Edie Sunday is featured this week for her lovely work that evokes an alien invasion of the prettiest variety.
Tell me a little about yourself!
I am a lady artist who has officially been alive for a quarter of a century as of last week. I live in Austin, TX with my boyfriend and three cats. I’ve always made art in multiple mediums, but my primary focus in the past few years has been in traditional (and experimental) analog photography. My work in photography lives very much in the realm of “art” as opposed to “commercial.” It is often abstract and not always easily accessible, although my subjects are almost always the beautiful women in my life. I don’t have any goals of shooting look books or anything like that, and I prefer to work one-on-one, just myself and another artist: my muse for that moment. Ninety percent of the time, the other female I’m working with is a dear friend who happens to be very talented at channeling her creative energy via intimate self-expression in front of my camera. I’m also a PhD student who studies psychology and researches depression and emotion regulation. I’ve been in the program for 2.5 years and I have 2.5 to go, then I imagine my 9-5 will be working in a primary care hospital with people who are suffering both physically and psychologically. Believe it or not, working full time will actually leave me with more time to create than I have now! Other than this, the only important things to know about me are that I love road tripping the southwest, being alone, and things that smell good.
How did you get into photography?
This is always the long response, so I apologize in advance! I grew up mostly with my grandmother, who always kept a Polaroid camera and an impressive film stash nearby to document my early existence. When I was five or six, I decided to turn the camera on her and she became my first model. I know “grandmother” brings about an image of an older lady in a rocking chair, but my grandmother was in her 40s in the 1990s and she looks absolutely killer in all of the photos I took of her! I also started taking self-portraits, which of course I just called “taking pictures of myself,” around this time. I have some pretty golden selfies circa 1995-1998. I think I mainly wanted the Polaroids for my journals that I kept (and still do), because I think my little brain was just trying to make time slow down, or at least to remember moments of my life because I was painfully aware that everything ends.
When I was about 14, my dad gifted me his Canon Rebel (35mm) that he had previously used for wildlife photography (he’d gotten into video by this time). So I documented high school that way—my camera was like the wall I put between myself and the world and I liked it that way. I was always with groups of friends, but having a camera in front of your face is a very easy way to hide your severe social anxiety from yourself and everyone else. At some point around this time I acquired a Polaroid Land Camera Model 100, and thankfully Polaroid was still manufacturing pack film then I did have the luxury of learning with the real thing. I got pretty artsy around this time (as opposed to straight forward documentation) and I’ll always wonder what I would have created in the following years if I hadn’t stopped. I think Polaroid discontinued their film the same year that I went to college, and somehow I quit taking photos entirely, I actually quit doing everything creative aside from writing, which was more of a way of processing through my intense emotions during that time.
To make a long story short, I did nothing for four years besides party like an idiot and try to get into graduate school. I was going through a profound depression, and although it lifted from time to time, it was never for long enough for me to realize that I’d abandoned a deeply important part of my soul, the artist part. It wasn’t until I had graduated college and started seeing/falling in love with a painter that I was once again inspired to take photos. I had like a year long learning curve, because I realized I wanted to do more than take photos—I wanted to make art that was intimate, real, and meaningful. For the first time, I wanted to connect with the rest of the world. I learned the ins and outs of traditional analog photography on my own and with the help of a mentor, which was like starting from square one and could definitely get frustrating. After this year of struggle and technical BS that I’m really glad I know now, I started experimenting, and here we are!
What do you have in store for the rest of the year and the near future?
In the nearest future, my boyfriend and I are putting on our first collaborative exhibition at Little Pink Monster Gallery (Canopy Studios) in Austin, TX on February 14. The show is called “idiosyncrasies” and emphasizes our own unique visions and techniques, but also the unconscious way in which we influence one another and are collaborating even when we’re unaware of it.
Right now I believe one or more of my pieces are up at Grace, London as part of the condensed ‘Ritual’ exhibition that World Wide Women put on last month. The exhibition was such a success that a few other galleries wanted to pick it up as well, and I’m incredibly thankful to have been chosen as one of the eight artists for this last pop-up. We’ll see what happens next!
World Wide Women will also be putting on an exhibition (or a few) in Paris, etc. in the spring that will include my work. I believe a book (an anthology of sorts) will come out around this time as well, but don’t quote me on that. I don’t have a functional memory.
(Hopefully) I’ll be part of an artist residency somewhere in Europe this summer that will be turned into an exhibition in 2016, but more details on that later!
OH. I finally saved enough money (and with the help of my family for Christmas) for a very nice 16mm video camera. My goal is to have a full film based on a series of recurring dreams I’ve had completed by the end of the year, and a friend of mine is going to score music to the film once it’s done. We want to show it in a gallery space on a bunch of white walls and trip people out in a really pleasant way. It’s going to be a big, long, collaborative project and I can’t even imagine it being complete but I know that it will be, one day. Shooting 16mm films will teach me an entirely different breed of patience.
If you could photograph anyone, who would you choose?
I think I’ve been asked this question before and I just don’t know! I feel like I’ve already had the privilege of photographing some of the most beautiful souls in the world and there’s nothing I really long for in that way. I’d love to do album covers for my favorite bands (ehem, War Paint or Beach House… hi!) Maybe I wish I could photograph my mother & grandmother before I was born, before I can remember them. I don’t know though, like I said, I’m so grateful for the people I’m able to work with on a regular basis that it’s not something I think about. <3