Most of us are familiar with the term ‘photoshopped’, a manipulation of photographic realism to make the world brighter, more vibrant and prettier than life. Julie Nygaard, whose works will be featured at Rainforest Arts through August, pushes Photoshop and other digital media way beyond the limits of subtle tweaking, transforming her imagery into altered realities that often have a mystic quality to them.
“I’m like a photographer-painter, I guess,” Nygaard says of her works.
As a photographer, she goes out into the world and captures images of the great outdoors; as an artist she digitally adds layers of meaning that interpret the ‘real world’ through lenses of personal trauma, symbolism, belief and imagery.
“I am inspired by life,” she explained. “Life is art.”
Her fascination with photography began early. “It was quite an incredible feeling to see my work, my way of seeing a world through a lens, captured in a photograph,” she said. A serious car crash in 2006, and a subsequent life threatening illness, convinced her to make art her life-focus.
Nygaard wants people to walk away with their own vision in their minds of what her work represents. Pieces like Strength, an image of a white wing against a concrete surface, have a profound impact. “People love this image. It’s giving them hope and it’s giving them strength during this time,” she said, referring to the COVID pandemic.
“It means so much to me, that I know my image is giving somebody else hope and understanding and love and support, and that gentle hug that we’re all needing at this time.”
The importance of art to society can’t be underestimated, Nygaard believes. She also thinks there’s an artist in all of us, just waiting to be unleashed.
“For me, being an artist, there’s no word to describe how much it means to me to be able to express myself, and to be able to share my images, and my work with other people,” she said.
Nygaard’s Through My Eyes – A Visual Journey show will be featured June through August at Rainforest Arts, 9781 Willow St., Chemainus. There’s more information, including a video, in the News section of RainforestArts.ca, by calling 250-246-4861 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nygaard will hold an artist’s talk and demo on Saturday, July 17 from noon to 3 p.m. under the tent outside the Rainforest Arts gallery for a conversation about her featured show.