Wayne Oxford Photography – Toby McGuire
Music chosen by Toby
What’s your background?
I grew up just outside of Boston, MA. I got instilled with a love of nature and particularly the New England coastline at a young age. I was lucky enough to be able to go out on my Grandfather’s boat moored on the North Shore of Massachusetts. A bit of seasickness aside it was an amazing experience that has stuck with me. Combine that with growing up in the city and I have an appreciation for both city and nature.
Does your artwork come from that background?
To some degree, yes. I have hundreds of images of the New England coastline up on my Fine Art America portfolio. Many of Boston and surrounding cities too. Of course I have branched out and come to appreciate many other landscapes as well.
One of the most amazing experiences I have had outside of my upbringing was witnessing the amazing landscapes of Arizona a few years ago, especially driving into Sedona. The Red Rock landscapes were just incredible, absolutely breathtaking.
Realistically we are constantly being influenced by new things, it never ends so my background is still in progress and always will be.
What are you trying to say with your work?
I think I’m just trying to capture what I am feeling being in a particular place. Whether that be by using a particular lens or a particular lighting at a certain time of day or a certain season. I’m really trying to represent the feeling a place gives me.
What made you choose the medium you work with?
I love photography because really the sky is the limit for what you can do. There is so much adventure in traveling to and exploring new places. The peacefulness of being on an empty beach at sunrise with just the sound of the waves crashing. Different perspective you can get with different lenses.
Do you work in a studio?
My studio is a laptop and a couch :).
What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?
Probably my laptop and a cat constantly asleep in my lap as I’m editing photos.
Who are your biggest influences?
Odd to say but Fine Art America as a whole, the internet in general and the world in general. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve followed an artist or photographer specifically but I might see an image that really grabs me and want to recreate it but in my own way. For instance, Vivian Gucwa‘s beautiful New York City night snow storm photos. They REALLY caught my eye. It just made me want to go out in a snow storm around Boston and try to capture a similar feeling in my city, so every time we got hit with a snow storm in Boston last winter I knew I would be out in it. Being out in a nor’easter trying to keep my camera dry… That is fun to me!
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
So hard to say. I go out with my camera very regularly and cover many different places so it’s really hard to choose just one. It’s not just the image itself but the experiences had while getting the image. I can give you my current favorite. Right now I think it’s a picture of Marcy Dam from the Adirondacks. It changes all the time though.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
I would say a few hours to a few days. On average though between going to a location, shooting and editing probably 4 or 5 hours.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
I never truly know if an image is finished. In fact I very often go back and re-edit older photos especially as I keep learning new techniques with the various image editing programs on my computer. In a way I never see an image as being completely done, there is continual revision.
What project are you working on now?
I’m really in the process of two projects right now. First, I am exploring and photographing more interesting things in my general area that I’ve never seen before. When the conditions are right I’ll visit various lakes, ponds, beaches, downtown areas, etc. of the cities around me camera always onhand of course.
My second ongoing project is photographing the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. I’ve been going out there once a month or so when the weather is good and we will hike up a mountain or two on the path to becoming a ’46er’ – that is hiking to the summit of all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. The beauty there is just incredible. We recently managed to get to a summit just before sunrise which meant hitting the trail at around 2am.
Music chosen by Toby
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Always have a decent camera on you. Many of my photos are just things that have unfolded in my normal daily routine, so it’s always good to have a high quality camera with me. I love my Sony RX100 for that.
What was the first piece of art you sold?
In the summer of 2013 three months after I opened my Etsy shop to my shock I got a sales notification on my phone. I had sold an 8×10 print of Mablehead Harbor in Marblehead, MA. Of course it would be many months after that until sale #2 but it was this drought that really got me working on my tags/keywords and eventually got me selling on a regular basis.
Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld? ie is it really hard work? Do you find it confusing?
So far I’ve navigated the art world sort of like trying to navigate yourself through a room in the dark, trying to feel things out and not smash a shin or stub a toe in the process. When I started I basically chucked up a few images on Etsy to see what would happen because a friend told me I should sell my work (you’re not supposed to judge your work based on friends and family say, right?). It’s basically been a feel-it-out as you go proposition for me, truly I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to the business end of this. I put stuff online, gradually learned how to tag it, kept uploading more stuff. Sales started to come slowly and eventually even home decor companies started contacting me to use some of my work here and there.
I just keep try to consistently push the boulder in the right direction.
Covering untapped markets really adds to the fun and adventure of it all. I’ve seen so many cool places. To me it doesn’t feel like hard work at all because I am really enjoying the process. Patience in the beginning was key.
What are you personally doing to advance your work career?
Selling my photos is really a side gig at this point but regardless I am still always working on growing it. I am always pursuing the thing I love the most and that is being out with my camera. I love covering new ground, experiencing an area then uploading it here. I’m really trying to carve out many markets and I have seen pretty steady growth doing that. I’ve also sold at three festivals so far and likely more this fall.
How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?
I really tried to find a happy medium between being affordable but not underpricing my work. I basically priced it on what I might be willing to pay. I will occassionally experiment with pricing on cards just to see it more people will buy things. Oddly even when I price things like greeting cards at bargain basement level I am still selling my images as regular prints the vast majority of the time.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I admit not as much as I should. I’m really off and on with it and haven’t really put enough effort in to make any significant headway on any particular platform. I probably use Instagram the most but mostly because I actually enjoy using it, not as a sales tool. Regardless I do have a few SM links to share.
Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?
Maybe the disagreements over what works/what doesn’t work. I think it’s human nature to believe the thing that works for you is the absolute best way for everyone to do things (I am guilty of this too). I think we’ve all learned that different artists find success through different methods and strategies.
What advice would you give new artists?
I would say don’t get into creating art just to sell it, you need to absolutely love what you’re doing.
Music chosen by Toby
Have you got hobbies?
Technically I guess this is really a hobby for me. Also I have been enjoying building video games. Many fun aspects to it that requires lots of creativity, artwork, music, sound effects, building the gameplay mechanics and worlds. It really is an art form. Hiking is also a big one.
Where are you based?
Wayne Oxford Photography – Toby McGuire
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I live in Manchester, UK and try to promote other artists and writers when I can.I'm so pleased you found our community and I hope to chat to you soon!!Please comment on my posts if you like them 🙂