Things change. I have pondered this transparent statement for many years. I visited an abandoned school 5 years ago. When I first entered the building, the first room I walked into was a small auditorium. I captured a few photographs during that visit. Five years later I visited the same school, but it looked and felt different. I captured a few photographs of my second visit to compare to the first. The differences are astounding. The photographs got me thinking about how much things change over time, more specifically how childhood innocence changes over time, or even fades away completely. These photographs represent how convoluted life can be as an adult. My objective is to compare the decay of old schools, to the loss of childlike innocence. I am depicting how time wears down the walls and floors of an old schoolhouse, just as the complexities of adulthood can wear down the body and soul.
One day I will return, and much like childhood, the schoolhouse will be gone.
I entered into a show a few months ago (a show I REALLY wanted to get into) and I received word that my work did not get accepted (this is just one of many by the way). I am no stranger to rejection. All artists (and really anyone living and breathing for that matter) will have to deal with loads of rejection throughout life. I have spoken on the cringe-worthy topic of rejection before: how uneasy and inadequate it makes me feel, and how those feeling can also motivate me to try even harder (on a lighter note). I believe in life you lose some and you win some. I tell myself not to let rejection (something that is inevitable whether I like it or not) hold me back from making beautiful photographs and showing them to the world.
So I Got a New Book
I am currently reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and it has really motivated me in several ways. I recommend that book to any creative out there. With the motivation from the book and the motivation from being rejected, I decided to keep entering my work. . .
I got accepted into some art shows for the month of July! I figured I would leave some links to the gallery pages so if there is anyone out there who is actually reading this, you are welcome to click on the links and check out my work, as well as the work of other international artists!
July Shows I Got Accepted Into
My photograph “Garden of Pumpkins” was accepted into the Seasons Art Exhibition for Light, Space and Time Art Gallery, based in Jupiter, Florida. The photo received the “Special Recognition Award”. My photograph "Swings at the Fall Fair" was also accepted into the exhibition and it received the "Special Merit Awards".
My photograph “Portrait of an Eagle” received 5th Place in the All Animals Art Exhibition for Contemporary Art Gallery based in Annapolis, Maryland.
My photographs “Portrait of an Eagle”, “Hills of NM” and “The Birds” were accepted into the Natural World art exhibition for the Fusion Art Gallery based in Palm Springs, California.
My photographs “The Birds” and “Hills of NM” were accepted into the Black and White exhibition for the Colors of Humanity Art Gallery based in Everett, Pennsylvania.
If anyone takes anything away from this post, I hope that it is motivation to "keep on keepin' on" (as Joe Dirt would say haha).
And seriously, read the book by Austin Kleon!
Here is sneak peak of my most recent photography series, Living Color.
I am a lady who really enjoys the simple pleasures in life. I think humans really should consider reflecting on the good things a week can bring, no matter how big or small. So without further ado, here is a list (with light explanation) of simple things that made me happy this week.
Number 1: Me and Josh’s quick trip to the ghost town of Ingalls, Oklahoma
After eating pancakes at IHOP, my boyfriend Josh and I took a quick spontaneous trip to Ingalls, Oklahoma. Ingalls is a ghost town in eastern Payne County, Oklahoma, near Stillwater. I did some research in the past regarding ghost towns. I have always enjoyed shooting photographs of abandoned places like ghost towns, houses, businesses, etc. Through all of my research I came across the little western town of Ingalls. I absolutely love history so I researched some of the history of the town before finally getting the chance to visit. Ingalls was a small town settled as a result of the “Unassigned Lands” land run in the year 1889. It became prominent as the site of the “Battle of Ingalls”, in which a shootout began between U.S. Marshals and a gang called the “Doolin-Dalton gang”. If anyone at all is reading this blog and finds this story to be interesting so far, you should consider doing some research on it (or just watch the YouTube video below). It is a pretty interesting story!
Number 2: The Cityscapes Art Exhibit
My photography work got accepted into an international group art exhibition based in Palm Springs, California titled Cityscapes. One of my favorite forms of photography to experiment with is architectural photography. I decided to enter my work into the show and to my surprise (which I am always surprised by this) I got accepted! The gallery posted a video on YouTube of the works that were selected and exhibited into the show. I added the video below if anyone would like to see the works that were selected (including mine of course).
Number 3: I bought a CD, yes a CD
Remember those? Yep I bought one of those silver, round things we used to purchase before the digital craze we now live and breathe today. I bought Paramore’s new album After Laughter. Can I just say how much I really love that band? Even with a different sound and approach with this new album, they still sound amazing. I am first and foremost a classic rock fan. My favorite band of all time is Led Zeppelin by the way, but I cannot deny the love I have for some of the contemporary bands of today. I think lead vocalist, Hayley Williams, is a brilliant singer and artist. I think she is truly someone in the entertainment industry to look up to. The band took a risk with their new sound. Their new approach portrays and 80’s pop vibe, with an ounce of their punk-rock roots still in the mix. I recently read an article that talked about the bands purpose with the fresh new album. Williams stated “we wanted the album launch to look different from anything we’d done in the past. Less focused on sell, sell, sell . . . and more about friendship and art and our own enjoyment of the process”. There is no-doubt some awesome, catchy tunes found on this album. I think my favorite tracks so far are “Fake Happy”, “No Friend” and "26". I bought the CD mostly because I wanted to listen to a complete album from beginning to end during my commute to work and back every day just as I did when I was in school (and I used to listen to whole albums back and forth and I memorized every line in each song on the album). I added the music video of one of their new tracks titled "Hard Times" below.
Number 4: Food Truck Day at AA
I have been working as a technical writer at American Airlines for the past 3 months and occasionally there are days where food trucks come to the base at lunchtime. There was a fundraiser for the Heart Association and they had several food trucks occupying part of the parking area in front of the administration building. Some friends and I from work got ourselves some awesome street tacos from one of the trucks. We also got cokes that we thought had a lot of grammatical errors on it, until we realized they were all in Spanish and that was the reason behind our confusion (this is the technical writer side of me showing, finding errors and trying to bring them to light, even if they are no errors at all hehehe).
Number 5: Planting at Work
The Living Green group at American Airlines put together an event to build a “Monarch Waystation” on the base. They needed volunteers to help plant flowers and trees to better the environment and beautify the base. My manager signed our team up to help with this project for a team building exercise, which ended up being a lot of fun. The job can be stressful, but I really enjoy working with the team I am a part of. We also got pizza when we got back, which was pretty sweet. I am a self-proclaimed pizza-holic. I am ADDICTED to pizza! That day was a pretty relaxing day at my American Airlines job (though I had to work my second job immediately afterwards...ughhhh).
Well there you go! Those are 5 things that I enjoyed this week! I will be taking the time to do posts that cater to the simple and positive aspects of life more often. I think it is nice to reflect on the good things once in a blue moon. Don’t let the negative things in life grind you down!
Here is the second part of my series Rediscovery. I ordered an ilford disposable camera with HP5plus film. This roll was a bit of a test run to see how I would like the film. I really loved the shots I got in this roll (especially it just being a test run). I took black and white photography at Rogers State, and I fell in love with shooting film (though I don’t get to work with it too often). I was really excited to get this roll back from the lab (one goal of mine is to have a dark room of my own). I usually do not like grainy photos, but what I love the most about this film is the “classic grain” this film presents. It reminds me of old photos my parents and grandparents took when they were really young, which is what originally got me into photography in the first place. I got another ilford disposable recently, so I will have some more shots coming very soon!
These are a few shots I took around small towns, ghost towns, abandoned places, or at home.
When I first began shooting photographs, I (like many others) started out shooting on a disposable camera. My chief objective was not the technicalities of photography, but rather capturing a distinct moment, the allure of a place, or emotional content. I did not stress the technicalities of photography because, at the time, I did not have the experience. As I became more familiar with the world of photography, my photographic work became less about the art, and more about the equipment I used. With the amount of shooting, deleting, and photo-shopping I was doing in my digital photography work, I felt as if I was unwittingly taking myself away from the art itself. In an effort to seek liberation in my work, and to find an artistic edge I felt was missing in my photographs, I decided to take a bit of a break from the digital photography age.
In my series, Rediscovery, I put away my DSLR, my lenses, and various other digital camera equipment that I own, and I replaced all of those items with a disposable camera. It is incredibly exonerating to expose the beautiful imperfections of a photo realistically. The digital age, though it has its perks, can tend to enhance many aspects of life to make them appear to be greater than they may actually be. For me, my primary goal in my photography work is to create art. The less I think about the camera settings, the more I think about capturing the meaningful aspects of my photography such as emotion, composition, imperfection, and beauty.
Here are a few shots I took in Tulsa, "the beginning of the project" if you will. I shot these on a Fujifilm disposable camera. I am currently shooting with an Ilford Black and White disposable with HP5plus film. I'll post those photos once they are developed.
Rejection is inevitable. All humans have to endure some form of rejection, at some point. In college, I studied Fine Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design. While studying this field, I recalled a few of my professors discussing the topic of rejection. They did so in a way to prepare their students for the competitive world of art. After exploring this topic numerous times, I thought I had mentally prepared myself to face rejection head-on, with an approach that would get me past it both effortlessly and effectively. That was not exactly the case. I spent over a year, since I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, applying for multiple jobs, entering in several art shows, and numerous other artist opportunities. A few prospects worked in my favor, but the majority resulted in an ever-so-dreadful rejection letter. Though I thought I had equipped myself for such rejection, I found out quickly (especially after my first few letters) that this was not so.
The attitude I had towards the rejection I faced was no-doubt less than desirable. I spent half of my time and energy self-loathing, and the other half throwing the pity party of the year. As I mentioned before, ALL humans will face rejection; but how each person reacts to it speaks volumes. Experiencing rejection is not the finest of feelings, but we all respond to it in different means. I have noticed that there are those that use rejection to motivate them to reach their goals, while others become bitter. I watched myself slowly fall into the “bitter” category. After pondering this for weeks, I decided that the path of bitterness was not the path I wanted to travel. As my attitude started to change, my drive to succeed did as well. This piece reflects on my transition as a whole.
In this piece, I collaged a few of the rejection letters I have received this year (the ones I could find at least). The layers of paint on top of the letters symbolize the method of moving forward amidst denial, yet the letters can still be seen underneath the paint. My objective was to communicate to my viewers that though my updated approach sheds more of a positive light, the letters are still there to remind me of what I have learned. The giant lungs I drew on top of the letters are symbolic in various ways. I researched a lot of symbolism in anatomy, and I noticed that among many cultures and groups, parts of the body symbolize feelings and emotions. I read that the lungs can symbolize a negative sense of loss, disappointment, or feelings regarding ones place in the world. This aspect could very well tie into the negative feelings I once had. I also read that the lungs can symbolize cleansing, such as inhaling positive feelings, and exhaling the negative (quite similar to meditation). This perfectly represents my new perspective on rejection. It also inspired the title of this piece.
This project not only acts as a way to heal myself, but to heal others as well. I want to not only appeal to artists who are having a tough time facing rejection, but I want this piece to be relatable to all people. I want my viewers to feel as if they are not alone. Acceptance and motivation can be a bit of a process. Many people, such as myself, take longer to realize the positivity in being denied. I find it very liberating to get to a place where the heaviness of rejection is replaced by the drive and motivation to succeed.
The Living Arts of Tulsa had a special art show this past May that opened at the first Friday art crawl that month. The show dealt with homelessness in the Tulsa Community. When I first read the artist call, there was no question; I absolutely had to do something. I brainstormed several ideas and mediums to work with. First and foremost, I had to figure out what I wanted to say in my piece. This show was not only for social conscious artists, like me, that wanted to say something that would help in some way, shape, or form; but this show was for artists who are either homeless now, or have been homeless in the past. I thought to myself, what am I going to say in this piece? Do I even have a voice in this? I haven’t been homeless before, so how do I even begin to touch on such a subject? Then one day at work, it hit me.
I used to work for the Department of Human Services as a Court Filer; and one of the many coworkers I got close with, revealed to me late last year that she had been homeless at a point in her life. I am so thankful for her openness and willingness to reveal something so personal to me. After she told me this, a flood of ideas came to my mind and I decided to express those many thoughts through a mixed media collage. I titled my work Witnessed. I chose this title for countless reasons. The first reason being, that each piece of my work depicts what I have seen with my own eyes regarding the homeless in this community alone. I have lived in this area almost my entire life and much of what I have seen has held with me. For example, the five cardboard signs represent just five of the many signs I have seen homeless men and women holding up in the Tulsa area throughout the years. The newspaper I collaged in the background of the work symbolizes when I was a child and I saw a homeless man, in the downtown area, stuffing his clothes with paper to keep warm during the harshness of winter. The pencil drawing of the two hands represent the times I have witnessed more fortunate individuals extending a hand of help towards the homeless. This part of my piece sheds a more positive light. The hands also represent my former coworker and friend that I mentioned earlier. She not only communicated about the many hardships she had faced during that time in her life, but she also talked a lot about an elderly couple that showed kindness to her and played a very large role in helping her get back on her feet. Present day, she is a successful business owner, and a great example of someone who strives to help those in need. Her story significantly inspired this piece as a whole, and I wanted to pay homage to her story.
My other reasoning behind the title of this work is the stories and testimonies of the homeless. I have heard so many stories, not just about what these individuals have endured, but also what they have witnessed in their lives living on the street. The pencil drawing of the eye symbolizes this particular point. I drew the eye with a great deal of emotion to symbolize the trials that these individuals have encountered. The details I drew, such as the wrinkles and imperfections, symbolize a life that has been lived and how it has worn on their face and eyes.
These examples are just a few of the many portions of my collage that are symbolic to the Witnessed title I gave it. I wanted this piece to be easy for all viewers to understand and interpret, not just those with an artistic background. My principal hope for my viewers is that it speaks volumes enough for them to reach out to the next homeless person they see and change their life in some sort of positive way.
The show was wonderful, with a terrific turn-out. My favorite part would have to be all of the interaction. There were performance pieces taking place from those who are currently/or have been homeless in the past. Each performer shared their stories with the viewers present.