Jodi Chapnik is a Toronto-based fine art photographer constantly watching, analyzing, and absorbing what is happening around her in order to consciously create majestic masterpieces. To get inspired, she enjoys traveling the world and finding unique subjects and moments to capture for eternity. For over 25 years, Jodi Chapnik has been using her keen eye for detail to create awe-inspiring art. Her ever-evolving photography collection of landscapes, unique portraits, and close-up object imagery invite people to explore the infinite stories behind her work. Whether she is creating a scene with compelling props, photographing a single object, or using her impeccable timing to catch that perfectly fleeting moment, she thrives on sharing her observations and interpretations of the world around us. We interviewed Jodi to learn more about her practice, inspirations, and what she is working on today.
1. How does your creative day look like and what inspires you to make art? Has your creative day changed due to Covid-19?
My creativity varies from day to day. Some days I feel very inspired. On these days, I will either be hunting for treasures in stores or online, planning a photo shoot or taking photographs in the studio or outdoors. During the Covid-19 quarantine, I decided to look through old catalogs and use the photographs to create new images. It was very rewarding to create during this unpredictable time.
2. Tell us more about your art studio.
My studio is a room with large windows, a product table, several canvas backdrops, strobes, and containers filled with a selection of lenses, dried flowers, papers, books, tulle, and other materials to use in photographs. I often use natural window light while creating images, and sometimes block the natural light and use strobes to achieve a different effect. I only do a part of my collections in the studio, often I’m using the world as my studio. I feel inspired by culture and nature and enjoy traveling to capture images around us.
3. How did you first get interested in your medium/s?
I've been fascinated by photography since I was a young child. I remember being in awe while creating images with photography paper, a leaf, and the sun when I was a camper as young as 4 years old. At university, I took photography lessons while studying Studio Arts and Art History. In 2014, I bought a new camera (Nikon D800) and joined a creative photography group at Avenue Road Arts School with Jennifer Chin. I still get together with people I met in the class to discuss photography, share images, and create in the studio. (These days it’s via Zoom J). It’s like a book club, but for photography. I find that being in a group with other creative people with similar interests helps to inspire me and builds knowledge and skills.
4. Describe your style in one sentence.
While my style is eclectic, there are common themes behind the images that run through each collection.
5. Has your style changed over time?
My style has changed, yet the themes and sentiment have stayed the same. Through teaching photography workshops, I have created a formula for setting the stage for a successful photograph. Style starts with having a vision, capturing the image, and then refining by retouching, editing or adding unexpected elements.
6. What are your main artistic tools?
My main artistic tools are a Nikon D850 and Sony mirrorless camera, a computer with Lightroom and a few external hard drives. I often go “treasure hunting” to find objects with sentimental value. In art school, I learned to consider light, subject, composition, and I find myself giving each image what it deserves to make it intuitively feel right to me.
7. Do you ever experience creativity blocks and how do you stay positive and inspired?
Yes, I often compare creative block to writer’s block. When I feel uninspired, I listen to music, swim, walk, read or look through Instagram or magazines, such as Digital SLR Photography or Uppercase, to spark inspiration. I also like David Dechemin’s podcasts, which links creativity to a deeper experience in people.
8.What artists - either contemporary or from history - have had an impact on you and your art practice?
Having a degree in Art History definitely helps with technique, and I have been inspired by many artists, such as David Hockney, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn, Diane Arbus, and Andy Warhol. A diverse group, I know. As well, contemporary artists such as Sebastião Salgado, Sue Bryce, Joyce Tenneson, Cara Barer, Barbara Cole, and my friend Lindsi Beth Hollend have influenced my art in some way.
9. Do you think the art world has changed or will be changing due to the pandemic? If yes, how?
People are spending more and more time at home and naturally want to beautify their spaces. Some artists are becoming more independent and both artists and galleries are becoming more adept at marketing and sharing their work online.
10. What project are you working on right now? What would you like to do next?
As mentioned, I’m currently selecting old photographs from my catalogue to create new more abstract, and conceptual images. I recently updated my website and have spent time organizing the business aspect of being an artist. I have also been collecting sentimental objects to produce new images in the Memento series. I look forward to whatever comes next, as the organic creative process often allows for many wonderful surprises.