Interview with Photographer Kristen Turick
of West Orange, NJ
By Patricia Rogers | Posted Monday Dec. 19, 2016
The orbiting gallery on the walls of the dining room at Hat City Kitchen has always been one of my selling points. There is one position in particular by the server station that we can not help but stare at. One of my favorites is "Mostly Mundane." One, a particularly beautiful one of a horse and clear blue sky. A photograph by Kristen Turick.
P.R.: Who is Kristen Turick and how did you get into photography?
Kristen Turick: I’ll start with the easy part... How I got into photography. I would have to give credit to my parents, especially my dad. Even though they worked as science researchers, they always had a profound love for the arts and always supported and encouraged my love for art as a child. When I was in middle school, my dad would take me to his Detroit research lab and show me how to develop and print my own black and white photos in the darkroom. I loved waiting to see what would develop and was hooked on photography immediately. Now, who is Kristen Turick? Well, let’s just say I suffered a lot of trauma growing up and as a result have battled with depression and anxiety my entire life. Although I try not to let that define me as a person, it has certainly played an enormous role in who I am and how I use creativity as my outlet.
What have been some of your other creative endeavors?
For my fine art work, photography is my first medium of choice, but I love all mediums. I really will use whatever I feel the piece calls for to get my point across. Outside of my photo work, I occasionally work on more concept-driven pieces that have a man vs. nature theme. Usually mixed-media work incorporating paint, digital work or photographs and/or recycled materials to name a few.
I also work on video/film projects from time to time with my husband, Jeff, who is a director of photography. Helping in multiple aspects on promo pieces, music videos, documentary wedding films, short films and lastly a documentary project that consumed our lives for two years, that ultimately, we had to walk away from.
Earlier this year, I also launched Clicks & Licks, canine photography. After several years of photographing my own dog on Instagram (she has her own account @lilythewhippet and was featured as a #weeklyfluff a few years ago by Instagram), I finally realized that I could do this for others, while combining two of my great passions: dogs and photography. It’s some of the most enjoyable work I’ve ever done!
What would you be doing if you were not a visual artist / photographer?
That’s a great question. I think I would probably work as a gardener or would have perhaps gone to school for landscape architecture. Or maybe a food blogger, after discovering that I find relief from the symptoms of depression and anxiety by following a (mostly) paleo lifestyle, I’ve become very passionate about eating whole, real food. However, I have also long dreamed of opening a coffee/paleo-bakery/smoothie shop/art gallery as well!
How did you get introduced to the Valley Arts District?
As a West Orange valley resident for the past 12 1/2 years, I’ve watched the area transition but hadn’t really gotten involved. Then a local friend and painter (Jennie Traill-Schaeffer) who is active with Valley Arts posted about submissions for the Open Orange Exhibition back in May. It had been years since I last exhibited and was hankering to get back in the gallery scene, so I submitted “Gina,” a Clicks & Licks favorite. I then met Jeremy Moss, who later invited me to show at HCK.
What do you like about this particular artist community?
So many things… I love that it’s so supportive of local artists of all varieties and capabilities, and I love that VA is working on revitalizing and beautifying an area that is just ripe for this kind of scene.
Talk about your exhibit at Hat City Kitchen (is it called Mostly Mundane?)
Yes, #mostlymundane came from a hashtag I started on Instagram several years ago so that lovers of the mundane, everyday things in our lives could share how they see these things as beautiful. It’s about finding creative ways to document objects and places that we may otherwise take for granted. For me, dealing with a constantly over-worked brain, it’s a way to slow down and be mindful. I typically shoot in a minimalist style, winnowing down to what I feel is the very essence of the moment or object, and I’ve come to realize that I believe it’s because it helps me take out the “clutter” of my thoughts.
How do you want people to feel when they view your mundane, yet familiar photos?
Our society has become one that is constantly on the move and full of stressors. I would like to help people to slow down and “smell the roses,” so to speak. Take some joy in witnessing how a shadow plays on a wall or the way the panes of glass on old windows ripples. To be a “noticer” of things, I believe, can help so many with dealing with the stresses of being a human being in today’s times.
What are some of your other exhibits / shows / projects, etc?
I’ve been devoting a lot of time and effort into my canine photography work and also do real estate photography to help pay the bills. I had gotten away from exhibiting for many years and am working towards getting back into the swing of things. Previously, I had exhibitions in Detroit, Brooklyn, Manhattan and West Orange when we first moved here. And I am hoping to get my canine and fine artwork into more local galleries and restaurants in the future.
Where can people see your work?
My fine art, minimalist and (mostly) mundane work is has been on display at Hat City Kitchen. I have a show of my dog photography up at City Workshop Men’s Supply Co. on Main St. in West Orange. I partnered with the owners, Roger and Josefina, back in May to do a mini-portrait session fundraiser for two local animal shelters. The photos we took that day are currently on display for several more weeks.
You can also find me on Instagram. As a lover of the mundane, having an iPhone in my pocket allows me to have a camera at the ready for those moments when I see something worth documenting. I have several accounts: my personal, @kristenturick; my dog, Lily, @lilythewhippet; and my “other dogs,” @clicksnlicks.
where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your biggest aspirations as an artist?
In 5 years, I suppose I hope to call myself a photographer; I’ve never really had the confidence in my work to do so. As far as aspirations go, I just hope to continue to grow as an artist of whatever subject matter and medium the work calls for. And to exhibit my work more… and maybe sell a piece here and there! :)
About the Writer
Patricia Rogers, #ValleyGirlNJ, lives in New Jersey's Valley Arts District. The native New Yorker works as a writer, blogger and community activist. Starting Masconsumption Media in 2012, she has been passionate about capturing the stories of the vibrant up and coming Valley Arts District neighborhood through her blog, zine, events and more. She blogs for Jersey Indie, Luna Stage, and Hat City Kitchen and offers many creative media services. Visit her blog www.masconsumption.com and keep up with your favorite Valley Girl on social media at @valleygirl_nj (Twitter / Instagram).