Taking the leap from Hobbyist to Full-Time Artist

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This article is written by Keri Sallee

Pursuing a dream is never an easy task. It takes strength of heart, a heap of patience and maybe…just a dash of insanity.

Many people thought I was beyond crazy when I decided to quit my job and try my hand at being a full-time artist in the paper-crafting/mixed media world. And in all honesty, it was never something that I had considered until I met an amazing woman named Cheryl Boglioli. This homeschool mom/medical transcriptionist turned full-time artist and social media maven has become my mentor as I figure out my way in this new territory and today I want to share some of her wisdom and experience with you.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

Be practical

So you want to be a full-time artist? Here are some practical tips from Cheryl:

(1) Do your research! Take time to figure out what kind of business is right for you right now. There are LLCs, DBAs and so many others. Seek help from those who know more than you. Cheryl was inspired to take her leap into full-time artist by attending a Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) roundtable discussion with other designers and still uses them and CHA as resources.

(2) Find a mentor. The mentor/mentee relationship can sometimes be misconstrued, Cheryl says. It’s not meant to be someone who does the hard work for you or acts as a business coach. Rather they are meant to be your example of a professional designer and to be your sounding board for questions. This is a very special relationship, so choose carefully.

(3) Be prepared for rejection. You will not get every opportunity you reach for and it’s hard not to take it personally. Here’s what Cheryl suggests: think of it this way…they aren’t saying “no” to you or your art…it is just not what they are looking for. Cheryl also reminds us to be open to critiquing; in the long run, it will make you a better business person and artist.

(4) Be organized and have a plan. Cheryl loves tools such as Google calendar to keep track of deadlines (a necessary evil! LOL), both personal and professional. Being organized she said, also helps keep the lines of communication clear and allows you to be an active member of the art community, both vital to your cause.

Cheryl Boglioli full-time artist and social media mave

The Artist’s View

Getting to do what she loves everyday is Cheryl’s favorite part of her choice to become a full-time artist. In her studio in historic downtown Fort Pierce, FL, she has the opportunity to be surrounded by the positivity and creativity of other artists. But, she says, it can be easy to get bogged down with creating for others, deadlines and the business side of what you are doing. Cheryl’s suggestion is to make time to play. Take time to sit at your desk…in your studio or wherever you create and create just for you.

Be prepared to ask yourself self-evaluation questions. Cheryl says that is some of the best advice she received from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Always be asking yourself questions like “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” and “What am I passionate about?” The questions and answers like this will always be changing and will help guide you, so ask them often.

Be inspired by those around you, but stay true to yourself is another great piece of advice from Cheryl. Even as advanced as she, she still takes classes, learns from others and then incorporates it into her own person style.

In a Nutshell

You CAN do it! That is the most important thing that Cheryl has taught me. Yes…there are rough days, but then there are days when you are so inspired there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. It takes planning and faith to move forward, but if others can do it….so can you.

Photo of Cheryl and Keri at Winter CHA 2013

To learn more about Cheryl, check out her website: Cheryl’s Window and for the complete interview, check out my blog: The Creative Life Studios

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Keri Sallee is a paper-crafter and mixed media artist who believes that EVERYONE was made to create. She loves thinking outside the box when it comes to her designs, like her Wizard of Oz inspired high-heel shoe that won her a spot on Graphic 45’s 2014 Design Team. She has also designed for The Canvas Corp family of companies, Susan K. Weckesser, The Craft Warehouse, Authentique Paper, Want2Scrap and The Buckle Boutique. Her favorite artistic quote is by Picasso and it says “Inspiration Does exist, but it must find out working.”

You can see more of Keri’s work on her blog ~ The Creative Life

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Doing What you Love and Loving What you Do

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This article is written by Stacy Steinborn

DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO…This quote has actually stirred controversy in the aspect of making a living and not making a living.  It is mostly interpreted in a thought of what you should do or not do to make money.   Whatever it is you do, you should love it.  The argument for some is, yeah, but you will most likely be broke. Living in Nashville Tennessee the music Capitol of the world, this city is full of thousands upon thousands of broken dreams and hungry musicians.   Now I can’t even begin to write about this argument.   I’m still figuring that one out.  However, I can look at this quote and read into it a little deeper.

Stacy Steinborn

But first, how I came to the conclusion of my interpretation.

As a creator of mixed media art, have you ever finished a piece and shown it to someone and they don’t really react like they like it. I truly feel some people just “don’t get” mixed media.  And I’ve simply come to the conclusion that, that’s okay.

