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Artists Around The World Blog Hop

My delightfully hilarious friend from down under, Handy Andy Pandy, has bestowed upon me the honor of being a part of this crazy blog hop thinger. (Please take note that that is me at the top...not him. Just sayin.) Here's how it's gonna go down - I'm going to gab on for a bit about how truly wonderful Andy is, then I'm going to answer 4 questions about myself, and finally I'm going to force upon you three other glorious artists to check out. THEN, those artists will do this very same thing a week from now, where each of them ask three MORE people to join in, and the ever growing web of creative blog hop posts will branch out on and on until it explodes the internet. Sound good? Ok great, let's get started...

 


JUST WHO IS THIS ANDY FELLOW?!

Andy.....Handy Andy Pandy. Where to begin? Well, in January of this year I received a Flickr message from Andy that started with the sentence, "Hey mate, your work is so insanely off-the-charts awesome...." Needless to say, I liked him immediately hahaha. (Also, note the use of the word "mate," showing his true Australian-ness in full throttle.) We chatted for a bit and it came to my attention that not only is he a fun and easy person to talk to (who is guaranteed to make you chuckle), but he's embarked on a 365 project that is a joy to see EVERY DAY! For those of you who aren't privy to the knowledge as to what a 365 project might be, allow me to elaborate. For an entire year, Andy has been taking one conceptual photograph, every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Now that's commitment. 

He is actually really close to the end of the project, so by now he has most certainly found his quirky style and mastered his fantastic, often super colorful and unique lighting style. So please stop reading this blog and GO SEE ALL OF HIS WORK. (But then totally come back here or I'll hunt you down and force feed you the rest of my blog post. K thanks.)  

You can find Andy goofing around on Flickr, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  Since our first lovely chat, Andy has become one of my most treasured "internet friends." We usually talk at least once a day on that there Twitter machine. Never a dull moment when he is in on the conversation. (And thanks again for dragging me (willingly) into this cool blog hop shenanigan!)

 

 

NOW FOR THE QUESTIONS!

1. Why do I do what I do?

Well, obviously it's because if I don't find some sort of creative outlet, my insides will melt.  I absolutely must use my imagination and see what things I can dream up on a daily basis or life just isn't quite right. Photography, and possibly more importantly Photoshop, are amazing portals to release all of my crazy ideas out into the world.  I do what I do because I LOVE it. I can't imagine a life in which I'm not telling strange and magical stories through cinematic imagery of some kind.  I also cherish how this passion of mine has allowed me to build up my list of people I consider friends. 

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I like to think that I'm in a genre all my own. (This is probably not true, but just let me think it.) Really, there are COUNTLESS amazing artists that create beautifully strange and whimsical conceptual photographs. I am but one fish in a giant sea of awesome. However, I feel like my scales shine a bit differently from many of the other fish in this photography sea.  Mostly I think it's that my pieces are (almost) all shot in a studio. Each image is taken with very deliberately controlled lighting, and then I spend an UNGODLY amount of time morphing them into something that's probably no longer a photograph, but a work of art. (Not that a simple photograph without hours of photoshop can't still be considered a work of art!!) So if I had to pinpoint what it is that differentiates my work, I'd say it's a combination of my lighting and editing styles. 

3. How does my creative process work?

Firstly I get inspired by something; this could strike at any moment. I could be midway through a bowl of Reese's Puffs, or perhaps nearing the end of a run through the woods, or maybe just sitting and having a staring contest with my dog. Then BAM! Idea. After the inspiration creeps into my noggin, I mull it around for a while and then start to jot down notes. The tiniest of attributes about the picture that might never even get used still gets written down, just in case. Next I figure out a model situation. Is this going to be a self portrait? Do I ask my lovely wife to partake in the shooting festivities? Once that's figured out I decide if I want to call upon one of my many awesome costume and/or makeup designer friends to come collaborate with me! After a jolly good time of lighting, shooting, laughing, dancing, more shooting, jumping, and then more laughing, I select an image (or nine pieces of images) and start editing!!! A lot of the time the real magic doesn't happen until I get my hands on my Wacom tablet and start to digitally paint and tweak my image into submission.  

