In this installment of Interview with the Artist, I am so pleased to introduce a versatile artist with many talents. Whether she is working in clay or in paints, her style is wonderfully unique, often humorous, and always thought-provoking! Her etsy shop is filled with a colorful array of choices – each with its own delightful “story”.
Please meet Carapace
Were you interested in art as a child?
Goodness, isn’t everyone? At least until school grinds it out of them? But yes, I very much was. I’d spend hours looking at my parents’ Audubon books, or reading comics, or hanging out quietly in museums. It was and is all art to me! And I was always happy to play quietly if I had paper and pencils. This is not to say that I was any good at art of any sort when I was a child, but I was interested!
What were some of the earliest projects that you created?
Aside from the standard awkward elementary school hand-turkeys and such, I took a pottery class and made some shockingly passable coil pots and wall hangings. Even a candle jar, which totally worked…! As a sort of scraps-holder. I didn’t really have the concept of delicacy down. But man, I sure could slab some clay! Had a lot of fun, too. To this day I yearn to take another proper clay class. Perhaps someday…
There was also my Hearts Period, sometime in pre k or so, when I attempted to draw everything solely with hearts – the one shape I knew how to make. Horses, people, trees, they were all made of variant assemblages of heart-shapes. That…was really ambitious of me, actually. I’m not sure I could pull that off now. I may have to try it again, see if I can capture that mad-child creativity.
When did you first become interested in working with clay?
I think I was about 6 or 7 when I took the clay class? And loved, loved, loved it. Drawing will always be my first and most accessible love, but clay offered the chance to make something useful, something graphic art rarely provides. It appeals to my practical senses. Buying a firing rig, however, does not. So I had to wait for polymer clay to be invented, and then to find out about it. And now I can make jewelry! Which is not very useful, perhaps, but did you know some anthropologists credit jewelry as being a crucial part of Homo Sapiens’ eventual genetic triumph over Neanderthal? It’s true! Apparently it helped establish group identity, and encouraged abstract thinking. So I am at least theoretically participating in shaping our
evolution as species with my friperry. Take that, criticizers of adornment!
Your work is showcased in several different media. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is whatever I’m working in at the time! If I’m painting, I wonder why I don’t paint constantly, it’s so cool to watch the colors happen on the paper. And when I’m working with polyclay, I wonder why I ever pick up a paintbrush, the feel of the clay in my fingers is so satisfying, and I love the unpredictable way the colors blend. Oh, and did I mention I’ve been experimenting with paperclay? No one told me about inclusions! Thank goodness I never learned how to sew very well. I have made these dolls, though… So, short answer: No. Though it would probably be good for both my productivity and my mastery if I just picked one and worked at it, that doesn’t seem to be in my nature. Strange, since I’m a very static person otherwise.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
From books, from natural settings, from other artists…but increasingly from the media itself. They have personalities, you know. Stop moving away from me! Try painting on a paper bag and a piece of bristol board. You’ll see how the line changes? The limits of the media suggest subject and composition, more as I know the material better.
Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself?
I keep too much of my work! I want it all to go away. When I finish a piece and keep it, I feel like a mom whose kids have graduated college but won’t move out of the basement to look for work. Darn it, kids! This is Texas, I don’t even have a basement! Get out in the world!
What advice would you give to a person who would like to begin selling his or her art but could use a few pointers?
Make friends, in whatever venue you’re pursuing. If you can stick to a schedule, do that, even if it’s very slow. Try as many venues as you can–you never know where you’ll find a home, or just a new friend. Always assume good intent, but not necessarily good sense; some of the sweetest people will offer you some of the worst ideas. Have a blog, an email, a Twitter, and any other way you can manage to stay in touch. And have fun! If you’re not having fun, you may as well stick with the fabulous world of Day Jobs.