We are delighted to publish our interview with Nicki Fitz-Gerald of iPhoneographyCentral regarding her brand new mobile art course ‘Adventures in Creative Mobile Artistry‘. It is a course that I have taken time to indulge with and each lesson I have found to be thoroughly exhilarating. I also wanted to find out a few more details regarding the inspiration, motivation and creativity of this course by asking Fitz-Gerald a few intriguing questions. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do.
All images ©Nicki Fitz-Gerald
We are all lovers of mobile artistry here, tell us what inspired you to create this course?
Posting my iPhone art on sites like Flickr and instagram gained me a lot of followers over the years. Fellow Flickr and instagram members regularly posted comments asking me about the techniques I used and where I get my inspiration from. I’d always planned to put these answers and a whole more in one place – well this place now exists, it’s the new course: Adventures in Creative Mobile Artistry.
Your enthusiasm comes through in the course for mobile artistry, can you tell us more about your background of the arts?
I have a BA honours degree in Graphic Design, specialising in illustration from Chelsea School of Art in London. I was an illustrator for many years specialising in illustration for magazines and book covers.
The course is extensive, with ten chapters and subtexts within each one. To my mind, it’s a course for the beginner, new to iPhone photography, who wants to learn how to create. Would you agree?
I think the course has much wider appeal than just beginners since I know a lot of experienced iPhoneographer’s that have bought the course have expressed their delight in learning many new techniques. I cover a lot of essential “Photoshop style” techniques like layering, blending and masking – but the course is not just about learning techniques, there’s a underlying structure of learning that encourages bold moves and trusting one’s intuition when creating a piece of art. I know some of the DLSR photographers who have bought the course have really been looking to free up their creativity. Fine art photographer and blogger from definitelydreaming.com, Janet Broughton described the course as follows “I can’t help but feel that this [course] could be my missing thing. It combines two things I’ve felt pulled to, collages and digital art…now I wouldn’t normally recommend or link to courses or products but this has me so excited about the creative possibilities that I’ve decided to make an exception.” http://definitelydreaming.com/i-found-missing/
Which is your favourite chapter of the course and why?
This is a hard question to answer. I loved the process of creating Lesson 8, the Who’s Afraid tutorial which took me on a personal journey of exploring the subject of fear through an online project called Being Set Free organised by Karen Divine, an artist I greatly admire. I learned a lot both on a personal level and from a picture creating level especially from the project group community as well. Collaboration is just one of the ways I mention in the course that students can improve their art. I also love lesson 3, depicting children in a landscape at Portland Bill. It reminds me of the many happy times I’ve spent climbing the rocks and getting blown about in the wind with my son and partner. The last lesson (Lesson 10) has to be closest to my heart in terms of learning how to find beauty in the most ordinary places and not having to travel anywhere to create a beautiful image. I hope this lesson shows students how to trust their gut feelings when it comes to creating their art and letting their imagination do the work. In Lesson 10, I like the way the finished image ends up as something completely different (although still retaining its original form) to how it starts out. It’s about breathing life into a photo or image, you see a flicker of something that interests you and you know something’s in there and you just need to tease it out, eliminating the bits that don’t support the idea and introducing new ones that do. This spontaneous approach is at the heart of the teaching in the course. This amazing tool – the iPhone and apps- combined with a bit of imagination is a pretty heady mix. A great place to explore and go on an adventure.
How long, in your estimation, would it take a budding mobile photographer, to complete this course?
It really depends on the individual. People learn at different paces and what’s great about the course is you get a lifetime membership so anyone who signs up can go at their own pace. You can start and finish when you like. I know people who started before Christmas and are now picking it up again in the New Year. There’s about 10 hours of video in total so for those of you who just like to watch a whole course without pausing for notes or to see a technique more clearly, you could easily watch over a couple of days but the course is really designed to get you doing your own work in between with some activity suggestions and it’s up to you how long you take to do these.
What are your future plans for online teaching? Will you work on future courses, such as this? Tell us about your ambitions and where you see your future.
