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Tamika Keioskie: A Juxtaposition In The Commercial World

Tove Langridge is an international art dealer, curator and painter who owns TW Fine Art Gallery.

Fusing fashion with fine art, Brisbane-based artist and photographer Tamika Keioskie is creating stunning work. Having grown up a small rural town in North Queensland, Tamika packed her car after graduating high school and drove to Brisbane. She knew it was time for a change, and recognised it as an opportunity to challenge herself and seize new opportunities. And she’s taken those opportunities, developing a portfolio that looks at showcasing the best of James Street. Tamika is really finding her feet through the artistry of her photographic works, from capturing everyday – and not so everyday – scenes of Kate Waterhouse to Sass & Bide’s Style guide or portraits shots of Molten Store owner Jessy Cameron. It is clear there is a defined sense of love for the city she has come to call home. Tove recently sat down with the photographer for a chat about her work and what inspires her process.

When did the art bug first bite you, and at what point did you decide that you wanted to make a career as a professional photographer?
I found my artistic edge from spending time with my grandmother at a very young age, we would sit down for hours and colour in picture books. She taught me the importance of shading and toning. I went on to study art in high school, which mainly consisted of black and white acrylic portraits of Kurt Cobain (it was the 90s). I even interviewed to study Creative Arts at Griffith University but decided it wasn’t the right time. I studied photography at high school as well: we shot on film and had a dark room. There’s something about developing your own images. I have always loved the idea of photographs and capturing moments in time, but wanting to make it my career only became a serious thought around seven years ago.

What are you working on for the future?
I am currently working on a personal project with some friends titled The Young and the Influential. We filmed and photographed six local creatives from different industries and chatted to them about their creative process and the influences in their lives. We hope to launch it at the back end of this year, via print and the digital world.

Lines are blurred in what distinguishes a commercial photograph from a photographic artwork. Is there a difference for you and how would you articulate that difference?
I believe there isn’t a great deal of difference between commercial and artistic photographic work. I see a lot of campaigns adapting an artistic edge throughout their imagery – creating a cut through to their audience; a talking point. There are quite a lot of fine art photographers now shooting editorials or campaigns, like Dustin Askland for example.

In New York, the young art scene is intimately linked with the fashion world – the crowds outside openings in Chelsea are a beautiful spectacle, just like a scene from fashion week as an example. As a fashion photographer by day, how do you feel that art and fashion are connected?
I see fashion as art. It’s an automatic connection. The exciting part for me as a photographer is taking the story behind the collection or garment and portraying it in a series of images. A vision created and executed by many artistic minds, collaboration at it’s greatest. You only need to look at runway shows to see how theatrical most of them are. It’s all art.

Where do you feel that your personal commercial and artistic photographic interests merge?
I’m always looking to take my commercial photography somewhere more artistic. I believe they merge through taking something commercial and giving it an unexpected edge – be that through the location or the styling or make up. I really enjoy creating a juxtaposition in the commercial world.

There is a distinct lack of the human form in your non-commissioned work. That must be a refreshing break for a photographer who shoots fashion by day. Why do you choose to remove the figure from your artwork?
It actually takes me back to my childhood. Growing up in a rural area, most days consisted of being alone on your own adventure, using your imagination to see beauty in a non-traditional sense. There is so much beauty in the natural world around us there is no real need to add anything more to it – including people.

There is a sublime quality to your work, and overwhelming sense of environment and scale. How would you describe the scenes captured by your lens?
I love photographing the slightly unusual and sometimes haunting scenes throughout the city and country landscapes. I try to take something expected and compose and capture it in a slightly unexpected way. I often think about all the people who have been there before me and if they saw the beauty in it that I am seeing.

Tamika Keioskie is one of the many talented and local artists available through TW Fine Art.

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