Friday, November 30, 2012

Interview with Shannon Marie

Interview with Shannon Marie, jeweler, photographer, graphic design artist, and co-leader of the Art School Grad Team on Etsy.

"House on Wey Road" by Shannon Marie
won an Instagram contest this year - for sale by request
 1) Was there a particular moment or person that inspired you to become an artist?
This is such a hard question to answer because I have such there is such a vast collection of artist’s whose work I love and inspired me at some point. Definitely Audrey Kawasaki, Camille d’Errico, Fafi, Danny Brito. Photographers like Benoit Paill. I love Neo Victorian and Steampunk jewelry designers like Bella Lili and Lara Lewis. I listen to Cibo Matto, Bjork, and Son Lux on Pandora while I’m working. I have a serious Tumblr addiction. I think it all comes together to help me brainstorm new ideas, and constantly learn and improve my business and my abilities in art.

2) Have your jewelry, photography, and graphic design influenced each other, or do you think of them as completely separate endeavors?
I try to keep them separate, in my mind at least, for my own sanity, but they definitely overlap sometimes as far as helping customers and achieving goals. I think my experience in jewelry has definitely helped me in opening up my own graphic design shop because I am better able to assist customers with the more technical side of Etsy when they need it. Artistically, it’s a relief to be doing it all sometimes. I am the kind of person who feels “burnt out” quite fast, and it’s nice to be able to turn my back on my design orders when there’s a lull and just make jewelry in and out of a whole day. And vice versa. I really do love lots of contrast and bold colors, and I think that comes through on both ends sometimes.

Shannon Marie's table set up from the Holiday Bazaar in Millbrook, NY, in Nov. 2012

3) What is your most treasured creation and why?
I have one particular print that I made in the first year I started selling my photos on Etsy while I was still pregnant with my son. It’s just this really dreamy nature print of these crabapple blossoms that were blooming in front of the house where I was living at the time. It still just feels really surreal to me when I look at it, and makes me think of where I was in my life at that time. I think really great art does that – Even if nobody else notices it, even if it’s only me that feels something, I feel like I’ve accomplished something good.

"Country Garden" by Shannon Marie
4) Describe your perfect studio day.
Any day that I get something done. (HA!) I am now a work-at-home full-time single mom, so I am grateful for any amount of time I can get in my actual studio space. Right now it is a disaster area, but I make it work.

5) What tips might you have for other emerging artists?
Always experiment. Make time to create. Don’t limit yourself to one medium.

6) Are you planning anything special for your shops this holiday?
I am going to list as much new jewelry as possible between now and Christmas. More agate and druzy necklaces, beaded earrings, and mini photo prints in the 4x4 size. Big sales on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and post Christmas for ‘Boxing Day’! (I always have spontaneous sales through Facebook too)

"Early Autumn Road" by Shannon Marie

((Art School Grad members/readers can take 20% anything in my jewelry shop using coupon code 'ARTSCHOOLGRAD' at checkout!))

I also have Logo Designs at half price in my design shop now until the listing runs out –

7) If you had to describe your work in five words, what would those words be?
Simple. Eclectic. Shiny. Loud. Fun.

8) Where else might fans find you? 
Fashion Tumblr:
Personal Tumblr:


Friday, March 23, 2012

February's ASG Exhibit Best in Show: Kenny Bayne

The artist, Kenny Bayne
Kenny Bayne is February's Best in Show winner of the ASG Art Exhibit "Silent Reflection."  Below, ASG Co-leader Julia Finucane interviews the artist:

1. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I've been interested in Art from a very young age and have been drawing for as long as I can remember. My parents and friends encouraged me a lot which spurred me on to improve and learn to use other mediums. At school my Art teachers were fantastic and spent a lot of time giving me advice and assuring me that I should go to Art School and continue my learning. I'm glad I followed their advice!

2. Where are your favorite places to paint?
I like to paint wild coastlines and beaches in Scotland near where I grew up in the Scottish Borders. I've always loved going to the coast in really bad weather to experience the power of the sea and observe the fantastic light conditions. I live in Northern Germany now on the Baltic Sea coast and am really enjoying exploring a new location to base my paintings on. 

"Coldingham Bay" by Kenny Bayne

3. When not creating art, what are your hobbies?
I spend a lot of time outdoors and like to Surf and Snowboard whenever I have the time.

4. You wrote in your profile on Etsy, that you surf in Scotland. Tell us about that.
I started surfing a couple of years ago and could not believe that I had lived in a place with such great conditions and never tried it. I have been hooked ever since and have seen myself crossing snow covered beaches in winter to get my fix. A lot of my paintings are of the sea and the fantasic colour changes stormy weather brings. I find sitting on my board looking out to sea for the next set of waves to roll in really inspires me.

