Behind The Symbol
with Annie Crabtree (aka northengirl )
Welcome to the second issue of Behind the Symbol, the weekly news article which aims to go behind the dashes, at signs, beta tester and subscribers symbols to find out more about the deviants we all know (and not know!).
Dont forget to check out the Behind The Symbol Contest at the bottom!
This weeks interview is with our one and only miss suzi9mm
So, tell us about yourself - we all know you as the fluffies obsessed admin who has a slight fascination with fake blood, but who is the deviant behind the symbol?
S9M: If I say just a girl its boring aye? I .umm, just finished watching a mixed martial arts fight on video and now Im listening to piano music by someone called Goldmund.
The spike in my tongue piercing has caved the inside of my mouth in an interesting manner, theres like this long cut, but Ive learned to use my tongue differently and dont hurt myself a lot anymore. I have no idea why I do something that would hurt myself like that, I just dont question it, I must have that spike because. Its nice staying a teenager in some ways, is it not?
NG: Some interesting facts there! I must admit, I never knew you had a tongue piercing!
How did you come across your passion for photography, especially the experimental kind of photography we see in your gallery?
S9M: It just happened really. Ive always been into visual expression, I used to draw a lot. The themes in my drawings shifted slowly through the years from princesses into dead princesses. And as I quit drawing due to dissatisfaction with the results, it was only natural to continue expressing myself in another form. I didnt realize this until later though, that I had to let these ideas out in some way. Dark themes have always been with me, and I think whether I photograph or paint, the themes would be roughly the same. I dunno about experimental though, its just what comes out naturally, I didnt decide the direction I have.
We all have those artists which inspired us, who has inspired you the most along the way?
S9M: actually Im disappointing that way, I can name one guy whose photographs influenced me somewhat during the past 10 years, and that was Sante DOrazio, but only in the recent years have I come up with more names that I can honestly say I like. Bettina Rheimss feminine but edgy style is enviable, while Erwin Olaf does some really smooth and controversial stuff that I admire. Theyre my top favs. To throw in a few more names that have impressed me Ill say Terry Richardson and Rankin.
Would you say deviantART has influenced your work?
S9M: Oh definitely. I think anyone who has been active in dA for a while and says it hasnt, is lying. Everything we see and experience affects us, whether we realize it or not, and hanging out at an art site is bound to have an affect. Its really impossible to say what the effect is, but I know its motivated me loads to have an audience on this site, I happily admit I enjoy having my work looked at. Ive seen work on dA that inspired me and gave me ideas for techniques, and seeing different types of photography and styles has been an eye-opener sometimes. I need to point out that in real life I dont follow the art or photography scene much, and in addition to taking the photos and occasional commission work, I dont have much to do with photography. I know its the opposite as to what many think it should be, but I kinda like this balance, we dont all have to follow the same pattern. I like exhibiting online.
NG: It's nice to find a photographer who feels satisfied with just the online experience, i meet many people online who say 'yeah online is great but i want to get into the 'real' world' - it's great that youve found that balance and are happy with it.
In the words of deviantART, what are your tools of the trade?
S9M: Its the mind of course, much more than the camera, although having a cam helps lol. I cant really press that enough, the things inside the head, from experiences to imagination to DNA, thats what I have and use. A little bit of energy drinks here and there help too
NG: yeah I agree, although a posh camera does help - in the end its the person behind the camera that makes the picture, not how many mega pixels you have.
We all have our own opinions about DA, what is your personal opinion at the moment?
S9M: Good question, how do I handle this honestly? dA is a big part of my online-life so its hard to take a step back and compile an honest opinion. It has plenty of good and bad sides to it like everything, I will always be grateful for the positive affect it has had on my photography and for all the great friends and experiences its enabled me to have. Culturally I think I am somewhat a stranger to dA because of its American background, thats a minus but on the positive side its given me an opportunity to work and cope in a slightly different environment. Big websites as well as companies in general tackle with a lot of legal, ethical and communicative issues and Ive seen this in deviantart and that part is hard and not always so positive. Its impossible to please everyone fully but Ive been lucky to experience some of the extremes, good extremes especially (I think its impossible to appreciate the good in anything unless youve felt the bad). I think dA is pretty good as an online experience, it has space to develop and time will show what happens, but I am proud of the possibilities and tools it offers for all kinds of people both art and community wise.
NG: thanks for you honest answer, I think it must be hard for someone so heavily involved in DA and behind the scenes to be able to answer a question like this so honestly.
Creativity can be frustrating sometimes, what is it about your art form that just makes you want to chuck it all in?
S9M: I dont know if theres anything specific in photography as such, I think with all creation we come across the same issues self-criticism is one of my strengths but its a real killer too if you know what I mean. Its had me close to quitting several times. Having big goals and seeing how far they are is frustrating, our limits and the patience that photography demand are sometimes unbearable. But, in Africa kids are dying of hunger so I guess Im pretty well off anyway and should just shut up.
On the bright side though, what do you find to be the most fulfilling aspect of your art?
S9M: Those moments when I press the button and the shutter captures a scene and I know it is a good photo. Ive been caught saying its better than sex. It is (note: ~average sex, not mind-blowing sex).
