Our ChatterArtist for this month, Lori Nix, is one of my absolute favorite artists, and was my April ChatterCorner a couple of years ago for PhotoServe. Naturally, Lori is an Aries, born on April 13th, so it’s a perfect opportunity for me to remind you just how talented she is and to show you yet more of her extraordinary work. And to prove the point that there are no coincidences in life, as you will read from this month’s ChatterLog, the sign of Aries is connected with Accidents – and the fact that Lori’s personal email address includes the very word “accidental” in it is surely no accident?
But why is that? Lori may think her fascination for accidents stems from her childhood, growing up in Kansas where tornadoes and natural disasters were a frequent thing and her immediate source of inspiration – little does she know that it is also in her nature to either be attracted or prone to having accidents – hence her love of classic 1970’s disaster movies as well! The Sun sign shows us how a person organizes their life, so Lori organizes her life around the Aries theme of “accidents” and it comes out through her artistic expression. Therefore it should also come as no surprise that one of the portfolios on her website is entitled “Accidental Kansas!”
Personally I have always loved models and miniatures, so to find out more about how Lori constructed her incredibly detailed dioramas before photographing them when I interviewed her was indeed fascinating. I had also attended a lecture at CAP (The Center for Alternative Photography) in which she talked more about her journey and her process. Currently Clampart represents Lori in New York, and she is also represented by galleries in Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Seattle and Italy!
Lori and I first met when she was showing at the NY Photo Salon and I was immediately taken by her somewhat dark sense of humor. Why a photograph of a miniature set depicting some terribly tragic scene had me so voraciously hooked is an interesting thing to ponder, but you can’t help but chuckle when you see her work. The attention to detail is extremely satisfying, and the dedication to accuracy – even more so. Often the replicas parody the real thing, but leave us satisfied enough with both her own rendition as well as the original in our head.
Unlike her earlier work with all of those wonderful miniature landscapes, the later City series brings us to the world of abandoned buildings and more confined spaces. From the classical Library, Map Room and Museum dioramas, we also have the abandoned Mall, Laundromat and one of my own early favorites, the Vacuum Showroom. Since our interview, Lori has continued to add to her City series, including Anatomy Classroom, Circulation Desk, Subway and Violin Repair Shop.
The City series shows a more evolved Lori with far more detailed sets than her earlier work. For example, in her early piece Train, 1998, we see a model train, overturned with what looks like a chemical spill flowing into the reservoir. With Subway, 2012, Lori has re-constructed the interior of a New York City subway car, with those oh so familiar two-toned orange seats! Making sure everything is to scale is very important to her, and sometimes it is not necessarily the environment that dictates the scale of the props, but it might be that a particular prop is so perfect, that everything else will have to be built in proportion to work with that.
The only downside to Lori’s brilliance is that we have to be patient with her process and how long it takes her to complete each piece. But with Lori, you simply can’t hurry this kind of thing along. It can take her months and months to build a set, filling it with all of those intricately detailed and painted props, and then one click of a button produces a single image that barely represents so much of the labor of love that it truly is, so who wouldn’t want to own one of her prints, the wait is always so worthwhile!