Artist Interview RSS
Jan 9, 2019
Artist Interview with Julia Bethmann
Hey there, I hope your year is off to a great start! I'm excited to share today's artist interview with my friend, J...
Jul 23, 2018
Artist Interview with Counsel Langley
I have been a fan of Counsel Langley for quite some time now and so when she agreed to let me interview her, I was ...
Jun 4, 2018
Artist Interview with Tara Galuska
Hello friends! I'm so thrilled to share today's artist interview with Tara Galuska. Tara creates whimsical miniatu...
May 2, 2018
Artist Interview with Emily Hancock
Hello Friends! I'm so happy to share today's artist interview with Emily Hancock. Emily is a multi-talented creative...
Mar 12, 2018
Artist Interview with Shannon Amidon
Hi friends! Today's artist interview is with mixed media artist Shannon Amidon. Shannon's work is infused with mysterious beauty and conveys her deep appreciation for bugs, botanicals, and vintage ephemera. Enjoy!Where in the world are you located? What is it like being an artist there?I am in San Jose California, the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s wonderful to be so close to San Francisco and Oakland that both have great art institutions and communities. Unfortunately, there are very few galleries or studio spaces in San Jose. This is partly because it is so expensive to live and work here and at times tech is favored over the arts. The art community is great and really supportive though. I am a firm believer that you get what you put into something. So if you engage, support and are active within your community you will get that back. You recently shared some really exciting news on Instagram. You were awarded a grant for a group show that you’re curating. Congratulations! Can you tell us some more?Thank you! I am so excited and happy about the exhibition and grant. The exhibit I am curating - Arousing Biophilia has been a project that has been in the works for 8 months. It began with a desire to say more with my art/art practice. I am really passionate about nature and the environment and wanted to address that in some way. So I decided to curate an exhibit and invite artists who felt the same way I do. There are a variety of mediums and artists exploring everything from plankton and bee extinction to spores and life cycles.In addition to the exhibit, I also wanted to have free events that educated and informed people about the environment, stewardship, and nature. I applied for an Awesome Foundation grant to help out with the exhibit and events. I really wanted to keep everything free and open to the public. My goal is to have everything be accessible to a variety of people. Not just art lovers but nature lovers, science enthusiasts, school kids and more. I am really fortunate to have been awarded the grant and am so grateful to the Awesome Foundation. I am also partnering with Vegielution a local urban farming organization that does a lot of work with underserved and low-income families and teaches about urban farming sustainability, composting and more. I think for a lot of artists, there's a tension between feeling called to be an artist and the pull to have a "sensible" career. Have you always known that you're an artist? How has your art career evolved?I was a late bloomer as an artist. I have always been creative but was not really exposed to traditional art and that world until college. After my first group show, I was hooked and knew I wanted to be a professional artist. My career has evolved and grown so much over the years. Each year I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunities and experiences I get to have. I am always pushing myself and if I am not growing and trying new things creatively and professionally I feel stagnate and sad. I have done several residencies, received grants and been in many group and solo exhibitions. There are still so many things I want to do and achieve. I love the variety of experiences I can have as a professional artist.Can you talk a bit about your process? How has your work evolved over time? What are you working on right now? What's new or different about it?I started out in photography and loved learning the darkroom process. I transitioned from straight photography to more alternative processes and then more mixed media and cameraless image making. I love process and getting my hands dirty so my work has evolved naturally from photography to mixed media, collage, book art etc. For the past 10 years, I have really focused on encaustic (painting with molten beeswax) I have really fallen in love with the medium. It is the most versatile, forgiving and challenging medium I have worked with. I incorporate a lot of ephemeral materials into my work and still use photography in a lot of my pieces. Recently been exploring using encaustic in a more sculptural 3D way. This has pushed me technically and creatively. Are there certain themes that show up in your work over and over again?Yes, there are two themes that I feel consistently show up in my work. Life cycles, through natural history, trees, insects, botanicals, and nature. These are very obvious and can easily be seen throughout my work. The other theme is memories and a sense of time and history. All of my artwork has ephemera in the background. What a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of it is from my family. My Great Grandmothers vaccination record or her recipes. My Mothers drivers test from the 1960’s. Some ephemera I rescue from thrift and antique stores too. I especially love items with handwriting. I think about where these items have been and the hands that created them. Not only is it important from a repurposing and environmental point of view but also as a way to honor those who are no longer with us. Some people are really freaked out that I use the originals in my work. I think of it as sending these memories out into the world to live on forever and not just have them end up in a box in the attic or a landfill.What is your studio practice like? