Q&A with Featured Artist, Joelle McTigue

Joelle McTigue is a British singer-songwriter. Joelle has received critical acclaim for her work and has been nominated as one of the BBC’s “Fresh Artists” in 2017, alongside artists like Ed Sheeran and Rag’n’Bone Man. Her style blends genres including pop, folk and country to create unique sounds that she herself defines as ‘folktronic’. The wide range of instruments used by Joelle allows her songs to be innovative while still sounding timelessly classic.

This article first appeared on Nifty’s website.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What city do you call home?

I was born in the Caribbean and migrated to Los Angeles as a young adult. I began my exploration of the city by choosing a beginning point, but never an end. I eventually began to carry my camera with me to chronicle the locations I discovered.

During my nomadic travels, my street photography grew to encompass design. I traveled for a few years, spending the most of my time in Europe learning about the culture and history of the various countries. Because cultural identification seems illusive to me, I admire those who are thoroughly aware of their own cultural identity and ancestry.

I started to examine how I might utilize street photography differently after being enamored with how vast European gardens have become public areas that symbolize the power dynamics of utilitarian, leisurely, and spiritual activities.

Within two weeks of my second trip to Montenegro, I decided to end my nomadic life and plant roots here. Finding the familiar in the unfamiliar led to my series, Control & Cooperation. Inspired by gardening rituals and Ray and Charles Eames’ Powers of Ten film, I manipulated my photography to emulate an aerial point of view.

What prompted you to put out your first NFT?

I wanted to investigate if NFT technology may help me come up with fresh ideas for my practice. I am open to experimenting with any new technology or form of art dissemination. I determine whether the technology matches my practice after I have a basic grasp of it.

It was to learn how to use Twitter that I originally signed up over a decade ago. I was conducting dérives at the time, but I started choosing my beginning place based on Twitter exchanges. The distinction between public and private areas became more blurred as I engaged in more encounters. Others’ decisions, on the other hand, influenced our online and offline personas.

The proliferation of zoom meetings and NFT art prompted me to reflect on how we now utilize technology in such a public manner, but our gadgets remain private and personal.

What drew you to this particular drop?

I turned my concentration to the Bay of Kotor, where I dwell, when the epidemic began. I started photographing botanicals and brainstorming ideas for my next series, all the while wondering how my little community could have such a diverse range of plants.

Many of the local culture’s holidays, rituals, and tourism marketing are based on botanicals brought back by seafarers from other regions. I was interested in learning more about how urban botanical gardens became an important part of the community’s story and how that story was translated into cultural identity.

The opportunity to produce something expressly to fill a device’s dark emptiness also piqued my interest. So, particularly for widescreen TVs, monitors, and phones, I produced The Mediterranean Botanicals Collection: Bay of Kotor. The picture fills the screen, creating a lightbox effect.

My rendition of sunlight stained glass with coastal Mediterranean environment may also be sent to someone’s private place anywhere in the globe thanks to technology.

1646353108_191_QA-with-Featured-Artist-Joelle-McTigueRose, a captain’s settlement and the Bay of Kotor’s oldest harbor, is seen in this photograph. Joelle McTigue provided this image.

What has changed in your work as a result of this series?

It has grown flatter visually, and I am basing my writing on Evliya elebi’s travelogs. While he employed first-person storytelling to illustrate places and civilizations, he freely embraced stories and folklore. As a result, his writings contain both humorous literature and the reality of life, even if his tales aren’t his own.

I’ve lived in Montenegro for many years, but I’ll never be an expert on the many causes that shaped the country’s character. I can only provide my opinion based on what I’ve read and experienced. My work provides a window into how the Mediterranean scenery, particularly around the Bay of Kotor, is varied and remarkable.

The Mediterranean Botanicals Collection: Bay of Kotor is just getting started, therefore I’m looking forward to learning more about what drives and supports local communities narratives and histories.

Do you think of your job as photography?

Yes. Every snapshot is touched by a human hand, thus it cannot depict perfect reality. The photographer’s point of view comes through in his or her timing, location, and technical choices. It is also influenced by the editing.

Color correction or another picture editing method comes to mind when I think about my hand manipulation and distortion. Every item is from the original image in The Mediterranean Botanicals Collection: Bay of Kotor, even though I forced a flatter perspective.

For example, in Myrtle-leaf Milkwort, Origin South Africa, you may recognize the photograph’s intricacies up close. The red wagon is a 1946 wagon from the Socialist Republic of Montenegro period, photographed on the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, in 2019. The blue automobile is a Yugoslavian-era vehicle, whereas the orange vehicle is a modern electric vehicle.

Then there’s Coconut Palm, which comes from Brazil, and Mimosa, which comes from Australia. The blues are the shutters of a historic home at the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, 2021. Finally, the petals and leaves of the flowers may be seen throughout the sequence. My goal is to add to the existing narrative and promote debate.

QA-with-Featured-Artist-Joelle-McTigueMyrtle-leaf Milkwort, Joelle McTigue, South Africa. 2019 photograph of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro

What did you learn about the history of the botanicals?

The mariner history of the Bay of Kotor is far richer than I imagined. During the Middle Ages, the bay’s naval force grew to 300 ships to safeguard the region’s important salt trade. However, its maritime history may date back to the Balkan Bronze Age. Great European empires (Roman, Ottoman, Venetian, Napoleon, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian) have all possessed a section of the Bay of Kotor for strategic and commercial reasons throughout millennia.

Today, the Bay of Kotor works to revitalize and preserve its architectural heritage while preserving its natural beauty and traditions. The repair of Kotor’s Venetian architecture is still being funded by Venice, Italy. Around the harbor, abandoned military buildings have been turned into five-star resorts and marinas that welcome big yachts. Every year at dusk on July 22nd, sailors gather around Our Lady of the Rocks, a sailor-formed island near Pearst, for the fainada rite of tossing rocks into the sea.

The UNESCO-protected site’s coastline environment has been shaped by empires, commerce, heritage, medicine, religion, and aesthetics. My goal is to use the modern lens of technology to honor the origins of identity and environment.


Read more about this initiative and the Bay of Kotor’s botanical history here.


Q&A with Featured Artist, Joelle McTigue was originally published in Nifty’s on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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