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Chicago Woman Magazine Interview

Many thanks to Chicago Woman Magazine for the Q&A interview and feature in the "Artist Spotlight" section - page 20 - in the Sept/Oct Arts & Culture issue.

Artist Spotlight on Gail Mancuso

Chicago-based photography and former model Gail Mancuso's work draws on urban landscapes, females forms and pop culture. Her work can be found in such notable places as Seven Lions and even the mayor's office. We talk to her about her work and inspirations.

Award-winning Chicago photographer, Gail Mancuso, captures the unique pulse, silhouettes and forms reflected in urban landscapes, the female form and pop culture. Through her lens, Gail renders these quotidian subjects into strikingly elaborate compositions that subtly blur the boundary between photography and painterly impressions. With a discerning eye for color, texture and composition, her work is infused with a poetic sensibility and lingering curiosity.

Cities serve as an inspiration to you—how does Chicago capture your imagination?

As a Chicagoan and an urban street photographer, I find our cityscape captivating—whether it's sweeping architecture, jewel of a lake or the impressionable facade of the Art Institute—like no other place. And, on any given day, you can feel the diverse energy from the street pulsating to a charismatic and distinct rhythm of its own.

How did your La Femme series come about?

As a former model and woman, I have always been intrigued with the inherent beauty of the female form. Making the transition to photography, it was a natural progression to create my La Femme series as a tribute to women. Charcoal-like etchings of the female silhouette woven with patterned textures and adorned in pastel-infused watercolors draw the eye—and embody the essence of the fashionable Chicago woman.

What is it that attracts people to your work?

I think there’s an endless fascination with documenting modern city life today. Capturing this urban spectrum in a ‘stilled-in-life’ manner via my lens has universal appeal. I think there’s also a sense of realism that connects people in an immediate and relatable way; they see themselves and society reflected in my life-like photomosaics.

Who are the photographers whose work you admire and most influences your own work?

While there are certainly photographers I revere such as Ernst Haas and Saul Leiter, and painters including the likes of Andy Densler and Gerhard Richter, these artists didn’t necessarily have a direct influence on my work. Rather, in seeking to understand my own aesthetic, I chose to contextually define my works, relating to their keen sense of style. Ultimately, I believe all artists are subliminally influenced everyday by what we see, read, feel, and hear.

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