Yes, typically in architecture, RA stands for Registered Architect. And, for us here at IKM that’s no exception. However, recently RA has taken on a new meaning at the office – Resident Artist.
A few months ago, we decided it was time for an update of our office lobby space. We were looking for ideas to update the look. We have the requisite monitors with rotating displays of recent presentations, office outings, and new renderings but overall the space was lacking a bit of life and personality. From this was born the idea of IKM’s resident artist.
The first featured artist here in our office is Robyn Engel. Talk about LIFE and PERSONALITY! Robyn embraces both with an infectious smile. Robyn joined IKM in 2014 as a graduate architect from Penn State University. Robyn shared a half dozen or more black and white photographs, stylistically framed with complementary white mats and black frames composed on a blank wall that in and of itself told a story. We asked Robyn to tell us about herself and her art so that we could share it with you.
- Describe your artwork for the readers. Tell us about your technique.
All the photos that were part of the display were taken on my iPhone – it’s a surprisingly great piece of technology that cannot be beat in portability, accessibility, and ease of use. It is my thought that vision is more important than technology in creating powerful artwork.
I rarely go out with a particular destination or target in mind – taking photos is more about documenting memory for me.
Although the process of taking my phone out of my pocket, centering a shot and taking it usually span the course of little more than a second, there are a few specific elements that I look for. I try to frame whatever I’m looking at, whether that be a person in a doorway or a sculpture on the roof of a building. That aspect of a framed individual caught within a narrative is a characteristic I’ve found in the work I consider halfway decent enough for public view.
- Why did you choose this medium?
I love photography because it is instant and arguably the least perceptibly distorted view of reality besides film. It is a snapshot in memory, capturing a viewpoint in a specific place in time.
- Is your art an extension of your design ideas? If so, how?
Yes – when I design in both building and photographic form, my overarching goal is to tell a story. In both architectural renderings and photographs, the human scale is of extreme importance – it orients the viewer and gives them a base point for evaluation. I try to always have people in my photos, or hint at an echo of people who used to occupy a space. Quality of light and texture are both vital as well – both can be indicative of a mood and a narrative.
- Do you prefer a particular subject/building type?
I don’t prefer a particular subject so much as certain qualities – light is huge, and so is compositional balance. Balance can be found with almost any subject, but light can be more difficult to work to your advantage.
- Why did you choose to share these pieces?
I like seeing the stories people find in photographs.
- Do you have any particular influence? If so, whom? If so, why?
Not particularly, but lately I’ve been really enjoying the work of Vivian Meier and Helmut Newton.
- What is your inspiration?
I would say that artists like Vivian Meier, Helmut Newton, and Annie Liebovitz see the world in inspiring ways.
- What do you hope that people will take away from your art?
Curiosity for a good story.
- What path do you see your art taking in the future?
I plan on upgrading my technology sometime soon – I’d like to try consciously shooting a specific target and seeing what I can learn from that process.
Robyn’s art occupied the IKM lobby for a few weeks and provided interesting conversation pieces for staff and visitors. The gallery space has since changed to a new Resident Artist. More details on the latest, coming soon.
Be sure to stop by and “LIKE” IKM’s Facebook page to keep up to date on future IKM Resident Artists.