Prolific visual based artist Edward M. Fielding (www.edwardfielding.com) is probably best known for his photographic work, gracing the covers of book and found in magazines as well as fine art prints but lately he has found the urge to create more organically.
“After creating primarily digitally for the past five years or so, I find myself wanting to get my hands dirty again. One of the nice things about creating digitally is a nice clean work space but you miss out on the tactical feel of the material and even the smells of the creative process”.
Fielding talks about his new work in encaustic in the next part. First some background.
Born on the Hawaiian island of Honolulu, Fielding grew up in a military family that moved from army base to base every three years or less. He’s lived in Georgia, New Jersey, Kansas, Germany and Connecticut growing up and has even moved around New England a bit in adult life, living in Massachusetts, on an island off the coast of Maine and now resides in New Hampshire on the Vermont border in an area know as the Upper Valley as in the Connecticut River upper valley.
“Growing up as an army brat gives one the opportunity to see the world and see how people live differently and the same in different parts of the world and across the U.S. – I had the opportunity to see Europe as we traveled around on family vacations but even better I got to experience life among every day people when we rented a house in a small village outside of Heidelberg.”
This worldly exposure to new places formed a library of visual images for Fielding.
“I think this exposure to new places as well as extensive family car trips (pre-electronic devices) form the basis of my observational skills that are essential as a photographer and visual artist. The luxury of being bored and staring out the window alone in ones thoughts is something that is missing from today’s plug in society.”
The downside of the constant moving was the difficulty in developing friendships. Moving to a small town Junior year in High School it was difficult to fit in with his classmates who had grown up together. Fielding found himself at home in the art room and in the photography darkroom run by the shop teacher.
Although he was urged head towards a creative career, the practical side of the family influenced his decision to attend Boston Universities School of Management where he earned a Marketing degree. While attending classes on economics and group dynamics, Fielding would steal away time at the universities extensive library collection of photography books.
“I discovered so many great photographs flipping through the stacks at the BU library, Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Jim Dine, Wegman, Adams, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Duane Michals, Robert Frank – so many different ways of seeing the world and so many different ways to express themselves in a medium which quite frankly is very difficult to do since it can be so mechanical.”
Thorough his early business career Fielding experimented with a small darkroom in apartment condo and at one point made his first online purchase off an AOL bulletin board – a 1940’s 4×5 Graflex view camera used by press photographers.
“This was in the very early days of “online”. There were some marketplaces on AOL and one of them sold used photographic equipment. I don’t I guess I wanted to be Ansel Adams or at least WeeGee. I used to carry around this huge camera with its expensive film in giant backpack. I had to be careful about each exposure because the film was expensive and processing difficult. Eventually was shooting Polaroid films to cut down on what was considered “post processing at the time.”
The Polaroid films lead to some experimentation such as a technique called Polaroid image transfers where the still wet and developing film was pressed on to watercolor paper with a roller. This resulted in a one of a kind print as there was no negative.
Fielding also used Polaroid Type 55 film which produced a black and white positive AND a black and white negative at the same time. The negative was cleared in a solution of water so it required the addition of carrying around a pail if one wanted to develop in the field.
“Type 55 can produce some great black and white negatives but the weird thing is one would have to over expose the positive to get a great negative. So you would end up with a useless positive. And I didn’t have a 4×5 enlarger so most of my work from this time didn’t get seen.”
Fielding did develop an interest in alternative photographic processes and wrote about them in Darkroom Magazine.
Married life and the birth of his son intervene and the dangerous chemicals went away, replace by a digital camcorder. After a series of collapses in the publishing industry and a stint in the Internet start up boom and bust of the late 1990s, Fielding found himself happily taking on the role of stay at home Dad. Photographer went on the back burner until his son grew to a more independent age.
“My road back to photography was gradual. I started building a elaborate model railroad layout with my son. It really became a sculptural art project. I was researching historic buildings and then creating scale models of them.”
Wanting to document his creations, Fielding bought his first serious digital camera and started relearning photography in the digital age.
Now with expensive new camera in hand, Fielding jokes that he needed to figure out a way to keep the family happy.
“I wanted to figure out a way to bring in some income with my art so I’d be able to continue on this path. I started selling stock images which was a learning process. Working for stock agencies honed my craft as well as my composition skills, my image became simpler yet had more storytelling. It also expanded my ideas of subjects that were worthy of attention. I eventually “graduated” to more higher end stock imagery and more creative work. My current agency Arcangel cultivates artists with cutting edge styles and primarily serves the book cover market.”
Fielding had been moving in a more fine art direction, selling work online via Fine Art America, when Arcangel Images noticed his work.
Buyers looking for artwork for their home, office or as gifts can buy framed art, canvas prints, metal prints as well as products such as throw pillows and tech accessories featuring Fielding’s work.
“Right now most of my work on Fine Art America and its sister site Pixels.com is open edition and is priced afford-ably for people looking for decorative artwork.”
End of Part One