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“Hang-ups and Pin-downs” at Octane Gallery

Georgia photographer Jenn Alexander Fletcher , known for her work as Blondeshot Creative, travels to East Nashville this weekend for the opening of Hang-ups and Pin-downs, her latest solo show at East Nashville’s Octane Gallery. We got the chance to talk to Jenn about her love of Nashville, what makes Octane such a great place to show her work, and why her work isn’t your average pin-up photography.

East Nashville Blog: I noticed on your site that you’ve actually shown at Octane before, though it was in a group environment instead of as a solo show. What is it about Octane that made you want to come back and show again? On a related note, what’s appealing about showing your work in Nashville – and more specifically, in East Nashville?

Jenn Alexander Fletcher:The artists at Octane/ Kustom Thrills are friendly, inviting, creative, and just all around bad-ass artists and people. In addition to the people, I love the look and feel of the shop, and prefer to show my work in alternative spaces. My work, both in aesthetic qualities and subject matter, fits better with a place like Octane over a traditional art gallery.

Nashville is my favorite city in the world. I’ve been trying to make the move there for years, and one of these days (hopefully sooner than later) I’ll be able to call it home. After my book release party in the Atlanta area, I decided to have one show of the images from my book elsewhere. Nashville was an easy choice for me not because it’s the easiest place for me to draw a crowd or to even host the event, but because I figured why not have it in the place I’d like to be the most. East Nashville is a wonderful neighborhood that I’ve had the pleasure of spending time in on multiple trips to the city.

ENB: How did you select the models in the photos? And what inspired the particular settings for each individual model?

JAF: The models in this series are all every day women who played an important role in my life during the time of creation. They were friends; some of those including a co-worker, my sister, and myself. Each model was paired with a setting, props, and/or an overall idea that reveals something about the model, me, and our relationship to one another.

ENB: Your press release says your show “rebels against the pin-up craze.” Having done a show of contemporary pin-ups yourself in the past, what inspired you to rebel against the genre? And what do you think this new series of “pin-downs” shares in common with pin-ups, despite its rebellious spirit?

JAF: After presenting my pin-up series Alexander Girls in 2005, I acquired a reputation as a “pin-up photographer”. While yes, I was doing a lot of that type of work at the time, I was shooting plenty of other subjects as well and didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as that one type of photographer. Also around that time there was a huge boom in that genre of photography work, and although visually similar to what I was doing, very different in terms of vision. I was trying to “say things” with my pin-ups, and felt that the other pin-ups out there were just there to show pretty girls and trendy retro stylings. Thus, when pin-up photography (once again) became mainstream commonplace, I quickly lost interest and decided to move on.

There are a few similarities between the new series and the old which is why I say that it is “part continuation and part rebellion” against the first one. Some images in the new series share characteristics with traditional pin-ups more than other images. A few are quite cheeky, and a few are still pretty sexy. But in all the images, its’ still a young woman that’s on display and playing the part of a model.

ENB: The press release also notes that the photos are being specially installed rather than presented in the standard frames that people expect when they see a photography show. What can viewers expect in terms of the installation?

JAF: The photographs will be hanging, just not in frames or on the wall. I parody one of the main themes of the photography series into an installation that is much more lighthearted and plays on the exact words of the title, Hang ups…. think of it in terms of airing dirty laundry. That’s all I’m going to give away on that, you’ll have to come and check it out opening night!

Hang-ups and Pin-downs by Jenn Alexander Fletcher opens Saturday, February 5 at Octane Gallery in East Nashville. The reception runs from 7pm-9pm and features book signing, a giveaway, popcorn bar, and a special photo op for 30 minutes immediately following the reception where you can have your photo taken by the artist in a similar style to the ones on exhibit. Octane Gallery is located inside Kustom Thrills Tattoo at 1000 Main Street, Suite 107.

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