It’s time to showcase another fascinating carbon-based life form on Five Questions for You (5Qs4U)!
Today’s life form is Nashville artist, Ash Burress. Ash and I “met” on Twitter when I became drawn to her images of abandoned spaces, specifically the once the popular Six Flags, New Orleans. Most images of abandoned spaces are made from looking in from the outside. It’s safer and more convenient that way. Ash took a risk by photographing the skeleton of the dead amusement park from within.
Ash finds joy in working with dead things. In addition to photography, painting and poetry, she collects the remains of dead animals and makes art from their bones. Like these mole-in-a-jar necklaces.
And if this were not enough, if you ever run across a mysterious Twitter name like, “7treehouses,” with Twitter bio which reads in total: “I am an avocado. I wax eloquent,” I recommend following that person without question!
Later, ask that person about five questions.
Later is now!
Question 1: Ash, how would you sum up yourself as an artist? My name is Ash Burress. I’m 25 years old and I live in Nashville, Tennessee. I do a little bit of everything (watercolor, film & digital photography, bone collecting and writing poetry) but my main love is film photography. Especially Polaroid. I’ve been shooting film and Polaroid for over 10 years. I learned to develop film from the internet, and purchased all of the chemicals to do so. Most of the time I spool all of my own film for this as well.
Question 2: What is the origin of your Fickr photostream’s mysteriously cool name, Seventreehouses? It’s just a combination of two of my favorite words. I used to always think that seven was a lucky number, and have always wanted to have a treehouse.
Question 3: Tell us about your Polaroid images. They look like they are found objects from Polaroid’s earliest days! A lot of the awesomeness from my recent images are from using Impossible’s new films, which are super sensitive in their developing stages as far as light & temperature go. They remind me of dreams and memories I’ve had. One thing I really like to do is shoot macros of weird things I’ve purchased at thrift stores, and bones/dead animals. The feel of the photo always depends on where I get it and how old it is. I’ve gotten film that was over 15 years old and it has still worked.
Question 4: Your Abandoned Six Flags series is as amazing as it is eerie. Are you planning more work on the subject or was this one of those things you just felt drawn to do because of the place? I wanted to go ever since I saw the first photos of Six Flags on a blog several years back, but hadn’t ever really had an urge to drive down for just that reason. Earlier this year, a friend of mine had moved to New Orleans and suggested I come to visit, so I figured that would be my opportunity. I spent four days in NOLA for Halloween and that was still the coolest thing I did there. I still have some 35mm and 120 film that I have to develop from the trip. There’s a certain lens I really want to purchase before I go back, but yes, I would go back if I had to chance to before it was demolished.
Question 5: I’m always interested in creative processes. Obviously the Abandoned Six Flags was planned, but do you typically plan out your art projects (whether photography, drawing or painting), or do you create from in-the-moment inspiration? Everything is always in the moment for me. I tend to spend my life acting on impulse to avoid the anxiety of something planned. If I don’t feel like making art, I won’t make art. I go through phases throughout the year. For a few months I’ll paint, for a few months I’ll write, and in the summer I will go to more places to shoot simply because I do not like the cold. I’m a big fan of exploring abandoned buildings/houses and photographing roadkill. I get inspired to paint by my own photographs and writing. Everything is pretty connected.
And since I have trouble following my own rules, here’s the other Question 5: What’s the best way people can follow you and your work in that ever-growing social media world out there? There are several ways to keep up with what I’ve been doing or have done in the past:
Ash, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. And thanks for giving old film and dead things another reason to exist!