Thursday, November 3, 2011

Other Creative Souls: Carolyn Collins

There's one more Artist I wanted to highlight before the debut of our Art Show, The Seven Project, Saturday night: Carolyn Collins. Carolyn and I had never met before we began working together on The Seven Project, but in her I have found an unbelievable talent (check out her conceptual portraiture, the image, below, has unofficially become "the"branded image for our upcoming show), beautiful creative spirit and someone I am proud to call a friend. Here's her story:

Name: Carolyn Collins
Occupation: Owner, photographer and artist at Carolyn Collins Photography

Current City/Hometown: Dallas, TX / Abilene, TX

Education: Hardin-Simmons University - BBA Marketing/Management

Describe  your work in one sentence.
I am a light chaser, seeking light that beckons the heart.

Describe your normal day.
My *normal* 18-22 hour day begins with espresso on the balcony while I read/answer e-mails, return phone calls, juggle my schedule & update my calendar. The rest of the day/night is creating order out of chaos. It is a methodical routine of avoiding the routine by utilizing my gifts of ADD, OCD, left/right ‘brainism’ and goofy optimism. Having an intern has not changed my normal day… but has allowed me to create more and accomplish more throughout the week.
My *ideal* day includes a cocktail of laughter, love, physical activity, pleasure for each of my senses, feeling of accomplishment, finding a solution to a problem, making a stranger smile, learning something new, having an ‘aha’ moment, and going to sleep completely exhausted in a good way. I have more ideal days now than I thought possible in my former corporate life.

I am now trying to discern if there is truly much difference between *normal* and *ideal* in each workday, aside from the desire to sleep as long as I would like.

What are your passions?
Music is my drug. Photography is my passion. Building bridges between people is my mission. I love animals and have some strangely compelling affinity toward dogs, horses, elephants, gorillas, dolphins & whales (we simply connect and silently communicate on some higher level). I adore children and elders… and am blessed that they are naturally drawn to me as well. I’m a greenie… repurpose when possible, recycle when unable to repurpose, replant what we reap, etc. (yet I drive a gasaholic that ‘thinks green’ only  when the traffic light is turning yellow).
Who are your creative influences?
My greatest creative influences have sprung forth from various mediums (film, music, painting, etc.). Their genius ability to evoke such deep emotion through their original works open(ed) pathways for me to more clearly ‘speak’ through my lens. Just a few names whose works have profoundly influenced the ‘flavor’ of my photography are: Federico Fellini (film director), Albert Lamorisse (film director), Gregg Toland (cinematographer), David Leeson (Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, mentor and close friend), Steve McCurry (photographer), Dorothea Lange (photographer), Hal Samples  (photographer, mentor and close friend), Ansel Adams (photographer), Robert Mapplethorpe (photographer), Boris Vallejo (painter/illustrator), Mark Rothko (painter), Frank Lloyd Wright (architect), Marguerite Duras (writer), Mozart (music composer), and an enormous list of musical composers/musicians (several whom have become dear friends).

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what you do?
My parents (especially my dad) had very giving and forgiving hearts. If dad met someone in need, he would hire him/her (even if it meant creating a position). If he encountered someone in pain, he would counsel them and ‘turn on a light’ so they could through their darkness. My travels around the world allowed me to live in other cultures and develop my intense curiosity for different perspectives. It is the painful, the challenging and the traumatic experiences in my life which have led me to a much deeper understanding of (and appreciation for) the preciousness of fellow humans, fragile moments, and life itself.

Is there anyone you really look up to as an inspiration?
My dad, Albert Einstein, Herb & Dorothy Vogel, John Romero, Johnny Cash, Liv Ullman & my best friend (each for very different reasons).

How do you summon your muse?                                                                                                             
Dance under the influence of, and frequent nearly overdosing on, a steady stream of drugs (music is my drug, remember?). What kind of music? Um, do you have half a day for me to list all the genres and instruments in the world? Submerse myself into nature. Look deeply into a person’s eyes.  Drive my car. Close the eye my contact lens lives in so I can see through the blurred vision of the other near-sighted eye. Watch or listen to someone else quietly create.

What motivates you on a daily basis?
I’ve been given a new day… that, in itself is motivation. I am addicted to espresso, but can’t think of a ‘guilty’ pleasure that gets me going, but let’s just say that I find much pleasure in simple things. ;)

What's your working style?
It depends on what I’m doing. As a full-time freelance photographer, I am an artist and a business owner. If I am tackling the necessary tedium, I will take frequent breaks so I don’t screw up. Yet during those breaks I am still being productive in some way…  exercising, cleaning, checking e-mails, cooking, uploading images, reading, something. If I am creating (shooting, editing, writing, etc.), I may be so in the zone that 10hours pass before I realize it, and I’ll take a long break by either switching creative gears to another medium, letting my mind wander in nature, soaking in a hot tub, or hanging with friends. I have learned to go with the flow of my ADD/OCD, let it take the lead. Since I have learned this, I have accomplished much more in less time on a regular basis.

What are your websites/social networking links?
I’m also on Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Myspace, Reverbnation

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