Christine Beatty | Issue Eight Interview

October 15, 2019

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work 

 

Born and raised in Arizona, I studied at Arizona State University where I received my BFA in Photography and also received a minor and certificate in Design and Marketing. Growing up in the harsh heat and soft nights of the desert has inspired a lot of my creativity and process in making, inspiring imagination and the exploration of place. My work has changed year to year. For a while I completed portraiture projects to tell stories; then began exploring memory and nostalgia through the self and place. Next observing reality through the capturing of select moments and weaving them together.  

 

What set you off as an artist?

 

In seventh grade I took to the process and possibilities of photography. I loved the way that reality could be altered and photographed, forever preserving a changed moment or memory. I photographed my friends and myself often. We would tell stories with our images and craft new designs and concepts. 

 

 

Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work 

 

Both reality and memory are concepts I explore. I am intrigued by the way memory grows within us and entangles itself within our current experiences. My project involving digital compilations of images is an exploration in the digital process, and the way that technology allows us to blur the lines between past and present, reality and dreams. With a dreamlike quality, the resulting images reveal a stacked nostalgia, forming a new world with the parts of forgotten moments. Nostalgia and déjà vu seem to occupy this liminal space, and I enjoy exploring that through a variety of methods. A few projects of mine involved capturing images throughout the day for months at a time. Always in a moment of pause at something that felt familiar or maybe not so. These images would then be sequenced together as I found correlating threads of symbols and meanings. 

 

What art do you most identify with? any specific influences or research areas?

 

I have found myself identifying with many inspirations over the years. In an overall art scope, my recent obsession is Agnes Pelton, whose vibrant and emotional abstract paintings encourage a different take on the environment around us. Along the same thought, Jackson Pollock and Wassily Kandinsky were also large influences on me when I was first attending university classes. During that time, I created paintings of my own, however also brought these ideas of color and the expression of thought into photography. 

 

My first photographic inspiration was certainly Annie Leibowitz, whose work I heavily looked up to when creating portraits. Her ability to capture a different side and facet of her subjects has always been very impressive to me, not to mention maintaining a personal style and creative direction. A more recent photographer I have been inspired by is Linda Alterwitz, who uses medical equipment in her projects, and often intertwines those images with others of the natural world. 

 

Is there something you couldn't live without in your studio? what is your most essential tool?

 

My notebook, I carry it everywhere with me. The pages are filled with lists, ideas, dreams from the night before, and bits of quotes that inspire me. Of course I cannot make my work without a camera, however it is having a notebook that lends to sparking inspiration and creativity. 

 

Tell us how you organise, plan, and prioritise your work

 

I create a lot of lists. I am always writing out lists of what I am working on, the next steps, projects in waiting, and what they mean to me. My process can differ for each project once it has started. Sometimes I will make sketches of what the final product may look like, or I will write out a list of ideas for different shots and angles. Other times, I will scour my old files and find images that I would like to bring back to the surface and start from there. An outline of the project and the steps required is very important for me to stay on track. If I am having trouble finding time I will schedule projects into my calendar to block out time. 

 

How do you navigate the art world?

 

I attend arts events and openings in Arizona, which is my favorite way to keep tabs on the art world. Networking is so valuable, and meeting other artists and art professionals in the area can bring so many connections and also open up support systems. Keeping in touch with friends and peers who have moved out of state is also very helpful to stay linked in, though I also research online through sites such as artnews.com.
 

After graduating with a BFA in Photography, I did not have a clear idea of where I was headed, and applied to a broad net of opportunities. After some time, I was hired with the City of Tempe to work in the Public Art Department, where I have learned so much about a field of the arts that was not often discussed in my education. It is also a great experience to work for the community that I grew up in, and to watch the arts expand there. I now also work for the Tempe History Museum, where I have found a great interest in museum studies and the way communities hold and treasure their history. I am glad to have jobs that engage my creativity, and I continue my art practice on the side. The expansion of my artwork has evolved from photo-based projects, to integrating images with handmade books, to sequencing images with poetry, as well as to larger installation with mixed media. With multiple projects in the works, and a couple coming to completion, I hope to continue expanding my art career. 
 

 

Professionally, what is your goal?

 

At the moment, my goal is to return to school and apply for a masters program. The process of which has taken me some time. An overarching goal for my work is to explore other avenues of art making further. Until this point, my work has been largely photographic with some painting and book making. However, I would like to push myself further and expand on the artist books I have created as well as delve further into digital processing. My audacious creative dreams are to experiment also in illustration, installation, and even fashion design. 
 

Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works?

 

An upcoming project in the works will revolve around the topic of dreams. Naturally, in working with reality and memory, dreams are a closeby thought and resource with their connection to the subconscious. Over the years, I have completed a lot of research on the topic, both towards my art practice and also for my personal interest, and am excited to be exploring it further. Right now I am in the stage of gathering all of the materials I have read, watched, and loved, and brainstorming how to bring them together in a photographic and possibly journalistic method. A couple of my favorite dream-related items right now are the book, Art of Dreaming, by Carlos Castaneda, and the television series, The OA, created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij.

 

 

 

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