This week Brighton Journal spoke to Tracy Wadey, a local photographer and digital artist. Tracy’s work is a two-part process that takes many months or even years, combining on-location photography with digital reworking. Tracy is currently creating a series of prints for an upcoming exhibition at Gallery 40 in October. We discussed a number of Tracy’s projects, as well as his artistic inspirations and favourite things to do locally. Take a look.
What are you doing today?
I’m in my ‘home office’ working on images etc for an exhibition in October. I’m sharing Gallery 40 in October with Richard Harris. There’s lots to do with getting them ready, printed framed along with us organising the show.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
It’s a two-part-process. Normally take digital or film photos on location or scans in my office and work them into finished images for display or printing. For me the photo-stage is the start of the process. It provides a feed-stock into the images I make. The whole process may take many months or years. Having a dedicated space to work helps immensely and time which is priceless.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
It’s my first successful large printed piece. An image I made outside of the Guggenheim Centre in New York called ‘Leaving’. I made the original photo on black and white film in around 2000. I printed it small many times in the darkroom and it was one of my first digital scans and large format A1 size prints. I learnt a lot from this image it’s still one of my favourites.
What made you decide to become an artist?
I started by using photography as an antidote to my day-job in IT. When I left that I decided to expand my photography. I’ve been exploring everything from gritty ‘street’ to more artistic abstract and painterly styles.
It’s been very rewarding. I’ve been encouraged by friends and by Brighton and Hove Camera Club which is a font of like-minded people.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment, I’m inspired by Japanese art styles and the way it’s influence western art for the last 150 years. It’s been great fun. I’m working with this to create a set of prints for an exhibition in October at Gallery 40. They’ve mostly been made from photos taken locally since March, as travel has been restricted by Covid.
What are the key themes in your work?
I like to make sets of images exploring a theme or style that can be displayed and work together. I find using one image limiting as it’s difficult to tell a story that way. I have an ongoing ‘China Town’ project that will probably never be complete!
What would you like people to notice about your work?
I’d like them to enjoy the images and prints, individually and as sets, and hopefully recognise them as an exploration of a theme or style. The work that goes into their creation is considerable and enjoyable.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
Photography and digital-art marry two things I’ve been involved for many years. I started photography with film and darkroom printing and since then I’ve come to discover the digital side of image making. I find it very rewarding and creative.
What equipment could you not do without?
Nowadays it’s my computer. I use digital and film photography along with scanners to capture the base images and use my computer and an array of software to re-work them into the final pieces. I don’t think I could over go back to purely dark-room printing even though I loved it.
Who or what inspires you?
At the moment I’m inspired by Japanese art styles and their influence on western art. Everything from Hokusai and Uchida Masayasu to Van Gogh, Warhol and far beyond.
How is your work affected by living in this area?
Brighton and Hove has a vibrant art scene that I love to be part of. With our proximity to the galleries in London, Hastings, Bexhill, Eastbourne and Chichester this gives me lots on inspiration. Being part of Brighton and Hove Camera Club and the support it gives along with the great speakers they have visiting is invaluable.
What’s your favourite thing to do locally?
The Downs. I regularly go ‘hiking’ with my friend Lesley (think she’s trying to get me fit!). It’s a beautiful area and helps me to refocus away from my desk. Since March it’s been a god send.
What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?
TATE – both Britain and Modern. Their collection and exhibitions and ‘space’ are amazing. I always come away recharged and refocused.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
Olafur Eliasson. The first TATE Modern exhibition I saw was his ‘The weather Project’ in 2003 and it blew me away. Last year we went to see his ‘In Real Life’ exhibition which was spectacular.
What’s your favourite colour?
I can’t pick one. So yellow and blue – they both make me happy. And black and white – they make me thoughtful.
To find out more about Tracy’s work, take a look at their Instagram.