Thank you for wanting to collaborate with me on a collection! I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid and was lucky to have supportive parents and a mom who shared her art supplies with me! It was never a question for me that I would go to art school and support myself doing something creative. Actually one time I considered law school for exactly 20 seconds while I was rotating a load of laundry my sophomore year of college, but obviously that was a passing thought that didn’t take!
After a couple of years post-college working as a part-time teaching artist and entry-level conservator at a handful of jobs, I was pretty tired and felt like I needed a change. I’ve always liked making *things* (paper goods, sewing, ceramics, painting clothes–you name it!) and my parents asked if I’d ever considered trying to make a living off of that practice (I had not). I figured it would be worth a try to make a few inexpensive products and see if there was any interest. I’ve been on the internet since tumblr and some of that community had followed me to instagram, so I wasn’t starting completely at zero by making an online store, which definitely helped; I couldn’t have accomplished anything in the past several years without the support of the people who appreciate my artwork! For a while, I was able to manage the initial influx of orders on my day off each week, and I progressively quit my part-time jobs as Gentle Thrills grew over the first 2 years.
It’s a phrase that resonates with the type of feeling I look for in my life in any experience! I run a bit anxious but I think even those of us who get nervous need some excitement from time to time–we just need it in more considered doses…
Somewhere between a punk rock christmas elf and a hot dog on a stick employee!
Drawing will always be my favorite medium. I think Matisse said something to the effect of it being the most satisfying medium because it is the most direct distillation of making art (i’m probably butchering that, but i think that was the sentiment). I feel it’s one of the most undervalued media (when was the last time you saw a work on paper in a museum or gallery?) partially because it is so easy, for lack of a better word. But it mostly reminds me of being a kid–I think when I draw that’s the most playful I feel making art!
I like discarded objects, antiques, “amateur” paintings, snack packaging, party supplies, dollar stores, other peoples’ homes and artists’ studios. I appreciate people who push the envelope aesthetically, partially because I don’t always feel brave enough to do it myself!
I work in a bunch of different media at this point, and the line between my artistic practice and the business I run has only gotten more and more blurry in the last 7 years of running Gentle Thrills (and at times going by the name gentle thrills!). But generally anything I do starts with a pen or pencil drawing on printer paper and a crummy mockup with color on procreate before I get to the final! That goes for airbrushing, making paintings, and designing apparel or home goods products.
Sorry but I have a lot as someone who used to teach art!
- Keep doing what feels good but step back (literally, like back up and look at things from far away)
- Take breaks (this can be a walk for a coffee or a week before you tap into a project again).
- Don’t throw anything away out of dislike–there’s a good chance you’ll like it later or at least it will remind you of the progress you’ve made, but then do throw it away once it’s served you because letting go and not being precious is a good skill to learn.
- Identify a few core people in your life whose opinions are meaningful to you and seek them out to talk about what you’re both working on.
- Eventually everything you make will look like your style because you’re the one who made it so try not to focus too much on an overall vision–at least for me that’s always been too overwhelming.
- In my opinion, social media feeds have encouraged narrower visions and scopes of work because that type of content is easier to digest for someone passing by your profile, but I think being able to cast a wide net and create longer-term relationships with the people who engage with your work both irl and online is ultimately more meaningful and will help you understand more what parts of your practice/style/work are exciting or challenging for you as you try new things.
- Do not rush! In the words of my mom: “Making art is not a race”
My creative process definitely changed when I turned it into the way I make a living… To be honest the more playful aspects of my artistic practice took a huge hit once money got involved and the stakes got higher. I’ve spent the past 2 years trying to get to a place where I very deliberately set time aside to draw and paint just for the sake of drawing and painting, rather than drawing with a particular product or client project in mind, and honestly it’s challenging when you have the cost of living in a city like LA breathing down your neck!
I think the biggest way in which I’ve grown as an artist is that I allowed myself to widen my understanding of what constitutes “Art.” Not everyone might agree but in my opinion art isn’t always a stand-alone one-of-a-kind object that sits inside a sterile space, and for work to exist in that way doesn’t make it any more valuable/better/more Art-ly. In my opinion, the (possibly sole) delight of the internet is this massive wave of folks sharing their creativity, and inevitably more spaces/ways/avenues to share art are going to emerge that are just as valid as the old spaces (if not more valid!).
Thank you! I thought it would be fun to combine the soft texture of airbrushing with some 90s silhouettes you’d wear on the perfect LA day, and I’m *obsessed* with Ted. I love a mascot and had so much fun imagining all the different things Ted would be getting up to. Like: is Ted naughty? Or nice? Does Ted like to paint? Make pasta? Watch the clouds on a nice afternoon? I hope I did right by Ted!!