Inside the Artist’s Studio with Rick Monikowski

My work is inspired by the sky and the mountains, the traditional pottery makers of the American Southwest, and the basket makers of my own Mi’kmaq people of New Brunswick Canada. My heritage is mixed – half Polish and half Mi’kmaq (Micmac) Indian of the Eel Ground First Nation of New Brunswick, Canada. I am originally from Hartford, Connecticut and now live in Rochester, NY.

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My trivets and baskets, for example, incorporate both the traditional and contemporary because the Mi’kmaq were traditionally basket makers. Weaving each piece of clay is time-consuming but these are some of my favorite pieces to create.

basketTHREE

Prior to moving to the Rochester area, I attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. While pursuing my JD and PhD, I had the opportunity to study and admire Pueblo pottery. In much of my pottery, my designs combine traditional shapes and forms with contemporary methods (wheel throwing and hand building).

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I began making pottery in 2001 at the Flower City Arts Center (formerly Genesee Center for the Arts and Education). I’ve also taken classes at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of American Crafts. In the summer of 2007 I took a month-long course at the NY State School of Ceramics at Alfred University. My primary focus was studying glaze calculations while interacting with over 40 artists from across the country and a number of internationally recognized faculty. My work continues to evolve and expand as I experiment with different types of clays, glazes, and glaze applications. I create many of my own glazes. I work out of “Art Hill” near Honeoye Falls, NY (just south of Rochester).

I produce two different kinds of pottery – functional ware and art pieces. All my functional pieces are handmade and unique and are food-safe as well as microwavable and oven-safe.  I make a variety of smaller pieces such as mugs, bud vases, pie plates – again with glazes I developed myself.  And as I prepare for the show season, I spend a lot of time re-stocking my inventory shelves because once the nice weather comes, there’s less time for the studio!

mugs studio

pieplates in progress

 I have also started producing dinnerware sets. This is my own green glaze on brown speckled clay – brand new!

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My art pieces, as I said, are inspired by the traditions of the American Southwest. In this plate, for example, I take an ancient design and put a contemporary spin on it. First I apply layers of colored slip, then using a sgraffito technique I scratch away the slip to reveal the Native design. In order to made it more contemporary, I often use a ruler, compass, and/or a protractor to sharpen the edges of the design.  After the piece dries, I finish it by applying a clear glaze and then I fire it .

indianplate 12in dkblue

One last thing…It is very important to me – as an artist, an attorney, and a Native American – that the general public understands the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644). It is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentations in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian,  Indian Tribe, or Indian arts and crafts organization. This covers all Indian and Indian-style traditional and contemporary arts and crafts produced after 1935. Every piece I make carries my RAM mark (my initials) and those pieces that reflect my Native American heritage come with a Certificate of Authenticity with my signature.

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Stop by Main Street Arts to see RAM Stoneware in our gallery shop! Visit Rick’s website at http://ramstoneware.com (new website in progress) and email him at rick@ramstoneware.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by jewelry artist Brittany Rea.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Brittany Rea

My interest in art started before my memories truly do. I was raised in Branchburg, NJ, a small town in Northern Central New Jersey. Growing up I had incredibly supportive parents and a slew of amazing art teachers who showed me the importance and allure of art. I have since spent most of my post-high school life moving throughout New York State and had a short stay in California for an artist residency at the Sonoma Community Center.

Photo Credit: bridget Hagen, 2016

Photo Credit: bridget Hagen, 2016

Art has been one of the few constants in my life, though its meaning in my life has evolved over the years. Growing up I enjoyed drawing mostly in pastel, which led to painting, which led to going to art school. I took classes as a high school student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and attended a vocational school where I spent many hours of my day in a classroom specially focused on graphic design and fine art. I attended Pratt at Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute for Art Education which would lead me directly to my dream school, Pratt Art Institute. While at PrattMWP I took my first ceramics wheel class, which changed my entire path. The mesmerizing and meditative qualities of clay instantly captivated me. My professor, Bryan McGrath, encouraged me to apply to the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, one of the top ceramics schools in the country. I started at Alfred the following semester. Here, I also found a love for sculpture, specifically creating room installations, and clay and sculpture were my concentrations for the remainder of my higher education, continuing all the while with a minor in Art Education.