The course is a natural extension to the learning ethos at my iPhone art and photography learning resource website iphoneographyCentral.com. Also, on Flickr and instagram postings, I was often asked about my techniques and apps used so it made sense to put the best of what I’ve learned over the last 7 years into one single course so… Adventures in Creative Mobile Artistry was born. I had no idea that the course would be so favourably received and because of the incredible feedback and the fact that I already had another course buzzing around in my head, I will definitely be releasing a second course very soon. I am very excited about the second course which is coming together quickly because – I think it’s been floating about in the back of mind for years and it’s about a subject close to my heart which gets deeper into the art of picture making, particularly abstract art and the different approaches to creating works from photos on an iPhone and/or iPad. I am hoping this will be out for the spring/summer time 2017. So, yes I will definitely be working on future courses as long as I feel I have something interesting to share and can communicate that in an engaging way that encourages others to explore their own potential. I hope that the amount of video footage in my courses helps impart the knowledge, sense of place and where I am coming from as an artist….and that’s the other matter….I plan to always keep creating my own work, which I understand now is essential to my happiness and personal satisfaction. More plans for the future include exploring filmmaking. I have made a few short films on the iPhone including quite a few for Adventures in Creative Mobile Artistry course. Film or video making has long been on my list of mediums to explore so I plan to delve deeper into this subject later in the year taking advantage of brilliant groups like the Mobile Movie Making group, right here on TheAppWhisperer.
We keep seeing positive feedback relating to this course, tell us about your experience of this, who is your audience?
Yes, the positive feedback has been fantastic. For me, sharing techniques & inspiring others to create meaningful works of art is a great feeling. Even seasoned and professional artists and photographers have expressed how much of value this course is to them.
Really, I couldn’t ask for more in terms of endorsement for the course. To inspire others to find their own creative path is a special reason to be on this earth itself.
My audience are also my inspiration and tend to be mainly women but I also have a lot of enthusiastic male students including a retired lawyer and a graphic designer. A lot of my students are professionals who have iPhones and/or iPads and want to start creating art on these devices but not sure where to start but I also have a lot of creative professionals, who are starting to use their iPhones or iPads a lot more than their DLSR cameras and want to learn more about the creative editing side on their devices; the part o f the process where they might normally use Photoshop. With my background as a graphic designer, I can teach all the key Photoshop techniques but using iPhone/iPad apps instead of desktop computer ones.
What’s your driving force, your motivation?
Endless curiosity – curiosity about our existence, my environment, the ever changing light, shapes, colour and form and the desire to express that experience through art. I am fascinated by the power of images and how a picture can effect our mood and thoughts.
I see mobile photography as making a huge social impact, what are your views?
This is a huge topic and I could write a whole essay on this subject however for this interview I’d like to highlight the positive effects of mobile photography as a medium that has democratised society especially combined with the ease of sharing through social networks, mobile photography has increased the individual’s opportunity to have their voice heard or express themselves through photography or art. So, this means that everyone who has access to a mobile phone has the opportunity to tell their story or someone else’s story through photography or video which on the whole, I think is a great thing.
Creating and publishing this course is a wonderful achievement, tell us how it makes you feel?
I have probably answered this question in the lengthy answers to my previous questions. Of course, it makes me feel very happy. it’s great to share your experiences and for others to hopefully benefit from it. It’s wonderful to have my work appreciated. The positive feedback makes me feel very inspired and motivated and of course I feel thankful to all of the people who have inspired and supported me particularly my family who don’t see me for weeks on end while I am locked away in the attic.
One personal request I would like to make would be to add subtitles/captions to this course, in order to bring it round to a wider audience and help more people connect.
Of course, that’s a very good point and I’ll definitely consider this for the next course.
Lash LaRue, Retired law professor, US:
I have signed up, and I recommend it without reservation.
Siegfried Ferlin, Austria
“I am on lesson 7 now and with every single lesson I’m more and more excited My favorite till now is the Slow Shutter lesson.”
Sherri Brannon, US
“I am LOVING this class. I’m on Lesson 4 and am learning so much. Highly recommended!”
Lynn Crow, Photographer, US “I am thrilled beyond measure about this course! Listening to your beautiful buttery voice is a joy!”
Liz Traynor, US “I’ve just signed up to your new course. Even after only 10 minutes of watching the first video, I have learnt something new and exciting. I have holidays coming up and I am so looking forward to spending time learning and practising your techniques. Thanks so much, Liz”
Elsa Brenner, US “So far I’m super impressed and learning so much my head is spinning. Niki you are such an artist with a cell phone”
Davinia Algeri “Really enjoying your iPhoneography course Nicki, learning heaps and trying new things.”
Sherri Brannon, US
“I added the text in #leonardo [app] which I’ve had for years but knew very little about. Thanks to your class, I now realize what an amazing app it is. So thank you!”
