Hello dears! For the past week I've been a little on the restless and tired side, and although I've wanted to write a blog, I haven't had any new topics come to mind. Some of you know this, but a couple weeks ago I was actually on a vacation to Puerto Rico, so if there's any interest I may write a small travel blog on that!
For the time being, I wanted to give a couple little fun facts about me. Because I'm an artist, and we're cripplingly narcissistic.
1. Harry Potter and Tolkien
This is probably the most obvious fact for those who already know me, but I've been a huge fan of the Tolkien world and Harry Potter series my entire life. My earliest memory of Tolkien was when I was around three and my father had decided a great movie for us to watch while my mother was at choir practice was the animated 1977 version of The Hobbit. Now I just want to ask, if you've seen the animated 1977 version of The Hobbit – does this seem like an appropriate film for a 3-year-old? If you said no, my mother would have agreed with you, as she walked in to find her small child in a dark living room staring wide-eyed at a beautifully-animated bloody battle scene. And it wasn't the gore that got me – I spent the next seven years being absolutely convinced that Smeagol was under my bed.
Likewise, my first memory of Harry Potter was around the same year, when the Sorcerer's Stone had just been published and my mother was apparently listening to the cassette tapes in the car stereo. She said as soon as the part about the troll in the girl's bathroom came up, she heard a small voice from the backseat chime in, "I don't think I should be listening to this." Despite both accounts, neither series could have caused me too much trauma, because I've gone on to read and watch them more times than I can count.
In case you're concerned, like most artists and animal-hoarders I'm a Hufflepuff.
2. Of Frogs and Fish
Aside from art and photography, one hobby I will never be able to put down is keeping terrariums and aquariums. I'm not sure why, but even as cute as animals like hamsters and guinea pigs are, as a child I only ever had eyes for reptiles and aquatics. My parents got me my first fish tank when I was in kindergarten, and I fell in love with aquarium shops; the sound and smell of the aisles of fish tanks is so peaceful to me and yes, I know that's weird.
My first fish was a betta and they have never stopped being my favorite ever since. As I entered college and gained the independence to start choosing my own pets, I spent many hours scouring fish forums and learning so much about proper betta care, and since have become a passionate advocate for spreading knowledge about fish tanks, and pet care in general. I currently have a planted and heated tank with one betta, three otocinculus catfish, and a very chubby mystery snail.
As far as frogs, for the past several years I've been keeping a White's Tree Frog tank, as well as a small Horned Fantasy frog tank. Both terrariums are fully bioactive (meaning they're planted and have their own armies of microorganisms and isopods that live in the substrate and break down debris) and I'm so excited to continue learning and someday collect more! If you weren't aware, I've also self-published a whole children's book and yes, it's about frogs. As I said, I'm a pretty on-brand Hufflepuff.
3. Foods I love and hate
Speaking of Hufflepuffs, I am extremely food-motivated. It's only by the grace of my gym membership that I am in any sort of shape, because my love of snacking exceeds most things. I will eat almost anything, though Asian food tops my lists; I firmly believe I could spend the rest of my life eating sushi, curry, pad thai, and Chinese buffets and not get bored. My absolute favorite treats are bubble tea, gummies, caramel, and any lemon-flavored desserts. Despite that, I would also argue that I prefer butter and salt to sweets, and I could easily eat an entire bag of Hot Fries or extra large popcorn if no one stopped me. There are very few foods I dislike, though I have strong feelings towards coffee, matcha, and anything peppermint. I'll pass on the Shamrock shakes – have fun with your toothpaste smoothie.
4. Things I listen to
If you've made it this far, great. If you're freaked out by white people who enjoy listening to serial killer documentaries, here's your cue to leave! I'm an avid listener of the MFM podcast, and I'm very fortunate that my boyfriend allows me to blast Karen and Georgia day and night. As far as music, I occasionally listen to playlists with Bryce Vine, Ariana Grande, and Sabrina Carpenter, though my heart will always lie with Counting Crows and other 90s alternative – Incubus, Gin Blossoms, Bush, and dozens more. Once in a while (between reading Harry Potter, again) I'll have to scour Audible in search of some good historical fictions. Generally anything circa World War II or earlier is my jam.
This is a little bit on the obscure side, but one of my favorite pastimes is sitting on ancestry websites and following family trees and recording them – even all the way up to Renaissance times and beyond. Now of course, I do realize that at a certain point you have to just have a little faith that everything was recorded correctly, and you'll never really know if someone was adopted or maybe somebody had a secret love child, but it's truly interesting to follow the lines back and occasionally even discover you're descended from someone famous.
