LuAnn Ostergaard, states “as a visual explorer and in the spirit of discovery, I pull on my leather boots, sling a camera across my back and go out in search of hidden beauty.”

Certainly as a fellow photographer, I can dig that. I have not seen the work that LuAnn will be showing at Studio TWO ZERO TWO this week, but I have read that “inspiration may come while walking through the gritty chaos of a metal scrapyard or a forgotten nature area …”

And that is where we shall open the door into her thoughts.

She, like many artists, is attracted to “imperfection.” Her language repeats the intent to embrace the layers of time, location and decay. Other local photographers negotiate a similar aesthetic in their visual language. For example photographer Tara Graves finds inspirations looking through multiples, patterns and abstract relations found in the symbiosis, of walls, doors, trees and light. LuAnn adds, her work is to illuminate “the overlooked beauty all around us.” Coming from a long line of creatives in Kennewick, Washington she was always welcome to use the “family’s workshop full of paints, brushes and tools.” As a self taught artist LuAnn believes that her “own distinctive style” brings “fresh contributions to the art world.”

In the 1990s LuAnn had a life pivot while living in Portland’s vibrant art scene. It was there that she bought her first digital camera and learned the wonders of Photoshop. In hearing of this pivot, images of the wild west and breaking rules run through my head. From her description LuAnn takes multiple images and for an ethereal effect, while holding to some realism, she integrates landscapes and objects. With a swift shift from tradition, boots or no boots, she is no longer a landscape photographer. Instead, by her description, she is creating her own world.

What does the pursuit of authenticity look like? I have endeavored to know my authentic self better and I feel this helps me create art rich with meaning.

Titled work or untitled? I title all of my work. I like to nudge the viewer toward my vision and intention of the work, but at the same time, I strive to choose a title that is ambiguous. I may intend a piece to look like a desert landscape and the viewer may see it as a seascape.

Describe a pivotal moment in your life: Twenty five years ago I decided to step out of the corporate world to create my artwork full time. I decided I would leave my position as an ad exec and live the life I was supposed to live as an artist.

What is your favorite place to be in Walla Walla County? I have fond memories of visiting my grandmother’s house in Walla Walla two blocks from Pioneer Park. We would walk to the park and spend afternoons looking at the exotic birds in the aviaries.

Is your art your work or your hobby? I am a full-time artist and I have sold my work in 135 cities and 5 countries. I have participated in many top ten rated art festivals. I also have gallery representation with Phinney Gallery, Blackwell Gallery and Earthenworks Gallery.

Talk about a connecting thread that spans throughout your work. ‘Wabi Sabi’, the art of finding simple beauty in nature, this is a connecting thread.  Natural patterns on weathered surfaces reveal themselves to me and I might discover a hint of what looks like a distant mountain or wisp of a cloud in a surface and use that as a starting point in a composition.

What other artist would you like others to know about? My son, Joseph Rastovich. He is a sculptor. I go along to the steel scrapyard where he buys metal for his sculptures and take photographs of rusty surfaces while there to use in my work. Website RastovichArt.com

Music or quiet when you work? I try to choose music that fits my mood and also fits feel of the piece I’m working on. I have a sense the music gets infused into the piece along with my creative energy and makes for a more powerful piece.

What will you leave behind? My desire is to leave behind a body of artwork that gives a glimpse of my journey as an artist and to have a window into who I was and what I was trying to convey with my work.

Any advice? An artist must know their own truth. If they’re into it, their artwork will be powerful and thought provoking. If they don’t they cannot create honestly and the artwork may be hollow.

Augusta Sparks Farnum is a resident artist at Studio Two Zero Two, 202 Main St. To learn more about her work, see augustasparks.com. For more about the gallery, see studio202gallery.com.