Artist and Pose: Spinning into Existence

A Collaboration From Cali to Bali

Art and Photography with contemporary artist Kerry Campbell and Dewi Dian Reich.

As a visual artist, you’re used to spinning something into existence. When you become the subject of the art, it’s like you’re spinning yourself into existence.

Kerry Campbell

The studio is an inner sanctum for our creative processes. Often, we can be romantic about our workspace, this sanctuary of privacy and meditation. Artists often seek solitude in this space where they immerse in the energy of their creativity. To draw out their inner world into their mediums whether it be painting, sculpture or photography.

I’ve spoken about this before, that I can not separate my love of art into sections. Painting, sculpture, writing or photography. They are to me the same voice, singing perhaps only a different song. Aside from the joy we receive through each of these interactions through our mediums, we also learn. Creative energy is one of growth and manifestation. From intangible to tangible. From idea to reality. Translating this urge and compulsion into an action.

Artists deal with this aspect of their psyche in many different ways, navigating their way through this process. Often tested by subtle trickeries of thoughts and feelings, in search of something true. The direct contact an artist has with their medium is undeniably a large part of how this process is experienced. The direct transfer of feeling into a stroke of colour on the canvas, or the carving and shaping of a piece of wood.

In the studio, meeting many different artists and individuals that share their time and thoughts with us here in Sawidji, I find this remarkable and poignant. The energy is there through the photography process, less tactile and more removed. Accentuating the subtler aspects like the mingling of curiosity and discovery connecting in subtle ways.

Sawidji Art Photography Dewi Dian Reich Black and White

A Reconnection or a New Perspective

In these moments, an artist may experience themselves in different ways. Suddenly bereft of their tools and modes of creative expression. They are outside of the comfort of their sanctuaries. They are metaphorically naked and their nakedness is the only vessel by which their creative identity has a voice. It is a blessing to be able to share these moments with creative individuals as they rediscover new perspectives of themselves. Connecting to their bodies, their faces, and their movements, in totality and when the curtains are drawn, through the simplicity of a portrait, we see the essence that is captured in their art.

I was introduced to Kerry Campbell through another contemporary artist Ellen Lane. Ellen came by our Sawidji Gallery with Kerry one day to see our World Without Sound Exhibition back in April and our conversations began. We had a few spontaneous meet-ups and this portrait session was a lovely surprise out of this unexpected meeting.

After our time together in the studio, Kerry was kind enough to share some of her thoughts and reflections on the process of working together in this session.

In the Studio With Kerry Campbell

As a visual artist, you’re used to spinning something into existence. When you become the subject of the art, it’s like you’re spinning yourself into existence. And in a way this is true. Recently I was the model in a creative and collaborative photoshoot with Dian.

She uses photography as her artistic medium. I use oils and acrylic paints. When she asked me to do a photoshoot I said yes of course! This is an opportunity to explore my creative edges, specifically doing this process with a companion rather than as a solo exercise. Yet fundamentally it’s about recreating the self into something you weren’t before. “

Sawidji Art Photography Dewi Dian Reich Portrait of Kerry Campbell

I brought outfits to wear that I thought would be visually interesting and even arresting. But it was in the posing, that the edges started to come into sharper focus. Moving my body this way or that way, being expressive with my body, exuding a certain aura of melancholy, contemplation, off-the-cuff goofiness, sensuality or vulnerability, etc.

Kerry Campbell

Self Exploration through Photography

..and indeed it is strikingly vulnerable to be in front of a camera that captures all your faces, even the ones you don’t know you have, or the ones you try to hide.  

Kerry Campbell

Artist becomes the Subject

“There is no hiding in front of the camera. and this is where the becoming begins. Becoming something beyond what you were. the outfits tell a story, the poses tell a story, and the artist behind the camera tells a story each time she releases the shutter of the camera.”

This slowness forced more of a dialogue to occur and also perhaps more intention – certainly, it created silence between “takes” and this also was part of the space in which things were happening. Where slowly, I was getting used to using my body as a sculpture on film.  “

Sawidji Art Photography Dewi Dian Reich BPortrait of Kerry Campbell

I was visually spinning the poses into creation and what I was spinning into being was me. Me, in different forms, beyond what I was before. Not as the creator but as the created.

Kerry Campbell

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