The biggest dilemma of our genealogy path has been tracing the history of my own surname, Ofsharick. Apparently the Slovaks weren't notorious for their record-keeping skills, because tracking down the history of my great-grandparents has been nearly impossible. We might even have to visit the country someday ourselves!
6. Favorite TV Shows
My boyfriend has the attention span of a goldfish when it comes to watching a whole series, but unfortunately for him I live and breathe for TV shows. Because of my love for historical fiction, I'm a huge fan of series like Frontier, The Last Kingdom, Peaky Blinders, and I'm sure many others that I'm forgetting. Generally speaking I love Netflix originals, The OA being one of my absolute favorites (even my boyfriend was addicted to it) and we're both devastated that it's discontinued. At the moment, I've been introducing him to Battlestar Galactica, which is possibly one of the most underrated and unknown shows I've ever watched. Don't be turned off because you're not a Star Wars or Star Trek fan, because I'm not either. But if you liked Lost, it's worth giving a shot.
And finally, the two sitcoms nearest and dearest to my heart are That 70s Show and MASH. I've watched both several times over, and my absolute dream is to attend a lecture by Alan Alda. If only I were born fifty years earlier, I would have tracked that man down.
7. Early life
Despite the fact I've almost become somewhat of a Connecticut native, I actually was born and raised in northeastern PA, in what I can best describe as "a bit above Scranton and a bit below Binghamton, NY". I am an only child and lived in an old Victorian farm house my great-great-grandfather built, outside of a very small town known for hunting, high school football, and chicken speidies. I grew up with the same 50-60 classmates until I graduated in 2012, after which I moved to Old Lyme, CT to attend Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.
8. Cat Lady
Again, this is a widely-known fact about me, but I'm a total cat lady. I was born into a house with three cats, followed by many more thereafter, and I truly can't imagine my life without them. Whenever I have the time, I like to work on portraits of my current living cats; so far I've finished two, have one halfway completed, and then will have two more to go. I like to use them to experiment with colors and patterns in my work, and to use for advertising my pet portrait business.
Now, none of this is to say that I don't like dogs. I do still excitedly baby talk any dog I meet on the sidewalk, and I also had my own beloved yellow labrador growing up. The best way I can put it is I love other people's dogs. It's kind of like someone who loves kids, but doesn't want to have any; you love playing with them, but you also love giving them back to their parents to take care of. That's how I am with dogs – my cat-level energy can only handle small increments of dog-level energy.
9. Alternate universe jobs
Despite the fact my career took me down a path of art and photography, there were many other pathways I definitely considered first. For a good part of my childhood I was very determined I was going to be a veterinarian, and I do still have an avid interest in promoting the well-being of pets. I also spent several years in high school considering marine biology, zookeeping, and entomology, which again, still translate into my life today with my passions for keeping terrariums and aquariums. I even had a very small spurt of wanting to be a fashion designer, and though it was a very fleeting interest, I've never stopped using clothing and jewelry as an art form in itself.
10. I have zero photography experience
Although I spent four years getting my fine arts degree, one thing that usually surprises my clients is that I have no photography experience whatsoever. My courses at Lyme Academy were very foundational, and trained me to use light and color to create composition. Even though I was utilizing paint and charcoal to depict my subject at the time, photography and editing ended up being just another medium. I did have a learning curve when it came to things like understanding how to actually operate the camera, photography vocabulary, and digital filtering and retouching, but as I've slowly been learning all of this new information, I've been fortunate to at least have my fine art instincts to support me along the way.
I think my biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to pursue photography is to pursue fine arts in conjunction. It's one thing to know all the technical ins and outs of a camera, but understanding light and color and composition is what will give you a boost. I know without a doubt that my knowledge from the art world is what allowed me to accelerate my photography business rather quickly (as I've only been in business since June 2019) and without it, I would have struggled both with learning to operate my camera and with taking and editing attractive photos that people would actually want to pay me for. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to fully understanding how to achieve the final style I'm looking for, but I'm glad that my degree has been useful in helping me find it.
Morgan Ofsharick specializes in business headshots, proposal, engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn, and family portrait photography, servicing New Haven, Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, Litchfield, and plenty of other regions around Connecticut! –MEO Photography