Congratulations on being voted the Artist of the Month, auntietk. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Who is auntietk?
auntietk: I chose the name “Auntie TK” because I’ve always closely identified with my role as “Auntie” not only to my nieces and nephews, but to many other people as well. My job required that I give people advice about personnel issues, and that felt like “Auntie” much of the time. I guess it’s just in my nature to be helpful and answer questions. My initials are TK, by the way.
Creativity has always been a big part of my life. As a child I learned to sew, and have been involved in fiber arts in one way or another ever since. I’ve always been a big reader, and writing has sort of come naturally over the years. Painting and photography came later in life, and I’ve even dabbled a bit in Blender. The very early work in my gallery is a lot of Blender 3D stuff.
How long have you been writing poetry and what got you started?
I’ve been writing poetry since high school. Hopefully what I write now is better than what I did 40 years ago! Poetry is such a wonderfully succinct way of expressing something, of getting to the center of what a writer wants to say. I’ve done some short stories as well, but poetry seems to be the form to which I’m most naturally drawn.
Do you think poetry is in decline or is it just that it doesn't seem to fit in with more modern digital art forms?
Oh no, poetry is definitely NOT in decline, and I think it makes a wonderful pairing with digital art. Many people on Renderosity are writers, and they post their work along with their digital illustrations. A lot of that doesn’t happen in the Writers Gallery, so it might look like there isn’t much writing going on here, but that isn’t the case.
I think poetry has had a huge resurgence in the past 20 or 30 years. There are poetry slams around the country every year, every state has a poet laureate, and lots of cities have yearly poetry competitions and publications. Regardless of what you think about rap and hip-hop, and whether or not you enjoy that form, the culture has contributed hugely to a lot of people’s interest in poetry.
I remember poetry being recited on Laugh-In, and it was always done as a bit of a joke. Contrast that with an advertisement that was running last year where the voiceover was a poem entitled “The Rose that Grew from Concrete,” by Tupak Shakur. It was incredibly moving and done in an entirely serious manner.
Poetry has become cool again.
What are your working methods? How do you write your poems?
A lot of writing poetry happens in my head at odd moments. I’ll see something interesting, and one of those wonderfully succinct, poetic lines will appear like magic. Sometimes that turns into a full-fledged poem, and sometimes it’s just a nice moment I have all by myself. Jeff (wheatpenny), our Gallery moderator, has come up with a topic every month to start our creative writing motors, which has been incredibly helpful.
When I sit down to write a poem, I start out by writing all the ideas I have about the subject matter. Then I see how they go together, find out if there’s a sequential order that makes sense, and start moving things around. There’s invariably some adding and cutting that happens. Poetry is all about mood, and the words have to flow the right way to make that happen. You can’t write a soothing poem using short harsh choppy words, for example, and you can’t write something angry or intense using a lot of smooth, silky, multisyllabic, languishing words either.
Once I’ve got the poem to a place where I think it’s finished, I ALWAYS read it out loud. If poetry doesn’t flow when it’s read aloud, it isn’t finished.
Yourself Forgive is one of your most read poems; how did this poem come about and what were your inspirations?
Is it really? I had no idea. That particular poem was in response to a photograph by CoreyBlack here on Renderosity. He had seen the phrase “Yourself Forgive” spray painted all over Chicago, and was able to get a good shot of one of those tags. I had already written three poems on the subject of forgiveness, and when I saw Corey’s picture, the fourth one was the perfect finale to the series.
You are also quite an accomplished photographer; how does it connect with your poetry?
What a great question! I’d never considered that before, but the answer was obvious to me, given half a second’s worth of thought. Both my poetry and my photography are generally short and to the point. Although I occasionally do longer poems, they’re mostly rather brief. And while I post landscapes from time to time, I feel like showing you ALL of something is just way too obvious. If there’s a circle, I don’t have to show you the whole thing for you to know the rest of it is round. I post pictures of airplanes that have the aviation nuts on Renderosity weeping with frustration, because I’m only showing a rivet pattern or part of a wing or something. I don’t have to write a novel to tell you one thing when a short poem will do.
