Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Artist Interview: Carolyn Collins

What is your name: 
Carolyn Collins
Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: 
Since I was five (or younger), I have always created art (visual and performance), but took no art classes beyond high school (opted for a BBA degree instead). I am completely self-taught in photography, which has allowed my art to evolve independently.
What is the style of your pieces:
Drawn to images best described as the border between sleep and wakefulness, I find order in the world of chaos and record it without disturbing its natural environs in hopes that the viewer will experience that profound presence of simply being. It is the ethereal bridge I seek to capture… between seeing what exists and realizing what begs to be seen. Ultimately my photos speak to that part of our soul that questions, yet, expects no answer but feeling.
What is the medium in which you work: 
Film and digital photography.
What started you on your path as an artist: 
The piano, but we'll stick to photography right now. Before I ever picked up a camera, there was always something about 'openings' which drew me near, piqued my curiosity, and gave me a deeper sense of presence.  The long tunnel of light between rows of corn in the field, an entry to a cave, storm cellar doors, stable gates, flickering spaces between rail cars while watching a train pass by.  In my mind, these 'openings' were experiences waiting to be taken.....
In 2000 (after I started playing with photography), extended family and friends pointed out the number of doors, etc. I was 'wasting film' on.  I began stashing these types of images away in my own private collection (as well as other 'weird' shots) leaving the 'safe/normal' shots out for open viewing.  The more time I spent behind the lens, the more 'openings' I caught on film, shooting in secret more often than not, like a closet addict.  And by 2002, I began to notice that it wasnt just any 'opening' that would draw me in... just certain ones that seemed to pierce my heart with their silent beckoning.  It was then that I began an ongoing collection called "Doors, Windows & Portals".
Today, regardless of the subject... and whether I am shooting a documentary, musician CD promo, event, or for my own art... I only shoot when I am moved by the moment itself. Regardless of the subject, my camera simply becomes my translator of the moment as I experience it.  Instinctively maneuvering myself and my lens to embrace the moment fully, through framing, perspective, and ambient lighting, I ‘dance’ with my camera. Like a first kiss, a moment cannot live again. Thus I only have an instant to capture that moment… no re-takes… either I caught it or I did not.
What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life: 
Building bridges and inspiring others... appreciation for the humanity of people we never meet… fascination with shape, form, light and sound… the magic of transcending time and space when one quietly observes…thus unfolds the beauty of the ordinary.
What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in: 
Music is my drug.
Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like:
My opening receptions, exhibits and live art events have ranged from intimate gatherings in private homes to live/interactive multi-media events at large indoor venues (and everything in between). The one 'typical' factor involved when I show my art... conversations about life emerge amongst the viewers... different perspectives are shared amongst strangers... and bridges are built between people from different walks of life who may otherwise never crossed paths. I wish I could record all of these conversations I hear as I pass by. Perhaps I'll start doing that later this year. 
Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:
No, I simply wear what I'm in the mood to wear, which tends to be something completely different each time, yet always 'Carolyn' (as has been well documented by a number of photographers and videographers - haha!).
What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?
I have only 24 hours in a day.
What is your favorite sandwich of all time: 
My own recipe for Muffaletta (a 24-hour process and worth every minute). 
Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they: 
Personal matters created an enormous amount of stress and swallowed a huge bite of time early in 2010. However, this has only driven me to create more intensely and with more focus. I am finally (after 5 years of transition attempts) a full time photographer... no desk job to limit my time. Though still trying to squeeze more than 24 hours into a day, I am more refreshed, focused and productive than ever before. My latest works reflect the intensity of joy, pain, excitement and peace.
Who is your favorite artist alive or dead: 
I truly have no favorite, as I adore so many for different reasons. That sounds like a cop-out, but I embrace diversity and uniquesness in content and style, regardless of the medium.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person:
This question is obviously referring to visual art only. In this case, it would have to be the still shots from the last section of a David Leeson documentary film, "Dust to Dust" (shot after his video camera was destroyed by dust during his journalistic front line embedment in Iraq). Those still shots grabbed my heart even more than the amazing video footage. This is when I realized I could apply my passion for photography to my mission of building bridges between people. This was a pivotal moment in my life. I met David a year or so after this, and he has been my mentor and dear friend ever since.
Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work: 
I adore animals and plan to adopt large rescued dogs when I have a house with a huge yard. In the meantime, I have adopted all my friends' and family's pets as my own. They love to lick my lens, so perhaps they 'see my eye'. Not one of them has done more than raise an eyebrow or tilt their head when my work is in front of them, but they obviously see something. :)
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us: 
My next art exhibit is Saturday, July 10th 8pm-midnight at girlShow 2010 The Perfect 10. In addition to my own gallery area (feathuring signed prints, two new photographic art books and more), I will have my signature interactive Photo-Ink Challenge wall... and I will be unveiling some very special surprises throughout the night at the main stage. This is a live, interactive 2-night event featuring over 70 female visual and performing artists from the Dallas area (and men flock to this event as much as woen do). Each night has a completely different lineup of artists and talents, and I would strongly urge people to attend both nights. For discount weekend girlPass with additional perks, girlshowblog about the artists and why this art event is different, and event details, go to http://artlovemagic.com 
Web address
All of my online presence is accessible through links posted at carolyncollinsphotography.wordpress.com. My official website will launch later in July, but the web address will be posted on all of my online sites (wordpress, twitter, facebook, myspace, etc.).

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