Writer. Student. Educator. Daydreamer.

Category: Interviews

An Interview with Jessica Robinette.

I was first introduced to the lovely Jessica Robinette months ago when she sent me a friendly message asking for information about my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. She was planning on moving here from Kansas City, Missouri to pursue her MFA at the University of Cincinnati — which just so happened to be my Alma Mater! I could tell right from the start that Jessica was a genuinely kind and creative soul. Although we haven’t gotten a chance to meet in person yet, I know we will get along wonderfully when we finally do! As for her work, it’s simply beautiful. It is delicate and thoughtful and has this warmth to it that makes you really stop and take notice.

Jessica was gracious enough to sit down and answer some questions for me about her photography and her plans for the future. For more information, check out her portfolio website or visit her blog to see her latest work. I hope you enjoy!


Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where are you from? Where are you currently living? What did/are you going to school for?)

Until recently, I lived in (beautiful!) Kansas City, Missouri. I received a BA in 2010 and recently got married. My husband and I just moved to Cincinnati because I’m beginning an MFA program here in the fall.

How did you become interested in being an artist? What inspired you to pursue this career path?

I credit a lot of my path to good mentors. Back in high school I was lucky enough to have an art teacher who sort of let me have free reign and she encouraged me to continue with art. I knew that it made me happier than anything else, and that was enough for me. In college I had a professor who clarified everything for me. As silly as it sounds, I looked up to her and wanted the life (of an artist) that she had. I have never looked back and I’m grateful that I’ve always felt deeply and honestly that this is the path for me.


What material(s) do you use to create your pieces? Why do you choose this medium?

In school I mostly took photographs, but I was careful to learn what I could about printmaking, drawing and painting because I knew that I wanted my future in art to be interdisciplinary. My recent work is still rooted in photography but most pieces get manipulated with string, ink, paint and/or additional paper.

I use photos because I’m interested in their realism and also the romanticism that photographs can evoke. The photos show what it is that I see…but I also like the work to be abstracted and sometimes the photographs are “too real” so I take it back a little with the abstraction. I also like the additional process that the sewing, collaging and painting takes. Sometimes a photograph lacks process.


Describe your artwork.

I’m very interested in human emotion and relationships. For years I have been making work about personal places (specifically the home) and how people connect with their most private and treasured spaces.

My work is often suggestive but not specific. I want the pieces to feel like a memory, a familiar place the viewer has been before. It’s all about the emotional connection and stimulating some sort of comfortable feeling.

What inspires you?

Other people’s work spaces, random and simple connections with strangers, and watching people do what they’re passionate about.


What are some other things you enjoy doing in your free time (aside from art, of course)?

Lately I’ve been exploring Cincinnati and trying to find those hidden gems that every city has. I love going to farmer’s markets, traveling, reading and lately I’ve become interested in baking…mostly because I’m interested in eating.


Who are some of your favorite artists right now?  

I spend a lot of time looking at photographs by Uta Barth and Laura Letinsky. I can’t get enough of Cy Twombly’s paintings. For things on the more conceptual side, I love Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July.

What’s your favorite thing about being an artist? What’s the most difficult thing?

Since I’m still in the early stages of my career, I haven’t had the opportunity to make art full time– until now. I’m just so excited to begin the MFA process and make art my full time job.

There are definitely times art making seems harder than it should. As an artist, I essentially run my own small business. I have to be the publicist, bookkeeper, secretary and the artist.


Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to have the time, space and money to make art. I also want to be teaching art to college students and raising a family.


If you had an entire day to do as you pleased, how would you spend it?  

I would sleep in, eat Thai food for lunch, maybe visit a museum or a park and then have friends over for dinner and cocktails on our balcony.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself/your work that you think we should know?

I just want to thank you and your readers for taking the time to learn about my work! I’m always interested in connecting/collaborating with other artists and creative types—feel free to shoot me an email!

An Interview with The Baking Bird

Kylie, the wonderfully inspiring food blogger, responsible for The Baking Bird is just about as adorable & talented as they come. She’s a photographer, baker/cook, & all around lovely lady. Kylie was kind enough to answer some questions & share with me what she finds inspiring. She is truly a kind, unique soul. I am so pleased to share this interview with you!

