HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ARTIST?
I think I was born an artist! For as long as I can remember I have always loved to draw and paint. Art was always the activity I loved the best.
I was fortunate to live in a town where art was not only appreciated but encouraged. I took art classes at the local Marblehead Arts Association. Our high school offered an art major course for senior students. So, I majored in Art in High School and then in College. I also had a neighbor who was a book illustrator. I loved going to her studio to watch her work. I think that had a lasting influence on me.
WAS THERE ANYONE WHO INFLUENCED YOU IN BECOMING AN ARTIST?
I would have to say my parents were my biggest influence. They always encouraged my love of art. They took me to museums to see famous art works all over New England. They paid for my private lessons, camp, art classes and all my art supplies. My Dad created a studio space for me in our basement so I could paint and have a place to practice my creative work all through school. That kind of endless enthusiasm and support goes a long way to encourage a young person to pursue their dream!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Life inspires me! Just look around you….amazing things are everywhere! I am fortunate to live by the ocean and I like to walk along the beach collecting shells and rocks. I am seduced by color…bright and happy colors especially. I love travelling to new places and learning about different cultures. I keep a sketch book with me, especially when I travel, so I have literally filled dozens of books with ideas and drawings of what I see that interests me as I journey through life. I read all the shelter magazines, I am an avid shopper, I study the fashion trends, I am aware of Pop Culture…I keep my eyes open for new ideas where ever I go.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR WORK PROCESS?
For me, it all begins with the drawing. That is the basis for everything I do. I gather reference material from places I have visited or concepts I have come up with. I then sketch up an image I am thinking about, working out the drawing until I feel it’s where I want it to be. Then I transfer that image to a bristol board paper and begin the painting process. The finished painting is later scanned at a high resolution into the computer and sometimes manipulated in PS depending on my plans. I paint with gouache since it reproduces so well and is so forgiving to work with.
My specialty, and what I am perhaps best known for, is product development and the ability to create unique concepts for manufacturers. Drawing is key. Being able to think 3-dimensonally is another key. Also being able to think outside the box! To create something new, something that has function but is also fun and different from what is already out there has given me great longevity in this business. I think a couple of good examples of this are my “Count Down to Halloween” candy corn- shaped calendar, a unique way for kids to count down to a favorite holiday with little drawers that hold treats. The second example are my “Bone Heads” ….hand made porcelain beads with glass crystal eyes and wire hangers to add to back packs or make into jewelry or decorate for Halloween…all displayed in a bone-shaped porcelain dish with tattoos around the edges. Both these innovative product concepts are my creations….distinctive, with a singular purpose to catch your attention.
WHAT TYPES OF MARKETS DO YOU CREATE ART FOR?
I basically create art and product design for any market that will license my work. I am always seeking new markets and design for everything from fabric and buttons, to home décor, kitchen textiles, calendars, flags, giftware and even have a line of resort wear featuring my designs. I have licensed my work on dinnerware and ribbons, illustrated children’s workbooks, a children’s wallpaper book, designed greeting cards, tee shirts, mugs, all manner of giftware, rugs, fabrics, wall art, Christmas and Halloween ornaments and décor and so much more. In 25 years licensing my artwork, there aren’t many products that my designs haven’t appeared on.
DO YOU DO OTHER THINGS REGARDING ART LIKE TEACHING?
I was an art teacher for grades K-12 for over 10 years as I was building my art licensing business. I love working with kids. I also taught silk screening in my studio for years. Following years of exhibiting at Surtex and presenting seminars on art licensing for over 15 years at that show, I continued by offering art licensing consulting to help new artists understand the business. Now I am more apt to be found doing crafts and art lessons with my grandchildren or traveling to some fun place with them. Children are just intuitively creative!
DO YOU PURSUE OTHER CREATIVE INTERESTS LIKE WRITING OR MUSIC?
I love to decorate and have created a warm and charming home for my family. When my girls where younger I used to sew and make their clothes. I am an avid gardener and have designed a magnificent perennial garden. I love fashion and shopping and anything I can do with my hands. The Captain and I do a great deal of traveling, pursuing my love of the arts and visiting all the major museums of the world. I keep a journal for each trip and have several ideas for books that I may pursue at some time.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE BEST ABOUT WHAT YO DO?
I love the freedom to create anytime I want and the flexibility that being your own boss allows. I love that I can work at home after years of renting a studio downtown. I love that I can be walking along the beach and be inspired by something I come across, then go home to my studio and take that idea to another level. I love the challenge of being able to create something special and then finding a manufacturing partner to bring that concept to market. When art licensing all works in a synergistic way, designs you create can find homes on multiple products creating multiple income streams. I think that to earn money for something you love to do, is just the frosting on the proverbial cake!