Friday, October 5, 2012

Self-portraits and art

I was never one of the "pretty girls"...To most people, I was always the quiet girl who wore band t-shirts and jeans. I actually hate my picture being taken. How did I end up here?!

My first love was music. Second, was art. I always had that need to create. I remember drawing ever since I was little. I doodled in school like crazy...picked up photography in probably highschool-taught by dad. Dabbled in painting. Picked up more and more instruments. While I got good grades in all subjects, it was obvious what I was passionate about... I needed to do something creative. Here are some early sketches/doodles/drawings from back in the day...
Notebook doodles, highschool

Pastel, highschool
Reverse charcoal, highschool

So I went to college and majored in art. Despite my main interest being  drawing, my emphasis ended up in painting simply because of which classes I could get into first. While it wasn't at all what I thought it would be, I did learn a thing or two. I studied art history, learned about the art elements, worked with metal, worked with wood, worked with things I've never heard of before. I had my definition of art, but  had to learn to open my mind-other people had different definitions of art. I had to learn how to distance myself from my work, which was a difficult thing considering how personal art is. I'd get ripped apart in critiques, sometimes without explanation as to why the professor simply thought my work sucked-that's always fun to try to figure out. I had to be able to create in all forms, all day, every day, for 3 years. I had to go from drawing, to jewelry, to textiles, to photography, to graphics. I had wanted to graduate early, so this was a bit more than the average art major was advised to take at one time. Here are some images of work I did in college...

Still life, from college
Mixed media, from first college art class

Charcoal self portrait from college
Senior year, mixed media painting

I did indeed graduate a year early, and after my experiences, I was tired of art. I just didn't have any desire AT ALL to draw, to paint. My idea of art was torn to shreds, I wasn't sure I knew how to independently create anymore, and some of those critiques were tough to bounce back from. It wasn't just that I was lost with what to do with my art, I think I just really hated it. A sad thing when I've loved it my whole life. I couldn't be completely walk away from it though, as my plan was to pursue a career in graphic design. I also happened to fit in one photography class my senior year. I had an awesome professor who was encouraging and I was inspired by this medium. Anyone who knows me knows I usually take a camera with me where ever I go, so there was already an interest there. Playing with a camera artistically though? I had a little bit of fun with it. ;) 

After graduation, I took a bit of time off, but wanted to keep working on my graphics/photoshop skills and continue playing with the camera. So I started self-portraits. Often times my ideas would pop into my head late at night when I couldn't sleep, I was the only available model. My ideas weren't very elaborate. They eventually grew to be a little bit more involved. But from the beginning, I usually did put a lot of time into things like hair/makeup ideas, and photoshop. I started shooting these with a small point and shoot, on manual mode. I didn't have a job, and I didn't have a nicer camera-besides film. It didn't matter, this was for me to practice. 

I eventually invested into a DSLR. I wanted more control over my settings. And I didn't want to have to photoshop things like depth of field anymore! This allowed me to expand my ideas more and more, and to get better quality images, with more control.

I eventually found that graphic design job, worked there for a few years, and then to make a long story short... it ended. Now what? 

As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I ran across this photography/model group in the area, and the photographer/creator of the group posted that he needed an assistant. Well, I know a little about photography, that sounded like fun! Read more about this experience here:

Since I already had photos of me before I ever started modeling, photographers could immediately see what kind of modeling abilities I had-to an extent. And they could see that I liked the artsy and emotional side of things. I think this is what set the stage for where I've gone with modeling...

But back to self-portraits...The more people you meet, the more images you see, the more life experiences you have, the more you have to draw from creatively. All of that stuff adds up, and pops out in some form, hopefully in YOUR own unique and creative way. My self-portraits continued. Whether I had photographers begging me to shoot or not, I was always getting decent, creative images out there, and that made me perfectly happy. And it is much easier to be patient with other photographers while they work on your images, for weeks, months, or a year if you have other things going on like spending hours upon hours working on your own art. ;) It also set the bar in a way, for what kind of photographers I'd be willing to work with. I am fairly competent with photography, and I have some creativity in me. I enjoy working with people in a similar boat-who are constantly looking to grow, who can push me, who are creative, who treat photography as an art form. I'm not in this for pretty pictures of myself. I'm in it to create, explore, learn.

Here are a few more self-portraits... I kept trying to push myself...




Well, I fear this post is getting much too long... so I will continue this another day, where I may discuss more of the creative side of things behind my work. So keep an eye out for a part two...

In the meantime, feel free to check out more of my self-portraits on my artist page:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Nicole- I didn't know about your history/journey before, but I am so glad to get a peek at your drawings and paintings for the first time, having only been exposed to your photography (which is/are lovely too). Honestly, I am envious of your talents and congratulate you on following your passion -- it is a huge commitment and often a sacrifice to do so, especially when those bills show up in the mailbox.

    You are kind and geniune and deserve to enjoy great success doing what you love. <3