JRP: What camera equipment and software do you make use of in your work production?
Terri Gold: Camera Equipment: I use a Canon 5D MarkII, Canon EOS 5D converted to infrared (IR); Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM, EF 24–105m f/4L IS USM, EF 70–200m L IS, and 16–35m USM lenses; Hasselblad XPan with 45mm lens; Mamiya 7 with 43mm lens; Zero Image pinhole camera; and Diana camera. Software: Adobe CS4 Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom 2 and Corel Painter and Photo-matrix Pro.
JRP: How do you classify your style of photography and what inspires you most about the type of work you do?
Terri Gold: I am always looking at the Still Points… inspired by a line of poetry by T.S.Elliot. We are still and still moving… I see my work as still points in a turning world.
My work is interpretive in nature. I am looking for the grace notes, for the sense of wonder in our world and in our connections to each other. I feel compelled to make these images. I believe images that share our stories can have a positive impact on our world. We need to experience our common humanity. We all celebrate the same joys, we all bleed the same too…
JRP: I really like your infrared images. Please take us through some of your thought processes as you set up a shot of this type.
Terri Gold: I have always been attracted to creating imagery using the invisible infrared light spectrum. It adds an element of mystery and surprise when creating the work and then to its presentation.
I shot infrared film for many years, traveling with changing bags and developing the film myself and then lith printing the images in the darkroom. Now I use a digital camera converted to infrared by http://www.lifepixel.com/. I am always looking for the dramatic skies that work so well with infrared but I actually use it in all light conditions.
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of the That-byin-nu temple in the Pagan (Bagan) region of Burma (Myanmar), from a portfolio of 120 prints. With this portfolio of architectural and topographical views, Tripe, an officer from the Madras Infantry, created an early photographic record of Burma. The 1855 British Mission to Burma was instructed to persuade the Burmese king Mindon Min to accept the annexation of Pegu (Lower Burma) following the Anglo-Burmese War of 1852. It was also the intention of the British to collect information about the country. They travelled in Burma from August to early November 1855, stopping at various places to allow Linnaeus Tripe, the official photographer, and the mission’s artist, Colesworthy Grant, to perform their duties. Capital of the first kingdom of Burma from the 11th to the 14th century, Pagan is one of the most important archaeological sites in South East Asia, with the remains of over 2000 stupas, temples and monasteries scattered over a 30 km radius. Tripe wrote of the That-byin-nu, “Or ‘the Omniscient’. It is about 230 feet square, and 200 feet high; divided into two stages, each stage into two stories. An arched corridor passes round each stage, with arched doorways opening outwards; opposite those on the ground story are sitting figures of Gautama. In the centre of each side of the lower stage, is a projecting wing with a lofty doorway, opening into a vestibule: this forms a centre porch to the corridor, a colossal seated figure of Gautama facing it. The centre of the building is a solid mass of masonry terminated by a bulging pyramidal spire crowned by a tee. Its date is about 1100 A.D.” The temple is the tallest construction in Pagan, towering to 61 ms. Built by King Alaungsitthu in the middle of the 12th century, its square plan is the most elaborate of the middle period of building in Pagan (ca.1120-70).
So, you were born in Hawaii and moved to Los Angeles, where you are currently based. When did you first “find” art?
I am based in Los Angeles and Maui, currently in LA. I found art as a child. My Mom taught me how to draw.
You’ve said that your childhood has influenced your artwork heavily. What are some memorable moments you have from your childhood with a connection to art?
Bike rides, walking over to visit friends early in the morning through a thin veil of fog, playing basketball, venturing through densely overgrown brush, making fictitious headquarters, and launching water balloons on the town below.
Water balloons? Did you ever get caught?
Never. We were just too good, or maybe no one really cared. I hope for the latter.
If you ever get tired of being an artist, professional water balloon launcher sounds like a viable alternative for a career.
(laughs) It would be a really cool job. Cold, or warm.
If you need a partner, I’ll be here. So, let’s talk about your process. You start out with an illustration, and then upload that to the computer?
I draw and paint everything by hand. This is important because the computer can, at times, make your artwork feel cold, speaking of temperature. It also enables me to free myself up. The next part is scanning hi-res and sometimes tiling together to complete larger works. The characters and backgrounds are scanned in separately so I have more flexibility to change an arrangement if I feel it is necessary.
So, the characters and backgrounds are drawn separately?
Yes. The only time I get to see them together is once I have combined all the elements in PS. I also never make sketches so it literally is the first time I have seen the image I am creating outside of my head.
Do you visualize a final product before hand, or do you see a character, and then envision other pieces after?
I see the entire image. They move, so I have to do my best and capture the painting using a still from that image to best describe what I am trying to express. It’s exactly like watching a movie and freeze framing it.
Speaking of movies, you currently work in the film industry, yes?
Currently in television and commercials. I also co-produced a documentary entitled ‘Art Recession’. It’s now on Hulu.