Snail Mail and Dog Days

Happy Friday!!!

Not many people know this about me, but one of my favorite things is to receive cards in the mail.  Not e-cards via email, but handwritten, tangible objects,  that come in the mailbox (you know that small brass box in your lobby that you have a special key for).  Luckily I have a wonderful mother who loves to send me cards, specifically The New Yorker greeting cards featuring dogs!  Here are some of my favorites!  Enjoy!

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This is Lily Mott, a first year student in the ICP-BARD MFA program.  Today I would like to take the opportunity to introduce you guys to a process that I started using a couple years ago and how it came about.

It was probably 2 am and I had just scanned a photo that desperately wanted to print.  I rummaged through my drawers, only to be massively disappointed because I realized I was fresh out of any and all printer paper.  After pouting for a few minutes I looked down at my desk and saw a Marcel Duchamp book.  It suddenly occurred to me, that standard white printer paper is simply a suggestion, and in theory I could print on any paper material or printed matter.  Immediately I ripped a page out of my book, stuck in the printer, and BAM…

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After seeing my latest creation, I was hooked.  I began collecting old books, vintage targets, old checks, passports, etc.  You name, I guarantee I’ve tried to print on it.  Below are some of my favorite pieces from working with this process!  I hope you enjoy!

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Why Do I Make Photographs?


This is Lily, a first year in the ICP-BARD MFA program, and I will be taking over the blog this week.  Recently I was asked a seemingly simple question, Why Do You Make Photographs?  And today I would like to share my response with all of you!

Why I Make Photographs?

I make photographs because I have to.  Because life is too fleeting and ever-changing not to document it.  Because the darkroom is magic, and I like to hold magic in my hands.

I make photographs to remind myself of the good, and not let myself forget the bad.  Because people fade away, and so does my memory of them.

I make photographs because they help me remember.  Because they are tangible evidence of a life lived, and an experience shared.  Because I like to hold time in my hands.

I make photographs because eventually I will fade away, and I want the opportunity to be remembered.

I make photographs to share my pain, and to share what I see.  To share the human condition.

I make photographs to find the clarification in chaos.

I make photographs to feel alive, and to stay alive.

I make photographs in order to watch life, and to observe the way people do things.  To record the mundane, and the oddities.

I make photographs because it brings me joy.  Because it preserves my sanity.

I make photographs to see how people are surviving and because it heals.

I make photographs to make people feel, something, anything.

I make photographs so people know they are not alone, so I know I am not alone.  Because we are all in this together.

I make photographs because stopping time is magic, and I like to hold magic in my hands.

-Lily Mott



Realistic Beauty, Thesis Show by Tino


ICP-Bard’s MFA solo thesis shows continue this week with Realistic Beauty, Tino’s three-part work on natural hair, wrestling, and Comic Con. In each of the three bodies of work, Tino examines ideas of representation and performance in relation to people whose culture and humanity are stereotyped and underrepresented in the mainstream media. To quote from the artist’s statement:

“These three projects work together to celebrate diversity. The fantastic costuming and natural hair tell stories beyond comic books and wrestling plots. Tino tells the stories about the dignity and beauty of his community through the photographs presented here.”

Realistic Beauty opens on April 19, 6-9pm on 24-20 Jackson Ave, ICP-Bard MFA Studios.


Going Inward

“Leap and the net will appear.”

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Self-Portrait by Michael McFadden

Participating in the ICP-Bard MFA program has provided consistent opportunities for self-reflection and personal growth. Like an onion, we are challenged to continuously peel back the layers, unearthing what lies beneath. (…then like my favorite Chili’s appetizer, we get batter-fried and served with a side of “Blooming Onion” Sauce. LOL. J/K!!) It’s truly been an invaluable experience thus far.

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Untitled by Michael McFadden

Through our coursework, I have examined my visual history: the images and symbols, colors or materials that influenced me from early on. Family photos, artwork I was exposed to as a kid, photographs that continue to resonate with me, films, books & poems. This exploration provides me with a better comprehension of my aesthetic and artistic point of view.

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Untitled by Michael McFadden

In making and presenting work, often with limited conditions and under time constraints, I have continued to learn about my artistic process: what fuels my creativity, what stunts it, where I find inspiration, and what leaves me feeling “blocked.”

