5 things about Making Art

AKA what I would tell myself 5 years ago. Ok, I’ve only been doing this thing called ‘artist’ officially a year. There’s still so much I want to do and hopefully, I’ll get there! But if I could go back to art student me a couple of years ago, here’s what I would say:

  1. Just make. Don’t get caught up with the idea of it being the next Mona Lisa. It won’t be a masterpiece and really, it doesn’t need to be. Don’t be afraid of that blank canvas - I know an artist who will make quick brushstrokes on the panel so she won’t be intimidated by the empty, blank panel. Put your head down and get to work.

  2. Experiment. This is a pretty broad piece of advice for a reason. Be willing to try new mediums, new styles, and anything that comes up! Collage was an experiment for me and now I love it! Sometimes I’ll walk around my art supply store and see if there’s anything extra I want to try. A personal example would be right now I’m trying to find a way to get gold leaf back into my work. Guess I’m going to have to experiment!

  3. If something doesn’t work out … don’t throw it out and don’t beat yourself up. Ok, I’m not encouraging you to become a hoarder. But I am encouraging you to use it as a learning experience. I have a few pieces in my studio that are either unfinished or something I wasn’t thrilled with. My view is in a few months, maybe I’ll come back to it and know how to fix it. Inspiration is funny like that. It's all a part of the experimenting process - happy accidents.

  4. Also connected to the last point, take time for your self. Your art will flourish when you feel inspired as opposed to dead tired. Some people can work on artwork for days, weeks, months without stopping. Some get burned out after one piece. You have to find that balance. Coming off of art school and making around 10 projects a semester, I needed a break. I only made one ‘finished’ piece of art the year after I graduated. Even today, some days are dedicated to making art and other days focus on housework/errands. Find what works for you.

  5. Connect with other artists. Who better to understand the creative struggle than other artists? We live in a great day and age where its easy to connect with artists around the world. I love my Instagram art community and I’ve kept up with a good deal of the artists I graduated school with. Today, I have a few trusted people I go to for critique and advice about my work. But I love connecting with artists just to build a community. Most of the artists I know love talking about their process, their thoughts behind their work, and love to answer questions. Reach out and don’t be afraid to ask.

If I’m honest, I still need these pieces of advice. I hope this encourages you! Being a creative individual is a wonderful thing. Now go turn up that music or podcast and get cranking!

Here are some reads that have encouraged me about being a creative:

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Steal like an Artist and Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

  • Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon

  • Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa


Original Art on a Budget?

Ok, how many of you would love to buy more art?

I’m right there with you. I love filling my home with prints and paintings from other artists. Funny enough, I don’t like putting my own artwork in our home (except that one painting that Philip really likes). But unfortunately, it isn’t always cheap. As someone who makes art I can tell you that more than likely, it’s a fair price. The majority of artists aren’t ripping you off. In order to get a profit off of time spent making the art, cost of materials, shipping, etc., we have to charge a certain amount. You can’t buy an original piece of art for the price of a Starbucks latte.

So what does that mean? Do I have to wait till I’m 45, a president of a company, and traveling to Europe twice a year in order to afford original art?

NO. I am a firm believer that art should be available to everyone. Most artists feel that way too. We want you to have our art. It can’t be enjoyed if its sitting in our studio only seen by us and our pets. So the question becomes, how can you afford original art while also giving the artist a profit?

Here’s my solution - a payment plan. Okay, that sounds daunting but let’s face it, the average 25 year old is already in some sort of payment plan: college debt, Amazon, Netflix, etc. So why not enter a payment plan for an art piece you can own for the rest of your life?

I haven’t worked out every part of this, but I think this can make art more available to everyone. Now some would prefer to save and make one big purchase at once, which is great! But few have that luxury. I think a payment plan presents an option for more odd and totally original artwork to makes its way into more homes.


Candy Wranglers - Artist Statement

When it comes to food, I'm a sucker for sweets (no pun intended).  Sweet things always seem to find their way into my collage work.  Maybe it's my obsession with sweets or the fact that I always associate good times and happiness with sweets.  

This series started when my sister-in-law asked if I would ever make artwork with candy in it.  I had never thought about it, but my curiosity was peaked.  I began finding old photos and trying to find ways they could interact with the bright, colorful candy.  Before long, I had women and men wrapping, hanging, and wrangling with candy.  I named these individuals "Candy Wranglers" because they always seemed to be conquering or collecting this candy.  Even though it seems like hard work, they don't seem to mind with the bright colors.  That's what this series is about - the joy and sweet memories made even when it seems hard at the time.




Signed, Anonymous - Artist Statement

Social media is a double-edged sword.  It has created many wonderful opportunities but has also given people a new platform to hide behind and become something they are not.  Some use it to harm other people while others simply portray a perfect life, hiding whatever does not conform to this online identity.  The anonymous nature of social media allows us to create an image of ourselves with liberty to say and do what we want.  As someone who is active on social media, I associate words and ideas to a certain person.  Their words, their feelings grow around their identity until I don’t see them; I see their actions.  In this body of work, I explore how an identity is created by our actions. 

Every portrait is painted with the idea of remaining anonymous, similar to many social media profiles.  The solid white outfits and the obscured faces do not allow us to know who it is.  Each is titled with a name, but it is not the sitter’s name. 

The flowers represent the sitter’s actions.  Throughout art history, flowers have been used as symbols for emotions, vices, virtues or the fleeting nature of life.  Mankind continues to be fascinated with the objective beauty that comes from flowers and floral arrangements.  My personal obsession with flowers comes from their dual nature – they are fragile but also provide so much joy to the caretaker and viewer.  For this body of work, the flowers only symbolize positive thoughts: joy, hope, love, peace restoration, etc.  There is enough negativity in the world.