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into the creative zone? Do you ever get creative blocks? How do you get unstuck?I have strict studio hours Mon – Fri 11-3pm. After 3 pm and the weekends are for my family & friends. I am often doing computer work in the evenings after my daughter has gone to bed. It has been about a year that I have got very serious about my studio time and really honor it. No other appointment, coffee with friends, etc during this time. After I started taking my creative time more seriously I noticed that I was a lot more productive and successful.I do get creative block sometimes and I have learned not to do anything about it. I know that sounds strange but the more I think about the worse it gets. I still do my studio hours but instead of creating I might organize or clean. I try to be gentle with myself and fill the creative well as they say. I also meditate every day which helps. I really love your Bugs and Botanicals series. Can you talk a bit about what that series means to you?Bug and botanicals two of my favorite things. It’s funny people either really love or hate bugs, I have always loved and been fascinated by them. This series was created for a group exhibit called 50/50 where each artist creates 50 pieces of art in 50 days. Talk about crazy! It was a really great and challenging experience. Creatively it was frustrating and freeing. When you are in that time crunch you don’t have time to think, you just have to create. After piece 28 I was freaking out realizing I still had another 22 pieces to go. In the end, it was a huge accomplishment that let me explore subject matter, materials, technique and more. Each piece is named after an entomologist, botanist, or naturalists in hopes that someone might look up and learn a little more about this person. I even created a book to go along with the series.Are you a full-time artist or do you also have a day job/side hustle? If you do have a day job, does it tie in with your art practice?I am a full-time artist and I have a part-time job as a webmaster at a university. To be honest I am happy that I have the part-time position. Not only do I enjoy it most of the time but it also gives me the freedom to take more risks with my art. It gives me enough financial freedom that I am not starving and can travel and afford art supplies. I do take my art career very seriously though and I feel that my art is a full-time job. I have the best of both worlds. It has taken many years to get here but I am really grateful that I am in this position. Let's talk about work/life balance. How do you balance family life, studio time, business and time for yourself?I don’t balance anything and kind of think it’s a myth. There are times like right now that my art life has taken over everything. I spend 12 hour days working on art/art business and neglect my poor family. Then there are times like the holidays, birthday, etc that I put my art on the backburner and focus on family. It can be frustrating at times, I am a really driven person and can overdo it sometimes. I have learned to say no more and really value my time.What does being an artist mean to you?Everything, there is a magic and a freedom in art. I am so grateful to have this life full of amazing experiences and adventures.If you could give your 20-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?I am not sure. I’m the person I am today because of all of the mistakes, pain, lessons learned, and triumphs I have had. Maybe to surrender and let go a little more. Wonderful! Thanks so much, Shannon. For more information about Shannon Amidon, please visit her website or you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. And if you'll be in San Jose, CA anytime between now and April, 22 be sure to check out Arousing Biophilia.Do you have any questions or comments for Shannon? Add them to the comments below!
Feb 12, 2018
Artist Interview with Jamie Smith
Hi everyone! I am so delighted to share today's artist interview with Jamie Smith. Not only is Jamie a talented fine artist, but she is also the founder of the THRIVE artist network, and thereby one of my personal heroes! Enjoy:Where in the world are you located? What is it like being an artist there?I am located in Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada. Vancouver is such a beautiful city, there is so much nature around to be inspired by and a small but vibrant art scene to contribute to. I think for a lot of artists, there's a tension between feeling called to be an artist and the pull to have a "sensible" career. Have you always known that you're an artist? How has your art career evolved?I most certainly did not know! I have always been in this space of tension between the “practical” and “the dream.” I grew up being creative but we did not buy original art growing up and I didn’t really know people that did! I took an art class in my senior year of high school just because I had room in my schedule. It was actually my art teacher that suggested I get a portfolio together and apply to art school. He helped me do this and I was accepted. But of course, hanging onto my practical side I went to a university with an art department so that if I decided to go into a more suitable degree path I could. I did, in the end, complete my BFA and a minor in business (oh so practical). I learned a lot about how to think about art and about famous artists but nothing about how to create an art career for myself. I deeply felt like I would love to take the path of an artist but I had no idea how to do this. So I enrolled in a teaching program because that seemed to be a mix of the dream side and practical side of me. I taught high school art for a few years and during that time I got my own art studio outside of my house and I fell in love!! I decided then and there that I was going to figure out this “art thing” and realized I was actually running a small business so I studied up on the business of art as well. I spend years hustling and juggling teaching and selling my art any way I could. I was very inspired and excited but I was also extremely lonely and unsure of myself. I slowly started meeting other artists and I would go