About

Artist Statement

When I was a teenager, my Mom inherited a small amount of money and told me to "go out and buy something fun". So I bought a camera and a few rolls of film. I went out to the rural countryside and immediately started arranging all the shapes, forms, lines, and colors, within the rectangular shaped viewfinder.

When I got those negatives back from the processor and held them up to the light, there was an immediate connection - I knew that this was something that I had to do. So I kept at it. The more I images I shot, the more mistakes I made, the more I wanted to do it. The insistent drive never stopped.

So here it is 30 years later and the insistence continues. I am still journeying through the chaos of the natural world, in hopes of restoring order within the confines of that rectangle. To create that elusive perfect image, while spending some quality time with the greater powers that be.

--Jeff Gracz


The Aluminum Series

Nature amazes the patient and contemplative viewer with astounding beauty at every turn. If you calm your mind and open your feelings, it will illuminate your soul. Imagine brilliance of color, radiance of light, softness of texture, the causal flourish - all can be had from this energizing perspective.

Practice, patience and a child's curiosity are the keys to exploring this world. It can be found in your backyard and the far corners of the Earth. It is not rare - it thrives everywhere. It need not degree, certificate or license - it is available to all. The cost is nothing, the reward, immense. Spend the time, gain the gift.




Artist Process Statement

Nature based photography from digital and film based cameras. Original images are scanned or imported into the computer. The computer is my darkroom. Software is used to create the final product before output. Call it "manipulation", if you want, but I prefer "enhancement". The amount of which, depends on the mood of the piece.

All output is created with archival quality materials. This starts at the ink and continues through to the paper and mounting board. All my pieces are limited edition. They are signed, numbered, and dated on the back, and include Certificate of Authenticity.


Traditional Prints

Output is on paper using Epson Pro printers. I use luster paper for my color work. I use matte paper for my black and whites. All my printing work is performed in my studio by me personally using a color managed workflow. I do not use an outside lab, unless the size of the required print is beyond the capability of my printers.


Aluminum Prints

Nature inspired abstract imagery. Images produced in labelled sets/series (ex: The Leaves Series, or The Agave Series). Each of these series contains a main subject with a specific look and feel. Images can be displayed singularly, or in groups. Images are printed by infusing archival inks directly onto specially prepared aluminum sheets. They are then given a glossy finish to protect from UV, dust and fingerprints. The corners are slightly clipped, to remove the sharp edge. This printing and finishing process is performed by a professional lab using my instruction set.

These aluminum prints are then mounted to a recessed frame, which floats the image out from the hanging surface. This results in a highly luminous and contemporary presentation. The final product is lightweight, water/scratch resistant and comes ready to hang. These limited edition pieces are etched on reverse with edition number, title, date and signature of The Artist.


Metallic Prints

These are printed in a similar manner to traditional prints. However this process uses a special pearlescent paper that is "metallic" in appearance. Colors are vivid and bright, blacks are deep and rich. As the light hits the paper from different angles, it produces an almost 3-D effect.

These are presented in a similar manner to aluminum prints. The paper is mounted to a stiff backing board. A recessed frame is then mounted to the back of the board. This floats the image out from the hanging surface, further enhancing the dimensionality of the piece. An archival UV sealant is applied to each final piece for preservation and longevity.




Bio

How it Started
I was born and raised in Upstate NY. I garnered my first camera in my late teens. I thought of it as an interesting hobby and no more. I took the manual SLR camera out with me whenever I could. I made lots of mistakes. I always tried to learn from them and strived to do better the next time I went out.

It started really clicking when I started to travel. Seeing new places always make people take photos, and I certainly took my share. But I coupled this with my urge to do better. I studied the works of others and the principles of design. I slowly learned the difference between a good picture and an exceptional image.

I concentrated on nature subjects by no special plan. I took many pictures of many different subjects, but the ones that brought me the most satisfaction, were the nature based ones. So really, it was happiness that determined which way to go. Mother Nature is the most profound artist there will ever be. It's the main reason why I do, what I do. Mother Nature does all the hard work, I just show up for the performance.

And then it really started coming together when people would say that my images were just as good as what was appearing in magazines. So I starting submitting to publishers around the country. I got a ton of rejections, but I also got a few publication credits.

But my ultimate goal was to sell prints of my work. The most satisfying feeling any creative person can have, is seeing their work admired by others. If you can, for just a few moments, take people away from their busy lives and see things in a different way, well, that is just about the greatest feeling in the world. This is the second reason why I do, what I do. I get to connect with some truly awesome people.


Influences
People: First and foremost, Edward Weston. His unique vision, ability to make an ordinary object look extraordinary and breadth/depth of work, are his greatest traits. Also: David Muench, Galen Rowell, Art Wolf, William Neill and William Garnett. Beyond Photographers, I admire the work of Miro, Picasso, Kandinsky, Albers and Mondrian.
Books: The Life Library of Photography series, Photography by Upton and London
Places: Southern Utah, Southern California Deserts, The Pacific Coast, The Adirondack Mountains.


