Dear Art Institute of Dallas,
I did it! I graduated and moved to a different metro area (Houston); yet I already miss you.
I miss my professors (especially my mentor - Mrs. Twyla Bloxham-Nova), my classmates, and all of those dedicated hours and hard work spent creating the best "me" that I could become. You taught me how to not just make "pretty" pictures, but what it means to become a true artist.
In my last two final quarters (semesters), you allowed me to explore other forms of portraiture (not just Underwater Fashion and Conceptual Portraits). Within the boundaries of your walls - I added Alternative, Dark, Moody, and Rebelliousness - into my little (or should I say big) bag of tricks.
I have given over myself to my portraits in a way that expresses the deep sense of love, lust, desire, devotion, sadness, loss, and melancholy of my experiences - in a way I never thought that my soul would allow. I am not afraid, anymore, to tell you or the world how I feel and why I feel that way. While I may be short on words, my art speaks the truth. And it is all because of you.
With this I bid you Adieu and say that my departure is bittersweet. Believe me when I say - I will never forget you, I will always miss you and the time that we spent together, and you will always hold a special place in my soul.
I Heart You
Corrinda Dakota Raine Cerbone
Over the last few months, Ryan Donkersely has shared with me his personal struggles and how that relates to his artwork. This seems to be a mutual artistic understanding as both him and I create based on the experiences that we have encountered - both good and bad. I can call Ryan not only a talented artist, but now a good friend of mine. I am honored to share some of his story; a story about PTSD, a story about how a dog saved his life, and a story of inspiration.
This is Ryan. He is a military Veteran of the United States Army. He was in the service from 2003 to 2014 as an MP (Military Police). He spent 5 of those years active duty and 6 of those years in the Army National Guard. He was stationed in Iraq for a total of 3 years. The first tour in Iraq lasted a year and a half, the second for 6 months, and the third for a year. He was rapidly deployed over and over again because other service members had spent longer time overseas then he had. He decided to leave the military because something needed to change.
Change does not always follow the rules. Ryan was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after leaving the military. He did not understand what was going on with him until another Veteran recognized his struggles and urged him to see someone.
**This is also a common trait of Veterans with PTSD. We do not recognize or even understand what we are going through until it comes to a turning point. And even then, the misunderstanding still continues within ourselves and within those around us.**
This is Hero, Ryan's service dog. Hero came into Ryan's life at a critical point. He had previously turned down the opportunity for a service dog several times over. Until Hero came along and literally saved his life. The following are direct quotes from Ryan about Hero. Unfortunately what he says is not unlike a lot of Veterans that suffer from PTSD.
"Well if it wasn't for Hero I wouldn't be here. I had planned to check out in Death Valley watching the sunset and burying myself out there next to a sand dune as it takes sand dunes quite a few years to pass over a certain location. When these plans started to turn into actions was when I decided I needed a dog as I had been turning them down for quite a while and one night one of the service dog organizations texted me a photo of a puppy and that was the deciding factor of I needed him."
"I wanted to make sure there was not a body so I could just seemed to have disappeared to anywhere. I figured the question of where I went was more beautiful than the location I was found."
This is Ryan and Hero
This PTSD as seen through the eyes of an Artist
This image won Second Place in a a National Va (Veterans Affairs) competition.
"This was about PTSD and what a normal person sees on one side and what a veteran is waiting for and sees on the other side. I put that together using photos I took In Iraq and blended 7 images together for a psychology final for college. I plan to make 6 others....."
The following is an Artist Interview that I conducted.
Name of Film company:
"I chose this name as it connects the military and service dogs together but shows a past tense of the word. Might have miss named this one but just kind of went with it."
Real Estate videographer
Sean C Na of Keller Williams - in Orange County & Los Angeles County
"I am responsible for filming and editing video clips together to market Keller Williams agents to the public"
"Working towards selling art and starting up on the youtube scene"
What is the difference in producing and directing a film/video?"
