When art styles synergize, the energy of two or more artists combine into one artistic style. Great artists, from photographers to painters alike are defined by their unique style in their specific arts. It’s this style that influences their creations, and in my case as a photographer, photojournalism is a major part of my photographic style.

Wrenna Monet Artist

Part of Wrenna’s traumatic brain injury recovery included her use of “fire dancing” to help her with balance.

In my recent Moab Photography Adventure, I experienced a unique scenario, the ability to synergize my style with a psychedelic performance artistWrenna Monet — as a model for my camera and stylist for our photos too. While I’ve worked before with models who love art and “paint,” none are as accomplished like Wrenna who’s trained with David Woody, Amanda Sage, Laurence Caruana, Adam Scott Miller, Autumn Skye Morrison, Michael Fuchs and Alex Grey.

When I look at Wrenna’s paintings, my first reaction is, “How does she do that?” Her paintings are done with intricate detail, and the surrealism just grabs you and in Wrenna’s words it “allows others to interpret my visions themselves – guided by what they see or need at any moment in time.”

Wrenna Monet Golden Hour Photo

The intermixing of shadows and light, chiaroscuro, helps create great photos.

Wrenna goes further with, “Painting is my meditation – an escape, and a means to transcend what is in my forever-wandering, sub-conscious mind. My art is filled with love, light, time, powerful symbology and hidden meanings.”

As an artist, I relate to her thoughts as though she’s a mirror image of myself in many ways as you’ll read further below. You’ll see how when art styles synergize, the results are a collaboration and this past weekend that opportunity arose for Wrenna and I to create “our art” in my medium, photography, but with her photogenic beauty, styling techniques, pre-visualized concepts, her artist views and the inspiration she provides as a muse.

The Importance of Life Stories

In order to understand our creations and her inspiration as a muse to my camera you must first know our stories and the paragraphs that follow are from her actual bio from her upcoming book, Drinking Rainbows.

“Wrenna Monet grew up in Petersburg, Alaska, in a small cabin with no running water or electricity to a nature loving set of hippie parents. This isolation helped fuel Wrenna’s imagination after she experienced a traumatic brain injury in 2010 off the coast of California on a commercial squid boat where she worked as a deckhand.

‘’The almost fatal accident left her with a blood clot in her brain, a traumatic brain injury, chronic fibromyalgia, and a near complete loss of identity and permanent fibromyalgia she still deals with today and through this experience, her artistic passion blossomed and gave her a new motivation in life, that of a psychedelic performance artist. Wrenna’s memories slowly began to return, by dint of hard work, inpatient neuro-rehabilitation, determination, a positive attitude, old photos, and Facebook. She continues to reclaim her identity, thanks to good doctors, a healthy lifestyle, a great support group, and hard work. Her loss has bloomed into a beautiful view of what “magic” really means.

“Her second chance at life brought with it a thirst to paint and recreate her vision with meaning and transparency. She embraces the good fortune and the blessing that it is to be alive and to have a blank canvas to start over on. Thanks to her studies with the masters, of modern visionary art and surrealism from Vienna, Italy, and Mexico, she paints art with delicate and intricate detail.

“Wrenna’s art helps heal her and connects her to a new perspective in life and to understand the visions, dreams, and empathic gifts that were awakened through her trauma. She views life with a transcendental, vibrational perspective. The dimensions her brain injury have opened her up to have been awakening, inspiring and bizarre. She is inspired constantly by her visions and an enhanced sensitivity that affects how she experiences the world. She has turned these gifts into a living engine of recovery and creativity.”

Moab Photography Workshop Adventure

Here we used a SUNBOUNCE MINI with the SUNBOUNCE Sparkling Sun reflector fabric to illuminate Wrenna.

While obviously there’s more to her life than four paragraphs, you can see, where she draws, or in her case paints, from her life experiences. Most great artists, whether they’re writers, painters, photographers, musicians, etc., draw from life too, and often from the darkness they experienced. I’m no different.

