By: Danielle Cornely
If you’ve been in our studio in past few months, you may have noticed a stark contrast in color and style to last summer’s bright pops of vivid color. For the fall and winter season, we went darker, moodier, and edgier. Our deep blue/green walls, vintage leather, and metal finishes called for art that was tough, but beautiful. I’ve known emerging artist Meredith Ochoa for several years (we both attended SCAD Atlanta and took several courses together), and her experimental work immediately came to mind when we began planning a darker look for the studio.
1. Tell us about the “scanography” process you invented.
“It started as a mockery of digital photography, but also served as a technical tool to help express some of the concepts my work centered around with ballet. In older forms of photography, glass served as the negative, or served as the transfer medium sometimes with paper positives, etc. The process of putting people under glass and having them press different parts of their body up to it in order to achieve focus and depth allowed me to expand on the foundations of photography and experiment with their role in the digital world. Also, the speed at which I move the scanner and the different combinations of light used to achieve a certain look directly related back to my early teachings of photography as the simple scientific and artistic combination of two things: light and time.”
2. What piece are you most proud of?
“Honestly I am most proud of probably the third or fourth photo I ever exposed and developed myself. It was a high school pinhole photo created from an oatmeal box pinhole camera that I made. It is a black and white self portrait that is still on my website to this day. I’m proud of it because it was one of the pieces that revealed the organically aesthetic nature of photography to me, and it helped me realize more of the potential to create within myself. That was a very turbulent time in my life, and I was just coming out of recovery for an extreme eating disorder. Through making this pinhole camera and learning photography, I realized just how much there was to experiment with and learn about, and how much I could grow. I became fascinated with the idea of light passing through a hole for a certain amount of time and creating an image of a specific moment in time. When I saw myself in that photograph, I saw more worlds than what was actually on the print.”
3. What inspires you?
“Most of the time my own mental and emotional struggles as well as just real, honest pain and loss inspire me to make art. I think this is because of my desire to create work that is unfiltered and genuine, and also because of my desire to keep growing and growing within my own existence. My experiences and relationships with other people (positive and negative) definitely inspire me as well, and the two sort of work together to not only grow my aesthetic language, but my intellectual and imaginative capability.”
4. How do you know when a work is finished?
“Wow, so I’m still working on finding the answer to this myself, especially being as experimental as I am. I know the feeling of completeness from a piece of art; I know what it feels like to achieve what you wanted aesthetically within a piece. This being said, I know my pieces are finished when I am not questioning it anymore. And sure, there still may be a lingering question here and there in your head like, ‘oh maybe I should dodge here, or burn there, or heal that spot,’ but when I know a piece is finished, most of those questions are very quiet in my head. The work is about expressing something bigger than what’s literally on the print. When I stop questioning and doubting, I know I am being honest with myself and the work. This is when I know it’s finished.”
5. What opportunities and challenges do you face as an emerging artist in Atlanta?
“I feel that my work is sometimes ‘too much’ or ‘too edgy’ for the south in general. I LOVE Atlanta, and I definitely feel like a lot of these perspectives towards art are changing in the city, and I am stoked to potentially be a part of that growth. I have always loved the south; there is something wild and untamed about it that I feel is definitely reflected within the concepts of my work. Success comes from you and your belief and actions towards it. So the challenges I face are ones I need to figure out, because I am the only one that has the power to do that. Only I can decide how I choose to resolve and translate these challenges as an emerging artist.”
Meredith’s work will be featured at Balance Design Studio and Gallery through the end of February. Come by to see her incredible larger work as well as a collection of smaller, handmade prints (complete with signed certificate of authenticity). Come by and see these impressive pieces in person!