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Pretty in Pink (and Any Other Color)

Artist Joanne Domka turns black-and-white photos into colorful masterpieces



If you’re born and raised in Warren, MI, a town north of Detroit, and most of your family works for General Motors, chances are, you’re crazy about cars. Don’t think so? Then just ask photographic artist Joanne Domka, whose artwork celebrates America’s love of the automobile.

Domka, who worked as a picture researcher/editor/ archivist at the General Motors Media Archives for several years, will also tell you she loves signs. In fact, for the past 15 years, she’s been cruising the back roads” seeking “disappearing remnants of Americana.” Domka’s signature style is to photograph close details of her subjects. For example, a classic car’s grillwork or hood ornament is most likely to interest her, and she prefers to focus on a sign’s glowing-neon and shadow effects.

Domka creates her artwork by first photographing her subjects in black and white. Next, she prints the black-and-white film onto 16 * 20-in. or 20 x 24-in., fiber-based matte paper and then mounts the images onto archival, acid-free museum board. Finally, she hand-colors each image using artists’ pencils or oil paints. Her style is similar to the artistic renderings seen in the film Pleasantville, in which black-and-white scenes are peppered with color to enhance meaning and visual appeal.

Domka, whose work has been featured in galleries, magazines and newspapers, says she will continue to photograph classic cars and signs, as well as seek ways to combine the two. Here, we feature a sampling of the artist’s handmade originals.

Visit Domka’s Website at E-mail: [email protected]



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