Today we’d like to introduce you to Deb Ehrens.
Deb, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Becoming an artist has been an unanticipated unexpected and joyful chapter in my life. When I was a journalist I used a film camera to take editorial images. Making art was never my goal. I was a wordsmith. Several careers later and with retirement on the horizon, I decided to trade my long dead Minolta for digital technology and give photography another shot. I began with a simple point and shoot camera and took it on daily walks in the woods with my dog. The immediacy of seeing my images on the computer got me hooked me and a year later I bought my first digital SLR.
When I decided to get serious about photography, I took workshops from talented photographers, attended classes at RISD and Maine Media and spent a lot of time watching tutorials to learn the skills I needed. But having a “good eye” and mastery of my camera could only take me so far. It was having an artist mentor that was critical to my transition from photographer to artist. Using the visual language of design, her frequent and thoughtful critiques of my work taught me a way to analyze why images worked or didn’t. Over time I was able to replace the accidental and intuitive nature of my image making to one informed by the fundamentals of design. With that knowledge came a deeper level of creative control and work that is more layered, abstract and painterly.
Today when everyone has a camera in his or her pocket, and everyone is a photographer, it is hard to set oneself apart. From the beginning I have tried to create images that are unique in their viewpoint and presentation. Not having a printer until recently left me free to explore all the different surfaces available for digitally printed art. When my flowing water imagery needed to get out of the constraints of a picture frame, I created composited digital canvases that I transferred onto softly draping silk. When a client needed a water view for her landlocked garden, I created a 9 ft. x 3 ft. fine art backyard billboard of the curving marsh along the river. Each day is an opportunity to look deeper, learn something new, and explore new materials. What could be better? I tell everyone that this is the “best unpaid day job” I have ever had.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Making beautiful, peaceful art is what keeps me sane in a crazy world and I know that it resonates with viewers. When I delivered a large print to a South Shore buyer she shared with me, “The reason I picked this photograph is because I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and when I look at these ripples, the beauty in that movement helps me to make peace with my tremor.”
Visitors to my studio often talk about the “paintings” they have seen, not the photographs. This is the result of the presentation I choose and the technique used in creating the images. Today’s digital tools, graphics pen, tablet and software, give me a level of precision and creative control that was unimaginable in the darkrooms of the past.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
Knowing what kind of learning environments work best for you, seek out those teachers and opportunities that will give you the most “bang for your buck.” Don’t waste time and money on classes, workshops or other groups that don’t make you feel like you are moving forward.
Find a peer group to support you in the “artist’s life”. It is often a solitary journey of discovery, ups and downs. Having a safe space to show your work, get feedback, support and hopefully friendship will enrich your life and career.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My studio is open by appointment and the exhibitions page on my website lists where work is currently on view. https://debehrens.com/exhibitions2/.
August 10th-12th my studio will be open for the Art Drive, a juried open studio tour on the Southcoast. Come down to the Southcoast and enjoy wonderful art, scenery and good food! My studio is #6 on the tour.
To purchase prints not currently in a show, contact me directly. My scarves can be purchased at Dahlia Gallery, 524 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA.
- Website: www.debehrens.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: #debehrens
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debehrens.photography/
© Deb Ehrens