Thursday, December 9, 2010

The only things certain in life...

The end of the year is (not so) slowing approaching. The news channels are filled with congressional debates over Democrats and Republicans, deficits and budget cuts. If these economic times have not deprived us of employment, we will soon be finding our last paycheck of 2010 shortly followed by a beloved W4 form.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "The only things certain in life are death and taxes." And here's to hoping this years taxes don't make you feel like this:

© Ashley Williamson 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Fountain

I'm a movie fan and I've seen a some that I love and some that I hate and a lot that fall somewhere in between. One movie that I have always been a fan of is The Fountain. I've talked to a many who haven't cared for it or just haven't gotten it so here's my brief synopsis.

Hugh Jackman plays the male lead in three different stories. In one he's a scientist whose wife, played by Rachel Weisz, is stricken with cancer. Through out the movie he's conducting research to try and find a cure for her.

His second character is a conquistador who has been sent by his queen to ancient Mayan society where he searches for the tree of life in order to free her from captivity.

And in a third plot he is traveling through space in a bubble with an ancient tree towards a nebula that wraps a dying star.

It all sounds a little...."artsy fartsy," right? Well it is but it's also a great story about life, death, love and the prospects of eternity. And if you want something off of main stream films this one is worth watching.

The movie (mostly the third plot line) inspired me to make this photograph similarly titled, "The Fountain."

© Ashley Williamson 2010

This is what a fish bowl, some painted poster board, small twigs and some faux foliage (the leaf on the tree I stole from my house plant) will get you.
(Also, a thanks to Christine Nowicki Kelce for being my studio assistant.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Splish Splash

I haven't posted any new product work in a while and thought I've been a little overdue. After some time in the studio and in front of a computer, here's what I've been up to: a contact lens.

© Ashley Williamson 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Meddaughs

I've known Keli for a couple of years now and taking pictures is one of those things we had talked about for a long time. Well we finally found time to get together and get it done. They're such a fun bunch of people and I think this picture says it all!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Brittany and Vanessa

My very dear and very best friend, Brittany is moving to Nashville to finish up nursing school in August and her sister Vanessa is moving to Florida the same time. There will be a lot of people who are going to miss them, other than myself, and before their departure they asked me to take some photos of them.

So, I happily agreed and we met in a fantastic little park in Longmont. Little did I know before scheduling the shoot that it was supposed to be 100°F that day. But luckily we went early in the day just in time to share the park with some day campers and to avoid too much heat.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Collaborative Efforts

Fish, fish, fish. I couldn't stop thinking about a fish in tank. From there a thought crept in of a feather floating in the air. Water and air: I couldn't figure out what it meant and what it was supposed to be as a photograph, other than the elements. I don't know how I decided that every image in my head should be tied to a product but I just wasn't getting to an end. I was talking about it with a friend and then out came the suggestion, "Element skateboards." And that was final piece I was looking for.

I like the idea of advertising something without using the actual "something." The idea for my photograph is exactly that. Water that's not exactly water, fire that's not exactly fire, etc.

Also, this project was a nice reminder of how sometimes an outside opinion or second set of eyes can show you something you never saw. Much like taking a break from your own work can bring a fresh insight when revisited late.

So opinions and suggestions always welcome.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Robert ParkeHarrison

Although some artists will say that living in a box and never looking at any other work makes them a better artist, I humbly disagree. Knowing what has been done, by who, and how helps me understand the history of my passion. I don't like every piece of work ever made, that much is certain, but both those I love and dislike inspire me to create. So, for your reading pleasure, a short criticism on one of my favorites.

Like an author's blank page, an artist begins with a blank canvas. Sometimes influenced by dreams, the past, the present or a simple object, the artist works to create an image that conveys an idea to the viewer. Robert ParkeHarrison creates photographs from sculptures, paintings and darkroom techniques that tell stories of a shattered earth and an everyday man's attempts to repair it.
     In one image, Da Vinci's Wings, ParkeHarrison is seen standing on an untrimmed tree branch in a plain white shirt and similarly simple black pants. His knees bent and arms sprawled to his sides are each baring the weight of wings constructed of wooden veins and delicate coverings. He is reminiscent of the Wright Brother's hand crafted airplane and a super hero looking stoically towards the sky. Both these elements draw on the industrial and fantastical history of our modern society. The bowl-like helmut on his head reveals that he is man of action; a man with a plan. The land his branch is perched upon is worn with a sense of destruction and disarray as it is merely a pile of rubble.
     As ParkeHarrison plays the role of this sole survivor of the broken Earth, his methods of repair seem unreal. His only resources are what man has left on the land; branches of trees, planks of wood, fabric and other remnants. The series this piece belongs to, The Architect's Brother, is filled with the actions of this man born into machine. He is the man that pulls the sod back onto the land as if it were a rug shuffled across the room and he is the man that calls on the birds to lift a fallen friend back to his home. Where the architect has created the framework for society's buildings, his brother is the advocate for the Earth that has been torn by a society of technology, overuse, and consumption. These images become portraits of an inevitable environment.
     Through the construction of sets and creating paper negatives collaged together, ParkeHarrison's images are elaborate. The images are photogravures covered in bee's wax, where the encaustic creates a soft atmosphere within the photos calling up the post apocalyptic theme. The gray scale tone adds to the feeling of abandonment and loneliness while the actions of the everyday man leave us hopeful. Not only provocative but relevant to today's societal ways of living, ParkeHarrison begs the viewer to consider the world in relation to the land and what will be the burden of the "architect's brother" when he is the last man standing.

On the agenda: 1. Study more art history 2. Write more

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Backwards and Forwards

The mind is a peculiar thing and the more I think about it the more I don't understand it. The more I don't understand it, the less I question it.

Sometimes when approaching a new project I come up with a concept in my mind and start to put the pieces of the image together. Sometimes I have a product in mind and ponder it's best (or maybe worst) qualities and develop the concept. And then every once in a great while it just all appears at once; like this one, a watch on a pear.

I knew it would be a red bartlett with its curves and alluring tone. And of course, as the pear is symbolic of the female figure, it would be a woman's watch. The dark deep background would be simple and clean. And it all turned out the way I planned.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Howard Zinn

Author, historian, activist: Howard Zinn passed away on January 27, 2010. As a great intellectual in American Society there are none other like him and the optimist in me that believes his wisdom will not die with him.

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places--and there are so many--where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Howard Zinn, from "The Optimism of Uncertainty" (2004)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making the Old New

I recently worked on a project where I had to design a deck of cards where each suit was inspired by another artist. So I thought back to through the history of photography to do some research and was drawn to Anna Atkins. She was a photographer and a botanist who used the Cyanotype process to create a scientific documentation of plants. I wanted to take something that may not necessarily be considered "art" and make it such.

I'm not usually a fan of photographs of floras and plants but I wanted to take this opportunity to come up with a creative concept. So I walked along the street I went-a-pickin' out plants that looked interesting. I then contact exposed them to 4 x 5 film. In the dark, I arranged the plants on the sheet of film and flipped on the light switch for a few seconds...a (not so) highly scientific process.

Here are a few of my favorites:

I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. These are scans of the 4 x 5 film and I'd like to take them into the darkroom and see how some prints turn out.

Coming soon: Along the same thought of taking something not considered "art" and making it such, one suit of my cards was inspired by the Rorschach test.