Young Creatives: Vanessa Tignanelli

13570108_10153696987312551_699089179_oVanessa Tignanelli is a freelance documentary photographer whose work explores significant social and spiritual themes. Born in North Bay, Ontario, Vanessa earned her BA in Specialized Studio Art at the University of Guelph. Since her graduation in 2012 she has worked as Associate Editor & Photojournalist for SNAPD Guelph, Photo & Graphics Editor and Office Manager for The Ontarion, while operating an event photography business out of Guelph, Ontario. Recently she has entered into the independent film industry working under Production Designer Vince Moskowec. She is heading to Loyalist in the fall of 2016 to study photojournalism. 

Through her analyses of our connections to people, places or concepts, Vanessa has committed herself to capturing our complicated yet often beautiful existence. 


Christina: 
Are the collections posted on your website in chronological order?

Vanessa: No, they’re not. The website just highlights different kinds of work I have done, highlighting some strong series of mine. I tend to use it more for documentary style series, and facebook is what I use day to day.

Christina: So am I correct in thinking that Collective Isolation is the oldest series?

Collective Isolation
Collective Isolation

Vanessa: Yep! I still think it does well to showcase some of the themes I’m really interested in.

It was also at the point when my professor started to push me to consider photography as being the right medium for me. I was explaining to her that I wanted to take these photographs as a representation of disintegrating face-to-face communication and that I would paint them afterwards; she pointed out to me that my ideas were stronger if I left them as photographs, since that was where my original ideas lay.

Christina: Since graduating from Guelph, can you describe a bit of your process/journey towards doing documentary photography?

Vanessa: Well, as I naturally started to appreciate the use of the camera more and more, I wanted to get more involved in the community and practice the equipment that I had available to me. I started volunteering for The Ontarion newspaper as one of their photographers, and a few months later was offered the job as Photo & Graphics Editor. That was my real first step into photojournalism as a career.

Everything about photography really came together for me at that point. I realized how well it suits my personality, how even since I was a kid I had to take photographs to remember things in detail. I’m a visual learner, and I also like to be able to have access to people and different situations. I was my most comfortable and purposeful when I had a camera in my hand, and during that first year as a photojournalist something just clicked within me.

That position is only a year long, so I had to move on. I operated Snap’d Guelph for a little while, and then returned to The Ontarion as the Office Manager to gain a better understanding of the business behind print and online journalism. Such a valuable experience!

I’ve also operated my own photography business on the side, and helped a wedding photographer for a summer to try my hand at that. I eventually realized that it was the story that was the most important to me, and that I’m a documentary photographer at heart. Although it is nice to have the know-how to do all types of photography and make some money as I grow.

Christina: What’s your favourite part of documentary work? And what do you find the most challenging?

Vanessa: Documentary work is fascinating to me because it lets people in. It lets the viewer in, but more importantly it lets me in. I struggled for years as a painter trying to create something REAL and to point out connections between humanity. Why create a representation when you can capture it in reality? I realized that documentary work is all about having the ability to notice those moments, and a better tool for pointing them out to the world.

Christina: How do you bring your experiences as an artist to the work — do you think your own life experiences affect how your document and present others’?

Vanessa: Oh absolutely. I don’t think any photographer can necessarily remove their own perspectives and experiences from the things that call to them. There’s a reason why I NEED to photograph. Part of my development over the last few years has been to try and figure out exactly what that voice is inside of me. What is it I am trying to say? What am I trying to point out to the world? And is it for me, or for you, or both? These are all things that every artist needs to sit with themselves and figure out as they go. Eventually things pour out of you and you realize what your most sincere voice is. All I know is that while others feel like they are missing the moment by focusing on taking photos, I come alive.

Christina: So, that really ties into my next question and half answers it already — Have you learned anything substantial about yourself and your work since graduating?

Vanessa: Studying studio art was a very overwhelming experience. I’m not sure if everyone would agree with that, but to me it was challenging in so many ways. I still feel like I left without really understanding why I wanted to make art. In a lot of ways I have gone back to the original callings I had before I went to school to study art, which to me is a much better way to understand myself. School left me rather confused and far too much of an over thinker about the world and how I wanted to capture it. I don’t know if it’s because it was a time in my life where I was very heavily influenced by everything around me, inspired by every single little thing or person who came my way, or that I allowed myself to be affected by my professors or peers in ways I wish now I hadn’t cared about. I graduated a painter working in a gallery and considering a career as a curator. I’m being much more true to myself now as a photographer. At the end of the day, school played a significant role in helping me realize that.

Christina: I’m sure you take a ton of photos that never see the light of day; how do you end up choosing which ones you show?

Vanessa: Ah yes, hard drives full of unseen photos. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll all be discovered like Vivian Maier’s work hahaha No. Most shoots I do will be released either as a series or a single shot I liked, or a shoot I did for a client to give a sneak peak of what I can do for local businesses or events. Examples of concert photography, head shots, etc. I try to show the public a wide range of material that I have.

My website is specific to a documentary focus, which I’m always wanting to improve. I’m still working every day at getting better at editing, which also includes how many photos and in which order to place them in order to tell the strongest story. That’s a huge part of it, and the most difficult.

Having been in the situation yourself, it’s hard to edit a series together to tell the story the clearest. It might not be your most in-focus photo, but it’s the most captivating. It may be better to place it at the beginning or the end of the series. In this case, many images that I would deem to be good and strong photos, would never get used in the final series. I’m slowly getting better at learning how to talk to the general public using visual storytelling, which means I often cut good images because viewer doesn’t need it or the story doesn’t require it

Christina: So do you put them away for a while, and then try to look at them with fresh eyes? Or do you have people that help you decide?

Vanessa: That’s a good question!

Part of returning to school in September is to help gain a network of eyes that I can trust to help edit and push me to get better at that skill. Most professional documentary photographers have editors to narrow down their final series because it’s important to get an outside opinion. As I said, it’s hard to remove yourself when you were in the situation and already have attachments to it.

Over the last three years that I’ve been doing photography, I’ve been editing everything myself. I research photographers I admire; I look at their websites every day and continue to train myself to think like a documentary photographer while I’m shooting. Some series have taken me up to 6 months (if not more) to edit and solidify into a strong narrative.

It’s important to have fresh eyes going in, though there is also the risk of over-editing! I appreciate documentary photography because it’s meant to be very candid and requires little post-editing. What you get in-camera in the moment should already be strong. The magic already needs to be there, otherwise your photo will fall flat no matter how many tricks you know on Photoshop. The time spent editing is more in choosing the right photographs and the right way to present them. Whatever little image editing I do is concentrated on bringing the life back into the RAW file.

Christina: What about editing in terms of what photos to include or exclude in the series?

For example, in Dublin to Dingle you have — what seems to me to be 3 core elements to the series; there are the shots of religious iconography, the countryside, and (what I consider strongest) the shots of people engaged in everyday activities. How did you decide which and how many of what kind of shot to include?

Ireland+Travel+Photography_Vanessa+Tignanelli-96

Vanessa: So that is a perfect example of what not to do!

Dublin to Dingle is still a series that I really need to break down into three separate stories.

Christina: I’m so glad you said that because I totally agree.

Vanessa: I presented it on my website as more of a travel photography series rather than documentary. The truth is, I was there just to travel around and document, so it felt most sincere to be upfront about that. What is important for a documentary photographer, is to hopefully know and understand the situation and what story they want to tell prior to taking the photographs. If you know what story you’re aiming to tell, your photographs will better reflect that while you’re in the moment.

That’s why Dublin to Dingle feels like a mess of things, because it was; I had no plan. But, I do feel connected to the photos and am trying to figure out how best to present them. The same thing is happening now with a series I haven’t released yet.

Christina: Interesting I always thought that having a specific story you want to tell could lead to a biased series.

Vanessa: There is a difference between staying open to whatever new perspectives or approaches may come your way. I don’t mean that preplanning your story means projecting your opinions. There are still things to discover once you arrive, and the best photographers will be fluid in that sense.

Christina: I think there is a lot of strength in the photos that show the connection of people to the religious iconography — but the ones where the photo seems to just be of a church seems more “this is what I saw on my vacation” as opposed to “this is a part of life here”.

Vanessa: Yes, you’re absolutely right; diting Dublin to Dingle is on my list of things to do so I’m happy to hear others recognize the need for it!

Mitch, Wilds of the West, 2015
Mitch, Wilds of the West, 2015

Christina: You have a couple really exciting projects lined up in the next year — can you tell me a bit about them and how they came to be?

Vanessa: Up until recently, I had the romanticized understanding that my documentary projects would not be seen as important unless I ventured somewhere dramatic. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of speaking with some National Geographic, Vice, and Globe and Mail photographers about these projects I am pursuing. In speaking with them, I’ve realized the importance of telling stories that I understand more directly — stories that I am more connected to.

Though following a story on the kathoey community in Thailand still interests me greatly (and is dependent on a grant that I have applied for), I am now also pursuing opportunities that would be much more helpful to me and my practice than those that require me to fly somewhere far removed from everything I understand. In all honesty I have no real purpose being there but want to go simply because it fascinates me. The whole world fascinates me, but I’ve realized that a photographer can’t just pick some exotic locale or curious folks to make it their business to capture the mystery of it. I’m not saying not to take risks and travel, but I’ll give you an example of what I mean.

There is a program called the Missouri Photo Workshop that I am applying to partake in. The workshop focuses on the importance of practicing strong storytelling in places you wouldn’t think to look. I thought I had to fly to Thailand to capture something special; the workshop brings aspiring photographers to a small town where it seems nothing ever happens and says “look in your backyard and tell these touching stories first.” I learned a lot reading about their mission and talking to photographers who have been a part of the workshop. Their work is so much stronger; Because of this lesson, they are confident in their abilities to capture a good story anywhere.

Christina: That is fantastic!

I love that you’ve brought that up, because in a way it’s part of what I’m trying to do with this series — find interesting stories and things to share that are here in my own metaphorical backyard.

The Galacticats Summer Tour, Guelph to the Yukon, 2015
The Galacticats Summer Tour, Guelph to the Yukon, 2015

Vanessa: Exactly! We are so prone to put certain things up on a pedestal. It’s easy to get carried away in the idea that “My story won’t make the front page unless I’m on the front lines overseas.” which really isn’t true. There are cases of real moments of humanity, pain, acceptance, celebration, absolutely everywhere and the best documentary photographers will be able to present them just as powerfully.

That lesson is also why i’m excited to go to Belleville where I was accepted into the Photojournalism program at Loyalist College. A common reaction I get is ‘really? Belleville? Huh.” But while it’s not the most romantic location, I’m excited for the challenge that is very closely mirroring what they accomplish in the Missouri Workshop. As well, Belleville is a small town that has spit out some amazing alumni!

Christina: What role does community play in your pursuit of learning to become a better photographer?

Vanessa: I think you said it really well in your introduction to this series, as did the lovely Monica Tap. It’s so hard to grow your work on your own. Although you can pursue internal realizations, and push yourself to make your thoughts and yearnings to create more authentic or sincere, at the end of the day, there is a reason why you are trying to pull that all out and present it to others.

It’s important to find clarity in your work, to become a better communicator, otherwise there is no point in making art. You can sit with your own thoughts and never share them. But artists have an undying need to share something. If you don’t have trusted peers to help guide you in this task, then it’s very hard to know whether or not you’re getting any points across.

Artists have an undying need to share something. If you don't have trusted peers to help guide you in this task, then it's very hard to know whether or not you're getting any points across.

Christina: Is there a particular group of people that you depend on for that?

Vanessa: I’ve been lucky to connect via Skype with photographers I admire. I’m comfortable reaching out and I’ve made great bonds with some heroes of mine. Those are the ones I turn to. Of course, they’re working on their careers and are light-years ahead of me in terms of experience, so though they are available as mentors in a sense, I would also like to have a more closely related community to grow with.

Christina: Are there any that you can identify as directly influencing you and your work?

Vanessa: Kitra Cahana was the youngest National Geographic staff photographer and focuses on some similar themes that I’ve been working on surrounding the concept of escapism. Christian Borys writes for VICE News and recently returned from the front lines in Ukraine. Michelle Siu is an alumni of Loyalist and the Missouri Photo Workshop and has been winning awards and doing very well. Erika Larson is a National Geographic photographer who’s made the cover a few times and is the best Skype date you’ll ever have! Cory Richards is the most badass human being; we were connected through a mutual friend studying in Africa.

Christina:  Do you have any advice for aspiring documentary photographers?

Vanessa: Research and speak to the amazing people who have found great success in it. Shoot every day. Discover what it is that calls you to tell stories, or gravitate towards certain situations. Don’t over-edit your photographs, try and find the true essence of what they are portraying instead. Don’t reach for a story; rather, be genuine and honest about what you have captured. If you feel compelled to document your surroundings, and the camera gives you the access that you crave, the permission to disappear into your focus, and the ability to really see people, then you are a documentary photographer. You are allowed to feel captivated, curious, and frightened about this world.

Our understanding of life, as it is today and yesterday, would not be the same without those willing to devote their lives to the importance of quietly presenting it to others in the most real way possible. Photography will allow you to leave something behind, removed from self-importance and based in appreciation for all that we experience together in this life.  I can’t think of a more noble, passionate or beautiful vocation.

Christina: Beautiful!

Vanessa’s photography can be found on her website,  facebook, and instagram.

Young Creatives: Elizabeth Sullivan

Elizabeth SullivanElizabeth Sullivan’s paintings are a playful investigation of paint application and an exploration of colour, composition and space. Energy and movement are important in her work as she strives to create paintings with visual contradiction while incorporating moments of recognition. She dissects and reassembles found imagery from surrounding landscapes, art history, visual culture and uses these cues to inspire an unexpected collection of paint and mark making.

Elizabeth works as a forest fire-fighter during the summer months and spends the rest of her time making art. She grew up in Ennismore, Ontario and in 2012 she earned her BA from the School of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Guelph, specializing in painting. Her work has been shown in Peterborough, Waterloo and Guelph. 

Christina: You graduated from the University of Guelph in 2012 and now almost four years later, you haven’t stopped pursuing and perfecting your painting. Where did you start when you left school and thought “I want to keep making art”?

Elizabeth: I went to India with my sister for a couple months as soon as I finished and that was a great break from everything. When my season of fire-fighting up north was finished in September, I wanted to make a fresh start to “making art out of school” so Kate Szabo, Nick Silvani and I moved to Montreal.

There we shared an apartment, were able to attend the many art gallery openings, artist talks, we became members of an artist run center and had our own studios and work time. Montreal is full of a really artistic lively vibe that is very nurturing and supportive for young artists.

Christina: Why did you choose Montreal for that over Toronto?

Elizabeth: We were given to understand that Montreal is a more supportive community for emerging artists. Rent was much more affordable and so renting a studio as well as an apartment was much more feasible. There also seemed to be more experimental work going on. People in Montreal embrace the arts and culture more than you typically see in Toronto. In the business section people were still aware of a big art show going on, or a street installation. It didn’t seem as separated. Art had infiltrated the city, through murals, projections, music festivals in the winter, so there were more opportunities.

When my lease was up it was time to head back to work as a forest fire fighter, which meant moving back to Ontario. Kate stayed in Montreal though and loved it very very much.

Christina: Does your work fighting forest fires find its way into your paintings?

Elizabeth: I think it has indirectly. My abstract paintings have a lot of energy to them, and a vast space surrounding them. I think being in remote Canadian wilderness and experiencing this natural energy exploding and tearing through the landscape has influenced them. But when I choose the actual elements I am layering, I focus more on texture and textiles, or patterns rather than images from up North.

Overcome
Overcome, 2014, 24in x 24in, mixed media on board

Christina: I can really see that. “Overcome” for example, has a lot of fire and water in it, and yet, when you look closely, it’s made up of these delicate lacy moments, and even a bit that reminds me of the orange fencing sometimes seen around construction areas.

Elizabeth: Yes, I am often drawn to include contrasting moment, organic and geometric forms. I definitely referenced a snow fence; I thought it was funny placing it there as if it was attempting to hold back all this movement.

Christina: Just a small hint of it, with no real hope of ever containing the explosion.

Elizabeth: That’s it! I see it as a bit of a “Don’t just get lost here; pay attention to the shapes” message since this painting has a lot of abstract elements to it.

Christina: If anything, it seems to make the explosive aspect stand out more.

Elizabeth: I’m glad it reads as that, and you are able to pause a moment to look. Layering details are in abundance in my paintings. I want to encourage an examination of the relationship between the finer detailed marks and the more gestural marks. I’m always hoping that perhaps there can be a “Whoaaa, there is more than I originally thought was here!” moment for the viewer.

Christina: It definitely does read that way. I see the topographical map references and Star chart elements to work similarly in “Enthralled” all while the geometric elements encourage you to step into the painting.

Enthralled Painting
Enthralled, 2014, 24 x 24, mixed media on board

Elizabeth: I definitely like to have those moments of recognition in theses paintings juxtaposed to more painterly moments. I guess I do it with the hope that the viewer will understand these are visual aspects of our contemporary culture taken out of their context and placed in this new environment where they are introduced and relating with more painterly, abstract moments.

For example, I think it’s interesting to take recognizable patterns like leopard print or zebra and collage them into this shmorgase-board of paint to see if ideas around the lines of topographical maps might be altered or looked at in a different artistic way.

Christina: Speaking of culture, as a Canadian painter, who purposely or not, seems to be incorporating aspects of the Canadian North into her work, how conscious are you of your work’s relationship to the Group of 7?

Elizabeth: I recently went to the AGO and one of my favorite areas to see is the Group of 7 rooms. I love to closely inspect how they created these paintings and their interpretation of the colour they saw in the Canadian landscape. There is one, where the snow is lavender! Which totally works in the painting. So their colour and how it was used to create an emotionally charged landscapes, keeps bringing me back to inspect those rooms. Yet, I don’t intentionally think of the Gof7 and its relationship to what I am doing; I appreciate how they capture light and colour of the landscape but that’s about it.

Christina: I guess for me, it ultimately comes down to the fact that we never can create in a vacuum, and since we are canadian, the Group of 7 will follow us around whether we want it to or not. I think it’s fascinating that your work can relate to/reference it, without seeming like it’s trying to BE it. It’s more like a nod to history in my mind.

Elizabeth: Yes, that is something I was thinking about when I made some of these paintings: That nothing is new. Everything you do is recycled or appropriated somehow. In some cases I have even gone so far as re-creating brush strokes I have seen in other paintings, or copying techniques other artists have used and then combining them all together.

Christina: And that just answers my next question which was “Would you consider your paintings to be a sort of painting collage?”

Elizabeth: I am still trying to figure out what these abstracts are about, but I think this combination of collaging, appropriation, stamps, gestural marks genuine to the artist’s hand, and juxtaposing them against each other is a core interest of mine and part of what drives to make them.

Lately I have been experimenting with including different mediums such as: wax crayons, oil pastel, pigment, pencil crayon, etc. I even used a match and burned the surface of one of them! I like extending the collaged subject matter to the material.

Effervecence
Effervecence, 2015, mixed media on wood, 12″ x 12″

I am hoping to start a new series this summer that will have more reference to forest fires. Charred bark textures, scorched moss, is this beautiful orange and reminds me of the coral reef, so I definitely want to incorporate moments like those, while having the atmosphere and sublime of the wilderness.

Christina: So why do you paint on wood panels rather than canvas?

Elizabeth: Originally, I was drawn to them for the texture. I liked the contrast between the paint and the wood. But as I continued to work and my interest in depth and space grew, I found it more difficult to really have that depth on the wood panel. In Overcome and Enthralled, I realized that. So I began painting the whole background, Excess and Nest have the wood peak out from behind the paint as if it were a painted mark. Also, its much more conducive for multi-media. I use an iron at times and making the painting can get quite aggressive, so the wood panel is hardier. With the most recent, Above and After the Storm, I took it as a challenge to create more depth still having the wood show through.

Christina: I love the idea of art as a constant challenge to yourself.

Elizabeth: It’s exciting to have a new challenge! Something to explore and experiment with.

Christina: So what challenges have you faced in coming back to Ontario?

Elizabeth: I think breaking into the art scene, though that is a challenge wherever you go. Finding opportunities for emerging painters to show their work is a challenge as well. I’m in Peterborough, so the scene is a wee bit smaller than Toronto. I was able to participate in Peterborough Artsweek, just this past September and it was so fun! I made a 12 ft x 6 ft site specific painting for a window downtown.

I am also constantly looking for call for submissions and opportunities to show. I’ve actually started an annual pop up gallery at friends house in Peterborough. We clear out the bottom floor of her house, I buy wine, make invitations and organize live music and for one weekend I have a little gallery in Peterborough where my most recent work is on display. It’s a growing success and we just celebrated our 4th year this past December.

Christina: Do you have any key artist influences in your life right now?

Elizabeth: Melanie Authier, is a huge influence! I love how she is able to create an alternate environment with so much atmosphere.

Christina: Oh wow, her work is gorgeous! I can definitely see the connection there.

Elizabeth: Turner has always been a big influence as well. The darkness and light in his paintings are incredible! Again, I am a sucker for the atmosphere and movement in his work as well

Christina: So what value do you place on your community/fellow artists in terms of support/motivation/promotion etc?

Elizabeth: It is a huge importance! For me it is so valuable to have a group of artists that you can discuss work with, experience galleries together, or bounce ideas off of. It’s very comforting to know you are not alone in this crazy endeavor to follow your passion and create, even though it might not be the most financially stable career path. I try to visit Toronto often; A group of friends have a live/work studio space and it is so inspiring and motivating to go and see what everyone is working on.

It is so valuable to have a group of artists that you can discuss work and experience galleries with, or bounce ideas off of. It’s very comforting to know you are not alone in this crazy endeavor to follow your passion and create, even though it might not be the most financially stable career path.

Christina: I’d like to follow up on that remark about the artist path not being the most financially stable. Canada doesn’t seem to have the same type of celebrity artists as Europe and the US has, even our well-established professors spend a large part of their time teaching in order to provide for themselves and fund their work. Do you have any advice for emerging artists who are worried that their work-life will take over their time and space for art?

Elizabeth: I am very lucky to have a job that is seasonal, which allows me the time to create work. Looking at my friends as alternative examples, I would say you just need a lot of drive! If you are committed to making work it will happen, even if you have to work a full time job. A lot of those guys in Toronto have full time jobs and still manage to make time. Looking into bursaries or affiliating yourself with the city or larger companies to make murals, or installations might be an option.

View more of Elizabeth’s art at elizabethsullivan.ca and go ahead and share this post with any artists or art lovers you know!

 

Young Creatives: Introduction

When I was in my last two years of my undergrad at the University of Guelph, several of my professors began to emphasize that one of the most influential and beneficial practices we could learn would be to surround ourselves with a community of artists and creatives.

They would say things along the lines of “Keep in touch with your professors; let them know what you are working on and invite them to comment, but while doing that, do not neglect your peers. They will be the ones who come to your openings, offer feedback on your work, and sit with you as you try figure out what JUST ISN’T WORKING at 2am before a studio visit.”

In anticipation of beginning this series on community, I reached out to one of my key mentors and professors from UoG, Monica Tap for her thoughts on the importance of community.

“I remind my students that the people around them right now – their studio-mates – may well be one of the most important factors in their continued lives as artists. They can choose to become each other’s colleagues, to set up critique groups, or share studios, or work together to put on exhibitions or collaborate or go see shows together. Community is something that we build ourselves, that we invest in and that we share.  It requires and rewards generosity, and its value for an artist is beyond measure. “

Since graduating in 2012, my life has been taken up with things other than making art. From supporting my husband through grad school, starting and raising a family, and some serious soul-searching/self-development, there hasn’t been the broad stretches of time or space to really get into a drawing or painting. I’ve still attended the occasional opening and Shenkman Lecture or taken a wander through Open Studios, but that community of artists that I was inherently part of as a result of Studio Art and Specialized Studios in particular, has for the most part, broken up and moved on without me.

It’s only been in the last half year or so that I’ve really come to realize the truth of what my professors were trying to teach me. You can only get so far in any industry without building connections, making friends, and having people to bounce ideas off of. As such, I’ve made a group for young people starting up their own businesses in the Guelph area and have also joined the “Designers of Guelph” group.

MTap-Community

Although I am not in a place where I have the time (or to be honest, the inclination to make the time) to jump back into the middle of the Art (as opposed to Design) scene, I do want to begin rebuilding that community of support and influence.  I’ve also realized that there is no reason not to broaden my support network to include creatives of all types. While having specialized groups to speak to specific problems is good, other creatives have new ways of looking that can be very beneficial even if they don’t work in the same medium.

I have always thrived when taking part in discussions about art, music, and creativity in general, so in an attempt to keep my attentions focused on something other than just my own work, I have decided to begin a series of highlighting the work of young creatives in my social circles.

I do not claim to be a qualified curator/writer in any respect. This is a personal exercise in writing that hopefully will serve to draw attention to beautiful creations of my contemporaries. The people who have already made it onto my “list” of people to highlight, happen to be people I know/am connected with in some way and who are creating work that I am excited to share and can therefore talk about.

I’m beginning this series in a personal manner in part because I know a large number of creatives already, but also because I want to encourage people to look within their own social circles for those young creative people who may be hiding their talents. I also consider it a joy to raise awareness about art/design/music that I personally enjoy — so if you or someone you care about doesn’t happen to be featured, please don’t take it personally — it may be that I find your/their work difficult to write about. If you believe their work should be highlighted, feel free to submit their names along with their website/facebook page and I’ll definitely take it under consideration. Better yet, start your own blog where you write about the work of people who matter to you!