Artist interview- Melissa Karen

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Here is a fifth interview of my artist interview series. I interviewed Melissa Karen who is a zentangle inspired artist.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in art? Did you take any classes?
    I have been interested in art since third grade. I remember always making greeting cards for my family and friends. My dream job was to work at hallmark cards. I never took art lessons growing up. I just would draw everyday. After graduating high school, I decided to attend art school instead of going to a traditional college. The idea of taking only art classes and no math really appealed to me. I took 93 hours of art with a double major in jewelry making and drawing. It was a three year program that offered a certificate of achievement upon completion.
  2. What is your preferred medium and why?
    My favorite medium is color pencil. I love the colors that can be made blending them together. My favorite brand is Prismacolor pencils. My second one is Faber-Castell colored pencils.
  3. What is your most important artist tool?
    My most important artist tool is a light box
  4. How did you build your confidence early in your career?
    I would always surround myself with art books. I would look at different ways to draw. I always wanted the latest and greatest art supplies. I subscribed to lots of magazines.
  5. Do you make living off your art?
    I made my living off art for 15 years. I was a designer for a major department store. Once again with the changing times and mergers and more computers coming into the workplace, art changed. I enjoy drawing as a
    form of relaxation. It is something that is mine and no one can take that away from me.
  6. Do you have a favorite artist? What do you like about her/him?
    My favorite artist is degas. I love the ballerina paintings.
  7. Where do you get most inspiration for your artwork?
    My inspiration comes from children’s books. I love  approaching art through a child’s view.
  8. How did you go about getting your work out there?
    I bought this book called Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market by Mary Buzlaff Bostic. Great help there.  This book tells you who buys freelance artwork. Also I created a Flickr page that have people following my work called Kreative Karren.
  9. What is the hardest thing about being an artist? How do you deal with it?
    The hardest thing about being an artist is that people call me and ask can I do their portrait in a day. They never understand what actually goes into creating a piece of art.
  10. What are your goals for the future?
    My goals for the future is to open an etsy store and sell my work there. I also want to start a blog and a website. I would like to do some art shows around town too.
  11. What advice would you give to yourself the artist you were 10 years ago?
    I would tell myself to get a degree. That is the biggest mistake I made by not getting a degree. Even though I can draw, the degree is what people are interested in. It is a different world out there today.
  12. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
    I think you do this if you truly love it. Do not go into thinking you will make a bunch of money at it. There are a lot of people out there doing the same thing. Companies now are very selective due to the Internet. It’s harder to prove that it is your actual artwork and not a copy.
  13. What are those things you have learned as an artist?
    As an artist I have learned there are no mistakes and so go with it. It is an interpretation of what you see. Don’t be afraid to just jump in and put something on paper.

Here are some of her works:

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You can see her work here

Artist interview-Jessica Rivera

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This is the fourth interview of the artist interview series. I had an opportunity to interview Jessica Rivera.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in art? Did you take any classes?
    My interest in art started young. Funny enough I had a difficult time staying in the lines. By the time I was in middle school I had developed my own way of drawing people. I then went to the high school of fashion industries. I took classes in fashion design and later switched to the business of art. My friend referred me to their friends to create mix tape covers and promotional art.
  2. What is your preferred medium and why?
    I love painting with acrylic. However the computer is my favorite.
  3. What is your most important artist tool?
    My self. I am the only “thing” that can make it happen.
  4. How did you build your confidence early in your career?
    I was cocky, a true New Yorker. I just felt unstoppable. I had a day job and made money creating art on the side. Eventually I hit a slow patch and came back to reality.
  5. Do you make living off your art?
    No, I make a partial living. It can be slow at times so I must supplement my income in other ways.
  6. Do you have a favorite artist? What do you like about her/him?
    I have several. Frida Kahlo, Maurice Evans, Picasso…. Each artist’s work is unique to their view on life.
  7. Where do you get most inspiration for your artwork?
    A few years ago my inspiration came from a group my friends and I had started to challenge each other with monthly art projects. Now, social issues, nature, and the children in my family inspire me.
  8. How did you go about getting your work out there?
    Online is a great outlet. Flea markets and various vendor opportunities are good as well…. At those event I make contacts and build business relationships.
  9. What is the hardest thing about being an artist? How do you deal with it?
    The feeling of rejection or lack of interest from the general public. I remind myself that art is subjective and not everyone has an eye for my kind of art. I have to laugh when I’m in a booth representing my art and next to me is another artist who painted three lines and a squiggly line and has it for sale for $300… And its sold by end of day. It’s comical. Life is comical!
  10. What are your goals for the future?
    Teaching art to inner city youth. Providing them with an outlet to express themselves.
  11. What advice would you give to yourself the artist you were 10 years ago?
    Don’t lose faith! All your hard work is about to pay off.
  12. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
    Hmmm…. Study the great artists of the past, become in tuned to your inner artistic voice, and ignore all the haters.
  13. What are those things you have learned as an artist?
    It’s not about making money or becoming world famous, it’s about the integrity of the piece I’ve created.

