Driven to inspiration…
Six years ago I decided to leave the world of web application development. It was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever had to make. Over the more than thirteen years that I worked for some fantastic companies providing solutions to clients and business units and offering e-commerce solutions. While the passion was there to solve complex concepts and offer solutions, I found myself riding the desk chugging code out and not being part of the world around me. It is people, culture, art, and science that inspires me and a disconnect was forming from my world as a programmer and the world around me. To get that back I knew I needed to make some changes by doing something for myself and for my family.
What came next…
The next chapter of my career was an unusual turn of events. I was chatting with the then, department head at the Mathers Museum, Jeffery Conrad. I knew Jeff from when I was a student pursuing my B.A. degree in Anthropology back in the 90’s. During our talk I discussed my need to connect back with my undergraduate degree, but do so in a way that allowed me to explore the world visually. It was then that he mentioned the field of Visual Anthropology – the downside, there was no M.S. or PhD. in the field. Rather, it was a field that Anthropologists pursued as a field of interest and discussed openly through forums.
This gave me much to consider. I knew where I was and where I wanted to be, for I enjoyed crafting images. The question laid out for me was, how do I take what I enjoy doing and turn this into something where I can shape my vision, market, and then sell it in a market that, today, has become saturated. I knew at that moment that I did not need training, for that came with time – it was the knowledge that was lacking.
The next chapter…
With so many choices available, including my own alma mater, it was a difficult choice. Indiana University offered only two advanced degrees through different departments. With no background in art other than that learned from friends, I knew choosing a fine art degree out of the gate without a foundation would be impossible. While a degree in journalism was attractive, I enjoyed the image and the visual story more than having a byline with some newspaper or magazine.
After much soul-searching and reviewing various schools I chose the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. They offered exceptional foundation courses in art history, color theory, lighting, and conceptual courses then left it up to you, the artist, to define your field of focus.
During my time I have made many new acquaintances, learned to refine my vision, and shape how I share and present my artwork to the community, at galleries, and through art reviews. Presentation after all was key but it is also how one nurtures relationships, presents their art, accepts critiques, and helps to shape the world of fine art photography. It is less about redundancy, repetition, regurgitation, or reiteration but finding that unique idea or concept and refining it to the point where every elements works seamlessly to produce a finished product. The best image wrapped in a paper sack is only as good as the paper sack.
With my approaching thesis defense this coming fall I find myself reflecting on where I have been and what has guided me to this path. What I realize today is that I have a lot of ideas that I want to share with the world. As I take that next step in my journey I hope that you are there to share in that vision.
The women’s IU Rowing team preparing for the training early on a cool spring morning. This series was the beginning of a series of images where I looked to explore these athletes and showcase them by silently observing and looking for elements of line, shape, hues, shadow and form to create a visual representation of the silent calm that these young ladies prepared for their day of training.
An even earlier images from September of 2012 titled, “In a Field of Grass”. The IMU was a place where I took my first model to work a series of images for her and her mother to celebrate her graduating from her school with honors. I fell in love with the grounds in no time. The series of images that evolved out of my time over the fall evolved out of a need to reconnect with my Indiana heritage and how this building brought art and culture to the people around it. It was functional and not simply about the past, but about the present, the people who lived in the community, and about looking forward to the future