We are happy to present our second in the series of artist interviews here on Pixels At An Exhibition. This week, Ramona Gillentine, who is also our featured artist this month.
KB: Please tell us a little about yourself – where you live, if you hail from Earth, anything like that. Whatever you feel like sharing that isn’t covered in the questions below.
RG: I was born into a very creative and artistic family in December of 1979 in Tupelo, Ms, the town where Elvis Presley was conceived and began his King of Rock & Roll journey. I lived there for 13 years and then moved to Oxford, a small town fifty miles west of Tupelo. Oxford is the home of The University of Mississippi which is where the first presidential debate of 2008 was held. Oxford is included in The Best 100 Small Towns in America, has a thriving music scene, and has been called the art center of the South.
KB: How long have you been shooting pictures with your iPhone?
RG: Overall, I have been shooting iPhone photos for two years. The first photo I app’d wasn’t until 2009 and I knew then that I had discovered a new creative passion.
KB: How often do you work on your art?
RG: I work on iPhone photography quite a lot and everyday. Sometimes I am completely consumed by it and going at it all day long nonstop.
KB: When did you get serious about it, and what was the turning point for you?
RG: I have been serious with my iPhone photography for a year now. My turning point was with a specific photo that I app’d using Camerabag, titled Rainshield. It’s the single most important photo to me as it serves the very foundation of endless possibilities and inspiration to my work.
KB: What do you like to shoot? When? How does your whole creative process work? And how has it evolved?
RG: My favorite subject to shoot is buildings. I also like to shoot landscapes and cloudscapes and sometimes am lucky to get a great combination of the two together. My creative process: Sometimes it is a spur of the moment shoot, I’ll happen to see something that catches my eye in passing. Other times, I get out and drive around and sometimes I specifically go to a location for shoots. I would say my process has evolved in the way that I now spend more time on shooting the subject I am working with. I used to be a little more instantaneous and very brief with my shooting. I feel that I am just now really starting to understand what it is that my eye is wanting to communicate to me and capture.
KB: Do you work in any other creative mediums, i.e., painting, music, writing, etc.?
RG: I currently do not work with any other mediums as I am consumed with iPhonetography. Before iPhonetography, I painted off and on for 10 years and before that, I wrote a lot of poetry for a few years. Someday I would like to see myself getting back into some painting. I am interested in making some short films with the iPhone. I have experimented some already and have some ideas and footage for some possible short films.
KB: Do you spend time online looking at the work of other iphontographic artists?
RG: Yes, I do spend a good bit of time looking at other iPhonetography work. There is always something to be inspired by and I am just thrilled to see all the talented and creative work out there.
KB: Do you study other art forms?
RG: I appreciate all art forms and like to study a wide range of artists and their works. Painters, illustrators, photographers, mixed-media, textiles, sculptors, architecture, etc.
KB: Have you done a lot of traditional photography? If so, are you still using your camera as well as your iPhone?
RG: I have not done a lot of traditional photography if any. I have done some self-portraits and landscape shots with a digital camera. I am much more fulfilled by using the iPhone camera and the apps. The only time I really use my digital anymore is when I am going to see a band play in a dark and dusty bar and want to get some good clear shots of the band performing.
KB: Who are some artists – in any medium – you admire or have influenced you?
RG: The short list of some of my most favorite and inspiring painters: Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky. Photographers: Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
KB: What is your basic app kit, or Camera Bag, as Marty Yawnick calls it. How has your use of apps evolved over time?
RG: I started out with just using Camerabag and then I discovered Lo-Mob which I use a lot. Format 126 is the best Black & White app that I have found out of all the other Black & White apps. I also use Plastic Bullet occasionally.
KB: Are there any apps you don’t like?
RG: There are a lot of apps that do not fit my style but it doesn’t mean that I dislike them. The only thing that bugs me is when an app will not let you upload from your own roll.
KB: Are there any specific improvements you would like to see made to existing apps?
RG: I would also like to see Lo-Mob offer you the option for a photo to be cropped or not.
KB: Are there any apps you would like to see developed/invented?
RG: I would like to see something similar to the BlackKeys films of Hipstamatic in an app to itself. I like both the effects of the films and the frames. I would like this app to be without the use of it’s own viewfinder in which you would be able to upload photos from your own roll and without any labels in the frame area. That would be a great app!
KB: When you feel you have reached a creative stalemate, and believe your work is not cutting it anymore, do you have any tricks for breaking out of artist’s block?
RG: There are a few things that I will do when I feel a creative block in my way. Sometimes, I just let go for a few days and let it rest. Sometimes I will look at and study other photographers and their work and find inspiration. And sometimes I will just work harder. Just all depends on the mood at the time a block creeps in.
KB: What features would you like to see implemented at the Pixels At An Exhibition website?
RG: I, of course would like to see a Black & White category added. A nicer gallery layout for the artists, possibly with thumbnails of photos. The ability to comment on photos would be nice, too.
(Ed. note: these features coming very soon!)
KB: Thank you, Ramona!