Artist Interview: Lori Ono

portrait of Lori Ono at Tama River

Lori Ono is a Canadian photographer, illustrator and writer. You can read more about her on her bio page. In this interview she talks about some of her inspirations and how she created her work for In The Details.

Do you have a favourite color or color palette? 
I gravitate to black and white, but when I go for color, I often find I’m working with aqua in some combination. I also love orange with blues. Lately purple, chartreuse and charcoal call to me.

Do you have a favourite artist? 
For photography I like Edward Burtynsky and Gregory Crewdson. Burtynsky for his scale and Crewdson for his cinematic staging. I adore classic photographers such as Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Eugène Atget  and Ihei Kimura.

I also like Tim Burton and Quentin Blake. I like their humour and that messy style– cute with a hint of something… dark. It looks easy to do, but it’s not. Their drawings have a freedom and looseness I like. I struggle with not being obsessed with precision. I’d like to see that humor and looseness in my photography.

Do you pursue any themes? If so what?
I feel like a little leaf blown around by the wind of creativity. I‘m interested in almost everything. Lately I’m fascinated by mushrooms. When I look at my work, I see an examination of hidden things, hidden moments, or the ignored. I’m always looking for the underside, the hidden world, or the hidden pattern. My work also has what a friend generously called a “lyrical melancholy.”   

How do you know if an idea needs is working, needs revision or needs to be abandoned?
I struggle with that. I’m looking forward to reading my colleagues’ answers. All I can say is that if it bores me, I can’t expect it to intrigue someone else. 

Describe your studio practice? Do you have any habits or rituals when producing art?
Habits and rituals are goals for 2019! 😉 

How long have you been working in the medium used for your work for In The Details?
I’ve been doing photography for about15 years.

What do you like about this medium and what are its challenges?
I love the immediacy of photography and the way you manipulate and create moods. A darkroom space is challenging in terms of space and price.  Digital photography allows artists more flexibility. I think it’s easier to make handmade photo books or try out different analogue processes by adding digital elements.

Could you talk about your creative process for responding to the theme of In The Details? Did your idea come to you right away? Did you have to experiment a lot?
Burtynsky’s landscapes really inspired me. From the high arial perspective, you notice some really unique patterns and colors. So the idea of changing perspective to examine something intrigued me. I don’t have a drone so I decided on macro-photography. A lot of my recent work has been about mushrooms so that meshed well. The gills reminded me of ocean waves but also the sandstone formation the Wave in  Coyote Buttes which is on the Arizona-Utah border.

Sourcing mushrooms to photograph was challenging. Mushroom gills have interesting patterns, but mushrooms with large gills were hard to find. I expected I’d have to make a specialty order. Finding the large porcini mushrooms at my local yao-ya was a pleasant, and eventually tasty, surprise. 


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