Kyle Graham, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of November and December 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Kyle some questions about her work and studio practice:
Q: Tell us about your background.
Hello! I currently reside in Whistler, BC, Canada, moved to the west coast in 2006 although grew up in Whitby, Ontario. I studied Adventure Tourism in college, and didn’t start making what I considered art until spring of 2017. The exploration had started previously but personally I didn’t feel anything had any oomph to it even though I had been exploring with a camera since about 2010 in different capacities.
A lot of my background consists of adventures in the mountains, coastal landscapes, hiking, climbing, camping, mountain biking, skiing, and so forth. Although my mind has always had a fascination with art and creating works that provoke emotions and thoughts, I’ve simply been a self taught photographer with no prior experience in the artistic world. Currently I work part-time as a photographer, and part-time security personnel for a museum in Whistler, plus a few random odds and ends.
Q: How would you describe your work?
I am a self portrait photographer, I explore comfort zones, social constructs, personalized constructs, and attempt to find natural landscapes (generally) that can help facilitate a narrative to those experiences and ideas. Using the nude form primarily as it’s been a focal point to much anxiety growing up, it can host a variety of emotions.
Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Camera, tripod, shutter release cable, and my laptop which has Lightroom. Also having a vehicle to get to unique locations is quite nice, or a bike to get there.
Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Although I’ll have rough ideas, it’s going out and exploring, seeing what speaks to me. I’ll go under bridges, wade through rivers, climb on obstacles, experiment. I’ll look at spaces for a few minutes, think of poses, set-up the camera, trigger, try a couple shots, re-adjust framing, etc.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Erwin Olaf in Europe, his imagery was one of the first I’ve seen that made me a little uncomfortable and gives me anxiety, his work pokes at convention. A lot of my work is loosely based around the same premise.
Q: What are your goals for the residency?
These goals have funny enough changed, and they could change again during the residency. Originally I had the idea to expand current series surrounding nudes in nature, and gender. Although with further thought realized new series that compliment these series already started might be a better idea due to great differences in landscape design.
With a landscape that is familiar from growing up not too far away, although foreign when it comes to art, and with the shifts in changing seasons, I’m looking to force my perspective to think different on how I view landscapes. From a combination to thinking more critically about poses with it’s intervention with land in the nude form. Gender from the spectrum of gender identification and wearing lingerie/dress’s and the psychological ideas on how I feel society has processed this series.
A new series, The Voyeur, it’s taking a look at how the online world has changed so dramatically over the last couple decades and our interactions with strangers online has altered our ideas of interaction, the frame work is around nudity, exhibitionism from simple talking to explicit in nature imagery. I have another idea that I may tackle surrounding our phones/cameras and our interactions in landscapes, with people, scenic areas, etc, but creating augmented reality artistic expressions, this one I’ve dabbled in before but need to see where it may lead.
Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
Explore, explore, explore. Get uncomfortable, try something new, go against the grain. Make things that you know aren’t going to work out. Step back, think, process, try, experiment, repeat.
Q: What’s next for you?
I don’t know…More residencies, expand/creating series, applying to shows, maybe get into a renegade style that goes against the regular spectrum on how you’re suppose to create you’re artistic image?