Photographer Sally Stockhold doesn’t just shoot pictures: She’s a set designer, costumer, historian, actress and, sometimes, her own subject, caught in the act of living her own wildest dreams and impersonating famous artists and pop figures. A New Yorker who had a successful career as a commercial photographer before coming to Denver, Stockhold will have work in two shows for Month of Photography 2017; get to know her first as she answers the 100CC questionnaire.
Sally Stockhold: I would love to have collaborated with Charlotte Moorman, the founder of the annual New York Avant Garde Art Festival, beginning in 1963 and ending fifteen years later in 1980. Moorman was also a performance artist and notorious as the “topless cellist” performing modern music with her antique cello. She collaborated with many avant-garde artists of the time, including Nam June Paik, the “father of video art,” and notable composers and modern artists such as John Cage, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Christo and many others. I admired Moorman greatly for her creativity, her daring, and her energy and unstoppability in the face of continuous obstacles.
Sort of like being a fly on the wall, I had the experience of working for Moorman for a short time while she was producing the New York Avant Garde Art Festival at Grand Central Terminal in 1973.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
One of the projects I am researching for a continuation of my "The Life I Never Lived" series will focus on activist movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s. What interests me is that difficult time when the establishment demonized these movements. We are now beginning to realize that many activists, including Kathleen Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Jane Fonda, Angela Davis, Tom Hayden and Stokely Carmichael were advocating for and protesting against many of the same issues that are relevant to all of us now.
While not yet a trend, there has been a growing wave of backlash on social media and in some circles against artists who have courageously used their platform to protest the new president and his political views. Distressing as this is, my hope is that we, as artists, will stand in solidarity with our peers and not allow the rhetoric to manifest into a trend of censorship and fear.
What’s your day job?
I have been in the residential real-estate business with my sister, Kathleen Foster, since we moved to Denver in 1994.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Just when exciting galleries and artist studios began to gain traction in the RiNo district, many artists and galleries were forced out by the gentrification in the neighborhood. Though there are plans in Colorado to create small live/work communities primarily outside of Denver containing eighty or so units, most to be completed in no less than five years, there are no ambitious plans to help the hundreds and hundreds of artists needing affordable live/work spaces in Denver.
If I were granted unlimited money from a patron, I would build and fund a 500-unit, live/work affordable-housing community. This would become a place where artists, young and old, with or without families, could live and interact both socially and creatively with each other and the public. There would be a large space for art shows, lectures, concerts and performing arts; a teaching cafeteria for budding chefs; indoor/outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs open all year around; vegetable and herb gardens; a small farm — a destination place in Denver to which visitors from everywhere would travel to experience a model thriving arts community, thereby benefiting our city and maybe their cities, as well.
If that mystery patron came along, I would really love to buy back my apartment in New York City. I could cozy up to the non-working fireplace and the ever-changing views of the Hudson River….
But seriously, I have given much time and energy into establishing myself as an artist and realtor in Denver. And in truth, Colorado and the Denver art scene have been more of an inspiration for my art than the New York scene ever was. Besides, my two daughters and extended family live here, as well as a great number of friends.
What’s the one thing Denver could do to help the arts?
Referring back to the mystery patron again, is it so hard to imagine that Denver artists should have the state, local and private support to develop a very large and thriving live/work affordable-housing community?
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I will always be grateful to Sharon Brown, an amazingly gifted figurative painter, and her husband, Rex Brown, a well-known educator, lecturer and writer. In 2011, they gave me a solo show at their stunning studio and home, the Pattern Shop Studio. Sharon and Rex were trailblazers in the RiNo Art District, and are active members of the Denver art scene. They have hosted dozens and dozens of exhibits for Colorado artists and continue to generously open up their home and studio on First Fridays to the art-loving public.
A shout-out to Mark Sink, as well. Almost everyone in the arts has heard of Mark, and most are acquainted with his dedication in creating the vast and still growing biennial Month of Photography series in Denver. He has been supportive of an unbelievable number of artists, all of whose names and photographic styles he keeps in a Rolodex in his large brain!
I took some time off this year from my "Icons" from history series and began shooting color photos of my daughter’s left-over dishes in the sink. The photos in this series are printed on watercolor paper with added hand-coloring. During Month of Photography, I’ll be exhibiting the sink photographs at Walker Fine Art. Also in March, I will exhibit photographs from the "Ode to Icons" series in a group show at the Pace Gallery in Parker.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
Brenda Biondo will be showing new work at Goodwin Gallery in March. Her latest abstract color photos are fascinating and should garner her a lot of attention.
Susan Blake is a photographer and painter. In the past, Susan has shown her photography in Denver. However, in 2016, she exhibited complex optical and geometric pattern paintings at several galleries. They were well received by both reviewers in town and by the public, and I am looking forward to seeing what new work she is working on now.
Steve Legg, aka s.legg, is a young conceptual artist who had his first solo in 2016 at the former Hinterland Art Space in RiNo. Steve is an “out of the box” creative, who uses photography, video and detritus to create screamingly funny 2-D and 3-D objects. Keep going, Steve — we want more!
During Month of Photography 2017, work by Sally Stockhold will be displayed in Unexplored Terrain, a juried group show opening March 10 at Walker Fine Art and running through April 28, and Women Behind the Lens, running March 1 through April 17 at the PACE Center Art Gallery in Parker, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. March 16. Learn more about Stockhold and her work online.