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Art with a Phone

After teaching high school art for 34 years, Anderson Artists Guild member Carolyn Gibson wanted to do something a little different after she retired.

Her whole childhood was an immersion in art. She took lessons on Saturdays at the Chicago Institute of Art, attended classes at the Illinois Institute of Technology (an extension of the Bauhaus School) in high school, and completed a master of fine arts degree in crafts, jewelry making, and art history at Illinois State University. She moved to South Carolina when her husband was stationed at Fort Jackson and ended up teaching art for 19 years at McDuffie High School and 16 years at Hanna. “I loved every minute of it,” she said. “I loved the students and their responses and the interaction with them. I helped them to learn an appreciation and love for the arts.”

Now, though, her focus is exclusively on photography, and her only tool is an Android phone and the Pixlr app. Her approach is a combination of collage and digital photography. “I take photos of things that interest me, like old mill sites or a skull on my husband’s farm,” she said. “I start out looking at color and composition. Sometimes I crop it and move things around so they’re overlapping. I interpose textures and colors and manipulations. I can create nice collages that way.”

She has her collages printed at Walgreens—at least 11 by 14 inches for a show—and will tinker until she’s satisfied. “If I’m not happy with the brightness or color range, I will go back and work some more,” she said. She uses Google Cloud to store the photos, emptying it out occasionally.

When she finds a subject she likes, she sticks with it until it’s exhausted. “I go on splurges,” she said. “I’ll do mailboxes for several months or old buildings for a while.”

Gibson's work can be seen in the display case on the first floor of the Anderson Arts Center through Sept. 19.

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