Maiden Resident Artist: Morgan Sosic
"When my mom and I visited Chicago, we just knew it was where I was supposed to be."
In this interview, I spoke with Morgan Sosic, one of our managers at Maiden whose photographs are hanging in the gallery.
COLLIN: Can you tell me about yourself? Where are you from? How did you get to Chicago?
MORGAN: I was born in Cleveland, OH, and I stayed there until I went to college at Columbia College Chicago. It just seemed like an obvious choice for me. I visited Chicago and I loved it. And I always wanted to live in a city.
C: Why not New York or another artistically-cultivated city?
M: I love New York, and I visited there a couple of times, but I feel like Chicago is much more livable. And also, when my mom and I visited Columbia, we just knew it was where I was supposed to be.
C: You were in the Photography program at Columbia?
M: Yes, I was a Photo major with a Women & Gender Studies minor.
C: I’m going to come back to that minor, but what made you get into photography? Was there an art class you took as a kid or someone in your life who pushed you towards it? What led you here?
M: In my school district, we participated in this program called “Reflections” and it was essentially an art contest. When I was in second grade, my mom pushed me to submit a random photo. Photography was never something I did, but she was like, “you need to do this and submit a photo,” because I was not into sports. So she was trying to get me to do something. I submitted a picture of my cat, and I think I got second place—maybe out of two or three people. And I was like, “cool, fun!” She kept making me do it every year, and it just was something I enjoyed doing. It wasn’t something I took seriously until high school.
C: And now, as a post-graduate with a degree in Photography, what is your hope for your artwork?
M: I guess I just want to be making art that I enjoy making. But I also want to go back to school and get into crime scene photography. So I’d like to be doing that as a career but still taking pictures of flowers and animals for myself.
C: The photos that you have displayed here at Maiden are flowers. Were those taken as a part of a class?
M: Those were taken for a lighting class. It was for a final project where we were told to do whatever we wanted, as long as we were using artificial light. I started photographing flowers in middle school and high school, but it was never something I took very seriously. It was like, “well, flowers are here.” I lived in the suburbs of Cleveland, so I did a lot of nature photography. Then, when I realized that I could take pictures of flowers in the studio and get them to look super cool, I really enjoyed doing that.
C: Would you say you have a point of view through your photography? How is that expressed through your artwork?
M: I’d say that photographing the flowers and animals, specifically—I’m doing that for myself. I find it really relaxing. A few months ago, I even had someone tell me, “you know that this isn’t going to get you anywhere.” And [he] was a huge jerk about it. He was like “nobody cares about flowers.” And I was like, “well, I enjoy doing it!” So, whatever, I don’t necessarily plan on making a career out of selling flower pictures. If it happens, awesome. But I’m not really expecting it to go anywhere crazy. I just kind of do it for myself.
C: Are the photographs here for sale?
M: Yes, they are for sale.
C: Would you say that your minor in Women & Gender Studies has influenced your artwork since taking those classes?
M: I guess, specifically pertaining to the photographs of flowers I think of Georgia O’Keefe and her Vagina Flowers—even though they are not vaginas. (But they are.) So I think of that, especially in the rose photo upstairs. I’ve always loved her work, and being an art student I obviously knew a lot about her—plus from before going to art school. And also I took a lot of "women in art" classes. I don’t realize that it probably does affect my artwork, but as a huge feminist I guess it does.
C: You mentioned that when you visited Chicago, you knew that this was the right place for you. How would you describe your relationship to the Chicago community at large, or even here in Ravenswood? You live in the Loop, so you’re only really here for work. How would you describe Chicago’s influence on you or your artwork?
M: The cool thing about Chicago is that there is a lot of art everywhere—you see murals everywhere, graffiti, there’s tons of art museums (a lot of which are free). So being in a city where art is so prevalent just helps you as an artist to take inspiration. Does that make sense?
C: Absolutely, being in a place where others are fulfilling themselves artistically—the culture of that....
M: Yeah, I mean living here as opposed to somewhere where there is no art going on, it really helps your creative process.
Morgan Sosic is a freelance photographer based in Chicago, IL. A recent photojournalism graduate from Columbia College Chicago, Morgan enjoys photographing a variety of subjects, with particular interest in nature and animals. Contact Morgan at www.morganraesosic.com.