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In anticipation of the release of The Walnut Branch magazine Volume 1, we interviewed each featured artist to learn more about their artistic journeys, inspirations, and processes.

Today we spoke with the talented photographer, Jay Bailey.

Q: Can you share a bit about your artistic journey and what inspired you to pursue your chosen medium?

My grandfather was a photographer and my parents had prints of his hanging around the house growing up. One day I asked my dad how my grandpa printed from film and as he explained the process to me I was entranced it sounded so scientific measuring everything out in beakers but also magical capturing moments and preserving them.

Q: How do you approach the creative process? Are there specific rituals or methods you follow to bring your ideas to life?  Other thoughts or comments 

I love to work late at night, if I’m out taking photos, editing on the computer or working in the darkroom. Usually I’ll spend the night before I go out shooting, cleaning and repacking my camera bag and making a new playlist.

Q: Who or what are your major artistic influences? How have they shaped your work? 

My two biggest influences are probably the photographer Alec Soth, and the painter Piet Mondrian. I love Mondrian’s sense of design and ability to organize color and shape. In Soth’s photography I usually find myself drawn to his sense of humanity and attention to the overlooked. In my own work I try to attach a subtle sentimentalism and look for the overlooked a disappearing elements that were once a part of daily life. When organizing the scene in my viewfinder I lean heavily on geometry to organize the space and control the flow of the eye through the scene.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from your art? Is there a particular message or emotion you aim to convey?

I hope people slow down and appreciate the little things before they are lost. Old movie theaters with neon lights, the mom and pop ice cream shop on the side of the road, these things are disappearing. But, if we support local businesses and continue to make new memories at these places they’ll live on one way or another.

Q: Can you share a challenge you’ve faced in your artistic journey and how it contributed to your growth as an artist?

I am actually completely color blind. So when I went to school for photography I struggled a lot when it came to classes related to color film. After several sit downs with my professors I learned color theory and how to identify colors in a scene based off context clues. Now I tend to get more compliments on my color work than my black and white.

Q: Where do you see your artistic journey taking you in the future? Are there specific goals or projects you aspire to undertake in 2024?

As far as where my work is taking me, I honestly don’t know yet, but I am enjoying the journey so far. When it comes to goals, I would love to shoot more this year than I did last year, and hopefully showcase more of my work.

Walnut Street Publishing is a Chattanooga-based independent publisher that specializes in amplifying stories from new and experienced authors and artists. We build a bridge for authors and artists to their audience around the world. We do this by creating avenues for talented individuals to publish their work. We believe in working together to help bring stories to life. We specialize in helping new authors find their voice and assist them in the publishing process while also being a solution to experienced authors who want a more personal publisher.

Emily Quinn

Emily Quinn

Emily Quinn is a Chattanoogan that dabbles in many different art forms, from music and writing to digital art and watercolors. She is the Social Media Manager for Walnut Street Publishing and a volunteer with Reach One Teach One UCA. Emily is a proud cat mom of 3, but most notably, she is the lucky wife of the talented writer, Aaron Quinn.