In my case I draw from the racism I’ve battled that led to two divorces with the same lady and mother of my first two daughters along as a victim of parental alienation in another marriage tossed in with a bit of PTSD from my military days to include deployments in Desert Storm; Operation Support Justice, the Latin America Drug War in the Pablo Escobar Era; Operation Support Hope in the Rwanda genocide and Operation Uphold Democracy, the Haiti invasion.

Wrenna made this entire outfit down to the “rune” makeup.

There’s more when it comes to our stories and there’s enough “life” between us that when our art styles synergize, we can create a result unique to only us. Obviously SUNBOUNCE products, like the SUNBOUNCE MINI fitted with the SUNBOUNCE Sparkling Sun reflector fabric help enhance our art even more, but the moral of the story, is that every artist, to include photographers, can draw from their past lives to create great images.

The Importance of Styling

Besides SUNBOUNCE products, the “styling” of an image plays a key role when art styles synergize, and styling comes in several forms. The styling of a model includes her hair, her clothing, her makeup, and even accruements like bracelets, headgear, necklaces, earrings, footgear or the lack of, can make a big difference in the outcome of a photograph.

Wrenna Monet Artist Photo Moab

This photo of artist Wrenna Monet captured during the Golden Hour on our Moab Photography Adventure.

In the case of the photographs Wrenna and I created, I relied on her artistic abilities to style our photographs and like her art where painting is her mediation medium “to cope with her chronic pain, and a way to heal from grieving for the life she once had,” I knew going into this shoot, she’d come up with styling concepts that would enhance the energy needed when art styles synergize.

Wrenna’s Scottish, Viking, and Norwegian descent along with her relation to Robert the Bruce, also made as the spin-off sequel to the movie Braveheart, brought her inspiration to create some of the concepts we’d photograph along with the more glamour and fashion styles genres we’d capture together.

The credit for our photographs really goes more to Wrenna than I as she styled everything from its actual creation. She handmade her own costumes and the headdresses she wore — that’s talent and that’s a photographer’s dream — a model who can do more than just pose for the camera. She also did her own make-up down to her facial rune markings that date back to ancient times.

Rune of Gebo

Ironically, at the end of one shoot day, Wrenna had me draw, without looking, a rune from her magical bag and I drew an “X” which at first, I thought, “Oh crap” as I didn’t know anything about runes until that point. However, when Wrenna read me the rune’s meaning, it made sense how our photographic creations come to frutation as the “Rune of Gebo” as the “X” rune is known, focuses on the act of “giving” and the “unification of two forces for the betterment of both parties.”

This concept of the Rune of Gebo is best illustrated in the ancient Norse tale of “Brunhild,” a shieldmaiden or Valkyrie, and her story of a mortal man “brave enough to rescue her.” Ironically, later I learned Wrenna drew the same Rune of Gebo before I did that day. As mentioned earlier, we share a “mirror image” of many things in life, though with our own unique stories — and that’s what we pour into our art, both individually and when we work together.

So as you can see, when art styles synergize, so does the world around them. There is a unique energy that results in great photographs, not pictures, anyone can take pictures, but only true artists can create photographs with a unique photographic style. I owe credit to Wrenna for her styling, modeling, inspiration and more down to every detail she contributed to combine our art styles.

When the Moab photography adventure ended and I started post-production, Wrenna said to me, “Is that really me?” and I said, “Yes, plus how I see you.” Ultimately you can’t go wrong when art styles synergize, now go capture some great images and stay safe out in this sometimes crazy world — synergize.

Rolando Gómez is a professional photographer and author of five photography books that has traveled to 45 countries for assignments. The former soldier and U.S. Army combat photographer has taught hundreds of photography workshops for almost two decades. A 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Writer for Quora, his partial credits include Newsweek, Parade, Playboy, Rangefinder, Maxim, Rangefinder, New York Times, Stars & Stripes, and various other publications.
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