Healing Memory 2013

Healing Memory 2013

As Above, So Below 2013

As Above, So Below 2013

Upon graduation, I began working at the Creative Studios of the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY and began working as the Production Assistant for my former professor and immense talent, Kala Stein. While her assistant, Kala was hired as the Ceramics Director at the Sonoma Community Center in Sonoma, California. She encouraged me to apply for the technician position, and  through this application I was offered a six month artist residency at Sonoma Ceramics, where my more recognizable jewelry design style and work was born.

Photo Credit Nicoletta Camerin

Photo Credit Nicoletta Camerin

I had been working with a jeweler, Marisa Krol of Interstellar Lovecraft, while in Rochester prior to my residency, working to learn the basics of jewelry making. I had always been interested in making jewelry, and grew up creating simple pieces for my family and myself. Ironically enough, I was enrolled in a Small Metals class while at PrattMWP but decided to continue on with another ceramics class instead- just shows how things can come full circle! While I was in Sonoma I decide to try my hand at making wearable clay jewelry.

Then v. Now

Then v. Now

This original work was based off of sketches I was doing from rocks and shells I had found while in Maine at Haystack Mountain School of Craft working as a Studio Assistant to David Eichelberger. These first pieces were not the strongest, but I felt I was onto something, so I persisted.

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Using Nichrome Wire to make small attachments and simple adornments on my jewelry designs, I continued to push this idea further by layering the thin wire and playing with the negative/positive space it created. I started using Cassius Clay, a cone 5 clay that fires black, to contrast the use of the chrome-colored wire.

Nicoletta Camerin

Nicoletta Camerin

Wanting to continue with this method of making but also having an urge to work larger, I began making hundreds of these small, pendant-like pieces to create an installation.

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intro|spectate 2016

intro|spectate 2016

intro|spectate, Self + Sonder, and 10 Suggestions are collections of work by Brittany Rea with a central focus on introspection and the inadvertent impact we have on those around us. The object-hood of this work is one facet of its existence while the awareness of self and the unidentified other are consequential.

Through the use of vitreous black clay embellished with delicately crafted metallic wire, Rea exemplifies the idea of inherent beauty. The use of open space invites the viewer to look beyond the materiality of the objects to further examine their abstract significance. The duality of intro|spectate creates two experiences: one of material, one of spectator.

This exhibition is about reflection brought by looking and seeing, both within and without and is the culmination of Rea’s time spent as the Resident Artist at the Sonoma Community Center.“ (Artist Statement from exit show)

intro|spectate (detail)

intro|spectate (detail)

intro|spectate (detail)

intro|spectate (detail)

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Upon returning to Rochester I was offered a residency at the Adorned Studios – joining the amazing forces of Interstellar Lovecraft and Inner Loop Design Co.

The Adorned Studio -I'm pictured with Amber Dutcher of Inner Loop Design Co (center) and Marisa Krol of Interstellar Lovecraft (right) photo credit Arielle Ferraro

The Adorned Studio -I’m pictured with Amber Dutcher of Inner Loop Design Co (center) and Marisa Krol of Interstellar Lovecraft (right) photo credit Arielle Ferraro

At this time I found that a lack of easy access to kilns would drastically alter my studio process, so I started to delve further into metal fabrication.

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This is when I started to push my ideas as a designer, and started using more quality materials such as sterling silver. Even with this new process, I wanted to maintain the aesthetic of the work I was making in California, so I began using polymer clay.

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This material was easily malleable meaning I could form it to be seamless within my designs, and I didn’t have to wait for a kiln to cool, so the turnover time was incredible!

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I could start and finish a piece in one day – never before was that a possibility with clay.

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Polymer was a great material to use for a time, but I wanted to continue to grow and use more sophisticated, quality materials.

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I started incorporating gemstones into my work, and am continuing to push this further. In the past few months I’ve enjoyed using my work for a greater good.

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(JBOS Series – Proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and a breast cancer survivor)

I started to make lines devoted to specific causes with proceeds being donated to different foundations and causes.

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One Collective Heart (Proceeds are divided and donated to the Americans Civil Liberties Union, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Natural Resource Defense Council).

I hope to continue pushing my abilities, and using my work for the betterment of those and that which surround me. I am currently moving into a new studio situation and am looking forward to the inspiration new beginnings can bring!

