Interview: Christa Perez Bailey
Luca Curci talks with Christa Perez Bailey during FUTURE LANDSCAPES, third appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
A native of San Jose, California, Christa Perez Bailey is an amateur photographer who loves botanical photography and art. She received her first camera at age 13. The 35mm was purchased second hand from a family member who was upgrading their gear. She took roll after roll of photos, mostly underexposed, and spent many trips to the drug store waiting in line to pick up multiple envelopes of photos. Even at that age, Christa enjoyed photographing her pets and the flowers blooming in her grandmother’s garden. Although Christa continued to take photographs through her high school years, the realities of everyday life took over and there seemed to be no time to follow up with hobbies or passion projects. After graduating from Santa Clara University with a degree in psychology, it would be another 15 years before Christa would begin to find her way back to photography. Christa’s artistic inspiration comes from patterns found in nature and her lifelong love of animals. Whether willing or not, Christa’s cats often find themselves the subjects of her images. Christa enjoys taking photos with both her Nikon D60 and Samsung S9 cellphone. Christa resides in San Jose, California. Her recently launched online photo gallery can be found at: birdsbooksandbotanicals.com.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Christa Perez Bailey – Art is storytelling for me. It’s the reason why I read a book, watch a film or look at a picture or painting. I want to be immersed in the story of the art. I want the story to unfold in my mind.
LC – What is your background?
CPB – I am not a classically trained artist. By day, I work in education. So, I spend a lot of time outside of work embracing creative pursuits. I cannot say that I am self-taught though. I take as many classes as I possibly can squeeze into my schedule and I love to read as much as I can about photography.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
CPB – What has most influenced my work is the process of going out and photographing what I see around me. When I am behind the camera all the noise and chatter in my brain melts away. I am most peaceful when I am out composing images. I just feel incredibly calm.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
CPB – Getting out of my own way. Once I sit down to edit an image, I don’t experience the same feelings that I do when I’m taking the image. I tend to question the image too much. I’m also very self-critical. However, I’m always wanting to improve, so I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
CPB – Overall, I tend to focus on botanical photography and the patterns I see in nature. I also spend a lot of time photographing birds and other animals.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
CPB – Since I consider myself new to creating art, this is a difficult question to answer. I don’t really have anything to compare it to.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
CPB – I think this concept of borders is particularly timely given where we find ourselves currently, with the pandemic. We are limited to what we can do, where we can go, and who we can see. Although we are always surrounded by borders, now there are even more constraints around us. I go into my own thoughts to escape these borders. All the borders that exist there, are of my own making.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
CPB – In landscapes you often see repetition of elements. For example, the images will be filled with trees and leaves, or mountains as far as the eye can see. I wanted to duplicate the same repetition of elements that landscape’s photos often share, but from a different perspective. I used this approach with all of my images included in the exhibition. I hope the viewer may not be able to immediately identify what they are seeing, but that they will recognize a landscape of pattern and color.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us?
CPB – Yes, absolutely! I have had an incredible experience. There were many things I had questions about, and everyone was very patient with me and took time to answer all of my questions. The instructions were so clear – it made my job easy when prepping my work for the exhibition.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
CPB – Yes, very much. It has been a thoroughly positive and enjoyable experience.