Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"I live and sleep photography"

Mia Collis is a documentary photographer from Kenya. Mia majored in anthropology, directed her own two short films and works for the film world in different parts of the world.

When did you take your first photo?

When I was 13 in my first photography class at school. I photographed a statue of a woman holding a baby in the school grounds. The picture wasn't very good at all, but the teacher used it as an example to teach the class dark room work. I got a boost of confidence that made me believe that I was able to take a good photograph.

How has photography influenced your life? 

Visually it has made me look at life with a much more detailed eye. I'm forever checking out whats happening with light and am always fascinated by human behaviour and interaction. If I'm not at the film company, on a photo shoot or editing images, I'm thinking about how to better a project or I'm working out the next story to tell or how I'll get a project funded. I live and sleep photography.

What does creativity mean to you? 

Tapping into that spark or feeling, that is innate in all of us, and then being able to move or inspire people by channeling it in the right way.

What are themes of your work? 

As a documentary photographer, I'm fascinated by people and their stories . But I have also recently been shooting an elephant story. Within this spectrum I've been inspired lately by movement. When people are dancing or moving it's much easier to capture that raw emotion. I'm also inspired and like to work with natural light, a lot more than artificial light.

If you could work together with a young artist, what would you tell and show him?

 As a relatively young photographer myself and with still an enormous amount to learn in the photographic field, I'll pass on a wisdom that was recently relayed by my mother to me. She is a very gifted artist. She said success and 'making it' creatively is persistence. Take the rejection which there maybe a lot of in the beginning. Many talented and gifted people will give in and give up at this stage. But weather the storm, persist with it and you will get there. Follow your bliss.

  "Disabled Dancers" by Mia Collis

"Elephants Dust Bath" by Mia Collis 

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Without Borders" Interview with Richardson Ovbiebo, rising star in the Nigerian art scene

"I always wanted to be an artist", says Richardson Ovbiebo, one of the rising stars in the Nigerian art scene. He works in the huge metropolis Lagos, which is the second most populous city in Africa.

Richardson gets his inspiration from nature, fashion, architecture and mundane objects. However, it is not always easy for him to gather material for his work. Often Richardson uses discarded parts of bicycles, not only because they are an important means of transportation but because they are very problematic litter, this is explained by Richardson more extensively on his blog: http://greybagstudios.blogspot.com/.  His artwork usually concentrates on social criticism. 

Currently he is focussing on a series of works titled "Without Borders".

                                          "Without Borders" by Richardson Ovbiebo

                                         "Frozen Dreams"  by Richardson Ovbiebo


"Surge" by Richardson Ovbiebo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"My parents and life in its originality were my inspiration"

Professor Oga Steve Abah from the Theatre for Development Centre (TFDC) at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, speaks about exploration in the creative process and his inspiration that often came from folk stories that he listened to while growing up in a village in Nigeria.

What inspires you? 

I grew up in a typical rural village in Savannah region of the Middle Belt of Nigeria. I ran around the forest as a child playing, I went to the farm with my parents and watched crops grow from seed to maturity. And in that environment I listened to folk stories by the flaming fires as my parents and other adults told us stories. The stories were of life, growth, death and collective living. I knew then that I wanted to make things happen for the benefit of people because the I-syndrome was not top most in people's lives. My parents and life in its originality were my inspiration.What I set out to do later in life took off from all these

What difficulties did you encounter when you were young?

I don't know if I want to cast them as difficulties, because all of us in the village grew up in the same circumstance and it was fun! Ok, maybe I could have done with riding a bicycle seven miles to school every morning and afternoon instead of walking!  But we survived!!

Why did you decide to become an artist? 
I like the idea of expressing myself, exploring ideas and being creative instead of taking people's taken-for-granted positions on issues. And I know that the creative process allows such exploration and experimentation.

Which project are you working on right now?  

I am coordinating a project of empowering youth groups and community-based organizations in the Niger Delta to promote peace and development. Theatre for development and participatory video are the main tools in the project.
In one sentence, what advice would you give young artists if they want to pursue their dream?  

Be dogged, determined and pursue your dream of making the world better, even when it is difficult.

 Theatre for Development Centre

"Never give up" Interview with animation artist Alison Donato

Alison Donato, graduated this May from Ringling College of Art and Design's computer animation major 
 Why is art so important for you?

