We are delighted to publish the twentieth of our newly 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 feature exceptionally talented mobile photographer, Fleur Schim from Leucadia in California, United States. We have had the pleasure of interviewing Schim many times over the years and one thing that comes through in every interview is her positivity, resilience and understanding that manifest in a triumph that spills out into her magnificent artwork.
To read our other interviews in this series with Jane Schultz, Susan Latty, Cindy Karp, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Deborah Kleven Morbeto, Patty Larson, Adrian McGarry, Catherine Caddigan, Rita Colantonio, Sarah Bichachi, Marco Prado, Mehmet Duyulmuş Gerry Coe, Cynthia Morgan, Christine Mignon, Mariëtte Schrijver, Phyllis Shenny, James Bacchi and Peter Wilkin please go here.
All images ©Fleur Schim
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know your work?
I introduce myself as an artist. Then, I elaborate that I am a mobile photographer and mobile or digital artist. Then, when I get that quizzical look, I describe my process of taking pictures with my iPhone, and then editing them on my IPad with a variety of editing applications. It helps to show them examples of my artistry.
What name do you use within social media and was this a conscious decision?
I made a conscious choice to use my first and last name when I began my journey as a mobile photographer. Previously, I was Msfleurie. I thought that sounded too cute to be taken seriously.
I am fleurschim on Facebook. fleurschim gallery on Instagram. fleurschim on Flickr. My new website is fleurschim.com.
What kind of family did you grow up in?
I grew up in Coral Gables, Florida, in an educated, Jewish family with strong cultural interests in religion, music and art. My father, a physician, was also very interested in classical music. He played the viola. My mother, a humanities professor, artist and art collector, took me to many museums and galleries.
Did your childhood influence your ideas about creativity?
My grandmother was a painter. She had lovely paintings in her home that she painted and collected. My mother was my first mentor, as she regularly immersed me in the arts while I was growing up. She took me to galleries, museums, ballet, and the theater.
Our house was overflowing with contemporary art that she collected. She also encouraged me to study art history in Florence, while in college.
Did your parents support your creativity?
Another interesting question. My mother supported my interest in the arts, as that was her passion. She supported my art history and antiquities studies in Florence. I believe she liked that I worked in an art gallery. I don’t think my father engaged with any of my art pursuits. He was a scientist, and had a limited interest in my creative side.
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
This is not something that I consciously chose. I never considered this as a title. I am evolving as a creative, as is my art style. I continue to experiment but find I express my artistry the best through atmospheric and emotive scenes.
What is creativity to you?
A friend called me a “creative” several years ago. I never identified myself like that, before. Now, however, I see myself continuously thinking how I can transform an image through multiple fun editing processes to a final product. This is my workflow. Sometimes this process is rather obvious. Other times, I find myself pausing, and returning at a later time, to find that my imagery is taking me in an unexpected direction. I usually have no idea what my endgame is. I toil with ‘when is enough’?
What did you do before (if appropriate) becoming an artist?
I became a mobile “artist” relatively recently. However, I have always been interested in art. I grew up surrounded by art. I studied art history in college. I have collected art, and viewed art in museums and galleries whenever I travel. Art is my passion.
Where are you most creative?
I am the most creative when traveling. I love different city scenes and experiences. However, during the pandemic, walking in nature is where I am the most creative. The beach is my happy place. I love the many dramatic scenes, actors, vantage points, lighting and smells; a wonderful and inspiring stage.
What inspires you?
My inspiration is what I see in everyday life. It is right in front of my eyes to behold. Beauty inspires me. I am fascinated by clouds. I love watching the ocean. Interesting street scenes challenge me. My art begins as images that I see around me every day.
Who inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by other iPhoneographers.
There are so many talented mobile artists that are doing cool art. It is really dazzling. I have no idea how they do what they do but am sure glad that they share their creativity.
Sometimes, I try to ‘riff’ off an image that I see on social media and enhance and elevate the imagery to my own original art.
Does your engagement on social media help you to plan your future projects?
I might see an image with cool clouds, a beautiful trail or beach scene with a surfer or bicycle and start scouring my images for one that inspires me to take it to another level with my favorite editing apps.
What does your average day look like?
I am a lucky girl. I get to walk in nature, daily. I am fortunate that I live near a beautiful canyon with lovely views. When the tide is low, my husband and I go down to the beach to walk. Sometimes, the clouds are extraordinary and they set the stage for something fun to work on later. Or, I ‘stalk’ surfers to capture them for other atmospheric scenes. Later, I edit on my iPad at home.
I also like to bake sourdough bread which I started at the beginning of the pandemic. I also love to read, garden and cook. I look forward to more travel and more photographic opportunities.
Is it your intention to ask questions or make the viewer question what they see?
Some of my images tell a story; intentionally or otherwise. Other images create excitement through double exposures, and deliberate layering of atmospheric imagery using my favorite apps.
Is there humour in your work?
Sometimes, especially when I layer in an unexpected element like a planet or a bird!
How important is failure in your work process? Do you incorporate it into your creative process?
Not sure how one fails in a creative process when it is possible to take a pause. My creative process sometimes stalls as I lose interest, but, I am easily able to find something else more satisfying to take its place.
How do you deal with criticism?
I am not a fan. Initially, I felt that I needed to convince people that what I do is legitimate art. Some people remain skeptical that my iPhone artistry is “art”. Some are dismissive of my editing style that changes the original image. They ask to see what the ‘real picture’ looked like.
Now, I am more comfortable with my mobile artistry skill set and care less when people are negative. I figure that they are snobs. I like what I create. I love the process. I am happy.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced your creative life?
I have been very busy creating art (and baking bread) during this never-ending pandemic. I am grateful that I have my creative outlets. They are golden. My talents have helped me disengage from a lot of the chaos in the world. I have been mindful and happy where my artistry has taken me.
Who dead or alive would you like to have dinner with?
Interesting question! I think it would be fun to share a meal with some of my favorite virtual artist “friends” and learn what inspires their art (Jane Schultz and Oola Christina come to mind!)
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve heard and still repeat to others?
I suppose the best piece of advice was from one of my earliest mentor’s, Dewitt Jones. I was at a Jack Davis creative photography workshop (Creative Photography for the Soul) on Molokai, in 2016. I had no idea my iPhone was a camera! I never heard of mobile photography. There was only one other attendee who only used her iPhone camera. Anyway, he pretty much demanded that I download some shooting apps, and go back to my room and learn Snapseed. He was right! I usually suggest to interested listeners that they begin with Snapseed! So obvious!
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