The Middle of Nowhere, meet Thomas Pickarski

This month’s artist, Thomas Pickarski; will have his work on display for the month of March in the Camera Work Gallery.  His show titled: The Middle of Nowhere,  is a collection of black and white photographs he took on his solo travels to magnificent places.
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Tell me more about The Middle of Nowhere, what places did you travel to?  Why did you choose those places?
I lived in the scorching deserts of Arizona for many years.  I love the large and lunar type landscapes.  Wide open spaces.  Places where there seems to be nothing and no one.  And now that I have lived in New York City for a long time, I am even more intensely drawn to opposing settings.  I like traveling to cooler climates during our summer.  Arctic deserts.  So I go to Iceland every summer for a month.  I have also been to Greenland, The Faroe Islands of the North Atlantic, Norway, New Zealand, and Patagonian Chile and Argentina.
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When did you decide to take your 1st trip alone?  Where was that 1st trip?  And what did you learn?
The fear factor of the wilderness intrigued me.  I really didn’t feel comfortable out there alone back when I started this.  I started reading stories of travelers who went way out there.  I really admired them.  And it is certainly true that the most amazing scenery on earth is tucked away in some of the most remote locations.  My first trip alone through the wilderness was to Iceland almost seven years ago.  I thought I knew what I was doing.  I anticipated the first days bike ride would take four or five hours, and that I would buy groceries at the town I was heading toward.  Turns out the bike ride took eleven hours.  I was pushing the bike up muddy gravel roads and over snowy mountain passes.  And there was no town.  What looked like a town on the map was a farm.  Then there were torrential winds all through the night like I have never experienced before.  The tent came crashing down on me and I ended up taking a bus out of there the next day in search of food.  When I did get to a town, I saw a picture on the front page of the newspaper with a bloody polar bear on it.  The winds were so heavy over the entire region, two polar bears were blown over on icebergs from Greenland.  Iceland has no dangerous animals, so they have no tranquilizers for something like a polar bear.  A specialist with tranquilizers was on their way from Denmark when the polar bears got into residential areas.  Unfortunately, they were shot by local authorities.
I learned that travel in the places I am drawn to is slow.  Very slow.  You need to be prepared for that kind of timing.  In addition to how much food I think I will need till I get to a town, I now carry two days emergency food as well.
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What do you enjoy most about creating art?  What inspires you to create? 
I most enjoy when the body of work is at a point of no return.  Thats when confidence appears behind what seemed to be random parts, and the best thing I can do is get out of my own way, and let the connections take place and simply allow the art be born.
I bumped into someone on the street the other day that follows my work.  She said, “I think about your photographs”.  That is very deep.  I think when the artist’s connection to their subject matter or process is alive, truthful, and connected, they help the viewer tap into an experience on the level of their own soul.
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I read you are also a Yoga teacher…. does your art and yoga tie in together??
In terms of the process, teaching yoga is one of my creative processes.  I have been teaching for so long, at this point it is highly intuitive for me.  A fellow yoga teacher once said to me, “your standing there speaking with your eyes closed, and everyone in the room is unbelievably connected, its like your channelling”.   I really enjoy the time based elements I work with when I am teaching.  Like sound, spoken word, and spontaneity.  And of course the live element is very exciting.  I am blessed to have a very strong following of dedicated and adventurous practitioners.
And in just a few words what do you want to inspire? 
Freedom from limitation.
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