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04 May Artist Spotlight: Elise Jokell

Elise Jokell’s background is in drawing and sculpture, and she brings her influences into her photography not with a flourish, but with storytelling. She studied art in Charlotte, Boston, and Florence, Italy, and then graduated from the New York Institute of Photography.
“I am always learning, and open and ready to explore new ways to express the individual nature of my subjects. My goal is to capture the truth in my images, with an artistic eye, whatever form they may take.”

When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?

I have always been interested in art, it has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I decided to make it a career by the time I was in High School.

Describe your aesthetic in 3 words…

Focused, precise, evocative.

Describe your artistic process and preparation?

I am always keeping an eye out for the art in my surroundings, be it small or large, faded or sharp, simple or complex. I sometimes frame the image first with my hands, and make a mental note to myself to get back to it if I don’t have a means to sketch or shoot. I occasionally find myself visualizing the photograph if it is one I will set up in studio or a landscape I will soon visit. I try to always be prepared to catch the light in the correct moment.

Favorite piece you’ve created to date and why?

“Reflecting Pond” would be one of my favorites, as it was only semi-planned. I knew the pond was lovely, but I did not expect the morning light to hit it just right as to illuminate the reeds with a golden splendor and the blue sky was so intense. I rushed to capture a very fleeting moment, and in doing so ended up slipping and bruising the heck out of my leg but it was worth it.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

I find inspiration from all kinds of art, I analyze color palettes, forms, shadows and lines, taking one aspect and blending with others. I love the fanciful works of the Great Illustrators, N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish, the stark beauty of Ansel Adams’ photography and the incredible storytelling of Rowland Sherman’s iconic photojournalism.

Favorite location to create/what is your studio like?

I have a mostly organized home studio, but I can “create” anyplace, really. I look for the light, follow the form, snag the image and tuck it away in my many files and folders on my computer. However, there is something especially pleasing to me when I’m watching the morning sun slowly fill the sky with light until it is just right, and capturing it. Funny thing, that, as I am not a morning person.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

Love-specifically the love of my husband, family, friends, and pets.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years?

My goal in my career effort is to continue to learn and grow as an artist and as a human being, striving to be humble and to never decide that I am at a point where I cannot improve.

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