 

Artist interview- Annemette Falck Fleron

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Here is a third interview from my artist interview series. This time I interviewed Annemette Falck Fleron who is a 25 year old self taught artist from Denmark and registered nurse.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in art? Did you take any classes?
    My name is Annemette (called Annie) Falck Fleron, I’m 25 years old and I’m from Denmark. I work as a Registered Nurse at one of the biggest ICU’s in Denmark. I have always had a liking for art. It was my favorite pass time as a kid and it was my favorite class in middle school. But then I got busy being a teen and I turned away from it again. I got home from Boarding School and had met some incredible talented artistic people in the two years I’d been aw away. And it sparked my love for art again. I wanted to be a part of that world – to explore, to learn and to admire the amazing talent the people of this world had to offer. So I began to draw. In the beginning it was mostly portraits done in pencil but as I learned I wanted to explore more and since then I have thrown myself out into many different ways to make art. I am still mostly a portrait kind of artist though. I have never taken any art classes. What I know and do, I have learned by doing. By observing what other people do and by trial and error.
  2. What is your preferred medium and why?
    I know this is cheating a little, but I sort of have three. Colored pencils – because OH! The possibilities and the colors and the things you can do with that. I love it. And it is currently what I work with the most. Watercolors – because I love how I can work with the paint and the water and how I can make a million nuances with only one color. And I have always had a special liking for them, even as a kid. Pencil – because this is my base. When all else fails, this is something I can do. I know how to work with them, and this is where I started. I don’t use it as often anymore as I used to, but I still hold them very dear to my heart.
  3. What is your most important artist tool?
    I actually think it might be my computer. Which is a little odd I’ll admit. But even though I have some tools I always use – like the right paper. Or my hobby knife to sharpen my pencils, be they color or regular, I consequently always need my computer. To store my reference photos. To search the internet. To find inspiration. To share my work and promote myself. Not to make the actual art, but to give me the circumstances I need so I can do it.
  4. How did you build your confidence early in your career? Most importantly by not comparing myself to the massively talented people whom I admire for their contribute to the art world. Because when I do that, I end up feeling like I fall short and can’t measure up. Art is not a contest of talent. It is a way to express emotions – and doesn’t EVERYBODY express himself or herself different anyway? I mean, we don’t run around and compare who is heartbroken the best or who has a better and prettier happiness. We know that loss and love looks different on everyone, and we accept that. I keep reminding myself that the same goes for art – we all express our feelings in different ways, and thus our art will never look quite like the same. As good. As bad. As incredible. When I remember that, I feel confident in what I do. And then the love and support from my family and friends didn’t hurt to get me to keep going in the beginning.
  5. Do you make living off your art?
    No. I don’t think I ever will. Not full time at least. I love to draw and I would love to sell my works and spread the joy I find in them. But I also sincerely love being an ICU nurse and I wouldn’t want to lose that aspect of my life either.
  6. Do you have a favorite artist? What do you like about her/him?
    I don’t know if I have a favorite. I have a few I follow more closely than I do the rest, because they inspire me greatly. Ester Roi, color pencil extraordinaire, is one of them. The things she manages to do with her color pencils leaves me speechless. Pixie Cold and her use of markers and watercolors – and colors in general – is a fantastic thing for my eyes to see. As far as ‘old’ artists, I like Claude Monet , but I’m actually really bad at naming whom I like. I like a lot of artist. Because, have you seen their work?! Amazing!
  7. Where do you get most inspiration for your artwork?
    I find it everywhere. I see so much beauty in the world around me. But mainly, I spent a lot of hours on the internet from time to time, diving into the world of art. Looking through these fantastic photos people take, through other artists works and so on. And then I try to combine it. The beauty I see outside and the beauty I find online.
  8. How did you go about getting your work out there?
    I used a Danish drawing site – a smaller version (and older) of Deviantart and pages like that. And then I found facebook. And really, most of my ‘out there’-ness is on facebook. I have put a lot of effort into establishing a page there. I have recently begun to use Instagram as well. I am still working on getting the nerve to do some shows somewhere. I’m not sure I’m ready for that quite yet.
  9. What is the hardest thing about being an artist? How do you deal with it?
    Self-doubt and perfectionism. I think all artists know of this. It is a killer. And I don’t know how I deal with it? It kind of comes with the territory. When it get’s really bad I read a book instead. Something to make me relax in another way, before going back to my drawing.
  10. What are your goals for the future?
    I would really love to actually start selling my art and get published and do a show or two. But this is me wishing for the Holy Grail. I will work my way there though.
  11. What advice would you give to yourself the artist you were 10 years ago?
    I would tell myself to get my butt into gear and start doing the things I loved to do – such as drawing.
  12. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
    Don’t let your doubts stop you. Ask questions – for heaven’s sake ask all the questions you can. How do you do that? What do you use? Can you show me? Can you teach me? Paper? Material? And then to just try . Try and try again. The first times you try to make something new, something you’ve never tried before it will (to your ever critical own eyes) not look as good as you want it to. But know that that is normal. And that it will change without you really noticing it. One day you will just have made something you really love. Fight for that day. It makes all the rest of them worth it.
  13. What are those things you have learned as an artist?
    I have learned a lot as an artist. I guess the most important thing is that I don’t do this for anyone else but me. I have tried to force myself to draw because other people wanted me to, and it kills my joy. I found myself no longer enjoying doing it. I lost my happy place. So that was a rough lesson to learn. But also an incredible important one. Essentially I live my life for me, and not for anybody else – and that includes my art. I dance around on my floor each morning singing along to my music, because that makes me have a better and happier day, than if I don’t. Same goes for my art – I draw and paint to make myself happy and balanced. BUT it is the biggest bonus ever, that others have found some happiness in what I do as well. That is freaking important and so great. SO great.

