Patricia Sullivan, photographer and owner of Photo MOJO gallery in Payson

Patricia Sullivan, photographer and owner of PHOTO MOJO gallery.

A New York artist and photographer has opened a gallery in Payson.

Patricia Sullivan put her life in Manhattan on hold to move to Payson and take care of her 96-year-old mother.

Sullivan opened PHOTO MOJO, at 804B N. Beeline Highway, in the Swiss Village Shopping Center at the end of August.

The walls are lined with black and white prints — 35mm action shots on the left and medium format portraits on the right. The collection represents photos taken during the 13 years Sullivan followed the Collegiate Peaks Stampede Rodeo.

Sullivan’s photo book, “An American Rodeo,” was published in June 2011. Copies are available for purchase at the gallery.

There is a portrait studio at the back of the gallery.

Sullivan is enjoying the slower pace of Payson.

“I like my work more now,” she said. “When you’re in New York the pressure is on constantly. The competition is fierce. It feels good to just relax with my own work.”

Sullivan taught art in public schools for 30 years, half of those years in Manhattan.

Sullivan has been a photographer for 25 years. She exhibited in group and solo shows and installations in New York City. Her work appeared in New York Magazine, Timeout NY, PAPER Magazine and other publications. Her photography was featured in the HBO series, ‘Bored to Death.’

“I was in the New York Times once,” said Sullivan. “I did installations using my photos, many featuring my family. I had images blown up and put on mylar.”

“My dad made all his children learn how to use a 35mm camera,” said Sullivan. “I went to college in Brooklyn and Nan Goldin came to the International Center for Photography to teach photography journaling. She liked my work, so I kept doing it. I like to put text with photos, that’s what really started it. I like telling stories.”

Sullivan also took darkroom classes at the International School of Photography.

“Andy French was a great teacher and very humble,” said Sullivan. “I had a darkroom that Diane Arbus used. It was a basement, dark and humid, but a workspace so you don’t dress it up.”

Born in Illinois, Sullivan remembers borrowing people’s horses and riding bareback on the trails for hours. After moving to New York in 1983, Sullivan met her late husband, Tom Murrin, also known as “The Alien Comic.” They were together for 20 years until he died from cancer in 2012.

“He was very well-loved,” said Sullivan. “He advocated for people; he never took their work apart in any way. He would say, ‘This person is out there on the stage doing what they love and you should just be happy for them.’

“He worked for PAPER Magazine for 15 years and got me in as a photographer. He was also a playwright. He started at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, founded by Ellen Stewart in 1961 in New York.”

Murrin made his costumes from discarded materials, did magic tricks and juggling and worked them all into his act.

Sullivan is compiling photographs, stories, letters and anecdotes of Murrin’s life for a biography she plans to publish in the spring.

Her mother, Marguerite Sullivan, is featured in an upcoming photo book, “The Mom Project.” Images from the project can be viewed on her website, patriciasullivanphoto.net.

The project includes her mother artfully made up and costumed to embody different characters from Charlie Chaplin to a Bishop.

PHOTO MOJO is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit her website or call 646-623-5608 for more information.

Digital Media Mgr/Staff Reporter/Photographer

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