Old School Photography: Spotlight Interview with Artist Andrea Keeley

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Meet Andrea, a passionate and tenacious photographer with a flair for merging old with new. andrea keeley

Being An Artist

Please Give Us A Few Words Of Introduction About Yourself.

I am a Salford based photographer/artist and have been involved with photography for the last 5 years. It is only recently that my work has veered towards the art spectrum as my ideas and creativity grows. Unfortunately I do not earn my living through photography or art and would feel an audacious fraud to suggest that I am a ‘practising artist’, but I am committed to developing my creativity and continue to learn and feel inspired whatever road this may take me upon.

When Did You Decide To Pursue Art As A Career?

I never really decided to pursue art as a career as I realise that this would probably require more hard work and ability that maybe I actually have, but I am very open to the idea that if I work hard one day I will create something which with have some real gravitas and perhaps maybe, if I’m very very lucky; will steer me towards that.

What Training Did You Have?

I have always had a passion for photography and decided to peruse photography initially at an evening course at my local college. After great influence from my tutor this then led to the idea that I could study this at university, which I did for 3 years, graduating with a BA in Photography in 2012.

What Has Been The High Point Of Your Career So Far?

Graduating with a 1st class honours on my Photography degree, this is one of my proudest achievements to date as I started my degree on the back of part time evening photography course. I suppose I never believed that I could do the degree having never had any higher education to this level before.

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General Questions

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

One of my favourite quotes is ‘Nothing can come of nothing’ taken from William Shakespeare’s King Lear, I interpret this within my own practice to simply mean that you can’t achieve anything if you don’t do it in the first place. Some ideas work, some don’t but it’s important to just keep going and have a stab at it, doing nothing won’t achieve anything, doing something will always give you that a chance.

Who Is Your Favourite Artist?

That’s a hard one, one of my favourite photographers is Joel Sternfeld as I love his large format photographs especially his series Walking the High Line. Artist wise I love Adolphe Vallete’s paintings which depict industrial Manchester in the early 20th century.

What Are Your Artistic Goals?

My artistic goals are to continue creating and trying new ideas whatever the outcome.

How Will You Get There?

By getting out there and seeing inspiration in the world around me, I think creativity is a purely organic thing and when it comes it comes, wherever and however.

Is Anything Holding You Back?

The only thing that probably holds me back is me and not having enough time to dedicate to the things that I would like to do.

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You and Art

What Feelings Or Reactions Do You Hope To Arouse In People Who View Your
Work? Are You Ever Surprised By Reactions That You Get?

I hope that when people see works that I have created they ultimately like it and want to look at it. That’s my only ambition that someone somewhere can see what I tried to show and likes it. I would never present anything that I wasn’t happy with or I didn’t believe in, if someone believes in it too then I can be happy. I don’t really know what people think of my work; I just try and practice and create in a way that I believe in and I am passionate about, that’s all I can hope for ultimately.

From Start To Finish, How Long Does It Take For You To Create Your Work?

It depends on what I have decided to do, I can be lazy so sometimes I have to push myself. I work full-time so nothing is ever done in a few hours, it’s months.

What Music Do You Like To Listen To When You Work?

I have array of music that I like to listen to; I’m into Dixiland Jazz at the moment which always lifts my mood. I find listening to music helps the most when I’m thinking about ideas rather than when I’m practising them.

What Are You Working On Next? Any Future Plans Or Projects In The Pipeline
That We Should Look Out For?

I have a fascination and obsession with old photographs so I will probably continue working with these until the idea is completely spent.

Being Inspired By Art

What Feelings, Subjects Or Concepts Inspire You As An Artist?

Things that inspire me the most are the environment and nature, I find spending time outside in the elements to be a great source of inspiration when formulating ideas.

What Is Your Favourite Work That You’ve Produced So Far And Why?

As you can see I haven’t got that much work in my portfolio but so far my favourite work is the project Misplaced Memories, which was created using old photographs that I have found on eBay. I find the idea of old photographs being bought and sold to be quite sad, as these are all things which at one time were very important to somebody. We all use photographs to give some kind of permanence to our memories and I guess the idea that these are now lost simply reminds us that there is no permanence in anything. I just wanted to give the photographs a new life and meaning and this was the way that I wanted to try and show this.

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An Artist’s Advice

For Those Thinking About Turning A Passion For Art Into A Career, Could
You Give Any Advice?

I would say just do it and try, I wouldn’t get too stuck in the idea of concepts and meanings. I think you just have to stay true to yourself and the things that mean something for you. As William Shakespeare said, nothing can come from nothing! If you create work that you are happy with that’s all that matters, people may hate it, people may love it, who cares, just give it a go.

Any Tips On How To Get Your Work Seen And Get The Commissions Coming In?

I wish I had the answer, I guess the right answer is perseverance and not taking things to heart if you get knocked back. Unfortunately I don’t use social media as I am quite old fashioned that way and can’t be bothered with it, but some people really get involved with that side and maybe that’s the way forward. I think creating work and getting it exhibited somewhere whether that’s your local coffee shop; library or even your front room is a good start. Also networking and getting to know the right people, sometimes it’s just the right person and right time.

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See more of Andrea’s work at andreakeeley.artweb.com

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