Rising Phoenix Visual Arts Winner: Interview with Laura Wire

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Laura: Studio Arts with an emphasis in photography, and Design Arts with an emphasis in graphic design. I graduate [this] year, and I would like to work as a graphic artist for a design firm. I would also like to continue making art with my photography and hopefully be a part of some exhibitions. There is a lot that can be done with graphics and photography, so I am keeping my mind open for career opportunities.

Q: Do you have a favorite visual art piece from the current issue of Sheepshead Review?

Laura: I really enjoyed Lauren Sinner’s piece, ‘Fig. 48 (Wrist).’ The incorporation of the geometric stitches on top of the inked bone drawing I found to be incredibly intriguing.

Q: When did you become interested in photography? Did someone or something influence you to start?

Laura: I grew up in an artistic family. When I was a teenager, my grandpa introduced me to a 35mm Nikon; I have happy memories of taking pictures of my family and of the deer in the parks of the Milwaukee area. As a kid, making art was always how I wanted to fill my free time. Photography was immediately interesting to me, and has always been a growing passion of mine.

Q: Who or what peaked your interest into submitting to Sheepshead Review?

Laura: Honestly, there just didn’t seem to be a reason not to submit to the Sheepshead. It seemed like a great opportunity, and it was free to submit. I was also impressed by the fact that past work had come to the journal from across the world.

Q: Have you submitted to Sheepshead before? If yes, how did you deal with getting a rejection and what made you try again?

Laura: I have been both accepted and rejected from the Sheepshead in the past. Being rejected isn’t fun, but that is no reason to not try again next time. It’s not a personal rejection of you as an artist; it just means they didn’t like what they saw this time. As I understand the Sheepshead to be, there are different judges of who is accepted for each semester. Judges have varying tastes and criteria; so if you get rejected one semester, try the next semester!

Q: What exactly is Piet’s Orange Peel and how did you come across it? Have you captured anything else like this before? How did you come up with ideas for your pictures? Do you discover them on your own, or do you plan what you want to photograph?

Laura: A lot of my work is almost like a small private performance piece, and the photograph is almost a representation or document of that performance and moment. With Piet’s Orange Peel this was definitely the case. Sometimes, good work comes from not being afraid to play and experience the moment of the photograph; I’ve learned that planning your meaning ahead of time can get in your way as an artist. I had a feeling and idea I was going for, but I didn’t plan out each shot or calculate meaning ahead of time. Piet’s Orange Peel is an exploration of mental and physical space. At the same time it makes reference to the paintings of Piet Mondrian.

Q: Do you have a specific process that you follow when you take your photographs? What is your favorite object, person, etc. to take photographs of?

Laura: I enjoy recruiting my family and friends for my pictures, and they have been really great models and super supportive of my artwork. Generally, I am always exploring curiosities and concerns and thinking about how I can translate those things visually. Sometimes my photography sort of acts as a little explorative experiment, and that’s really how I approach it.

Q: Is digital photography your main interest or do you work in other mediums? Are you working on anything else right now?

Laura: Aside from photography, I really enjoy drawing. My favorite things to draw with are ink, pen, and charcoal. Gestural, more expressionistic drawings are my absolute favorite.

Currently, I am working on a few freelance graphics projects. And I have a couple photo projects I am very excited to see evolve in the future.

Q: What is the best advice you have received about photography? Do you have any advice for fellow visual artists looking to get published in Sheepshead Review?

Laura: I feel that every day I have received valuable advice about photography at UWGB. My photo professor is the absolute greatest. I think something that I definitely needed to learn was not to be afraid to fail, and I think that is also something anyone wishing to submit to the Sheepshead in the future should also think about. Don’t be afraid to fail, because if you never fail, then you are not pushing yourself hard enough. Beyond failure, there is some great work waiting to be discovered. You have to learn to not be afraid to go after what interests you, and keep working at it. And of course, have fun with it.

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