Feature Artist of the Week
started to have a life of it’s own. It wasn’t about me any more. It was about the community. I’m still in shock and awe about how many people have been wanting to get involved with it and still want to get involved with it.
With Keisha Register With Keisha Register
By Kendall Brown POP Editor
Editor’s Note: Featured Artist of the Week is a brand new column featuring local talent within the visual, performing, literary and musical arts. If you know of an artist you’d like to see featured, please send a short artist bio and work samples to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we sat down with local photographer Keisha Register. Register, whose serial portraiture series has become increasingly popular on the internet and was recently featured at MAINSITE Contemporary Gallery, is a former graduate student at the University of Oklahoma School of Art. Register is currently in the process of fundraising for a solo show of her Wallpaper Portrait series, which will feature hundreds of individual prints, all of Norman locals.
Q: Describe your Wallpaper Portrait Series for us. A: The project is based on my love for postmortem portraiture. It really originated
from losing a close person in my life at a young age. The last image that I saw of him was his dead face. So really this project is for him, but also for myself. The pictures of the individuals are done very much in a documentary project. In essence, it’s portraits of individuals that we see every now and then or we see all the time here in the community, and it’s a document that that individual lived here. Of course, it’s got that modern twist to it because it’s very colorful and very bright and lot of ways very whimsical. I wanted it to have that postmodern feel, but be a little bit brighter.
Q: How did the series get started? A: This whole project started as a very personal project. My friends Tammy and
Curtis, who I’ve known for many years had this wallpaper in their entryway and I just knew I wanted to use it because it reminded me of my grandmother. So I experimented a lot, but I never really focused on it until around March. The first two pictures I did were of Tammy and Curtis and I was really encouraged to pursue it. As more pictures came out, more people took interest in it and it just took off. When it got bigger, and more people wanted to model, and it’s just bigger and bigger, it just
Friday, Aug. 19, 2011
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about how your process works? A: The project just started as an experiment. When I did the first two shots, I was
playing around with it a lot, regarding what I wanted to do on Photoshop. I used to be really anti digital photography. I was very firm with my students about learning traditional darkroom skills before going on to traditional. After I graduated, I had to switch over to digital because I didn’t have the darkroom and the necessary equipment for it anymore, so digital was the best thing for me. And I’ve just never stopped since. For this project, there is a heavy amount of photoshop, because the portraits look very painterly. Because of the massive amount of models in the project, I had to cut the shoots very short. There is maybe only five or ten minutes per shoot, but I try to connect with them in that time, and then they leave. The way that I try to connect with them is through the editing process. I will obsess over that individual’s face after I look through all the contact sheets and try to connect with it. I find something that I really love about their face and try to enhance it in any way that I can. Each image is very different, and I will work on one for hours at a time.
Q: So tell us about where you’re at right now with the project, then. You’re fundraising for the show, correct? A: Yes. Originally we were going to have all of the images in the show, and that is still our goal. I feel like if I left ten out, it just wouldn’t be the same. Our goal is to have them fill up every single one of the images in the show space. As soon as you walk into the space, you’ll have all of these eyes of all the portraits on you. We’re putting up a Kickstarter fundraiser page to help with the fundraising, and we’ve had lots of individuals that have volunteered their time and their work and it’s just been amazing and beautiful. We’re also having at least two more fundraisers for the show, one at The Deli on September 1 and one at The Opolis on September 17. Keisha’s local favorites Before hitting the galleries: The Library or Blu Eat at:The Pink Elephant, Coriander Cafe, The Earth Shop here:Wild Hare Beadery Play at: Gray Owl, The Deli, Second Friday Circuit of Art, The Opolis Late night:The Deli, The Library
If you go: Wallpaper Series Fundraiser Show Featuring: Ex Oblivione, Papa Win, Pilgrim and Pine, Caravact and Hood Mason Date: September 1 Time: 9 p.m. Location: The Deli Cover: $5 Kickstarter Page: www.kickstarter.com/projects/wallpaperproject/the-wallpaper-project