Hello Dear Marina Shipova. Thank you for giving us the chance to Interview with you. Our first question is who are you and what do you do?
I am an immigrant from the Russian Federation. I have lived in the USA for 22 years now and cannot imagine living anywhere else. Starting about 20 years ago, I have been an instructor at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, WA culminating in the tenure position, I now hold. For most of these years, I taught art, publishing, web design and computer graphics. I have been teaching courses in digital photography for the past several years, as well. Besides teaching, I am a graphic designer, classic painter and voracious photographer. My photographic interests span from portraits to still life and everything in between.
What inspired you to become a professional artist?
My passion for art and Illustration grew from my childhood interest in visual stories, and an (over) active imagination. My pursuit of art education spans my entire life. Art studies have brought into focus an acute attention to form (and style) associated with classical techniques. Classic art has always been the anchor and core of my artistic journey. I am a classically trained artist, but I see myself more as an explorer, especially when it comes to different medias, techniques, styles, themes, and artistic pathways. I find myself in a world where the digital canvas is infinitely flexible, a conduit for limitless possibilities, upended in multiple dimensions and unified by apps and technologies.
What equipment and tools are vital for you to have no matter where you are photographing?
I am somewhat a minimalist and have at my photographic core a Nikon D850 and several lenses. Whenever possible, I use natural light. Looking for the best light is my most difficult challenge. I may wait all day or even several days to get the “perfect” light for my photograph.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I have not experienced artistic loneliness. Art has always been a huge part of my life and I cannot imagine a life without it. And besides, I have a lot of family support and dogs and cats and… I guess I’m just too busy to be lonely.
How would you describe your work?
What I do is such an organic part of me, I have never even considered it to be “work.” I have a built-in compulsion to create, whether it be drawing, painting or photography. I see the world as the interception of “form and function.”
With the invention of photography in the 1800s, early photographers used the new medium as an artist would a canvas, but through the years, photography took on its own direction, punctuated by a billion "snapshots," and other poorly thought out and executed compositions. As knowledge and experience seems to have become inversely proportional to originality and creativity, I have endeavored to develop an alternative creative vehicle based upon my understanding of classic painting. Digital photography is a revenue of self-expression for me. I form images to identify with hidden qualities within myself, to communicate with reality, and to translate the interpretation of the world around me into visual linguistics. My goal is to use my camera as a painting tool, to paint new uncharted worlds, as a place of self-discovery, and most importantly, the grounds for telling new (untold) stories.
Each photo tells a story which is sometimes interpreted by the viewer. That is, any gaps in my photographic stories are often filled in by the viewer.
Can you talk about any other current or upcoming projects?
I have several photographic shoots planned (at any given time) and am working on an upcoming video project.
Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?
Before coming to the USA, I worked for a television studio and was involved in animation, 3d graphics, graphic design and other video projects. Besides my interest and involvement with photography, I will probably expand into more video as time goes by… after all, video is just moving pictures.