4. What am I working on now?

Too much....and never enough? I feel as though I always have tons of ideas for images I want to try out. The problem is then I attempt all of them and everything starts to pile up. I guess this is a good problem to have. I'd much rather have too many projects in the works than none. Right now I'm still actively working on my Dust to Dust series. I'm not sure when that one will technically be finished or if it ever will. I really love making them, so I'm going to keep doing so until it no longer pleases me! Also, I have my Strangers in the Park series that I've already shot many new additions for, but alas have had no time to edit them.  Other than that I have some REALLY exciting meet ups and shoots set up for later this year that I CANNOT WAIT FOR! I'm also trying to write these things called "blog posts" on a fairly regular basis. (Have you heard of them? They are pretty dang nifty.) To top it all off I'M FLIPPIN GETTING MARRIED THIS SATURDAY ......WHAAAAAAAT!?!?!?!?! Needless to say, it's probably been the busiest year of my life. Oh yeah, so don't expect any fresh new blog posts after this one until mid September because my ass is going to France for the rest of August!! (Is this real life?) 

 

3 OF MY FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHERS/INTERNET FRIENDS


CHRISTOPHER J. RIVERA 

Chris Rivera is a social media BEAST. Seriously people, I feel like he is everywhere all the time, in the best sort of way. I swear every time I go to "like" someone's amazing picture (anywhere, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you name it), he will already have "liked" it. He's an internet ninja, lurking in the shadows to strike as soon as something's awesome.

Not only is he just a super friendly fun guy, who I feel like is a close friend of mine even though we've never actually met, but he also happens to be a genius photographer. His sometimes dark, sometimes magical, but ALWAYS gorgeous photos really tell a story.

Whether in just one single detail-packed frame or a short series of images, Chris certainly knows how to create some gripping and beautiful imagery.

 


MARINA GONDRA

When I first saw Marina's work I was instantly a fan. A. BIG. FAN. Seriously, her pictures are so incredibly beautiful. The way she uses color and shallow depth of field, in addition to her steady hand at Photoshopping makes her work (in my opinion at least) truly one of a kind.

She is one of those artists whose work I can come across while scrolling down through Flickr, and before I even read the name of who made it, I know it's her work. Well a lot of the time it's obvious because she mostly does self portraits so I know it's her, but what I'm saying is that she has such a strong style that I could point out one of her pieces from a mile away.

On top of being truly one of my favorite artists (much like Chris), she is an absolute delight to know and have the privilege to talk to fairly regularly. DEFINITELY check her out on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, or even watch some of her wonderful behind-the-scenes videos on Youtube!!

 


JOSHUA MALIK

Josh is a newer addition to my ever-growing list of "Internet Friends," but that's not to say I haven't been creepily stalking him since his work first started popping up all over the great wide interwebs. (Hopefully not that creepily, but sometimes you've just gotta creep.)

From watching Josh grow as an artist, it's clear that he absolutely loves his craft and stretching his limits and boundaries to create new and even more mind-blowingly interestingly, strangely, gorgeously awesome works of art. For being such a youngin', he is REALLY INSPIRING! I'd tell you all about how he went from not ever even thinking about photography to being a total boss at making brilliant surreal images, but why would I do that when you could just hop over to this splendid article about Josh on Flickr!  

Josh really is a super nice, easy-going guy, and one day I plan on actually meeting him in person so we can collaborate like whoa. In the meantime (while you wait for our epic art fusion of amazingness to be a real thing), please take some time to check him out on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!

 

IN CONCLUSION 

Thank you all for reading this post, and for hopefully giving each of these artists some quality time with your eyeballs. I'd like to close this post by saying I WILL meet all of these people at some point in my life. Each of them have enriched my existence, inspired my art, and even provided some good laughs (ok lots of them). Thanks guys for making the internet a more fascinating place. OH and please check out the other two artists who (are also AWESOME friends of mine) that were asked to be a part of this with me! Sarah Allegra and Angela Butler!!!

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