The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.


Today’s featured artist:  Mike Belleme

Wild Roots

In the mountains of North Carolina there is an expanse of donated land inhabited by a small group of people who, for their own reasons, choose not to live as members of modern society. Tod and Talia, a couple, have been living in this place called Wild Roots for a decade, half of which I’ve documented periodically.  A belief that modern civilization was on the brink of collapse was a big part of the impetus for Tod and Talia and others coming to Wildroots, although after years of living a simple mostly primitive way of life in the woods, they find it harder and harder to fathom modern mainstream life. In July of 2015, Talia had to move away from Wildroots back to her native California due to a mold allergy. Tod, unwilling to leave his home of Wildroots for California, now needs the community to thrive more than ever in order to continue making it his home.  The homes at Wildroots are mostly waddle and daub, a technique that uses on site timber, saplings, and a clay solution along with bark or metal roofs. Although wild food harvesting is a big part of the lifestyle, the majority of the food consumed at Wildroots comes from dumpsters which they visit on their periodic trips into town, roadkill, and wild game that is given to them by local hunters. They use almost every part of the animal including eyeballs, tongue and brain. Cooking is done over a fire created using friction every morning and evening. The number of community members fluctuates through the seasons, from 2-10 or so. Talia plans to return this Winter to stay with Tod but has no plans of returning after the coming Winter.


To see more of this project, click here.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.



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