November 12th, 2020
If you’ve ever seen one of our Gallery MAR artist videos, then you’ve seen first hand the talent of videographer Claire Wiley. Wiley, founder of the videography and photography company, Eclectic Brews Productions, pours a lifetime’s worth of passion and skill into each of her videos. Her videography allows us to travel the country and gain exclusive insight into the worlds of our artists, all from the comfort of our homes.
If you haven’t yet seen one of these artist videos, we highly recommend hopping over to our gallery videos and immersing yourself in the worlds of our artists. Follow Wiley as she dives into local artist Bridgette Meinhold’s alpine world of swirling snow mountains and aspen trees. Explore the studio and natural landscape surrounding artist Shawna Moore at her home in Whitefish, Montana. Witness the process of glass blowing from the studio of Jared and Nicole Davis. Get lost in the luminous color of R. Nelson Parrish’s resin works from his Santa Barbara studio.
Through the process of filming, interviewing, and editing film of our artists, Wiley’s own artistry begins. Part of Claire’s talent is her ability to disappear behind the camera to allow her subjects to shine through as their most authentic, genuine selves.
Now, we’re interested in taking a peek behind that camera lens to discover more about her art and process. She’s helped showcase our artists talent, and now it’s time to showcase hers. We hope you enjoy this conversation with one of our unique, perhaps lesser known, Gallery MAR artists: our videography, Claire Wiley.
Gallery MAR: How did you get into photography and videography as a profession?
Claire: I grew up in the household of an artist. My father was a professor who taught photography courses, so I grew up around cameras and film. I was interested in the students and how they saw the world in a different way — there’s just a different perspective artists have on the world.
Gallery MAR: What do you love specifically about videography as an artistic medium?
Claire: Growing up, I saw how videography and photography provided a unique way of storytelling. It allows you to not only use visuals to tell a story, but audio as well, through interviews. I love when you can meld visual and audio together and provide people with good storytelling.
Plus, I think videography allows you to get pretty intimate with your subject. I wanted to be a newscaster when I first came to school. I enjoyed talking to a subject and getting to know them. Then I could tell their story with audio. It’s such a beautiful, easy way to represent someone. There’s so many different levels to people and their stories. Videography to me is about showing that and allowing them to be authentic and guide their own storyline.
Gallery MAR: How did you join the Gallery MAR team?
Claire: Maren’s been a good friend of mine. We got to talking one day, and I told her that I was interested in artists in particular and about telling their stories. At such a young age, I would go and sit with my Dad while he was with his art students. I loved hearing from the students, so I felt nostalgic for those kinds of conversations. I was excited to have an opportunity to go into an artist’s space and see them at work. To me, an artist’s studio is almost a reverent place to be because it’s where they’re changing the world in a way. It’s a privilege to get to see that.
Gallery MAR: Could you talk a little about your process creating artist videos for Gallery MAR?
Claire: First, I try to initially get to know the artist a little bit (their personality, their medium) and establish a rapport. That way when we start to film, they feel comfortable and natural around me. I love being able to give people a sense of comfortability. I know that it can get intimidating with a camera in the room, so it’s important to me that they feel like they’re speaking to me rather than a lens. I want each artist to feel comfortable being themselves. So my process always starts with getting to know them a little bit, going into their space, and trying to draw out their most authentic self.
Gallery MAR: What’s your favorite aspect about interviewing and filming artists?
Claire: I love how artists bring their own unique perspectives to light. They’re seeing the world in a different way — which you need to do to be an artist.
I also love to see all of the different personalities of artists. Some artists are almost like engineers in the technical way they approach their art and some are all about pure passion and expression, like in the way that color speaks to them or the way that texture speaks to them. It’s fascinating to see the different minds of artists and how they portray a subject matter or an idea and turn it into something tangible. Their portrayal is so beautiful to me, so I love to see that process of conjuring up an idea and seeing it to fruition. Artists seem to have an emotion around their pieces, so everything about how they arrive at their final project is interesting and unique. It’s so human their experience.
Gallery MAR: Which aspect of interviewing and filming artists do you find to be the most challenging?
Claire: Sometimes an artist’s work is very precious. For instance, when I enter the studio of an artist working in ceramic or glass, I have to move around the studio so carefully and delicately. It’s challenging to move stealthily around an artists’ studio with my camera and videography gear.
Gallery MAR: Have there been any specific moments or experiences interviewing Gallery MAR artists that you found particularly fascinating?
Claire: I had an opportunity to go to R. Nelson Parish’s studio in Santa Barbara. At the time, he was working on a very large Totem piece. It was fascinating to see how he did the resin and how he created the color. He was hand-stirring each color he applied. His process was really interesting and his experience with the natural world was fascinating. In his statement, he talked about how he wants to make work that serves as a sort of timestamp, speaking to the era we’re in.
It was also really cool to see how his flitches come to him. They arrive in his studio as discarded pieces of wood and he turns them into these fascinating, beautiful, light-catching works of art. It’s such a statement in and of itself.
I also really enjoyed interviewing local artist Bridgette Meinhold. We took a snow mobile to her studio up in Brighton Estate, so that was wild. She’s an artist about the elements, so I loved hearing how she brings in her love for the natural world into every one of her pieces.
I’ve loved all the glass artists as well. Oh, and Shawna Moore! I loved visiting her studio in Whitefish, Montana. There’s so much physicality to her work. A lot of the art at Gallery MAR is very physical. You feel that when you walk in the gallery. You can feel the work and the creativity that goes into what’s on the wall in such a passionate and clever way.
“Artists seem to have an emotion around their work, so everything about how they arrive at their final project is interesting and unique. It’s so human their experience.”
One thing I hear from every artist is how Maren is such a great gallerist. She has a vision and she’s very clear about what that vision is. It’s important to know who you are and to allow your gallery to speak to that. The artists that she brings in are curated very carefully. I see people of all ages come in wide-eyed through that gallery door, with almost childlike wonder. There’s so much that can draw you in. I love Maren’s choice of artists, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know who they are through my videography.
Gallery MAR: Outside of Gallery MAR videos, what’s one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had throughout your videography career?
Claire: I do a lot of work with nonprofits, so I’ve been able to travel the world with various nonprofit organizations. I did a piece on the Himalayan Cataract Project in Ethiopia which was really fascinating. Watching nonprofit work is like watching artists at work. For instance, when the Himalayan Cataract Project goes to these places, they treat people of all ages who have cataracts. These people go from being blind to being able to see within as little as 48 hours. It’s so amazing to be able to witness that.
I was just in Kenya last year doing a piece with a nonprofit organization. I love that form of storytelling — its people, its humanity. I love sharing how connected we are across the globe and I love meeting such wonderful, fascinating people.
I also do a lot of work with nonprofits here like the National Ability Center and the Community Foundation. There are just so many great stories to tell about people helping people and changing our world.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Claire Wiley for sharing her experiences in this interview. To see more of her work, check out more of our Gallery MAR artist videos or visit Claire Wiley’s videography and photography site, Eclectic Brews Productions, to book her for your next storytelling masterpiece.
Written by Veronica Vale