Name: Kelsey Fugere
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Hometown: Danville, CA
Kelsey Fugere is a Los Angeles-based artist with a BFA in Photography and Art History from Loyola Marymount University. She has a background in the beauty industry, and her work challenges traditional beauty standards with unconventional use of color, texture, and shape. Fugere’s work lives in fantastical worlds of vibrant and clashing colors, rich textures, and unexpected accents, and her subjects are the characters who inhabit these worlds. She is interested in the relationship between gender and photography, and her latest work explores the intersection of expectation and possibility.
In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Art is life and life is art.
Point blank, you're a badass photographer and we love your use of color! What attracted you to the world of photography and this particular style?
Thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate the compliments and support!
The human experience has provided me with the sensory tools to explore humanity in the form of capturing it, and also the mind to decide to do so. There's so much beauty all around us and to have the eyes to see it, is such a blessing.
On a family trip to London the summer before my senior year of high school, I had a Canon point and shoot camera. I started photographing the lines of buildings, portraits of people, etc. I created a slideshow on my laptop to the song Michelle by The Beatles.
I showed my mom and she said, "Wow, these are really good!" Maybe it was her being a parent and thinking everything I did was good, but it felt different this time.
Growing up, I was always finding ways to explore creativity, but taking photographs came as the most natural medium to express how I saw things. I can't turn my eyes off. Taking photos is a way to help ease that feeling of needing to capture the scene.
I didn't notice my affinity for color until a few years ago. I had all my work laid out and was trying to decide which images were best used for my website. I noticed some of the strongest images were the ones where colors were involved. Color comes very naturally to me – in fact, I find it difficult to turn something in that isn't black and white. In the past couple years, I have worked to refine what color means to me, but mostly it's just a reflection of how my brain perceives the world.
Where/how do you seek inspiration for your projects?
My best ideas often come to me when I am running. While running outside, I observe things I'd otherwise miss in a car. The way lighting hits buildings at certain times of the day, the way fruit trees intersect with the sky, the way an electric cable leaves a shadow of a thin line on a building and the way a body looks walking past a blank wall. These are all things I notice on my runs and begin my creative process. I am most inspired when exploring by foot. Traveling has become a really important part of refining my eye and exploring how things are built/created in other places.
Who are some of your favorite creatives to collaborate with?
A lot of the more creative work I do is shot on ordinary people (friends) that let me get carried away with props and backdrops. When I am working with models, I love collaborating with makeup artists, hair stylists and stylists. It's really fun to let everyone geek out about a particular element of the shoot and really helps it come together in the end.
Out of all your eye-catching shoots, which has been your favorite to work on and why?
In 2016 I shot a series called "Hue-man", a colorful series where I explored identity through color. Hueman was a statement about how society often decides the best way to express ourselves and the confines that exist within those norms. The series is about 15 men shot in whacky colorful scenes, all shot in a studio in a classic portraiture sense. This was my favorite series because it was the first time I worked on a project with people over an extended period of time and it fully reflects how I would like to photograph most people.
When you're not behind the lens, how do you fill your time?
Honestly, so much of my life is photography. When I am not shooting for work, I am often crafting up my next creative project. I guess I do have other hobbies as well. You can find me running, swimming, rock climbing, hiking, in a yoga class, etc. Staying active has always been important to me and it keeps my mind moving!
I also really love being out in nature. I did my first backpacking trip this year and it opened up a new world of possibilities regarding how to travel. Oh, and how can I forget travel as a time fill? It's a BIG one.
When I am not shooting, I am often window shopping for trips all over the world or actually going to these places. This year, I explored Mexico City and Cuba. Next year, I have Vietnam in the books which I am very excited about.
If you could give one piece of advice to creatives around the world, what would it be?
Never stop making things and never stop exploring new places. If you're not feeling inspired, figure out what's holding you back, move your body a bit and then re-assess.
Discuss the importance of female friendships in your life.
Female friends are essential – I have always felt this way. I love men. I appreciate so much about them and their perspective, but with my female friends, I feel a sense of oneness I don't usually feel with men. Yes, there are some men I feel it with, but usually, it's women. Most of my female friends are artists and it's been really neat to see how everyone has blossomed over the past couple of years and become confident in themselves and their art. It's really wonderful having that sense of community I get from women.
If you could have dinner with any woman in history, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
This is a tough one. I feel like I'd want to have a dinner party with a bunch of women that inspire me. Currently, I think it would be wonderful to sit with Cindy Sherman, Amy Poehler, Lady Gaga – all strong female performers in their craft. Plus, they all clearly have a sense of wit and humor to them and a commentary on humanity.
What are you grateful for?
I am so grateful that I get to create imagery for a living and that is how I pay my bills. It is exciting to always have new projects on the horizon and new challenges to face.
Quote to live by.
It's gonna be great.