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Meet Rachel Bank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Bank.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was immediately drawn to photography as a teenager as it was a way to capture moments in my life, like the things I saw or the people I hung out with. I loved looking at photographs; black and white photography’s stillness and poetry was my first art-love. While I was working on my BFA in photography, I became interested in making video art. I made a couple of video pieces while in my early 20’s but I still considered myself a photographic artist. After working in the commercial photo industry for a few years, I decided to go to grad school. I knew I wanted to expand my photographic practice and having a supportive environment that one can get from school was what I felt I needed. While working on my MFA at UC Riverside, I dove into creating video works, which evolved into using animation and installation. These are media that I continue to work with today.

A huge reason why I wanted to be an artist, as opposed to another creative field, was so that as my interests change and evolve so do the projects I immerse myself into. To that end, this year, I started a new photo project after not making photographs for a while, and I am beginning to embark on new video work using some methods I haven’t explored before.

Art is not only a place to create, but it has also been a world within which to build a community and network of support through friendships and mentorships. I came to LA for the artist community which has been one of the best decisions I could have made for that reason alone.

Please tell us about your art.
Experimentation and curiosity are driving forces for me. One of the threads that runs through my practice is creating sensorial viewing experiences using light that filters through objects, whether those are household objects or sculptures.

I have created video installation works where I project simple, colorful, geometric abstract animations onto sculptural forms. When creating those works, I am interested in seeing how the colors and shapes of the projections influence a viewer’s impression of the sculptural forms, and how the sculptural forms influence the viewer’s impression of the projection. I am also interested in the combination of the ephemeral, fleeting nature of digital images with solid, physical objects.

I have also made wall reliefs and simple geometric abstract paintings onto which I project animations. The concerns are similar to the previously mentioned work, but my interest there is to make the experience more like looking at a painting that moves.

This year, I began making color photograms, which are made in a traditional darkroom. You make them by placing objects on a sheet of light-sensitive darkroom paper and exposing that to light, from an enlarger or another light source (I’ve used my phone’s flashlight, too). The paper then gets run through the chemicals to process it. The resulting print is always a surprise. Photograms are impressions of objects. They have x-ray, ghostly, fuzzy qualities to them. The objects I have been using were all purchased from estate sales. I haven’t made representational work in quite some time so this has been an interesting challenge for me.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
My lesson boils down to maintaining an art practice without the luxury of being in the studio every day. There are so many other aspects of our lives we need to give attention to, like jobs, family, friends, and daily life. Starting a project or a studio session can be daunting tasks. I believe that even if you spend an hour a week on your practice, you will get things done, even if it’s *just* thinking, or it’s *just* one brushstroke. These things accumulate. If you keep at it on a regular basis, you’ll eventually have a painting, and eventually a project’s worth of work.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I will have a solo exhibiton at Mt. San Jacinto College Art Gallery, planned to open mid-January, 2020. I do not post much on social media but I will post show announcements there in the future. For now, my work can be seen on my website, rachelbank.com.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Rachel Bank

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