When Crystal reached out a little while ago to spread the word about her prints in support of lung cancer, I knew her shop would be perfect for an artist feature! She has a gorgeous way with watercolour, and her 'beautiful lungs' are just that - I love that she created them to support a wonderful cause too!
I started my first Etsy art shop when I became a university student to see if I could use my art to help pay for the little things like art supplies, books...food. There was a big learning curve, and despite the low return at the time, I really loved selling my art online. Now, no longer a student, I've grown a ton and found I still love connecting to people online through my art. When someone buys a piece of my art, I know they have found something that they love enough to find a place for in their lives. If they tell me it's a gift for someone else, that's even more amazing, because they saw a little bit of someone else in my artwork. Selling online is fantastic because I never know where my prints will ship to. I love that distance and language isn't a problem anymore, and for my shop, art is the universal language it's translated into anyway.
A lot of chaos, a lot of mess, and a lot of work. Also much much joy. I have to be working on many projects at once in order to be creative, otherwise I hit roadblocks. This means I'm jumping around from piece to piece, and often the ideas and themes end up rubbing off on each other. As well, my artwork includes a huge variety of mediums and techniques; pencil, oils, glazes, charcoal, encaustic, watercolor, digital...mixing these together to create unexpected results is where my true place of creation lives. If a piece isn't working, or lacks inspiration, I can turn to a new material and start slapping ink on it, or experiment with crayon, and sometimes that becomes the breakthrough. It also stops me from creating too many “rules” for my art, which leads to certain death for that work. When I can build something in a new way that conveys emotion, mood, or a story, then I know it can connect with people.
|Ink Sketch Pillow|
There are a number of people that I know who are fighting or who have fought cancer and seeing how strong they are, I want to help battle it as well. Some of these people I have known my whole life, some are co-workers, and some are facebook buddies. The BC Cancer Foundation, in BC Canada, is where these friends are getting help from. Creating friendly and unique “no smoking” signs is my way of giving people a choice towards keeping themselves and those they love healthy. In BC a law was passed that prohibits smoking in any indoor public area, but not everywhere in the world has laws like that to help protect people. Lung cancer is the more prevalent cause of cancer related deaths in the US, and if you work or live around smoking areas you have a 30% higher chance of developing it.
The “Beautiful Lungs” artwork grew from both a design and a human standpoint. I wanted to show part of the human body in a different way; a playful, bright and graphic way. Some of the design ideas came from toys I remember having as a kid, like that Fisher Price ball popping push toy, or those bright colored wooden puzzles. I thought that showing your lungs as something beautiful would make people see them as something to take care of better. The artwork is a compilation of acrylic, graphite and ink mediums digitally mixed to create the final piece.
The whale prints in my shop were a surprise. I am a huge lover of sketchbooks, and have about twenty at a time. Because I work in wet mediums as well as pencil, they sometimes take a while to dry and I need other options while that's happening. My desk will often be covered in open sketchbooks with pages in various states of completion. The whales started as quick studies, which became collage experiments, which ended up including charcoal and glaze and rice paper from some packaging I'd hung onto. Eventually I realized they were actually turning into something meaningful, so I scanned them into my computer. At that point I also had a huge folder of digital photos I'd taken of street textures like rust and concrete. Mixing the two was a bit of an accident in wabi-sabi and good timing, but the textures really finished the whales somehow. I like the idea that these underwater creatures are now mixed with decidedly above ground textures like rusty drain covers and peeling paint. You never know where an idea will come from, so you can't really say no when your trying things out.
Thankyou so much Crystal!
You can check out more of her work in her shop - she has so many more prints than I was able to fit in today! - and her range of t-shirts & prints benefitting the BC Cancer Foundation can be found here. Stay in touch on Twitter, or see what else she's working on on her blog.