This is a scenario that has happened to me on more than one occasion: At a gathering or function, a group will be talking and someone introduces you to an artist.  In the introduction they state that you do artwork as well.  Then you are questioned, what kind of art do you practice, what style of painting do you prefer? What do you use? And do you sale your art?  To answer these questions I usually say: mixed media, I guess my own style and, I have sold some pieces.  Then you are probed to show your work and you get out your phone show the other artist your pictures, and….crickets.  I find myself for a week or more after this scenario, questioning my talent, my ability, my work in general as an artist.  What an empty feeling to have when it comes to something I love so very much!

If you have ever had a doubt because of other opinions of your work, or because you are just not to the point that you are sure of yourself… I want to encourage you to think about you and your art in a new way.

That bookmark, painting, shadow box, frame, whatever you  have put your hands to do, to make; it has never existed before, not ever.   There may have been other things created like it or similar, you may have looked at something else for inspiration but that very thing you made is the only thing with the brush stroke you made, the glitter you sprinkled, the paper you added, whatever it is you do to your piece of art, it can never be duplicated.  It can never be done the exact same way again.

You are a creator.  You created something.

cre·a·tor   (kr-tr)

n.

1. One that creates

cre·ate   (kr-t)

tr.v. cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing, cre·ates

1. To cause to exist; bring into being. See Synonyms at found1.

2. To give rise to; produce: That remark created a stir.

3. To invest with an office or title; appoint.

4. To produce through artistic or imaginative effort: create a poem; create a role.

adj. Archaic Created.

What a great definition of you!

The next time an “artist” or the “art community” tries to snub, insult you or your work because your not in the right circle or are not up to their standards please read the above definition.  You my dear are amazing because you brought something into existence with your hands and your mind and it is here now.   Take joy in your creation!

This finally brings me to the quote, DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO.  Now think about it again.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE = If you love to paint in circles, in lines, sideways, cross-ways, glue everything but the kitchen sink to your painting, cut strips of paper, add salt to your watercolor, do image transfers, paint the same subject over and over, use stamps, whatever style it is that you use, and you love it…then DO it.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE! When it comes to creating YOUR piece of art…you are the only one who can decide if you love how you do it.  If you are passionate about it you will keep on working at it until you figure out what you love if your not there yet.

Now the second part to that quote.

LOVE WHAT YOU DO = If you have finished your work.  You owe it to yourself to love it. If your not in love with it, love the fact that you did it, you learned from it, even if its what not to do next time, love it.   Don’t let someone’s interpretation of your art become your interpretation of your art.  You did it, you LOVE it! Love your style, love your mistakes(this makes you grow, I promise) love your whimsy, love your boldness, love your subtleness, love the colors you put together, love the lines, love the stamps you chose to use, love your paint covered clothes, love it…love yourself!

If you’ve been struggling with your ability or your style, if its because you are still growing or you have been snubbed or insulted.  Remember three things..

You CREATE

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

LOVE WHAT YOU DO

Stacy Steinborn

I’m closing with a painting that I created using an image transfer of a sketch I did with a sharpie on packing paper.  I used ephemera from an old love story from the thirties and the colors that make me think of the honky tonks in Nashville. I used a heavy gel medium and a stencil to make the star pop and added layers and scraped off layers until I had the texture I desired.   This lady looks as if she sang in the honky tonks of yesteryear and she was happy, because she did what she loved.

Stacy Steinborn

She has earned her laugh lines, her wrinkles from  her hurts and her worries.  She wore the stories of her life written on her face. But she smiled because she did what she loved.

Stacy Steinborn

I hope you are inspired to love what you do.

Flood your art with your inner light,

Stacy Steinborn

 

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Stacy Steinborn lives in a little suburb outside of Nashville called Spring Hill TN in the USA. More of Stacy’s work can be found on her Flooded in Light blog.

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Interview with Mixed Media Artist, Seth Apter

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This article was written by Madeline Faiella

Seth Apter is a mixed media artist who seems to know what it’s all about.  I was able to tie down this busy man long enough for this interview.  I think you will find it interesting, inspiring and fun to read.

MF:  How did you become to like mixed media art?
SA:  There is both a freedom and a challenge in working in mixed media that have always been very compelling to me. The freedom lies in the fact that there is literally no limit to the materials and techniques that can be used. The challenge lies in the same place in that the endless choices need to somehow be self-limited, blended, and ultimately transformed into a cohesive piece of art. I find the creative possibilities in this process endlessly exhilarating.

