Caroline Kraus and I met at the first Creative Arts of Women (CAW) meeting that I attended over a year ago and I was smitten. She is on of the most effervescent and bubbly ladies I have met in a long while. Seems that she always has a smile on her face or is giggling! I know that probably is not true but that was first and lasting impression of her. And, yet, her photography is provocative and soulful. A combination that reeled me in so it was inevitable that I would interview her.
Born and raised in Columbus (with a brief stint in Portland Oregon), Caroline has a background in customer service that has served as a surprising tool for her photography. As she puts it: You have to be able to anticipate situations for your customers and scan a scene to make the best possible outcome…so, I am always anticipating the light changes and reading scenes to find what I want to photograph; to create the outcome I want.
She took a few random photography classes through high school and was taking random photographs with the first digital camera she bought.Taking random photographs continued until 2009 when It dawned on her that the camera had always been her silent partner. Then that randomness turned into a fierce focus and gave her another voice. And from there for a year and a half at Columbus State, she learned the rules of “technical camera stuff” so that she could better understand how to break those same rules!
Being the typical doodler growing up, she spent hours coloring, painting and acting out dramatic scenes with her dog. Her mom created an environment for creative expression, fostering that side of Caroline and allowing her to draw on the walls of her bedroom around the age of 10 or 11. That drawing continued until Caroline moved out, however many years later. She states that her walls were covered with paintings and drawings not only of hers but of anyone that passed through her room and felt the need to “add to the madness”. I was a lucky one that got to spill my art guts all over my walls…LOL!
There have been times when she has gone without creating but that has never turned out well for her because she finds her light and sanity in even the darkest stories she wants to tell. And, as she puts it, all of those thoughts have to go somewhere! Because of always being drawn to creation, she walks with her eyes wide open in hopes of a story presenting itself. It could be the way the light is falling or the murkiness of shadow but every whape and collision of visible things has a story waiting to be told.
When asked to categorize herself and her art, she says she is a picture taker, picture maker. Sometimes what she shoots is a straight up honest earthly truth and sometimes she finds she wants to bend perception, rules and her own comfort within an image.
Quoting filmaker/actor/director/producer Mr. Jim Jarmusch, she explains her inspiration. She says this quote has ruined her and saved her over and over again and on her worst day, when her voice feels misplaced, she turns to this:
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent….
oh, and street lamps. I really, really love street lamps. I guess, I love lamps.
As for any new techniques, she says there is never enough time or space for that..she lives for camera hack & photoshop videos from all over the web and tries to learn something new every week, no matter how big or small. She’s learned there is a video for everything you could possibly wonder about. And if there isn’t, make one yourself!
During the last year, she has scaled back a bit on her photography (to be explained in a few!) but you can find her prints for sale on her website and shows in which she participates. Her hope is to free up some time next year to find other venues for sales of her work. Speaking of which, will have 3 pieces available for purchase in the CAW show, ‘a little bit closer’ at the Vanderelli Room beginning November 13th and lasting until December 5th. She also was honored to have a piece of her work in the first inaugural Ohio Arts Council juried show at the Riffe Gallery (opening was November 5th).
Caroline at Riffe Center Gallery Inaugural Juried Exhibit
Now for the the reason that she has scaled back… she and her hubby are opening a bakery/specialty shop called Baba’s in the Glen Echo neighborhood with plans to mix the arts into their shop. Wall are waiting for pieces, a bathroom with no personality and overall supporting the Columbus based art scene any way they can. In that regard, the are running a kickstarter campaign asking Columbus residents to donate so that their dream can become a reality. We are two from-the-dirt-Ohoians wanting to mix food and art into one little spot.
I asked her to explain a little about how the idea for Baba came to fruition and this is how she put it;
The concept of Baba’s has been growing in Dan and my hearts for many years. We have a strong family foundation and love the traditional foods enjoyed at family gatherings. Our idea of “grandmas cooking” was right in line with the slo-food movement. Food that isn’t too fussy, but elevated from your mothers recipes. We will offer breakfast sandwiches, coffee and sweet breads for the morning commute. We will flip to deli style sandwiches with house made sides for lunch. We sell wholesale breads to other local food trucks, restaurants and beyond.
If you would like to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign, you must donate by 10:59pm, Thursday November 19th.
All of this is pretty exciting to me and I hope that we can all meet soon at Baba’s to celebrate Caroline and Dan’s efforts to mesh the arts with good food!!! Good luck to both of them!
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