for coffee with them monthly (I fondly called these coffees "lady dates"). I really struggled with the lack of mentorship and community in the arts. As artists, we spend so much time on our own creating in our studios so it is hard to get out into the world. So a few years ago I started THRIVE to support female, non-binary and gender-fluid artists and to create a community that looks out for one another. This has been a huge shift for me in my practice as I feel like I have a team around me! Now being an artist doesn’t seem like a scary impractical path, it seems like a normal choice as I have surrounded myself with “my people.” I am so grateful for this. Can you talk a bit about your process? How has your work evolved over time? What are you working on right now? What's new or different about it?My work has evolved a lot over the years. When I started, I was painting large abstract work and had a studio that had space for this and a big sink. Then I moved into a much smaller studio and started doing image transfer work on smaller panels. Now I have very limited time with everything going on with THRIVE so I create work one week a month and paint on paper sitting at a desk. I find this very relaxing and a great way to unwind. I am working on a series of florals at the moment and I am loving using bright colors, they make me happy! Are there certain themes that show up in your work over and over again?My work seems to always be focused on memories and the passage of time. I find layering images, collage, and tools like Photoshop allow me to take one image and fuse it together with something else to convey the many stories I am working to express. I always seem to have the idea of “place” in my work and some kind of organic forms. I think this comes from travelling and seeing so many different images, places and people all at once, I think I am still trying to make sense of it all. What is your studio practice like? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into the creative zone? Do you ever get creative blocks? How do you get unstuck?My studio practice is very scheduled and disciplined, gone are the days where inspiration can hit and I am painting till 3am! I have 4 days every month to create and I try to get some weekends in as well but that doesn’t always happen. I find throughout the month I am mentally collecting ideas and making plans for those 4 days because I want to jump right in when my studio time starts. Sometimes I find this schedule hard but I do think it makes me more productive as I cherish my studio time and have to just show up and do the work! I listen to audiobooks when I paint and I love getting into a book and I end up painting way longer as I am so into the story and process. I also drink a lot of tea while I work! In addition to being a fine artist, you’re also the founder of the THRIVE Art Studio. Can you tell us about your inspiration for starting this group and how it’s evolved? As I mentioned above I started THRIVE because it was something I needed, I gathered 6 female artists that I had been meeting monthly. I brought the group together and it was such a special night, everyone shared so openly and gave such great advice. It was magic! We decided to meet as a group for 6 months and I created a schedule and questions we would chat about each meeting. I then started getting emails from other artists to join and started more groups. The program has evolved a lot since then but the values and even the questions we answer at every meeting are the same still today! We now have over 175 members and an online program so we have members all over the world (like the wonderful Jessica Molnar!). I am so excited about where THRIVE is today and we have some big plans for the future! All Photos by Britney Berrner If you could give your 20-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?Relax- each win, disappoint, failure and person all lead you down a pretty darn beautiful path. I think my current self could use to remember this more often as well. Thank you so much, Jamie! To learn more about Jamie Smith, please visit her website or follow her on Instagram.TRHIVE Mastermind intake for May is open so apply now to join the community! Check out the THRIVE website to learn more or follow along on Instagram.Do you have any questions or comment for Jamie? Add them to the comments below!
Dec 11, 2017
Artist Interview with Leah Beggs
Hi, friends! Today's artist interview is with Contemporary Irish Artist, Leah Beggs. Leah creates abstract landscape paintings, inspired by the bucolic Irish countryside. I love the dreamy and ethereal quality of Leah's work. I hope you do too!Please tell us a little bit about where you live. What is it like being an artist there?I live in a small village called Oughterard on the west coat of Ireland, close to Galway city. I’ve been here for over ten years now and I think it’s safe to say I’m settled. I’m from Dublin originally so it’s a very different way of life compared to city living. There are pros and cons to being an artist here. Pro’s being that it’s fantastic to live in such a beautiful location particularly as it inspires and informs my art as an abstract landscape painter, Cons being you are a little bit disconnected from the larger art world. Galway city though is a very creative place. It’s bursting at the seams with musicians, artists and theatre types! Have you always known that you're an artist? When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has your art career evolved?I was definitely an arty kid and come from a long line of creative women but had never really thought about being an artist as a career choice. I wanted to be a Vet but when it came to picking College courses somehow fine art made the list and being a Vet wasn’t on the horizon at all. Interestingly my 8 yr. old daughter has expressed interest in being a Vet. Maybe I can live vicariously through her!!My art career has evolved slowly; I think it’s the nature of the beast! It wasn’t until I became a mother and gave up my full time job that it changed trajectory. At a time when I thought