Thursday, July 9, 2009

Artist Interview: Bonnie of Bonnie Boden

Today I'm happy to interview Bonnie of Bonnie Boden. I was very excited for this interview because it's my very first interview of a photographer! She has some amazing work that I get to show you at the end of this interview. But first, a few little details so you get to know Bonnie better. Bonnie loves the outdoors and her favorite weekend activity is "Spending some time in the outdoors with my camera and the local critters and creatures is always both relaxing and refreshing. Just sitting outside reading and enjoying the fresh air is good, too." In the morning before she heads out she'd eat something fresh, seasonal and homemade for breakfast. She loves to cook and try new recipes. Going along with her love of the outdoors, for vacation she'd love to go where there's a stream, hiking, lots of trees and crisp mountain air. (Maybe I should recommend Oregon! ;)). And last but not least, her favorite color. She states "I don't think I really have a favorite color. I like certain combinations of colors -- I like blues and browns together, for instance. And I really like colors that remind me of fall."

After this I asked her some questions about her art:

What started you in your art/craft?
I've been a photographer for as long as I can remember. I started with a little point-and-shoot camera when I was in grade school, and moved up to a 35mm SLR in high school (it's still in the closet -- I don't know that I'll use it again, but I just can't get rid of it!). I had a makeshift black and white darkroom in our basement in high school, thanks to a family friend unloading some equipment -- no running water except for the washing machine, so things were a little, well, interesting. :) I bought my first digital camera back in the mid-'90s, and it served me well for over ten years. I decided it was time to move up to a digital SLR in 2007, though, and I'm so glad I made the move.

What are your favorite materials/tools?
I've also always felt a strong connection to animals and nature, and I enjoy capturing their beauty in everyday surroundings -- often what you can see if you take a minute to stop and look around. I really enjoy the macro work -- many of the insects in my photos are less than half an inch long -- some about half that.

Who's your biggest inspiration?
I don't have any single inspiration for my work, but I've been inspired by artists whose work makes me feel something. I'm also energized by the critters and creatures in my photos. With the macro work I do, since everything's so tiny I often don't have a good sense of what something looks like until I get it off of the camera and onto the computer screen. It's exciting to see the results -- the beautiful colors and the intricate markings -- and it pushes me to want to get out and shoot more.

How long have you being producing your work/How did you get started in it?
It's only within the last year or so that I've started producing prints of my work for sale. Last summer I had the opportunity to sell my photos at a local community day -- the feedback I received there inspired me, and I decided to try other venues as well.
Where do you hope your art will take you in the next year?
In the next year, I hope to add more product types (notecards, magnets, bookmarks, canvas prints, calendars, etc.), and I'd like to get my work into local galleries and shows. I'd definitely like to increase my sales.

Is there anything you want people to get/take away from your work?
It's been fascinating for me to see people's reactions to my work when I'm set up with my photos at a public venue, and while there are a few images that consistently get noticed, individual tastes are really varied. My hope is that people find something that they connect with -- something that makes them feel good, something that sparks a memory, something that inspires them.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Do what makes you feel good -- the connections you make with people who appreciate your work will be all the better for that.

Bonnie also has some fun names and facts about her images shown above (click on each for the click-through link). Here are her descriptions:
Tiny Insect -- To give you an idea of the scale on this one, that's a marigold flower. This little guy was so tiny, covered in pollen, and so very busy.
SnowPeaFriendship -- This one always seems so sweet to me -- one snow pea tendril reaching out to another. (My tendril images are some of my favorites -- like the cucumber spirals and the intricate snow pea support constructions.)
Clearwing -- I'd never seen a clearwing hummingbird moth before -- they're pretty incredible. I love how its back legs are crossed -- so relaxed while hard at work.
Bonnie has shops on Etsy, 1000 markets and her own website.

One last fun fact about Bonnie: "I didn't know it until *after* it was published, but the subject of my first photo published in a national magazine was...a stinkbug. (And actually, it's the only item that comes up on Etsy if you search on that keyword!)"

Go check out Bonnie's shops!