Author: Ivana Starcevic

Featured Artist

Featured Artist: Amy M. Ditto

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain

Background & Technique

In a profile I provided Shadow & Light Magazine a couple of years back, I began by stating that I haven't always been an artist. But, that isn't really true. Though as a child I was more interested in climbing trees than drawing them, my inner creative was always there in the stories I told myself, the scenarios and worlds I created for myself, and the innovations I made in bringing them to life.

Growing up, my mother was actively involved in the arts and regularly involved me. This exposure had a lasting impact. For my 18th birthday, my father gave me an SLR film camera, and in my second year of college in New Mexico, full of optimism and a sense of adventure, my passion for photography was instantly ignited. I began, of course, with black and white darkroom work. I adored it, but I could not imagine how I would make a career of it. I was interested in pretty much everything back then (still am). My curiosity lead me in other directions, and I moved on to more “practical” endeavors.

Wisdom of the Four ©2020 Amy M. Ditto

Twenty-five years later, after a lot of twists and turns in the road, a bachelor's degree in Psychology & Philosophy and a PhD in Ecology & Evolution, I now work as an artist and gallerist full time and am the owner of Ghostwolf Gallery in Albuquerque Old Town.

Departing radically in technique from the black & white of my youth, my work has moved in a significant way from a more spontaneous/opportunistic process of finding (or even stumbling upon) the perfect shot to become a more actively planned creative process that focuses on post-production and working as some painters do, to build images from the imagination. Completely self-taught where digital techniques are concerned, the digital darkroom has replaced the darkroom of old, and a computer has replaced the toxic, environmentally unfriendly chemicals we used to not think twice about working with for hours on end. I do not fear taking artistic license with an image, and my photography has become a tool in my creative process rather than an end in-and-of itself. I shoot more for stock now, spending more time interested in getting a subject from all possible useful angles than getting it from its “best” one, as rarely will the shot represent the final image, and more often than not I do not even know how I will use it. Sometimes, I don't have the image I need for a piece and I have to get creative. The 1940s Harley-Davidson in “Stormchaser” is actually a tiny model I purchased to get the shot, and “Dorothy” was not photographed in situ for any of the images in the “After Oz” series. I posed for the bathtub shot for “The Only Way to Fly” by setting a timer on my camera, whipping off my shirt, sitting down on a wrought iron chair on our deck, holding up my hand as if I had a glass of wine in it, and hoping the UPS guy didn't show up! I popped the image into the bathtub and created all of the appropriate shadowing in post. (All of the “After Oz” scenes are entirely generated from my imagination. The bathroom she lounges in does not exist save for there.)

The Only Way to Fly ©2018 Amy M. Ditto

All of this stated, spontaneity remains a big part of what I do. Sometimes, I just play, and many of my best images have arisen from this. Often, my ideas arise wondering what two very disparate images might look like combined, or waking from a dream. I crave novelty and as such diversity of style and subject matter is definitive of my nature. Conforming to a strict formula would suck the joy out of the creative process for me. Thus, while there are unifying stylistic elements globally evident in everything I do, I feed off the challenge of pushing myself in new directions. I remain constantly curious and easily amused in life. I find funny graffiti endearing and love quirky cultural statements and ironic juxtapositions.

Artistic Development, Philosophy, Challenges, & Advice to Aspiring Artists

Both positive and antagonistic forces have driven my development as an artist, the latter of which I believe deserve significant credit for pushing me to be far better at what I do. I will never forget when I was starting out doing large art shows and an older gentleman (photographer) wandered into my booth and complained bitterly about digital techniques and post-processing and said of my heavily edited piece “El Super Servicio de Santo Niño: “even YOU have to admit those colors aren't real!” My response was: “That's not the point, if you prefer traditional photography, there are lots of wonderful artists here at the show!” His wife nearly died of embarrassment (she understood), and my husband still laughs about my handling of it.

Busted on Route 66 ©2020 Amy M. Ditto

Regardless of the genre that they work in, anyone that does a lot of art shows has met this guy. And, he represents some of the primary challenges those of us pushing boundaries in any medium, but especially those of us working in digital and blurring lines between art forms, face. Despite plenty of accolades for my work, I am well aware that there are still folks in the art world that look down their noses at digital, and this is an ongoing frustration given the amount of creativity and skill I hope my work exhibits. My most complicated pieces can have hundreds of hours and hundreds of layers in them. They combine collage with digital brushwork and the utilization of a myriad of techniques, but a running joke between my husband and I is that I just push the “I feel lucky” button and call it a day, as it seems that is what these folks think I do. (For non-photographers, there used to be a photographic plugin for Photoshop that actually did have a setting named this. It was fun to play with, but pretty much never rendered artistically palatable results.)