I’d have no time and having dependents, the time I spent being creative suddenly became much more focused and therapeutic to me. Whilst I was painting and creating along the way it wasn’t until I started showing my work in both the Kenny Gallery in Galway and Solomon Fine Art in Dublin that things started to take off a little bit. Being represented bya gallery is a real fortune and I appreciate all they do for me but I think in this digital age it’s also important to promote yourself online, be it through instagram , websites, social media etc.Are you a full time artist or do you also have a day job/side hustle? If you do have a day job, does it tie in with your art practice?I worked as an interior designer for a while, and painted in my spare time. Once I had my kids I gave up full time work, although it planned to be a temporary measure. I started painting during the day when my kids were very young and realized now was the time to try and make it a full time thing. It’s a struggle, and can be a lonely existence, but I strive to keep going, as it’s something I truly love doing. Can you talk a bit about your process? How has your work evolved over time? What are you working on right now? What's new or different about it?The essence of my work deals with an emotive response to fleeting glimpses of the landscape, with particular attention to the quality of light and how it affects the mood of the landscape. I find the energy and power of nature a strong stimulus and whilst I identify as a landscape painter, my paintings are not specifically about a place, but rather memories of places I’ve been, or moments in time, escaping, lost in a moment. When I paint I am immersed in the painterly experience, and as such the resulting work is meditative for both the artist and observer and allows you to be momentarily lost in itI think moving from a city to rural countryside has definitely changed my style of painting. It has also evolved as I’ve become more confident in what I do. I recently finished a new body of work that had a different colour palette to its predecessors. This was a big change for me and now I know I don’t have to stick with blue! Are there certain themes that show up in your work over and over again?Clouds, rainfall and storms! Living on the Atlantic seaboard means you are very exposed to all sorts of wild and wonderful weather. I’m constantly amazed by the sky here. I had an artist friend from California visit recently and something she said stuck with me…she said that she loved to look out the window first thing in the morning whilst she was here and be excited about the weather that day, whatever it was going to be, because in California it’s just sunshine all the time and doesn’t change!What is your studio practice like? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into the creative zone? Do you ever get creative blocks? How do you get unstuck?My studio practice needs work! I’m a terrible procrastinator. It’s very easy to get distracted by other things, especially when your studio is at home. I usually start my day with a walk or a run with the dog. It’s a great time to empty my head, but also fill it with plan for the day. I then get in to the studio and once I physically start painting, I get on a roll. I get creative blocks all the time but I think you just need to keep doing the work, even if it’s bad work, eventually you get unstuck! I find if I have to do any administrative stuff done, I can get sucked into a black hole of paperwork, so I try to get it out of the way first thing. It always takes a lot longer than I had planned. I am a total bibliophile and I just love your artist books! Can you talk a bit about what that series means to you? Any plans to make more books? (I hope so!)The artist book thing happened sort of by accident. I meet once a week with a bunch of creative women here in the town where I live. It’s mainly a skill sharing session but the odd time we run workshops. Last year we got an artist bookmaker, Andi McGarry to run a daylong workshop in artist books. I loved it and found it really interesting. There happened to be 2 artist book exhibitions on that year that I submitted my books into. I guess I just ran with it. I haven’t planned to make any more, but I’m always playing around with paper so I’m sure it’s something I will dip into again! Let's talk about work/life balance. How do you balance family life, studio time, business and time for yourself?Now that I have technically have less time to be creative I am much more precious about protecting my time and probably use time more wisely. I think it’s really important to be organized, and to make sure to have time for yourself. I took up playing the bódhran (an Irish drum) a couple of years ago. So once a week I head into Galway city for my class and then take a walk along the seaside promenade after to clear the head. It’s my 'me time' evening, away from home and doing something out of the ordinary. Who (or what) are your biggest creative influences?I just love looking at other abstract painters work. I love the possibilities of paint and what can be achieved on a canvas. I always adored Richard Diebenkorn’s work and I had the chance to gosee some of his Ocean Park paintings in the flesh in London a couple of years ago and I was blown away by them. You could feel the sunshine and light radiating off them. I just thought to myself how did he do that with just paint?!!What does being an artist mean to you?I’m at my happiest when I’m creating; it’s a very therapeutic experience for me. Photo Credit: Firechild Photography If you could give your 20 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?Believe in yourself and what you do. And possibly be a bit more clued into networking in the art world!!Awesome, thanks so much, Leah! For more information about Leah Beggs, please visit her website or you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. You can shop for her artwork on Etsy or see her work in person at Solomon Fine Art and The Kenny Gallery.Do you have any questions or comments for Leah? Add them to the comments below!