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? How did you become interested in starting a food blog?
Hmm, well, let’s see. I’m a Santa Cruz, California native, 21 years old, and started a love for baking and cooking when I was about 15 or 16, as I was simultaneously getting into vegetarianism and veganism. I started a lot of vegan baking once I discovered Sarah Kramer’s book “How It All Vegan”, and “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World”, and vegan baking resonated with me so well and it skyrocketed from there. The food/baking blog seemed natural since I started loving to take pictures of the creations and have been into photography since I was about 12. My obsession with owls, birds, and nature influenced the Baking Bird title. Although I am no longer strictly vegetarian or vegan, I still tend to cook and bake with that as a major influence–I love creating things that can be just as delicious without butter, eggs, or milk. I love the challenge of creating equally performing egg/buttermilk/butter replacements. And it’s cheaper! Ripe bananas, applesauce, ground flax seed with water, apple cider vinegar in soy milk are typically things that you can always have on hand. And I love to see the look on peoples faces when they bite into a piece of vegan chocolate cake and their eyes get big and say “THIS IS VEGAN?!?” Yes! And it tastes even better!

What is your absolute favorite thing to bake or cook? Or one of each!

Favorite thing to bake: Vegan cupcakes! Or roasted sweet potatoes.

Favorite thing to cook: veggies–beets, plantains, greens.

Who and/or what inspires you?
Oh gosh. So much. Mainly blogs like yours. Flickr photography. Websites. Design/decorating/cooking magazines. Nature. The forest. Owls. Spirituality. Vegan cooking/baking creativity. Innovative and creative food. Portland. Big cities. People with innovative ideas. The teachings of Ayurveda. People. Music. Running and runners. Yoga.

An Interview with Nik Daum

I was recently introduced to the art of Nik Daum when he kindly dropped me an email with a link to his work. And, I am so glad that he did! What followed was hours spent pouring over his quirky art. I enjoyed his “dordles” which he describes as “not quite a drawing and not quite a doodle and not quite bad”. These dordles range from cute to (really, really) creepy and are”recorded in the margins of advertising briefs, discarded printouts, or the company stationary”.

Nik’s sheer volue of art work is certainly enough to impress anyone. He seems like an especially busy fellow which is why I was thrilled that he agreed to an interview. Take a look at what Nik has to say about his art:

Where do you currently live? Where have you lived in the past? Has this had an effect on your art?
I’m currently living in Shanghai, China for a six month+ work opportunity. Prior to that I lived on the west coast in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I grew up in Dallas, Texas. All of these places have had an effect on my creative thinking, mostly through the variety of scenery and people. San Francisco felt the artiest and weirdest place to live, but a lot of my upbringing in Texas was far from normal.

What inspires you?
Daydreaming to music, walking around both city and wilderness, riding a scooter or bike, seeing new countries. Even a little sadness is inspiring sometimes.

What do you do when you are feeling uninspired?
I’ve never been able to force inspiration, so I either accept that it’s not going to happen that day or I try something to compensate. Such simple diversions could be a tweak to my website, a blog post, a doodle, practice guitar, go on a walk. I find it weird that when I’m at my happiest, I’m also at my most uninspired artistically. I might feel like anything is possible, but I’m least inclined to follow through. I guess I save all that motivation for rainy days.

What sort of mood do you wish to portray in your artwork?
Childlike curiosity. Even if the subject matter is weird or dark, it can still feel innocent. I hope some of my art makes people smile too.

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Blog Spotlight: Smaggle Style

I am starting a new feature in which I will spotlight some of my favorite bloggers here. I will ask them a few questions about why they blog & give you a chance to get to know them a little bit better. If you would like to be featured in the future, feel free to send me an email!

I am pleased to have the lovely Lady Smaggle of Smaggle Style as the very first featured blogger! I don’t quite recall how I first came to Lady Smaggle’s glorious fashion blog, but I am so very glad that I did! Her ability to mix & match her wardrobe leaves me amazed every time. Her love for fashion is palpable, as is her love for life. I asked her a few questions that she was nice enough to answer:

Let’s just get straight to it. Why do you keep a blog?
I started reading fashion blogs when I finished uni about 2 years ago. I didn’t have any assignments to do and I kind of missed them and as I have serious issues with sitting still for long periods of time I decided I needed something else to keep my busy. Plus I read fashion text books for pleasure and I felt that I had some useful info to share. It’s really addictive now and I feel a little panicked if I don’t blog for a few days.

