Warmer weather and sunny days are upon us and I’m getting excited for participating in more craft fairs and events as the weeks roll on. I was reading Etsy for some inspiration this morning and thought it would be fun to answer some questions that were featured when they were portraying one of their artists. So here is a little self-portrait exercise that I decided to put together on life in and out of the studio. Enjoy!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
This is a funny question to me because most of the time I feel that if I stop creating, and stop my momentum, it’s like I stop breathing. In the last five years I’ve shifted my schedule from working 24/7 juggling work and freelance, to having a 9-5 editing job, working in my art studio on a new line of personal work, and performing live visuals for music performances the rest of the time.
Outside of work might involve belgian beer (my weakness!), traveling, seeing live music shows and being with friends & family. I also have many obsessions which take up my time between deadlines. I like going on spontaneous adventures, cooking organic/vegetarian foods, IDN magazine, Beck, John Lennon, non-fiction books, the 60s & psychedelia, the beat generation, Andy Warhol, desert camping, being on the water, doing zumba & yoga, gallery visits, art parties, science museums, acoustic nights, camper vans, mystery ships, visits to Portland, Austin, San Francisco…
Inevitably, these obsessions feed my desire to endlessly create. So it seems like one long stream of interconnected passions.
What would be the title of your memoir and why?
My memoir would be called “Slanted & Enchanted” if I were allowed to steal the album title from the band Pavement.
Slanted and Enchanted is a way that I’ve described myself for many years because I thought it fit my style perfectly being that I’ve always felt a duality running through me. I’m drawn to bright bold colors as well as dirty dark textures, eclecticism, opposites and and the ugly beautiful of the world. If I were to actually write a memoir it would be a poetic menagerie of day dreams, music references, optimistic stories, adventures, philosophies and recipes, with an aim to inspire people to realize their own unique energy and way of self-expression.
I’ve miraculously kept an online journal since the year 2000 up until now. 12 years of documenting my life, including the entire decade of my twenties. The musings of my younger self would probably find it’s way into my future memoir as well.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my obsessions, my friends, music, random things I see in television shows, junk treasures at thrift shops, etsy shopping, google image searching, youtube video collecting, studio experimentations and taking as many trips to new places as humanly possible at all times.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade to me, means crafting a piece from the very first spark of an idea into a fully realized piece of work, and bringing it to life. The final creation is something that wouldn’t have existed without your energy, vision and skill.
The handmade work that I’ve been producing in my studio lately has been a collection of digital collage mounted on wood, mirror, or vinyl records, necklaces, rings, pins, coasters and screen print t-shirts. The work that I make varies based on what type of materials that I have on hand at the time. I’m constantly collecting materials from all over. So what I make is always changing, mostly one of a kind items based on my treasure findings and mixed with my design work.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
There are far too many people that have influenced me to only draw attention to one, but I always tell everyone about Scott Hansen when it comes to a major artistic influence in my life. I first discovered Scott’s work in the mid 2000′s and fell in love with his perfect symbiosis between being a graphic designer (to which he calls himself ISO50) and being a musician and live visualist (under the guise of Tycho). I had never seen anyone develop such a uniquely synchronous world of art & performance before, and I was completely hooked on his design style, sun soaked color palette & sound. I’ve since followed his shows around the country from New York to San Francisco, taken a design workshop from him at the OFFF festival in 2007, and met him at the F5 festival in 2011.
Another big influence which changed my course of action over the years was Elliott Earls. He was one of my college professors who was a visiting artist to SUNY Purchase College during my junior year of school. One semester with Elliott brought me out of my world of print design and into the wonders of motion graphics. I simultaneously took a video production course called “installation video art” and once I linked those two skills together my career was never the same again.
When did you know you were an artist?
There are two instances in my life where I knew I was an artist, or going to be one.
The first was when I was maybe 4 years old. I got into modeling in NYC at a young age and was working with a photographer named Doug Hopkins. I vaguely remember being curious about his camera during our shoots and he let me get behind the lens a few times and pretend that I was the photographer. It was then that I felt a desire to actually be the one shooting & creating the imagery.
A few years later my grandparents, who were artists themselves, gave me their collection of PRINT magazines from the 60s. From the moment I laid eyes on these pages I was captivated by design, typography, photography, color combinations and 60s design aesthetic. That was the moment I knew I would be a designer.
How would you describe your creative process?
The first step in my creative process is keeping an obsessive collection of things that excite me. I have a few “inspiration folders” that I keep on my online dropbox account, which I can access from all of my computers any time I want to. This makes it easy when I see something that sparks an idea, I can grab the image and save it for later reference when I’m ready to design something. I collect videos, songs, color combinations, textures, fonts and interesting imagery that I can use in layered collage work. My work is a combination of found imagery, recycled materials, stuff I’ve shot on camera from day to day trips & explorations, graphic collage in photoshop, and messy happy accidents made in my studio with ink, paint, pen and whatever else I have lying around.
Once I’ve finished a design going between hand crafted collage & photoshop manipulations, I print the piece with my Canon PIXMA printer, mount the work on wood, vinyl records, window frames, mirrors or canvas. Then I usually coat the piece in a glossy resin to seal the art and give it a thick glass-like finish. I’ve also recently started making my art into jewelry, necklaces, rings & coasters.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist (alive or dead) who would it be?
This is a toughy! I want to say Scott Hansen, the artist I mentioned earlier as one of my biggest visual influences in my career, but I actually think I would most like to visit Michel Gondry’s studio.
I am often most fascinated by outrageous ideas that are completely unique to the artist and I think it makes for the most inspired art & conversations. I am in love with Michel Gondry’s mind, and I can only imagine his studio to be just as whimsical and magical as his ideas are.
What handmade possession do you treasure the most?
I have 3 pieces of original work from my incredible friend & brilliant Czechoslovakian artist Zora Janosova. She passed away in 2005 and has made a permanent mark on my life.
The pieces I have from her represent all the memories I have of being with her, adventuring with her, conversations we’ve had, and ideas we’ve exchanged. They are definitely my most treasured handmade possession. A close second to that is owning her red vintage coat that reminds me of her energy every time I wear it.
How do you get out of creative ruts?
I plan a trip immediately. Traveling is the #1 thing that gets me out of creative ruts. If I can’t get away at the time, long drives and gallery visits help too. So does belgian beer.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I have trouble planning my years out, let alone ten years from now. However, in ten years time, I would like to see myself owning my own graphic design & video art business. I would love to make a living on my art without feeling the need to work in large companies in order to bring home a paycheck. I’d also love to be working with musicians that inspire me, and help brainstorm & choreograph visuals for their live performances and travel with them around the world putting on shows. I’ve also always pictured myself owning a home on the water in Portland, Oregon, driving a funky Danger van, and working in my studio art barn on my own time schedule, making and selling my own unique art & design. One can dream.