Tools of the Trade

Throughout most of my career, I have used film to record my images. I have employed many different sizes: 35mm, to medium format, to 4x5 large format. Like many, I have since graduated from film and moved on to a purely digital workflow. I use exclusively Canon gear. I lug it around in a LowePro Trekker AW backpack. I also sling around an Induro Tripod and ball head.

Photoshop and Lightroom are my darkroom. Most images receive only modest amounts of adjustments in the computer. Some images demand more enhancement. It all depends on the image at hand and what I see in my mind's eye. I am a big fan of the NIK Software series plug-ins for Photoshop. My output is varied. As long as it is flat, and can fit through a printer, I'll give it a try.


Mantras:
(1) Do not try to beat Mother Nature, it will make her angry.
(2) Regardless of the weather, there are always images to be had, you just have to look for them.
(3) When you are concentrating on one image, don't forget to look behind you, there might be something even better over there.
(4) Trust your instincts and always strive for more. Be your own worst critic.
(5) Carpe Diem. Work until you are exhausted. It is interesting how creative you can be in altered states of consciousness.
(6) Study the works of others - what makes their work so special? But then don't go out and imitate them, work on creating your own personal voice.



Upcoming Art Shows, Galleries and General Goings On

Lara Sydney Gallery Showing
1230 NW Hoyt St
Portland, OR
Open Mon - Sat, or By Appointment
WebSite

2017 Palo Alto Festival of the Arts
University Ave
Downtown Palo Alto, CA
August 26-27
Saturday 10AM - 6PM | Sunday 10AM - 6PM
WebSite

2017 Boise Art in the Park
Julia Davis Park
Boise, ID
September 8-10
Friday 10AM - 8PM | Saturday 10AM - 8PM | Sunday 10AM - 5PM
WebSite

 



Resume


Shows
2007 Clackamas Farmers Market
2007 Lake Oswego Millennium Marketplace
2008 Lake Oswego Millennium Marketplace
2008 Clackamas Live! Arts Show
2009 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts
2009 Salem Art Festival
2009 Lake Oswego Art in the Plaza
2010 Bellevue ArtsFaire, WA
2010 Sunriver Art Fair, OR
2011 Lake Oswego Art Fair
2011 Sunriver Art Fair
2011 Bellevue Art Fair
2011 Jackson Hole Arts Fest
2011 Art in the Pearl Art Festival
2011 West Linn Arts Fest
2011 Best of the Northwest Fall Festival
2012 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts Fine Arts and Crafts Fair
2012 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts Headline Exhibit "From Pinhole to iPhone"
2012 Sunriver Arts Faire
2012 Silverton Arts Festival
2012 Corvallis Fall Festival
2013 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts
2013 Sunriver Art Fair
2013 Silverton Arts Festival
2013 Corvallis Fall Festival
2013 West Linn Arts Fest aka ArtBurst NW
2013 Boise Art Museum Art in the Park
2013 Sacramento Festival of the Arts
2014 Salem Art Festival
2014 Art on the Green, Couer d'Alene, ID
2014 Sunriver Art Fair
2014 Art in the High Desert, Bend, OR
2014 Boise Art Museum Art in the Park
2014 Corvallis Fall Festival
2015 Umpqua Valley Arts Association Summer Arts Festival
2015 Edmonds Arts Festival
2015 Art Fair Jackson Hole
2015 Art on the Green, Coeur d’Alene, ID
2015 Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival
2015 Boise Art in the Park
2016 Edmonds Art Festival
2016 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts
2016 Salem Art Festival
2016 Bellevue Arts Museum ARTSFair
2016 Anacortes Art Festival
2016 Sunriver Art Festival
2016 Palo Alto Festival of the Arts
2016 Boise Art in the Park
2016 Corvallis Fall Festival

Group Exhibits
2008 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts - Chronicle Exhibit WebSite
2015 Larson Galery 39th Annual National Juried Photography Exhibition WebSite
2015 Evergreen Fine Arts Association Abstract Show WebSite
2015 Clark County Open Studios WebSite
2016 Cascade Sothebys Gallery Showing WebSite
2016 Clark County Open Studios WebSite
2016-2017 Lara Sydney Gallery Showing WebSite

Awards
2008 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts - Chronicle Exhibit Honorable Mention

Teaching
2008 Portland Photographer's Forum Slideshow and Artist Process Lecture

Publications
Flower & Garden Magazine
National Gardening Magazine
Storey Communications
Garden Gate Magazine
Economy Label Sales
The American Gardener Magazine
Ortho Books
The John Henry Company