Photo credit Bridget Hagen 2016

Photo credit Bridget Hagen 2016

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Stop by Main Street Arts to see Brittany’s jewelry in our gallery shop. Visit Brittany’s website at www.brittanyrea.com and follow Brittany on Instagram @rea.designs to see her artwork, process, and even some travel photos! Find Brittany on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brittanyreajewelryandart.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by local artist Andy Reddout.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Drew Tetz

Drew Tetz is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts. He’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of March 2017 (you can stop by the gallery to see his studio and works in progress). We asked Drew a few questions about his artwork, life, and more:

Artist in Residence Drew Tetz

Artist in Residence Drew Tetz

Q: To start this off, tell us about your background.

A: I live in Canandaigua, NY, but I’m originally from Silver Spring, MD (right outside of DC.) I got a BFA in Graphic Design at Andrews University before dipping a toe in the freelance life as a designer & professional yo-yoer. Eventually, I moved up to the Finger Lakes to be with my boo, Melissa Huang. I currently work as an elementary classroom aide while keeping up with design clients, personal art, & my hi-fi yo-yo brand.

A flatpack kendama designed by Drew Tetz

A flatpack kendama designed by Drew Tetz

The Rhythm by Drew's company 44rpm

The Rhythm by Drew’s company 44rpm

Drew showing us a few yoyo tricks in the residency studio

Drew showing us a few yoyo tricks in the residency studio

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: I work with a lot of toys, lasercut wood, & rotating objects. It’s really fun to make art that people can play with, especially if it inspires them to go on & make stuff of their own. For this reason, I’ve been especially drawn to things like papercraft & flatpack design.

My current obsession is a pre-cinema animation toy called “the phenakistoscope.” It’s basically rotating disc using a series of slits to create the illusion of motion, similar to a zoetrope. In this day & age, the flickering can be recreated at home with the help of a turntable, some bright lights, & a camera. The turntable spins the disc at a consistent rate, which blends the frames into a moving image when viewed through the camera’s shutter speed.

The word I hear used to describe my work most often is, for better or worse, “trippy.” I will admit that it is fairly trippy.

Drew shows us his phenakistoscope (animated record) at the gallery

Drew shows us his phenakistoscope (animated record) at the gallery

One of Drew's phenakistoscopes

One of Drew’s phenakistoscopes

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: When creating a phenakistoscope, I generally start by figuring out what subject matter I want & how long I want the loops to be, which determines which speed will work best. I also like to decide early on whether there will be any “tricks” or extra motion in the disc so that I can plan for the varying framerates & processes. This is usually enough to establish a rough mental map of both the final static image & the animation.

From there, I can start in on cropping & chopping the source clips up on laptop before exporting the individual frames into a film strip. Then, using a program like Photoshop, I bend the frames into a connected circle & process the image for maximum legibility. It’s a lot of computer mumbo-jumbo, basically.

I actually wrote a tutorial on phenakistoscopes for Make: magazine about making an original animation from scratch instead of working from video frames. (That article also features a few you can download & print if you’d like to try it at home!)

Drew Tetz with a lasercut portrait

Drew Tetz with a lasercut portrait in his residency studio

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: I’ve had an unusually busy month following my animated business cards going slightly viral, so my focus has been unexpectedly widened to accommodate new clients & collaborators. Between these unexpected projects, I’d like to find the time to expand on the printable animated coloring pages, I love them as an interactive project for artists of all ages. (You can try out the Wiener Dog Wiggle Wheel coloring sheet for yourself at the gallery!)

Stickers for 44rpm and Drew's new animated business cards!

Stickers for 44rpm and Drew’s new animated business cards!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: More animation collaborations with as many artists as I can manage, a few LP labels on real vinyl, slipmats & relief prints… seeing how far I can push this funky medium!

Detail image of a phenakistoscope by Drew

Detail image of a phenakistoscope by Drew

Q: Where else can we find you?

A: My portfolio is up at drewtetz.com, but for a running up-to-date look at my work I’d check out my instagram. (In particular, I try to catalogue my phenakistoscopes with the hashtag #tetzoscope, so check that out for more animated records.) I also run a high-end yo-yo brand called 44RPM.


Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Housing is available. Submissions are reviewed and residencies awarded quarterly.

From The Director: Alternative Photography at a glance

Installation shot of the exhibition

Installation shot of the exhibition

The idea for this exhibition came from wanting to show a different side of photography. More than an exhibition showing photos of places, people, and things (those are included, of course) but also a show about how these photographic images are physically made. By hand.

