Recently, I was nominated and chosen to create a piece of artwork for Commerce Bank's "What Matters Most" campaign. They believe that art can help remind us of what matters most--and I whole-heartedly agree!
More from Commerce Bank about this campaign:
"Since our founding, Commerce Bank has had a long tradition of supporting the arts. We believe the human connection, inspired through art, is just as important as any financial matter. Life is complex and can be both beautiful and challenging. We are committed to helping people do what they're dreaming of and take care of the things they love."
They asked 8 artists to consider what matters most to us and how our priorities have changed through the pandemic. They asked us to consider what lifts us up, what inspires us, what keeps us going, what matters most and to translate this into a piece of artwork for an online exhibition.
As a reference photo I used a portrait of a family I took during the first few months of Covid when I was offering "Porch Portraits" as a way to capture families and individuals living through this strange time. I took this photo of a family through the glass in their front door. I loved the way the parents were lost in each other's embrace and the kids were excited to have an audience. I think this last year our collective priorities have shifted--our loved ones becoming even more important, taking care of ourselves and each other becoming priority one. This last year was marked by loss--by loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of financial security, loss of social life, loss of major events and celebrations in the traditional way. I wanted to represent that loss--one of the parents in this embrace is blacked out with a galaxy of stars inside to represent the losses we experienced. In the calendar to the right, a happy couple (actually myself and my fiancé) are shown showing off an engagement ring...on the calendar itself is written in various events: wedding, funeral, birthday, no school, dentist, doctor... to include all the ways this last year made us change our approach, postpone, or cancel every event that peppers our daily lives. In the far right, you'll see the edge of a piano, on top of which sits an iPhone... an homage to the ways the arts carried us through this time (by indulging in music, learning a new hobby, watching a TV show, reading a book), and the way technology kept us tethered together while far apart.
Here's the final artwork. I love how it turned out and how every detail has meaning. A special thanks to Caron Settle Parnell and her family for allowing me to use my photo of them as a reference point for this piece.
If you're interested in purchasing any digital downloads or prints of my artwork, or in commissioning me to create a piece of custom artwork for you or your business, smash that email button below to shoot me an email (DesigningIndie@gmail(dot)com). I'm a friendly, fast, sure-thing when it comes responding to emails. I have no tolerance for notifications left unattended!
If you prefer to call, I've made a button just for you. Do you feel special? You should. In this digital age, you're a magical, rebellious unicorn of vocal correspondence.
Teenagers can be scary to adults. They can seem like an enigma. A mysterious energy that can make you feel uncool or dumb. You might find yourself using "youth-slang" like "girl" or "wassuuup" even though kids don't talk like that anymore...even though YOU don't talk like that anymore (usually).
All that to say, this shoot could have been another embarrassing tale of "Andie tries to relate to the youths as if she isn't nearly 35." However, it WASN'T! As it turns out Josef was none of those highly generalized attributes above. He was down-to-earth, an old-soul who loves photography and vinyl, and probably possess the least amount of ego I've ever met in a teenage boy. All that to say, he was kind, personable, creative, and open. The ideal model.
We blasted Red Hot Chili Peppers in my 70's retro studio and worked together (along with his Mama) to create a couple looks based around the outfits and props he brought to express his personality in this, his final year of high school.
I can't imagine graduating high school right now--in the middle of a pandemic. The world in this strange in-between flux just at the moment you're thrust out into it. What a challenge lies ahead for these young adults. And what a joy it was to capture the happiness, the strangeness, the celebration of a big accomplishment, and the interests that helped get this kid through this last year.
Rock on, Josef! We'll be rooting for you. Go out, do good, make smart choices, and be brave.
Josef has dreams of becoming a photography teacher at his old school. I think that's awesome. What an honor to photograph a budding photography teacher. I hope when he is older, he looks back on these photos and smiles--remembering all the highs of his last year as a high school kid and all the lesson that the lows taught him. I hope he carries these with him into adulthood, and into the classroom...and I hope he retains the kind of teenage confidence and cool that keeps him from saying "Girrrrrl" in a panic when trying to relate to his students.
You always want the kids to learn from your mistakes, don't ya? Do you have any wisdom to impart on this year's graduating seniors? Leave it in the comments below.
Peace-out homies. Catch ya on the flip side. Hit me up if you or someone you know wants some unique, vintage, editorial senior photos!
I've been fortunate to work with Culture Flock for a few years now. I love creating photoshoots for them--not only are they my favorite place to shop for gifts for myself and others, but I also just love being able to work with another local, queer, women-owned business! They have always been so encouraging and let me take full creative control with these shoots--what a dream!
This Spring 2021 T-Shirt line of theirs is my favorite they've done yet. I mean--look at these shirts! So freaking cool. The illustrations, designs, colors...love! I can't pick a favorite. Can you?
For this shoot, I spent the whole day at Nathaniel Greene Park shooting back to back with each model. I had a different area of the park, props, and a general theme idea for each shoot relating to the shirt.
The models Trevor, Sheristen, Mindy, Heather, Hannah, Johnny, and Brennan killed it!
I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my favorite shots from this shoot. Let me know if you have any questions!
Be sure to check out Cultureflock.com to grab these shirts.
I'm Andie Bottrell, a multidisciplinary creative based in Springfield, MO. This blog is designed to give you an inside peak into the process behind my projects and to share my work.