This week, Addicted is inspired by artist Deborah Kanfer.
Deborah is photographer and mixed media artist who came to my attention at a charity dinner event put on by our dear friends at Cheff& Somm to benefit Sojourn House. Between her poised presence and the passion and beauty that exuded from her work, I was intrigued. I admired her creativity and compassion in showcasing her art for a wonderful cause.
Now dividing her time between Hamilton and Toronto, Deborah fell in love with photography at Rhodes University in South Africa, where she found herself drawn to the camera. Travel helped her flourish as an artist, as she found herself inspired by different cultures. I wanted to learn more about what drove her to create the interesting and beautiful artwork I saw on display, and that’s why she’s this week’s Addicted Inspiration.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I just wasn’t sure to what capacity. Photography hadn’t even crossed my mind in the way of being a potential artist’s medium. I knew painting was not quite right. Thinking back, i have a vivid memory of often feeling the urge to ‘make something’. The idea of attaining something new that I created from nothing was always a thrilling concept.
What is your WHY?
This is my passion. And for me, the definition of ‘passion’ translates to the need to have it as a prominent entity in my daily life. I need to create. It’s part of who I am, and how I see the world. The thought of having this passion denied or taken away from me is an all-consuming heart breaking thought (needless to say, I often describe this passion of mine as a blessing and a curse, as it has broken my heart on more than one occasion). It provides another outlet of communication and emotional expression. It’s part of my identity and my purpose.
How did you get involved with the work you currently do?
I had a few opportunities to snap a roll of film while growing up. I knew I enjoyed it, but didn’t pay much attention as there were other things I enjoyed doing recreationally as well. 1st year of university I was beginning the photography module of my fine art degree. The moment I stepped foot into that darkroom and bared witness to the emerging of an image from a blank piece of paper, i fell in love with everything about the medium. I often describe it as being like magic, and to this day, I am still fascinated with the concept. This is what I measure true love with. An all-consuming emotional experience. This is how I feel when I do what I do. It’s an addiction, to say the least.
What are the biggest challenges/set backs you’ve had to face?
It’s a long and tiresome journey. You have to love it and need it in your life in order to pursue it. The ‘hard work’ that everyone speaks of is not only the pragmatic hands on approach. I would say most of the hard work comes with the emotional attachment, the strength to persevere, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and feed that flame, even when it feels like there’s no end to the struggle and you’re hitting your head against a brick wall. The dedication, and the stubbornness of being head-over-heels in love is something beyond ones immediate state of mind and that’s what one needs, in order to overcome the challenges of being an artist and to continue. Slowly but surely, it does pay off, but this hard work that I speak of is a life long commitment.
How do you do manage to do it all?
I’m not sure I’m managing to ‘do it all’ 😉 but lately. what’s clear to me, is that exercising my intuition and listening to my gut has provided some reliable direction and nothing good ever comes from panicking. It’s a good idea to practice meditation. 🙂
If you could pick one charitable organization to ask our readers to donate to or volunteer with, which would it be?
I’m all about supporting local organizations and I recently learned about the Hamilton Victory Gardens Organization. The concept is amazing; transforming vacant urban lots into sustainable agricultural landscapes to provide food to local food banks and hot meal programs. They’re doing amazing things!