Whimsical, magical, fanciful – these are the words that come to mind when I think of the mobile art of Cathy Ross. Cathy’s work was recommended to me by Instagram friend @mlturbin. Thanks Mary Lou for pointing me in the direction of this very gifted artist – whenever I visit her gallery I feel happy!
Geri: What is your name and where do you live?
Cathy: My name is Cathy Ross, and I live in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. I've lived here in Michigan for over 25 years and love it here. It reminds me a lot of the east coast where I spent the first half of my life.
Geri: When did you get started with mobile photography?
Cathy: I started mobile photography almost 2 years ago (June 2011) to the day when I got my iPhone 4. I was so excited when Verizon finally got on board with iPhones. The first app I downloaded was Instagram and was hooked from that moment on. Not long ago I wandered back through my gallery and it's so interesting to see the evolution and the style that I found... or that found me :) Mobile photography has definitely earned a significant role in the art community.
Geri: Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
Cathy: I have enjoyed photography as a hobby for about six years and own several cameras including a Nikon D90 and Panasonic Lumix GF1. Macro photography, especially flowers, is my sweet spot in shooting. I love the intimacy of macro. I also earned a Master of Arts in Interior and Architectural Design back in the 80's and have always had an artistic creative side. Art is my escape, and I have always resisted doing it for my living in order to keep it special. I can't imagine having to sell my art to pay my utility bill :)
Geri: Who or what inspires you?
Cathy: I am inspired by so many things, especially the work of talented artists that continually blow me away with their creativity. IG and the whole mobile art community (which is growing and expanding every day) is a mecca for talent, and I've met so many awesome friends and artists. I love it when artists share their process and are willing to help others advance in their style, and I try to do the same. Lately I've been swamped with life and work and have had very little time to spend on my art, and I sure do miss that bliss. I am also inspired by nature, and seem to gravitate to plants, flowers, vegetables, farmers markets in my work.
Geri: I see a lot of mother nature in your work – is this one of your favorite subjects?
Cathy: I'm smiling... I've been working down your list of questions Geri, and as I read this question I can see that the theme of nature weaves predominantly through my work as an artist as I talked about in your last question. So yes, nature is a huge inspiration for me. I love to see beauty in nature in everything from new buds in the spring, to the last days of wilting tulip. The art forms I see in nature at every stage feed my soul.
Geri: Your whimsical houses are so creative, fun and very popular - have you thought of selling these designs? (I'm thinking cards, calendars, wall hangings, etc.)
Cathy: Thank you so much for the kind words! Yes, I have thought of collecting those fairy tale houses into a book or selling them as cards or prints...I just have not found the time. Many of my friends have asked me to do that. Those little houses kind of take expression on their own. I get immersed into an edit and they lead me in the direction they want to go. That probably sounds a little strange, but each one is unique and different and I get completely lost in them. Most of those houses are homes in Detroit, some in lovely neighborhoods, some that have been burned and forgotten. I try to give them new life, and they have a special place in my heart. Their style has evolved over the last year and a half, as new apps come on to the market.
Geri: Do you plan your shoots or just photograph what you come across in your day to day life?
Cathy: I tend to be a spontaneous person, and just shoot when something catches my eye. Almost every Saturday I go to Detroit's amazing Eastern Market, which is, I believe, the oldest Farmers Market in the country. They have musicians, and mimes, and all kinds of local vendors and farmers, great restaurants and there's always something new happening there, so I never have to worry about shooting the same material over and over. Planning a shoot was something I focused on when I was doing the more traditional photography, but with iPhone and mobile art, the emphasis is more on the creative editing process.
Geri: Do you use the native camera app or a specialized app like ProCamera or Camera+?
Cathy: I use the native iPhone camera quite a bit (I'm still using my 4S and love it) but my second favorite is 6x6 camera (great clarity). I also love the effects of Slow Shutter Cam. I used to use Camera+ but not so much anymore. I also go through phases with Hipstamatic and KitCam and love their effects.
Geri: What are your favorite apps for editing?
Cathy: I have tons of photo apps, probably 300 or so. I find that my favorite apps include: Snapseed, Image Blender, iColorama, PhotoWizard and Jazz! for basic editing. For additional creativity, I love ArtStudio, Procreate, Deco Sketch Procreate, Tangled FX, Flowpaper, and Percolator. That said, I still use quite a few others, but those are my favorites.
Geri: Is your editing done on your iPhone or another mobile device?
Cathy: I shoot 100% with my iPhone for mobile art, and I edit 98% on my iPad as it is much easier on my eyes with the bigger screen.
Geri: Please share a bit about your editing process.
Cathy: For my editing process, I always go to Snapseed first to adjust clarity, structure, toning and to crop if necessary. I love Snapseed for the basics. PS Express is great for noise reduction. I usually use Jazz! for additional coloring, and I'm addicted to iColorama - and Teresa (the developer) keeps it so amazing with updates – it is by far my favorite app. I seem to use Image Blender a lot too to get just the right tone and look. Normally I end up with about 20 to 30 progressive images before the edit is done. It just depends on the look I'm going for, which 9 out of 10 times is slightly whimsical.
Geri: Have you ever exhibited your work? If not, any plans to do so?
Cathy: I have not exhibited my work in a gallery or show, although I have made and sold greeting cards and have done a few commission pieces and gifts for friends. Exhibiting is something I would like to do one day when I can devote more time to keeping up with it.
Geri: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Cathy: What I'd like to say is thank you so much Geri for inviting me to be interviewed for your wonderful site. I am so honored. I love the community of artists and friends I've met the last few years and am continually inspired by the endless creativity I come across as well as the friendships I've made.
UPDATE! Cathy provided some additional pieces with workflow. (I jumped the gun and published this piece too soon – my apologies Cathy!)
Workflow: Snapseed for clarity and toning. Photowizard for symmetry. Photo FX for halo effect. ArtStudio for wavy effect on house and ground. Jazz! for coloring. icolorama for texture and border.
Workflow: Shot with 6x6 Snapseed for minor clarity and structure. Tangled FX (Dark and light blended together in Blender). Jazz! for color variation. Repix for paint. icolorama for multi-effect and border.
Find Cathy: Website / Instagram
All images in this feature are copyrighted property of Cathy Ross published on iART CHRONiCLES with the consent of the artist.