Amy Leibrand (pronounced lie-brand) first came to my attention as I scrolled through the posts on The Art and Artists of 614 Facebook page. I was attracted to her unique style of photography and haunting images. Then Walter Herrmann, artist,sculptor and founder of 614, suggested that I contact her because she has been playing a prominent role in the art scene here in Columbus as well as abroad. It seemed like I was meant to meet this funny and talented lady so after many failed attempts, we finally met at Panera’s for some conversation.
Before discovering photography, Amy tried her hand at painting. She enjoyed painting from a young age, took numerous art classes as electives as she worked on a degree in soil science and attempted to show her work at galleries. However, she says that her reception was less than spectacular, selling few if any paintings (she says she’s not a good painter…LOL!).
Not to be deterred from expressing her artistic side, she began taking photos…first on a ‘real’ DSLR camera but eventually crossing over to almost exclusively using her iPhone. She managed to get in on the ground floor of what is now called mobile photography and found her artistic passion.
Her first photographic app was Hipstamatic but she soon graduated to other apps that allowed her to manipulate her photos after shooting rather than through an app like Instagram. From there, her creative process blossomed. Now she uses apps that are similar to Photoshop to create and manipulate. The only down side to this is that phone apps ‘crush’ the resolution of the pics so they can’t be blown up. Seems like a small price to pay for such unique photos!
Her first exhibit called Viewfinder at Junctionview Studios led to the name of her website. She explains: “This Space is Rented began in late 2009, after participating i n my first photography exhibit. I sold very well at that show, so I figured why not build a website and see where this goes? I settled on the This Space moniker by accident. It was the forty hundredth phrase I typed in the domain name generator.”
As you can see, Amy has a great sense of humor …she is quick to tell you that she has no idea what she’s doing! She experiments, mostly, but feels that what she lacks in technique, she makes up for in emotion. Since she primarily works in mobile photography, she’s learned how to use apps in ways they’re not intended to obtain a unique effect so most of her work is heavily manipulated. She tends to stay away from apps that apply blanket filters or textures, preferring to shoot her own textures that are then layered. She shoots through things to make her work atmospheric: textured glass, the ends of beer bottles, tulle fabric…things with unpredictable results.
Recently she has delved into creating new ways to display her work, playing with interactive pieces and multi-dimensional assemblages. To test this direction, her most recent piece is heavy on wood glue, pulleys, and rope – one image is lifted to reveal a hidden image beneath.
She exhibits in galleries a lot. (and she means, A LOT!!!!) Although this may seem kind of ridiculous, she goes after anything that looks interesting, for better or for worse with her work being shown in galleries throughout Columbus, as well as Miami, NYC, Toronto, Portland, Paris, and Berlin and she sells particularly well in France. She has also been featured in Backlight Magazine, a French photography publication, that included two of the images seen in this post (Backlight_01, Backlight_02).
When asked to categorize her work she stated simply: “Impulsive. Surreal. Emotive. There is a narrative that centers on escapism.” She is inspired by anything and everything. As she states: Weird art, strings of words, the fog, the forest, the mountains, the desert, a baked potato on the sidewalk. Adolescence. I look backward a lot. I have the most intense, bizarre dreams. Things like trampoline oceans and chocolate porcupine oven mitts, as well as horrific, realistic nightmares that usually involve escape. I remember my dreams very clearly, sometimes confusing them for reality, even. A lot of my work is rooted in these visions from sleep….I’m a big fan of donuts. Are you a big fan of donuts?
Last year, she received Juror Honorable Mention at the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition in July/August. She has been featured in Weird Tales Magazine (http://weirdtalesmagazine.com/2013/10/22/they-see-the-weird-amy-leibrand/) Broad and High, a local TV show also interviewed Amy recently (http://youtu.be/gRVwm3OLOTo) so she has truly been in just about every medium possible lately!
In addition, she is proud to announce that three of her images received honorable mention in the 3rd annual Mobile Photo Awards (pretty much the Oscars of the mobile photography community). Congratulations to all of the winners and honorable mentions — great to see so many familiar names!!!! She is thrilled to stand alongside so many other talented folks, many of whom she knows.
Amy would also like to acknowledge….” Daniel Berman for orchestrating the awards — a tremendous undertaking, I’m sure — and to all of the jurors who sifted through the thousands of images submitted. Truly an honor.”
And, as if that isn’t enough, she will be showing her work this month in Paris with 12 other photographers and have a solo show at Haiku for the entire month of August and participating in two exhibits at The Good Goat Gallery in Cleveland in the fall.
In addition to her personal artistic endeavors, she is also very involved in The Art and Artists of 614. She has worked with other administrators of the FB page to assist in the Ohio Art League’s upcoming event, Ohio Made (summer) and developing some brick and mortar gallery shows for member artists. Although she says she is not a good idea person she is good with organizing and details and that has served the group well.
Becoming a full-time artist is probably not in the cards for this lady though as she thoroughly enjoys her job as an environmental researcher at Battelle. How fortunate for her! But her involvement with the mobile photography movement is not going to diminish…she is hooked for life! How fortunate for us!
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