Full-time Grad School Student

I feel lucky that after spending years living in this small city I am getting the opportunity to experience it in a way I never have; as a student. A few weeks ago, I started Graduate school.

A Master’s degree has been something I always wanted and intended to pursue. I cannot verbalize how happy being in school again makes me even though I find myself knee-deep in readings, papers, and illustrations. Yes it is stressful, yes it is a lot of work but yes, it is one of the most gratifying and fulfilling experiences I’ve had to date.

I believe that going to college, like everything else, is what you make it and for me, I am taking advantage of every minute. I am diving into subjects with amazing professors and colleagues in a way that no other experience has allowed me to. I am also getting a lot of time at the library and walks along the East Side of Providence which is so lovely this time of year.

Here’s a snap shot of some of my days in Grad School at Brown University and RISD so far. A lot of coffee, me with coffee, library time, nature, awesome Brown architecture, RISD Nature Lab, and PVD.

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“There really is only one, and that is this: To fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being. You want to max out your humanity by using your energy to lift yourself up, your family, and the people around you.”
-Oprah Winfrey

 

don’t quit your day dream.
xo,
Olivia

// all photography by Olivia //

Archer & Co. Tintype Photobooth Inventor: Phillip Leblanc *An Interview*

Today I am bringing you Providence local, Archer & Co. Tintype Photobooth creator, Phillip LeBlanc. I had the pleasure of meeting Phillip a few weeks ago and the moment I saw what he was doing I knew he needed to be a part of Winter Moon.

Kelly and I visited his workplace/studio at iolabs where we had an amazing photoshoot! Phillip and his lovely girlfriend, Melissa, photographed us with a vintage tintype camera! At the end of the shoot Phillip taught us how to use the vintage camera, how awesome is that?!

We know you’ll love this interview and encourage you to get a tintype portrait by Archer & Co.

Ladies and gentlemen, Phillip LeBlanc….

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What is Archer & Co?

“Like everyone that graduates with a degree in fine arts the difficulty is establishing a balance between making art and holding down a real job. That’s when the Tintype photobooth idea came alive. The goal of the Tintype Photobooth was to find a middle ground, a profitable venture where a fine art craft could meet an everyday purpose. Besides the practical need for making a living, and having a creative outlet for myself, taking the photobooth into the real world was also a logical next step from my previous RISD thesis work.”

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Tell us about Tintype and the process it takes to create one.

“A tintype is a direct positive photograph on a thin metal plate with either silver halide crystals suspended in wet collodion, or in our case, dry gelatin emulsion.”
“I won’t bore you with a long list of details but each plate is created from raw material and chemical that undergoes a series of laborious steps done myself by hand. I like to call the final result a ‘modern tintype’ as we have replaced the extremely toxic chemicals the original process involved with new and safer ones. However, the process itself remains historically authentic. In staying with tradition, I love bringing the photobooth to fairs and events as street tintype photographers had done through the 19th century.”

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4X5 tintype. Phillip LeBlanc.

How did Archer & Co. come about? 

“In short, this body of work is a photographic narrative following the life of Archer Flaneur, a metaphorical 20th turn of the century version of myself, experiencing life in the modern world as I have.  A requirement of the thesis was to present this work at two gallery shows. For the second show, I took Archer to a new level of performance and created a carnival outside the gallery with face painting, a large-scale zoetrope, and ,you guessed it, live tintype portraits.”

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What does Archer & Co. mean/stand for?

“When we first started I knew that Archers name would be included. The rest, coincidentally, fell into my lap upon finding an antique brief case perfect for storing tintype chemicals at a flea market. Its manufacturing label read Archer & Co. Baggage Build. The discovery felt like a small peace of the future falling into place. How fitting to add the Co. as a reference to my girlfriend Melissa, and friends and family that have been helping me run the photobooth at fairs from the beginning. Its also coincidence that a man named Fredrick Scott Archer developed the first chemical process for tintypes in the 1850’s!”

