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Edible Romanticism: Interview With Visual Artist Jill Burrow
by Mona Bavar
To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art - that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.
~ Charles Baudelaire
One look at Jill Burrow’s ethereal photographs and you are automatically transported to a faraway land where ordinary objects unite in a harmonious dance, with the extraordinary gifts of nature - arousing dormant emotions. Drawing inspiration from everyday objects – mainly food and flowers - as well as nature and the “graceful strength of the sun”, Burrow consistently “teeters the line between reality and surrealism”, creating romantic, whimsical scenes.
DLISH spoke with Burrow about her process, expression through art, life during a pandemic and much more.
Mona Bavar: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Jill Burrow: I'm a mother of two little ones and we are currently based in the Midwest in America. I'm a photographer and set designer.
Photo by Jill Burrow
MB: Where do you find inspiration for your photos? Is there a process or is it more spontaneous?
JB: I find inspiration in nature and the graceful strength of the sun. I also find food and flowers so inspiring. The natural world is so vibrant and full of energy.
My process tends to be different depending on what I'm creating. Sometimes a pattern comes to mind when I'm making breakfast so I combine the two (for example, the checkered butter and jam project). Sometimes I create an objective and think on it for a while in order to allow the creative parts to really click.
Regardless of how my imagination starts to create, there is a moment of clarity...when all the moving parts really make perfect sense. That's when I know to move forward.
MB: It has been said that art speaks where words are unable to explain. What would your art say to us?
JB: I think the goal I set out to achieve through my work is to cause the viewer to feel something they haven't necessarily felt ever or in a long time. I teeter the line between reality and surrealism in my work in order to summon the feeling of wanting to take a closer look.
Photo by Jill Burrow
MB: Who are some of your favorite photographers? Is there one in particular that inspires you the most?
MB: Which photos are you most proud of?
JB: Honestly, I'm most proud of all of my images. I was tempted to list the images that took the most work to create, but then I thought about it a bit more. The images I took after creating a piece that came into my head quickly are also images I'm very attached to because many of them took restraint. Those images are ones that I took when I was in a peaceful state, not overthinking the details.
MB: How has COVID-19 and social distancing impacted you? Your work?
JB: The pandemic has been challenging on many levels. I have two little ones at home and being in a home with them for 3 months straight has been overwhelming. Aside from the other areas that the virus has put a strain on in life, my work has shifted quite a lot during the pandemic. I'm not sure if many other photographers feel this way, but I have always put pressure on myself to keep creating "better" and more imaginative work. While in isolation the "perfect feed" gets disrupted. The studio images are no longer and I had to strip down my creativity and imagery. It felt more vulnerable in a way, but it also birthed some of my favorite creative concepts.
Photo by Jill Burrow
MB: Do you cook? What is your favorite dish?
JB: I cook multiple times a day! I am not an amazing cook or anything but I so enjoy the process. It gives me a few minutes to breathe in the midst of a crazy day of motherhood. My favorite meal to cook is this simple pasta dish (which I don't know the name of, unfortunately). The pasta sauce is tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I love this dish because you prepare all of the ingredients in the sauce and let it sit all day. You don't cook the sauce and when it's done marinating it's the most fragrant and herby masterpiece.
MB: What is a message you would like to give our readers?
JB: Create anything that comes to your mind. Just creating something, if it makes you feel fulfilled, is the best way to live as an artist. Also, don't let social media culture get in the way of your imagination.
Click here to see more of Jill Burrow's work.