If you visit the new show at the P3Studio don’t expect to be lonely while looking at the art.
Engagement and interaction is the whole idea behind the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s P3Studio – and has been for the past five years.
P3 is on the third floor nestled among conference rooms, restaurants, lounge chairs, and a pool table. It’s a nice surprise to come upon this art gallery – and even the artist herself.
Photographer Mikayla Whitmore is the Cosmopolitan's new artist-in-residence. She calls her new show, “When the Night Comes.”
On her day job with the Greenspun Media Group:
“This month is packed with a lot for me to do. I’m a staff photographer for the Greenspun Media Group and they do the Las Vegas Weekly and the Las Vegas Sun and a couple of other magazines and publications. Day to day interaction, I’ll go out on a couple of shoots, help people take photographs in the light they want to be shown.”
On photojournalism versus art photography:
“It’s interesting because there is a mix of assignments. There are some that you go on and you have no idea except ‘shoot this item’ or there is a couple with my colleague Kristen Peterson we’ve teamed up and we’ve done a series of road trips almost. We just went to the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada and we wrote the story together. She was writing the words and I was taking the photo essay at the same time. So there were really a beautiful merger there happening. And sometimes in your art career or fine art photography, you’re communicating more with yourself and a story line”
On using old photographs and slides for the exhibit:
“Part of why I’m using the older slides is because when I burn onto them the chemical in the c-printing process used back then burns and almost caramelizes. Where today if you use modern photographs, printers, slides, it is more plastic based so it burns completely different and doesn't yield anywhere near the same effect”
On layering and the effect she is seeking when she uses the technique:
“Kind of like a palimpsest back in the olden times where writings would be constantly overridden that’s kind of how your mind works. So, when I brought the slides into the mix, being that they’re transparent images, once you start layering them you really see these beautiful abstract images that didn’t exist prior. In my installation, using the different projectors, some of the images I’ve burned into, I’ve colored in our corrupting down and then I will overlap the image coming from the projector”
On using old technology:
The projectors I use are all the same model. I was at a thrift store and I came across this Sawyer Rotomatic 700 it's one of the most beautiful things. The carousel where you put the slides in actual goes in vertical into the projector. It’s just a beautiful piece of machinery on its own. So, when I saw that, I needed a whole fleet.”
On digital photography versus non-digital:
"I appreciate it. I think there is definitely a need for both. I’m sad to see that the film days are slowly going away just in the sense of where you can get it processed, what films are being made but there’s definitely a need for both. When I was going to UNLV, they taught us black-and-white and color chemical processing and that was very imperative to how I work now even with digital because it just teaches you the color theory and it’s more hands on and you feel like you’re physically making something because your elbows are covered in chemical and you really feel great about it.”
On conversing with people at the gallery:
“Well this is definitely unique because this residency not only do you have the space for a month but they want that interactive element. So, instead of just going in ‘I’m making all this work and at the end of show, here’s my exhibit.’ Here’s my studio and we’re interacting and through that interaction I had one gentlemen come in with his wife and daughter from Michigan and they were just staying in the hotel and came in were like ‘this is so exciting’ and his words when he saw my installation was ‘Wow! This looks like garbage but I love it' and I wasn’t offended by that because he was saying it in the most genuine way possible.”
On how the exhibit will change:
“They’re very minute changes. I’m going to be photographing each day to sort of track what happens but over the 30 days I’m just slowly shifting the negatives, shifting where things project, add mirrors, taking away to just kind of track how again your mind alters things, corrupts, you never recall a memory the same way twice.”
On the title:
So, it’s interesting because right around the time I found out I got this opportunity my grandmother passed away then a ton of childhood landmarks, I was born and raised in Las Vegas, that I was used to started disappearing. A restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, called Fujis I would go to on the East Side. I would go to every year for my birthday, any special occasion. I was going for my birthday. We tried to make a reservation. We couldn’t get through. We showed up and it was closed. It was just closed overnight. It was this realization that all the things I once knew are kind of coming to an end. That chapter in my life is closing. And so when I find myself at night, I’m typically thinking about my day, what’s happening in my life, how I want to change things and right before I go to bed it’s that consciousness. You have a little bit of moment to yourself to reflect. So that was really taking place, where this show idea started to come from."
Mikayla Whitmore, Photographer