You have a great feeling for nature in your photography, is this something that is a major part of your life?
I love traveling and being outdoors. Bill (bmac62) and I live in a 33-foot motorhome most of the year, which enables us to park our house in the woods or at the beach or in the mountains and go on photography outings in all those marvelous places. We’ve been in 24 US States during the past five years, and that’s a lot of nature time!
If someone wanted to get started writing poety, how would you advise them to begin?
Oh dear … I’m going to tell you the same thing every writer would tell you. If you want to write, sit down and write! Begin by putting words together. If you don’t have anything to say, go do something else. If you’ve got something you want to tell us, don’t sit around wondering how to make that happen … just write! People will like what you say or they won’t, so be authentic.
How has being a member of Renderosity affected your writing and photography?
Being a member on Renderosity keeps me productive. I love being creative, and knowing there are people who are looking forward to seeing what I'm doing makes it a lot more fun.
Viewing the work of other artists has been inspiring, and has informed my photographic style. I've been strongly influenced by more than one person here on Renderosity.
I remember when I was just starting out taking pictures, Philippe (moochagoo) posted a series of photographs he took of objects in his mother's house. Books, decanters, candlesticks ... just the ordinary things of life ... and I was so excited by the idea of doing that sort of photography! I worked very hard at it until I started to like what I was doing. As I've learned over the years, Philippe and I have a similar way of viewing the world artistically, but at the time all I was aware of was finding something I could get excited about.
That's only one example. I could point to several artists on Renderosity and tell you how much I've learned from each of them.
As far as my writing goes, Renderosity has been a way to share. Writing is more core to who I am, and is therefore less subject to influence. For me, poetry is about noticing and truth-telling, and the fact that there are people here who like my writing style (and by extension like who I am), is a huge gift.
Anyone who knows me here knows I delight in meeting other artists from this website. To date, I've met 20 other Renderosity artists in person, and there are several of those people with whom I still have a relationship outside of Renderosity. The most important, of course, is my husband, Bill (bmac62). We met here in 2008, got married in 2010, and have been happily supporting each other's artistic ventures ever since! I'm not sure if there's a way Renderosity could have effected my life more than by introducing me to the best guy in the world. :)
Any last words or thoughts you'd like to close with?
It’s a pleasure and an honor to be chosen for AOM for the Writers Gallery! Thanks to those who got me here. It’s wonderful to know you like what I’ve done!
Be sure to visit auntietk's photo gallery. You can read her poems on the Renderosity writers forum. Two of her favorites are here and here. I've included my personal favorite, "Womens Lit Disney" on the video below.
She maintains a photoblog with her husband, bmac62, where you can follow them in their travels.
auntietk's main tools for creating her photographs are:
Canon 70D Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Canon 70-200mm f4.0 Zeiss 50mm f1.4
Photoshop CC WACOM Intuos 4 ArtRage
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Many thanks to everybody who made this happen, both to the staff and to the artists who voted for me. What a wonderful honor!
I've talked to gToon, the media man extraordinaire who put this together, and we realize there's no good way to go look at just my poetry. So in order to let you see my writing in gallery form, rather than giving you a hundred or so links, here's a mini-tutorial for you on how to use the search function as it exists today:
Find a box that says "Search Galleries," or "Search Renderosity." If you've got a white bar at the top of your screen, it might be there. If not, go to the Community drop-down menu and choose "Site Search."
In either "Search Galleries" or "Search Renderosity," type in auntietk and hit enter.
If you searched Renderosity, you'll now need to choose "Gallery Images" on the left side of the page. If you searched Galleries, you're already there and don't need to complete this extra step.
On the right-hand side, click the box that says "Writers."
Where it says "Sort by: Relevance," change that to "Sort by: Newest to Oldest."
There you go! How to use the search feature in 2,698 easy steps. LOL!
I hope you enjoy my poetry!
