Amy Anderson was a gifted young woman involved in the visual and performing arts here on Bainbridge Island. In memory of Amy, her parents, David and Caren Anderson, funded an endowment designed to inspire and encourage talented young artists who have lived on the island—under the age of 35—to continue their work in their chosen fields including theater, dance, film, music, printmaking, jewelry making, mosaics, sculpture and photography.
Since 2001, the Amy Award has been managed by Arts & Humanities Bainbridge (AHB), and honorees are chosen in alternate years by Bainbridge Performing Arts (BPA) and Bainbridge Arts & Crafts (BAC). Each winner is honored in a ceremony in late May. This year, BAC and AHB are pleased to announce the 2021 winner, Maddie K. Rogers.
Maddie has received numerous awards and grants throughout the years, and is especially honored to receive the Amy Award this year. Her work can be found on her website, maddiekrogers.com, and via her Instagram account.
Maddie grew up on Bainbridge Island with her parents and two older brothers. “I had a pretty average Bainbridge experience,” she says. However, by her own admission, her experiences were anything but average. When she was 16, her mother passed away from cancer, and that forced Maddie to grow up quickly. In addition, she spent a great deal of time around her older brothers and their friends, making it a bit difficult to relate to her peers.
Her mother was a big believer in documenting moments, making hundreds of photo albums of family and friends. They were unique and detailed. From an early age, Maddie knew they were a powerful and important way to preserve memories. When Maddie was 15, she was given an old Polaroid land camera, and along with a 35mm camera, she began taking her own pictures. From that point, she was hooked.
“I love how tactile film is, how much patience it requires. I don’t think there was ever a moment where I thought about studying anything else. I kind of always knew I would end up doing something art related, and when you can’t draw, you take photos!” Maddie K. Rogers
After graduating from Bainbridge High School in 2015, Maddie headed to Columbia College Chicago (2015-2017) and continued on to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where she earned her BFA in 2020.
When she began taking photos in her teen years, she tended to photograph what was right in front of her; friends, family, and documentary style street photography. In her words: “In a way I didn’t really ‘create’ anything new, it was all just observing what was in front of me and documenting it.” When she began at Columbia, she was encouraged by her instructors and peers to explore her work in a more personal way, which led her to start making a self-portrait series that told the story of her mother’s passing. She continues to create self-portrait work today and has been working on a series about playing billiards for the last few years.
From a professional and personal perspective, Maddie doesn’t like to “push” things that don’t come naturally to her, and she tends to take photos of things she’s drawn to. As she explains it:
“If I don’t feel comfortable and excited taking photos, then it’s usually an indication that it’s not something I’m really interested in. I like to push myself in the sense of work ethic, but I’m less and less interested in fitting into any kind of mold about what kind of work I should be making.”
While in college, Maddie took three bookmaking classes from instructor, Myungah Hyon. Hyon was very intentional about separating the technical aspects of assembling books and the conceptual choices you make about the contents of the book. This inspired Maddie to create books using her photos and her writings, allowing her to control and communicate the experience to the viewer from a more personal level. As she explained it, finalizing a book project, which has a beginning, middle and end, gives her photographic stories closure.
In 2018, Maddie and her roommates hosted a show in their backyard for her birthday. It was so well received, that they decided to do it as a series of events the following year. In the summer of 2019, they created The Litterbox, an Instagram account where musicians could submit proposals to play in Maddie’s back small yard. The enthusiasm was fantastic. In that first summer, they featured 12 bands and one poetry reading. In 2020, they opened submissions again and received almost 200 requests from bands and artists who wanted to share their art. Sadly, Covid-19 would cancel that summer’s shows. She’s not sure if The Litterbox will start again in the future, but she’s incredibly thankful to all the artists that allowed her to host them.
Like most people, when the pandemic hit she struggled with the aimless feeling of losing her job, no longer having her school ties and simply being locked up at home. However, it also helped her gain a new perspective. She learned to embrace her aimlessness and channel her creativity into new projects.
At the beginning of the quarantine, her friend Anna started a website/Instagram called The Nearness Project to bring people together during the pandemic. Anna encouraged Maddie to participate. Not being able to get outside to take her photographs, Maddie concentrated on writing about her cat, Byron, accountability in the music scene and her recent battles with sobriety. She also began Primaries Vintage, which plays to her love of thrifting. Now she goes to thrift stores several times a week, bringing her finds home to document and clean, then resell online or in in-person markets. She’s found this to be a fun and rewarding adventure, especially because she loves interacting with people who enjoy vintage clothing and accessories as much as she does.
Going forward, Maddie will continue to shoot photos for her series, The Boys Club, which documents her experiences as a woman in pool halls. She’s been an aficionado since she was young, but has been seriously playing for more than four years and is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Pool players Association. She hopes to someday turn The Boys Club into a book.
Maddie also began working in her own studio space, housed at a local gallery in Chicago called Happy Gallery, and hopes to someday open her own vintage clothing store. In the meantime, she’ll continue to shower her beloved, tailless cat Byron with affection, and perhaps acquire a few more tattoos (she’s gotten four in the last month alone).
OTHER ISLAND WANDERINGS:
Island Wanderings: Joanie Klorer
Island Wanderings: Ali Holmes
Island Wanderings: Wendy Armstrong
Island Wanderings: Fatima Young
Island Wanderings: Gigi Godfrey
Island Wanderings: Chris Demarest
Island Wanderings: Deborah Rhee
Island Wanderings: Andy Bergh
ABOUT MARGARET MILLMORE. Margaret Millmore is a supernatural fiction author and blogger, living on Bainbridge Island with her husband, Bryan. Her first published works were flash fiction, The Welcome Home and Untitled – Luke N. Goode, which were featured on Bay Area artist, Kenny Mencher’s blog. In 2011 she published her first full length novel, since then she’s published a three book series, another novel and her current series (via Next Chapter Publishing – formerly Creativia Publishing) What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 1); The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book 2), which was awarded the August 2016 Book of the Month award by Long and Short Reviews; and What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3). The majority of her books are set in San Francisco where she lived—previous to island life—for over 26 years. Her preferred writing genre is supernatural fiction, with the exception of her time-travel novel, The Dragonfly Door. In addition to her novels, Margaret writes a blog, called The Island Wanderer – which focuses on people, events and businesses on Bainbridge Island: https://theislandwanderer.com/blog/. All her books can be found on her website and her Amazon Author page.