Sunday, February 5, 2012

Brenda Manthe - Photographer

Rocket Launch
Brenda Manthe

Name: Brenda Manthe  (1/13)
City/State: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Website: profile:

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

Currently, I'm enjoying taking abstract photos in urban settings, photos of industrial structures and experimenting with my herd of film cameras. The abstract photos are what I'm most focused on right now and have been inspired by my urban exploration past. I have always been an explorer and love to get lost in the details.


"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?

I hope that my audience takes away whatever they need to take away from my art. I do it for the pure joy of exploring, traveling and thinking. People who are interested in my photos tend to fit into two categories. The first category wants to know everything about where the image came from. Both are OK with me! I prefer to keep some mystery around my photos, but I don't mind telling every detail if that's what is asked for. But I have to say, I don't fully understand the concept of "art", and I'm not sure if anyone ever can. What I do know is that creative expression is important to humans and it doesn't really matter what the final product is, as long as it makes the artist happy.


What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

Do art for yourself. If other people like it, bonus.

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.

My main workspace is wherever I happen to be, totally fixed location independent. When it's time to process my photos (digital or film), my workspace is my living room couch.

My creative process is pretty simple. I walk around and take pictures of things that catch my eye. You can usually find me walking around in alleys, by Dumpsters, through industrial districts or anywhere else that has interesting textures, patterns and color. My other love is travel, so I plan trips specifically to take pictures. I've been to a lot of different cities in the United States and a few cities abroad. My travel wish list is a mile long!


Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy? (Provide links) 

Drew Peterson
Carolyn Swiszcz
D.C. Ice
Chuck U
Marnie Karger

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

First, you'd be sitting in my living room and getting lost in internet search results for artists and events. Then, we'd either walk, bike or take a bus to the museum(s) or gallery(ies). But, I would probably get sidetracked by the surroundings on the way there and take pictures, which would probably result in us being late or not making it at all to said museum(s) and gallery(ies). It's not that I don't want to go, it's just that I can get distracted, ya know? But seriously, I really love the Walker Art Center and the Weisman Art Museum and I never pass up the opportunity to visit a gallery.


Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

I usually go where Google tells me to go, ha ha! But some specific sites that I like are:
Springboard for the Arts

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I'll answer this in two parts, the near future and the general future.

In May 2012 I will be spending four days photographing the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site and the neighboring abandoned city of Pripyat. During this visit, I will have access to many of the buildings in the area – as safety allows of course. I first learned about this opportunity a few years ago through a photography forum and thought that it would be an excellent place to take abstract and film photos. From an artistic standpoint, I'm not trying to make a statement with the photos that result from this trip. I'm mainly interested in creating beautiful images, and this is one of the best places to do so. 
But I have done a lot of research about the Chernobyl disaster and have personal, non-artistic goals for this trip too.

In the general future, you can expect to see even more abstract and film photos. I don't think that I'll ever stop with that. But, I'll always be evolving as an artist, otherwise I'd get really bored. Right now, I have plans for a few new photography projects, a book project and a painting project. We'll see where they go!

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