Welcome to the sixth artist interview on miscellany!
(1) Tell us about yourself: Hi! My name’s Jess, I’m 20 years old and I live in a small country town called Hopetoun in Victoria, Australia. I live with my parents and younger brother (plus quite a collection of pets – a dog, cats, birds and fish!) but I’ll be moving to the city next year to go to university. I work at a post office part-time, and spend the rest of my time attempting to create things! Away from art, I love running, animals, music (I play piano) and generally being outdoors.
(2) Tell us about what you create: I create drawings, paintings and other artworks in various styles, subjects and media. I’ve loved to draw for as long as I can remember, and all of my art comes from that basic love of drawing. But I also like to experiment with different ways of creating things and I don’t stick to one subject too long. I tend to find an idea that interests me, play around with it for a bit and then find a new inspiration. My shop contains items that vary from cartoon-style paper collages to realistic graphite pencil art. However, the common theme throughout all of my artworks is enjoyment and positivity – I want my art to make people feel happy and upbeat, and i often use bright colours and patterns.
(3) Tell us about your handmade art business: My Etsy shop, ArtStuffByJess, was opened in March this year, and since then I’ve been working to fill it up with fun, interesting and original art. I had never sold anything that I’d made before last year until someone suggested it would be a good way to raise money for a volunteering trip I was taking to South Africa. I sold quite a few drawings and paintings locally, and this year decided to share my creations with a wider audience! I had shopped on Etsy before and it seemed like a the perfect place to sell my kind of art.
(4) Tell us about your customers: So far I haven’t had any sales on Etsy, only face-to-face (many are people who know me and want to support a young local artist!). When I think about my target audience, I envision people a bit like me – slightly quirky, upbeat and modern, who look for unique one-off pieces when buying art, accessories etc. instead of following the crowd. I think my use of bold colours and designs would most likely attract younger customers, but you never know!
(5) Tell us where we can find your art: You can find me on Etsy, and some of my art is for sale where I work. Being from a small town, I also sometimes get people simply coming up to me and asking if I can create something just for them, because they’ve seen things I’ve done for others.
(6) Tell us about your support: In terms of creating art, I like to work alone, and usually don’t want anyone else seeing my artwork until it’s completely finished. Occasionally I’ll ask my family for their opinions about a particular detail of an artwork, but i like to keep an element of surprise in the finished product. My family and friends, as well as my small community, are extremely supportive about my art and are always trying to get me more exposure and sales, as well as offering advice and suggestions of what to create next.
(7) Tell us about your favorites: I have plenty of blogs and websites I follow as I have plenty of varied interests! Some of my favourites are superlinguo.com (linguistics), terribleminds.com (writing) refinery29.com (fashion/beauty), thepostmansknock.com (art + calligraphy) and nationalgeographic.com. I also love looking through photography and travel books, as well as vintage encyclopaedias and science books. My favourite Etsy shops include WildnisPhotography (photography), Greysparrow (art) and Goodafternine (jewellery). I think the item from my shop that I’m proudest of would have to be my drawing of two giraffes, because I was so happy with how it turned out and it brings back a lot of great memories from when the reference photo was taken.
(8) Tell us anything else: Just thought I’d share one of my favourite quotes about being an artist: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good… But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work… It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions… It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass