The VC Art Gallery: This is the first in a series of articles showcasing the work of VoiceCatcher6 artists. Each artist will share her work, her sources of inspiration, the “why and how” of what she does, and challenge you to use her work as a springboard for your own. We hope this series will prompt a lively dialogue between and among authors and artists that will expand creativity possibilities for everyone.
An artist, photographer, poet, and musician, April lives with her husband aboard their 50-foot-long houseboat near Vancouver, Washington. She creates work inspired by living cradled on the magically reflective and tumultuous undercurrents of the Columbia River. “Living full-time on the water,” April explains, “I’ve come to realize I inhabit three distinct worlds: the real world my body exists in; the reflected world on the river’s surface; and the underwater world with its universe of currents and creatures struggling to survive.”
WHAT I DO AND WHY I DO IT
Although my paintings are realistic, my photographs tend to be abstract. They are a visual display of colors that create shapes that trigger an emotional response. That sounds pretty high falootin’, but it all comes down to taking a photograph that makes you see what I see, feel what I feel, and makes unusual ideas cross your mind the way they crossed mine.
I am one of those people who never grew out of finding pictures in the clouds, monsters in shadows, and the mythical in the mundane. I turned my eyes and camera to the river that I live on, and found a whole new magical world. Water is always moving, and always changing, by definition—fluid. It is a fun challenge to find sharp, distinct pictures in the water that strike a primal, instinctive chord; that, hopefully, forces you to stop and take another look. None of my photos are retouched. I don’t need to enhance, add, or subtract from what my camera and I can find in the real world. I just look at the world from a different angle.
Random Thoughts is a photo of a micro-moment of water reflections. The human-like profile spewing random bits and pieces from its mouth tickled me. How much talk, talk, talk is constantly “streaming” around us (all puns intended!); and, yet, you still don’t get a clear picture of the speaker. There is an “undercurrent” that suggests the speaker has opposite and stronger thoughts and intentions. How much of what we say is a true “reflection” of what we mean? If a few of those and other ideas, swirl around and gather “eddies” of thought in your mind, or pluck a heart string that sends a tiny “ripple” through your soul, I feel the work has been successful.
Water Angel 5 is a split second that captured an angel in the trailing wake from my boat. Can you see the angel silhouetted in the emerging sun, rising from the whirling darkness? Can you see the angel’s shadow or counterpart? Are the bubble rings prayers sent into the ether? Why are they dark? Is the angel helping or escaping the chaos? Is the chaos the angel’s own duality of thought and desires or the earthly chaos of humanity? Once you get started, there are many possible interpretations.
Warrior Initiation told a story the first time I viewed it, and it’s still leaving tales in its wake. The lone warrior has just earned his feather from the elders in their ceremonial garb. Or, is he being censured, rejected for new and unusual ideas? The sense of coming-of-age and all the related ideas resonated in this piece.
WHERE TO FIND APRIL’S WORK
April’s work has appeared in Angst Gallery and Gallery 360 in Vancouver, WA; Starting Grounds Church Gallery in Battleground, WA; and Drew-Jones Art In Business rotations in the Vancouver area. Published works includes VoiceCatcher5 and 6, and cover art for three publications from Sam’s Dot Publishing. Her paintings have a home at Cover to Cover Books, Vancouver, WA.
April will be exhibiting her work at Space Monkey, 5511 SE 72nd Ave., Portland, OR, during the month of January and will participate in the VC6 reading there on January 6, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Using April’s photos, titles, or themes, dive into the waters of your own creativity. What will you find that flows into poetry, prose, art work? Please share your ripples, reflections, and undercurrents with the VC community. As with our monthly writing prompts, feel free to paste your work into the comments box.