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Mackenzie Reynolds

A Graduate Blog

Well its my second semester at UW-Madison and I am no longer required to keep this blog but I find writing about my artwork keeps me sane at times so I will continues with this Blogging venture.

Over Winterbreak I was blessed with a box of negatives from my grandmother.  These negatives belonged to my Great Great Grandmother, they are old and need some TLC but I am excited to start experimenting with them.  I am planning on working with alternative processes  developing and producing these images exploring with Layering Negatives, cliche verre’s, and hand coloring.  Even though I am a Digital Artist I am still in awe of the  history of traditional photography.


Sleight of Camera, Capturing Fleeting Impression is an article I ran across that talks a little bit about the beginning of photographic processes.  When  reading and looking at traditional Cliche Verre’s I found that my work even though digital seems to hold a striking resemblance.  Here is an example of my work compared to a 1854 Camille Corot  print.  Its  a beautiful thing when my digital composites tell stories about tradition.







So it seems I survived my first semester of Graduate School.  Its crazy that 6 months ago I was living in my parents house, working at Aldi’s and ignoring my passion for art.  I am so happy I moved to Madison.  With only 4 months of school I have developed artistically and professionally in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Coming from a small town in Northern New York  I couldn’t find a lot of professional opportunities.  Here at UW working with professors and other graduate students I have  already been exposed to career enhancing opportunities.

Job experiences:

2010 Assistant to a Wisconsin Commercial Artist

2010 TA-SS Position in the Video and 3ddl


2010 Underexposed 7th Floor Gallery, Madison, WI

2010 New Car Smell Fall 2010 Lofts Gallery, Madison, WI

2010 Shoot Happens Fall 2010 Lofts Gallery, Madison, WI


Along with all these new opportunities, I have also had the time to experiment with my medium.  By the end of this semester alone I have started 3 different possible bodies of work.  I am still exploring ideas and concepts but I am happy with where my work is going and I am excited to see where I end up.  I have worked with the ideas of chairs, compositing film stills, and the process of making digital negatives.  Do I know what I am going to do with all of this?  I have no idea but thats what winter break and Spring semester is for right?

Over all this has been one crazy stressful, exciting, educational ride and I am looking forward to next semester.

SEE  YA ‘ ALL IN 2011!

Recently I have been exploring what it means to be an artist.  Exploring the internet and looking at all different types of artist I found a that I have a soft spot for crafters, and folk artists.  If you have not explored yet you should!  On Etsy you can find short videos titled “Handmade Portraits”, I watch a new video every week.  

Hearing these “unknown” artists speak about how they fell in love with their crafts inspire me.  Art is about making work that makes you happy no matter what.  Sometimes Education can get in the the way , creating stressful deadlines and nerve-racking critiques.  Being a grad student I can sometimes forget how it felt when I first picked up my camera.  But after watching these short films I am reminded why I love art.

A while back I went to a lecture during the Midwest Photography month.  It was an artist talk about the work of Robert  and Shana ParkeHarrison.    You know when you are in the presence of something great when their images haunt you in your sleep.  Here are some examples of their work.

Robert and Shana work on collaging negatives in an extraordinary way.   Working with layers and fabricated imagery they create artwork  one can only dream of.

If you have time to listen to there talk about work I suggest you watch the video below.

I have been experimenting with making my own negatives in different ways.  But they inspire me to keep exploring the endless possibilities.

Here is something I have been playing with in negative form:

I enjoy keeping a lot of projects.  Its kind of like a sketchbook type process.  Exploring new ideas and techniques I have developed an advanced approach to photoshop.  Constantly challenging and pushing myself to do things that will better myself as an artist.   When in doubt work it out!

A few weeks ago we had the Art Department’s Studio days.  It was pretty interesting seeing how other people work in their spaces.  I found the process pretty nerve racking though.   Over all it kind of reminded me of those Parent Teacher Open Houses that my mom & dad use to attend from k-12.  The ones that make you worry about what your teachers are telling your parents.  Hoping and Praying when they get home they wont take away your telephone or television privileges.

Arthur Tress: Girl with Dunce Cap


So I sat in my somewhat empty studio during my scheduled hours and I think maybe I got 10 people back by my little nook in the lofts.  I had a few art pieces up but I got a lot of comments on how empty and clean my studio was,  with looks of disappointed.   Do I have to make it look like I work like a mad scientist in my laboratory?  I cant really afford any furniture for my studio to make it look homey so it looks like a hospital room/prison cell, but I am ok with it for now.  Maybe when I find some money I will buy a Bean Bag, Carpet and a Lava Lamp if I am feeling inspired.

I will make the next studio days more epic for my open house guests just wait and see!



Lori Nix! Here is one of the new artists I have been looking at.  She works on building her own sets.  She has mastered the art of  Dioramas.

I really enjoy the way she approaches photography.  For most of her newer work it takes the viewer a few seconds to process the idea that this space is fabricated.  She creates a type of whimsical reality that leaves me in awe.  How can I take this and use this type of technique in my artwork?

I have been considering building my own sets.  I have been working on a lot of film still images while working with creating my own negatives.   Here is a look at some of my newer work.  

I have been toying with the idea of creating similar sets and working them into film still.  I just need to practice a lot with my handcrafting skills for the future.  In this body of work I am working on layering images and playing with the idea of memory how how we recall images.  How a memory can be manipulated like an image.

So I know its not really week 7 but once again I find myself having to play catch up.  Blogging is like forcing yourself into the studio.  I apparently  enter the studio kicking and screaming grasping the door frame as I am dragged into this cyber workplace.

But I have been spending more time in the studio after reading the studio reader actually.  Which is kinda of interesting thinking about the where space I do work .  So I finally decided to post a few pictures of this space.   I have been thinking about my workspace and what it means to me as an artist.  I should really be photographing my bedroom so you can get a view of my space because that is where most of my work gets done.  I tried relocating my desktop to my loft space to help the creative flow but I found that I make more work at home at the moment.  So I brought my desktop home and I utilize  the digital labs in the lofts instead.

NEW WORK:  I have been working hard trying to explore new ideas as I said in my last post.   I am finding it hard to really concentrate on one idea so I have been working with many different concepts, ideas and techniques.  Here is step 2 of my process from last blog entry

I dont know where I am going with this but its the next step.