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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Featured Gallery Fine Art Center Artist: Frank Hamrick

This past week I had the opportunity to sit down with a couple of artists currently on exhibition at the Gallery Fine Art Center.  The show Panchromatic hangs from now until July 15th.  The Gallery is open Thursday & Friday from 2-6pm and Saturday from 11-2pm.  You can also schedule an alternative time by contacting Kendra Thompson at 318-741-9192.

Artist Interview with Frank Hamrick

What first inspired you to be an artist?  How has it impacted your life?

Artist Frank Hamrick pictured.  
When I was ten, my sister had a cheap camera I wanted. So I traded one of my hats for the camera. I had a subscription to an outdoor magazine. I rarely read any of the articles, just looked at that images. I mentioned this to a neighbor and he said, "Maybe you could be a photographer." In school I had several friends that found their passions before me, whether it was sports, drawing or playing music. I did not want to chase after their medium because I knew those guys would always be better than me since they had found it first. Then I took a photography class in high school. It gave me a voice of my own and allowed me to show what I was interested in and gave me a chance to comment on things around me. I started a homemade magazine with a friend when I was a junior. I noticed how it gave me a place and an identity in my community of musicians, skaters and artists. From there I decided to pursue photography as my major when I went off to college at the Univeristy of Georgia. 

If you could give any advice to an upcoming photographer what would it be?

Make lots of photographs. Get feedback from someone more experienced even if their style or medium is different from yours. Absorb that feedback and then repeat the process over and over again. One thing I tell my students is that some people think your ideas as an artist
Carrot Harvest $650
will be dumb when you are 20 but will be great when you are 40 or 60 years old. I actually believe we do not come up with completely different ideas and subject matter over time. I believe we are constantly revising our approach to the same ideas throughout life. A person who practices their craft and learns from their mistakes will make more successful work over time. I have often seen my graduating photography majors make bodies of work about subjects that I can trace back to their introductory photography course when they were freshmen. They just refined their techniques and learned how to better approach their ideas. 

The other important thing is to study the work of accomplished photographers before you. Get a history of photography book and look at the work. It is essential to know what has happened already so you can add to the conversation instead of simply repeating what has already been stated. 

Who is your favorite artist and why?

That sounds like a simple question but it is not. I enjoy being around my friend Jim Sherraden, who runs the letterpress shop Hatch Show Print in Nashville, because he is a good storyteller, which allows him to be a good teacher when he is guiding an employee or teaching a student during a workshop. He is also a great people person. Anyone who has ever crossed paths with him remembers it as a positive experience. Being a successful artist requires a variety of skills beyond knowing your medium and Jim sets a great example of how a successful artist interacts with people all the way from the museum curator selecting Jim's work for an exhibition to the janitor keeping the space clean. Jim realizes each person's job is important and he makes sure everyone knows he appreciates their contributions. 

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