Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Art Part

Antelope Canyon - currently living in the house of Danielle :) 
Greetings everyone! This is the first official “Art” post of my blog. Thus begins the inherent documentation (I suppose) of my art-making process and the simultaneous joy and anxiety that come along with launching an Etsy shop.  While I have been fantasizing about being able to do this for many years, even before the miracle of Etsy was created, it has never been feasible given the maddening daily schedule that I subjected myself to throughout college and grad school.  Now I am in a place in my life in which I am able to fully focus my energy into what I truly desire, and making art is one of those things. 

For my entire life, creating has been a place of solace for me, an escape from any and everything else that may have been going on at the time.  My Gram lovingly spurred this enjoyment in me as she introduced me to her favorite forms of creation - crocheting, knitting, sewing, quilting, etc.  The first form of paint I was exposed to as a pre-schooler was that of simple puff paint.  My Gram would buy iron-on patterns, apply them to pillowcases, handkerchiefs and the like, and I would follow behind her tracing the lines, filling the spaces, and eventually making my own designs and patterns.  She taught me embroidery, cross stitch, all those crafty-type things but I was too impatient.  I was drawn to the color - the movable, spreadable, intense impact whose affect could only be achieved by layers of liquid pigment.  Once I experienced what could be done with paint, I was in love. 

Growing up, I was always drawn to art shows and galleries. I was also drawn to ice cream.  Walking around art venues with a massive waffle cone in my hand is a very repetitive memory of mine.  I've eased off on the ice cream since then.  I have always admired those people sitting with their wares and creations on display for the world to see; fully committed to what they are doing and their work, regardless whether other people are attracted to it or not.  I have always lacked that perceived bravery.  That lack of bravery combined with a feeling of weirdness surrounding the idea of charging people for something that is natural for me led to my painting in a secluded space for only myself, my close friends and those that commissioned work without any marketing on my part. 

Even now, when people ask me how much a piece is, I get uncomfortable worrying that they will think it’s too much or that the piece isn't worth that.  When people respond with shock at the bargain, I then wonder if I'm selling myself short.  It’s a constant mental battle.  A wise photographer/designer friend of mine once told me I should decide what amount of money it would take to make me comfortable with letting a piece go.  How much it meant to me, what its value was to me personally.  That helped a lot.  Now I have no qualms about pricing my originals at what may be high to some, because that is what they mean to me.  I hang my originals in my home, because they are pieces of my soul and they remind me constantly of something very important to me.  So yes, it would take a decent chunk of money to get me to part with it.  And if someone is willing to pay that, then I know that they value the piece enough to make me comfortable with letting them take it.  Prints are easy to price on the other hand, as they are reproductions and I don't determine what it costs to make them, the print company does.  Thank you print company!

I'm not sure exactly what this portion of the blog will look like moving forward... I may post pictures of the process, write about a place or object that inspires a piece, or just blast a 5-sentence vent when my clumsy ass knocks a bottle of dye all over a piece of fresh silk.  Maybe all of the above. 

As of now, I have all the pieces in place to launch the shop.  I’m going on vacation to Montana for my best friend’s wedding for two weeks, and upon my return it will be official. No more denying how I would prefer to be spending my days and making my living.

Stay tuned!