Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jen Dolen - Photographer

Jen Dolen

Name:  Jen Dolen
City/State: St. Paul, MN
Email: jedolen at gmail.com
Website: http://365plusphotos.blogspot.com/ and mnartists.org/Jen_Dolen
Facebook page: Jen Dolen
Etsy Page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlteredEsthetics
(Ae is an arts organization and artists may choose to sell their work through Ae's site if they don't want to maintain their own)
Instagram: JenDolen

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I've got a lot on my plate right now (f/t job, p/t job, p/t grad school, volunteer), so making art is not at the top but it's always on my mind. 

Superficially, I'm consistently interested in imagery that uses lines as a strong visual component. Sometimes it's really just the visual features of an image that grab me, rather than underlying content... so that's something I try to work on, adding or finding more layers of meaning. 

In recent years I've enjoyed working with TTV (Through The Viewfinder) photography, which uses a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera to shoot through the viewfinder of a film TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera. It creates a nostalgic effect by showing the focusing screen of the film camera, including imperfections on that screen. That kind of look is very effective for emphasizing the mood of a strong environmental space such as the north woods. I have one of those images on view at Glam Doll Donuts this September, and there are more on my 365plusphotos.blogspot.com page.  

I've paid more attention to portraits in the last few years, as well; my family has grown with my role as a bonus parent every other weekend, so I think a lot about how to photograph my boyfriend and his son in meaningful ways. Some say that photographs are more interesting when people are in them. I don't think that's an absolute rule, but I am enjoying framing this child as he grows, and searching for meaningful moments in the time we have with him. He gave me the ultimate compliment a few years ago (age 4) when he watched me compose a photograph. He looked at it and then said, "Jen, you take better pictures than my mom."

How did you decide to become an artist?

Working in the darkroom is a magical place. I got hooked in high school, but didn't grow to really love image-making and visual arts until college. I was about to finish undergrad as a psych major/art minor, and was looking at social psych PhD programs but realized that I didn't want to leave the creative environment. Leaving that image-making behind felt like a bleak thing to do. Around that time, a friend of mine was an art major and I was envious... I told him he was lucky. Then I thought, "why don't I just do that?"

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Talking to my adviser in college (I upped art to a major and stayed on to complete the BFA), I was working on a mundane sort of project, but had been interested by it. Someone had told me that *everybody* did that kind of project, so I was feeling down about it. He looked at me and said, "Well, have you done it before?" 

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
I sold at an art fair once, but haven't found the energy and time to do that consistently. Social media is fun, but I don't try to market myself very hard. I've sold a few pieces through gallery shows in the past, but selling art isn't a driving force for me. I'm more interested in the creative process, working through ideas, making it work, and sharing (I love Instagram). But, I admire those who consistently market their own work, whether it's their main job or not.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
Since I've volunteered at several art organizations around town and am on the board of Ae, I regularly see a lot of art from very talented local people, but I really enjoy having the pleasure of knowing some great artists personally. Most of these people are photographers, but there are a few painters and other visual artists (two of these folks are technically in Wisconsin): 

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I used to give tours at the Walker and the Garden tours were my favorite, so the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is high on the list. http://www.walkerart.org/garden/
I haven't been there in a while, but the Russian Art Museum is really excellent, as well. http://tmora.org/

Nothing beats the local northern art, along the north shore... Grand Marais is a special place. http://www.visitcookcounty.com/communities/grand-marais/

Altered Esthetics' also has a wonderful solo artist program with new solo art shows installed monthly at Nomad World Pub on the West Bank.

In addition to www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com, 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 am biased, because I am an editorial assistant for the magazine Public Art Review, but PAR's website (under the umbrella of Forecast Public Art, which is the non-profit that publishes the magazine) is great! www.forecastpublicart.org 

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

I currently have four photos up in Glam Doll Donuts with Altered Esthetics' photography themed show ::shutter:: until the end of September. They are a mix of images, including one TTV photograph looking out from the dock at my family's cabin; that place was in the family for decades and we just sold it, so that's very personal. There's also a panning slow shutter speed photo and two shots working with digital image manipulation. 