I love good visuals, having created something that pleases my eyes is really rewarding. Then last but not least, I do love it when I get feedback saying someone enjoyed my work and got something out of it, was perhaps even inspired by it. Having affected someones day or life with my work is quite honouring as well as humbling.
NG: I agree, there is nothing quite as good as the feeling one gets when you create a photo which meets or exceeds your expectations. and of course, the comments rock!
What do you feel is the most common mistake you see people making when it comes to using special effects such as fake blood in their photographs?
S9M: Well, like with any effect, probably when they dont know how to use it really. Bad details, lowsy photoshop work, things like that. Also lacking content, but that could be a matter of opinion as well. But we all start somewhere. I think most photographers ditch blood and death themes when they grow older and become pros, those topics are easily labelled as clichés but I think it depends.
NG: they are common, it's true - especially in art community such as DA where the majority of the population are under 25. But as youve proven, dark themes can carry on past the teen years
Would you describe yourself as a professional artist who makes money from their work or someone who creates for the sake of creating?
S9M: I do create for the sake of creating, its really important to me and thats how Ive started, but now that I do have the possibility to profit from my work sometimes, I do. It enables me to work only part-time. I still take photos because I want to, and rarely shoot for money, but if and when I can get some of my time and money investments back, its rewarding and does make me feel better about it all. Like, I would buy a new camera anyway, but if I can buy it with money that I passively made with my photos, its great and hence I really appreciate the support I get.
If you had to choose between making money from your art or growing as an artist, which would you choose?
S9M: Oh man, thats kinda tough u know, as if the other was the opposite of the other, which it doesnt have to be. But okay, if we assume making money is just being a puppet to make a buck, I wouldnt do that, my photos are more important. Ill choose the latter even if I dont use the word artist to describe myself. Ive noticed u can have a little bit of both, so I hope I never really have to choose and that I can just go by instinct and fun as I have so far.
NG: good answer to a tough questions
What can we expect to see from suzi9mm in the near future?
S9M: Same old, same old. Haha. I dont plan too much. Im thinking of running a fluffy-photography contest soon though, I asked people about it earlier and it seemed they liked the idea. Any other ideas on how to amuse and entertain the community are welcomed
NG: haha, I find it funny how you combind your love for blood and gore along side a love for anything cute and fluffy! Maybe you should considering something along the lines of our Deviant Question further down the interview
Any final words for us?
S9M: Yea, please come and model for me
Besides that, well, do what you need to do and dont let anything come in your way.
NG: well, if you ever run outa models, I'd be happy to help Thanks for a great interview Jen!
This weeks questions comes from: cweeks
Question: Ask her if she'll ever bloody-up a fluffy? I won't tell PETA ... swear.
Answer: Thats evil, he must know that annoys me I will never bloody-up a fluffy, fluffies represent all the good things in life and my sense of humour just doesnt stretch that way Im narrow-minded that way
- Name your top fav deviants of the moment and why:
lithiumpicnic always quality work with a dark essence, I dont know this guy personally but I have the impression hes cool
drahomira I always first drop my jaw and then realize whose work Im looking at, his art is so distinctive and original I have to respect it.
dahlig everyone knows her amazing digital paintings but for me shes special cos Im so stuck in photography, yet I find her stuff mesmerizing.
fangedfem a fellow fluffy lover! This woman probably loves kitties as much as I do and that alone makes her a good person. Great personality and brain help though.
natashalyonne I just want to brag about meeting her again in a couple weeks, shes smart and sexy and I wish we lived closer to each other.
- Any thumbs we should check out?
Heres a random selection from my favs and elsewhere
- Any museums/art galleries/art exhibitions you think are worth seeing?
I suck in real life art things I rarely go out to see anything and Im pretty clueless about the local art scene. Sounds dumb but what can you do. Apparently theres a photo exhibition on death by different artists at Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki. I think I actually might have to check that one out.
- Any useful/interesting/fun websites worth going to:
I just found Elena Dorfmanns site today; www.still-lovers.com/ . She took photos of dolls and their owners and made it into a book. By dolls I mean real-life size and real looking artificial women.
A few great photo sites are
<a href=www.frank-wartenberg.com>Frank Wartenberg,
<a href=www.ranjitgrewal.com/>Ranjit Greval, <a href=www.milesaldridge.com/>Miles Aldridge and <a href=sugarcut.com/>sugarcut (a selection of different artists, focusing on women, yay!),
I also have to mention <a href=cuteoverload.com/>cuteoverload, <a href=grouphug.us/>grouphug and <a href=www.last.fm/>Last.fm as sites that everyone should check out
I tend to give at least a few good or fun links in every journal of mine, so check that out if youre looking for the new and interesting
The Next Issue
The next issue of Behind The Symbol will be featuring DivineError
If any of you have a burning question youre just dieing to ask him, then send a note to me ( northengirl ) and your question may feature in the interview!
Behind the Symbol CONTEST
As you may all have noticed, the title and header decorations of this news article is just a little boring and nothing compared to some of the fantastic graphic designs we see on other news articles like hesitation s The Crop.
Think you could come up with a cool design for the headers and title? If so send your entries to northengirl in a note.
The winning design will be used every week in Behind The Symbol news article!
(please note all designs title designs must include the text featured in the title above. If you have any questions please feel free to note me ( northengirl ) ! )