The difference between producing and directing the film is producing you are responsible for the financial planning for the said film or documentary where as directing you are creating the artistic style and direction the film or documentary you will take."
Will you use your name for your continued artistic ventures?
"No, for a while I was thinking about it but decided I need to have more of a branding that connects with me and that people can remember easily."
How long have you been a business?
"I have been in business for 2 years now but it has been difficult."
What is the process for that in California?
"Being in California everything is a lot more expensive and you can look at the gas prices to see what I mean. So needing a bigger budget is something that needs to be considered, A small one bedroom apartment can easily go for 1800. What is nice out here is there are a lot of people in the industry that can help you out."
Do you have any associates or people you work with and how many?
"I actually work with a multitude of people from fellow vets to some more higher up the chain. I also help with some of my fellow college buddies on some of their sets as either the cinematographer or Audio."
Do you wish to share the equipment you use (camera, lighting, etc.)
“I usually share my equipment and time with a number of people. Unfortunately I have also learned that lending out some equipment to people it will come back damaged so when I do lend out equipment I look at the quality of their work and how they treat their own things.”
Describe your style, aesthetic, perspective and etc
“My style is usually abstract with lots of color and I also try to have something I want to say for each thing I do. I never do art without some conversation behind it.”
What do you want to do with your photography?
"I want to bring a different use to the camera than what it is usually intended for and to be noticed as a style I do. I can't always draw what I want so I use the camera as a brush to get what I want and take small pieces from each piece and use those to assemble a final product."
Do you write poetry?
"I have written some poetry it's usually on my phone and gets buried under a ton of notes, most of it however is music."
Of the stories you have written - do you plan to finish them? What would be your next move after that - publish?
"I have started writing a few stories and do plan to write them all out and get them published. Originally they were scripts for a movie but seeing as a lot of scripts get thrown out I figured I would write it out as a book and then later approach the idea of them being picked up but networks such as AWN all warriors network. The difficulty I will face is creating a fan base or following to build support for these endeavors."
"Why do you consider yourself an Artist & when did you realize that?
"I considered myself an artist not to long ago when I realized I do not need to appeal to everyone's liking and that there is a following for everything out there. I changed my mindset to”yes I do create art in my own style” and it took me a while to get the confidence to realize I do have a talent or vision and I have continued to grow and understand more and more every day."
What inspires you?“
"As to what inspires me I usually look to my struggles with PTSD to find my art, strength, or ideas. When you use your own personal reflection of what you have gone through and what struggles you live with everyday you find your audience. You find your connection with people on a deeper level. When you do get a relief from those feeling you also find the true appreciation for the small things and see things in a different light. Someone can look at a light bulb and think nothing of it but when you're appreciative you see just how beautiful it can be, the lighting of the wire, the low wattage flicker of an LED and then seeing it in a different world such as long exposure reverse light painting. Each one of those is a brush to my camera and its pulsating effects or design is a different style of brush that I can use to create my art or light a scene. The human condition is as inspiring and endless as space itself. It's amazing what people can go through and continue to push further."
**Example of Ryan’s Long Exposure Reverse Light Painting**
What has helped to develop your other artistic talents and skills?
"What has developed and continued to develop my artistic talents is experimentation and the need to deliver a message. I'm not good at drawing pre say so I have to continue to develop creative ways to get around it. Knowing the brush is not a brush is extremely helpful. Art is subjective and if you think about it there is infinite brushes out there in the world to use you just have to realize how to use them."
Why and how did you decided to push onto these ventures?
"I decided to push on with these ventures through trying to find it self healing. Most of the stuff I do is trying to find some way to heal from moral injuries or from depression and PTSD."
What would your advice be for photographers would want to venture in videography?
