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Billows of Colored Smoke Pervade the Air in Photo Series, ‘Pop!’

orange smoke above bridge

Texas-based photographer Irby Pace stakes his vision of the predictable and typical. He does this in open fields, long and bending roads, bodies of still waters, shrub overgrown alleyways, and an assortment of landscapes devoid of activity. Pace’s jolt to these benign imagery is a ubiquitous colored cloud, reminiscent of a magician’s smoke cover as he conceals a trick or sleight of hand. Pace’s tools of choice: helium balloons, a string, and smoke canisters used in paintball machines to create the mystifying clouds of colored smoke in everyone of his images. The collection is simply called, Pop!

purple smoke between arches

Pace elaborates on his simple concept of tinted smoke appearing in ordinary places,

“With Pop! I am creating another way to view the traditional landscape through photography. I am painting the sky with clouds of colored smoke which are released via canisters that I am levitating into the physical space. As a child I would take things apart and figure how they would function only to put them back together again or how to make them do something else. When approaching art making I am bringing this same childhood obsession, how can I use technology to turn art on it’s head. With my work I want to continue to mix classical art techniques and imbued it with new technology.”

pink smoke in middle of road cyan smoke above horizon

Pace was born in Odessa, Texas, where in 2005, he moved to the city of Lubbock to attend Texas Tech University where he earned his BFA in Photography in 2008. He subsequently received his MFA from The University of North Texas in 2012. These days Pace is an Adjunct Professor at the Art Institute of Ft. Worth where he instructs Photography.  He also teaches Photography and Digital Art at El Centro Community College in Downtown Dallas. Pace is a member at 500x, Texas’ largest artist run cooperative gallery.

yellow green smoke in garden orange smoke billowing in space

Speaking on his Pop! collection, Pace says, “It is through this process that I am making something that I find simply beautiful.”

View Pop! in Irby Pace’s website.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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