Cecily Matey Caceu
“This is very cool Nicki! I am loving your course and just started but have already learned so much – can’t wait to do more. So inspiring and I have lots of the apps but had deleted them because I found them overwhelming to figure out with my limited time. Now, with your help I’m able to use them!”
More about Nicki
WORKSHOPS & EXHIBITONS
- Mobile Journalism Conference, Dublin Ireland March, 2015:
- Key speaker on photography panel
- Exhibition of painterly iPhone art, Dorchester, March 2016
- Exhibition of painterly photos shot and edited on an iPhone in Dorchester, Dorset, UK.
- Mobile Journalism Conference, Dublin Ireland, April, 2016
- Taught iPhone photography workshop and hosted photowalk for 60+ global journalists with fellow Award winning iPhoneographer, Brendan Ó Sé
- Thomson Foundation Summer course for video journalists, August 2016
- Hosted iPhone photography workshop photowalk for global journalists moving into mobile photo and video space
- Painting with Light – Exhibit of painterly iPhone art, November 2016
- Exhibition of painterly photos shot and edited on an iPhone in Dorchester, Dorset, UK.
- Creative iPhone photography workshop, SMEX17, London February 2017
- I will be hosting a creative iPhone workshop for changemakers – leaders, fundraisers, campaigners, volunteers, social entrepreneurs, funders and other socially-minded individuals with media professionals.
BOOK COVERS (iPhone images)
- The Art of iPhone Photography – How to create great photos on your iPhone
- How to Solve the World’s Problems by Robert Lee Brewer (Poetry)
Nicki Fitz-Gerald is an English award winning iPhone photographer, iPhoneography teacher, speaker and practitioner with a background in illustration and design. She is the founder of iPhoneographyCentral.com and presented a series for AdoramaTV on iPhone photography. Nicki was quick to embrace the possibilities of merging photography and art from the moment she got her first iPhone in 2009. Keen to share her enthusiasm for this new medium Nicki created her website and dedicated her time to sharing techniques and stories with iPhoneographers around the world. In 2013 she co-authored The Art of iPhone Photography – Creating Great Photos and Art on your iPhone with fellow iPhoneographer Bob Weil.
Nicki also teaches mobile art and photography and was a keynote speaker on the subject of iPhone photography at the groundbreaking Mobile journalism conference in Dublin in March 2015; Mojocon followed by a workshop and photowalk at the same event in 2016. Her iPhoneography work – represented by LA agent, ClearedInk – has featured in TV commercials including a Beats headphone advert, in various magazines and on book covers. She also sells her prints, writes a regular column for Mobiography magazine and has recently launched Adventures in Creative Mobile Artistry; a series of online tutorials on creative mobile artistic photography.
Exhibitions and awards
In 2010 Nicki’s iPhone photographs were exhibited at the first Eyephoneography Exhibition in Madrid. More of Nicki’s iPhone photography has been shown at FORMAT; a UK Photography Festival exploring Street Photography. Her image Flamin’ Amy won 4th place in LifeinLoFi’s Faved of the Year 2011.
In 2013, Nicki’s image Fish Oil won the top prize at the Mobile Photography Awards contest in the Appstract Digital Painting category. The winning entry Fish Oil was exhibited at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York City and galleries in Australia and Canada.
In April 2011, after finding no central online resource for learning the art of iPhoneography, Nicki founded the website iPhoneographyCentral.com , a place for learning how to create stunning art and photography on your iPhone, showcasing iPhone image makers around the world. In 2012, Bob Weil, fellow iPhone artist joined Nicki at iPC, eventually leading to the publication of their book “The Art of iPhone Photography – Creating Great Photos and Art on your iPhone” which aimed to share their creativity and the techniques behind their art along with 43 other top iPhone artists and photographers.
In 2014, Nicki judged the Visual FX category at the Mobile Photography Awards with her iPhoneographyCentral partner Bob Weil: http://mobilephotoawards.com/the-judges/ .
You can view Nicki’s iPhone photography work here:
Thank you Joanne for having me on TheAppWhisperer. You’ve created an incredible vibrant community of talented mobile photographers which I have learned a great deal from and have enjoyed the discussions and of course the wonderful art. I particularly love the Mobile Movie Making group and will try to contribute more this year,
It’s truly a pleasure Nicki, thank you too and I wish you every success with this course and future ones, Joanne
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