Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Focus On: ara133photography


It is truly inspiring to talk with a multi-talented artist. Meet Amy of ara133photography. A graduate student living in a small Pennsylvania college town, Amy has many passions. She loves quilting, creating pysanky eggs and oil painting, as well as photography. Not only is Amy featured regularly on Etsy's front page, she also has a second Etsy shop. She strikes a chord in many people on Etsy, and she is one of the site's most popular photographers.

If you are looking to spark your creativity in 2009, read my conversation with Amy. The only thing Amy needs is more hours in the day in which to enjoy her talents!

Ann Wilkinson: You wear many hats -- graduate student, photographer, painter, fine-art crafter. Do you have a progression of how you got into each of these endeavors? How did everything start to fall into place for you?

Amy: I have been painting and taking photographs since I was about 13. I took painting lessons for a few years when I was young, and I can't even remember exactly when I started taking photographs. I do know it grew into a serious hobby when I was about 13 and my cousin gave me her late father's Pentax ME film camera, which I still have! I like to experiment with different media, so I guess that's where my interest in quilting and pysanky comes from.


AW: You come from Pennsylvania. It's a very diverse state. Can you describe where you live?

Amy: I grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Pennsylvania for graduate school; it was quite a change for me! After living in suburbs not far from the ocean, it took awhile for me to get used to being so landlocked. I live in a college town, which is really nice, and there are a lot of cultural activities, restaurants and shopping! But if you travel just a little bit in any direction you find yourself in a very pretty rural area of farms and woods. I'm enjoying finding new places for hiking and photography!

Colorful Cardinal

AW: Your photographs include a series of woodland creatures and microscopy photography. How do these differing subjects satisfy the artist in you?

Amy: I guess I have a wide variety of interests -- I can't do just one thing for very long!

AW: Does your painting inspire your photography, or does your photography inspire your painting?

Amy: Actually, I tend to keep the two pretty separate! Most of my paintings are portraits, and I don't do any portraiture photography. Well, I don't anymore -- I used to do some by commission. Most of my portrait paintings are inspired by books and historical stories; they're more real-life inspired than my photography, as the latter tends to head into my dream world.

AW: How do you find inspiration on Etsy?

Amy: Every day I find inspiration here! There are so many amazingly talented artists. Sometimes I am inspired to try a technique I haven't tried before, or to explore a certain color palette.

AW: Do your microscopy images have anything to do with your graduate studies?

Amy: Not really! I study plants and some of the images are of flower petals and leaves, but beyond that they are unrelated. I have a microscope because of my degree, indirectly, as I was working in a lab in the industry sector and they were throwing away a very old microscope. I snatched it up! My microscopic images in my shop were inspired by the idea of finding interesting views in everyday objects.

Tunnel of Thoughts

AW: Could you give us a mini-tutorial on how you create your microscopy images?

Amy: I have an old Fisher brand microscope. It doesn't have any sort of camera attachment, so I have to hand-hold one of my smaller cameras up to the eyepiece -- focusing is difficult but not impossible! For the slides, I generally take a thin section peel from a flower petal, etc., using some dissecting equipment I have from college days. I place the section on a slide and typically view the images at about 10x magnification. I've used pond water samples, soap bubbles, eyeshadow, vegetables -- really anything I can find in the house that I can take a thin section of.


AW: How do you envision your life five years from now?

Amy: I would love to continuously expand my artistic horizons in photography and digital art while teaching biology at a small college.


AW: One last question, Amy: If you received a thousand-dollar shopping spree here on Etsy, what would you buy?

Amy: A LOT of art! There are a few pieces of jewelry I have my eye on, some super-cute knitwear, original paintings, photographs, gifts for friends, toys for my cats....!

A world traveler and self-taught photographer, look for Ann wandering around city streets and tromping through woods and hiking trails with her camera. After owning an international transportation business for many years, Ann has found her creative spirit again through the lens. See more at Ann's shop and her website.


Alison Du Bois said...

Ann, Thanks for sharing such a nice interview of Amy ~ I'm a great admirer of her work!

Ann Wilkinson said...

Thanks, Alison,
I'm a huge fan of Amy's, too. She's a pretty cool person and it was fun talking with her.

Beth said...

Love her talent.

Pam said...

Ann, I really enjoyed this interview! Great job!

Amy , you are one of my favorite photographers! Keep up the amazing work!


Karen Casey-Smith said...

Wonderful interview, Ann! Amy is such an interesting, creative person and so multi-talented.

ara133photography said...

Oh wow, thank you all sooooooo much!! :)

Anonymous said...

Great work! Awesome pics!

Lu Lu's Melt Shoppe and Photography said...

lovely lovely work :)

Katie said...

Beautiful work! I really love the Tara photo. I always find it so interesting to hear about how other photographers work, and where they find inspiration.

Tiffany Teske said...

This is a great interview about Amy, Ann! I am lucky to own some of her work. She is a very nice person.

Allie said...

Awesome interview with such a talented artist! Amy is one of my favorites!