Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ellie Tyler, Cheryl Kandel and Terry Rothrock

This morning, I traveled just one block to visit the sparkly new studio of my neighbor, photographer Elle Tyler.  Tyler will be opening her studio to two other artists - Cheryl Kandel and Terry Rothrock.  This diverse group of artists will be showing both weekends of the tours this year.

Ellie Tyler, a longtime desert dweller, is a landscape photographer.  Tyler is one of the few photographers shooting with film, rather than a digital camera.  Tyler believes patience and truth are important to her work, which is why she prefers to shoot with film.  She likes the sharpness and clarity of film photography, and says she knows when a photo is film rather than digital.  She believes film will always be around because of the richness and color quality of the final image.  Tyler's first publication of her photography was in 1981 in Wyoming.  She counts this as the beginning of her life as a photographer.  (She and her husband lived in Wyoming prior to coming to the desert.)  She loves to photograph natural subjects.   She just wrote a book, which she hopes to have ready in time for the Art Tours.  In her book she writes, " is in nature that I find connection to order, beauty and meaning."   She has a masterful way of handling negative shapes in her work.  She focuses on placement and making order out of chaos.  Tyler likes to take photos that give a sense of place, but aren't necessarily site-specific.  She is always seeking a new way to shoot well-known, frequently photographed locations.   Tyler likes to wait for God to "paint" the natural world and then be a witness to this masterpiece.
El Nino

In addition to her photography, Tyler has recently begun creating collages from natural objects like leaves, bark, moss, and twigs.  This new work came about after she moved into her new studio this past February, because now she says she "has room to play."  The "natural treasures" are a way for her to arrange and play with color.  She has even begun to combine the photography with the found natural objects, and it will be exciting to see what new things she comes up with for the Art Tours.

Ellie has been on the Open Studio Art Tours for six years.  She has exhibited her work in Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico.   Her photography has been published in Sierra Club books, National Geographic Books, Sunset Magazine, and Wyoming Wildlife Magazine, to name a few.  She is also a member of the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA).  Tyler has taught photography through the 29 Palms Art Gallery, and now that she has her own studio, she is considering teaching again. 
Ellie Tyler

Cheryl Kandel is an artist with multiple facets.  She runs her own business, called Stitch Art Studio, specializing in embroidery digitizing.  She has been in this field since 1991.  She and her husband are "escapees" from L.A.  They have lived in Joshua Tree for seven years.  They felt like they had been "pushed out" of L.A. by the crowds, traffic and other problems of such a big city.  Before they moved here, they had come to Joshua Tree National Park several times a year to camp.  Kandel had spent three summers in Denali National Park, working for a back-country lodge.  It was ultimately these summers in Alaska that finally prompted the move out of the city.  Joshua Tree feels like a world away from L.A., but they like that they are still close enough to see their families.
Marina del Rey, a fully stitched landscape.

Kandel's embroidery art is an extension of her business, because she utilizes the digitizing software and embroidery machine to create her own original designs.  She has won awards for her embroidery designs, and has been featured on the cover of Stitches magazine.  The embroidery designs she creates are often mandalas, but she also has done fully stitched landscapes that are amazing.  (see above photo)  In addition to her embroidery art, Kandel also paints Joshua Tree landscapes in acrylic on canvas.  Kandel is strongly influenced by expressionism and the Fauves, and her strong color palette is indicative of this.  She loves the juxtaposition of boulders and trees in the Joshua Tree area, and is inspired by the serenity she feels in the Park.  The uniqueness of the Joshua Tree draws her, and she loves it when there are clouds in the sky.  (Which any desert resident can tell you is not an every day occurrence!)   Kandel also considers photography to be a hobby, and uses her own photos as reference material for her other art.

Kandel has been an artist all her life, and even went to a private art school in grade school.  She was always doing crafts as a young girl, and fondly remembers winning an award for art in kindergarten.  She has a BA in illustration from Cal State Northridge.  This year marks Kandel's third year on the Art Tours (she tends to participate every other year).  She has shown her paintings at the 29 Palms Inn and will have a show of her work at Crossroads next year.  You will find denim jackets, purses, hats, and patches with her embroidery designs at Joshua Tree Outfitters year-round.
One of Kandel's embroidered mandalas on a pillow.
Cheryl Kandel in front of her recently completed studio.

The third artist showing with Ellie Tyler and Cheryl Kandel will be a ceramicist named Terry Rothrock.  Rothrock currently resides in Idyllwild, but was a resident of the desert for many years.  He teaches ceramics at Idyllwild Arts Academy.  Rothrock shows his wheel-thrown ceramics at the Joshua Tree National Park Art festival every April.  He was not at the studio today, so I did not get a chance to meet him, but you will not be disappointed in his ceramics, which he creates with his wife Chinlee Chang.

written by Karine Swenson

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