Artist Interview - Sandra Klein
Hi, Sandra. Beautiful work! Unusual title?
I have what I call a noisy brain. I sometimes consider this quality a gift, and at other times a burden, as I am constantly analyzing the world around me. Using self-portraiture to examine the layers of my obsessions and anxieties, these constructed photographs provide
insight into elements that affect my 21st century brain.
Over the years, I have visited many cultures where people believe they have little control over their lives. They pray to deities for luck and happiness in life. I believe that, although we each carry genetic
material that affects who we become, we have a great deal of impact on our own lives. I am especially interested in how such issues as creativity, aging, gender, and memories determine who we are and who we become.
Your art started early. Did you have "noisy brain" as a kid?
I’ve always made art. As a young child I took ceramics classes and art classes in the small city I grew up in. I don’t think I had a noisy brain as a child. It came much later. I had a critical parent, and as a result, never got into trouble until I left home. My first mentor was
my ceramics teacher. His name was Phil Orlando and I still remem-ber his face and his mane of white hair. I was 7 when I began taking classes with him at the local Y. Rather than make pots, I molded fairies and animals and loved the freedom of creating a fantasy world. I majored in art in high school and had a quite supportive, quirky teacher. We were pretty much free to pursue whatever we wanted. The classroom was really lively with terrariums with frogs and lizards
You've been around. Tell about your travels through the years?
I was raised on the east coast, in New Jersey, and got my BFA at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. After graduating, I spent the next few years alternating between living in New York City and Europe. I moved to Mexico for a year after marrying my first husband. Since then, I’ve lived in California, where I remarried and raised two sons.
Many of us love Mexico. How did living there impact your art?
Living in Mexico impacted me in many ways. I immersed myself in the culture, literature, art, and language. Magical realism and the vividness of color there have had a huge effect on me.
I’ve been back to Mexico recently and would like to spend more time there. I’d also like to return to Guatemala, a place I haven’t been in many, many years. I’m scheduled to have a one-person show in San Miguel de Allende in June, but with the coronavirus here, who knows if it will happen.
How about Japan? Any discoveries from your time there?
I was lucky enough to accompany my husband on his work trips to Japan during the last seven winters. I love Japan for so many reasons. Especially important to me is that in Japan I was inspired to find a way to shoot “straight” photography. For the past 10 years or so, I have mostly composited images, but in Japan I began shooting layered images “in camera.” I love the colors of the landscape in winter and shooting in snowstorms. I’ve loved learning about Buddhism and Shintoism and the rituals of the
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