Story originally appeared in UKNow on July 21, 2022, by Mark Mozingo.
James Robert Southard, a senior lecturer of art studio and photography in the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies (SA/VS), is featured on the cover of Ace Magazine’s July issue for his portrait series that was commissioned for 21c Museum Hotel.
Part of a larger research project from the past year, Southard created a digital photo collage series focused on Kentucky creatives and influencers, including several UK faculty, like SA/VS professor Crystal Gregory, A&S professor and Poet Laureate of Kentucky Crystal Wilkinson, and UK Law professor Brian Frye.
“This project was part of an ongoing portrait style I've been doing since leaving graduate school. I studied contemporary art as well as classical art history. I found that Photoshop allowed me to make anything I wanted. So, I drew on art history to think up compositions and used my camera and software to build these images. With this freedom comes the opportunity to incorporate a wide variety of detailed references to history and culture just as the classical artists I studied did. Though it takes a long time to edit these images to gather, the hardest task is to get the subject to understand that we can make anything with this work methodology, and we can cover whatever subject or subjects that interested them. It is hard to get brainstorming when they've never had a photographer ask them these questions. I enjoy this work style as I never know what my next image is going to be. I've taken this work style all over the world; South Korea, Cuba, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Maine and I've been so happy to work on it covering people of my own community.” said Rob Southard, UK School of Art and Visual Studies.
Other notable Kentucky artists in the series include:
- Mike Goodlett, sculptor who recently passed away;
- Silas House, writer;
- Lina Tharsing, painter;
- Robert Beatty, graphic designer and visual artist
- Natalie Baxter, visual artist; and
- Lucy Jones, curator and film festival director.