Our art editor, Cynthia Close, spoke with our inaugural featured artist, Sheri L. Wright, about her art and poetry. Here’s what she had to say about what she looks for in her artwork—and what keeps her creating.
What inspired you to create this series?
I have a deep love of rust, the results of oxidation, how changeable patterns and textures are created by natural processes. For me, these things are like treasures that are hidden if we only appreciate the flash of new things. I find it so amazing to discover art and visual stories all around me. It makes living into an adventure.
What made you want to publish?
I wanted to see how far it flew, if it had any chance of being published in book form, shown in exhibitions. I thought that if the work received a good response, I was heading in the right direction, that someone other than me liked my images and that I could grow as a visual artist.
You are also a dedicated, accomplished poet: do you see your work as a visual artist informing your poetry? Your work with words informing your visual art?
I began writing poetry before delving into photography. I feel certain that my visual art is heavily influenced by poetry. But then, poetry isn’t only found on the page. It’s found in feral cats observing the hum of tourists from a just a few yards away, or in how kindness can be threaded into conversations with strangers we didn’t know were our future friends. To sum it up, I’d say that I’m working with poetry in both a written and visual sense. Both mediums provide a way for expressing poetry in their own ways.
Experience Sheri’s reading of her poem “Nevada Test Sight 1945” as part of the Earth Sower Poetry Series.
Filmed and edited by Jennifer Noll
What are you working on now?
I have several projects on textures, colors, and patterns derived from a variety of subject matter, things found in rural to industrial settings, living things to that which appears animated, but speaks from the crackling of paint and weathered patina.
What is the best advice about making art you have ever received?
Get out of your own way and let the subject speak to you.
Can you describe your creative process?
I search for stories, patterns and anything that is unusual. It’s like an adventure, in that I never know what I’m going to find and have to remain very open seeing things differently, allowing the images to present themselves.
What is the first artwork you remember making?
I took some terrible pictures in high school, not quite able to express what I felt through a lens. It wasn’t until years later that a friend shoved a camera in my hand and insisted I use it. I’m so glad I did, because I discovered I had a love for the abstract, that I could create art through a lens. What a liberating experience!
What keeps you creating?
I couldn’t imagine going through life without creating art in some fashion, be it visual or written imagery. I feel that, for me, art is what compels growth and feeds the spirit, that it’s essential for a healthy existence.
Sheri’s forthcoming book of photography, Rodz ‘N Rust, an exploration of automotive rust to restoration, is available on pre-order from Acclaim Press.