- Artist Name
Laura Young Photography
- Artist Website
- Additional web address
- How and when did you start creating?
I've been taking photographs for over twenty years. Like many digital photographers, I had amassed a considerable collection of images which then remained trapped in my computer for years with occassional appearances on one blog or another. Well-meaning friends pestered me about "doing something" more significant with them but the farthest I got was organizing my files when I found myself in a caregiving role with my father. He was a hobby photographer as well but owned a heating and air conditioning wholesalership so that he could keep a roof over our head. After he died I looked through the work of his that remains and it was stunning. Such a hidden talent, spending his days selling furnaces on 58th and Ashland! It gave me a lot to think about and provided the impetus I needed to free a few of my images from captivity. In fact, a friend "forced me" to sign up for RAW last year which was my first official show. I've shown work almost continually since then.
- What is your primary medium and what will you be showing at the Ravenswood ArtWalk?
Photography and digitally transformed photographic art. I describe my work as "contemplative" with an emphasis on macro and nature scenes although I process many of my images in a unique way that lend a distinct "painted" feel to them. In fact, many are printed on canvas to further enhance that effect. People often decribe my work as evokative. For RAW I will present a range of work including Lake Michigan beach scapes, floral details, butterfly collections (some really funky purple monarchs), and some fun kitchy work. I almost hate to tell you subject matter because you might think, "Oh, I've seen the beach plenty of times." Trust me, not like this. In fact, at a show in Naperville recently several people stopped to view a piece of mine entitled, "Summer's End" and wistfully said they would like to be on that beach. I told them they just had to drive to Gary, IN. Needless to say, that wasn't what they were expecting to hear. Might have given some Napervillians nightmares that night.
- Where do you find your inspiration? What is your greatest influence?
Right now I'm deeply into a "dead animal" phase (lol) which is much cooler than it sounds although I'm not sure that current design trends suggest festooning ones walls with dead butterflies and birds. I have an awesome shot of a ten point buck skeleton dusted with snow. You'll just have to trust me on that. I am inspired and fascinated by natural processes...the cycles of nature, birth and death, decay and new life.
Back to my Dad, I did inherit his eye. When my grandmother (Mom's mom) heard about my photography, she asked me if I took "nice pictures" or just a lot of flowers like my father. She was very funny to me even though I knew she was serious. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had a lot of spider pictures, too. She passed away long before I found myself attracted to skeletons and washed up coho salmon. Basically, if I have to lay on the ground in mud or balance precariously on rocks to photograph something then I'm in heaven. I'll have decor-friendly work at RAW.
- This year the Chicago Artist Month theme is Art Block by Block, which looks at the impact of artists on community, describe your experience as a creative in your neighborhood?
My neighbors now know I'm the person to call if they see some really interesting dead animal in the area. (lol...kind of true). In terms of community building, I did get involved in several "Pop Up" gallery events in Miller Beach, IN (a subsection of Gary) and that was really inspirational. There is an arts organization newly formed there that has a mission of revitalizing the community through the arts. I grew up in Gary and was very happy to participate. The reception by the community was simply mind-blowing. And the talent, partcularly of the young people in the community was outstanding. People came out in droves and many of them bought art. That was huge because it's such a poor community. The pride people took in the pieces they purchased was really humbling. You could feel how big the decision was, to pay money for a piece of art. It raised the bar for me, actually. I only want to give people the best of what I can do as reasonably priced as I can possibly make it.
- What are you looking forward to seeing at the 2012 Ravenswood Artwalk?
I'm just excited about all the changes they are instituting this year so I'm looking forward to seeing how the entire event takes shape. The artists were encouraged to give feedback on the experience last year and it was very much taken to heart. That was thrilling to see (it doesn't always happen that way!). I think this will be an outstanding experience and much easier for people to take in with a more compact and well integrated exhibit plan this year.
- Explain the images you are submitting for the blog.
This will give you a sense of the range of what you might see. Summer's End is the shot that had the people of Naperville wanting to vacation in Gary. I grew up with just a few sand dunes between my house and that lifeguard stand. Electric Poppy was a shot that made me realize I wasn't going to be a purist where digital work was concerned. Originally I thought digital manipulation was cheating. However, when I started to follow my own aesthetic sense and began to interpret my images outside their original state, very exciting creative possibilities opened up. Finally I am including a dead butterfly photo because I did get you a little curious, didn't I?