Having a background as a painter, graphic designer, and art educator before coming to Main Street Arts means that my connection to photography is not as a photographer. I use cameras regularly, have developed my own film, and have experienced the magic of the darkroom, both in high school and in college. I know the thrill of making a photograph by hand, if only on a small level. I was also an assistant to my father when he was a wedding photographer (I once dropped a roll of medium format film in the back of the church and instantly lost the images of the bride getting ready to get married—this is the horror of losing a photograph by hand). So, my connection to photography comes from a place of appreciation and of wonder. How do people capture such life and feeling in an image? Especially when you can’t review the shot you just took on a digital screen on the back of the camera.

John Coffer, shooting a plate on a cold December afternoon

John Coffer, shooting a plate on a cold December afternoon

This exhibition is an exploration of handmade photography. The various kinds of images featured fall under the “Alternative Process” heading (hence the very utilitarian title of this show!) and most harken back to a day before digital technology. The five artists featured in this exhibition represent various directions that can be taken when delving into an antique or vintage process.

“Cabbage and Gloves” photogravure and encaustic wax, by Pat Bacon

Even though this show is not meant to be a comprehensive overview of alternative process photography, each of the five artists brings something different to the exhibition. Some are staying as true to history as possible, like John Coffer with his “real-deal-ferrotype-tintypes”. At times, you could see one of John’s images and believe that you were looking at something that was made in the late 19th century. Others are going as far from history as possible, like Pat Bacon and her agricultural photogravure images. They were shot on her iPhone, printed using photopolymer plates, and buried in layers of encaustic wax.

"AND 2" by Romy Hosford (left) and "Seeing is Forgetting #3" by Jenn Libby

“AND 2″ by Romy Hosford (left) and “Seeing is Forgetting #3″ by Jenn Libby (right)

In an exhibition that is looking toward the historic with its feet planted in the contemporary, it is interesting to think about the work of both Jenn Libby and Romy Hosford. They both use memory and history as a vehicle to explore their own interests. In Romy’s salt prints and cyanotypes, she explores notions of metaphor, femininity, identity, and anxiety. While Jenn takes on the role of a documentarian, capturing bits of cultural ephemera and abstracting them through a wet plate collodion process. Asking us to reconsider the objects we are looking at in her work.

"On Looking Up, 3" by Ian Sherlock

“On Looking Up, 3″ by Ian Sherlock

Going back to the planning stages of this exhibition… I was visiting the annual Made in New York exhibition in April, 2016 at the Schweinfurth in Auburn and was struck by an abstract-leaning image of the sun and clouds, taken by a pinhole camera by Ian Sherlock. This image stuck with me for a while and was the inspiration for wanting to do a show on alternative processes. From there, it was figuring out how far down the rabbit hole I wanted to venture and it has truly been an educational experience for me.

Lastly, speaking of educational experiences, we have a tintype demo scheduled with John Coffer at the gallery on April 1st (no foolin’!). You can learn more, here. I hope that you can find the time to come and explore the work in this exhibition, it  runs through the end of March.

 

Inside (or outside) the Artist’s Studio with Andy Reddout

Andy’s artwork is on view in “Sketchbooks: Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout” in our second floor gallery. His work is available for purchase in our Online Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


Sketching in the back fields at The Apple Farm in Victor NY

Sketching in the back fields at The Apple Farm in Victor NY

I grew up in Victor NY, and attended Victor High School. After taking all of the art courses Victor had to offer I attended SUNY Cortland to become an art teacher. After realizing they threw out my major and didn’t tell me, I enrolled in their Studio Art program. During that time my printmaking professor introduced me to the graphic design program at RIT. The day after graduating from RIT I was fortunate enough to get my first job as an Art Director in the local advertising scene. I made TV commercials, ads, web sites, logos and billboards for international and local companies. After about eight years of working twelve hour days, weekends and holidays I needed a change. I eventually quit, got my Masters in Art Education from RIT (again), and became an art teacher. For the past 10 years I taught K-5 elementary art in Bloomfield NY, coached basketball, soccer and tennis. This past year I made the switch to Victor Senior High School where I teach Studio Art and Computer Generated Art. I also coach Modified Boys Basketball and Modified Boys Tennis.

Sketching at the Public Market, Rochester NY.

Sketching at the Public Market, Rochester NY.

