Archive for the ‘Makers to Note’ Category

Makers to Note : Erika Lee Sears // Interviews with Creatives

Monday, December 12th, 2016

We’re back with our creative interview series, Makers to Note with Portland based artist, Erika Lee Sears.

Erika, is a self-taught oil painter that we quickly fell in love with, not just for her talented abilities but also for her determination to make art every day! EVERY. DAY. Y’all. Check out her blog and/or Instagram and you can see where she post her new painting each day.

And did we mention she also has two kids and a husband. (how does she find the time?!) Where there is a will there is a way. That is how. So proud and inspired by this talented artist.

It was a complete joy to get to learn more about Erika and her journey as an artist. Check out her interview below!

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  1. Tells us a bit about your background…where did you grow up? Were you creative as a child? Did your upbringing encourage or delay your creative endeavors? etc.

I am born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I was extremely creative as a child, but my parents are very conservative. I went to college for business and didn’t think or know that art could be a career possibility. Both of my parents are very hard workers but they wanted me to choose a career that would grant me traditional affordances such as a retirement plan, a desk, and a generous vacation package. I worked in finance for about six years before I realized that I really wanted to pursue art full-time. I was painting at night and showing my art around town, but I realized I wanted something different out of my life. So, I quit my corporate day job to make art as my career and I have never looked back.

  1. Did you go to any type of schooling for your craft or are you self-taught?

No, I did not! I am 100% self-taught.

  1. Where are you based?

Portland, Oregon

  1. Where do you create? At home? In a studio etc.

I have a dedicated studio space in my home.

  1. Are you full time with your craft? Part time/side gig? Is it your goal to ever be full time?

I am full-time artist.

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  1. What is your elevator pitch? How do you quickly describe what you do to people?

My name is Erika and I am an oil painter from Portland, Oregon. You can find my work on the show Portlandia, the first season of Significant Mother, and the Brooklyn Art Library. I have collaborated with brands such as Adams Peanut Butter, Target, HTC-one, and Titlenine.

  1. What inspires you + motivates you to keep perusing creative endeavors?

I deeply believe that I have so much more art to bring out into the world and that my time is limited, so I have to take full advantage of it. I’ve barely scratched the surface of my potential and I pursue that by branching out and learning new things as often as I can. I just want to show up every day and make my mark to the best of my abilities.

  1. What are your essentials when creating?

I’m an oil painter, so oil paint, wood, and paper.

  1. Do you listen to anything while you work? Tv? music? podcast? if so, what?!

Sometimes I watch shows on Netflix. I’m currently on a classic Gilmore Girl binges. I have several favorite podcasts such as The Heart, Strangers, and the Lively Show.

 

  1. Tell us about your favorite project you’ve gotten to work on?

My current project is a movement I started to simply make art every single day. I started back in 2015 to make artwork every day because the birth of my second child was an inspirational motivation for me. I really wanted to make sure I kept creativity and art in my life while being a mother. This project has had me grow the most as an artist and has given me some of the best opportunities of my career. I’m fortunate to be able to make art every day and share it with the world.

  1. What would be your dream job/project/collaboration?

My dream project would be to get a painting in NYMOMA.

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  1. Whats the most challenging part of being a creative for you?

Even though I show up each day to make art, my creativity comes in waves. Creativity isn’t a stagnant energy. You have to work at it to get the most out of it. Sometimes I read, listen to motivational podcasts, and meditate when I really need to hone-in on that high energy level. I’ve gotten better at it, but some days it takes a lot more work than others.

  1. If you had a time machine, and could travel back in time to give your 18 year old self advice- what would you say?

Listen to your instincts. I know you’re scared about this next chapter, but take the leap. Take a year off and figure out what you are truly meant to do. Quit everything, travel and see the world. Go live the life you have always dreamed about.

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  1. What is your biggest inspiration behind your work?

My two kids and my husband. Before my husband and I had kids, we were traveling through the Mediterranean and visited Turkey. There is a wall at the house of the Virgin Mary where you stuff a wish or prayer into one of the cracks. We both had the same wish; To live the best life we possibly can.

Makers to Note : Paper Raven Co.

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

First up in our new series called ‘Makers to Note’ we are featuring Atlanta artist/illustrator and paper lovin’ gal Erin McManness of Paper Raven Co (Instagram // shop). With Makers to Note we hope to feature an assortment of makers that we admire to showcase their work and pick their creative brains!

In the past month, Erin launched her wedding stationery line in her shopРso we jumped at the opportunity to style them with our Claire Magnolia Vow Book and custom made invitation holder!  Take a look + read the interview with Erin below.

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Tells us a bit about your background…where did you grow up? Were you creative as a child? Did your upbringing encourage or delay your creative endeavors? etc.

I grew up in “The North” in Baltimore, with two very creative parents. I was encouraged to paint and draw, and be in theater as a kid and I soaked it up like a sponge. It’s always been a part of my life, and that is the best thing about art: it’s a lifelong journey and a constant source of joy and expression. My parents have always been supportive of my love – and eventual career choice – in the arts.

