Saturday, July 3, 2021
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Hello and welcome to the 36th interview for my blog 3 Art Questions With Jackson! This time I interviewed Minneapolis based photographer and installation artist Melissa Borman! She is completely awesome and my Dad and I have loved her art wherever we have seen it on our travels. I think Melissa's answers give a unique perspective into her artistic world and I really believe you will enjoy what she had to say. Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out her Instagram at @melissa.borman (Image info: 1. Portrait of the artist by Paul Wegner 2. L'Oiseau Bleu, archival pigment print, 2020)
Jackson: What inspired you to make art? How did settle on photography as your primary way to express your ideas?
Melissa: I always made art as a kid, but it never occurred to me that it was something I could keep doing into adulthood until I took a photography class in college. I was studying Film Theory and Photography was required for my major. I fell in love with the darkroom and eventually added am Art major. Although I learned a lot from all my art courses, photography seemed like the most satisfying way to express myself. The process felt so much like writing in that in that through selecting and arranging a group of photographs I was able to communicate more than I could ever imagine doing with a single image and if I changed the arrangement the meaning changed. That seemed like magic.
I've also always been drawn to the flexibility that working with photographs offers. I can present a project as a series of images on a wall, as a book, takeaway ephemera, a projection, online, or as a combination of any of these methods. I love that photographs are so accessible and that there are so many ways to reach audiences with them.
Jackson: How do you decide what to photograph? Do you set up each shot or do they happen spontaneously?
Melissa: My projects usually start with an idea of something I want to address. For example, I Started A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter after researching historical and contemporary works depicting female figures in the landscape. I didn't like what I was seeing and was moved to make photographs that reflected my own experiences of being active in the landscape. I didn't know how to make those photographs, but I had a good idea of what I didn't want them to look like, so there was a lot of trial and error in the process.
My current project, Birds, started with what was just going to be a single image of a ceramic bird I had in my studio. I was going to break it and use the pieces for another project and I thought that photographing it would make it easier for me to break it. It didn't, it just made me like the little figurine even more. I had been working on a project about grief and loss and something about its broken and glued tail resonated with me. I do make plans, but the work almost never ends up anything like the plan. That said, I think the plan is always important. It's a way to get started. I tell my students that it is like a good road trip. You start with a destination, but you stay open to possible detours and maybe you end up somewhere else entirely, but you would have never gotten on the road without the original destination in mind.
Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?
Melissa: I greatly admire and would be honored to meet Yoko Ono because her work has inspired me to be vulnerable in my practice and to explore new materials and methods. I first became aware that she was so much more than the wife of a famous man when I watched Cut Piece in a film class in college. She addressed so much, such as issues of gender, class, and cultural identity so effectively in the deceptively simple act of sitting still. That piece still inspires me as I endeavor to pack as much meaningful content into seemingly simple works as possible. It's a lot of work to make something look simple and often miss the point, but it's the most satisfying was for me to work. I'll keep trying.
I'll add, although there are many artists I would like to meet, this year of isolation has made me even more grateful for the many wonderful artists I am lucky to know.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Friday, May 7, 2021
Saturday, April 3, 2021
Saturday, March 27, 2021