Interview with artist Mary Kocol

How you became an artist?

I always loved art & photography. As a kid and got my first camera when I was 7 years old. In college at the University of Connecticut, I took many photo classes in the darkroom and wanted to do more of it, so after college, I became a photo studio assistant to a local photographer. After that, I went to graduate school, to study photography at Rhode Island School of Design. Since then I have been a professional artist, teacher, freelance photographer, and now I work in a museum where I photograph art.

What do you think about present world of art?

We live in interesting times. Sometimes I miss the magic of the photo darkroom, working with chemicals and light but digital is great because you can see it right away and send it all around the world in seconds. I also feel that we are over saturated in images due to digital technology and social media, with lots of things demanding our attention. It’s good to step back every now & then and visit a museum for perspective and history.

What/Who is your biggest inspiration?

For the past several years I have been very inspired by plants and the garden.
Traveling to other countries and seeing their botanical gardens and museums are also great inspirations.
One of my favorite local inspirations is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It has lots of great European art, an amazing courtyard garden, and the house architecture itself, styled after a Venice palace, is quite amazing to see it, like visiting another world. As far photographers go, I love the historic work of Julia Margaret Cameron.

What is your goal for this year?

Good question, it’s been hard to plan things with the current covid-19 situation, after the last 2020 difficult year, but I am hopeful to travel again, see friends and family more often. Currently I’m experimenting with alternative process of photography – hand making anthotypes, which are photograms made from plant-based emulsion, an ephemeral, non-permanent process.

Photo. Mary Kocol

Website. marykocol.com

JKM

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