Artistic Collaboration Portraits, Part II

I had the opportunity to photograph local artist Jason Pohlig a few weeks ago and document his art process (www.jasonpohlig.com). Pohlig’s studio, located on the upper floor of Moira Lazarus Juice bar on West Orange street (https://fllmag.com/moira-records-at-lazarus-juice-bar/) is covered in colored splatters of paint, most of them clinging to a canvas that is laid across the floor, a backdrop for Pohlig’s painting process. Work from other artists clutters the walls and baseboards, propped up canvases leaning against each other, creating a colorful jumbled aesthetic that meshes and clashes with the colors in Pohlig’s original paintings. 

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In his painting process, Pohlig starts with a blank canvas, and he smears paint across the entirety of it, covering the surface blankly in order to create a starting point for one of his intricate and detailed artworks. He fills the painting with more paint, letting purple and red paint splash and flow over the white, creating valleys and rivulets of color that converge and trail off in various ways. The most fascinating part of this process is watching the artist take hot melted wax and pour it over the paint, trapping the paint underneath the wax, creating texture akin to extraterrestrial galaxies and otherworldly lands. 

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When the wax and paint are fairly dry, the artist uses tools and the ends of paintbrushes to dig out even more texture, creating outlines of planets and craters in the artwork on his canvases. 

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In addition to the buildup of wax and paint, Pohlig then uses more paint to add even more texture and color to the top of the shapes and craters that have formed as result of the wax pouring process. By using this layered process, he builds up thin layers of wax and paint to create an almost three dimensional art process, which sets his artwork aside from most local artists in Lancaster. He also does a different genre of art in addition to his textured pieces. Pohlig also does ink and watercolor illustrations and astrological portraits which are ink and watercolor pieces based on a person’s astrological sign. You can find examples of his illustrations here: http://www.jasonpohlig.com/illustrations-1/

I had another chance to take photos of the artist a few days ago in his new studio space. Original art pieces were hung randomly on the walls of the vacant building turned art space, which is the location of Pohlig’s studio.  The teal blue colors of the peeling paint on the walls contrast with the colors in the artist's paintings, making the muted colors as well as the neons in different paintings pop unexpectedly. 

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In regards to my photography in relation to Pohlig’s art, we are working on a collaboration of both of our talents in order to promote both of our art styles. If you go on to Pohlig’s website, (www.jasonpohlig.com), you can see that he used my photography and his art and meshed them together to create a header for his website. Instead of keeping our work separate, we are trying to intertwine both of our talents and turn them into one work.

PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES:

I mainly shoot with purely natural light, so I’m going to run down a few of the techniques I used in this artist collaboration shoot. Although I am a natural light photographer, we did use one fill light to lessen any shadows that may have ruined the images and lighting in the building.

I also shot manually, meaning that I adjusted the ISO, shutter speed, and f-stops to fit the lighting around me. I do not use automatic settings on my camera mainly because when using manual, I have much more control over the lighting and I can control the depth of field and lighting that I want in my images.

GEAR I USED:

I shoot with a Sony Alpha 900. It isn’t the newest camera on the block, but it is full frame and has excellent color pick up and it’s a workhorse. I’ve dropped it, abused it, and used it in all sorts of weather, and it still holds up and works beautifully. 

I usually stick with two lenses when shooting portraits; and 85mm lens and a 50mm lens.  For these artist portraits I used an 85mm lens. I shoot manually with my lenses too, rather than using autofocus. I think it helps artistically and lets me pick out what I want to focus on, rather than letting the camera or lens do all the work. The 85mm lens I use goes all the way to an f-stop of 1.4, which makes it hard to manually focus, but the results are worth it. I’m including a link to f-stops here if you are unfamiliar with the terms and techniques: http://www.uscoles.com/fstop.htm  This website also includes explanation on shutter speeds and breaks down basic information on lenses in relation to f-stops. 

By using all these techniques and the types of photography gear I choose, makes it easier for me to shoot the type of images I want to create. It also helps to have friends and acquaintances who are open to collaborations and creating artwork together. If anyone wants to work with me or needs more tips and advice, feel free to email me: rachelanne090@gmail.com