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Untitled by Michael McFadden

I have been reminded of a lesson I have know for a long time, but one that has re-emerged with strong force since starting this program: I am my biggest roadblock to creativity. Doubt. Fear. Insecurity. Second-guessing myself. As quickly as an exciting idea enters, my (ir)rational brain takes over.

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Aidan, January 2017 by Michael McFadde

This newborn and fragile idea is no match for the well-established attacks from the (imaginary) voices of others who will undeniably find the fault and failures in my creations. (For example: you would be astounded to know how many times I have typed then deleted, then typed and deleted, then typed and deleted this blog post.)


Untitled (MAL) by Michael McFadden

So the challenge I have given myself moving forward is two-fold: one, to tune out the voices long enough to just f’n make something! It may be great. It may be terrible. But I’ll never know or learn or improve unless I try. And two, to slow down and calm down long enough to listen to the voices. Not because what they are saying is true, but more so, so I can get a better understanding of the source of the fears that are paralyzing when left unchecked.


Sunset from the Sky by Michael McFadden

It can be exhausting at times, but it ultimately feels like a tremendous gift to have the time, space, and this supportive/encouraging environment to explore inward. I feel immense gratitude for the opportunity to explore through the creations and to create out of the explorations.

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Self-portrait (collage) by Michael McFadden

So as my blog take-over comes to a close, I just want to say a quick “thank you for reading,” and I hope this messages finds you well, in your respective parts of the world.



IG: @mcfaddenphoto

FB: @michaelmcfaddenphotography



Wolfgang Tillmans

I have been spending a lot of time researching Wolfgang Tillmans lately. I have always loved his work, and it has been fascinating to get to explore how his art has evolved. The expansive nature of Tillmans’ work captivates me, particularly how he’s utilized multiple mediums and that his career has spanned decades.

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Wolfgand Tillmans, photo by Solve Sundsbo

David Zwirner Gallery states, “Since the early 1990s, [Tillmans’] works have epitomized a new kind of subjectivity in photography, pairing intimacy and playfulness with social critique and the persistent questioning of existing values and hierarchies.” This is something I strive for within my own practice. I am trying to find a balance between creating meaningful/impactful work while still leaving space for levity, eccentricity, and eroticism.

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The Cock (Kiss) (2002) by Wolfgang Tillmans

Tillmans’ early work was primarily snapshot documentations of youth parties, the nightlife/club scenes, and the changing LGBTQ culture. He received much of his early notoriety and recognition through his editorial work with i-D magazine. One of Tillmans’ best known photos: “Lutz & Alex sitting in the trees” (1992) was part of an editoral that ran in i-D.

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Lutz & Alex sitting in the trees (1992) by Wolfgang Tillmans

The images he saw in the world didn’t reflect the experiences he was having or the communities he was moving in. He was having fun and found it imperative that these experiences be seen. Tillmans stated, “I wanted to somehow represent what was not being represented elsewhere.” The magazine industry has greatly shifted since the nineties when Tillmans’ published his early work. Despite these changes, fashion/editorial work continues to be a mechanism for photography, fashion and politics to converge to create powerful art.

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Jochen taking a bath (1997) by Wolfgang Tillmans

Another aspect of Tillmans life and work that has impacted me greatly is learning about his relationship with the German painter, Jochen Klein. The two met in NYC in 1994, and started dating shortly thereafter. This was the height of the HIV-epidemic and protease inhibitors had not yet been approved. People were dying. Klein and Tillmans moved back to England, where Klein ultimately died of AIDS-related complications in 1997. I am enchanted by the way Wolfgang’s love for Jochen manifests itself it his work. I am also astounded by the art that he was able to create out of the pain and loss.

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I don’t want to get over you (2000) by Wolfgang Tillmans

Tillmans continues to impact my work both visually and conceptually. I feel that I owe a tremendous amount to him and the work he has created. His work provides another example for those looking to straddle the editorial and art worlds. He continues to create new visual imagery that is relevant, impactful and provocative. And ultimately, Wolfgang Tillmans carved out space in the visual landscape for future artists to breath into.