"This version takes it even more in that direction. I really like that the experience is cyclic, and that as soon as the film ends, it starts up again. It emphasizes the circular nature of my themes."
It's not that Porterfield hasn't experienced other environments — among them, New York, where he lived for seven years. At the moment, he's contemplating adapting a Russian novel to film.
"When I lived in New York, all the movie plots I came up with took place in Baltimore," he says. "Even if a story is set somewhere else, I'll only do it if I can move the story here.
"In many ways, Baltimore is my muse."
Karen Yasinsky, 44, of Baltimore
Artists are accustomed to bad years, discouraging years, draining years. They're used to years when they're locked out of all the good shows, when they couldn't sell so much as a postage stamp, when even their mothers stop asking about their current projects.
So, when a year comes along like the one that Karen Yasinky is having right now, they savor every golden moment.
Yasinsky, who teaches at Johns Hopkins University and at the Maryland Institute College of Art, uses animated film stills to explore how artists create particular moods. For her current project, she has excerpted images from two 1974 Robert Altman films — "California Split" and "Thieves Like Us". Yasinsky drew over the frames of Elliott Gould standing in a casino and of Shelley Duvall filling a pot of water, detached the images from their narrative context and added a soundtrack.
The Sondheim Prize has been around only since 2006. Yasinsky has made the cut and been chosen as a finalist three times —by a different panel of judges each year.
In the past six months, she also won a prestigious Baker Artist Award, which is accompanied by a $25,000 prize, and picked up a highly competitive fellowship to study at the American Academy in Rome. (She leaves for Italy in the fall.)
"This year has been hugely satisfying," she says. "Things go in waves. Some years, absolutely nothing happens, and I think about going back to school and being a veterinarian."
If you go
The seven finalists' work will be on display starting this weekend through Aug. 1 at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. Free. Call 443-573-1700 or go to artbma.org.
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