NAME: Alex Darling
LOCATION: Atlanta, Georgia
ORIGIN: Boston, Massachusetts
MAIN GENRE: Travel
ARTS AFFILIATIONS: Member, Professional Photographers of America
BIO: Alex Darling’s work is an ongoing exploration into how we ritualize our world. He creates images that seek to uncover and expand our sense of presence, enhance our notions of the sacred and refresh us to other states of being – images that often rely on an emotional response to be truly understood. Alex has been a professional travel photographer for the last 6 years which has allowed him to explore, connect and capture in over 60 countries.
LATEST WORKS: “Sojourn”: Group show at PB&J Gallery in Atlanta (April & May 2012)
Please describe your artistic themes
I try to hone in on vulnerability within the context of ritual–the context of people practicing at being human. I enjoy the idea of altered states and areas we make sacred. There is so much of our identity to be found in exploring the places, both real and emotional, we have given importance to. Those places are the home of the thread that connects us all. They are the vessel for who we are that is out of the reach of language and we exhibit an incredible tenderness when we visit. Capturing that is what I’m after.
Please describe your creative process
So much of what I do involves immersion and unselfconsciousness. I want to be swallowed up by a place and preferably a place that is busy being itself without a heavy regard for what is going on outside of its boundaries. I’m often traveling for several months at a time and without fail nearly everything I produce in the first month is terrible and flat. And it remains terrible and flat until I learn how to disengage from home, break through the discomforts of otherness–of culture shock–and reach a place that is just simply human. Some locations take longer than others. In some locations, for whatever reasons, I’m not ever able to find that space or break myself down that far. I feel like that distance reveals itself in my work and it can be really disappointing.
What are your artistic goals?
I don’t have any goals beyond a desire for a response from viewers. I’m unconcerned about whether its disgusting or engrossing, whether its painful or illuminating. If any works of mine manage to be any of these things for a viewer, then I’m thrilled because its attempting to make an alteration–to tailor an emotional or intellectual outfit to accommodate a new stitch.
What are your views on the industry?
I think the relationship between artists and the industry can often be an interesting, complex power struggle. That’s not to say that either are necessarily or inherently constructive or destructive but instead that within that relationship lies an interesting tension that behaves as a fuel, like magnets flipping polarities. Each need and push the other.
What advice could you give to emerging artists?
I believe there is tremendous virtue in diligence and patience. We’ve constructed this culture that works hard at offering instant gratification and constant feedback and I don’t think the potential for that is always present or healthy. Often I need to spend long tracts of time becoming comfortable with my own work and my own voice in order to hopefully offer something that has substance, meaning or even a little bit of truth. That takes time.