Friday, December 21, 2007

Inspired by Sweet Contradiction - Artist feature with Eggman Studios was one of the first shops that I noticed when I found Etsy. She had some fun and extremely well made polymer clay jewelry and her photos were always clear and crisp. The overall feel of the shop was quite inspiring for someone who was new to selling and Etsy. As her shopped evolved, she started adding her paintings which only added to the fun in her shop. The paintings are very thoughtful and bright and at times odd (but in a fabulous way!). So here is a little interview with Michelle as she details the inspiration behind one of her paintings.

What inspired this piece?
--I have a serious fascination with the ocean and its strange inhabitants, especially all those weird critters that live in the far depths. I just think it's incredible how nature can adapt to changes (such as the lack of skin pigment in fish & invertebrates, or bioluminescent lures attached to fish foreheads to attract prey in the dark). A lot of my work is therefore deeply inspired by the ocean and nature in general. I love to take a creature that's often looked at as being odd or ugly and throwing it in a contradictory and sweet environment. My goal in each completed painting is to have a piece that is both lovely and darling...but also a tad strange or slightly bizarre.

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?
--I always paint in acrylic and usually work on a hardboard surface and the nautilus piece is no different. I'll plan out the design in quickie doodles, then slightly more elaborate sketches on large sheets of tracing paper, and then finally transfer the line drawing to my surface. But 80% of the time, I end up making large shifts and changes in the piece when I start painting. I'll realize that the colors I originally chose don't look quite right, or there needs to be more detail in the background, etc. That's the fun part though--hitting those temporary snags and figuring out a way to make everything *perfect*. Most of my work is also quite small--8x10" being a typically large piece for me. I love to create miniature works of art that bring you in close and that you can connect with.

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces?

--I *love* watching nature documentaries. Planet Earth series? Yeah--I'm one of those nerds that bought the dvd boxed set the second it came out. I’ve seen it a dozen times now. I’m also a big film buff and have my staples and fave directors I always turn to when in need of a creative burst (Wes Anderson and Tim Burton are the top two). And, oddly enough, I get hugely inspired by fashion and interior design magazines. They always send my creative brain into frenzy-mode.

Any advice for someone feeling uninspired?
--Definitely keep a sketchbook/notebook handy at all times to jot things down. Most of my sketchbooks have very few sketches in them--just lots and lots of random phrases, titles, and ideas that pop into my brain at odd hours of the day. And if you haven't already done so, grab a bulletin board from the craft store (one of those big ones!) and fill it with inspiring images, clippings, and textures. Just cram that thing full! And then hang it where you'll walk past it every day. It never fails to bring inspiration and creative thoughts on even the most uninspiring days.

You can check out more of Michelle's work on her blog, her Etsy shop and her trunkt portfolio!

So take a little inspiration from Michelle and her work and add a little whimsy and contradiction to your work. Mix-it up a little and see what happens!


mellowbeing said...

I've been a huge fan of her work since early on in my Etsy wanderings as well :) Great article! That's a good idea about having an inspiration board.

June said...

What a fun shop! Thanks for introducing us to such a fine artist. It is great to see something new and exciting, how I missed this neat little etsy shop is beyond me. Eggman is now my latest favorite place to visit.


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