Members Show Featured Artist: Matthew Artz

The first annual Members Show brings together three artist collectives from Crane Arts – InLiquid, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and Second State Press – to highlight the best work of their membership. Today’s Members Show featured artist is PPAC member Matthew Artz.

Do you have any exciting stories from your work as a freelance photographer?

Honestly, I loved photographing for this project, I found it to be exhilarating! Connecting with the people in these photographs and observing their various reactions while in front of the camera was invigorating. Besides this project, I love to photograph weddings, I look for gesture and dialogue, and the search for that in the scope of a wedding night is really fantastic.

Can you tell me more about your work in hotels, and how the stories of the people you’ve encountered have become a focus of your photography?

My job is to ensure my hotel is well-oiled, physically up-to-snuff, and safe. I manage the maintenance department.

I find interest and narratives in the everyday, so I realized much later than I should’ve that I should attempt to photograph MY everyday. My time in hotel work is full of history and beauty to be expressed. This includes minor drama, personal stories I’ve heard on the job, dealing with guests and situations, and the quirks of the building that I’ve been charged with maintaining. We hotel people are an idiosyncratic bunch! The portraits serve as memory to my experience, and they articulate my appreciation.

Do you have any especially memorable stories from this experience that you can share?

A very dear coworker, whom we had once nicknamed “Grams” and who was very energetic for her old age, suddenly declined and passed away recently. The last time I talked with her while she was working, I was able to get a portrait of her, and I’m very happy to have been given that moment!

What are you up to now, and what do you have in the work for the near future?

Currently, I’m still shooting for portraits and vignettes to include with this body of work. I also have a series of Holga images that I’ve been collecting that I’m in the process of printing. I have a new project idea that focuses on local fishermen and their stories that I’m looking forward to beginning very soon.

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Can you tell me a bit more about the piece you’ll have in the Members Show?

Angelique was a housekeeper at the Homewood Suites. I was excited to photograph her, she had a charisma that I really liked. When I spent time around her in attempts to get her picture, she was very interested in my camera and my processes and I was very happy to talk with her about it. She explained to me that she was working on an accounting degree at the time. I haven’t seen her since shortly after that time, she found a job working elsewhere.

What has your experience as a PPAC member been like so far?

I haven’t been a member with PPAC for very long, but I’m happy for the community of artists that the organization fosters. I participated as a teaching artist last October for Philly Photo Day, and also helped out when the opening for the exhibition came around. PPAC’s level of community involvement is exciting to me, and I hope to contribute and become a part of that!

What are you hoping audiences will take away from the collaborative Member Show?

I hope people can get a sense of the number of real artists that exist and are working, on multiple levels with different formats, approaches and mediums. These artists have many stories to share that are worth experiencing…

The Members Show runs August 3 – 24 at the Icebox Project Space at Crane Arts, 1400 N. American Street.

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