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Why did you decide to use tintype as your creative medium?

“I look around today and see how much the screen has replaced real human connection and experience. Archer & Co. tintype photobooth embodies an experience and a bi-product (the handmade tintype) that exemplifies what’s becoming lost in these modern times.”

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8×10 tintype. Phillip LeBlanc.

Inspiration plays a huge role in people’s creative process. Tell us what inspires you?

“Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere, one must simply know how to see and recognize it. The logo of the photobooth is the eye of providence yet the rays of light extend into numbers that resemble the aperture and shutter speeds labeled on many camera lenses. Our eyes anatomically work exactly the way a lens and camera does, changing the perspective changes the reality.”

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Are you originally from Providence?

“Nope, Leicester Massachusetts.”

What made you decide to come and stay in Rhode Island?

“In 2007, I moved to Providence to study painting at RISD, since graduating I decided to stay largely to avoid the trend to move to New York city. I wanted to begin my career as an artist and start Archer & Co. in a place that was more economically viable to live as an artist.”

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“I love the Providence night life, the local bands, the venues and especially seeing the Tropigals (a great vintage dance troupe). We also have some awesome parks in RI. Prospect Park has such a great view for meditating and Lincoln Woods park is perfect to escape into nature, exercise, and enjoy the wildlife.”

Tell us some of the things you love about living and working here in Rhode Island.

“I’m privileged to work at iolabs (a custom printing and imaging company) at which I get to work with some great artists on displaying their work at gallery shows. I love the seasons in Rhode Island and particular its proximity to all the great places New England has to offer. We also have a great community of artists here in Providence.”

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What is the best piece of advice anyone has given you?

“Don’t get me wrong, Ive been given plenty of awesome advice from friends, family, and mentors but the most important advise comes from within. There is a fire burning in all of us and it often points us in directions that are risky and and illogical but for good reasons. These directions help us realize who we are and where we are going.”

What advice would you give to our readers trying to start their own business?

Archer & Co. made its first official event in the spring of 2011 and although we’ve come a long way, we haven’t quite reached the small business level. Were still facing many logistical issues when it comes to fairs and events and could use some marketing expertise to pick up our outreach but I haven’t let that discourage me.”

Nothing great has ever been created without a string of roadblocks as a prelude.”

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8×10 tintype. Phillip LeBlanc.

Describe your personal style.

“When I take the photobooth to events or fairs I’ll often dress as Archer, based off Charlie Chaplain’s tramp character. I could easily wear my bowler hat and suit all the time and slide right into the artistic hipster aesthetic but that’s never really appealed to me. My creative energy only enters into the art for the viewer, I don’t feel the need to externalize it into my appearance.”

“I like being an average looking crazy person.”

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How do you take your coffee?

“With lots of espresso!”

Favorite quote?

“A day without laughter is a day wasted” – Charlie Chaplin

Who would you say you admire? 

“A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure. Another quote from Charlie Chaplain summarizes why admire him.”

Any last thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?

“As an artist, Ive always felt boxed into the “gallery” as the only serious way to show and sell ones work to the world. Seeking a new way to create and share art has meant all the difference to my art practice. I encourage all you creative thinkers out there to go out on a limb, break old boundaries and make new ground!”


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How can our readers contact you and get an amazing tintype photograph taken by you?!

Pricing:

8 X 10 = Tintype portrait $50

4×5 = Tintype portrait $25

  • You can find out where we will be setting up the photobooth for fairs and events by following us on the Archer & Co. Facebook page! 
  • If you’re not in the Rhode Island area– there’s great news!! Digital tintypes will also be available as a collaborative effort between Archer & Co. and iolabs. You can send us ANY digital photo, via email, and I will make it into a tintype! Once we receive the file it’s then inkjet printed onto a transparency which I then use to contact expose onto a tintype plate. (We plan to officially launch the details and pricing on the iolabs web site next month but shoot me an email if your interested now!)”