 

El Super Servicio de Santo Niño ©2020 Amy M. Ditto

However, as irked and amused as I was with that fellow in my booth that day, at that moment, my direction was clear. I wanted no confusion regarding my artistic intent and can say unequivocally that experiences and attitudes like these have pushed me to define myself without apology as an artist with a distinct vision. I've always been a contrarian, and the harder I have been pushed to conform, the harder I have pushed out into exploratory territory. The constant pressure to do work that purists are more comfortable with has ultimately lead me to find my own voice. Instead of aspiring to mediocrity through the pursuit of excellence in common work, I find myself taking more chances in defiance of it. The cynicism and banality of the idea that everything must look exactly as it is or utilize whatever trendy techniques other well-known photographers are using has pushed me ever further towards surrealism and whimsy. It's led me to more actively start telling stories and show people how I see the world. But, perhaps the coolest offshoot of my development as an artist has been my realization in the face of negativity that I prefer to define myself by what I do like, rather than what I don't. I am a firm believer that taking ourselves too seriously is a dangerous gambit and this is an incredibly positive motivation that guides me every day. Thus, in addition to hopefully instilling wonder, I've largely dedicated myself to making people laugh. I'm relatively convinced that this may be the greatest contribution I can make in this life and is a sufficiently worthy goal to aspire to.

The Survivor ©2020 Amy M. Ditto

All of this leads in to answering the interview question posed to me regarding what my advice would be to aspiring artists. First and foremost: do not let conventionalists have you stuff your creativity into that box they so want you to. Let your freak flag fly. Have fun. Be you. Further, some folks in the art world will try and suggest that only art that makes us miserable is “true” art, but joy is a legitimate element of the human experience worth communicating. Do not be afraid to convey it. And finally, don't let anyone tell you that because you use unconventional or non-traditional techniques that what you do is “less-than”. For the digital photographers out there, the artist working with digital brushes is no less an artist than one working with boarhair. And, one working in Photoshop is no less a photographer. What you do requires substantial skill to do well. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Keepers of the Heart ©2020 Amy M. Ditto

 

 

 

 

 

Amy's work can be found at Ghostwolf Gallery at 206-1/2 San Felipe ST NW STE 3 and online at www.amyditto.com Ghostwolf is closed through January while they move to the new location. Call for an appointment!

 

31st Annual Winter Craft Show

Corrales Historical Society once again partners with Corrales Society of Artists to bring this outstanding fine crafts event to Corrales and Historic Old San Ysidro Church.

This year, a heated 30-foot by 60-foot tent on the church grounds will conveniently concentrate all vendors in one area. Corrales Society of Artists members, last year’s Winter Craft Show vendors, and Makers Market participants are invited without review to apply for booth space in the show. Any new artist must provide three (3) photographic examples (send digital examples to carol@rigmark.com) of their work that is to be sold. Each entrant must provide an application and fee.

Deadline for entry is November 1, 2019. Applications will be taken until all booths are gone. A wait list will be available. Artists will be notified of acceptance by email. For any unaccepted application, the fee will be refunded to the applicant. All work must be handmade by the crafter or artist. Eligibility: jewelry, woodwork, pottery, fabric, photos, paper, paintings and other fine crafts. Artists will handle their own setup, sales and takedown. Neither the show hosts nor the Village of Corrales will be responsible for loss or damage of work. All entrants must sign a liability waiver at setup. Evening security will be provided.

For more information: Diane Cutter at 505-717-1233 or Carol Rigmark at 505-890-8879 or visit

CorralesHistory.org and click on “Winter Craft Show.” A 10% donation, based on all sales collected by the close of the show on December 8, will be requested from each artist. This contribution goes to the CHS Old Church Preservation Fund.

APPLY NOW

31st Annual Old Church Fine Arts Show

31st Annual Old Church Fine Arts Show

The Corrales Historical Society and the Corrales Society of Artists invite all artists who are residents of New Mexico to apply for admission to the 31st Annual Old Church Fine Arts Show from October 5 to 13, 2019 in Corrales, New Mexico.

Application Dates: Jul 1, 2019 - Jul 31, 2019

The Old Church Fine Arts Show is a juried exhibition with a long reputation for high-quality artwork that coincides with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta each October. We expect many local and out of town visitors looking for art and entertainment after the daily mass ascensions at Balloon Fiesta Park each morning.

The Corrales Historical Society and The Corrales Society of Artists will produce this beautiful art event to help maintain our San Ysidro Church an adobe historical treasure

APPLY NOW!

We welcome submissions of fine art photography, painting & drawing, printmaking, collage, three-dimensional sculpture, and ceramics.

The art pieces must all be for sale with a 25% portion of all proceeds going to help restore and maintain the Old Church. This historic adobe building is property of the village of Corrales. A distinguished jury will review and rate the work online.

All New Mexico artists are eligible to apply.

Juried Art Services:   https://www.juriedartservices.com/index.php?content=registration&event_id=1598

CAST Sponsors Children’s Art Program

Corrales Art and Studio Tour proudly presents the Art Kites from students in the 4th grade Art class of Tricia Larese at Cottonwood Montessori School and the 5th grade class of Terry Kominiak at Corrales Elementary School.  Students discussed the concept of cultural use of imagery for totem representation and were asked to thoughtfully choose a totem for themselves and write a haiku about it.  They painted their kites with their image, then assembled the kite to the spars.  The kites will be on display with the CAST artist's representative works in the Corrales Art and Studio Tour preview gallery, May 3-5 at Casa Vieja on Corrales Road.  During the week after the studio tour, the kites will be returned and the students will fly their kites for the first time.