MF:  What is your definition of a true mixed media piece?
SA:  The technical definition of mixed media art is simply a work that is created using more than one media. For me there is a deeper, more complex nature to mixed media that is quite challenging to put into words. I always have trouble adequately describing it to others. There is a story and a sense of history that can found in the layers of materials that make up a mixed media piece. There is a process of concealing and revealing that goes into the work that adds elements of mystery, energy, and excitement. Every layer, even ones that are not visible in the end, is equally important and integral to the final piece.

Interview with Mixed Media Artist, Seth Apter
MF:  What is your favorite part of working?
SA:  The process of making something from nothing is what it is all about for me. I absolutely love the hunt, whether for found objects, art materials or new techniques. I love the initial moments when an idea comes and a sense of excitement and possibility is sparked. Finding other elements to add to the work and dealing with the challenge of making all the layers and disparate components seamlessly blend is always an exciting challenge. And finally being able to step back and see the results of the entire process complete is thoroughly satisfying.

MF:  How do you set up your studio for working in a nurturing / empowering environment?
SA:  My studio is as much an art installation as it is a workspace. I surround myself with my many collections and finds, artwork of my own and other artists, creative objects that I have been gifted, and an expansive inspiration-wall filled with stuff that both has personal meaning and keeps me inspired.

MF:  How long have you been an artist?
SA:  I came to art relatively later in life, beginning in 2000. At some point since that time, I began to label myself an artist rather than somebody who is simply playing around and making things.

MF: What influences do you have?
SA: I have endless influences including the environment and energy of NYC where I live as well as a large group of artists whose work can be found anywhere from museums to blogs and from galleries to the walls of abandoned buildings.

Interview with Mixed Media Artist, Seth Apter

MF:  How do you engage with your audience?
SA:   I feel strongly about connecting to and engaging with people in terms of my art. I have an online presence that allows me to do this daily via my website and blog, as well as through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not only do I share finished artwork, but I share works in progress, behind the scenes glances, photos from my workshops, my experiences as an artist living in NYC and the artwork of the many other artists I admire. Those who follow me online know that I do my very best to respond to every comment and email I receive. I am also fortunate to be able to connect with many people in person through my frequent workshops. I fully believe that without the community that has resulted from these connections, I would not be a working artist today.

MF:  How do you keep your authenticity while working?
SA:  I do my best to remember that regardless of the nature and purpose of any particular project (be it a journal page, an artwork for exhibition or submission, or a blog post), ultimately I am creating both from and for myself. What I do has to be an expression of me or it is not worth doing.

Interview with Mixed Media Artist, Seth Apter

MF: How long did it take for you to develop your voice as a mixed media artist?
SA: I feel that while I have a strong point of view and have been told that I have a recognizable style, I am still and will forever be developing my voice as a mixed media artist.

Thank you Seth

Seth Apter is a mixed media artist, instructor, author and designer from New York City. His artwork has been shown in numerous exhibitions and published in multiple books and magazines. He has two books (The Pulse of Mixed Media and The Mixed-Media Artist) and two DVDs (Easy Mixed Media Surface Techniques and Easy Mixed Media Techniques for the Art Journal) released by North Light. His workshops have been held throughout the United States, Mexico and Australia. He is a designer member of CHA, a blogger for Spellbinders Paper Arts, a stencil designer for StencilGirl Products, and has an ongoing column called The Creative Pulse in Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. You can see more of his work on his blog at thealteredpage.blogspot.com and on his website www.sethapter.com.

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Madeline Faiella is the owner of Madeline Faiella Designs, LLC.    She works traditionally and digitally in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.  Her work is featured on home décor, electronic devices, stationary, fabric and more.   She is licensed, published, appeared on TV and radio and has written continuing columns for newsletters.  She also has a line of non-toxic acrylic paint “Art Jacket”   Her art education hails from The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and the many years she absorbed during her years of travel around the world.Her work is available for purchase and for licensing. See more her work at www.madelinefaiella.com

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Do What You Love, Love What You Do

This article is written by Stacy Steinborn

DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO…This quote has actually stirred controversy in the aspect of making a living and not making a living.  It is mostly interpreted in a thought of what you should do or not do to make money.   Whatever it is you do, you should love it.  The argument for some is, yeah, but you will most likely be broke. Living in Nashville Tennessee the music Capitol of the world, this city is full of thousands upon thousands of broken dreams and hungry musicians.   Now I can’t even begin to write about this argument.   I’m still figuring that one out.  However, I can look at this quote and read into it a little deeper.

honky tonk woman in mixed media collageBut first, how I came to the conclusion of my interpretation.

