How did you get started doing what you do?
It all started when I got into an art class in high school on accident. Meaning, I did not sign up for the class at all. I’m not sure why, but I remember asking if I could switch my class schedule around. I was denied, so I gave the class a shot. Eventually, I became obsessed with painting and drawing and spent most of my time making art. This led me to art school and I haven’t stopped since. I started painting more abstractly after graduating mostly because it allows me to experiment more and be creative.
What’s your inspiration?
The process of making art inspires me. Recently I have been experimenting with different surfaces. I will paint a block of color or pattern on a clear sheet of paper and create different compositions by layering the pieces together. I will either use that as a reference for a painting or save it for later. I enjoy creating elements to a composition that are separate, similar to a puzzle and piecing them together.
What does your typical day look like?
I currently have a full-time job so I find creative ways to get art done. My lunch break is often used for Instagram and sketching out plans for later. I tend to have a lot of ideas when I’m nowhere near my studio. This actually works in my favor because by the time I get home I’m excited to start painting again.
How do you keep motivated?
Having a full-time job and juggling art and a social life is not easy. The pressure to get everything done within deadlines or time constraints motivates me. I work with my strengths, if I am more productive on the weekend, I will leave larger paintings or projects until then. I also love to paint so I take the time to write down my goals every week and that keeps me on track.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I have been given is to be patient. I have instances when I do have a free day to work in my studio and I manage to get nothing done. Either the painting I’m working on is not going in the right direction or I’m just not motivated. I remind myself often that I need to be patient and I will get my work done.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Instead of focusing on what others are selling and what colors are trending, spend time searching for what is creatively fulfilling. It’s important to keep in mind what is selling, but that doesn’t have to dictate what you are making. I tend to sell work that has fulfilled me creatively. I have noticed since graduating that keeping a consistent body of work has been helpful. I then have a body of work that I can submit for a magazine or art competition. It’s important to seek out opportunities and research what other artists in your field are doing. I keep a planner with me throughout the day and I will jot down notes. Last year, I saw an artist post about a local show they were in, I did some research and submitted to the show and was accepted. I subscribe to a few opportunity lists for artists. I also listen to a great wisdom filled podcast called Creative Pep Talk, I listen to it during my commute to work.
What are your thoughts on art school?
Art school allowed me the opportunity to devote the bulk of my time to making art. There is a built-in community of other artists and creative people to bounce ideas around. I majored in painting and drawing, but I also had to take photography, printmaking and ceramics to name a few. Taking these classes allowed me the opportunity to experiment in other media and decide what I wanted to focus on. I don’t think art school is for everyone but I learned a lot from my professors. I think it’s important to search out a mentor whether you’re going to art school or not. I was able to find a mentor in one of my professors, artist Robert Sherer. He prepared me for life after graduation and what it takes to become a successful artist.
What’s your dream project?
My dream project is an art studio in the trees. I’ve always wanted to live in a tree house anyway, so a separate studio tree house that I could zip line to would be a dream.
What art supplies do you use?
I gave up on oil paint because of its drying time and smell. I have been using Golden Acrylics ever since. For surfaces, I use cradled wood panels more often than canvas.
What’s your process like?
My process varies depending on what I am painting. If I am working on an abstract it starts with color. I recently began a series of color studies. I paint them almost every day. It helps me to loosen up and have fun. If I start painting and I’m not inspired or enjoying the process then it becomes painful. The most important part of my process is experimentation. I keep a folder in my phone that is filled with screenshots of flowers, architecture, and photos with interesting color. I will then paint my interpretation of a pattern or a series of colors together and then tape it on my wall next to my color studies. Once I begin painting on my panel or canvas I have something to use as a reference.
I also tend to work on multiple paintings at the same time. I will work on one painting and if I get stuck, I set it aside and start on something else. My studio is filled with unfinished paintings which are helpful when inspiration strikes, because I already have the first layer started. When I finish a painting I try to varnish, photograph and wire it so it’s ready to go.