In October, some of my other work will be part of Ae's West Bank Art Crawl. The crawl combines a group show and a solo show spanning 4 different venues (Brian Coyle Center, 7west, Acadia Cafe, and Nomad World Pub) on the West Bank in Minneapolis. Saturday, October 4 from 1-4pm, you can ride your bike for the West Bank Business Association's West Bank Ride, and check out these sites along the way! Ae is having an after party at the Nomad that evening, too. 

The work I have in the crawl is part of the group exhibition with the Light Topics theme. For me, that theme is more ethereal and visually stimulating than conceptual, so my images respond to the theme very literally. I have a few pieces there that are colorful abstract light compositions as well as an abstract macro image. Ae may install a time lapse video I made that illustrates a clover plant dancing with the sunlight, but that depends upon monitor availability.

(Include dimensions and year made if applicable)
Image List:
1. 30 Days of Biking, Day 27, April 2013 - Digital Photograph
2. Dreaming of Summer, Winter 2013 - Digital Photograph
3. Bench on the Dock, Last Weekend at the Cabin, 2012 - TTV photography
4. Oliver Color Field (2013) - Photograph
5. Zoey's Whiskers (2014) - Photograph
6. Light Composition II (pale), or, Subtlety (2010) - Photograph
7. Image of artist

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Doug Johnson - Photographer

Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson
Minneapolis, MN
Twitter: none
Etsy page: none
Born Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Moved to Minnesota at age 11. BA in Studio Art, Southwest Minnesota State University.  As a young man I was a painting student influenced and inspired by New York School painters such as Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler.  Later I completed a second major in English lit. and creative writing, shifting my emphasis to poetry.  Have made my living in the commercial printing industry.  Spent 25 years publishing poems in little mags, chapbooks, etc.  At age 50 I turned back to visual art, first doing drawings and mixed media pieces on paper, then discovering the joys of digital photography.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I think the best way to describe my work is to include here, in full, my 2014 Artist’s Statement:


I harbor a deep mistrust of Artist's Statements.  At best, they tend to prejudice or otherwise interfere with a viewer's response to the work.  At worst, they are misleading, exaggerated, pompous, confusing, etc.  The less dangerous among them take on the characteristics of a powerful sleeping pill.

That said, I believe such a statement can be of value if approached with caution by both writer and reader.  Ideally the art will be viewed first, the statement looked at later as supplementary.  An artist may wish to share, as simply and honestly as possible, something of his or her intent in creating the work, reveal sources of inspiration, or say something about process and technique.  Elaborate explanation or justification tends to go bad quickly, not unlike a banana in a paper sack.  "Art" which requires explanation or justification has no legs of its own, or if it is good work, the rhetoric only gets in the way.

I enjoy the active nature of photography, the pleasures of the hunt for the image.  For me the process involves becoming open and receptive to whatever presents itself; however, one discovers through experience that certain times of day (or night) and qualities of light may be preferable, and that certain motifs tend to insist on repeated looks.

Technically, my approach to the photographic image is to emphasize the moment of exposure rather than post-processing.  I like to keep editing to a minimum.  I am drawn to the comparative serenity of the still photograph as an antidote to the barrage of high-speed graphics pelting us out of screens everywhere.

I have little patience for overtly political or sociological concerns posing as art, which seem always to give off an odor of propaganda.  And there's the danger of compromising one's work to please a specific audience, especially in the pursuit of grants or fellowships.  Here I tend to side with the late critic Hilton Kramer who felt that art was being corrupted by various forms of political correctness, dumbed down by an obsession with gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.  He insisted that true art is manifested in the aesthetic sphere, as something which "engages the eye in a significant or pleasurable visual experience."  Art speaks to us directly in its language of lightness and darkness, color, texture, form, and suggestion of movement.  It is in no way dependent on the sanitized language of the universities or government entities.  At the core of all authentic art lies a mystery which cannot be satisfactorily dissected by academics, activists, or bureaucrats.

Recently my emphasis has been on cityscapes or street scenes in which I'm fascinated with the interplay of natural and artificial light, reflections, and an abundance of often chaotic activity.  The term "border incidents" refers to the process of playfully engaging along borders between, for instance, the abstract and representational, rational and chaotic, conscious and unconscious, or interior and exterior.  Rigid structure and flowing dream-material coexist.  My intent is to uncover beauty, which in lucky moments presents itself always with a healthy dose of ambiguity.  I'm tuning in to the slippery nature of "hard" reality, discovering porous and shifting qualities that question the clarity of objects or facts.