 

Be sure you check out Phillip’s studio and get photographed by him! His prices are outrageously affordable, and keeping the art of tintype alive is such a gem. We know we will treasure our tintypes!

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xo,

Olivia

 

3 Places to see in Providence

Hi readers!

Providence is full of history and charm. I really feel as if I’ve only scratched the surface of all there is to discover in this area. Today, I wanted to share a sneak peak of 3 places with you guys. I have been to all of these places, but need to schedule an actual tour to learn all about the history and details of these beautiful buildings.

#1.-  The Rhode Island State House. This building is iconic to Providence. Here is a sneak peak of the inside:

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They offer free 50 minute long guided tours, 5 times a day, 5 days a week! Go here to schedule one: https://sos.ri.gov/publicinfo/tours/

#2.- The Providence Biltmore. This building is stunning on the outside and inside!

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This Hotel has a Starbucks and a McCormick & Schmick’s in the Lobby, as well as a Spa, and almost 300 guest rooms. They also are known for throwing some really rad weddings. You can check them out here: http://www.providencebiltmore.com/

#3.- The RISD Fleet Library. Located in the heart of Providence this is a great resource!

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This library provides hours of reading and inspiration. I love sitting here and gazing out the window overlooking downtown Providence. You can check out their website here: http://library.risd.edu/

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I love being a tourist in my own town, it’s a great way to escape and feel like I’m somewhere else.

What are some of your favorite places in your city?! We’d love to hear where you’re from. Leave us a comment below!

xo,

Liv

You can also check out other related Providence posts here:

What I want to be when I grow up.

I am here to share my story with you. I am a very curious person and because of that, I have done many things in life and continue to explore. I saw this photo floating around a few months ago,  it struck a chord with me and really made me think and wonder, what do I want to be when I grow up? olivia_ life quote

I’m sorry if that’s a little intense but I  know that a lot of our readers feel this way. Going through life, through the motions of it all, trying to figure out how to do the things you love for a living. And if not, trying to figure out what it is you love.

Providence has played a big role in shaping who I am today and how I continue to evolve. How could a city shape my view on life?! Let me explain. I moved here with very specific life goals for myself. I wasn’t very flexible with myself and when my plan got derailed I was extremely disappointed.

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Providence is filled with so many incredible people. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s true! Because Providence is so small, in a few months you can really understand the city and get to know a range of people. Shortly after moving here, I was able to meet and become friends with all sorts of people. I began taking classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, where my instructors challenged me and my ideas. I was able to create and meet other interesting people expressing themselves through art making. I’m not saying it was easy. I would come home in tears because my skills were not up to par in my drawing class or  because I melted my project while soldering in my jewelry class. The jewelry instructor is now one of my best friends and my drawing Professor taught me so much about drawing, and it turns out I am a really good illustrator!

As years went on, I pursued other creative endeavors in styling and fashion.

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Being around people who are challenging themselves, trying things, and putting themselves out there is really so inspiring. Growth is supposed to be uncomfortable. Diving into the world around you and trying new things can be extremely scary. What has helped me is having a good attitude and welcoming change. The unknown can be scary and the day to day routines can become frustrating, but if you make progress every day you will see results.

This leads me to my main idea. So what do I want to be when I grow up? Honestly, I am still not sure exactly what that will look like, but I can tell you this. I want to inspire people. I want to teach, challenge, and help people see the potential in themselves. Because of that, I feel that I am already doing what I want to do when I grow up. I want to do one thing every day that inspires someone. Whether it’s with a quote, a photo, or a story; I want to inspire people.

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I can tell you right now, that life has no clear path. No one has a manual for you, but I want to encourage you to try things. Challenge yourself and engage with life around you. I am not saying that it will be easy, but I promise when you look back at your life you will be proud that you tried and pushed yourself beyond what you thought possible.

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xo,

Olivia