About the artist
This week we meet the minimalist portraiture artist, Patty Maher. Patty is an internationally recognised, award-winning artist based in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. The inspiration for her art comes from an exploration of the feminine in the context of both natural and urban settings. Working primarily through surreal staged portraiture and self-portraiture, Maher is widely known for hiding or obscuring the faces of her subjects often only using only posture, gesture, symbol and colour to convey emotion and story. Her work as a fine art photographer began in 2010 and since then has been featured on book covers and recognised in numerous online and print publications around the world including a video interview with Yahoo Productions created for the series ‘The Weekly Flickr’. Patty has also received recognition in prestigious photography contests.
How did you first get into digital art?
I first began creating digital art when I moved from the city to the country in 2011. I had previously done a 365 in photography focused mostly on macro, street and landscape photography, but when I moved to the countryside, I was inspired by the space and realised I could to start creating more complex visual stories.
Tell us about the process you use to make your art.
I generally begin with an idea and then take photos to begin creating the concept that I have sketched out or formulated in my head. From there I take those photos into photoshop and continue to expand on and create the concept. The process for each photo can take several minutes to several hours depending on the complexity of the concept.
What artistic styles are you particularly drawn to?
I love surreal and minimal style.
What inspires you?
Everything inspires me. I very much try to approach life by looking for inspiration in everything.
What is your artistic motivation?
I am motivated to create things that are beautiful even if that beauty is not common. I’m also motivated to give visual expression to thoughts and ideas in a way that could touch or be translated by another human being.
Of all your images to date, which is your favourite and why?
My favourite changes all the time. I think my most recent work is always my favourite until it gets replaced by newer work.
Which three words or phrases would you use to describe your work?
Minimal, surreal, thoughtful.
What memorable responses to your artwork have you had?
For some reason, both the very good and the very bad responses stick out in my mind. I’ve received very moving emails from people who have had a strong emotional response to my work, but I also tend to remember the really negative comments I’ve received as well.
Name three artists who inspire you.
How do you think you’ve improved as an artist compared to when you first started?
I was extremely bad at making art when I first started, so I think it’s fair to say I’ve improved in every way. I loved it though, so I really didn’t mind working hard to improve. For some reason, I believed it was possible to improve.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started making art?
Save all of your work, shoot in raw, be brave.
What devices/equipment do you use to create your art?
A camera, a tripod, a remote and Photoshop.
Do you find that people dismiss digital art as a valid art form?
Yes, I do. I find that some art galleries will only represent artists who work in more traditional mediums. I think that’s fair – they have a right to conduct their business as they see fit. But I think the world is changing rapidly, and art is evolving and changing as well. There are so many mediums that simply didn’t exist 10, 20 or 100 years ago. But it can take some people time to embrace the new. And some never will.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and images with us, Patty!