By Alexia Galaviz
Creative Waco Intern
Rebecca Edwards is a photographer and native West Texan who now calls Waco home. The Waco 52 artist's passion for photography has been a pulse throughout her life. Read on to find out more about Rebecca's chosen craft and her hopes for Waco 52.
AG: What type of art do you create?
RE: I'm a photographer. And lately, since really doing the kind of photography I love to do takes a lot of time and I don’t have that, I've been using Instagram, which is just a tool. It sort of seems like it cheats (laughs) from time to time just because you can add the filters and all that stuff, but as far as a creative outlet, it's something I really enjoy doing.
AG: What is your earliest memory of art?
RE: Oh gosh, earliest? Well, as far as in my medium, when I was just out of eighth grade and went to Washington D.C., I had a 110 Kodak camera — one of those thin ones, but you’re too young to remember that (laughs). I took one roll of film with me — one roll of film for four days — that was just impossible. I took picture after picture, and I just wanted to capture what I saw.
My earliest memory is my dad would draw just for fun, and so I would join him in coloring. One of my grandmothers had a huge tub of crayons and blank paper for days, and the other grandmother always had those paint with water water-coloring books that had little dots on them. So it's just always kind of been around, not necessarily appreciating fine arts, but being creative and finding outlets for that has always been around.
AG: Why do you make art?
RE: Because I can't help it (laughs). It's just really a way to express feelings without words. I journal and write, but I have found that making art is a faster way of communicating ideas and thoughts, and people can pull whatever ideas and thoughts out of that versus my words that are telling them what to think. It's faster and sometimes more effective, but sometimes misses the point so it's fast and loose, I guess.
AG: If you could have dinner with an artist or creative from and art form, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
RE: Oh my gosh! Ansel Adams, that’s so easy. He’s a photographer of the early 20th century, and he’s known for his black and whites of national parks. If I could go back in time and tag along with him — I’d rather go back and have, you know, spend a weekend tagging along with him to the national parks. He would have this 8x10 camera, and he would balance it on top of his car.
AG: Do you have any tips for beginners?
RE: Well, I guess it depends because the iPhone and digital photography is so readily accessible that it's easy to, say, just shoot and shoot and shoot and eventually hit upon a great composition or a great piece that fits you personally as an artist. But really go back and study the masters and what made them masters at not just composition of photography, but composition of good art and what makes it good. So, I guess, just go back to the basics instead of just charging ahead and exploring the medium. Really learn what art does and why it’s good.
AG: What is your dream for the future of the arts in Waco?
RE: I’ve been a Wacoan longer than I’ve been anything else, and so I’ve seen kind of the shift from “Uh, (the arts community) is kind of there, but it’s really underground,” to where it's blossoming and people are seeking it out rather than all of the Waco artists saying, "Hey, we're here, we're here.” But it really is blossoming and a beautiful thing.
The first glimmer of something hopeful was when Katie Croft opened the (now closed) Croft Gallery on Austin, and I just really want something for that space. It's awesome and all kinds of beautiful that Waco 52: The Pop-Up Exhibition is opening there. That’s really exciting for that space to be used for what I saw that space to be. Maybe (Croft Gallery) was a little bit before the city’s time, but that space is right, I think, for something else.
AG: Why do you think Waco 52 is important for our community?
RE: Because of its breadth. There was so many artists that I’m like “Oh, you’re in it too?” Speaking personally, this is really the first big thing I’ve been in. I’ve had my work shown, but it’s really kind of been people doing me a favor or it's for my church or different venues like that. But this is more of a broad showing of what Waco has to offer, and its reach is broader just because the playing cards — who knows where they can go. It's portable, you know?
So, I think that showcasing the number of artists that Waco holds, plus showcasing what those artists view as inspiring about Waco and its surrounding area, I think that that is just very important for the development of our Cultural Arts District and for interest outside of Waco to shift its attention to our city. It's a beautiful thing; it's awesome. I’m very honored to be a part of it.
See Rebecca's piece at Waco 52: The Pop-Up Exhibition at 712 Austin Ave. during the month of August. Click here for more details. Follow us on Facebook to learn about events at the gallery, including farm-to-table dinners, Saturday morning yoga, and a Gospel Brunch.