Stutz Artist Highlight: Faith Blackwell

Photography by Esther Boston

Stutz Artist Association is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this Thursday through Saturday.

Artists and the building will be decked out in silver to celebrate the anniversary event. Artists will have paintings, photography, furniture, sculpture, jewelry and more for purchase, including a featured silver piece in each studio.

Guests have an opportunity to see creative spaces in this historic building, experience the thriving Stutz art community, enjoy live music, make their own art, take a selfie in a Stutz automobile, and tour the turn-of-the century car factory turned business and arts center. On Saturday, artists will have demonstrations and children can participate in a scavenger hunt.

Proceeds from the Open House support the Stutz Residency Program by funding a scholarship that provides one-year free studio space and utilities for emerging local artists. It is one of the largest grants to individual artists in the state.

To help celebrate such an important milestone, PATTERN was able to chat with a handful of Stutz’ resident artists about their practices and art.

Faith Blackwell has an eye for color and a keen knack for tapping into joyful memories. Celebrating the sweet innocence of her youth, this local commercial photographer combines fine art with fashion, fun, and kicky keepsakes. Her digital images often cast adult models in playful poses with sugar-buzzed props.

“I was an ’80s baby, and I grew up in that era with all the old-school candy—the Ring Pop, Nerds, Now And Laters, and Reece’s Pieces,” she explains. “I always say that one of my best sources of inspiration is Willy Wonka.”

In addition to confections, Blackwell incorporates into her work the treasured toys and trinkets from her grade-school days. Think: Pez Dispensers, View-Masters, retro lunchboxes, and Nintendo-type games.

“When people visit my studio, their general reaction is happiness, and they often say things like, ‘Oh, I remember this!’ And they remark on how whimsical it is,” she says.

This coming weekend Blackwell will be among the more than 60 participants of the Stutz Artists Open House Silver Anniversary. Her show will feature all new work. And to spice things up, she plans to offer guests a dual experience. Half of her studio space will display colorful prints and samples of custom products from her sweets-inspired “Gimme Sugar 2.0” collection. The other half of her studio will highlight her latest black-and-white images–from bustling NYC to familiar scenes around Indy.

Having worked as a full-time commercial photographer for the past eight years, Blackwell is perhaps best known for her portraiture and event pics. But during the last year, she’s developed a fondness for street photography, which she’s excited to share. And though incorporating it into her business is new, the art form comes second nature to Blackwell.

“I’m the type person who likes to roam around with my camera, especially when I’m visiting a new city,” she says. “And the same goes for when I get frustrated, I just take my camera and walk.”

Her quiet strolls sometimes lead to incredible images, some of which she doesn’t even notice until she prints them. Perfect lighting and posing aren’t part of the equation with the serendipity of street photography. In fact, her subjects typically don’t realize they’re being photographed. But that’s part of the attraction—capturing artful images as they occur organically in day-to-day life.

“These black-and-white shots are of people just going about their day naturally—walking to work or going wherever they’re going. This is totally different from the work I usually do using models and fashion,” she says.

On Instagram, Blackwell shares vibrant images—both hers and those by others. She posts pics of foods, spirits, friends, and empowering adages. And quite regularly she adds clever, positive messages of love and good vibes and artistic visuals—which, come to think of it, pretty much describes her show.

To meet the artist and view her work up close, purchase a ticket to the Stutz Silver Anniversary Celebration. For more details, visit the Stutz Artists Association.

Follow Faith Blackwell on her social media:
Instagram: @fbphotogllc
Facebook: @FaithBlackwellPhotography
Website: www.FaithBlackwellPhotography.com

Photography by Esther Boston