Andrea is the talented artist whose watercolor map print we featured in our July box. The pictures don’t do justice to her beautiful artwork, as many of our subscribers confirmed upon seeing the print in person.
We talked to Andrea about her art, her inspiration sources and her future projects, some of which you will see in upcoming boxes.
The 37 year old artist lives in a small cottage on Lake Erie outside of Kingsville, Ontario - Canada’s southernmost town with a gorgeous views that we couldn’t help but be a bit jealous of. She loves living in this area, surrounded by farms and wineries, from which she draws constant inspiration.
Andrea’s love affair with art started early: “I remember an art teacher asking us to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up when I was about 5 or 6, and I drew myself as an artist. It’s always been a goal of mine and something I have worked toward my entire career”. After studying Art History and Graphic Design specializing in Illustration, Andrea started in the corporate world but transitioned quickly to being a self employed artist. Selling her artwork on Etsy was a natural step in her career; as her illustrations grew popular, she realized that there was a large potential market outside her immediate community who would enjoy her prints.
In addition to the map series, she’s hoping to add some inspirational quotes, combined with her artwork to make them unique. She is also planning on watercolour pieces for various rooms with popular home decor themes. Watch out her store (and ours) for these new prints, which will become available by the end of summer.
A versatile artist, Andrea also uses acrylics in a more traditional style. Having always been inspired by the group of seven, she travels every summer to the location where Tom Thomson painted “The Jack Pine”. “It’s such a beautiful landscape and is so inspiring to me as an artist. I am planning on doing a series that captures the beauty of this and other, similar locations, in a more modern style than what they developed, but with a throwback to their style in honour of them if that makes sense. I am hoping to have a series of these pieces listed by the holidays this year.” We look forward to these works and think they will make a fantastic and original gift for the art lover in your life.
We asked Andrea her thoughts about the more practical aspects of being an artist and making a living in this field. Having been fortunate to have a supportive family who encouraged her on this path, Andrea spoke to us at length about the importance of finding mentors and learning to manage the marketing and financial side of being a successful artist. If, unlike Andrea, you don’t come from an entrepreneurial family where you can learn by observing from a young age, Andrea recommends asking established artists with a thriving business for their advice. Learning the biz side is a combination of formal training in the form of classes, apprenticeship under the direction of a successful artist / mentor, and learning on one’s own. “If someone wanted advice about getting into the arts, I would recommend they learn about business as well. Becoming an artist today takes the skills to sell and market your artwork. It’s not necessarily a difficult thing but a lot of creative individuals struggle with that. I would recommend they put as much emphasis on that aspect of their career and education as they did developing their skills as an artist.”
In talking about the challenges she encounters, Andrea echoed a sentiment we heard from all our artisans – lack of time is their biggest obstacle. “My biggest daily challenge is that I have so many ideas of pieces I would like to create but not enough hours in the day to accomplish them!”
Interested in a custom piece? Andrea will be happy to work with clients and help them realize their vision. “I do accept custom work and I have often been inspired by a customer’s request. I am usually always inspired by a client’s creativity when they make suggestions of how they would like my artwork customized.” In fact, our own Canada 150 print was a customized version of the prints Andrea offers. We were thrilled to collaborate on the celebratory map and our own framed copy in the office will be a daily reminder of both our launch and the country’s historic anniversary.
For those wondering about the lasting quality of Andrea’s prints, here’s what she shared with us: “I print my artwork on archival-quality, acid free paper. I wrap it in a clear acid-free envelope with an acid-free backer board. It can be displayed as-is or framed. The products I use are guaranteed to last 120 years without yellowing. In order to extend that further, I would recommend ensuring any mat added to the print in the framing process was acid-free as well; although the paper is high-enough quality to withstand that.”
We talked briefly about current trends and what seems to be increasingly popular these days. Andrea sees a throwback to more traditional forms of artwork. Especially in illustration, artwork that looked more “digital” in nature (such as illustrations created with Adobe Illustrator) were very popular for a number of years, however lately more traditional styles such as watercolour are making a comeback. She sees a similarity to the throwback after the industrial revolution during the “Arts and Crafts” style, and she thinks it’s a result of a the same longing for handmade items in today’s industrialized world. We couldn’t agree more – while we can find a glut of affordable, mass produced items at big box stores, many of us are eager to incorporate handmade, artisan items in our every day life. We want to connect to both the makers and the traditional techniques and materials they use to create durable, beautiful and unique items.
We end the interview talking about downtime and recharging one’s energy. As all of us are increasingly busy in our daily lives, taking time to relax and connect with nature is vital to our well-being. Andrea’s favorite hobby is being out on the water racing sailboats. She is passionate about sailing and spends summer evenings and weekends on the lake, enjoying the combination of natural beauty and the thrill of competition. As we say good-bye at the end of our interview, we thank Andrea for her beautiful contribution to our debut box and look forward to her many inspired works in the future, including her upcoming exclusive design for our baby box.
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