Justine Kaszynski: When I am in the early stages of any series I spend a lot of time in my studio looking at other artist’s works which not only includes photographers but also sculptors and painters. I look for artists who are thinking the same way I am about my concepts or that are working with similar materials. From there I read their artist statements which then leads me into other literature that can give me inspiration for a new series. For Liminal in particular, I spent a lot of time looking into photographer Barbara Kasten. A professor of mine recommended her to me after seeing a piece that I had made with colored light and fabric. This lead into an in depth investigation and study of her work. I was also looking at light artist James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson.
JB: How has your process evolved?
JK: I used to shoot all my work digitally and even worked with an underwater housing for my camera creating portraits with models underwater on location. I then discovered the magic that is the 4x5 view camera and fell in love, which lead me into my studio. The series began with colored tulle on a white seamless with colored gels lighting the scene. I liked the results but knew I needed an larger variety of objects. I have always been fascinated with the way light shines through glass and the effects it can me. A collection of glass objects began piling up in my studio. The art history slide library was closing at my school and allowed students to take any slides that they would want. I went in and grabbed shoe boxes full of slides. I then set up my assemblages and shine the projection onto the glass and mirrors.
JB: What do you find enjoyable and or difficult about your process?
JK: I really enjoy spending time in my studio. It’s a space that is entirely my own. It allows me to leave my assemblages set up if I want to take a break and come back with fresh eyes and pick up where I left off. This process allows me to slow down and take my time making each shot. I have been shooting with the 4x5 view camera for the past two and half year which is incredible. The amount of detail and depth that I can get in a single image is just amazing. However, working with the 4x5 also means that I have to send my color negatives away to get processed then I scan then and then edit. My post production is very time consuming now but I wouldn’t change it.
JB: Which exhibition of another artist has stayed with you and why?
JK: Barbara Kasten exhibited at the Graham Foundation which was the first major survey of her work. Barbara Kasten: Stages included work from the start of her career in the 1970s all the way to current work. It focussed on her experience will all different mediums including fibers, sculpture, cyanotypes, and even dance. I was completely transfixed by the exhibition. Seeing Stages transformed the way I look at light and use it in my work. It also showed me the wide variety of materials that I can include in my assemblages. I still think about that show every time I step into my studio and begin moving my pieces of glass.
JB: What is next for you? Art making wise, travel, future plans?
JK: With having just graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and also having my thesis show Liminal in December as well, I wanted to give myself a little time away from my practice. I started my first big girl job working at HR Imaging as a photographer focusing on school photography and am traveling around the Midwest. I am very excited to start my studio practice again and I will be using a larger variety of objects as well as incorporating water into the scenes. I have also been reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield which I am hoping will get my creative juices flowing once again.