Jennifer Sandquist Abroad
Talented painter and one of MPLS Creates' very own, Jennifer Sandquist, has returned from a month in Spain! Jennifer planned her trip abroad with the goal of creating every day on the dozens of canvas' she packed (I know, she's a super rad lady). To her surprise, she spent much of her time learning and exploring another creative medium, photography. We are so excited to hear about her adventure and share her experience with you!
So you packed a suitcase full of canvas and paint but you returned with a full memory card! What gives?
I left with the intent of carving out time to paint. It seems that here in Minneapolis I never have the time to sit with my art supplies and really work in the studio. When I arrived in Barcelona, naturally I was curious and wanted to explore my neighborhood. I would take my camera and each day discover so many beautiful things! I would return home at the end of the day with blisters and hundreds of pictures. Each day, thinking, ok...tomorrow I will paint in the afternoon...after I explore. But in a city like this, there is no end to the exploring you can do. I wore out one pair of shoes and had to buy a new pair of sneakers! No matter how many times I changed shoes, I would come home with new blisters. I walked for hours every single day.
What about Spain inspired you to create through a lens?
Everywhere I turned I found something odd or beautiful. For each picture I took, there were at least 5 more I let go because I was trying to not obsess but instead just be in the moment. I would say that in the last few years photography has become increasingly interesting for me. I am very observant and often paint things I take photographs of. The more I looked for interesting things, the more I found. The more I found, the more I wanted to find. Street art in Barcelona was out of this world. There was a door–just a normal door to a business–that I would walk past every day. And I am not joking when I say that while I was in Barcelona, that door took on about 10 different new pieces of street art. Most of which I photographed. I would walk past and glance at it out of the corner of my eye and think, wait a second...that wasn't there before.
Have you taken solo creative trips like this before? Do find any differences in your work when creating abroad vs MPLS?
I have not. But I will say that it is something I want to do annual from here on out. I learned more about myself and about the world, not to mention the culture of Spain in one month than I ever thought possible. I think that the difference between creating in Minneapolis and creating in Spain for me was that I woke up every morning and thought, what should I explore today? Where, as in Minneapolis, I go about my daily life and fit art into the tiny cracks of time that are left. Those cracks seem to be getting smaller for me lately.
How did you approach your photography during this trip? Were there certain themes, colors, emotions you tried to incorporate in each frame?
There was no specific theme. I started out the first day and was instantly drawn in by the street art. So, that was a big draw. It seemed to me that people were barely noticing as they rushed passed to find a tourist attraction. I thought that was almost more beautiful because it was a little forgotten. The architecture was also amazing. I have never seen buildings that immense or with so much history before. I literally cried over more than one building on this trip. What is commonplace to the people of Spain is more beautiful than anything standing in Minneapolis. It was overwhelming.
Film or digital? What type of camera did you create with?
Digital. Factoring in weight and the multiple warnings I had about petty theft in Barcelona, I wanted something lighter and something that wouldn't make me want to jump off a bridge if it was stolen. So, I emailed a photographer friend of mine and said, I want to spend around $100-$200 on a camera that will work but not weigh me down. He recommended the Sony Cybershot which was on sale at Target for $125. It fit it my front pocket and no one stole it!
Now that you're home, are you happy you explored photography during the last month or do you regret not painting?
I feel like I spent my time wisely. I was in a place I may never be again and I found endless inspiration. My days of walking from dawn until dusk and stopping to capture anything that took me, will surely not be lost on me. It was a very moving experience all around and I am glad I let myself explore freely. And, I feel that anything I photograph can one day become a painting. Which makes photography a little like studying in my opinion, BUT never like work.
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Photographs created by Jennifer Sandquist
Copy created by Kristina Perkins and Jennifer Sandquist