Like a lot of artists, ever since I was little, I loved to draw.  All of my school notebooks were full of sketches along the sides. When I was deciding to go to college, I was actually pretty indecisive. I had taken a few 3d classes in high school that had gotten me interested in animation. I ended up giving the animation path a shot and went to Ringling College of Art and Design to major in Computer Animation. While I was there, it was obvious that I had made the right choice, finally I could take a bunch of my interests (drawing, designing, computers) and combine them into a job I would enjoy. After immersing myself in art and design I grew to love and appreciate it even more, along with animation. Going to school with many others who share your interests is an awesome experience and keeps you on your toes in terms of work ethic.

What inspires you?

Lately the art blog world has been of great inspiration to me. Having a blog has helped motivate me to keep drawing, and following many other blogs and their updates is a very cool way to be inspired. Every morning I can check my Google Reader account for new art posts from some of my favorite artists I've stumbled across. Along with that, the community of artists online and in the industry is very strong and positive; I've found that most artists are willing and happy to teach and inspire other younger artists. There is a certainly a trend of passing on knowledge and advice that is very admirable. People who are just starting out can always find plenty of help, and those who are experts can always find new pupils who will be eager to seek their advice and tutelage. For anyone who wants to get inspired, I'd say to find a group of friends who have similar interests and goals as you. Find people who will always push you to be better and to not get distracted.

Your advice for young artists?

Never give up! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Street Art and Works on Paper: Interview with Sara Barnes

About the artist: Sara Barnes maintains the blog Brown Paper Bag about works on paper and much more that fosters creativity.

What inspired you to do your blog Brown Paper Bag?

I had been reading art blogs like Booooooom!, My Love For You is a Stampede of Horses, and Design for Mankind for a while and was inspired by the connection that these bloggers were making with artists and readers.  I enjoy writing, creating websites, and looking at art, so blogging seemed like the perfect outlet for me to express myself.  In school, I majored in illustration and always loved paintings and drawings, which is why my emphasis on works on paper. 
Why do you enjoy Street Art? Could you name your favorite Street Artists and why?

I grew up in suburban sprawl and was not exposed to street art until I moved to Baltimore, Maryland to attend college.  I love how street art is a response to the environment, often working with abandoned buildings or areas to create a dialogue between the city's inhabitants and the landscape.   I like Gaia, who does a lot of work around Baltimore - the style of the work is beautiful and to the average viewer, makes street art seem less about graffiti and destruction and something more beautiful.  I also really love the work of Zosen, a street artist whose bright colors and large scale murals really catch my eye.
If you could give young artists some advice, what would it be?
As cliche as it is, i think it is important to work hard and be self-aware.  Figure out what makes you happy in your work and do that.  Eventually you will find a way to make your passion work for you.  Also, don't be afraid to play and make mistakes!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Interview with animation student Betsy Bauer

About Betsy Bauer: Betsy is an animation student at Ringling College of Art and Design. She was a Visual Development Intern at Sony Pictures animation. She also freelances for the Disney's publishing division here and there.

Why did you pursue a career as an artist?

Unlike a lot of people pursuing careers in animation, I have a very specific moment when I knew that this was what I wanted to do.  When I was four or five years old, I remember laying on the floor of the basement in my family's house watching the Disney Channel special "The Making of the Lion King."  At the very end of the show, the announcer said something along the lines of, "Maybe one day a little boy or girl watching this TV special will grow up to be one of the next great Disney artists."  I felt like he was talking to me specificially!  Until that point, I hadn't really made the connection that people actually grow up to do this for a living.

Throughout elementary, middle, and high school I continued to take as many art classes as possible, always with my goal of working in the animation industry in sight.  My passion led me to the Ringling College of Art and Design, where I will graduate with my BFA in May.  While at Ringling, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at Sony Pictures Animation.  It was a dream come true--especially since I was working with industry veterans who were, in fact, IN that early Disney channel "Making Of" special!

Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration comes from a lot of places.  First, I'm inspired by my peers at school.  I think being in school just lends itself to being inspired--you just have to soak up as much as you can while you're there.  Also, if you haven't set up a Google Reader account, do it now!  There are so many talented people on the Blogosphere.  I'm also a hoarder when it comes to art books.  I own just about every single "Art-Of" book that is currently in print.  I'd like to get into purchasing photo reference books as well.  And, aside from all of that, I really enjoy reading and traveling.  It's so easy to get trapped in a bubble when you're an artist and I think it's important to constantly break from your comfort zone.

In one sentence, what advice would you give young artists if they want to pursue their dream?

Don't let the naysayers discourage you.  People working in those hard-to-get positions come from somewhere!  Who's to say it can't be you?

                                           Tigers by Betsy Bauer (www.betsybauerart.com)

                                                       Hippo Love by Betsy Bauer (www.betsybauerart.com)

                                                   Charlie and Zhuzhu by Betsy Bauer (www.betsybauerart.com)


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