Interview by L. Valena
First of all, can you just describe to me what you responded to?
I can't remember the title- I think it was Fish Ghost. For the first week I just looked at it every so often. Every so often I would just bring the image back up, try to figure out what I was going to do with it- how I was going to respond to it. So for the first week I didn't do anything except look at the image. And then maybe around the mid-point, I started to actually try to put words with the image- that tends to be how I work. So I was playing with the idea of ghosts, and shadows, and what that meant. And how I would try to mirror that. Most of my work is self portrait work- I put myself in all of it. I do have outside influences, and I talk to people, but more than likely it's going to be me, just because I have most control over myself. I don't like to intrude into other people's worlds and pull stuff from them, I think I can pull it from myself best. That's why probably 99% of what I do is very personal.
So, for this Fish Ghost, I was trying to figure out how to do a duplicate of myself. What's that going to look like? And I'm not really handy with a lot of photography, I'm very much an amateur- photo manipulation is not something I've gotten into a lot. So, it was going to have to be something that was going to have to go in a different direction. The word 'metamorphosis' jumped out to me. Right now I'm going through a creative process where I'm slowly moving from what I used to be to a new plane, and I'm learning to accept myself in a lot of different ways- it's all really great, awesome stuff, but it's been a new frontier for me- new in a lot of ways. And so that's where the idea of moving into a new person came from. The photo I ended up submitting is a self portrait, and it's new for me. It plays into this idea of metamorphosis, and it plays into the double image, because it's an image of myself that I've never looked at. I don't know if that makes any sense.
Yeah- looking at the two images side by side, it's really striking how they echo each other.
A lot of times a ghost is past, and a reflected image could be considered to be of the present. And I guess now that I think about it, I'm only showing the present in my photo, and presently that is where I am. And I really tried to play- I wanted to bring the color from the first piece into my photo- try to make them almost similar. Like this could be the third step in the series- it could almost be like a 1,2,3. And move it and play with the color. I took the photo, and I try to do a lot of natural lighting with my work, but that photo took a little more manipulation. I kind of tweaked it a little more than I usually would, just because I wanted it to flow with the first photo. And like I was saying, the ghost/past, present- that whole thing. In my photo I tried get more into the rebirth aspect of it. And that's why I chose that pose- it's kind of like an explosion of light.
So you primarily work in self portraits, can you say more about that?
A self portrait so important, because it's really all you. It's such a purity thing, and that's why a lot of the stuff that I do, I try to do natural light. I have some black and white stuff, and I love the contrast of color sometimes, but I really try to work with the natural part of whatever I'm doing.
That word 'purity' is really striking to me, with this image- there's almost like a purifying quality to the light. It's really just very ethereal work.
Thank you- I feel really proud of this work.
If you were to give advice to someone else doing this project, what would you say?
Oh gosh. I really think it's dependent on how that person usually works, I tend to sit with things for awhile. And I know other people can just jump right in. I am more of a person who sits back, and that's why it took me almost a week before I even started working on it. So my advice would be to look at it. Take it in for the work it is itself, and think about what you get from the piece without trying to respond to it. And get a natural idea of what direction you should go in. Wait, and just breathe with it. Take it as it is, and see what happens.
It's interesting how some people take some time to respond, and others just dive in immediately.
Sometimes inspiration just hits you. I've been on the bus before and have written whole blog entries, and written very thoughtfully. Sometimes it just falls right out of your head.
For me personally, I haven't done anything like this ever, so I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it. I think it's so great. It came to me at a very good time, because I haven't been very creative in the last couple months- or as creative as I'd like to be. The creative aspect of it- just go with it. Just let it develop, breathe with it. This piece is so important to me- for myself. As I said, this is something that I've never done before, and I've never been that open with my body in that way. I am expressing a lot of things in that photo that I've kind of tied down for the 29 years I've been on this earth, and for the last year or so I've been more open to my femininity, and I've been more open to accepting my body for who I am. The rebirth process of it is all in that photo- that is the true me, right there. So the opportunity has been awesome.
That's amazing to hear. That's really the best thing we could hope for.
I've never taken a photo like that! The whole process of it- I haven't shown it to anyone, just because I'm trying to figure out how to explain it. But, that is the natural state of Nivlac.
Call Number: Y12VA | Y16VA.niKi
My name is Nivlac and this is my art. My only wish is that you accept it in its purest form.
Whatever that means to you.