Archive for July, 2011

Ovals & Line / Perspective

This series of Ovals & Line is an exploration of the basic elements of art and design through the interplay of shape, line, and color in various points-of-view. The appearance of one colored line represents direction, a pathway, a road; the ovals represent distance, landscape; the effect of color in orchestration with the shapes, line and surface reinforces the spatial perspective and my overall vision.

After taking a long hiatus when my children were young, I have recently reconnected to what it is I love about art-both creating it and teaching it to children. In the winter of 2009, I carved out an art space in the basement of my home, wedging my studio between the furnace and the water heater, and I began to paint. The process and the discipline required has rekindled my longtime curiosity, as well as help me rediscover my natural skills.

I studied art at College for Creative Studies-Center for Art & Design in Detroit, Columbia College & Lill Street Studio in Chicago, after which I worked as a freelance graphic designer. In 2010, I took an oil painting class at Sunset Hill Studios taught by two amazing plein air artists in which, I learned about the nuances of color and various techniques of painting landscape, still life and portrait’s. I now live in Greenlake, with my husband and children.

I am also a passionate supporter of bringing more art into public schools. I helped develop and implement a new visual arts and music program at a nearby school that is now thriving in its second year. After spending the first year managing the program, I was then hired as the visual arts teacher for 3rd through 5th grades.


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A storyteller at heart, my practice as an artist is to fabricate narrative from found imagery. Digital collage, my current medium of choice, gives me the ability to combine my own photographs with discarded antique family snapshots, advertising ephemera, toys, and iconic cultural images. The repurposing of those elements affords me the opportunity to reinterpret what they communicate to the society from which they originate. In a sense, I’m taking snapshots of a world that exists in my imagination, its landscapes and characters created through the thoughtful arrangement of seemingly unrelated elements. Through this practice, I hope to leave people with a lingering sense of curiosity about their own realities, a curiosity that might perhaps compel them to question what it is their society values, to re-examine their role in its constant evolution. Art is arguably the best way to for a culture to comprehend the changeable nature of life in the 21st century. I hope to play a part in that process.

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Artist: Rika Manabe, Photographer

I have been working as a freelance editorial photographer in Seattle the past decade. Having obtained a Master’s degree in Mass Communications and Photojournalism from San Jose State University in 2001, I now specialize in photojournalism, documentary, travel and lifestyle photography. My work has been published in newspapers, magazines and books, and exhibited internationally. My stock collection is represented by Getty Images.

My passion and love for street photography has always been with me since I first started studying photography 14 years ago. I don’t manipulate my images, but I like to give my own story to an image and try to show how I see people when I shoot on the streets. That’s how I create my art. In 2004, I spent a year in Europe, mostly in Portugal. These prints are some of the images taken during my travels in Portugal, the Czech Republic and the UK.

For more information about my work, please visit www.rikafoto.comor contact me at rika@rikafoto.com.

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Essentially I’m an artist without pedigree… but as a professional I’m a graphic designer. My design discipline  often utilizes “someone else’s” images to convey a given message.  So this is a big switch-a-roo for me, to be on the other side of picture making. Hope you enjoy these.

The “Flames” represent portraits of friends and acquaintances. Spirits are often seen as fires, for example like a votive representing a life. Prometheus gave humanity the gift of fire to differentiate them from the animals. On the North American continent, it was the crow that brought it. I make these small fires of individuals lighting the earth. To some extent the shape of the flames, the color and their intricacy reflect some physical aspects of the people portrayed.

The rest of this display is comprised of my photographs. If you were to ask me why I take photographs, I would have to answer with a big “?”. If you asked if I liked taking photographs I would have to answer “!”. I generally divide the photos I take into two categories… my interpretation of fauna and flora.

The fauna… images of beings that can speak, maybe hiss or bark back, they may protest or encourage me taking the photo. An inherent gap exists between the subject and myself and it’s that gap that I try to focus on and depict. Awkward, bashful or perhaps “happy to see you”. And the flora… still life, objects often tied to a habitat. Fauna with an innate internal struggle, verses the flora with its external struggles.



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