Name: Cheryl Maeder
City: West Palm Beach, Florida
Birthplace: Passiac, New Jersey
Artistic Medium: Photography
How did you get started?
I was living in Switzerland in a town called Weinfelden, about an hour from Zurich. My sister kept writing me how much she was loving photography and what a great medium of expression it was. A friend of mine at the time gave me his camera and also darkroom equipment and I immersed myself into photography. I fell completely in love with photography and went to the Kunstwerbeschule in Zurich Switzerland where I began my career in photography. Within the first year of shooting, I had an exhibition at the Nikon Gallery in Zurich and was published in European magazines. I left Switzerland and moved back to San Francisco. After much hard work and perseverence, I opened a 3,000 square foot studio in San Francisco. For the next 15 years, I became a national fine art and advertising photographer shooting campaigns for clients such as Sony, AT&T, Visa, Calvin Klein, Mariott Hotels among others. My work was the inspiration for the Dove Campaign on Real Women, Real Beauty which was seen throughout United States and in Europe.
Who or what are your influences?
My early childhood memories of growing up in a small urban town of New Jersey combined with living eight years in a Swiss village in Switzerland. Also, traveling to all the European countries meeting the people and viewing the beauty of the cities and countryside of Europe. This combination of where I have lived and what I have experienced in my life has added a great deal to my work. When I was starting out in photography, a seasoned photographer told me that it will take 10 years before a photographer really develops his/her style. I was impatient and said I can do it in a year, but the truth is your style is created from hard work and your life experiences and I truly believe my style grew and enriched through the years and that he was indeed correct. It takes a certain self discovery to enrich how you view the world.
What inspires your work?
About eight years ago, I traveled through the coastal towns of the Spanish Mediterranean called the Costa Brava. As I was shooting, it did not feel right to shoot in focus but in a more impressionistic style. I wanted the whole entire image to convey an emotion and not just one element in the photograph. That is where I began the work on my series entitled "Dreamscapes". I found out from the galleries in the villages where I was photographing that the Impressionists came down to paint in these very same coastal towns. I then came back to America and began shooting in this style. My camera became my paint brush. I had a show at the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C. from this work. I soon moved to West Palm Beach and began photographing the beaches along the southeast coast of Florida, the everglades and just recently the west coast of California along the beaches of Santa Monica. My influences have been the impressionists and the abstractionist painters.
How does Miami/South Florida influence your work?
My work has been very influenced by the beaches and natural landscape of the everglades. I love photographing the beaches when there is just the expanse of sand, sea and the sky horizon. I also enjoy photographing the very same beaches on weekends when there is so much activity happening and there are crowds of people. People come alive at the ocean and are there to have fun playing along the waters. This is what I like to capture on film—the memories of beaches which I find healing and magical. I have also just recently photographed in the everglades, in a very minimal abstractionist style, where those observing the photograph would not be able to distinguish where it was photographed. I want the viewer to feel the emotion of the photograph and not necessarily have the location spelled out for them—it could be the Everglades, the Provence or the countryside of Idaho.
How would you describe your work?
The state of grace between consciousness and sleep; a meditative state, hence the titled “Dreamscapes.”
What has been the most unusual reaction to your work from the public?
People will either fall in love with the work immediately and wonder is it a photograph or painting, or look at the photograph and say they need glasses. All the adjustments are done purely in camera at the moment I photograph. I compose exactly what I am seeing at the time through my eyes. People sometimes want to see things literally in black and white and my work is more in the grey area, the in between.
What would you like to achieve as an artist?
I am living my passion and my art. I am creating how I see the world. This is a great gift and I realize that upon writing this and feel grateful.
The Bakehouse Art Complex, Miami, presents “Lucky You” Fundraiser
November 5, 2009, 7-10 p.m.
Miami International Art Fair
January 7-10, 2010
Miami Beach Convention Center, Galerie Mark Hachem NY & Paris
Opening reception for artist Cheryl Maeder
January 8, 2010
Studio E. Gallery, 4600 PGA Blvd. #101, Palm Beach Gardens
Art Palm Beach
January 15-19, 2010
Palm Beach Convention Center, West Palm Beach, Galerie Mark Hachem NY & Paris
Where is your work available?
My work is available through Oxenberg Fine Art, www.oxenbergart.com, and Seth Jason Beitler Gallery, www.sethjason.com in Miami; Galerie Mark Hachem in New York and Paris, www.markhm.com; and Studio E Gallery in Palm Beach Gardens, www.studioegallery.com.
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