"I crossed the street to walk in the sunshine." -Elizabeth Gilbert

Calethia DeConto (American, born December 27, 1980) is a lens based artist known for her imagery that explores a conscious relationship with nature, personal rituals in healing, sensuality and metaphysical intuitions. Born to adventurous parents - Calethia was raised in about 15 places traveling often with her military father. DeConto began taking photographs at a young age - connecting with the land, communities and new cultures wherever “home” was for that time. 

In 1997 Calethia fell in love with California and the underground hip hop scene of North County San Diego. Throughout the late nineties she documented everything she could, teaching herself with books and studying photography Palomar College. DeConto’s passion for darkroom techniques flourished as she worked for many years as a fine art printer for other photographers and artists. After a decade of working professionally as a portrait photographer, Calethia moved to Los Angeles to focus her energy on exhibiting personal work while simultaneously delving into spiritual practices, healing modalities and occasionally jumping on various sets to shoot behind the scenes.

From 2007 Calethia has exhibited her photography and short films with galleries across the United States in group and solo exhibits. She continues to utilize her lens as a means to study and honor the natural world, incessantly photographing found objects, shapes and feminine figures that come together like a visual poem in the form of collage, cyanotype, short film or cinematic photograph. 

DeConto’s greatest inspiration is our soul’s physical experience in the natural world and the idea that all sacred objects have a vibration. When Calethia’s not in her Los Angeles studio she’s likely drinking a cup of chai while writing or watching birds fly over sparkling waves at the beach.

Process

About DeConto’s Cyanotypes

Calethia learned this technique in 2001 using her medium format 6x7cm negatives but longed to expand beyond the traditional rectangular format and use cyanotype chemistry as paint. Since 2017 she has been creating freehand shapes and cutting her large format digital negatives to collage within the design. Her inspiration comes from the way rivers look above from planes, a lifelong love of the ocean’s color, movement and healing energy. As Calethia creates the “template” she paints the chemistry instinctively in low light often listening to meditation music. Happy accidents during the development process excite her the most and the imperfect alchemical magic that often occurs. All of the elements and figures are from photographs she’s taken over time.

About DeConto’s Collages

As a child Calethia would cut up old books and magazines to decorate her walls. Each time she moved with her military father she’d carefully pull them down for their next home. In keeping with her younger self, she extracts objects and figures she’s photographed, then prints on fine art cotton rag matte and/or metallic papers in her studio. DeConto cuts and assembles the pieces onto a quieter vast canvas of either paper or wood.  

Ultimately Calethia views these pieces as her own personal language, a map, a puzzle of spiritual explorations and a love letter to the land. 

 

Audio interview from Bijou Podcast about my process as an artist. Slideshow and video of my art and behind the scenes. 2019