Welcome to the eleventh artist interview on miscellany!
(1) Tell us about yourself: I’m 28 years old, and live in Whitney, TX. I’m divorced, with no kids. I spent a lot of time with my mother. I have three older sisters and an older brother (him I haven’t met, but have spoken to). I have a four and a half year old cat, who is everything to me. He’s a Siamese mix named Puck. A typical day for me, consists of getting up at about 5:00 a.m., having coffee with my mom, and then going to my day job. I’m an Administrative Assistant for a church – though I’m not religious. Takes about an hour to get to work, and I start at 7:30. I leave for home at 4:00 p.m., and then spend some more time with my mom, usually watching TV or just talking. Depending on how long I do that, then I’ll either paint, or just go to bed. I do most of my paintings and things on the weekend. – it sounds like I live with my parents, and I do, yet I don’t. I have an apartment above their house. Lame, I know. Haha.
(2) Tell us about what you create: I mostly paint, though I have dabbled in a few other things over time. I didn’t know I even could paint until somewhat recently. Before this, I did a lot of wood burning, and just general drawing, and putting pretty things together like barrettes, head bands, and piggy bank-esque things. Early this year I had remodeled my apartment – painted, and what-not, and I wanted to put up some art on the walls, but I couldn’t find anything I liked that I could afford. So a few friends suggested I try to just make something myself. So, when pay day came, I bought some canvas, paints, and brushes and got to work. My last boyfriend – we were together for nearly three years, but in that three years we broke up something like three times, and at that time we were broken up. The painting turned out better than I could have hoped for. It was so dark, and reflected how I felt nicely. That one, I did actually hang up and it isn’t for sale, but it was really good if I do say so myself. Haha. Painting it was oddly cathartic, so a few months later, I decided to paint some more and then eventually I opened my Etsy shop. I’m bipolar.. medicated.. but still bipolar. I’ve discovered, what I paint usually depends on my mood. If I’m feeling okay, it isn’t quite as dark – but honestly, my head is always a pretty dark place to be. I hate to say it, but they tend to be better when I’m upset, at least to me they are. My head is a dark place to be, but I kind of like it. It is just a hobby, I opened my Etsy shop more for instant gratification than anything else. It doesn’t really matter to me if I sell any of them (though it would be really nice haha). Ultimately, I paint for me. It’s calming and helps relieve stress, because lets face it, I definitely need some stress relief sometimes. I try to get out about two paintings a week, but sometimes I get more, sometimes less. It depends on what I have going on, and what I have to spend on more canvas. I have a bit of a different way of approaching my art. It’s a little morbid, so I try to use vibrant colors to liven it up a little to enhance the idea of the art.
(3) Tell us about your handmade art business: I did spend a lot of time thinking about my shop’s name, though it doesn’t seem like it. I kind of settled. I couldn’t think of anything that would accurately depict what I do – because it varies – and the things I did think of that I liked were already taken. Part of the reason I started it though, was instant gratification.. I wanted to know that other people liked my stuff. But also, they really start to pile up after a while. I have a one bedroom apartment, and I’m running out of room to store them. Haha. My “studio” as you say, is my kitchen table. I haven’t been able to afford an easel yet, so I have a clear plastic table cloth over my kitchen table, and that’s where I paint. Luckily, I rarely eat at my table. That is partially because it’s always covered in paint and supplies now, but still. My dream, is to eventually buy my own house, with an extra bedroom which I will turn into my art room. And hopefully I’ll have won the lottery so I can fully stock it with everything Hobby Lobby has. I don’t agree with their politics (Hobby Lobby), but I REALLY love that store.
(4) Tell us about your customers: I really only consider myself; I paint whatever I feel like painting. I want people to like my stuff, but I don’t really “target” a specific audience per se. Obviously I don’t think senior citizens will like my stuff, or the very young, but you never know. I guess on some levels I do think of other people a little, otherwise it wouldn’t be so colorful. Sometimes my mind is just TOO dark a place to be, and while I want to show it, I understand that some people just aren’t as open to that as I am, so I add more color. My art is for everyone who likes it, or can enjoy it. But a lot of it, is just for me. If I can get what I’m seeing or feeling out of my head – I will.
(5) Tell us where we can find your art: I have my shop on Etsy, and I have a Facebook page, and I have a Pinterest account, but other than that, that’s pretty much it. I don’t have a lot of time to manage websites and what-not. I have a full-time job that takes up most of my time. I’ve considered doing a fair my town holds every year in October, but I haven’t fully decided yet if I want to mess with that. I go back and forth between, “Oh come on Brandi, just do it.” and “Ehh…”. haha.
(6) Tell us about your support: I work alone, but my friends and family are incredibly supportive. They always let me talk about it to them, and even show them what I’ve done. My mom really enjoys seeing my work. I tend to show them to her before they’re even done because her enthusiasm makes me feel good about it. My boyfriend or.. ex, now, actually… he used to be a big support too. He was really supportive about everything, really, and I always looked forward to showing him my work as well. He was honest. He’d tell me if he didn’t care for one, and what he did or didn’t like about a piece. My mom does the same though. Neither of them liked “Acrylic scary tree and moon painting” haha. I enjoy constructive criticism, to a degree. Haha.
(7) Tell us about your favorites: I don’t really follow any blogs of websites really. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest – well I used to anyway. There are a LOT of people on Etsy that I definitely admire. They have some AMAZING stuff and I can only hope to ever be as good as they are. Anthony Hicks – Tinplate Studios, has some AMAZING items. They are SO morbid! I love it! It isn’t paintings, but it’s still just downright amazing. The link to his shop is: https://www.etsy.com/shop/tinplatestudios . Then there’s Megan Downing at TwisterTrails. Her painted tapestries are so colorful and vibrant and just beautiful. The link to her shop is: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwisterTrails . Sarah C. Pilon at SasperryDesigns is another favorite. She features a lot of trees in her artwork like I do, but they’re amazing. Her use of music sheets speaks volumes and it’s just amazing. The link to her shop is: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SasperryDesigns It’s really hard to choose just certain artists to mention – there are a LOT of really awesome people and shops on Etsy. As for my shop, I think my favorite is “acrylic girl with umbrella and cat in woods painting”… long title I know. But the one with the red eyes, not the glow in the dark one. Full disclosure, I was off my medication when I painted that (and the bigger one with the glowing eyes). To me, it’s the one with the most feeling. Which makes sense because I was REALLY feeling things then. I had a lot going on, along with being off my medication.
(8) Tell us anything else: I haven’t had any sales yet, so I don’t know what “advice” I could offer other people with good conscience, at least on how to sell successfully. But I’ll give you this – do what you love. Make sure you put feeling into everything you do. Don’t second guess yourself. The best results come from the things you truly care about, the things that show how you feel. And trust me, expressing your feelings through art, is probably the best, and most cathartic way to get out any pent up feelings you may have. Me – I’m anti-social, full of constant stress, and I’m sad. Very very sad. Pretty much all the time, even with the medication. Life is… painful and messy, and just a general pain in my ass. The things I see when I close my eyes, would terrify the manliest of men… so this is how I release it. Not necessarily by painting the monsters themselves… but just by painting at all. It lets them go, at least for a little while. It doesn’t matter if it’s any good. Just do it for yourself, if it’s what you want to do.