Monday, August 30, 2010

Artist Profile: Elizabeth Downing

Downing’s Street: Prime Pictures of Post-Oil Boom Tulsa
Guest Author: Shelby Woods
Elizabeth Downing, The Rocks, photography
Elizabeth Downing is a photographer who is originally from Dallas, but is now a devoted Tulsa “midtowner.” She makes photographs of fallen objects as she finds them. Her philosophy, neatly summed up is, “Anywhere I am is an inspiration since I am always looking for ‘things that fall down.’”

She wrote that she photographs objects “as they lay” ninety-nine percent of the time because, in her own words, she “can think of nothing more terrifying than deciding where to put things on a blank white sheet.”

Her most recognizable series of photographs are grey scale shots of the ground with a few objects interjected against a cement backdrop. Her subjects are often abandoned, industrial objects, which lend her photography an exploratory element. With her work, she discovers the forsaken artifacts of a time gone past. Downing’s ability to capture beauty in the industrial post-oil boom landscape of Tulsa infuses her work with gritty nostalgia and a distinctive aesthetic.
Elizabeth Downing, Direction, photography
Despite the obvious amount of care that she invests in her photography, taking pictures is not her full time job. Downing founded a company with her husband that focuses on digital forensics and e-discovery. She now considers her photography an interest that merits occasional exhibition and sale of her work. Since she is not solely dependent on her photography income, the economic downturn has not impaired her ability to fund her photography.

In a word of advice, Downing recommends every young artist to develop his or her business skills. She writes “It's the least exciting but most rewarding part of being a creative person and if you do it right, you will get to share your work with more people than you ever thought possible”. Downing is member of the OVAC board and regularly conducts Artist Survival Kit workshops. The next exhibition of her work will be in Spring 2011 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.

Downing is one of the presenters for OVAC’s next Artist Survival Kit workshop "Making a Statement" on September 11, noon-3 pm.  Through exercises, Downing and Janice McCormick will guide artists through the dreaded process of writing an artist statement. 

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