Greer Muldowney, May Artist of the Month

Artist of the Month

What’s a brief overview of what you do?

I suppose I do many things, all photography and art related.  I'm a photographer by medium, but I also teach photography at the college level, and organize arts events.  Currently, I am the regional coordinator for the Flash Forward Festival, this year occuring May 1-4 at the Fairmont Battery Wharf. 
 
I also do a bit of independent curating as well- with shows for The Nave Gallery here in Somerville, as well as the annual "Undergraduate Photography Now" exhibition that I organize for the Flash Forward Festival. 

Are there some past projects you’d like to mention in more detail?  

As an artist, I am probably most known for the work I did in Hong Kong.  My "6,426 Km2" series was about media perception and Western (American, really) bias towards China. I would say that my new work is very similar to this, as it deals with looking at the landscape and challenging notions of architecture and sustainability as progress. 
 
As an organizer? I helped start the Toy Camera exhibition at the Nave Gallery in 2009, known then as the "Alter-Ego" exhibitions, which was both toy camera and alternative processes. After two successful runs of this show, it spawned the Somerville Toy Camera Festival, which is now in its second year. 
 
Is there anything new you’re working on, or an event that’s coming up?    

I am currently working on a photography project I'm loosely calling, "Urban Turbines." The imagery looks at the landscape of our communities with these very modern structures; asking questions about feasibility, education and visual propaganda.  Still working on it, but it's been a fun project so far.  Shooting takes a bit of a back-burner during the school year, but after the Flash Forward Festival, I'm planning to be living in my car and hunting down the rest of the project. 
 
As I mentioned earlier, I'm all consumed with the Flash Forward Festival, a Photography Festival that will now have a segment in Somerville at the Nave Annex, Inside and Out!  I'm pumped for this year's exhibitions and programming.  It is a lot of work to make sure all of the gallery spaces and events come together, but it's going to be fantastic.  I've been working for the Magenta Foundation on the festival for 3 years now, and we always hope to bring more people to enjoy the many facets photography has to offer, with educational panels, outdoor exhibitions and opening parties. 

Why do you do what you do? What’s something you get out of it?     

I am a fairly social being who has never really been inspired to be a solitary artists.  Through collaboration, community projects and my teaching, I feel I've become a part of a great artist community here, and I do it just to keep myself inspired and going. 

What got you involved in doing what you do? Is there someone or something that was important in getting you on your way?    

When I first moved to the area in 2006, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and more importantly no experience.  I contacted Susan Berstler of the Nave Gallery to see if I could help at the Nave, and I learned a tremendous amount about working within the context of a gallery, non-profit and a community based organization.  Susan gave me opportunities that kept me in the arts in all honesty, and I owe her and everyone at the Nave for letting me a complete novice and figuring it out...sometimes the hard way, but I hope I was at least entertaining through most of it.  Since then, I'm always excited to get my current students involved with doing projects with the Nave- I hope Susan has appreciated most of their personalities. 

Any thoughts on the local Somerville, or Boston-area creative scene?

Of course! Get work and ideas out there, and if it seems strange, it's probably good.  I'm very fortunate to have had the successes I've had over the last 7 or so years being here- but I see a lot of other very talented artists my age, and now my students being snubbed or forced out for lack of opportunity.  We have a talent drain to New York and elsewhere- not because we don't have a wonderful community, but because it's not always the most hospitable place. 
 
Maybe we should take a moment to foster our own artists and create more opportunities for them and ourselves, more so than comparing and complaining about what we don't have compared to other cities.  It's a privilege to be an artist here, and we should all hold ourselves to a higher standard to keep that status.