Andrea Sparrow

Executive Producer – Arctic Arts Project
Traveling the planet has given Andrea a window into the natural world, from the tiniest plants and creatures to the great vistas gained from the air. Patterns are revealed at all levels that hold regardless of scale. “I find comfort in this simplicity because while there are a great many components, it feels as though they assemble in similar ways into living systems that have an inherent symbiosis allowing them to operate together. Questions are constant in my mind as I explore. Our instinctive desire for comfort and safety has led us to endanger ourselves, yet we seem unable to adjust to a less comfortable way of being in order to preserve the very environment we require to survive.” Andrea is an artist, a scientist and an explorer at heart, driven by a desire to understand and possibly, through her visual communications mediums, help change this trajectory on which we find ourselves.

Kerry Koepping, Director

I see this as a gift.

It could all be seen as simply depressing, making us want to turn away from what the Arctic is telling us. But I see this message as a gift. In the Arctic, we are able to see firsthand how deeply a place can be altered by a warmer climate. The Arctic is a sentinel telling us to move quickly to change the way we function on this planet, to change the way we see this planet. It is not a thing with endless resources for us to squander. It is a living system made up of countless, smaller, living systems, working together to create this beautiful, habitable place.

Exhibitions & Presentations

I try to capture a stillness in my photography. Not to stop something midstream, but to find a moment when motion has ceased, like an intake of breathe before the exhale.

INSTAAR- Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
Boulder, Colorado
60 Image Exhibition representing the Arctic Arts Photographic Team
Open Monday-Friday
IUCN- International Union for the Conservation of Nature,

Brussels, Belgium- Presentation on May Key Indicators Expedition to Greenland
Les Bois Film Festival
Official Selection for "Into the Delta", Boise, idaho
Alexa Rose Foundation
Artist Grant for "Into the Delta", Boise, Idaho
Praxis Gallery
"Empty Places, Abandoned Spaces", Minneapolis, Minnesota

Interview with Andrea Sparrow

Describe some of the biggest challenges in eliciting a visual response to the changes in our environment.

I think it’s actually remarkably easy to elicit a response from people. Most people respond to beauty and a good story. The work of our photographers conveys the science and emotion of climate change in the Arctic on multiple levels and people respond to that. What is more difficult, infinitely so, is to elicit changes in behavior. We want to inspire people to actually alter the way they go about their lives with the environment and the future in mind. It’s the challenge of everyone who understands what is happening with climate change and it is a difficult task get people to go from emotion to action.

 

The Arctic Arts Project is a collaborative process. Tell us a bit about what it is like to work with a team of storytellers, each of whom has their own interpretation of art. How do you bring these styles together to create a cohesive dialogue?

Collaboration is so much better than working individually. Each artist has their own way of seeing the world and we each find pieces the others didn’t catch. To go to a location with three or four other people and then look over the work at the end of the day is just incredible. The picture is larger. The story more complete. We all feel a sense of accomplishment individually and in aggregate. To have the work of such amazing photographers to pull from when putting together films gives a more complete sense of a place. It feels like a true window into the space, where you can see from different points of view in a cohesive way.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in photography.

I grew up in a military family. We moved often and traveled whenever we could. As a fairly introverted child, I had a tendency to wander off alone and became pretty observant of the world around me. I feel like my eyes were really opened when we lived in Japan when I was in junior high. The attention to detail and aesthetics there was endless. And there was such history to these aspects of Japanese culture. I learned to appreciate the beauty of all things and to pay attention to the very small details. I don’t have depth perception. My right eye wanders a bit and seems to be dedicated to peripheral vision. I think this difference in how I see the world influences how I take photographs. I always see the world in 2D, so everything is easy to see as a photograph.

My father bought a Nikon FE2 and a book on the basics of photography when I was 8 years old. I remember him showing me how the camera worked and explaining how the picture was made on film and then on paper. I got my own camera when I was in high school and have been taking pictures ever since. I still have his old book on the basics of photography and I still have an FE2, even if I don’t get to use it very often.

We are watching the world change. Our work is to share the changes we see, along with the science behind them. If people understand what is happening on multiple levels, they will understand that we need to change the way we see the planet and its resources.

Andrea Sparrow, Executuve Producer, Arctic Arts Project