— I’m excited to share with you my interview with the talented featured artist of Issue 29 of Living the Photo Artistic Life magazine: AWAKE artist Amelia Blanco (of Cuba). You’ll find her a fantastic artist — and I think you’ll be astonished at how quickly she became this good!
Q. What got you started in digital photo artistry?
This is quite funny actually. It was pure coincidence at first, then just sheer determination!
I had just arrived in the United States, and being a housewife and not doing much else gave me enough time to start doing what I liked, which at the time was landscape photography. So I signed up for a course with Phil Steele, and then one day I received an email with the subject: “Photo Artistry – Pushing Photography Further.” And while I really did not know what I was getting into, it seemed attractive, and the images were stunning, and for sure I wanted to create art like that! (Who wouldn’t?) So the next thing I know, I started taking the course.
But then, just passing the intro lessons, I became paralyzed, for I had never even used or seen Photoshop before (LOL), so I just couldn’t keep up … and then add that I am a Spanish speaker, with some English knowledge but without much practice at it. So I dropped back a step, signed up for Phil Steele’s “Photoshop Basics” course and I made my way back in … And this time it all started to click. I soon went back to Photoshop Artistry, and before I knew it I was was already in AWAKE as well!
So … I suppose you could call it speed-learning, with some jumping around, so not always in the right order. But I made it! And I couldn’t be prouder.
Q. What do you think accounts for just how FAST you became so skilled in Photoshop?
I get to work every day. I am very sensitive, and a constant learner. I also get bored very easily, so I like to try new things, experiment with different techniques, and explore the possibilities Photoshop gives you — and let my imagination fly. I like seeing others great artists’ work (easy to do in AWAKE!) and I’m often amazed me at their pieces. I try to think through their processes and techniques, and I then want to explore them in my own work. Though my mood in the end usually defines what I convey in the final image. Lately I seem to find myself forgetting things. Sometimes I can’t even recall how to do “The Move” (i.e., the keyboard command for “merge stamp visible”). So I force myself to repeat actions over and over, and recall all the processes and steps for creating a piece. This repetition, while born of necessity, surely helps my progress.
Q. What does living an artistic life mean to you?
It means more than what I expected when I started the course. It encompasses everything now. I am always looking for textures, and interesting things that can help me create my own images (and it’s really funny the way people look at you when you’re photographing textures!) For me, living an artistic life is about living in a world of wonder, allowing me to create a parallel world where I forget about everything other than my art. It allows me to stop worrying, and I feel I can now simply step into my own private magical world whenever I like.
Q. How do you approach your work? (Any particular process you tend to follow?)
I like working with female models, for they have much to offer and I feel I can identify with them. I usually look for a pose or a mood that the image transmits to me, and then I start from there. Unlike many people, I don’t tend to follow an order of ideas or preconceived one. It all comes to my mind in the creation process. Then I start building what it calls for. Sometimes I have to find out how to perform certain processes as I work, for there are things that I have not done before yet feel the piece demands. All of my pieces speak back to me. They reach within me, touch my soul in some way, and it is a feeling hard to reconcile until I am finished.
Q. What’s your next step as an artist?
My goal has always been to simply enjoy what I am doing, continue to learn and improve, and become comfortable with who I am as an artist. I have accomplished so many unexpected things so far that I can hardly believe it. From here, maybe I can start setting up my own photo shoots with models. Whatever I do next, I definitely need to keep learning!
Q. Any advice or tips for other aspiring digital artists?
Don’t let the talents of other artists scare you. Trust yourself, trust the process, and don’t get overwhelmed by all the programs and tutorials out there. To get really good, I think you need to make a schedule and stick to it. If you really want to learn and you put all your effort into it, you will accomplish great things. But it takes dedication.
And always remember, your art is yours and it must please you above all things else.
Sebastian’s Photoshop Artistry will give you the tools to get where you want … and beyond. If you work, if you immerse yourself, if you trust — you will be surprised and amazed at where your journey leads you.