Interview with a Fan: Second Edition
I recently had another fan contact me to ask me an array of questions about myself and my work. After answering, I realized the blog is due for another edition of “Interview with a Fan”. Continue reading about how I found art photography, my inspiration, and my career.
Out of all the medias you could have chosen to express your work, why the camera?
It was an organic process. I used to paint for years, since I was little, and I played around with photomontage even before doing photography. After I started experimenting with photography I saw that I could create dynamic images that are simultaneously real and unreal. I really liked the surreal look, and I worked in this style since.
What inspired you to pursue the fine art side of photography?
When I was studying in university I thought that I would do commercial work in my style, but it became clear that my work is not suitable for commercial, and, I actually really wanted to just be an artist. I always wanted to create my own work, and I am lucky to have a practice that is lucrative as well. I do best when I create for myself and that is what I always do.
Above: “Close to Shore”
Were you scared at any point when you started out? Did you think that maybe this wasn’t going to work for you?
I don’t really get scared. I know that if something doesn’t work out, it is part of the process, even if it’s frustrating. A lot of the time, especially at the start of the project, the initial idea doesn’t realize itself in the way I imagined. Sometimes I will make something else, and other times it will shift and become more refined. It’s just a part of the process.
What avenues did you pursue to get your work seen?
I pursued all of the things I could think of: group exhibitions, art fairs, galleries, interior designers, publications, other press, social media, and online marketing. I think that the two things that have worked the best for me to reach my my goals as an artist were art fairs and galleries.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
My ideas come from many places. From sources such as books, podcasts, and other artwork. Lately, I’ve been specifically interested in psychology and philosophy. It is often the case that I have many little ideas floating around, in regards to visual elements I’m interested in introducing, as well as concepts. At some point these will merge and form a stronger concept that I will pursue.
What educational background do you have? Do you feel that has played a role in your work now?
I have a BFA from Ryerson University in Photography studies. I think it has played a role in how I think about my work, and even some of the work I made there, continues to sell today. In terms of the business side of things, I’ve had to learn that all on my own through much trial and error.
Do you find it to be a competitive field of work? Or more like a creative community where everyone supports each other?
It’s competitive in the sense that there is much competition, and there are a lot of extremely talented people who are working just as hard as me. I’m of the mindset that competition is an old model, and that the first connections you should be making are with other artists. I try to make friends with other artists as much as possible and exchange ideas. That artist might refer you to their gallery and vice versa. There is no benefit to holding back your secrets.
Have you ever had a defining moment when you felt like you truly had made it? what was it?
I haven’t had this moment, at least not yet. I find that the rewards come in small increments. When you look at my life’s work, it might seem like I’ve achieved so much, but it came from many small wins throughout the years.
How many hours out of week do you dedicate to making art?
I work in phases. I make art for many months, and then market that work for some months. I don’t keep track, but I try to dedicate all my time to it. I try to rest one day a week.
Above: “Release the Sun”
Do you have other passions aside from art?
I’m passionate about psychology and emotionality. I think our interpersonal relationships are really important, and I try to keep only the best people around in my life. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can help others and improve my relationships. I guess you can say I am passionate about that.
How important do you feel branding and marketing in art photography?
Short answer is that I think it’s important. The reality is that to be recognized as a serious artist, your work has to be instantly recognizable. However, I think it takes a lot to get there, and if you start thinking about this too early in your practice, it might confine you to one thing and not let you grow. I think it’s best to always be producing. Through time and practice, style develops naturally and you can start thinking about a common language and branding around the work.
Do you feel the awards that you have won have helped propel your career? Did you win them early in your career or later?
I think that the awards I’ve won have definitely added credibility to my work. I’ve won many that I’ve applied for throughout the years. I don’t apply to all of them. I love receiving them, and I am thankful for each and every one. There is a dialogue about awards in the photography community that pertains to weather they are worth applying for or are a waste of time and cash. I think that they have done good for me, but that’s just me, so I don’t feel comfortable advising someone on weather they should pursue awards or not.
Do you do a lot of submissions for awards? how many a year would you say you apply to?
I apply for the ones I hear about and the ones I’ve managed to keep track of. Less than a handful per year, on average. I evaluate the award and weather I have something suitable. I always look at the previous winners first. I also evaluate the judging panel and think about weather they would like my work.
Above: “Above Water”
When you do a submission do you create a series or picture specific to that award or submit what you have if it applies?
I only submit what I’ve already created.
Are you a more independent artist or would you say your actively involved in an art community? ( where does one find a community?)
I am an independent artist in terms of doing most things on my own. I do work with galleries, and my goal is to work only with galleries in terms of selling the work.
There is a community around artwork, but I would say that for me, it realizes itself as a one-on-one conversation basis. I keep in touch with artists whom I’ve become friends with and we share things about our work and our businesses. I found my connections, mostly through art fairs, and contacting people through their websites. I general, I try to make lifelong friends with nice people who do interesting things. Some other ways to meet people are joining programming at artist-run centers, degree programs, and going to gallery openings.
Do you think creative burnout is a legitimate thing?
I haven’t experienced this. I give myself breaks, and keep a balance between work and rest.
What things do you do to keep yourself grounded and inspired?
Routine is very important to me. I run and meditate every morning. I sleep the same hours, waking up early. I have a regular yoga practice. In short, I make sure that I am taking care of myself emotionally and physically, so that I can attend to my creative practice in a relaxed way. I always have an itch to be creating, so not much of a problem in the inspiration department.
Above: “Bear with it”
Do you feel having a lot of support from family and friends is important to achieve success?
I think it definitely helps. Anyone that helps you with your endeavours is a positive thing. That’s why I make sure to keep only the nicest people around me, and I get away from those I don’t necessarily connect with.
What advice would you offer someone trying to pursue this field of work?
I would say that it’s good to always be moving forward. If something doesn’t work out, you keep going. Whatever the outcome is, it’s all information. Keep learning and growing.
Thanks a ton to Jolene Elmhirst for the questions and I hope you enjoyed the blog post. Thoughts? questions? what are your favorite books and podcasts that inspire you?