What do you hope that your readers will come away with after reading your blog?
I hope people will be inspired to try different styles and that they won’t be afraid to dress like themselves. I hope they will learn not to take themselves so seriously. And I really hope that people will feel good about themselves.

What inspires you?
Art, theatre, design, film, literature, history, travel… I read constantly. My friends are ridiculously inspiring and have amazing careers – actors, directors, academics, lawyers, designers, psychologists, writers. I’m very fortunate to have such amazing people in my life. I also adore other fashion blogs as inspiration. It’s a great creative little community out there and I love being a part of it.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love performing, reading, travelling and designing. I rarely watch T.V and I always have a jewellery project half finished in my handbag. I love to drink red wine, watch British comedy, go on picnics and I’m obsessed with painting my nails! I also LOVE playing board games. I’m a total geek.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming bloggers?
I haven’t even been blogging for a full year yet so I’m not sure how practical my advice is but I try to always reply to every comment on my blog. It sometimes takes AGES if I have like 30 comments but I just feel that if someone has taken the time to read my blog and comment on it that the least I can do is reply. Also I recommend that you put heaps of your own photos on your blog. Daily outfits, DIY projects, shopping trips… I love to see photos from bloggers all around the world.

List a few of your current favorite blogs.
I have the usual favourites like Style Bubble, Kingdom of Style and Fashion Toast. Recently I’m adoring Freelancer’s Fashion Blog, The Snail and the Cyclops and Strawberry Kitten. I’m a sucker for cute Europeans with killer fashion sense.

Anything else you would like to add?
A big thanks to Emily Abigail for profiling me! I’m honoured to be featured on a such a gorgeous site.

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Thank you, Lady Smaggle for taking the time to share your lovely self with us!

An Interview with Rosie Music

I have long admired the artwork of the talented Rosie Music. Her drawings are so sweet & charming. I am sure many of you have visited her lovely etsy shop or flickr in the past. Well, Rosie was generous enough to answer a few questions for me so that we could all get to know the girl behind the delightful little drawings a bit better. I hope you enjoy!

Where do you currently live? Where have you lived in the past? Has this had an effect on your art?
I currently live in Mexico City. In the past, I’ve lived in cities all around Mexico, the US and France. I lived in Rockville, MD and in Paris for a couple of years due to my dad’s work. I believe this gives me a super rich, cultural mixture when I start creating my art.

What inspires you?

Music, love, and loneliness.

What do you do when you are feeling uninspired?
I try to not push things! See, creativity is something we must work out everyday! When you feel simply uninspired, go see a movie, take a long drive with your favorite CD on. I’m sure these things willy help subconsciously and you will start making connections. :)

What sort of mood do you wish to portray in your artwork?
Happiness, fragility and a little bit of sadness…like a bittersweet candy.

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An Interview with Marc Johns

Marc Johns‘ creations never cease to charm me! They are full of wonderfully quirky, oddly endearing characters that are paired with laughably ironic quips. The simplistic nature of his drawings only makes the message more clear. Marc was kind enough to answer some questions about his work in order to give us some insight into the process behind these delightful creations of his.

When did you become interested in being an artist?
I’ve always made art in some form throughout my life, but I guess it wasn’t until about five years ago that I really got serious and started approaching it as a possible career path.

What sort of activities did you take part in as a child? Did anything in particular spark your artistic interest?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. My dad used to bring home heaps of scrap computer paper from work for me to draw on. Like most kids, I read comic books, so I’d make my own little comics. They would be so thick I’d have to use a staple gun to bind the pages together. I still like making little books.

