1. Most artists have a favorite medium, what is yours?
My favorite medium is photography.
2. Do you have any secret shortcuts? I mean, do you use odd tools, techniques, or anything else that isn’t strictly status-quo for your medium? How did you figure out that it worked?
I use anything and everything I can get my hands on to achieve the images of my intent. White and black foam is cheap and awesome to have around for lighting. I use fabrics and curtains from thrift stores for backdrops. I have a collection of cameras, some fancy, some old, some simple. I just took a three day photo trip with a friend. I brought 5 cameras a lots of lighting. While I used the polaroid camera, the D5000, the D700, the Go-Pro 2, and the Sony HD video, I only used ONE CHEAP CLAMP LIGHT with a 500 Watt photoflood bulb in it….the entire trip…one light, no modifiers. The best gear one has is whatever they have access to.
3. You’ve sold work before? What was the first thing someone bought from you, that you made? How did it feel to sell that piece? Are there pieces you keep hidden away, or keep for yourself, and why?
I have sold a lot of work. The first piece someone bought from me was a painting of roses, actually. It felt amazing, but I know I did not charge enough for it. My first hired portfolio building session was in the woods with a local model. It was an incredible feeling to know that I was being commissioned to help another artist share her vision with the world.
4. Working with people is sometimes the hardest part of art. How do you deal with (commission requests/demanding tattoo clients/bad art ideas/people asking if you have a real job)?
The worst is when a client wants to do a photo shoot and they immediately tell me they hate their own face or body. Self-hate is the hardest part of working with the public. I try my best to respect their feelings while pointing out things I like about their features. I try to get them to point out something they DO like about their features/personality.
When it comes to bad art ideas. I think I simply have no filter. My face is very expressive. I tend to make a stink face and then figure out what it is they like about the idea to see if we can develop it further.
5. What jobs did you have before you started arting? You don’t have to list them all- but were any particularly awful, or interesting? Did those jobs influence the way you approach your art now?
I worked in the restaurant biz. Serving, cocktail waitressing, line cook, prep cook, dishwasher, manager, busser, you name it. I loved the job, but I hated the management. No matter what part of the country I was in, whether fine dining or diners, the management always sucked. No benefits, no sick days, no flexibility, no raises. If I wanted to get treated that way, I’d be self employed…so, here I am…
6. How long have you been working in (the favorite medium you named)? Do you think there are any new ideas in that field that are worth pursuing? for example, 3d printing for sculpture/assemblage, rotary machines for tattooing, digital work for painting, etc
I have been working with photography since the age of 8. Professionally, this has been my full time job since 2005. I get a lot of ideas from self-portraiture. Digital cameras surely are starting to get the quality I expect from film. As for new ideas, I am finding a need to offer video press kits to clients, which requires new techniques, gear, programs, etc. I have been working on transferring images to wood panels with acrylic medium. It is a lot of fun, delicate, and renders a very unique image.
7. How do you feel about using projectors, tracing, and photographs as reference for your work? Do you use these? Do you think it’s cheating if you use your own sketches or photographs to start out with? And, what do you think of camera obscuras, camera lucidas, and other optical aids like grids, for perspective and proportion?
I try not to study how other people create images. I want my ideas to come to life without the interruption of other shooters’ minds, histories, techniques coming into play. I like to garner inspiration from my models, nature, life experience, and the human condition.
8. Have you taken any formal art classes? Have you had a mentor help you? Do you have “spirit artists” to guide you? (artists, living or dead, who you do not personally know, but to whom you look for inspiration or answers)
I have many mentors. I model for them. We try out ideas. They challenge my routines. I have not taken any formal art classes for photography, but I work for so many artists, that I feel they have taught me a lot.
9. Do you make prints or reproduce your work? Do you like galleries? Do you hang your art in bars or coffeeshops? How do you feel about public exposure to your work? Does it make you nervous to be in a spotlight, or do you enjoy it?
I enjoy the spotlight when performing. When it comes to sharing my photography, I just hope that others connect to the stories. I have been showing in magazines, galleries, and other venues since day one.
10. If you earn your living with art, how many hours a week do you work? Counting research, sketching, cleaning up, framing, promotion, etc. Do you think you get paid a decent wage for this? Do you think it matters, as long as you’re enjoying the work?
I tend to work 50-60 hours per week. I do not get paid a decent wage. It does matter. I am constantly striving to get enough gigs to keep me extra busy with shooting instead of promotion and research. Having opened a brick n mortar studio in 2013, I am well on my way. We have a hair salon, photo studio, boutique, and art gallery in one big creative space which allows all of us working here to pool our networks and meet more potential clients.
11. When you began with (favorite medium), what was the hardest thing to learn?
It’s hard to pinpoint the one hardest thing about learning photography. Getting to know a camera so well that you can use it in the dark without thinking is difficult but essential. Some shooters struggle with lighting the most. Others struggle with using the right lenses for the shot. The mathematics involved in photography is essential to me, but perhaps not to others.
12. Do you have a site where you sell your work? which site, and how do you like it?
I use digiproofs.com to sell my photos. I love it.
13. Anyone you want to give a shout-out to? One or two names only…
Reed Carpenter has supported my dream for so many years. One day he told me he’d resent me if I didnt pursue photography as a career even though it’s far more risky than lots of other jobs I am capable of.
14. When you aren’t working, what are you doing with your time? Do you have any hobbies that are totally apart from your creative work, or does your art tend to creep in to your recreation time?
I draw a lot. I love to write poetry. I am writing a few books about my life on the road. I love to watch movies to gain inspiration about the human condition, our stories, our controversy, our diversity, how color and depth of field affect the mood.
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