I have noticed that a lot of the time I tend towards liking artists and art that isn't what I make myself and or what I'd really like to make myself but is not my style. Try as I might I either don't feel comfortable with the process or I'm just not happy with the end result. This is most definitely not a bad thing as it just illustrates that I have my own creative voice. Knickertwists; a fellow Canadian Etsian (is that too many ian's in a row?) is one of those artists that makes things that I'd love to make myself but well....
Whether it's a view on background noise or an insight about the value of time, this week's feature is chock full of great insites and wonderful stuff.
When Nichola (the person behind knickertwists) was a little girl her mum used to say "Don't get your knickers in a twist!"
As a design student she thought that if she were to ever start her own studio that she'd call it "Knickertwist's" because everyone around her seemed to be taking themselves far too seriously, a common problem in art school situations. As Nichola says in her Etsy shop profile, it wasn't that she was lackadaisical about her work, there just seemed to be far more important things to get worked up and bent out of shape over than whatever it was that other designers were fretting about. (I have to say I have always felt a sneaking bit of guilt at not being as politically aware as some of my art school compatriots, but hail fellow well met on that outlook)
So what is it that I love about her shop? It's magical and fun and I wish that I had been the mastermind behind it all. The next best thing is being able to share her creative genious with others. One of my favourite artists is Joseph Cornell and her assemblage pieces just remind me of the feeling I get by looking at a Cornell, but enough about me. You can read more about Nichola on her Blog Battilana, visit her beautiful website here and become her fan on facebook.
As for me I'll be adding her blog and website to my follow list and avidly catching up on everything I've missed so far.
What got you started?
For as long as I can remember I've been a maker. As a kid I would rather draw or build mud monsters than play tag. When I grew up I studied fine art and worked as a graphic designer and one day I had a kiddo of my own.
Being a mom kicked my creativity into high gear. You gain this whole new appreciation for time and it's worth after having a child. I started making and doing more with my time. When the house was quiet and everyone else asleep, I'd bring out the paint and start the making.
I maintain my day job as a designer but my real passion is for the things I make when the rest of the house is snoozing.
Do you listen to music when you create? If yes, what's on your play list right now and why?
Music is a big influence on my work and I pull a lot of inspiration from it. Right now Nick Cave, Nina Simone, Joy Division, and the Rizdales are on heavy rotation. That said, sometimes listening to music while creating has too much influence on the end result of my work.
Sooooo, my dirty little secret is that when I'm doing the actual making I turn on the tv. *gasp!*
I like background noise and the occasional visual distraction. I'll pop in a season Blackadder or My Man Godfrey... something fun and light.
Can you describe the palette you use to create with, what colours do you always reach for?
I'm always grabbing black, browns, ochers, rich reds, deep dark earthy tones. I know that to some people these colours are ominous or depressing but I find them rather comforting. I have an opposite palette of soft blue, whites and creams that I also use. It takes a lot of effort for me to be bold with vibrant colour but I am trying. I really admire people who use colour with vigor and courage.
What life or art lesson have you learned that has shaped your work?
An art instructor once shouted at me "Art is not fun!" Why would anyone chose to create art if they didn't get pleasure from it? Sadly, I've encountered loads of people of the same opinion. Tortured artists and snobby designers, we've never seen eye to eye.
And so, I maintain that my work is a reflection of happiness, not pain, suffering and misery. The more I apply myself to creating with positive enthusiasm, for the fun of it, the better my work becomes.
I made the decision to stop painting 'typical' art. No more still life studies for me! I'd embrace whatever piqued my fancy. What's wrong with painting a giant earthworm if the mood strikes? Nothing! And guess what? You soon discover that other people like giant earthworms too! The world is filled with the fantastic, wondrous, and fascinating.
Which Children's book character would you be and why?
I'm probably most like Ramona Quimby. Basically good, a wee bit cheeky, does silly things, gets herself into a mix or two. One day I hope to be more like the Paper Bag Princess. Why? Because she's a princess AND she kick's ass!
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