Can I send you a bunch of interview questions for a school paper?
The short answer is yes, but please, please try to see if your questions have already been answered here in my FAQ or in previous interviews in the “Press” section. Because I work full time as an artist and also am a mother, my free time is extremely limited. If you have a very specific question that I don’t cover, I will be happy to help out! Please give me ample time to get back to you, and please understand that I may not be able to at all. Thank you for understanding!
Did you go to school for art, and if so, where?
I went to Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia from 2004 through 2009, right after high school. I received my Bachelors of Fine Arts in spring of 2009, and my concentration was in drawing and painting, though for a year or so, I double majored in photography before dropping it because I didn’t want to be in school two extra years. Extra education has included a digital painting course from The Art Department as well as a mentorship illustration class with Dan Dos Santos via SmART School.
What media do you work in?
As of 2011, almost exclusively in watercolor. Prior to 2011, much of my work was a combination of watercolor, gouache, ink, tea and film photography. That work is not on my website, as I don’t work in that manner any longer, but if you are curious as to what it looked like, you can find a whole slew of older work at my deviantART page. I discontinued that combination because it became too expensive to continue as well as for the lack of equipment and space.
In addition to watercolor, I occasionally also work in acrylic washes as well as with acryla gouache for my studies.
What inspires you?
Everything. That’s the easy answer! It’s really hard to say, because I really can’t cite any specific thing. I’ve always just loved the simple act of creation. Getting half-formed ideas and images out from my head, onto paper, and into fully fleshed things has always been a fascinating experience and one I will never get tired of. So that’s really it – I’m both motivated and inspired by creating. It’s really what fuels the work. Other than that, words are a big factor. I keep a notebook with pages full of words (most of them get used as titles that inspire the mood of the painting). I think titles are important. It’s the one defining, factoral element in my work that gives a legitimate clue as to my intentions with the piece.
How long have you been working as an artist?
I suppose I can date it at early 2008. That was the year I began exploring my personal style, became aware of the market that my art would fit into, and taking my career seriously. I still had a year and a half to go until my graduation at KSU, so I had to work in personal work with school work (and in most cases, managed to make them count as both). I also began exhibiting as an artist that year with several galleries and showing my work off online, garnering attention from various places. I sold my first legitimate work that year, began selling prints, had my first illustration commission, and found that I had a natural affinity for marketing and networking.
After many years of continuing to create while keeping part time jobs, I was finally able to make the jump to working exclusively as a career artist full time in 2012. Yay!
What techniques do you use to get your texture? Do you use masking fluid?
The techniques I use are basic watercolor tricks: wet-on-wet, using salt, rubbing alcohol, and paper towels, and the occasional use of masking fluid. I’m often asked if I use masking fluid for those detailed lines of hair, and my answer is no. It gets too messy if I try to be that precise with the masking fluid, so I carefully paint around those areas. I’ll use the masking fluid in some other cases in which it would actually save me time. Plus, it smells like butt.
If you’re interested in learning more about my process and techniques, check out my video!
Why do you work in watercolor?
I love its fluidity, how every layer changes the color, the simplicity (all you need is water and paint!), and how NOT messy it is! Watercolor is a very intuitive medium for me to paint with, and I appreciate that it dries quickly, so that every mark counts. I don’t have the luxury of going back to a spot and redoing it like you would with oils or acrylics, either. There really isn’t an “undo” button with watercolor.
What brands do you work with?
For watercolor, I frequently work with Grumbacher and some Winsor & Newton, and I use Daniel Smith for specialty colors. For acrylics, I am currently working with Golden. My watercolor brushes are Kolinsky sables. My masking fluid is by Grumbacher. For my watercolor paintings, I use Aches hot press 140 lb paper and for illustration, I prefer Arches hot press illustration board.
Can I use your artwork for a tattoo?
Of course! I only ask that you consider purchasing something from my shop. While it’s super flattering that you want my artwork to be a part of your body, that doesn’t help me to pay the bills and continue doing what I love for a living. Plus, having a reproduction of the artwork you’re getting tattooed to show your tattoo artist is super helfpul! Please get in touch with photos of the finished tattoo – I’d love to see it!
I want to sell prints of my own artwork. Do you have any tips on getting started?
Once you have quality scans or photographs of your artwork ready, start small, maybe with a company that does the printing and fulfillment for you (like Society6, Redbubble, etc). Once you get an idea of the demand you have, you might try taking some of it into your own hands! Order prints from a company (there are many out there, just do some google-fu), and then do the order fulfillment yourself. Take a look at how some of your favorite artists sell their own prints. Many have Etsy shops, or a Storenvy shop like me, or build a platform off of their own websites. If the demand is high and you’re ready to make a better profit, start making those prints yourself! Invest in a nice printer and some quality paper and go from there. For more information on my setup, detailed questions and answered can be found here.
How do I show my work in galleries?
My best advice is this: take a look at some artists whose work you admire that is in a similar vein as your own, or where you’d like to be. What galleries are they showing at? If those galleries are out of your league, maybe take a look at where they started. Most artists have a CV or exhibition history on their websites, and this is a great place to start. Go to those galleries’ websites and check out their current artists and the type of work they put on their walls. Does your work fit in? If so, look for submission guidelines. Some galleries have a contact form, others may have specific instructions for submitting your work, and the occasional gallery might say they’re not accepting submissions. Whatever the case, if you contact a gallery that you think you’ll fit in with, be professional, courteous, tell them why you want to show your work with them, and follow their submission guidelines to a T. You might hear back in a few weeks, a few months, or perhaps not at all, and don’t be discouraged if it’s the latter. Keep making better work, growing your portfolio, and try again down the line.