We are delighted to publish the fourth of our new styled interview entitled ‘Mobile Artists on Their Artistry’. Within this interview, we ask highly successful mobile artists twenty questions about their backgrounds, their work, social media, how Covid-19 has influenced their creative life and so much more…
Today, we are proud to publish our latest interview with highly talented and educator, Adrian McGarry. He has spent a lifetime in creativity and is also a proud recipient of an Associate (ARPS) distinction from The Royal Photographic Society in the visual arts category. “Ten years ago I began taking photographs with an iPhone, a huge shift from the Canon DSLR and multiple lenses that I had previously used. Smartphone photography became an obsession and my iPhone has been my preferred camera for many years…” he exclaimed.
To read the others in this series, please go here.
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know your work?
I’m a self-taught photographer and artist, a proud recipient of an Associate (ARPS) distinction from The Royal Photographic Society in their Visual Arts category. I photograph with an iPhone and explore the possibilities to further express myself beyond the capture of a photo by using creative editing apps with both iPhone and iPad.
What name do you use within social media and was this a conscious decision?
I keep it simple, so I am @adrianmcgarry on most platforms. My work is diverse, I also offer speaking and workshop events so I like to make it easy for people to find me.
What kind of family did you grow up in?
A loving environment. Hard working, God fearing. Two brothers. Grew up in the late fifties and sixties on Europe’s largest council estate.
Did your childhood influence your ideas about creativity?
I enjoyed art lessons at school and it was always one of my better subjects. I was always playing around with cameras from a young age.
Did your parents support your creativity?
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
I guess that I always had an urge to create art. I was a frustrated artist for a very long time. I can’t really draw, I tried watercolour and oils but accepted that I was a better photographer. A large amount of my career was spent creating graphic design and marketing material for clients, for a long time this was my main creative outlet.
The need to explore my own ideas and interests became stronger overtime and I searched for ways to express myself. Had it not been for the digital transformation of photography and art, and the ease to combine both, then my potential would probably never have been realised.
What is creativity to you?
Open-mindedness, experimentation, learning, rule-breaking, invention, soul-searching and satisfaction. The frustration felt when things don’t go quite to plan is nothing compared to the pure joy when an idea is fully accomplished.
What did you do before (if appropriate) becoming an artist?
I’ve enjoyed a creative career that has spanned over forty-five years. Working for and with large corporates, medium to small enterprises and running my own creative studio. I have gained in-depth experience in every aspect and level of the publishing industry. Now mostly retired from client based work, it is only over the last ten years or so that I have had the opportunity to concentrate more on my personal creative pursuits.
Where are you most creative?
In my iPhone or iPad! My mobile workflow via iOS devices gives me convenience and flexibility to explore creative possibilities even on-the-go. Landscape photography during the golden and blue hours is probably when I am inspired the most. Yet I can equally be motivated to create street photography in urban environments. When it comes to editing and creating art I am more night-owl than lark.
What inspires you?
A creative impulse within that never seems to diminish. My passion for learning and innovating is as strong as ever and I truly believe that my best images are still to be realised. As the song goes ‘I Still haven’t found what I’m looking for’.
Who inspires you?
I envy the ability of a traditional artist to express context and emotion with a stroke of brush or knife amid textured layers of paint. I’m searching for this same freedom of creativity in my photography and digital art.
Does your engagement on social media help you to plan your future projects?
I don’t have a social media strategy as such. So far, Instagram has certainly helped me understand the appeal of certain images.
What does your average day look like?
I have time, a very supportive wife, and I live near coast, countryside and mountains. A lot of my content is gathered on our walks and travels. Creativity can take me out before sunrise or keep me out until nightfall, sometimes both in the same day, it often keeps me from sleeping until I’m happy with what I’ve created. I spend the vast majority of life looking at the world through a mental camera lens. Weighing up possible angles and compositions of places visited and things that I see, reaching for the camera is an instinctive reaction to a scene or moment. This mental photographic standby mode is probably what led to me transitioning to the instant accessibility of smartphone cameras ten years ago.
Is it your intention to ask questions or make the viewer question what they see?
In my multi exposure and collage work I get feedback that people can find hidden elements or new perspectives in a scene long after the first viewing. I like to think that individuals will find their own meaning in a scene.
Is there humour in your work?
On the whole I guess not. I like to think my work brings pleasure to the viewer but my sense of humour hasn’t really influenced my photography or art.
How important is failure in your work process? Do you incorporate it into your creative process?
I set out to be my very best in everything I do and I enjoy success. There will be disappointments for sure but I’m at an age and point in my life where I can say that I don’t fear failure in my work. As a younger man true failure would have meant losing my livelihood and the ability to provide for my family, fortunately I don’t have to live with those type of pressures now
How do you deal with criticism?
You can’t please everyone right? I respect personal opinions. The way in which those opinions are communicated is far more important than the basic criticism. There is great benefit to receiving constructive feedback whether it’s for or against. I try to learn from it, I don’t always agree but I’ll always listen.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced your creative life?
During the height of COVID restrictions none of us had ever experienced the enforced removal of so many things that we once took for granted. I live at the North Wales coast and while respecting the ‘stay local’ restrictions, my permitted daily exercise became a chance to escape into photographic opportunities. This was my solace – a cherished sanctuary from our changed reality. I photograph with an iPhone and while adhering to the rules of lockdown, my unobtrusive, simple photographic equipment could be easily taken with me at all times. I have captured many images of this part of the shoreline prior to COVID and I decided to challenge myself to produce something different. My objective was to capture an interpretation of what I saw and felt that hopefully connects the viewer to the scene in a more surreal and expressive way. This meant taking my photography in a different direction, away from the confines of technical perfection and into a space that is more impulsive and far less predictable. What began as a creative distraction led to artistic compulsion. The images in my Coastal Impressions series are created in an abstract style that captures a scene with impressionistic, free-flowing camera movements and in-camera multi-exposures. These are re-imagined coastal scenes that reveal a personal interpretation of light and form. The result of emotion and spontaneity, a piece of art that reveals new meaning and secrets with each viewing. Each image can never be repeated, they are unique, intimate; a view of a world within a world. I don’t possess the ability to capture these scenes in oil or watercolour but I have found a way to express myself in much the same way.
Who dead or alive would you like to have dinner with?
My Mother (deceased), I’ve so many questions.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve heard and still repeat to others?
Create for yourself first and not for others, if you like your work somebody else is bound to.
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