time and some other place. You can see it in their eyes and how they hold themselves that they are numb to their surroundings, be it a dirty kitchen or a child’s room, time is nothing.

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Inner Haunting #1
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Inner Haunting #2
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Inner Haunting #3
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Inner Haunting #4
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Inner Haunting #5

Me, My Work, and I

I grew up in Door County, WI on a small hobby farm in the middle of nowhere, where I was home schooled until sixth grade. During those years of homeschooling, I had the unique opportunity to explore topics I was interested in, instead of classes in school being decided for me. My dad, who always enjoyed photography as a hobby, taught me how to use his 35mm camera before I can really remember. Though I never really considered myself extremely talented or even thought of photography as a viable career choice, I fumbled and stumbled my way into the Art program at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, which,  incidentally, is one of the best photography programs in the state. During my undergraduate studies, in addition to photography, I discovered a love for textiles, as well as gallery studies/collection care – which led to an internship with UW-Green Bay and eventually a job at the Lawton Gallery. I graduated in December 2016 with a bachelor degree in art with an emphasis in photography and a minor in arts management.

I currently work as the Assistant Curator at the Lawton Gallery and work almost exclusively with the permanent collection, and I absolutely love it. So much so, that I hope to continue my education in this field. I am surrounded by amazing and inspiring artwork all day, and still have time to work on my own creations. I live and create in my small apartment that acts as a living space/studio in Appleton, WI.  

I work in everything from textiles to drawing, but photography is my first love and is the majority of my work. I am inspired by photographers like Francesca Woodman, Sophie Calle, Elina Brotherus, as well as Carrie Mae Weems and Anna Atkins. Most of my photographs are self-portraits or portraits with concepts centering on “the self.” My textile work is still in an exploratory stage, specifically working with embroidery and knitting. Lastly, my drawings are just small, quirky, bursts of thoughtless creativity that I personally love, but professionally reject. 

Now that you know what to expect as far as what you will see here, and where I draw inspiration from, please go ahead and subscribe so that you can get updates on my work, my ideas, and get to see some of my works in progress!

 

Images:

Top: Images from a photography course my dad took in 1973

Bottom Left: My Fathers Tools, Cyanotype, 2016

Bottom Right: Regular Old Princess, Drawing, 2017

Bottom: Self Study Eating Feathers, Archival Pigment Print, 2016