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You can see her artwork here.

Artist interview- James Phillips

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I got an opportunity to interview James Phillips who is a sculptor.

  1. Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in art? Did you take any classes?
    Born in 1957. Taught by mother to draw at 5 -6 years Only other instruction from middle and high school art teachers. Had many jobs along the way, married for 36 years, raised 2 fine sons, but did not make any art until 10 years ago. I was cutting down a tree in my suburban neighborhood yard, and started doodling with a chainsaw on the fallen trunk. People encouraged me to do it again, and i became obsessed with starting new ones.
  2. What is your preferred medium and why?
    I just sculpt wood. No burning desire to swap mediums.
  3. What is your most important artist tool?
    Can of black spray paint.
  4. How did you build your confidence early in your career?
    I sold stuff cheap. I learned early on that there is no better feeling than selling work, and it is not the money.
  5. Do you make living off your art?
    I am a lucky guy. When I first started selling a few pieces about 8 years ago, I looked around and figured out that it was not likely I would ever quit work to make art. About 6 years ago texas country reporter did a flattering piece on me and the tree project in galveston. My website lit up with opportunities to carve all over texas. 4 years ago I quit my job as a salesman, and just whittle every day.
  6. Do you have a favorite artist? What do you like about her/him?
    I am not educated in the masters, but I have many artist friends that I have come to know, and admire. There is endless admirable talent out there. I collect my favorites from the ones I like personally.
  7. Where do you get most inspiration for your artwork?
    I am inspired by the desire to make more stuff. I lost a brother a few years ago, and came out of the experience impossible to piss off, and a disdain for wasting time.
  8. How did you go about getting your work out there?
    I began entering any juried shows I could find. I gave away many pieces for fundraisers, and displayed anyplace that would allow, to get my work seen.
  9. What is the hardest thing about being an artist? How do you deal with it?
    Concern over whether or not anyone will want your stuff next month. Always trying to make better stuff.
  10. What are your goals for the future?
    Make more stuff.
  11. What advice would you give to yourself the artist you were 10 years ago?
    I was a full time salesman at the time. “Start making stuff”
  12. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
    Make more stuff.
  13. What are those things you have learned as an artist?
    It is not about the finished work. It is just stuff. The only real reward comes from the doing. Making more stuff.

