August 16, 2010

artist interview: laura george

I am so excited to share with you the work of the very talented Laura of etsy shop laurageorge. Her illustrated work is whimsical and imaginative, like a dream world come to life. Most of you have probibly seen her popular print "Don't Panic" featured on several design and art blogs. However, it seems this talented woman is daily churning out new and inspiring drawings (which you can find on her blog "Minutiae").
Where to Find Laura
Laura was kind enough to answer a few questions for an artist interview.

Artsy Questions:

1. Tell me a bit about your background. How did you get started?
Well, I've definitely been drawing for fun my whole life. I went to school for theatre, where I majored in performance but minored in design. I started painting backdrops for productions. When I graduated, I freelanced for awhile working for theatres & painting murals for small businesses. A few years later, I went through a tough time & started doing more personal work. A friend told me about etsy, and I created a shop & put a few drawings up. I was really surprised when they sold, and everything sort of stemmed from there.
2. Do you doodle full time or is it a side job?
I''ve had a part-time job for years now. I've been doing 60-70-hour weeks for the past 3 years, between my side job and my artwork. I'm actually taking the leap this September and going full-time. I'm really quite scared, but I'm also so excited about the prospect of focusing my energies.

3. If this is your full time job, what does the average work day look like for you?
I typically get up around 10 or 11 (I'm a night person!) and do email / internet updating for the first 2 hours of the day. With coffee. Sometimes I have lunch with a friend. Then I work on whatever project(s) I'm working on for the bulk of the day. I usually then fill etsy orders & maybe make a post office or supply run at some point. Sometimes I get to go to the lake or I'll take a yoga class or something relaxing. Then I typically work more... I'm a workhorse. If I have a show coming up, I'll go all night. Until like 2 or 3 am. If I'm not under any deadlines, some nights I'll do dinner or drinks out with a friend or my boyfriend. Either way, I'm usually up until the wee hours.
4. If this is a part time gig, what is your dayjob?
I've been waiting tables 2-3 nights a week for the past many years.

5. Describe your workspace.
My workspace is currently in my apartment, which is in Chicago on the top floor of a vintage walk-up building. In the summer, I take my gear out to my patio and work in the sun with my plants whenever possible! My actual studio is a separate room with pretty french doors and windows & more plants. I work on a big table looking out at a very nice tree that makes flowers in the summer and turns bright yellow in the fall, which is not a bad deal as far as city views typically go!
6. Where do you get your inspiration for your art?
Most of my direct inspiration comes from my dreams, and mental snapshots that I get in quiet moments -- most often just before sleeping, when waking up, or when driving. I usually see a picture of what I want to draw or paint, in its entirety. It's a true challenge to then try to capture that exact image when I'm working. I also get inspired by traveling, nature, music, meditation, books, and my loved ones.

7. Who are your favorite artists?
Oh there are hundreds. I love mark rothko, yoshitomo nara, naoshi, lisa kowalski, richard wright, hiroshi sugito, sean morris, tim biskup...

8. What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of being an independent artist?
Staying focused on one task when there are many to do. And wanting to be painting instead of ordering mailers and figuring out taxes.

Now for some random fun questions:

9. Where are you from?
I'm originally from Wisconsin. I've lived in Chicago for 8 years.
10. What is your favorite movie?
There are too many answers to this question! I shall choose one: "Amelie" is a lovely movie. One of my favorites.

11. What kind of music do you listen to?
All. Present obsessions include: The Books, Juana Molina, High Places, Fela Kuti, Hawk & A Hacksaw, Breathe Owl Breathe, Bill Callahan, Chad van Gaalen, Omara Portuondo, Ane Brun, Bonnie Prince Billy...
12. What is your favorite magazine to look to for inspiration?
uppercase is wonderful. and i love giant robot.

13. What advice do you have for fellow artists?
Be persistent & don't be afraid to put yourself out there! We are so often our own worst critics and we can be really hard on ourselves. Be gentle to yourself. The most important thing is to do the work, and let it come from an authentic place.

14. Where do you hope to see yourself and your career 5 years from now?
I hope I'm still doing a variety of projects as I really enjoy the challenge & excitement of working in different veins. I'd really love to be working more with children's books & magazines, doing more design work, and doing more murals / large-scale projects. I love doing collaborations with other artists, too, so more of that would be lovely!

I hope that you all enjoyed getting to know Laura and her work a bit more! Happy Monday!