We have decided to launch a new intimate style of interview into TheAppWhisperer – the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website. We feel it is important that our community feel close to each other, as it is this support that helps us to nurture one another, gain confidence and continue to grow.
This is our fifth interview, to read the others, please go here. Today, we are publishing this highly optimistic and enlightening interview with immensely talented digital artist, Barbara Braman from the United States. Enjoy.
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
I wanted to be a writer.
In college, I worked my way up through the school newspaper staff and became editor. I started as an art critic, then became arts editor, then news editor. Usually the news editor became the next editor-in-chief, but I was warned to come to the election meeting prepared to defend myself, as it seemed I would not be seen as a serious contender for the job because I was a woman. I guess I convinced them.
‘Out of School’ ©Barbara Braman
My very first job was in telephone sales for the Olan Mills Portrait Studio. My first professional job was as a technical writer in the computer department for a large insurance company. I wrote user training manuals. It was there that I first became interested in the interface between computers and people, which is still a strong interest of mine.
Private or state school?
I went to a private high school.
University or Work?
I went to a liberal arts college in New England.
Who was or still is your mentor?
My most consistent mentor is my older sister, Marty. She is eleven years older than me. When I was little I wanted to be just like her. But she always wanted me to just be me, and has helped me figure out how to do that.
How physically fit are you?
I am more physically fit than I have ever been in my life! After a knee injury which I nursed along for a few years before having surgery, I was very out of shape. I had to do physical therapy after the surgery. When I finished that I started working with a trainer doing weights! I never thought I would like that, but I love it! It is always a personal challenge. I’ve been going for almost four years now, and I am very proud of how strong I am becoming.
Ambition or Talent: What matters more to success?
I would say ambition, if it takes the form of persistence and passion, is the most important thing for success. Talent seems merely to be a natural inclination to something. But I have seen many people, myself included, overcome a lack of native talent through persistent practice and focused passion.
How politically committed are you?
Being politically active is important to me. I keep up with the news, donate to political causes and candidates, and have worked locally on elections. I find it frustrating now to keep that up because of the extreme polarisation in politics. Not only are the parties polarised against each other but there is polarisation with factions within the party also.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
That is a very hard question to answer. I feel I have every thing that I could possibly need or desire, which is a very lucky thing. But, I do have a secret hankering for one of those electric ice cream makers with a built in compressor. I never have bought one because I am sure that if I had it I would use it all the time and it would undo all my hard work at the gym!
What’s your biggest extravagance?
A new iPhone every year. And always having fresh flowers on my kitchen counter.
In what place are you happiest?
I am the most content at home. But I am probably happiest when traveling or in the city, going to a museum or a gallery, out to dinner with friends, or going to the theater.
What ambitions do you still have?
I have a lot of ambitions for the digital art group I started on Cape Cod. We have meetings twice a month, classes, and we invite digital artists to come and do workshops with us. We have had Meri Walker and Catherine Caddigan with great success. We have online exhibitions devoted to digital art and a digital art category in all our physical shows. For me, it is thrilling to have a local community that is all fired up about mobile image making, to introduce people to this new media, to watch them begin to express themselves through their art.
This online community I have been a part of for many years is very important too, and part of my ambition now is to introduce these friends to my local friends through exhibitions.
What drives you on?
One of my partner’s nicknames for me is “Community B”, because I always want to help improve the community I am in. Right now, I am doing that with my digital art group, but I have always worked on something.
‘What’s in My Pocketbook?’ ©Barbara Braman
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
I am not sure I think that way. I have a lot of achievements that I am very proud of, and they all represent to me that I was doing the right thing in the right place at the right time, and that what I did was meaningful to others. As the spouse of a military doctor I had to move a lot. Yet, everywhere I went there was some way to share my enthusiasms and abilities with others. I am proud that groups I started continue in some form to this day, from a quilting group in Berlin in the late 1980s to a store at our Waldorf school to a group for families that adopted from Asia in the 1990s. I hope my digital art group is just as successful.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Dishonesty and an inflated sense of self worth.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would she think?
I think she might be pleased, if she could get over being so judgmental. In a lot of ways, I have not lived up to her expectations. I hope she could acknowledge how I have tried to remain true to our core values and have made much beauty out of the opportunities that came my way.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
Although I love to collect things that catch my eye, I do not attach so much to individual items, my eye is always roving. Yet, I do yearn for my mother’s blue glass footed pudding bowls, that were somehow lost 30 ago when we sold her house. I think of them often. I am sure it is me longing for the love and security of those days, when dinner was always followed by dessert and if I was lucky it was chocolate pudding.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Finding the facts about what is going on around us. This is important, because in allowing the distortion of facts, we are going to be tested by the rise of nationalism and climate change.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
I want to.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
I have been extraordinarily blessed with love all my life. I had wonderful parents who provided me with security, a great education, and a model for how we should be involved in our world. My partner for the past 17 years shows his love by has encouraged me in every way. My three children are another source of great love and pride
‘Morning Tea: Self Portrait’ ©Barbara Braman
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