Transformer presents FlatFile at Fringe :: Meet the Artist :: Ding Ren

Written on November 17, 2015

Q: How long have you shown your work with Transformer and their FlatFile program?

Since 2009, I participated in Transformer’s “Exercises For Emerging Artists” mentorship program that year and was asked to contribute some of my work to the flatfile afterwards.

Q: How does living in the DC area inform your work?

Full disclosure, I actually don’t live in DC at the moment! In 2010 I moved to Amsterdam and have been living abroad ever since, although I did return to DC briefly in 2013 to do a residency with Provisions Library and still have ties with DC through exhibitions that I participate in. My photography is very much informed by everyday life and cultural observations. I try to find the foreign in the familiar and the familiar within the foreign, so moving from DC to Amsterdam has definitely given me a new perspective to bring into my photography.

I always worked with digital photography while in DC, but now I only photograph using film. The quality and slowness of turning back to analog photography is quite poignant. I think it definitely has to do with being affected by the different way of life in Amsterdam and feeling the need to investigate the similarities and differences at a slower, more precise pace. Q: What other major themes do you explore?

I am interested in universal symbols and connections that can transcend cultures, through common everyday observations like the way laundry is hung out to dry and through the relationship between geography and mindset. The proper term is “psycho-geography” but that feels too “buzz” wordy for me so I don’t like to use it, although it does describe my style of photography and working style as an artist well. It is about a more intuitive approach.

Q: What other art – visual, performance, music – inspires you?

Before I even picked up a camera, I knew music first. Not playing an instrument or creating it, but through listening to music, mainly indie and folk. I can relate to the way in which some of my favorite bands and singers work and I think that is where I get the more intuitive approach towards my own art practice from. For example, most of the time I feel like I am making “albums” instead of projects or pieces, because I like to put together a series of photographs that can capture a certain feeling or mood rather than a distinct message.

Image: (top) ‘i took a picture, i was sick of motion’, 2012/2013, hand-printed analogue chromogenic print on expired Kodak Endura, edition of 3, 11"x14", $300

View or purchase Ding’s work in person at the Fringe Arts Bar, open weekdays at 7 pm and weekends at 2 pm. You can also buy Ding’s work online. Join us at the Transformer FlatFile at Fringe happy hour on Thursday December 3 for 2015’s final rotation of exciting and affordable artwork.

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Transformer presents FlatFile at Fringe :: Meet the Artist :: Jess Cebra
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