Bob WalmaImage of Bob Walma looking for a shot

This week I talked with Bob Walma, one of our photographers in the gallery, and asked him our ten questions.  Bob is one of the TippleAid Crew members.  He is the driving energy behind the restoration of Grand Haven’s Coal Tipple.  I am going to have to check out some of his favorite musicians.  He told me that he had too many favorite artists to list, which led him to name locals.

(click on the image to watch Bob’s video)

Bob’s answers to our 10 questions:

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Bob:  “I get a real buzz, like a natural-high, from having a new creative idea.  Whether it’s a solo-idea, or a collaboration with others, there is an emotional and creative “project energy” that comes from the combination of having an idea and then trying to make it happen.  Some ideas never advance beyond my writing them down in a notebook, and some ideas don’t turn out as well as I’d hoped for, but each of them is fun and engrossing to me “in the moment”.

Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?

Bob:  “Not in any overt or pervasive way.  My thoughts and motivations are different from project-to-project, with each one incorporating greater or lesser amounts of “personal artistic expression”.  When I work for a client, my main concern is to produce something that suits their needs or makes them happy – more “craftsman for hire” than “artist”.  Working with video allows me to incorporate more personal elements into my work, even when they’re only short little “doodles” done for a laugh.  The biggest ongoing influence on my work is simply a desire to keep learning, and hopefully, keep getting better…”

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  

Bob:  “I think I would enjoy almost any other profession in the creative arts – be it writer, painter, filmmaker, musician, sculptor, etc.”

What profession would you not like to do? 

Bob:  “I think I would enjoy almost any other profession in the creative arts – be it writer, painter, filmmaker, musician, sculptor, etc.”

Who are your favorite artists? 

Bob:  “Far too many to mention – I could give separate lists for novelists, songwriters, photographers, painters, film directors, etc, so instead I’ll mention local artists who are not only very talented, but are also people I’m fortunate enough to count as friends and sometime-collaborators:  Lee S. Brown, Julie Sanford, Christi Dreese and Cyndi Casemier.  Getting to watch talented artists create their own work is a major perk to what I do…”

What is your favorite tool used to create your work? 

Bob:  “My camera and my computer have become almost equally important to my work.  Whether I’m working on photographs or videos, everything starts with the camera, but nothing is complete until it’s been through some level of editing or processing (from very simple to very complex) on the computer.”

What is your favorite word?

Bob:  “Brainstorm”.

What is your least favorite word? 

Bob:  “Goodbye.”

Who is your favorite musician? 

Bob:  “John Lennon – but more currently, I really like Rob Thomas, Ingrid Michaelson, Of Monsters & Men, Florence & The Machine (followed closely by about 50 others – lol).”

How much formal education have you received?  Related to your craft.

Bob:  “None.  I was a ‘serious amateur’ for many years before doing anything professional, and I still regularly read & study things to expand my knowledge and skill-set; not to mention that I take an average of about 1,000 pictures every month, which is a lot of ‘practice’ whether I’m deliberately seeking it out or not.  I’ve also found YouTube to be an invaluable resource for training and tutorial videos on nearly any topic you might be interested in learning.”

I would like to thank Bob for this interview.  I appreciate his time and thoughts.  I hope you enjoy getting to know him a little better.