Photographer Phoenix Marks combines her passion for great images with her business sense to create a successful career.
ABI: Tell us about your body of work and the subject matter you are photographing.
PM: Being a nature photographer is a mystical experience. It allows me to reveal the soul of all who grant me the privilege of photographing them. From majestic sunrises and sunsets and landscapes to birds like eagles, whistling ducks and osprey, to animals like American alligators and river otters, to the macro world of butterflies, dragonflies and flower, for each, it’s as if they paused just for that moment for me to photograph their portrait.
My primary photography studio, subject matter and sanctuary are wetlands and the Everglades in particular. This love of nature and photography was nurtured as a child on family vacations to national parks watching my father magically capture vista through his camera. More than reflecting the incredible beauty of our natural environment, it’s my intention that my work connects with ever viewer’s heart as it showcases our unique and fragile ecosystem.
ABI: How are you selling your photographs?
PM: Merging my love of fine stationary and love of wildlife and wild places, I was inspired to create Touching Hearts™ greeting cards. Even in our high-tech, cyber-space society, they have been a steady success with repeat orders, selling wholesale through fine gift and independent book stores, national parks, museums and botanical gardens.
Each fine art note card is custom made on acid-free, deckled-edge, linen stock. They measure 5″X7″ and include an actual, 4″X6″ photograph. All cards are hand signed and titled by me, the photographer, in acid-free gold ink on the outside, front flap. The note cards are sold as individual designs; however, selected museums and gardens commission selected gift packages.
Buyers say it’s like getting a miniature, signed piece of art.
Additionally, for my extensive body of work, I have selected the most stunning images for limited edition, fine art prints and framed pieces. Many large wall pieces are purchased by private collectors at juried fund-raising exhibitions for non-profit organizations and solo exhibitions. Also, they sell through fine gift and art gallery stores.
ABI: In what ways has your artist community supported and influenced your work?
PM: The depth of support from my arts community has helped me organically grow my art into a business. It started with approaching a local craft store to host my first solo exhibition. The owner suggested new products and Touching Hearts™ Greetings was born. Artists and friends of the arts recommended other exhibition and juried competition opportunities. This blossomed into eight solo exhibitions, including the Everglades National Park Gallery, City Hall and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce; articles in national magazines; winning juried exhibitions, acceptance in Art Basel Miami and receiving Best in Landscape for an international photography exhibition.
Gallery owners suggested effective pricing. I successfully applied for grants and educational programs offered by Broward County Cultural Division, ultimately, winning the top grant award for an individual artist. ArtServe, one of the original six arts incubators in the America, which happens to be located here, asked if they could curate a solo exhibition of my art.
Feeling very grateful and committed to my art and community, I joined the Broward Art Guild and serve as professional development chair and vice president. This has given me the opportunity to give back by providing a platform for networking and learning best business practices for artists.