Thanks again, Tara
Congratulations, Tara. A wonderful award and wholly deserved. I'm so glad your poems got recognized this way---they're delightful, insightful, musical, poignant, always personal and filled with your delicious verbal music. I was so happy to find out you got AOM. And a delightful and informative interview too---like we were sitting with you in your living room! I'm so happy you got this award, it's another light shining on your many gifts to all of us. Congratulations! (And I never read your "Women's Lit: Disney". Great piece! I've forwarded it to Snow White---she'll appreciate it.)
(Oh, and another bow of gratitude to Ricky Grove/gToon, interviewer/coordinator/artist/editor, for another labor of love in the service of us artists.)
Wonderful to read your interview, dear Tara. I'm so impressed, and moved by everything that you share with us here on Renderosity. It's certainly interesting, and you encourage other writers in an excellent way. I like the kind of stability that is based on your personality. Unfortunately, my English is not good enough to judge everything in the right way, with regard to your poems, but I feel the dance, the rhythm, which is what you want to give emphasis. You're a lady captivating in all your expressions of art, and I admire you very much. It is enriching for me to have met you here. Thank you for all the beauty of art, which you share with us so richly. And from my heart, I obviously would like very much to congratulate you with these AOM. And adding to it, it makes me happy.
Also 'a big thank you' to Ricky (g.Toon), for the wonderful work that is done again!
I never come her but tonight i noted a person who die so i check him out. i then started to clock on stuff i never did on this new site ore even to old one lol. Anyway I never come here to see who in the artist of the month or news as the button i clock on. Happy to see you won . you doing good and came a long ways as i remember the first ones you was posting. you grown into a wonderful photo person
Lucky at last - I have finally circumnavigated my way around, trying to find this special dedi for you as AOM ... my son Jeff told me about this and I couldn't find it, every time I had a few minutes to spare for a comment - [I do need help, you know - I am such a web weenie] Hopefully I am forgiven, for running late with this - but it's still another week to go, before the time elapses. But this is not about me. - So here we go, I am over the Moon, that you have had this honour finally bestowed to you, so very well deserved Tara ! and here I am trying to say something else, instead of CONGRATULATIONS ! just to be different, you know ? because nearly everybody else has already used that word before me, so I consulted my Thesaurus and I came up with "pat on the back, handshake/best wishes/compliments" etc. [but nothing really tickled my fancy], than I went to retrieve the good ol' Oxford and came up with: "address with expressions of sympathetic joy" - that didn't quite hit the spot either, so I thought of settling for the French word "felicitations" it's OK, but that tells me really nothing much [sorry my french friends] - and then lightening struck, low and behold, I liked this one and hope you do too ? "SALUTE" to TARA !!!
always your 'OZZIE' friend Brigitte [aka blondeblurr]
... and by now it's almost over, speaking of the AOM - I am a little frustrated having done this comment before and it wasn't acknowledged - go figure Tara ? so sorry this is coming so late . TAKE TWO ! Lucky at last, after circumnavigating my way back here again trying to post this comment [still a web weenie] - but this is about you and not me ... so here we go, I am over the Moon that you finally being recognized and bestowed with the honour you deserve, of being the AOM . I didn't want to use the same 'Congratulations' word here, because just about everybody else did so before me and I didn't want to sound too cliche. So I consulted my Thesaurus and came up with: 'compliments//pat on the back//handshake' etc., well that didn't sound much like me; next I tried my luck with the good ol' Oxford where I found something like 'address with expressions of sympathetic joy' - that didn't seem to hit the spot either, followed then by something French maybe with 'felicitations - oh,la,la - no, no, no not quite what had in mind for you and then, it struck me, like lightening,: "SALUTE to TARA" , so simple and I liked it and I hope you do too ? lot's of cheers from your Ozzie friend BB
Congratulations, Tara! I am very little on Renderosity right now, but here I am to add my congratulations, albeit, very late. I just spent a very enjoyable time reading some of your poems. I do love the English language when it is in good hands, and yours are very good indeed! Like a dance of light, illuminating first one thing and then another, and then casting a different color on what was illuminated before. This is so well deserved! Very interesting interview. And great work by gToon in putting it all together!