I was asked by a friend to fill out this interview based on me being an artistic woman. Thought I would share my answers with you.
Describe your work
I am a fine art photographer. My pictures aren’t always pretty, they are real and relentless.
Describe the vision for your work
I hope that my work allows people to see truth, the exposed, the undressed (figuratively speaking). I hope my work forces people to explore elements of themselves that are universal. And of coarse, there is always the pretty landscape or band shot.
Do you see art as a form of rebellion?
I see art as a form of honesty. Some may say honesty is rebellion, and to those I would agree. Art is uncensored, unfiltered, it is a type of communication that doesn’t need a price tag, endorsements, it doesn’t thrive off of power or coerce people to believe it’s sincere. It has no one to be faithful to, no alliances or agreements. It is pure stream of consciousness, from the mind of the creator to the viewer. It doesn’t try to be liked, or shy to be judged. It just is. There is nothing more honest and pure than that.
If yes, a rebellion against what?
I guess it would be rebelling against the system. Society’s tendency to repress truth and follow the norm. Forcing honesty on a society that has corrupt politicians, multi-billion dollar companies running the media, citizens not being cared for, and a population that cares more about fitting in than being themselves is pretty rebellious.
How does being a woman affect your work?
I honestly try not let it effect my work, although that is impossible. I guess I don’t really know considering I don’t have any experience with being a man and doing what I do.
How does being a woman affect how your work is shown?
The world is a male dominated place. As much as we may try to change that, we aren’t there yet. As a working artist my competition is mostly men. Men have a way of walking into a situation with a bit more conviction than a woman does, and if that woman has the same internal conviction as the man, the viewer still sees a woman. It is actually hard to say if the curator or individual who is showing my work sees me as a woman, or sees my work for what it is.
How does being a woman affect how your work is understood?
This is difficult to answer. I don’t know how my work is understood. I know when people say they are good photos, but the viewers understanding is their own. I have no way of knowing this.
Would you describe yourself as a woman "of color?"
What color would you describe yourself as being?
Midtones, little contrast, minimal saturation.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?
Parts of me are, I guess. I definitely believe that women should have power the way men do, but there is no mistaking that some things, jobs, tasks, men are simply better at. I do not believe art is one of the jobs. Women deserve to have different power than men. And this I think we have established. I guess the bottom line is whatever a woman feels comfortable and confident doing, she should be free to peruse this with no barriers. There are also many modern definitions of feminism, some I very much agree with, some I do not.
If you do consider yourself a feminist, what does that mean to you and how does it manifest in your life and in your work?
I guess I don’t really think about it. This struggle for equality we hear so much about has not effected my life at all. I have been fortunate enough to be raised by parents who rejected most of the social norms and gender roles of their generation. I was taught that I don’t have to get married, that my parents were not looking for grandchildren. Religion also never really played a part in the way I was raised, so I never dealt with the pin-holing of women’s roles in faith or reproduction. I have worked hard in my professional life to show that I am worthy of the job I am doing. I have taken photos of women exuding power and controversy, I have also chosen to portray women as weak and bland. I choose to capture what is real. And all of these things are.
If you do not consider yourself a feminist, what are your reasons?
What are your influences and inspirations?
I find inspiration through experiencing discomfort. I find that when I am uncomfortable, I am less consumed with myself and focused more on the elements that cause me to feel this way. I believe that once a person is able to step out of their head, they are more likely to see the world for what it is. Sometimes it is necessary to go to a place where no one knows you, you know no one, and you are able to feel invisible. You become less worried about how you look to other people and more worried about how other people look. As a photographer, this should be my only worry. But I am only able to truly focus on what I see when I can pretend I don’t exist.
What work are you most proud of? Why?
The work I am most proud of is when I am able to do what I mentioned above. I get the best pictures, feel the proudest of them.
How long have you considered yourself an artist?
I would say since I was a teenager. That time in my life where nothing made sense and I wasn’t able to find happiness anywhere. I was trying so desperately to figure out what the hell I was doing here, and filled my time making things with my hands, acting, creating something that put me on the map in some way and gave some meaning to my existence.
Do you remember when you decided that you wanted to crate art?
Well, I always knew I wasn’t ‘normal’. I knew I wouldn’t have a normal job wearing a suit and heels, that I would never date a ‘normal’ guy with college degrees and a regular salary. I knew I never wanted to look run of the mill, or have the white picket fence. I got my first SLR camera when I was 20 and since then all of these things began to make sense. Before that I thought I was just weird.
Where were you born and raised?
San Fernando Valley, Cal.
Do you feel that your upbringing had an influence in your decision to become an artist?
Yes, and not because I had any artistic influences by my family. I purposefully rebelled when I was a kid, to prove to my family that I wasn’t going to have the ‘normal’ life. And although my family didn’t pressure me to get married right away, or at all, or practice any faith, or pigeon hole myself in a ‘woman’s job’, they definitely pressured me into going down the ‘normal’ path. My brother was that normal path. I think the constant comparison as well as the lack of acceptance of my path showed my that creating is my normal. That I could stand out not for my accomplishments, but for my vision.