Queen of the Foxes Interview #19
What motivates you when you sit down to create something?
I like to challenge myself because I get distracted or bored pretty easily. I’ll either want to create something using a tool that is traditionally harder to work with (like ballpoint pen), I’ll want to really study or master something (like how to draw a certain animal), or I’ll want to expand upon an idea I’ve worked on before (either making a bigger or much smaller version, or doing it in or on a different medium, or in color). I also love making something beautiful with leftover materials, like the last bits of paint on scrap paper. There’s no pressure, so the results are lighter and freer.
Do you find inspiration in other things besides art?
Nature and animals are my biggest go-tos for inspiration. Getting out and climbing around on boulders or kayaking surrounds me with my subject matter, my color palette, and puts me in a neutral, peaceful headspace. I’m at ease so my ideas come more freely. And animals… I honestly feel more like myself hanging out with a cat or a horse than some people. Writing and music help too. I’ve kept journals since I was nine, and I could get lost in playlists. Music actually creates images in my head, and very easily alters my mood.
Do you like to listen to music when you draw? If so, what’s your go to song?
Absolutely. I love classical music (Vivaldi, Glinka, Mozart) for when I really need to focus on technical pieces. Other times I’ll have Deftones going full blast. I think “Knife Party” is particularly awesome, though not to everyone’s tastes— you’ve got Rodleen Getsic screaming in one part, yet it somehow works with the song. It’s a great example of being unusual but creative with music, and kind of boosts my energy.
Who’s one person you admire?
I admire so many people who are very close to me, so instead of choosing one, I’ll say this: I admire people who pursue what they love and make it happen in a good, honest, way. People who get to do what they love—and succeed at it—without knocking people over to get there… that amazes me and inspires me. It’s what I want.
How has nature played a role in your creativity?
It’s everything. I grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania in the middle of a National Forest. We had black bears wandering through our backyard, bald eagles flying by our house, and a river that I spent summers swimming in. It was heaven. Then my parents split up and I moved to the city, so I lost that easy access to the wilderness. Continuing to focus on animals and nature with my art is my way of always staying connected not only to my past and who I am, but to something I deeply respect and want others to learn to respect as well.
Could you explain your fascination with foxes?
They’re such stunning little creatures, and I’ve loved them forever. I think they’re one of my spirit animals. They have this quiet nobility to them, yet they’re funny and playful. They live alongside humans, but you rarely see them, so whenever I catch a glimpse of one I feel like it’s good luck.
How would you describe your style?
Artistically, it’s hard to. For me it all comes down to detail. I think I range from loose and sketchy to tight and technical, but I’m always aware of how lines are moving and where they lay, what textures are appropriate, the lighting, anatomy, color or shading, etc. It’s so satisfying when those elements come together to make sense, whether it be the technical outcome, or emotional feel I needed from the piece.
Do you plan to pursue art professionally?
I’m trying to figure that out. I have a “day job” at an animal hospital, but I’m happiest when I’m making art for my own enjoyment. When I get a great response to my work, it sends me over the moon and makes me want to make more. Commission-based work, while lucrative, is very restrictive and can sometimes suck the fun right out of the whole process. It’s a give-and-take situation. I’m definitely learning as I go, and I find it really hard sometimes, especially without a mentor. All I know is I’d like to continue making art, but realize that once it turns into a chore or something I dread, I need to be able to step away from it for a bit. I don’t want to ruin something that’s inherent and enjoyable. Maybe I’ll become a naturalist who takes really incredible field notes.
Recognition or just personal expression?
Both. The recognition is an added bonus to my personal expression. It makes me giddy. I’ll be honest, I always have a moment of tiny shock and surprise when people like my stuff, because when you’ve spent so much time on a piece and know where you struggled, or what parts are your weakest, you hyper-focus on it and sometimes forget the big picture. Recognition helps me see what I sometimes forget. It’s fuel to the fire of creativity.
What are your favorite colors to work with?
I’ve only recently slipped back into the world of color, and I love it. Vibrant orange, saffron yellow, burnt sienna. Those were my most worn-down crayons as a kid, and colors I love wearing. I will forever have black thrown in there though… it’s too useful and powerful a color to ignore.
Is there a certain place where you feel most creative?
In the shower or right before I fall asleep. I go through a stream of consciousness about anything and everything. The things that I think could turn into something, I write down or type up as a memo on my phone.
What makes you happy?
Getting things accomplished, surpassing my expectations, and seeing the people I love happy and successful.
Any closing comments?
Respect nature and all the creatures in it, as it’s your oldest, biggest family. And I think everyone has a creative side. Nurture it and work with it. It’ll give you a whole new perspective on life.
Thanks for reaching out to me!
Interviewed by POI
Special thanks to Golden Boy Press for this awesome post! They asked me some great questions and showcased some of my work. Woo!
Check them out… lots of up-and-coming artists and musicians featured regularly.