I'm ever surprised by their appearance, though they are there whether I find them or not. Awe is an attribute of innocence and one, thankfully, I have not lost.
Bill: Aza, I am as impressed by your words as I am by your images.
Aza: Thank you. Humans can be very disappointing. We are a selfish and quite intentionally un-evolved species. Animals are always exactly who they are. This makes them eminently more trustworthy. People would be much better stewards of this beautiful Planet if we followed their example.
Bill: Can you tell us about your background?
Aza: I was a child actress. My theatrical career included stage, screen and television, as performer, writer, teacher and director. Luck afforded me work in wonderful venues; I lived in great cities, like London and New York.
As I grew older, I found I needed a more contemplative existence, and felt the urge to express my art visually. To this end, I taught myself photo manipulation. With no one explaining to me how to go about it, I was free to make mistakes and discoveries, and formulate my own style. People still ask me if I use acrylics, but actually, it's important to make the point that this is a new form of photo manipulation.
Bill: Very interesting. I must say, your style is very distinctive; many pieces have obvious texture, as in this beautiful self-portrait, "Lens":
Aza: I'm glad that comes across. Digital art is too flat to me. I wanted my art to have a tactile dimension.
Lurain Penny's YouTube channel has a number of videos that have been graced by Aza Cody's touch:
Aza: My latest project, Pirate.KittyCat.Toon, is the first in what I plan to be a series of picture books with companion Art Toons. Inspired by my pal Indigo, who adopted me after my beloved dog Cody passed.
Bill: May I be so bold as to copy/paste the description you have on your YouTube video page:
A Codifyer Art Toon, Pirate KittyCat Toon is the creation of digital artist Aza Cody. Photo manipulated using a live cat and several felted actors. An animated story of a homeless kitty who dreamt he was captain of his own ship and a hero to his crew. His dream comes true. Video, moving to swing jazz from the 1920's; out September 19, 2012.
Aza: Indigo was homeless for many years. In spite of obvious abuse (he has a mangled foot from past trauma), he trusted me completely instantly, and has always been a perfect gentleman.
He is a constant, confident talker – carrying whole conversations in well understood melodic voice. When I bought him a pirate hat, and he wore it – I had the beginning of my story.
Indigo is a very patient model, who knows that the camera loves his face. Along with the felted actors my best friend Carole Jean made for the project, and my old stuffed dog Buffy, it is the most agreeable cast I ever worked with. :-)
Bill: Folks, here are some examples of work done for Pirate Kitty:
Cleo Goes for Help
Pirate Kitty doffs his Hat
Aza: As she is fond of telling people – we've become 2 sweet peas in a prickly pod. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. :-)
Bill: Aza, thanks for this fascinating and candid interview. I'm proud to share community with you, (and with Miss Penny, of course), and I enjoyed our chat, however brief it was. Many thanks so much for taking the time to share, and, see you on line :)
Aza: The pleasure is mine. Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers, Bill. You are a gracious interviewer.