We are delighted to bring to you the first of this years series of interviews and the thirteenth of this fascinating series, within our Portrait of an Artist column entitled “Seeing through the eyes…”. This is a section that has been created by our wonderful Portrait of an Artist Editor, Ile Mont. Mont has been inspired by the life and works of Carolyn Hall Young, as so many of us have. Young was the main contributor to our Portrait of an Artist Flickr pool and filled it with portraits of so many wonderful people, not only of herself. It is for this reason that Mont wanted to create this section, to enable us to view the artists style through their own eyes. At the end of each interview, Mont will keep Young’s tradition alive, with a portrait of herself, seen through the eyes of the artist. In this case, you will see that at the end of this interview there is a portrait of Mont, seen through the eyes of Christine Sobczak, what a gift!
Please continue to post your mobile portraiture to our dedicated Flickr group or use this hashtag on Instagram #tawportraitofanartist, this way, Mont will search through these artists first to interview. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).
All images in this interview ©Christine Sobczak, with the final image a collaboration ©Ile Mont/Christine Sobczak.
Would you like to introduce yourself?
I began my career as a Registered Nurse. Science was always my first interest when I was in school. At some point, when my children were quite young, I decided to go to art school at the university. This was a very “out of the blue” and into the wild decision because I had no background in this field nor art skills of any kind. I survived and fell in love with the magic created in the darkroom. If I am completely honest, my camera made up for my struggle with my drawing and painting skills. it allowed me my voice. When I graduated, I became a fine art photographer. I was invited into a gallery and sold many images on silver paper that I had hand coloured. I had many wonderful experiences. But, approximately seven years ago, I left the darkroom behind. It was becoming obsolete. Mobile photography had just emerged and I have been completely delighted to participate in this new field of art and photography.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
When one enters a university art curriculum with absolutely no experience in the creation of art, one must really love creating art. I found the experience much more stressful than nursing school because of the time involved in fulfilling class requirements. However, there was an exhilaration to completing an excellent project. I continue to find the same exhilaration in finishing a mobile image that I am happy with. Creating simply makes me happy.
Can you describe the time when you first realised that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
The answer to this question is completely explained in the second question.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
It took me a while with this new art form to develop my style. I am still working that out. I was aware that with time and persistence it would start to form on its own. I became very aware of the subconscious with my intuitive style of image making. I love the moon and I find great comfort in looking up at the stars at night. There is something much bigger than my earthly understanding and it gives me comfort. I have a reverence for the original three Raymond A. Moody Life After Life books. The impact of those books on myself have definitely been affected by some of my nursing experiences. This is what I have come to see and understand of my images.
Why portraits and self-portraits?
The images that give me the most peaceful sense of comfort are landscapes. However, I am always very drawn to portraits when I view artwork. No matter who I am altering, it is pure delight to make up a completely fictional, theatrical characters. Really, it is like writing fiction and the charm of just having the freedom to create anything that one wants. I really don’t€™t like using myself, as in, self portraits. Yes, I do use myself but, I hate being on any type of stage.
What do you think are the ups and downs about working with your own image?
I have never liked taking photographs of myself. When I had to paint a self portrait, I was more comfortable doing that. I don’t have any issues with altering my image. I just don’t like being in my image .
Is there an artwork you are most proud of?
When I was still working in the darkroom, I photographed a double exposure roll of film. I had photographed an image of my daughter and then re shot it. The second row of images was of a winter tree, with no leaves and the full moon shining through the branches of the tree. One image from that roll turned out very beautiful with my daughter imprinted with the tree and moon. If one understands double exposures on film, they turn out random and If one is lucky there might be a few magic images. I just knew that I would never have anything that magic happen again.
How do you know when a work is finished?
Once I counted 500 images that I had made while working on an image. This is not unusual. Very often, I will say to myself “Oh, this is it!”. I am happy with what I feel that I have been “looking for” and I just stop cold!
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I don’t really have any rituals. At times I simply don’t have the time to produce images because of my family obligations. However, eventually I have the welling up of a desire to do so.
What inspires you?
Oh, I have voiced this before. There isn’t anything more inspirational for my creativity than to view very artful, not classic, but contemporary interiors of homes from any source, but especially, hands on, paper magazines. I drift into my Zen Space.
What are your favorite tools and apps while creating?
I have a deep appreciation for my understanding of archival materials and their importance because of my art education. So, if I have things printed they are professionally accepted by galleries and museums. This is important for digital artwork. The applications that I use are: PhotoToaster, Image Blender, LightBrush, Snapseed, IColorama, PicsArt, MonoVu, Glaze, Big Photo,SkyLab, LensFX, and LensLight…I have many other applications waiting for me to learn how to use if necessary (my apps don’t update).
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?
From a professor: “It might take you 5 minutes or it might take you 5 months but, when you finish, it needs to be right”.This helps me stop when I feel it is “right”. Because, we all understand how we could continue on because of the infinite possibilities of our apps.
What advice would you share with us?
Never be intimidated by others who you view as more sophisticated in their art process than you are. And, when you wonder if you should add another image to this Planet o image makers…Has the last book been written? Onward!
Thank you very much for your insight and time, Christine!
It has been amazing to have been seen through the eyes of Christine Sobczak!
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