My Holliston High School teacher and great mentor of mine, Marjorie Picchi, once told me “once you think a piece is done, it is halfway done.” For me this fact has been a great measuring stick for my works. However, completion of the piece is merely the first of three hurdles every artist has to clear–the second and third being documentation and reflection.
Crime Scenes vs. Candids
It took several years for the loathing I had for shooting my own work to transform to a passion for photography. Improvements in technology was a great help in getting better images with less cost. Yet the real joy came from when I stopped taking static neutral shots of sculpture and started to take portraits.
If I had to choose a single element that makes Astrobots unique, I’d say it was their ability to emote: the personality that beams from big chunks of bicycle parts is what drives me to weld these things together to begin with. Originally I was trying to photograph them as if I was documenting a crime scene: neutral and unbiased. I used to take great care to eliminate backgrounds involving an elaborate setup of pristine white studio paper and strobes. Many hours were spent removing backgrounds in order to separate art from environment. Looking back I see these photographs more in the style of a crime scene–neutral and unbiased, than an honest and real representation of my work in an everyday environment. Away went the cumbersome studio apparatus, and out came the incandescent lights and the portrait lens.
Currently I’ve been shooting under flood lights in my home studio. My desk is a big table my brother made, replica from the television series, Firefly. The background is a curtain I made from some discount material. Sometimes I experiment with some incandescent lights.
I try to learn something every time I pick up my camera. Karla was a real leap. She’s got tons of charisma, and I was excited to show off her charms. When shooting Karla I realized I could use my computer monitor as a backlight.
Writer’s Ink is Reflective
It may or may not be obvious that when I create an Astrobot, I’m acting more on instinct than purpose, which I think adds to the whim and the human quality of a robot: in other words, I try not to overthink things when I make stuff. However, I like to spend some time after a piece is made, in order to reflect on the qualities that I’d like to pursue in the next piece. Nothing hones your thoughts quicker than trying squeezing them out the tip of a pen.
I need to keep good records of these critters. While the larger class robots tend to stick around for a while, the smaller Mercury and Castillo class Astrobots can leave the nest as soon as the clear-coat dries–particularly the special requests. Sometimes it’s hard to get it all documented before they’re gone. Seeing my work enter into another’s life is one of the joys of being an artist: sometimes you have to write in shorthand and set your shutter speed high as they whisk off to their new lives.
Related Links: Karla