"My advice to photographers venturing into video is that you should always keep your photographic mindset about an image. Basically you are taking taking 1 photo for taking 30 to 60 photos every second and each one of those should be as beautiful and glamorous as is you were taking one photo. Your issue you will be running into is the ability to film in RAW as those cameras are very expensive and you can imagine the processor it would take to edit they type of photo 30 to 60 times a second. So in the beginning you usually won't have that RAW file capability."
How do you market yourself and get your name out there?
"Currently I haven't been able to market myself properly but instead while working on Dogtagged. I have been writing out art ideas, skits, story, books, concepts and things like that. If I am correct I have about enough materials and ideas that I have created in that time to keep myself busy for 7 years. So this year is where I start to put myself out there and create a type of branding."
What is your advice for other artists starting their own business?
"For artist starting there own business make sure your basics are covered and that you take care of your equipment or it won't take care of you. Such things like loosing a car or your computer drive crashed can almost be an end to you and your work. Keep in touch with ALL your friends they are connecting with more people than you know and even if just one friend knows your style and he happens to come across someone important, yeah it could become your change in your life."
What is your advice for artists in creating their art?
"The word paintbrush in itself is a metaphor. I hate to use this internet meme sentence structure but Anything is a paintbrush if you're brave enough."
Do you have a website? Social media?
"Currently I do not have a website per say just yet but it is under construction."
**Anything else you would like to add?**
"Find a job you will love and never work a day in your life, just make sure you're getting paid."
List of Films:
* Kickstarter Campaign - filmed, produced, and directed
The Dog Tag Tales: Maxwell Finds a Friend - A children’s book about a Marine with PTSD that is helped getting a service dog.
Big Dogs to the Front: Boone Cutler - The Warfighter perspective
How warfighters are being killed and why, and how to stop it
*talks about veterans coming home with PTSD and how society treats them
DOGTAGGED DOCUMENTARY College Cut (SHORT)
A film about service members with PTSD and their service dogs
"Also other films I have worked on is yum yum and older adult fire safety which you can Google my name on IMDB.com"
I know that I promised you part 2 of my feature about Darek Sanchez, a local Dallas painter and artist. But, I thought I would keep my audience on their toes & change it up a bit as I often do. I am a little unpredictable or a lot some would say; with a touch of contradiction & mystery. Don't worry next week I will go back to part 2.
If you get a little lost, I would officially like to say - welcome to my world. I want to bring you in a little closer to who I am as a person and how that relates to my thought process within the art I create. Each week I will feature an artist that creates works that are meaningful, innovative, and sometimes a bit weird. This is my Blog Post Tuesdays - cause you know, we all had a case of the Mondays.
This weekend a long time friend came up to visit me after months (years?) of us trying to plan a visit to one another's cities. She lives down in Houston and I am up here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I did a "Divorce the Dress" underwater photography session for her. This is my second go around with this type of shoot. It can be very healing and therapeutic not only for the client but also for the photographer and crew involved. There are a range of emotions that can happen when your client poses in an ethereal way before literally cutting & tearing the wedding dress apart. She was a little more nervous at first, but it was only due to the fact that this was her first time posing in the water. She wanted to make sure that she was doing it right. I can say she is one of my best clients, with little to no effort, she posed and did exactly what I asked even changing direction without skipping a beat. I was able to capture hauntingly ethereal like images that took my breathe away - yes really. I got really excited as I browsed through some of the images while repositioning them upside down or sideways (as I often do). It is all to give the image a more dimensional perspective where the viewer is pulled into the art.
One of the final photographs (above) was meant to be shown as a dream sequence. It could be a nightmare to some (gasp...don't cut the dress) or it could be a dream come true to someone else. Either way you look at it, I did not want just a regular photograph. I wanted a piece of art and of course put my own spin on it which makes the work I create unique.
To end this post, I will share with you a poem by Lara Renee (the model in the photograph). She choose this specific poem to go alongside this image in order to enhance the experience of the viewer. To Lara, this photoshoot was about cleansing & freeing herself from the emotions that she has held onto. She wanted to create fresh start by presenting a metaphorical range of emotions contrasted by the physical act of ripping & tearing her wedding dress apart.