How did you decide to become an artist?
I feel this is more a question of necessity than a deliberate decision.  Perhaps it was influenced by my grandfather who was a hobby painter.  When very young I was fascinated by his process and the tools involved, loved the smell of the oil paints, etc., the texture of the canvas, the look of the preliminary charcoal sketches, the allure of the many pigments in their tubes.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Here I would credit my painting instructor at SMSU, Edward Evans, who taught by example with his work ethic, spending long hours day and night in the studio.  The word “talent” was almost irrelevant, it was diligence and persistence that mattered.
I would also cite a passage from the Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation:
A good traveler has no fixed plans
And is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
Lead him wherever it wants.

How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
Thus far I have sold work only through word of mouth, my mn artists website and Facebook page, and a few opportunities to exhibit in local galleries.
Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
Duane Ditty http://duaneditty.com
Howard Christopherson http://www.iceboxminnesota.com
Robert Roscoe www.robertroscoe.com
And many others!

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
Rosalux Gallery http://rosaluxgallery.com/
Instinct Gallery http://www.instinctmpls.com/
And of course the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center.

In addition to www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com, 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? 

Walker Art Center http://www.walkerart.org/
Minneapolis Institute of Arts http://new.artsmia.org/

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
Yes, I have a solo exhibit coming up at 2001 A Space, opening September 19.  Please see attached e-postcard with all the information on this show. www.2001aspace.com.

Image List:
1-Sea Change, 2013.jpg
2-35W Bridge, 2012.jpg
3-Pre-dawn Mississippi River, 2011.jpg
4-IDS 4, 2013.jpg
5-Residual, 2014.jpg
6-Wells Fargo from 7th Street, 2012.jpg
7-Inner Space, 2014.jpg

Monday, September 1, 2014

John Pocklington - Photography

John Pocklington

Name: John Pocklington
City/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Email: jp at jpockphoto.com
Website: jpockphoto.com
Instagram: instagram.com/jpockphoto
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JohnPocklingtonPhotography
Twitter: @jpockphoto

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

I'm more of a photojournalist type of a shooter. I always have a camera of some kind with me, looking and waiting to capture next great image. I don't have one particular subject I like to photograph. I just do the best I can to capture life as it unfolds in front of me. When it comes right down to it, it’s not so much about the subject matter but the technique used to capture/creating the image as well as capturing the emotion of that moment either in one or multiple images.

Right now I do a lot of High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography with landscapes/nature and other open spaces. Instead of showing the natural reality of the landscape, I like to alter the image through HDR techniques and present a slightly different reality.

I have a variety of other ongoing projects that can be seen through my Instagram account. The Godzilla vs', “What’s In The Dumpster Today” and my 30 Days of Biking images seem to be three projects people like so far.

How did you decide to become an artist?

I don’t know if I really decided to become an artist. I never had to sit down and decide to be a photographer or image maker. It was natural progression of events, strong interest in photography and instinct that led me to where I am today. I think it was something I was destined to do.

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

I don’t recall on getting any real good advice other than the cliche stuff. However, there are a couple of quotes I like from one of my favorite photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson “You just have to live and life will give you pictures.” and “Of course it’s all luck.”

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
I’m pretty active in keeping my name out there through various social media outlets. Instagram is my primary outlet when I want to share an image or a moment with the rest of the world. I also have my website that I will be updating soon which will have buying options for my images. 

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

I like going to the Walker Sculpture Garden as well as the Minneapolis Institute of Art on a regular basis. Beyond those two places, my other favorite places to see and look for art type things are in smaller towns with older buildings, farms that have old barns and anywhere along the North Shore.

In addition to www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com, 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 try to go to the St. Paul Art Crawls, Art-A-Whirl and Northern Spark events to see what’s happening with local artist and art community. 

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

I will be in group show called SHUTTER hosted by Altered Esthetics. The show will be at Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis for the month of September.

Attached Images
1 - Poncho Dogs
2 - Angel
3 - North Shore Rock
4 - Untitled (Dad)
5 - Apostle Island Ice Caves

Ae Gallery Profile