In which I share my first-ever triptych, inspired by psychedelia, love, and magic.
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The Supplication - Willowed Hearts - The Offering
It's been quite some time since I've sent along a letter to you all...so this one is extra beefy! I've been keeping busy, as always, and finding so much inspiration this summer. I realized very recently that I have been going through a clear period of creative intake. It seems that we artists often don't know when or even how to slow down and refill our creative wells, but our psyche, as always, knows and even forces that period of creative nourishment upon us. Which is precisely what my much wiser subconscious has been subjecting me to. Reluctantly, I've slowed my pace and now found that I'm filled to the brim with inspiration, new ideas, new experiments, and energy the likes which I haven't experienced in years.
I was extremely excited when I got invited to create new work once more for Modern Eden Gallery, particularly because the theme, Flower Child, is based off of San Francisco's Summer of Love. This month marks 50 years since then!
I'll be in attendance at the show this Saturday, August 12th from 6-9pm , so if you're local to the Bay Area, please come by! The show is free and open to the public and will be loaded with awesome art.
I was so inspired regarding the theme that I pitched the idea of doing not one but three pieces for this show, in the form of a triptych. I've been seeking new challenges, and shooting three images for three separate yet unified pieces felt like the perfect sort of challenge. The gallery agreed to my proposal, and I set to work on my idea...
The Shoot & My New Pieces
Prep for the shoot both prior to and day of took quite a lot of coordination and energy. I knew I wanted one male model and three female models. I needed two of the female models to be comfortable being very close and personal with one another and to embody two lovers. And all of the models needed to be comfortable with being shot nearly naked outdoors in front of one another.
I've shot implied nudes before but this was my first gentle step into shooting nudes. This was also my first time shooting three concepts at one time, which needed to be done to match the lighting conditions as closely as possible, since I wanted the three images to work as one. And it was my first time shooting four people within an hour! Did I mention seeking new challenges?
I also had to take the time to create the mushroom props (discussed later in this newsletter) and flower crowns for each model. I wanted each crown to use different flowers and colors, complementary to the individual models and moods for each image. Brad, one of the models, was a saint and helped me create the crowns the morning of the shoot—thank you again, Brad!
The shoot went off without a hitch, which was unsettling in its straight-forwardness. Almost always there's some sort of hiccup or element that needs to be reshot, but this time, things simply flowed. I've grown so accustomed to the bumps, bruises, and mishaps of shoots, that this one threw me for a loop when it was breezy and serene all the way through.
I took the models to a secluded area of forest where I secretly keep my heart, and we shot in the warm summer air amid glowing mushrooms, spongy moss, and the smell of sweet trees.
In these images, I explored the theme of magic mushrooms, a popular psychedelic used readily during the '70s. For each individual, their experience is similar to others yet uniquely their own. In nearly all cases, people feel a kinship with nature—a connectedness and deeper understanding of the organic world which we inhabit. Each image represents a unique, magical experience that has its own elements and theme. In each narrative, the line between fantasy and reality is intentionally blurred, and yet there is a kind of comfort and solace for these individuals to exist simply as they are, at peace with nature.
Title: The Offering
Medium: Photo on fine-art archival paper, acrylics, resin (1/1)
(To adopt this piece, please click here to be transferred to Modern Eden's website via a new tab.)
These three pieces are each a one of one—they will not be reproduced or printed again.
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A Glimpse at My Process
For the glowy magic mushrooms, I used real shiitake mushrooms which I spray-painted white, necessitating this respirator and of course a goofy selfie while wearing it.
At the shoot location, I used toothpicks stuck in the bottom of the mushrooms to post them upright into the moss, and then I used battery-powered LED lights wrapped around the base of the 'shrooms to capture the glow effect in camera.
Once I'd edited the images to my satisfaction, I got fine-art archival prints of them from a local printing company, stained the wood panels, and then mounted the pieces to the panels.
At this point, I use a matte sealant before applying acrylic embellishments. These pieces very clearly needed the mushrooms to not only glow but also sparkle, which was achieved during the acrylic process.
The final step in my process is doing a resin pour, which is an art form all on its own. The resin must be properly mixed, applied, and protected during the curing phase (I create lids from old boxes that can be placed over the pieces while they cure, to avoid lint and hair and the like). Since I've been doing resin pours for nearly two years now, I've gotten a system down for it, but it still tends to be an involved and at times fairly stressful process. But the results are undeniably beautiful, and I admit I'm quite addicted to the stuff.
Hope you enjoyed learning just a bit more about my process and that you're having a lovely summer and spending time outdoors!
Love and light,