Combining multiple elements and mediums, Rochelle Marshall’s work has evolved from simple photography to images that combine elements of costume design, self-portrait, photography and digital painting. With her debut exhibition ‘Absence & Desire’ about to open, we get to know Rochelle a little better...
Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get started and what kind of background did you come from?
My journey started four years ago when I purchased my first DSLR camera to photograph Sapphire, my elderly Dobermann companion. I very quickly moved into Pet Photography and from there I have dabbled in Digital Art/photo manipulation, 3D work and most recently self-portrait, composite work and costume building. Whilst art featured heavily in my school years, I did not have any formal training as such. I am completely self-taught. I am not afraid to step out of my comfort zone if I set my mind to learning something there really is not too much that will stop me.
Your process from idea to finished work is quite complex, photography just a small part of the process. How do you go from idea to print?
All I need is a spark of an idea, a lot of my inspiration comes from movies/books and television. I have a lot of photos stored on my phone of places I have been to in my travels to pick through. The location is often a place that is familiar to me and somewhere I have spent a lot of time. Once I have an idea and location I move onto the model and clothing. This, for me, is the most involved part of the process and the longest, some of the costumes take several months to construct. One image from inception to completion can take up to 4-6 months to come to fruition.
Women often have complex thoughts about their self-image and what is perceived as the “ideal body type”. Have you found using your own image, creating a self-portrait as such, has changed your relationship with your body?
This is an interesting question. Yes, it has changed how I look at myself and the body I reside in. I am certainly far more comfortable in front of a camera than I was a year ago. I think most people who know me would say I have become a far more confident person. Whilst I may feature in a lot of my images, I don’t really view them as myself. She is a character in a story. Who just happens to be me.
I am by no means perfect myself, having heard every short joke under the sun for as long as I can remember, confidence was never my strongest suit. Initially, it was a pretty uncomfortable thing to do, to stand in front of a camera and bear witness to what it sees was completely unnatural. However, I do now have a sense of freedom and achievement from what I have created.
If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive who would you choose to work alongside?
Lindsay Adler, Chris Knight, Jake Hicks or Richard Wood. All top-class Photographers. All with their own distinct style. Jake Hicks for his amazing use of colour and creative techniques with studio lighting and long exposures. Richard Wood for his Creative, Painterly Rembrandt Imagery. Lindsay Adler for her Fashion and Editorial works (All of which are outstanding) and Chris Knight for his Rembrandt Lighting and creative studio imagery.
There’s a certain level of vulnerability in sharing your art with others, particularly online. Do you worry about people judging you and how do you handle negative feedback/comments?
Unfortunately, that is the reality of social media and online submissions. It should not be something that we “get used to” but sadly. It is the norm.
When I first started sharing my art, yes, it used to worry me a lot. Thankfully I have not encountered too much negativity. Social media allows us contact with so many people, all of which have very individual tastes and ideas about what “art” is or isn’t. I have learned to take on board anything relevant and just move on from the rest. If I am honest, I do not create my work to please others, I create it because I love to do it.
If your five-year-old self suddenly found themselves inhabiting your current body, what would your five-year-old self do first?
Probably put a pot on my head- handle backwards, tie a towel around my neck, grab a stick and become a superhero!
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