You can see his work here

Artist interview-Sian Louise Kapoor

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Here is the first interview of the artist interview series. I had an honor to interview Sian-Louise Kapoor.

  1.   Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in art? Did you take any classes?
    A lot of children have an artistic streak in them at a young age, but as they grow up it fades as they lose interest. However, I am one of the lucky few. I have been drawing literally since I could hold a pencil and haven’t stopped since. I studied art and graphic design at GCSE in England and never took any art classes. My interest and ability has only increased with time and I’m now blessed at the age of 19 to be doing what I love as a profession.
  2.  What is your preferred medium and why?
    My preferred medium to work in would probably have to be graphite. It’s what I initially worked in from day one which gives me such a bigger comfort zone with this material. Also I love the control that you have over a pencil unlike more messy mediums like paint for example. It is perfect for a neat, detailed obsessed perfectionist like me!
  3. What is your most important artist tool?
    My most useful tool would have to be my beloved Derwent graphite Pencils or my shaped eraser. I can’t express how much my graphite works improved since investing in that. It makes those small fiddly highlights so much easier.
  4. How did you build your confidence early in your career?
    Being still a teenager myself now, I was very young when I started out. Luckily for me I had amazing parents, grandparents and a supportive base behind me that encouraged me in my ventures as well as my teachers and friends and that really helps to give a great confidence boost. Secondly, the achievements I have made to date considering the age I am also gives me great pride in what I do.
  5. Do you make living off your art?
    Yes I earn a good amount from my artworks.
  6.  Do you have a favorite artist? What do you like about her/him?
    Although very different from my graphite style, I adore the work of pop artists like Andy Warhol. I fell in love with pop art style works while studying for my art GCSE course. I love the bright colours and how they that design style was a new concept then and even if featured in a house now it gives a modern retro sort of feel. They’re timeless pieces.
  7.  Where do you get most inspiration for your artwork?
    The large majority of my artworks are actually commission based which means I sometimes get very little time for personal pieces. I am very interested however in portraiture of the human form and how individuals relationships, their personalities, characteristics and emotions can be bought to life on a canvas or piece of paper its almost magical for me.
  8. How did you go about getting your work out there?
    I started my art page on Facebook in 2013 at the advice and encouragement of some of my school friends at the time. Some work I did for family and family friends in England also got heard about by word of mouth and led to more business. The power of word of mouth business should never be underestimated. Using a website I had business cards made for a small price, I wrote to a local newspaper about my work and managed to get my story published and entered some competitions in the past.
  9. What is the hardest thing about being an artist? How do you deal with it?
    I’d say the hardest thing actually is your own critical mind as well as people who will try and take advantage of your ability. The way to silence your critical mind I find is to stop comparing yourself with other artists that is many artists major faults. If every artist was the same there would be no variety and that would be boring and not help you to stand out so just be you. Plus never enter into any deal that has nothing in it for you. Some people may say ’draw this for me, I won’t pay you but it will be loads of publicity’. I’m sure many artists have heard that line before. Never let your ability be taken for granted.
  10. What are your goals for the future?
    I already make money from my art. But I’d say my goals for the future would be to sell in an even greater number of countries internationally and further into the future to do some illustration of some kind. I also write poetry and do creative writing, so to be able to produce something both written and illustrated by me would give so much satisfaction to me.
  11. What advice would you give yourself the artist you were 10 years ago?
    I would tell a nine year old me that however frustrated you currently get at all your unsuccessful artistic attempts and rare works of genius that quality and perfection come with time and that in 10 years time you’ll be earning your living doing this exact same thing, you just have to master it for some more years first but that it will be worth the time, frustration and effort.
  12. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
    My tips to others, especially those of a younger generation like myself is if you have a keen interest in art don’t let it fade and if you have a great ability find some outlet to be able to show it and share it. Secondly, don’t give up practice does indeed make perfect. I’d never have dreamed 5 years ago I’d be doing what I do today.
  13. What are those things you have learned as an artist?
    Certain skills related to different materials I have acquired over time either through self experiment, my art and graphic design GCSE courses or by my own interest, watching art tutorials on YouTube or reading tips online. But as a personal note, the biggest thing I’ve learned is how true the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ really is. I’m amazed looking back seeing how my work developed. I think all artists should keep track of their works to view progression its a great confidence booster.

You can see her work here.