Earlier this semester, Lenscratch, a daily contemporary photography journal, published an interview between artist and CalArts BFA 19 candidate Brandy Trigueros and photographer and faculty member Jo Ann Callis.
The interview covers topics from Callis’ background, education and art practice to her most recent solo show, Now and Then, which is in its closing week at ROSEGALLERY in Santa Monica.
The two first met at CalArts; Callis is Trigueros’ mentor. (At CalArts, each student is assigned a faculty mentor who will guide them with academic and artistic issues for the duration of their studies at the Institute.)
During the course of the interview, Trigueros also asks Callis about her teaching practice. Callis has taught in the Photography and Media program in the School of Art since 1976.
BT: Since you studied with Robert Heinecken at UCLA, have you utilized any of his teaching methods or passed on any of his particular pearls of wisdom as a teacher and mentor at CalArts?
JAC: I tried to mimic Heinecken, because he was a great teacher. I even asked him for his notes on teaching which he gave me, but they weren’t formal notes and nobody can really teach like someone else. The main thing I’ve utilized is to focus and praise what is good and to say why an art piece is working and why it isn’t working. I always saw how kind he was. Sometimes he would look at photographs at workshops and I would wonder what he was going to say about them. I thought some were not very good and yet, he would be so kind and find things in the work to talk about that would help the workshop participants. He was so helpful. Personally, I received a lot of support from him and that really gave me the confidence to continue in photography. That’s what I’d like to pass on to students: I want to help them find their own voice and to love art as much as I do.
Callis’ art has been exhibited in the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and many others. She has also received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and the Guggenheim Fellowship.
In her recent work, Callis has been developing a wider sculptural practice. Several new sculptures can be seen along with never-before-seen photographs at ROSEGALLERY.
Now and Then is on view until Nov. 24.
— by Brigitte Ugarte
Jo Ann Callis: Now and Then
2525 Michigan Ave D-4
Santa Monica, Calif.
The exhibition will be on view through Nov. 24.