5. What does the theme from February’s ASG Exhibit "Silent Reflection" mean to you and your “Snow and Trees” painting?
The theme of “Silent Reflection” immediately made me think of a walk I went on recently near my family's farm. There was loads of snow and everything was so still and quiet. I wanted to try and capture that feeling in my painting “Snow and Trees.”

"Snow and Trees" by Kenny Bayne

6. Who (dead or alive) would you love to spend a day with and why?
I would love to be able to spend a day with the Artist Joan Eardley. She is one of my favourite painters and although she had a relatively short career as she died young she made a huge contribution to Scottish Painting.

7. Where else can we find you? Online links, galleries, etc.

Etsy Shop



Friday, March 2, 2012

January's ASG Exhibit Best in Show: Carolina Seth (BigHelmetHead)

Artist, Carolina Seth, with her painting "Big Sumo"
1) What five adjectives best describe your artwork?

     Whimsical, surreal, flowing, playful, magical.

2) Who is your greatest contemporary art hero?

     I have many artists whom I admire, but I take my hat off to Yayoi Kusama. She was such a visionary and ahead of her time, and still such a creative force at 83. I had the fortune to attend one of her exhibits years ago and see her fantastic installation art.

3) What is your creative process (perhaps you might elaborate on some of your creative endeavors from illustrating books to creating wearable pendants)?

     I find inspiration from many different sources. It could strike anytime and anywhere. I quickly sketch and write down any ideas so to not forget.
When I don't have my notebook handy, I'll make notes on any blank paper that is handy and keep it for later.
     I usually have a good idea of what I want to create before starting a new project. I'm rarely in front of a blank paper drawing randomly trying to come up with something. Once my ideas materialize on paper, I add more details, then move on to the actual materials; oil, acrylics or ink (for fine art), glass (jewelry), clay or wood (3D art), etc. During the process, I modify and make changes in color choices, lines and even materials , but the end result is never too far from the original idea.
     With my children's books, the process is not much different. As I read the narrative, I sketch the imagined ideas with pencil and annotate descriptions, to later create with actual materials for the final product.

from left clockwise; "Robo Love," "Mod Nocturne," and "Pierced"
4) If you were able to time travel where would you go and why?
     Late 1800's Europe, at the time of industrialization. An era of great technological and scientific advances, but still full of romanticism and ingenuity. I would have liked to be a crazy inventor that creates fantastic apparatus, with monkeys wearing goggles and lab attire as my assistants.
     Also the late 50's to early 60's in America, I'm a big fan of the design of that era, plus it would be fun and so care-free to be a teeny bopper.

5) What does the theme from January's ASG Exhibit "love" mean to your work, specifically the piece “Soul” from your latest series of wall art?

     Before "Soul", I have painted "Okasan", an illustration of a mother and baby in an minimalist style, which I favor. I knew I wanted to make something within the same lines. With Valentine's Day approaching, the simple yet poetic Aristotle quote about how love is a single soul inhabited in two bodies inspired me, and I immediately knew what I wanted to create.

"Soul" by Carolina Seth, Best in Show for January's ASG Exhibit
6) When did you know you were an artist and why?
     I was always painting and doing something creative as a kid. At age 5 I won a national children's painting contest in my native Spain. On that day, I announced that I wanted to be an artist, forever killing my parent's hope of their child making a decent living.

7) What advice would you give to an emerging artist?
     Research: look at what's in demand in today's market, find your niche within it. Be willing to adapt your style to what could work in the real world, without losing your own artistic self.
     Feed your mind: be aware of trends, and what's in fashion now. Not only in your area of expertise, but in other disciplines, inspiration can come from the most unusual places.
     Be open: be willing to think out of the box and if something doesn't work, try a different approach, modify a bit or completely, and start anew. Don't be afraid of experiment with new techniques or painting your not so usual subjects. You'll be surprised where it takes you and what you can do.
     Have fun: don't take yourself too seriously, but be serious about what you do.

8) Where can we find your artwork (links to galleries, shops, book illustrations, etc.)?
     I'm currently showing at the “Gnomeland: the Evolution of Gnomus Sapiens” group exhibition at
Elroy Artspace Modern Gallery of Art, in downtown Portland, Oregon, in the US.

My art and handmade objects can be found at my Big Helmet Head shops:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winner of the Art Give-away!

Thank you all SO much for the amazing comments about our painting collaboration give-away! 

We have just used a random number generator to pick our winner: MDBecker!!!! Congratulations!!!!!

To learn more about the artists and the painting that was sent around the world, check out our previous feature.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Contest Winner: Sarah Benning (Sacari)

Sarah Benning (Sacari)
 1) Can you explain your artwork in five words?
Pretty watercolour and digital illustrations

2) What is your most treasured holiday memory?
When I was a kid, we lived in a pretty forested area, so every year we would bundle up, head into the forest and chop down our own Christmas tree :) I remember that my brother and I always wanted the REALLY big ones, which my dad would usually have to talk us out of.