All works copyrighted to Corrinda Raine and Lara Renee
It was one of those things where I did a casting call on social media for a model to photograph. Being still in school, the photoshoot was an assignment, based off capturing an environmental portrait. I did not want to do just another boring in office buttoned up studio session. I wanted weird, interesting, and complex. Because, you know, that is who I am. After a suggestion from a friend, I chatted with and shortly met Darek A. Sanchez.
Darek became the subject of this environmental portrait. I was invited both into his creative space and into his gallery. The experience was a little more than I had anticipated. Just as his initial sketch (on canvas) transformed itself, so did my initial impression of Darek.
As Darek started to paint upon the canvas, the sketched version of a women's portrait quickly became something else. A little more gothic, dark, and mysterious. He described her as being a little cartoonish for his style. As he painted around her face, the hair became black and grotesque.
It was at this point where I saw the canvas and Darek's thought process evolve. The art was no longer a portrait of a mysterious women. It became a dark slate meant for the creation of a more meaningful and grotesque piece of artwork. The canvas became alive as he scrapped the black paint across it to completely give it new meaning.
Darek had previously mentioned needing to provide some artwork for "Texas Frightmare Weekend"; which is happening from April 29th through May 1st.
The painting that resulted from this experience was something that he could possibly use for this event. It was creative, dark, unique, and expressive.
Through conversation I learned that a relative had just passed away. Someone he was very close to and would miss dearly. One look at the completed artwork, and you could see how the inspiration of this passing was reflected on the canvas. It gave a hint into what drives his passion to create through his life experiences and how he feels and thinks about them. He lives within his art and perhaps there may not be a distinguished line between the two. Maybe those questions will be answered for me next week when I share with you part 2 of this experience.
Part 2 of this blog will discuss a little bit more about his painting style, tools, technique; his personality and thought process behind his creations; and an insight into the gallery of which he is co-owner of.
Darek is an abstract Painter, Gallery Owner, Military Veteran, and Art Institute of Dallas Student in the study of Interior Design.
If you would like to see more of Darek's work, click on the links below and follow him on social media.
About this time last year, I took my first photograph with my underwater equipment ... looking a little bit different. Hopefully I can get that old photograph to stop showing up on Google ;) I upgraded my equipment and I upgraded myself. This process was has been quite slow but well worth waiting for.
The Nikon 810a was my next upgrade from what I previously had - the Nikon D7100. To think I started back in 2013 with a beginners DSLR the Nikon D3100 followed by the D5200 in a candy apple red. I loved being so different with my cool colored camera and realized in order to advance in my career and become a little more professional - I had to get rid of that candy apple red camera.
The D7100 was worth the reviews and the money spent - it was the best none full frame camera your money could buy. Now I know that some Canon users might disagree with this... and ya'll are entitled to your opinion. But I am a Nikon girl and always will be.
Once the Nikon D810a came out, I fell instantly head over heals in love for this camera. I saved the money, sold previous lenses I had, and traded that D7100 in as soon as I could. I did debate going between the regular D810 and the D810a due to the fact that technically the 810a was specially made for Astrophotography due to its special filters (and other effects) that allow the true colors of the universe and space and to come through.
I wondered - could this work for underwater photography? Why did I ponder this? Because when photographing in the water, no matter what kind of camera you have, you will have to recover the red tones. Even clear water will turn up with a little more blue tones than it should.
Sure enough, the reds come out better and colors are more vivid. I still do have to correct the tones but not nearly as much as I used to. Will I eventually use this camera for its intended purpose - absolutely. I did capture a few of the Milky Way in the clear Texas sky a few months ago. However, one of theses days, I will get a really nice Telescope and start my journey into Deep Space Astrophotography.
My next Blog post I will talk about my particular choice in Underwater Housing
For more information on Nikon Cameras - you can visit the website below: