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Art & Life with Sharon Wallace

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Wallace.

Sharon, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My story begins with my relationships with my grandmothers. They were both very creative and fiercely independent women. They sewed, cooked, crocheted, quilted, knitted, weaved on looms and spent time with many other such types of artistic expressive activities. I grew up with a needle and thread, putting together my own Barbie doll clothing designs, and figuring out how buttons, materials, textures and colors visually and mechanically worked together as well as designing functional pieces of clothing.

As I matured married, and had my girls, I continued to quilt, crochet, sew many of my own clothes and my daughters’ clothes putting together my own patterns. I also continued to artistically create by working with stained glass, basketry painting and photography. It was during this time period that I became a juried artist in the Illinois Museum Society with my basket work. I obtained an Associates of Science degree in Nursing and continued to feed my passion for art while pursuing my career in healthcare and raising my family. My degrees include two Bachelors of Science degrees, on in Nursing and one in Professional Arts and a Master’s of Science degree in education. My personal passions of education, all types of creative art, design and people pulled together for me after my children left home and went to college.

My energy became refocused on creating visual art that inspires others. My love of textures, styles, and design tie perfectly together with my portrait photography to tell the subjects authentic story or purely to create a new one. I incorporate my love of education by supporting other photographers with mentoring, information and education on how to style their shoots, us lighting equipment and how to use other available modifiers and photography gear to craft their own visions.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My visual portrait photography art is primarily focused on teen/Senior portrait work, personal branding and glamour style portrait photography. I work with each individual to get to know them and visually create their story at this moment in time. I work with then to pull together their favorite outfits and components they feel particularly good in, incorporate their passions, help then style and select a location that ties into their story, and ultimately end up with a unique visual art piece that is a representation of their authentic self or to tell a specific story. many times, they are surprised when they see their images and frequently the comment they see themselves a little more clearly or confidently for the first time.

The validation of self-worth and individualism in visual art is a really powerful component of what it is to be a portrait photographer. Each time an individual works with me, not only is it an adventure and model like experience, complete with styling, hair & makeup; they have the opportunity to make a visual statement, recreate who they are, what they want to say, and to share a piece of themselves with the world. My personal joy and inspiration come from collaborating with the individual to create and pull together their story while providing them a fun, model like experience that leaves then valuing themselves and an individual and many times reveals to them the very special and unique qualities they have that makes them so special. As individuals of the human race, we are incredibly complex being with a multitude of layers, pieces of ourselves, our culture, out heritage, and experiences that combine to make up out personalities and unique beings.

The experience of shooting a portrait with me is the opportunity to explore yourself and an individual in entirety or to reveal one of the components; the opportunity to value yourself and to have you validated in all of your uniqueness. This can be an incredibly powerful and positive experience for teens or for anyone who wants to reconnect with a piece of their identity. Many technical choices come into play as far as the photographer is concerned. I hope other photographers look at my work and analyze a little deeper my choice of lens, technical aspect of shooting, perspective, point of view or reference as they relate to the individual and the story. They are all conscious choices and all mean something as they relate to the mood or complete emotion of the image I am trying to portray.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
Many artists is incredible insightful, connecting and experiencing the world around them with deep emotion and vulnerability. It can be scary to put your work out the for the world to experience. Personally, as an artist, I began to reach out and connect with other artists first through social media, and then meeting them at organized events. Sharing your artistic process and visions with other like-minded artists is so rewarding and I have made so many friendships from taking the opportunity and the risk to reach out.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
People can find more of my work on my photography website, www.sharonwallacephotography.com, and social media including Instagram @sharonwallacephoto and Facebook @sharonwallacephotography. For me as an artist, I define success in my portrait work by the personal experience the individual has had with the portrait experience with me, as well as the experiences of others who view the portrait. If you view my portrait work and you love or maybe question the styling, the image provokes and emotion, capture your imagination, you want to know more about this interesting individual, or how the image was created, thin I feel success in creating the visual portrait imagine.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
My personal head shot is by Andrea Yeager. The other images are all mine.

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