3) How did you become an artist?
Birds on a Wire by Sacari
I just loved drawing as a kid, and in the beginning of high school decided what that's what I wanted to do with my life, so I took every art course I could, spent a long time working on my portfolio and managed to get into a pretty reputable Illustration program. Originally, I actually wanted to be an animator (because of the Disney movies I loved as a kid!), but I figured out that illustration is my real passion.

4) Can you give any tips to other artists?
Draw everyday, especially from life! You can take as many courses as you want, have great teachers, but if you don't put the time in to draw everyday you're just not going to progress as fast.

On A Rainy Day by Sacari

5) Who or what inspires you?
My fellow classmates and friends are a huge inspiration for me. Being around so much talent everyday and seeing what everyone else is doing, it's pretty hard not to get inspired!

6) What three objects can you just not live without?
My macbook, my teddy bear (who I've had since I was born) and... my inhaler? lol

7) Where can we find your artwork?
My website:
Etsy shop:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Art Give-away and Creature Collaboration Unveiling!

The Creature is FINISHED and ready to find a home! 
follow the blog and comment to be eligible to WIN the painting


Six artists from around the world have shipped a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration. 

Learn a little bit about each artist by clicking on the names below: 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Creature Collaboration - Allison Weeks Thomas (part VI)

sixth rectangle of creature collaboration by Allison Weeks Thomas

Six artists from around the world are shipping a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration. 

Allison Weeks Thomas
1) What style of art do you most relate to and why? 
Boy, this is a tough one! I feel inspired by varying artists and styles, and try to pay homage to this admiration in my mixed media pieces. My first love was Dali, as I have always loved the unpredictable juxtapositions of elements. I have long admired the softness and feministic qualities of Mary Cassatt, the bold figures of Modigliani, and the brush techniques of Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat. I guess it would be more apt to tell you the art in which I do not relate to!

creature in progress
2) Do you have a favorite medium?
Had you asked this question two years ago, hands down the inner illustrator in me would have answered without hesitation: pen and ink and watercolor.
But since discovering my love for working with mixed media, my answer has changed somewhat. Working in mixed media has introduced me to new mediums and rekindled love affairs with old ones. I love the texture of charcoal between my fingers, the rough and bold lines cutting across the canvas. I still love the flow of inks and watercolors, the way they puddle and saturate. I love the tooth and smoothness achieved by acrylics, the web and weave of papers layered across a surface. Gel mediums, texture gels, modeling pastes, oh, my! Simply, I love creating with anything I can get my hands on.

3) What inspired you to be an artist?
Sweet pickles, another tough one!You know, I can’t pinpoint that “aha” moment where the anvil dropped on my head and I shouted “Eureka!” or “Ouch!” Illustrating and writing stories is something I always remember being a part of me. Creating has always been a sort of meditation spot for me…a place to escape the noise in your head, a place to focus energy, a place to unwind. Oh, and Shel Silverstein! I always wanted to doodle fun little drawings and write silly little poems that my mother could read to me at night!

paintings and sketches by Allison Weeks Thomas
4) What is your favorite childhood memory?
Growing up, my grandmother had a cabin in the mountains near Floyd, Virginia. This was a treasured vacation spot growing up, and perhaps had some influence upon our decision to move to the North Carolina Mountains. One Thanksgiving when I was around eight or so was spent at the mountain cabin. It snowed that year, which was a big deal for a coastal girl like me! I remember watching as my grandmother slipped and slid down the mountain side, ax in hand, as my breath fogged up the window inside of the cabin. Not much time passed before my grandma returned to the cozy confines of the cabin, snow sludge dripping onto the orange and tan diamond patterned carpeting, the ax replaced by a young Christmas tree. We sat around the wood burning stove that morning, stringing popcorn and cranberries on string, as we watched the Macy’s Day Parade on a 10” black and white television set. The tree sat in front of the sliding glass doors, a blanket of white its backdrop. The adults drank hot toddies out of the big brown mugs that usually hung from pegs above the kitchen sink. I, of course, wanting to be grown up, had my own big brown mug…of un-spiked hot apple cider. I remember the spicy warm liquid going down my throat, followed by something small and fluttering. And that will always be remembered as the day I swallowed (and regurgitated) a fly.

5) What is your idea of a perfect day?
A day spent out of doors with my daughter and husband, hiking, exploring, playing, followed by a bit of uninterrupted art time, a family dinner and a big glass of red wine!