Pop Up Treasures in CORRALES – ARTS ALIVE! – April 7

The theme is appropriate - “Pop Up Treasures”. It’s a fitting description of the format for the one-day Arts Alive! event. The upcoming Arts Alive! in Corrales will be April 7 (1:00 – 5:00 p.m.) Restaurants, galleries and shops will be open with special bargains for visitors. Wineries will be also be offering a tasting of their excellent local wines.

The Corrales Society of Artists is proud to support Pop Up Treasures. 14 CSA artists will display their work at the historic Casa Vieja Event Center. They will show their work and be personally available to discuss art and their work in particular. Displayed art will include paintings, photography, pottery, fiber art, jewelry, fused glass and metal sculpture. Artists include Sylvia Gormley, Lauren Deyo, Linda Dillenback, Urey Lemen, Cheryl Cathcart, Renee Gentz, Myra Gadson, Terri Garcia, Linda Boyes, Liz Roberts, Dave Sabo, Justin Kirby, Pat Kirby and Ken Duckert. Small and large scale work will be on display, something for every budget.

This Casa Vieja art exhibit will actually be a two-day weekend event and will include Saturday, April 6, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Casa Vieja is a lovely, historic New Mexican adobe. It is the perfect venue to check out art. Built in the 18th century, Casa Vieja is Albuquerque’s premier historic event space. Casa Vieja was originally used as a home by Salvador Martinez on land purchased as part of the Alameda Land Grant from Juan Gonzales Bas. It’s been beautifully restored by Linda, Gary and Maria Socha. Gary recently introduced several craft beers brewed on site and Casa Vieja is now open to the public on Thursday – Saturday, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Gary’s six craft beers, selected New Mexico wines and food will available during the exhibit

This will be the most enjoyable time for visitors. Casa Vieja is located at 4541 Corrales Road, Corrales.

http://www.casaviejaevents.com/

Arts Alive! – Casa Perea

CSA again had a very prominent presence in the third Corrales Arts Alive! event on Sunday, March 3 at the Casa Perea Art Space. Martha Egan, the owner of Casa Perea graciously invited CSA artists to show their art at the beautiful and historic adobe that is home to her Pachamama business. Martha has been offering a fine selection of Central and South American art, crafts and antiques for over 50 years in Corrales and Santa Fe. Casa Perea is one of the perfect venues in Corrales to show art. All of the participating artists were pleased and honored to show their art there.

Artists included Ivana Starcevic, Paul Rodenhauser, Bill Monthan, Victoria Mlady, Kate Palmo, Sharon Rutherford, John Boyes, Sue Ellen Rael, Ken Duckert, Ric Speed, Carol Mell, Amy Ditto, Glen Smith, Dave Sabo and Krysteen Waszak. Artists received wonderful support from managers Bernadette and Oscar Caraveo.

As was the case with last month’s Arts Alive! exhibit at ExNovo, the attendance was robust. Over 300 visitors were counted during the day-long show. Spirits were high and conversation was lively. The theme for the event was the Art of Chili. Five galleries and businesses offered tastings of chili prepared by Corrales chefs. Everyone reported strong traffic. Event planners counted this event as a grand success and a continuation of what is hoped to be a long-lived, monthly activity.

As CSA participates in more Arts Alive! events, more CSA artists will be invited to participate.

 

     

IN CORRALES – ARTS ALIVE!

There will be a gathering of distinguished local artists at Casa Perea in Corrales on Sunday, March 3rd from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. 15 local artists will show their work and be personally available to discuss art and their work in particular. Displayed art will include paintings, photography, ink printing, iconography, encaustic art, and metal sculpture.  Artists include Dave Sabo, Glen Smith, Krysteen Waszak, Ivana Starcevic, Paul Rodenhauser, Bill MonthanJohn Boyes, Victoria Mlady, Sharon Rutherford, Ric Speed, Sue Ellen Rael, Carol Mell, Kate Palmo, Amy Ditto, and Ken Duckert. Small and large scale work will be on display, something for every budget.

The Corrales Society of Artists is proud to be a sponsor of this event. Casa Perea is a lovely historic adobe surrounded by scenic gardens. It is a perfectly wonderful venue to show art. Casa Perea is also the home of Pachamama, a store named for the Earth Mother of the Andes. Pachamama is dedicated to presenting the best and most beautiful handmade Latin American Folk Art, new, old or vintage. Pachamama works personally and directly with the artisans who make the art they sell.

The theme for this Arts Alive event is the Art of Chili. Local chefs will offer their best chili recipes in hot competition. Restaurants and galleries will be open with special bargains for visitors. Our wineries will be also be offering a tasting of their excellent local wines.

This will be the most enjoyable time for visitors. Casa Perea is located at 4829 Corrales Road, Corrales.

https://casapereaartspace.com/

Bill Monthan
Sharon Rutherford
Ric Speed
Glen Smith
Sue Ellen Rael
Ivana Starcevic
Kate Palmo
John Boyes
Dave Sabo
Paul Rodenhauser
Ken Duckert
Krysteen Waszak
Carol Mell