I don’t want label myself as a “sketchbook artist” because it seems to take away from what I love to do which is capturing moments as I see them. If I don’t have my whole sketching kit with me–I can be found having a sketchbook and pen handy. I like to arrive early to doctor’s appointments and sketch the other patients, take an extra half an hour at Wegmans, or sit quietly in the corner of my favorite restaurant sketching away. I find I love layovers in airports since I started sketching–when people are engrossed in technology they make great models!

A majority of my drawings are made “en plein air” which is a term reserved for painting outdoors, or on-site. I will start and finish my drawings on-site and if my model moves, or a car parks in front of my subject–so be it!

A detail of my ever-expanding drawing kit.

A detail of my ever-expanding drawing kit.

Since I am drawing and painting on location my sketching tools have to be portable and reliable. I use a handful of different fountain pens filled with different colored inks–some of which are water-soluable and make for great effects. My watercolor kit contains 24 colors with emphasis on the primary colors (I have 9 different blues!) I have a few travel brushes, as well as some water brushes with water in the handles for quick painting. I rarely sketch in pencil first, but when I do I use some overpriced pencil I bought in Paris. My sketchbook choice took some twists and turns but after some amazing customer service and paper quality that can’t be beat, I use Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. I am a huge fan of their “Beta” paper which is an extra heavy weight paper ideal for watercolor and general abuse. I put all of this in my trusty Timbuk2 bag which has been to different countries, had coffee spilled in it, and pins pierced through the flap from where my sketches have taken me.

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When I started sketching I stayed away from people and anything people related. Instead, I focused a lot on objects and places. Whenever I attempted to sketch people they turned out like cartoon characters and lacked expression. So for a year I focused on sketching people only and failed over and over again. I even took a portrait drawing class trying to overcome my fear. So if you look back on my sketches in book #2–my people are very-remedial and limited in scope. And now I feel as if I can capture a person’s likeness and emotion light-years beyond where I was.

A sketch on the streets of Montefioralle, Italy

A sketch on the streets of Montefioralle, Italy

Sketching for me is a way to capture life’s moments in a more meaningful way than a snap of a camera. With all of my sketches–and with great detail–I can recall who I was with, the weather, our conversations–even what I was wearing that day. I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled to Europe and have sketched my way through the trips. A camera is an easy way to capture a moment and often a forgotten memento. But with my constant drawing these sketchbooks turn into prized possessions that tell a story. A recorded history. Moments in time. So as I progress, I’d just very simply like to continue to do what I am doing. Draw.

Captured on a sketchcrawl through Rochester, NY

Captured on a sketchcrawl through Rochester, NY

I get a lot of my inspiration from other artists that are sketching on location. Finding UrbanSketchers.org has changed the world of sketching for me. There are numerous links to artists, techniques and tools. You can get lost in there for days! I will be attending their UrbanSketchers Symposium this July in Chicago. Every year they pick a different city and this year is finally back in the states. I will have the chance to meet–and take classes from–a few of the “urban sketching all stars” that I look up to. Meeting and talking with other artists is a major influence and part of what makes this process so fun.

Sketching at the Cajun Jam at Coffee Connections

Sketching at the Cajun Jam at Coffee Connections

I attempt to maintain a blog of my work and travels: reddout.blogspot.com but Instagram (areddout) has made it more enjoyable to post art work and interact with other artists. With Instagram I’ve been able to meet other artists I admire, and actually got to go sketch with two of them while visiting Barcelona!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Andy’s artwork in “Sketchbooks: Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout” in our second floor gallery from  February 25–March 31, 2017. Visit his website at www.reddout.blogspot.com and follow Andy on Instagram @areddout.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by photographer Jenn Libby.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jenn Libby

Jenn’s artwork is on view in “Alternative Photographic Process”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I’m an artist who has worked primarily with the wet-plate collodion photo process since 2005.  Invented in 1851, wet-plate collodion was used to make ambrotypes, tintypes, glass negatives, and lantern slides.  It was the predominant photo process for several decades and was used to document the American Civil War.  This challenging process requires a darkroom on hand because the photographic plate stays wet during the exposure and must be developed immediately.

Self-portrait in Hungerford Studio, 2016, ruby ambrotype

Self-portrait in Hungerford Studio, 2016, ruby ambrotype

I learned (and later taught) the wet-plate process at the Visual Studies Workshop when I was working on my MFA in visual studies.  I’m from the U.P. [Upper Peninsula of Michigan] originally but I’ve lived most of my life in Rochester, NY, a city rich with photographic history and resources.  My interest in creating photographic objects is what led to my interest in learning the versatile collodion process.

