Interview with Jen Cywinski, Rosemont College Student, 12/2006

JC: Has your knowledge and experience in art been self learned, from schooling or both? If both, which do you think was more influential on your work?

TZ: My knowledge and experience in art has been influenced by both school and self-learning. I would consider self-learning to encompass not only my personal experimentation and development, but also the absorption of work at museums, publications, etc. Reading subjects such as literature and philosophy has also given me invaluable insight on executing coherent ideas in my work. Between the two, school has had the most profound influence-- without it I would never have had a starting point from which to research all of these things. Also, the status of being a student has given me access to otherwise more exclusive opportunities such as an internship and professor mentoring. Adjusting to an artist's lifestyle, particularly the continual output of work, is a structure which school has introduced to me and which I plan to continue after graduation.

Is there a particular time of day you prefer to take photographs during because of your mental setting?

Unless I need a particular type of sunlight in a photograph, I start shooting late in the evening. This is not usually a preference, but more of a routine. I build up quite a bit of pressure before a shoot as I am concerned about the translation from the idea to a tangible piece of work. I'm usually starting late in the night or early AM, as I most productive during this time with any project.

Photography being your main medium, what other forms of art, if any, do you enjoy or find intriguing?

For the last few months I have taken a bit of a hiatus from shooting and I've been doing collage work. They all incorporate photographs but many of them are from found negatives or very old work which I had never found any use for. I've also had the opportunity to make a few films which was a great way for me to experiment with imagery in a very different way. Painting will always be a major influence as well.

What are your favorite techniques in photography?

Multiple exposures are most frequently used in my work. Manipulation of light through long exposures, projections, and flash are a few other approaches.

I have one of your exhibition cards here next to me: 'Exudation Poisoning'. For this photograph or any of your works do you have a specific message/meaning/thought process that you are trying to convey to viewers or is it mostly internal to you then left up to the viewer?

I have come a long way with this one. When I began photographing things I was a rigid believer in complete viewer subjectivity. During my first photography course in college, my professor asked me what one of my images meant. I told her that it meant whatever she wanted it to mean-- this didn't exactly cut it for her. I was slightly frustrated at first but as my work developed I was able to connect the images and I realized where my ideas were stemming from.

Exudation is a term used to describe a plantlike sweating process. In Exudation Poisoning, the subject seems to have become completely absorbed by the static image on the screen. The television can be viewed as a paradigm for any attachment to which individuals become consumed. All of my images incorporate themes which have stemmed from personal experiences.

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