6) Where can we find you?
Atelier Gallery, 24 Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC
Joie de Vivre, Morehead City, NC

Friday, November 4, 2011

And the winner for the Tye Schloer painting is...

Thanks to all who participated in the give-away!

Tye used a random number generator to find the winner, and the lucky person is: mark mason, Aka longliveguitar from dgcr 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Art Contest

POST artwork inspired by this month's theme: HOLIDAY GIFTS 
 (must become a member of Art School Grad to be eligible)
POST DEADLINE: Dec. 01 11:58 PM/ EST 

VOTE: Dec. 01 11:59PM/EST until Dec. 05, 11:59PM/EST
VOTE BELOW by clicking the star above your favorite piece

Winner will be featured/interviewed/promoted on blog!
click "Add your link"  below, you may delete (click the red x) and repost

Friday, October 21, 2011

Majestic Sunset painting give-away by Tye Schloer

Majestic Sunset - prize give-away
Tye Schloer, an artist and member of Art School Grad, has generously offered his painting Majestic Sunset as a prize give-away; follow the blog and comment to be eligible to WIN (painting shipped for free to the US and UK)

CHECK BACK on FRIDAY November 4th for the WINNER!  

Below is an interview with Tye:

1) How would you define your genre/style of art?

I define my art as a way to express and depict my thoughts and dreams and sometimes nightmares to canvas

Tye Schloer
2) What is your painting process?
My painting process could start with a random idea, a special thought, a photograph or maybe last night’s dream or nightmare. If it’s a big piece I will make my own canvas. I use solid compressed red oak for stretcher bars, and I use 17oz premium cotton canvas. I am a firm believer that you need to triple prime your canvas with lots of sanding in between layers. I like a really fine surface with the smallest tooth possible.  I have studied Dali's painting techniques for about 10 years now. I have no formal oil painting instruction, so I use his book, "50 Secrets to Magic Craftsmanship.”  I start out with using very thick dry compact paint, and I blend this out with natural hog hair brushes (mostly for the underpainting).  Next I use nothing but natural sable brushes to paint the overpainting. I usually have a well thought out plan of attack for the multiple layering I will be doing. 
Lately, I have been making a lot of diptychs and triptychs, with a lot of recurring images and scenes.

3) Who or what inspires you to create?

My wife is the one that pushes me the most to sit down and paint. Her artwork also gives me a lot of inspiration. I read a lot of books, mostly on old masters paintings. I have a decent collection of artist books going. I study Dali's work immensely. His paintings have had the largest impact on me and my painting. 

Dream Thievery by Tye Schloer
4) What have you learned from your experience as an artist and what advice might you give to others?
I just want to mention a few words to fellow artists and artist apprentices. "There will be times of great conflict with you and your art, whether it be an internal struggle within yourself or of an external matter or just the nasty stare of a blank canvas. You just have to keep on creating and believe in your self and what you are doing as an artist.

5) If you could have one wish granted (aside from having more wishes), what would it be and why?

I guess I would wish for a sit down discussion with Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Yves Tanguy. That would be the most unusual gathering of minds, and I would love to pick their brains apart! 

6) Do you have other interests, hobbies, jobs, etc. outside of working as an artist?

I love music. I have been a drum and bass DJ for over ten years now. I spin vinyl records, which is fast becoming a dying media and art form. I’m also starting to get into DNB production when I get time for it. Usually I just have enough time for painting.

Custom Portraits
7) Tell us something we don't know about you or your artwork.
I try to donate as many paintings as I can to various cancer research fundraisers. Last month I donated a triptych to a brain cancer silent auction to help raise money for brain cancer research. I also like to help out our brothers and sisters in uniform. I have given away a few paintings to veterans.

8) Where do you post/exhibit your paintings?
I mainly use etsy as my main tool to exhibit my art.  I used to have paintings in an art gallery downtown, but they are closed now. I made my first professional sale out of their at the young age of 20.

Blog (which i need to update more often...its tough being a new dad..)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Creature Collaboration - Cindy Martin (part V)

fifth rectangle of creature collaboration by Cindy Martin

Six artists from around the world are shipping a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration.
It's a secret... the final creature will be unveiled at the end!
Cindy Martin: Hello there!  I'm one of those genuine, self taught individuals you always hear about.  As a life long artist, I've always been inspired in part by nature's beauty - with all it's related moods, and in part by my "dreamy" interpretation of that beauty. My work is varied and I love it that way. Often times it's surreal or stylized and whimsical. Sometimes my art is abstract or stoic with a depth of understanding, maybe laced with thoughts of a sorrowful moment. Other times it may be a realism piece that bares my feelings of pure wonderment.

sketch for painting by Cindy Martin
To learn more about what blows my hair back, you can visit me at:

The complete Creature will be unveiled at the end!
To view the previous Creature Collaboration installment, click here.

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