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Did you go to any type of schooling for your craft or are you self-taught?

I received my BA in Studio Art in 2008, lived in a few different cities for awhile, and then went back to school to earn my MFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Illustration in 2014. I have always had a natural inclination for art, but found that my Masters Degree really set the tone for my full-time career as a designer and illustrator.

 

Where are you based?

Atlanta, GA

 

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Where do you create? At home? In a studio etc.

I am fortunate enough to have a second bedroom in my apartment, which is a dedicated studio space. This is a very important space for me; I try to hold it as a semi-sacred place and fill it with good, creative energy (and lots of prints, ceramics, and knick-knacks from my creative, talented friends).

 

Are you full time with your craft? Part time/side gig? Is it your goal to ever be full time?

I have been building the Paper Raven Co. brand behind-the-scenes of full-time (but luckily, creative) day jobs for the last two years. In the beginning of 2016, I was at a crossroads with my brand: either go full-time and grow, or keep working the day job and have steady income but creeping results. So I planned to leave my job in August, but was unexpectedly laid-off in April due to a lack of projects and clients. It was earlier than I planned, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I am so much happier working full-time (and paying all the bills!) for myself.

 

What is your elevator pitch? How do you quickly describe what you do to people?

I create stationery and paper goods for the design-conscious woman who prioritizes beauty and values the art gift-giving.

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What inspires you + motivates you to keep perusing* creative endeavors*?

Well, first off, the bills! Haha. But really, self-starting is as much a habit that needs to be cultivated and nurtured, as it is an instinct or personality trait. I learned very quickly that nothing happens unless I keep moving, and I get a sense of accomplishment when I finish a collection or a drawing I’m happy with.

 

What are your essentials when creating?

  1. My sketchbook: everything starts in here and lives in the real world.
  2. A mechanical pencil: you don’t need fancy supplies to create good art, and all of my drawings start as a loose pencil sketch.
  3. My Faber Castell inking pen: I primarily use FC Artist Pitt Pens in Fine and Bold for inking my drawings and creating hand-lettering. I also use Tombow pens, in particular, their Calligraphy pen. Its nib holds up great under pressure and is very flexible.
  4. Epic music: I’m a sucker for the Skyrim soundtrack and Game of Thrones.
  5. Coffee, tea, and a good-smelling candle or incense.

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Do you listen to anything while you work? Tv? music? podcast? if so, what?!

 

I like to listen to a lot of classical music and instrumental music. My favorite composer is Beethoven, and his Symphony No. 9 is a go-to for when I need to create work and get in a flow-state. I also really love epic movie soundtracks: Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, etc. I read an article a long time ago that listening to classical music strengthens your creative mind. Whether that’s true or not, I just go with it.

 

Tell us about your favorite project you’ve gotten to work on?

I really love my collaboration with Chasing Paper (http://www.chasingpaper.com/) – they make removable (read: gamechanger!) wallpaper that you can peel and stick to your heart’s content. You can find 3 of my dramatic florals as wallpaper, and seeing that come to life and grace other’s homes is truly magical for me.

What are your favorite sites/blogs/apps online that you can’t do without?

As an artist, I am shamelessly addicted to my Instagram (@paperraven.co), and love connecting with other brands and stores there.

As a business owner, I love Digit (referral: https://digit.co/r/b1qZX?wn) It links up to your bank account to analyze your spending habits, and makes small withdrawals into a separate savings account (that you have access to 24/7). It’s like your “Latte Factor”: it pulls out a small amount of money that you won’t even notice. Since February, I’ve saved over $700! As a small business owner, it’s been an absolute game-changer for me. It’s incredibly comforting to know if there is an emergency or issue, I have something to fall back on.

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What is the most challenging part of being a creative for you?

Having to explain my financial situation or lifestyle to someone who is outside of my normal tribe of people. A lot of times people will assume that I need to “grow up” or that I’m entitled because I don’t want to be a wage slave; or worse, they think that having personal freedom from a 9-5 and paying the bills is a myth or is only something for rich people! There are so many avenues to a successful creative lifestyle in this era, and it is frustrating when my job is perceived as “not a real job” because it is not a traditional job.

 

If you had a time machine, and could travel back in time to give your 18 year old self advice- what would you say?

Honestly, I would tell myself to go to SCAD for my undergraduate degree. I went to a small, conservative liberal arts school, and while at the time it was a good fit, I did not realize that a critical piece of my art education was missing: business and management. My Masters degree was critical in my decision to build my own brand, and I wish I had gotten that perspective earlier in life.

 

What is your biggest inspiration behind your work?

Travel, nature and different cultures. I also am inspired by symmetry, patterns and folk art. I love working on pieces that employ patterned elements or symmetrical designs, and take huge inspiration from European history, architecture and design.Paper-Raven-Co-Makers-to-Note

[ Details : Wedding Suite : c/o Paper Raven Co. // Vow Book + Custom Invitation Holder : Claire Magnolia // Ring Box : Mrs. Box // Vow illustration : My Friend Court // Ribbon : Silk and Willow  ]