What materials do you use to create your pieces? Why do you choose this medium?
I use drawing pens and watercolours on thick, acid free watercolour paper. I keep experimenting with different media, but I keep coming back to good old ink and watercolour. It allows me to draw first, and then apply the watercolour paint afterwards. Watercolour stains the paper instead of covering it, and it doesn’t cover up my lines. I like the texture and depth I get with it. It’s so simple, so basic; all of my art supplies could fit in a briefcase.

Where do you get the ideas for your drawings?
I always keep a notebook in my back pocket, so that I can capture my ideas any time of day. The ideas tend to come from overheard conversations, magazine article titles, bad TV shows, good movies, song titles, stuff I read or see on the internet, and so on. Sometimes it’s just a word or two that I write down, and eventually it turns into a finished drawing.

I like to make my own notebooks. I’ll make a half dozen at a time, and they’re generally small and thin, just 30 pages, so they fit nicely in my back pocket. I just can’t bring myself to spend loads of money on things like Moleskine notebooks. I like the idea that my notebook costs basically nothing, so there’s no pressure to create anything really good in it. It helps my creative process knowing that there’s nothing at stake, nothing to lose. Making mistakes freely is essential. I have a drawer full of these little books now, and I flip through them when I need some ideas.

Is creating art your main source of income or do you have also have a “day job”? If so, what is it?
I do indeed have a day job – I’m a graphic designer.

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An Interview with Denise Simon

The lovely Denise Simon creates the most charming drawings I’ve come across in a long time. She was nice enough to answer of few questions for me about her artwork and where she gets her inspiration. It’s not a surprise that Denise seems just as charming as the drawings she creates!

What five words best describe you as an artist?
I don’t know the best five words, but I am extremely happy and grateful to have found a creative and inspiring skill.

When did you first become interested in being an artist? Who or what inspired you to begin drawing?
Art has always been my main interest ever since I was a kid. I don’t know what attracted me to drawing, but it was and is very comforting. I grew up around art. My family was very creative when I was little, from photography, sewing, painting, sculpting and drawing and that was a huge influence. When I got to high school, it was obvious I couldn’t do math, I was not interested in science, history or english really. I wish I could go back in time and I would have asked my mom if I could have been unschooled. I had to go through many hoops to get where I am today – unschooling would have allowed me to just stick with what interested me – art.

What materials do you use to create your pieces? Any reason why you choose this medium?
Before I decided that I was going to be self-employed, I did most of my drawings at work so I ended up just using pencils and ball point pens. Now that I actually have the time I love watercolor. I am still experimenting with other materials {gocco, letterpress, digital} but watercolor is my favorite.

I absolutely love the charming characters that you create! Your art makes me want to curl up with a blanket and drink some hot tea. Where or how do you get the ideas for your drawings?
I’m influenced by children’s books, photography, randomness, overhearing conversations, folk art, friends, music, Chicago, my sketchbook, making lists, old magazines, thrift stores… I can keep going.

Did you attend any sort of formal art school training or are you self-taught?
I’d like to say self taught. I did however go to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for photography – it was mainly a conceptual school. We were not taught technique rather we were taught to make work that had an idea behind it. It was super challenging, but it made me open up as an artist and realize that even if you try not to make conceptual work, your art is still influenced by something — whether it be your home, what you ate yesterday, what music is playing, or how the weather is outside. Everything around you is an influence.

What sort of mood or message do you wish to convey to your audience through your artwork?
I guess each of my drawings are snippets from moments and expressions between kids, animals, and the home.

Where do you hope to see yourself going as an artist in the future?
I am working on getting art representation. I would love to create more commercial work, illustrate some children books and keep up with my fine art work.

Where has your work been featured? Are there any upcoming events?
I have been featured at Renegade Handmade, My My Handmade, The Shiny Squirrel and Cranky Yellow. I just got back from my first solo show at Cranky Yellow in St. Louis – it was tons of fun!! I also have showed at The Carmichael Gallery in CA and The Helm Gallery in Tacoma, WA. I am working on a new show for Shiny Squirrel in May…. get excited!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time (aside from drawing, of course)?
I am obsessed with riding my bike, reading books, cooking lots and lots of vegan food, and taking pictures.

For more about Denise, you can visit her blog. It is a great place to visit for insight into her life as an artist, as well as a great source of inspiration. Thanks again, Denise!


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