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Faces of the CVPA: Karie Edwards & Aaron Forrester

Karie Edwards and Aaron Forrester

Karie Edwards and Aaron Forrester as photographed by Elizabeth Dreher

Karie Edwards and Aaron Forrester are two graduate art students, who are also graduate teaching assistants. In addition, they are co-presidents of G.A.S.A., which has a show opening in Gallery 205. We asked them about G.A.S.A., their studies, teaching, and photography. Here is what they had to say.

1. Where are you from originally?

Karie: Sanford, Fla.

Aaron: I am originally from Portland, Ore. I moved here when I was 24 with my wife and four-month-old son. I now have two boys.

2. What are your areas of study?

Karie: Photography

Aaron: I have a BS in Theology I received from Cascade College in Oregon. I have a BS in Graphic Design from RU; I'm currently pursuing my MFA with a dual concentration in Photography and Drawing.

3. What inspired you to pursue an Master's in Fine Arts?

Karie: My desire to be a college professor.

Aaron: I really have a passion to teach. I enjoy the interaction and enthusiasm about art.

4. How do you manage your time as both graduate students and teachers of undergraduate courses?

Karie: Honestly, like every other college student....procrastination. I am the worst procrastinator so I make a list of things I need to do, and then prioritize it so I'll get everything done on time. When I was in the Navy I would keep a pad of paper on my desk, list all my tasks and due dates on it and check items off throughout the week as I completed them. On Friday, I would start a new list and transfer everything I hadn't completed to the top of the new list. I'm not that organized anymore, but I meet my deadlines....sometimes by the skin of my teeth.

Aaron: Haha. I try not to think more than a week and a half ahead of time. I am also a co-owner of a photography company called Enigma Photography. We specialize in weddings and shoot around 50 a year; so that takes up my weekends. Haha. Just typing this is making me realize I'm probably falling behind!

5. What do you hope your students will take with them when they complete your courses?

Karie: A firm foundation of darkroom photography techniques, and the knowledge of how to look at and discuss art.

Aaron: I really want them to have, if nothing else, a small amount of passion for artistic expression. I want to be part of kindling a fire in them for the arts. Hopefully with the knowledge they gain, there will come appreciation.

6. What is G.A.S.A. and what would you say it provides for the students and community of RU?

Karie: G.A.S.A. is the Graduate Art Student Association. It is a club for graduate art students. We have social activities, art shows in the local community, and work together as a group to market/sell our art work. Our main goal for G.A.S.A. is to produce camaraderie within the Art Department’s graduate student body. We wanted to form a cohesive group that could rely on each other for encouragement, support and feedback.

Aaron: G.A.S.A. is the graduate art association. We offer show opportunities and some workshops. Most importantly for Karie and I over the last few years has been the community aspect of the group. It's so easy to fall into a rut and cut yourself off as a student, especially a grad student. This group gives us a chance to be a part of each other’s lives. Even in a small way, this matters to people. It also can be helpful in being an artist.

7. What do you love the most about photography?

Karie: The darkroom process.

Aaron: I love the instantaneous gratification you get with digital photography. I like pulling a moment out of history and framing it with your perspective saved, so you can go back and live that moment again and again. With drawing, I love the freedom from thought, the connection between eye and hand. When the moment is perfect you are moving fluidly and creating with ease. Even the dirtiness of the material is pleasing.

8. Who or what inspires your artistic styles?

Karie: Jerry Uelsmann and the Starn Twins are the two most influential in my work. Both use light as a primary element in their work. For me light is a form of symbolism representing good and evil, light and dark, and is always present in my work. Currently I'm exploring light in a more three-dimensional manner.

Aaron: I really love Annie Leibovitz for her conceptual work with some many different personalities. Working with people is a passion of mine in photography. On the total flip side, I really have been influenced by Cartier Bresson who worked as a sort of street photographer trying to pluck that one perfect moment of real life found all around us.

9. What subjects do you prefer to photograph?

Karie: I enjoy art history, sculpture, and craft, but darkroom photography is my passion. I call myself a visual arts process photographer because my work is never about "taking" a picture, it is about what I do with that picture once I get it out of my camera. I am driven by process-oriented exploration of a variety of media, techniques and subject matter.

Aaron: Like I said before, I really love working with people. However, I am intrigued with all sorts of new challenges and experiences; so really just about any subject matter might hold my attention, at least for a little bit. I would always come back to people, however.

10. What do you hope to gain from acquiring an Master's of Fine Art?

Karie: To teach our younger generation the joy of photography through the darkroom process.

Aaron: Most of all, I hope to refine skills and broaden my way of working on my art; forming a foundation that will help me grow through all my life.

Jan 24, 2014

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