Any artist can tell you that the moment in which inspiration strikes is one of great satisfaction. But, even better than that is the moment in which an integral part of one’s life becomes the inspiration for some great project or epiphany.
Rebecca Ingram, photo editor for the East Tennessean, presents her senior BFA exhibit, “Anything But Ordinary,” April 4-9 at the Slocumb Galleries in Ball Hall. Her inspiration, she said, comes from her own life experiences.
Ingram’s artist statement reads: “My project stems from a dependence on second-hand materials dating back to my childhood.”
Because of the previous practical outlook that Ingram had concerning items found at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets, she took on this project as a way of reclaiming the kitschy things that are often found stocked within these shops.
Ingram explained that when she was thinking about how she wanted to display her work, she knew that she wanted to break free from the traditional, symmetrically-hung methods of exhibiting her work.
“When you exhibit stuff, it’s usually just a few pieces, and it’s all nicely, evenly spaced… Originally that’s just how I was going to [display] it,” Ingram said. “I was just going to pick a few strong pieces and go with it.”
However, she felt that by displaying her pieces in that manner, she would lose some of the hodgepodge feel that is so common in second-hand shops.
“I got to thinking about how everything in these environments is chaotic and crazy—you walk in and stuff is everywhere,” Ingram said. “I like the idea of trying to recreate that with my show.”
The entire showcase, comprised of approximately 80 pieces, is mounted entirely in frames purchased at the places Ingram took most of her photos. There are two main pieces on each wall, which serve as focal points. These are surrounded by many smaller photographs accentuated by humorous, dainty and elaborate frames.
“Anything But Ordinary” is thoughtfully executed and well-prepared, with nearly a year of planning behind the final product. Through other class projects, Ingram has been enabled to work on this exhibit for several semesters.
Through the process of compiling photos for the project, Ingram has learned a lot about the value that different people see in various items.
“Some people throw all their junk away, but then other people scramble after it and think it’s the best thing in the world,” Ingram said. “I find that really interesting.”
Ingram said she hopes to eventually move somewhere that will offer more opportunities for her to work as a photographer full time, but the experience she has gotten working for the newspaper has immensely helped her focus her goals.