The Cluttered House, Collodion positive transparency, 2005

The Cluttered House, 2005, collodion positive transparencies in jars

My thesis exhibition, The Cluttered House, included collodion images on glass in jars of water.  I didn’t know how long they would survive but I still have a number of the jars with the images still intact 12 years later.  My more recent work, Record, is made up of many tintype photograms mounted and displayed in vintage film developing hangers. While less sculptural than my jars, there is still a more tactile quality than photographs on paper.

Installation view of Record, 2011, Tintypes in film developing hangers

Installation view of Record, 2011, Tintypes in film developing hangers

I started making photograms in the darkroom with the wet-plate process during the winter months because of lack of natural light for in-camera work, before I had started shooting with artificial lights.  I could use the light from my enlarger to create these camera-less images.  When I saw the results I was hooked. Unlike a cyanotype or gelatin silver photogram, the trace or shadow of the object appears black instead of white.  Shadowy figures and objects emerge from the ether, and developing imperfections create a background with texture and depth.

Cowboy, 2011, Tintype

Cowboy, 2011, tintype

Like many artists, I’m a collector.  My work explores memory and the impulse to (re)collect.  Almost all of my artwork (I also make artists’ books and small gauge films) starts with objects and images in my collection.  The Cluttered House installation grew out of three objects I took from an abandoned house many years ago—a cigar box, an old children’s book, and a young woman’s diary.  For Record, I started recording bones, toys, glass items and other natural and man-made objects—small fragments of the 20th century.

Kodak, 2011, tintype

Kodak, 2011, tintype

The photogram of a translucent blue vinyl 45rpm record (with the aptly named track, Holiday on Mars) was the image in Record that led to my next series, Seeing is Forgetting.  I began making square photogram tintypes using primarily round objects, many of which were glass.  The images in Record are generally identifiable objects.  With Seeing is Forgetting I am transitioning into the abstract and hoping the viewer will look at the image and not at the object that I recorded.

Record (Holiday on Mars), 2011, tintype

Record (Holiday on Mars), 2011, tintype

I liked these tiny celestial and cellular looking images and an old map cabinet was the perfect place to encase them.  It speaks of collections, particularly those used for study, education, and display. I am very much influenced by cabinets of curiosity, the precursors to our modern day museums and archives.  What drives people to collect?  What drives them to record their lives?

Seeing is Forgetting, 2014, tintypes in map cabinet

Seeing is Forgetting, 2014, tintypes in map cabinet

I was curious to see how these images would look enlarged.  I printed out a 16”x16” test print and liked it, but decided it needed to be bigger.  I ended up having six of the images printed as 30” x 30” ink jet prints and incorporating them into the series with the map cabinet.  I love the intimacy of the small objects, but I also find the large prints to be exciting in a different way.  By changing the scale I remove the image further from the object that made it.  Oddly, with these large prints, I found myself moving away from remembering and into being present.

#3, 2014, inkjet print

#3, 2014, inkjet print

Here are a few images to illustrate my wet-plate shooting process.

In this first image I am pouring collodion onto a thoroughly cleaned and polished piece of black glass.

Pouring the plate

Next, I take the plate into the darkroom and put it in a bath of silver nitrate.  It will stay here for 3-4 minutes as the plate becomes sensitized.

Sensitizing the plate

Sensitizing the plate

I take the sensitized plate, now in a light-tight plate holder, to my 8×10 camera to make the photograph.

Inserting plate holder

Inserting plate holder

After making my exposure I take the plate back into the darkroom to develop it.

Developing the plate

Developing the plate

After developing and rinsing I can take the plate into the light to fix it.  After fixing, the plate will be thoroughly rinsed, dried, and varnished.

Fixing the plate

Fixing the plate

As for my physical studio space, I’ve been in transition since last summer.  After spending a few years working out of the Hungerford building, I decided to convert my garage into a new studio.  It’s a beautiful space with a large darkroom, lots of natural light, and access to the outdoors.  I forgot to mention that the collodion process is sensitive to ultraviolet light and it is a slow process akin to a film speed of ISO 1, which means it requires a lot of UV light.  Shooting outdoors is often the ideal option.  I’m really looking forward to spring and starting new work in my new space!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Jenn’s artwork in “Alternative Photographic Process” (runs February 25–March 31, 2017). Visit her website at www.jennlibby.com for more information on Jenn’s wet-plate portrait studio and workshops. Follow Jenn on Instagram @geneseelibby and like her Facebook page at Genesee Libby Studio.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by photographer Ian Sherlock.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ian Sherlock

Ian’s artwork is on view in “Alternative Photographic Process”. His work is available for purchase in our Online Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I make photographs, sounds, and drawings centered around the land. I studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and Syracuse University in Upstate New York where I earned my BFA in Fine Art Photography. Upon graduating, I worked as a professional printmaker at Lightwork and have recently made the move to further my understanding of “natural” environments by leaving for a job with the Boy Scouts of America in the Green Mountains. I play in a punk band, run for lengths of time that cause my organs to fail, and make art from time to time.

Self

Photography is the medium I work in most for my art.  I am always seeking calmness and stillness and photography aids in the preservation of this quality. It creates tranquility, which is something I appreciate. I photograph primarily in black and white as I like the simplicity of only looking at/for light, shadow, and contrast versus color relationships. Working in greyscale also removes the image from reality even further, as I am not interested in documentation but rather using photographs to describe and evoke feelings, moods, and metaphors.

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Most of my images are shot on film as it elevates the medium to the same level of preciousness as the subjects that I am photographing. This process slows me down, makes me think more completely, and allows me to spend more time looking at and interacting with landscapes or subjects versus firing the shutter blindly. Post-image making, film allows me the ability to make prints by hand, in a more intuitive and intimate fashion. Working in the darkroom engages my hands and helps to synchronize mind and body in the same way my other practices like running do.

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Photography’s other strength is that it can exist on paper, as opposed to mediums like sculpture or video. Prints are tangible and can either be considered disposable or precious merely by their presentation. In particular, photo books have an incredible ability to encapsulate a completed work that a photographer is trying to express. This is appealing to me as I like projects that have a definitive conclusion.

A photo book can also evoke a certain sense of preciousness and intimacy. Looking at a book is usually a more private experience and it is on the terms of the viewer.

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My creative interests originated in my early involvement in the punk scene. While the “Do It Yourself” ethics of punk fundamentally aid in all of my endeavors, they are displayed most explicitly in my sound art. I hesitate to consider my sound pieces “music”, but the aggression, tension and vulnerability that is present in my work stems very much from the punk music I grew up immersed in and continue to listen to today. My introduction to sound art has also allowed me to interact with an entirely different audience, as I am able to share this category of my work at concerts with people unfamiliar with or uninterested in contemporary visual art.

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Like in my other mediums, interaction with the land is crucial in my sound art. I usually start with an experience in a “natural” environment or use field recordings from a place. I then utilize synthesizers, various re-purposed pedals, contact microphones on objects and cassettes to add an atmosphere that I feel best represents the feelings I have in those spaces that is not necessarily there to record.

I am growing increasingly interested in the relationship between sound and image and how I can better blend the two mediums into a synonymous and singular project.

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I don’t have a studio per say, at least not in a physical form. Much of my time thinking, reflecting, and conceptualizing is done while running. To me, running is very much the same as art making. While I run to come up with ideas to make art about, sometimes the run itself is the action and resolution to those thoughts or feelings. It is a medium of equal importance and possibility as a visual or sonic art. The meditative repetition and direct interaction with the land puts me in a deep inner space where I can reflect and conceptualize. I also race in events called ultra-marathons; which consist of distances that are longer than marathons. When I push myself to these limits, I feel a unique form of vulnerability and explore parts of my own mind that I feel are unreachable otherwise.

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The project I have most recently concluded is called “Dearheart”. “Dearheart” represents my personal fantasies of escapism, and an understanding of our society’s universal fascination with this idea as well. More specifically, I’m interested in the evidence of how this notion of escapism has manifested physically in the landscape itself, transformed in the wake of our endeavors to be transported, and to escape. The land has similar desires to us when it comes to escaping, solitude, and the act of hiding. I believe my consideration of this relationship creates a stronger connection between myself and the spaces I occupy. The process of making these images is an attempt at better understanding this relationship and I hope to translate my efforts to others the best that I am able.

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Stop by Main Street Arts to see Ian Sherlock’s artwork in “Alternative Photographic Process” (runs February 25–March 31, 2017). Visit Ian’s website at www.ian-sherlock.com and follow him on Instagram @iansherlockxvx. You can email Ian at iansherlockxvx@gmail.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Rochester artist Rachel Cordaro.