We had the good fortune of connecting with Cathy Immordino and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cathy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As as photographic artist, risk taking is a big part in success. When I was just starting out, everything was a risk. It was risky emotionally and financially. I wasn’t sure if what I was making would be collected, loved and cherished by art collectors; but I kept making work. My style kept improving. My concept deepened. Over time, the emotion risk helped me to grow as a person and better understand the poetry of life around us all. As for financially, when I was nobody, galleries, museums and other opportunities were harder to come by. I invested my time and energy in to hiring a team to help fill my weaknesses. I began showing in a lot of art fairs. It was not a cheap venture. Most times, nothing sold. Financially, this was a huge risk for me; but I had put aside money from a former career to cover these expenses. In my life, I find myself taking risks all of the time. I am afraid of meeting new people; because I have trouble censoring the words coming out of my mouth. I cannot lock myself in a room and refuse to meet new people. If I did, I would have a harder time having success in my career while I am still alive and active enough to enjoy it. During present times, if I were to stop making art and stop pushing myself to experiment and try new things, I wouldn’t have found a beautiful and somewhat toxic way of pushing the boundaries of photography.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My newest work creating during the lockdown involves a closer look at isolation. While other artists might be working on a similar concept, my work is photographic based and somewhat diaristic. I venture out finding old forms of communication and photograph my subjects, including my children and self, there. What sets me apart is I then make these as lasertypes with a cyanotype-base emulsion. The CO2 laser becomes the light source to expose the image on to the paper. The paper poetically becomes affected the way we all are doing these times. It is as though these days will forever be burned in to our memories similar to how the emulsion becomes burned in to the paper resulting in a part ash, part cyanotype print. How this sets me apart is my ability to marry old forms of photography with new technology available to the masses. I always seem to find myself at the beginning of new trends. I got to where I am today by constantly existing outside of the norms of photography. I never sought to do what everyone else was doing. I always wanted to be different. It was never easy; but I like a challenge. I overcame this by showing my work nationally and internationally as well as at portfolio review festivals to find out who my work resonated with. The list was small amongst the photography world. To this day, I just keep pushing my work out there. I keep doing art fairs when available. I constantly submit to calls for art. These are not cheap or majority are not free. This is a risk I am willing to take. The lessons I have learned along the way are to find people who get what you are trying to do and bounce ideas off of them. These people can be mentors but do not have to be people within your exact field. I found that meeting with people in parallel fields like advertising and retail to be just as if not more effective than bouncing ideas off of people who work in the photography or art worlds.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The best place in Los Angeles to visit in the Old Abandoned Zoo and hiking to the back of the Hollywood Sign. This is my favorite thing to do on the weekend. It can be a 13 miles round trip, give or take depending on how lost you get going back. I would start this around 3 or 4 in the afternoon as this is the best place for a sunset. Walking back in the dark gives a whole new meaning to late night thrills. You will hear coyotes, owls and many other frightening things in the darkness. Before this hike, I would have lunch at Morrison’s on Los Feliz. This is my favorite burger spot. It is amazing. At present times, it has plenty of outdoor dining as well as great adult drinks. In my opinion, the best places I like to go are the L.A. River, which is fun to explore on the walk trail or down by the water, and Point Dume in Malibu. I grew up along the Mississippi River and find being near water as very inspirational and soothing. The Los Angele River has a lot of gentrification happening. Right now it is in a great spot as you can still see some of the former ruins of the broken concrete and mysterical concrete sharks floating in the water as well as new architectural bridges either finished in under construction. The habitats surrounding have a wide range of people from homeless living in the river to million dollar new construction near Frogtown. The little ma and pa stores popping up along the river add a nice addition to revitalizing the magic of the river.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to send a shout out to Chris Davies, Stephanie, Betsy and team over at Fabrik Projects as well as Peter Mays at the Los Angeles Art Association for their continued encouragement and support in my work and career. Without your support, guidance and encouragement, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
All images photographed by Cathy Immordino.