Whimsical visual abstractions bring to life Joel Robinson’s work. A photographer who aspires to exhibit the joys of life through his conceptual self portrait photography and worldly manipulations. Read as Chasseur asks Joel about the source of his creative energy, the nature of his work and his unique vision.
When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been interested in art, as a child I would spend hours drawing and colouring in books in my bedroom and throughout my schooling I always favourited the art classes I was in. Gradually I started to try different mediums and thankfully about four years ago I came across some amazing photographs and wanted to try my hand at photography. I’ve taught myself over the past few years and through this I’ve learned that creating is all I really want to do!
One can sense through your blog posts and photographs that you are a deep thinker, an observer seeking for a deeper meaning. In what way has photography helped you in the process?
I’m a rather introverted person, and I really do enjoy soaking in my surroundings and interpreting them through my art. The beautiful part of photography is that it allows you to pay close attention to the world around you. Through photography I’ve paid more attention to the seasons, to the sun setting and to the weather patterns. It’s given me the chance to observe so much of the world that I may not have taken the time think about.
I try to keep my mind active by reading, listening to music and radio and by allowing my mind to wander. I feel that the more we stretch our minds and allow different ideas to form, the easier it is to create and come up with new ideas. I try not to shut anything out and I think by allowing my mind to daydream and think about everything in new ways it helps to fuel my creation.
Your photographs always seem to send a lucky token of hope. Where would you say your motivation to share hope stems from?
I was bullied a lot during my teenage years and I found it really difficult to continue to see the world as a positive place. Thankfully though, through some amazing opportunities I was given a new light and a new vision on the world around me and ever since then, I’ve tried to incorporate a sense of hope and love and kindness into my work. I feel that art is a very powerful tool in supporting people and letting them know they are not alone and by including these messages I’m hoping that it helps someone that views them.
Various websites and social media have provided the opportunity for exposure and wider recognition to many upcoming artists, these past few years. What, in your opinion, are the pros and cons of this new medium?
There are many advantages to having such a widespread audience available to view art. For me personally, it has given me almost every opportunity I’ve had. To be able to share my work with thousands of people around the world, it has opened up many doors that probably wouldn’t exist without social media. It has connected me with fellow artists and friends and allowed me to have my work shown in many other countries. The down side to this forum is that there is a sense of anonymity to the internet, people feel that because they see it on a computer and they like it that they are entitled to use it as they wish. I have hundreds of images where people have taken my photos and edited them without permission or credit. This is the down side to sharing your work online, thankfully for me though the good outweighs the bad.
Are there any artists you look for inspiration when working on new projects? Was there a particular piece of work that inspired you to start creating?
I’m always inspired by artists who continue to push themselves to try new things. Artists like Brooke Shaden, David Talley, and Sarah Ann Loreth are just a few of my inspirations who continue to push their creative boundaries and create art that speaks from their heart.
For me, story and strong character are what draw me into an image. When I look at a photo and I can create a story based around the image or the person in the photo, it makes me look at the image in a new light. It takes a lot of skill to be able to create art that conveys a strong story and I strive to do that in my own work.
Where do you see your work fitting within the current industry of commercial photography?
I feel that the world of commercial photography is changing. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in a new campaign with Coca-Cola, creating images based around their positive branding themes and I feel that this is the direction that a lot of businesses are heading in. I think by using grassroots art and by soliciting work from artists that support the business it brings art and commerce full circle.
Hints on what is to come?
I have lots in mind for my next steps. I hope to start travelling and teaching workshops based around creating concepts and creating images. I also have a few collaborations with fellow artists in the works and I hope to publish my first photography book later this year.