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Passages: A Visual Exploration of Personal History
Sonoma Academy
Santa Rosa, CA
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More than any other moment in photographic history, our lives are documented daily with photographs. Contained in the images is the very fiber of our lives and memories. They comprise our legacy.  And yet, we are unsure of how to pass them on for posterity. How do we safeguard them from becoming obsolete? Printing all of them is not feasible.  Organizing them takes time. Displaying them would require a sizable museum.  And "sharing" on social media is a far cry from creating a lasting heirloom.

To find an artful and long-lasting solution, this course takes a tactile approach and looks to the age-old human desire to make things, which has existed since humans first started expressing their thoughts and emotions. As a way to generate initial models for this work, well look at a variety of approaches by established artists for inspiration.

The process begins with selecting images from your personal collection and re-arranging these fragments of your life to create an artful, tactile piece. You are therefore encouraged to use images from your phone, old family photographs, letters, postcards, textiles, garments, and journal entries. (We will scan precious pieces should you choose to keep the originals intact.) Then, well layer and embed these items onto a surface, while incorporating paint, photo transfers and mark making to imbue your imagery with personal symbolic meaning. The course will also incorporate photographic techniques to help you organize, select, edit, and enhance your images digitally.

By the end of the workshop, this process will have produced a unique and highly personal artifact that represents your conscious and often subconscious rewriting of events and people in your life. The result will be a personal tapestry of your process in which the past emerges and mixes with the experience of a lifetime to create a tactile and layered piece of art, a lasting artifact condensed from your life journey. The objective is not to create an illustration of our life, but to add richness and interpretation with the eyes of today - to give meaning or recreate narratives that we have of our own life in a mostly symbolic and intuitive manner."

No prior art experience necessary.

Hillary has been teaching all ages for over 20 years. After teaching alternative photography courses through the UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley Extension programs and The San Francisco Academy of Art University she became a founding instructor at Sonoma Academy where she developed the arts program, and now serves as head of the Art Department. She is adept at a variety of techniques and media. Her personal work spans from alternative photography to puppet making to fresco and encaustic painting. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Atlantic Records, Essence Magazine, and more. Hillary has exhibited nationally and internationally. She has a BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design and an MA from NYU and studied at ICP.

You can see more of HIllary's work at her website,
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Sonoma Academy (View)
2500 Farmers Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
United States



Minimum Age: 17
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!


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