Member of the Month

Member of the Month
James Schlichter

Full Name: James Schlichter

Medium: Photography

How long have you been doing your art: My dad gave me my first camera, a Canon Sure Shot Joy, when I turned 16. I have had one with me ever since. I have always taken photos, but only recently did I start to release them into the world.

What got you originally interested in the art you do: That’s hard to answer. It has always been less a conscious interest than a compulsion. It was, and is, second nature to just shoot what interested and interests me.

What is something you have learned about yourself through your art: Honestly, I’m not sure I have learned much about myself through photography. The images I create, the process, are more of a confirmation of who I am and how I see the world around me in general. I think less in concrete definitions and am more interested in exploring the edges of those definitions, what determines the entirety of an idea, scene or image.

What do you enjoy the most about your art: Being absorbed. I will see something and know there is more there than what my eye sees. I love getting lost in trying to extract from the scene what my unconscious is compelling me to find. It doesn’t always happen, which is part of the experience too, but when it works, it’s extremely satisfying.

What is your favorite joke/quote: I don’t know any jokes, but have plenty of quotes I love. “Art has to create in us ideas, formless spiritual essences,” by James Joyce in Ulysses is a favourite of mine which is relevant to photography. It isn’t difficult to take a picture. It’s more difficult to evoke a feeling or an idea with an image. The best artists, of any medium, make you think, make you feel, make you wonder.

What is something most people don’t know about you: I have no idea. What do most people know about me that I don’t know?

If you could teach everyone one art medium or method, what would it be, why: Everyone?! Yikes. I wouldn’t teach anybody anything. I would say, do what you like how you like and see where it goes.

What do you think makes art important: What makes art important? I guess it’s less about the art than what the person interacting with the art carries within them. Important is a strong word when talking about what is really an aesthetic, whether it be written or otherwise. What makes something important to me may be meaningless to you. Again, it comes back to the idea or feeling art can create. I think that matters, but in different ways to different people.

Why are you a member of the Kamloops Arts Council: I wanted to engage with my photography on another level, just to see what happens. My ego was curious to see what the public thought. I also wanted to be exposed to other artists’ ideas and their knowledge, particularly, photographers.

What are you looking forward to the most in this upcoming year (A special show or project you’re working on): Well, I have a few things I’m looking forward to. It sounds a bit simplistic, but as I have always only taken photos for myself, I’m looking forward to the process, to learning more about what it is to think like a “photographer.” I have only been invested in this process for a couple of months now and am learning so much! Specifically, I’m looking forward to developing a website and I would like to have my own exhibit, but I want it to be more than just an exhibit of photos. I want it to be a concept, something dynamic and tactile using photography as a catalyst. We shall see. There might be fire involved. Stay tuned.