I think I was born/delivered needing to express myself through art. As long as I can remember I loved beautiful things and often find beauty in the strange and somewhat dark. My childhood & early adult life had many dark moments and I put those experiences into my art work. I would say being alone as a child really heightened my awareness of my surroundings and enhanced my creativity. My first real love was for collage. I would spend countless hours cutting out pictures and working on collage pieces and still love collage & photo montage and often go back to this medium. I found that my collage would be missing something and I felt if I had just the right image I could make it better and that is just how I discovered photography. My grandfather let me take pictures with his Minolta camera and I would scrape together money to buy the film and have it processed. By the time that I reached high school I was painting and exploring art mediums of all kinds but the best thing about high school was the darkroom and the chemistry teacher ran the photography club. I was in the darkroom all the time and this was my safe place. I remember relating the safe light to feeling safe and it made real life bearable. One of my photographs was chosen for submission for the Eastman Kodak Scholarship Award and I was awarded it with the Gold Key Honor but was not able to use it because I could not afford to take the SAT at the time and had no family support as I was living on my own just trying to pay for life. I still have the certificate of award and that high contrast photograph of Ginger still hangs in my closet as a reminder of what is possible. I did after a few years of working and saving all the money I could, go on to get my BS in Art Education with the hope to help people like me who had no help. I did this all while working sometimes sixty hours a week and getting mono from exhaustion. I also graduated Summa Cum Laude on the Dean’s List. As a result of, and also in spite of my past I had accomplished so much. I began to make a connection that I could only succeed with what makes money. Constantly I could hear my family, who had no valid input in my life still criticizing me by saying what can you do with art? So, when I did finally become a professional photographer for over 10 years it was a generous income and I was published in over 40 countries. This was really all before social media so, not an easy feat. The only problem was someone else more or less dictated what I did and therefore the richness and creativity were gone for me and after more than 10 years of doing it and working hard to establish myself in the industry, I stopped and sold all my equipment. I have never stopped photographing, creating or painting along the way but as of the last few years I have been really propelled forward to create a creative space for myself and my adopted twin daughters and that is what has led me here today. What started with me being there for them in a time of need has also been a huge catalyst for me. I’m excited to see where we can take the brick and mortar studio and gallery and to share our ideas of beauty, even if dark sometimes, with you.
“Find the safelight, It only illuminates the parts that are insensitive”
Lisa Bouvier Brewer
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