Local Artist Cory Shea


There are so many great local artists, and we love to learn more about their work! We recently had a chance to chat with Cory Shea, a photographer and Assistant Director of the Cambridge Art Association.

Hi Cory! We would love to hear more about your current work, the Pretty Young Things series.

I started to create the Pretty Young Thing series a couple of years ago. I reached a point in my artwork where my photography needed to grow up a bit. I realized this when a piece of artwork was accepted into an exhibition and the juror said she liked it because it reminded her of Twilight… it was a little disenchanting. The narratives were getting a little too ‘folky’ and lacked emotion.


When I started to take pictures of my friends, one of the pieces was selected for a show at the Sharon Arts Center Gallery in New Hampshire and then Artscope (a magazine) asked to use it for their cover – I thought my head was going to explode, I was so excited. This inspired me to move towards the development of being a young woman released into the world… those scary moments of realizing you’re an adult now and seizing adventure, as well as archiving the feeling of being in our twenties, the scariest age yet! I try to convey this with the melding of portraiture and landscapes from photographs I’ve taken. Most of the Western-looking scapes were from a road trip a few summers ago, when I helped move my sister from San Diego back to Massachusetts…what an adventure!


How did you get into photography?

When I was younger my friends and I would ‘journal’ and basically sit around in a circle with cut up Dashboard Confessional lyrics and collage pieces of cut out magazine into handmade journals (aww, teen angst). These were the moments I realized how drawn to printed photographs I was. This carried over to my undergraduate degree at UMass in printmaking, which eventually led me to Photoshop and photography.


What inspires you, in work and life?

I come from a family that is very appreciative of art (as is my boyfriend) – my sister and brother-in-law are both teachers, and both my parents are very creative. They have always been my sounding board when it comes to art projects and life, along with my best friends. I am lucky to have seven beautiful women in my life that I have known for years who always push me to do my best and be the best. They all keep me motivated – I feel very lucky to have that. (Pictured below: Cory and her sister, Robin.)


You are also the Assistant Director of the Cambridge Art Association. Tell us more about what you do there.

I have been working at the Cambridge Art Association for four years now (time flies)! I became the Assistant Director after my artwork was accepted into a North East Prize Show. My artwork led me to this point in my career which makes me feel proud! Since it’s a very small staff here, my hands are in everything, but my favorite program at CAA is our exhibition program. We put on 25+ exhibitions a year, and my role is as the installer and show coordinator. Being a staff member at CAA has allowed me to participate in the larger art community, and I am thankful for the experiences it has offered.

You live in Cambridge – how did you come to be here? What are some of your favorite local places?

I moved to Cambridge in 2010/2011 with three of my best friends – into a huge, GROSS apartment in Central Square. It was amazing! We were a hop, skip and jump from all the bars in central. Our favorite places to go were Veggie Galaxy, Middlesex, The Field, Phoenix Landing (Friday nights they would play music from the early 2000’s – Backstreet Boys and vodka tonics, game on!). Then in 2012 I moved to North Cambridge with my boyfriend and dog Bruin. We love to go out in Davis Square, the Saloon, Rosebud Diner, Red Bones, Five Horses, the Painted Burro! They are all so much fun.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Cory! If you want to see more of her work, check out her website and blog.

Image Credits: Cory Shea

no comment