As a creator of mixed media art, have you ever finished a piece and shown it to someone and they don’t really react like they like it. I truly feel some people just “don’t get” mixed media.  And I’ve simply come to the conclusion that, that’s okay.

This is a scenario that has happened to me on more than one occasion: At a gathering or function, a group will be talking and someone introduces you to an artist.  In the introduction they state that you do artwork as well.  Then you are questioned, what kind of art do you practice, what style of painting do you prefer? What do you use? And do you sale your art?  To answer these questions I usually say: mixed media, I guess my own style and, I have sold some pieces.  Then you are probed to show your work and you get out your phone show the other artist your pictures, and….crickets.  I find myself for a week or more after this scenario, questioning my talent, my ability, my work in general as an artist.  What an empty feeling to have when it comes to something I love so very much!

If you have ever had a doubt because of other opinions of your work, or because you are just not to the point that you are sure of yourself… I want to encourage you to think about you and your art in a new way.

That bookmark, painting, shadow box, frame, whatever you  have put your hands to do, to make; it has never existed before, not ever.   There may have been other things created like it or similar, you may have looked at something else for inspiration but that very thing you made is the only thing with the brush stroke you made, the glitter you sprinkled, the paper you added, whatever it is you do to your piece of art, it can never be duplicated.  It can never be done the exact same way again.

You are a creator.  You created something.

cre·a·tor   (kr-tr)

n.

1. One that creates

cre·ate   (kr-t)

tr.v. cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing, cre·ates

1. To cause to exist; bring into being. See Synonyms at found1.

2. To give rise to; produce: That remark created a stir.

3. To invest with an office or title; appoint.

4. To produce through artistic or imaginative effort: create a poem; create a role.

adj. Archaic Created.

What a great definition of you!

The next time an “artist” or the “art community” tries to snub, insult you or your work because your not in the right circle or are not up to their standards please read the above definition.  You my dear are amazing because you brought something into existence with your hands and your mind and it is here now.   Take joy in your creation!

This finally brings me to the quote, DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO.  Now think about it again.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE = If you love to paint in circles, in lines, sideways, cross-ways, glue everything but the kitchen sink to your painting, cut strips of paper, add salt to your watercolor, do image transfers, paint the same subject over and over, use stamps, whatever style it is that you use, and you love it…then DO it.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE! When it comes to creating YOUR piece of art…you are the only one who can decide if you love how you do it.  If you are passionate about it you will keep on working at it until you figure out what you love if your not there yet.

Now the second part to that quote.

LOVE WHAT YOU DO = If you have finished your work.  You owe it to yourself to love it. If your not in love with it, love the fact that you did it, you learned from it, even if its what not to do next time, love it.   Don’t let someone’s interpretation of your art become your interpretation of your art.  You did it, you LOVE it! Love your style, love your mistakes(this makes you grow, I promise) love your whimsy, love your boldness, love your subtleness, love the colors you put together, love the lines, love the stamps you chose to use, love your paint covered clothes, love it…love yourself!

If you’ve been struggling with your ability or your style, if its because you are still growing or you have been snubbed or insulted.  Remember three things..

You CREATE

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

LOVE WHAT YOU DO

Sharpie sketch on packing paper

I’m closing with a painting that I created using an image transfer of a sketch I did with a sharpie on packing paper.  I used ephemera from an old love story from the thirties and the colors that make me think of the honky tonks in Nashville. I used a heavy gel medium and a stencil to make the star pop and added layers and scraped off layers until I had the texture I desired.   This lady looks as if she sang in the honky tonks of yesteryear and she was happy, because she did what she loved.

gel medium image transfer

She has earned her laugh lines, her wrinkles from  her hurts and her worries.  She wore the stories of her life written on her face. But she smiled because she did what she loved.

honky tonk woman in mixed media collage

I hope you are inspired to love what you do.

Flood your art with your inner light,

Stacy Steinborn

 

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Stacy Steinborn lives in a little suburb outside of Nashville called Spring Hill TN in the USA. More of Stacy’s work can be found on her Flooded in Light blog.

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