We had the good fortune of connecting with Roz Newmark and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roz, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I grew up in the university town of Lawrence Kansas. Many of those who taught or worked on campus came from other areas of the country or abroad. They brought with them, their
culture and perspectives on life. A good number of those people, were thoughtful,creative individuals. During my high school years ( in the early 70’s ) the town was throbbing with vitality. There was a great music scene, good food, progressive visual arts and an overall sense of hopefulness. The creative juice of Lawrence, coupled with the inspired mindset of the era had a huge impact on how I viewed and wanted to live my life. I was fortunate to have parents who were professors. They modeled a curiosity in learning, traveling, and a love for the natural world. After leaving home to further my education, I attended schools that sought individuals who wanted to build their own structure for education, rather than plugging into predefined programs. This suited my temperament and goals. Over the years, I have rotated through the visual and performing arts, as a self employed artist. It appears to be a good match.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Movement and light have kept me riveted for almost 50 years. At age 17, I decided to pursue Fine Art Photography. I soften my direct connection with dance. During that time, I started a Photographic theme titled, “ Women in Movement”. Many photographs were made of all kinds of women in motion, from professional dancers to every day gals in kinetic action. I’ve always been fascinated by the ability to photograph and record patterns of light created by a figure in motion, while using a long time-exposure. After photographing movement for a good while, I yearned to be actively moving myself, and soon found myself in the profession of dance. I began combining dance with “mixed media”. Dance in and with film. Dance with neon lights. Performances in “alternative spaces”, outside a proscenium stage. Many of these aspects tumbled together when Ripple Tales, a plucky duo was formed. We ( Mary Johnston Coursey and I ) combined our love of making music ( singing, fiddle and guitar ) with storytelling and dance. Twenty years of frolicking fun was spent entertaining others almost as much as we entertained ourselves.
More recently, drawing upon a life long practice of meditation/yoga for inspiration, I’ve taught classes titled, Sensory Literacy, and Life in Stillness. These courses have been geared towards helping participants find a more contemplative way of creating and engaging with life. My current photographic projects have produced intimate black and white portraits of flowers and plants, exploring a quieter voice of light and movement.
One phase can not be separated from another as they are all connected, each linked by a deep-seeded curiosity to explore this infinitely rich experience of being alive. Compiling and presenting “ what I do “ is best summed up by the name of my website. Songlines of the Body, mapping your way home…..
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.
First of all, we would head out of the city. We’d stay in a cabin by a stream. I would bring homemade avocado and tahini dip, pecan rice crackers, slices of crisp apples with a bit of goat cheese. We might nosh on a Coleslaw mix of finely grated green cabbage, carrot, celery and parsley with a dressing of Veganise, mixed with lemon, Balsamic vinegar, and a wee dash of Stevia, tossed into a mound of baby greens. There would be plenty of great food. We would go for walks in the mountains, play lots of music, share silly stories, and laugh a lot!! Over the week we would go for bike rides, swim in nearby lakes, sleep out under clear skies and watch for shooting stars. If we ventured into town we might try out new restaurants and go hear good live music. Much our time would be spent working on new creations, sharing books, and learning about each other’s latest inspirations, meditations, and inner work.
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?
Helen Shumway ~ Photographic teacher at Lawrence High School (in the 70’s)
C.J. Pressma ~ Owner and director of the Center for Photographic Studies, (now defunct)
Sally Sevy Fitt ~ Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Utah Dept. of Modern Dance
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen ~ Mother of Body Mind Centering
Website: Songlines of the Body
Stills from movie filmed by Three Gun Rose, Christopher and Alex Lee
Photographs of Melissa Chilinski and Roz Newmark by Sharah Yaddow