An Artistic Vision by Ashley

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

Hello! I’m pleased to have another feature on O9, and this time, it’s about an artist who really makes life as her primary inspiration. Ashley is one of those people who use art as an outlet for positivity. I have always appreciated people who work not for themselves, but for social progress and the community at large! It’s great to talk to someone who puts their time and effort towards helping others and also invests in her own creative progress. Ashley’s art is colourful and frank, and she also uses watercolours (which I absolutely love!) so I contacted her to get some insight on her process.

Read on to hear what she has to say!
An Artistic Vision by Ashley

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Ashley Churbock and I am the creator and artist behind Rock, Paint, Scissors.  By day I am a licensed professional counselor and work in an urban middle school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana running a drop out prevention program.  Besides that, my heart lies with art and being creative.  My work consists mainly of digital prints but I also dabble in painting and paper products.

 

What sparked your interest in art in general? How long have you been practicing?

I have always been into art and took advantage of taking art classes throughout school and into college. I have always been told that I have a natural gift and talent in art and found that it was a great way for me to express myself in a safe and healthy way.  I started out interested in drawing, which turned into a love for painting.  I only recently took up graphics and digital design within the last year.  It helps me create work more quickly, efficiently, and produce affordable work for others.   It is a different type of art that I happen to really enjoy and see a great potential in.

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

How do you interpret the presence and significance of art in your lifestyle?

Being a counselor by trade, I know the importance of self care.  Art has always been an outlet for me to express myself and be creative which is extremely important to me.  I love sharing my passions with others and this is a great way to do so.  I have always created my favorite pieces for those closest to me and proud that I can give them something unique, special, and one of a kind.  Art has been and always will be a vital part of my life to keep me sane, motivated, and inspired!

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

What is your general process while creating an art piece?

First I identify my inspiration and vision for a piece.  I am constantly having ideas pop into my head and I jot these down in my phone to keep a running list of what I want to see transformed into art.  From there I choose which media I want to use (Illustrator, drawing, painting, mixed media, etc).  Then I decide on color palette, font, and dimensions (what size canvas or print).  Next, I gather other materials needed such as paint, paint brushes, canvas, etc. (if needed).  Then I begin!

For digital prints, I typically like to start and finish them within one time frame if possible.  With paintings, I typically grid my paintings and work in layers so that I can blend and make changes as needed.  I usually post my work on Instagram and Etsy at the same time, get feedback, and make necessary changes from there!

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

What keeps you motivated creatively?

Usually it revolves around 3 things: love, work, and humor.  My boyfriend, family, and those that I am close with constantly inspire me.  Relationships are the utmost importance to me. Without them, nothing would be possible.  Work gives me a lot of motivation and drive and purpose in life. Working with kids constantly inspires me.  I work with students who are underprivileged and live in poverty, high crime areas.  These students show me what true resiliency looks like and make me a better person on a daily basis. I know I was put here to do good in the world and help others.  And humor keeps me going.  You have to be able to laugh at yourself and at the world when things are tough.

 

How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?

Typically my paintings take anywhere from 8-10 hours (smaller canvas typically 2-4 hours) and digital prints it varies greatly depending on the amount of detail and layering involved.

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

Just out of interest, what was the first (or your favourite ) piece of art you remember creating?

My favorite piece was a large painting I did for an ex boyfriend of mine.  He had served 2 tours in Afghanistan and there was a picture of him that I thought really captured him and his experience.  I was determined to paint that picture for him to honor him and his service.  I am very humbled and in awe of our military men and women and can never express my appreciation for all that they do.  His tours are a major part of who he is, what he has overcome, and molded him into the great man that he is today and I wanted him to have an original piece to represent that time in his life.

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?

I work full time at a middle school trying to change and mold the youth of America! Typically I attempt to create one digital print a day after I get off of work. I also exercise 5-6 days a week to keep myself in shape.  I like to keep myself mentally and physically healthy and really enjoy my free time to do the things I truly enjoy outside of work.  Spending quality time with my boyfriend is also important and building my relationship with him, as well as my friendships.

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

(Ashley’s black and white gallery wall- her inspiration at the moment)

How do you balance your creative thought while maintaining a business approach when it comes to selling your art?

Honestly, creativity comes first.  I create art because I love it and business comes second to that.  I approach the business aspect as a bonus to doing something I love to do!  I created my Etsy shop to share what I love and allow others the opportunity to purchase and enjoy the art just as I do.  My reward comes from knowing that my art can contribute to a room, office, or home that is special to that person and makes them feel comfortable, cozy, inspired and at peace.

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

Just for fun: what’s your outfit staple and flower and why?

This is a hard one!  I love, love, love my white converse because they are so versatile and classic.  My favorite flower is an orchid.  There is just something beautiful and powerful about an orchid that I love.

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

You have a very watercolour and typography inspired Etsy shop! What motivated you to start a creative business?

I have what I like to call a torn artistic heart.  I love the abstract feel of watercolors and the clean lines of typography.  I think you can appreciate both for what they are and felt that others, like myself, would really appreciate a shop that allows you to download prints and use them as they see fit. The majority of my downloads are $2, which is a very affordable and budget friendly version to buying expensive prints.  I have always lived on a budget and found it was difficult to decorate my apartment the way I wanted.  I have always relied on my own talents to decorate my apartment and thought it would be neat to see my work in others’ homes.  Once I found Illustrator, I realized I could create my own prints in a very cost effective way and felt that others would appreciate this option, as well! Prints can easily be downloaded and printed on a home or office printer or can be sent to your local Walgreens, CVS, or other print stores that can print the JPG for a very low cost.  Pop these into a cute frame and you can make over your room for $10 or less!

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

Change, and the ebbs and flows of life, are really inspiring me lately.  I have had a year full of change that has me feeling very hopeful, grateful, and positive.  Last year (2014) was a very hard year for me and I decided that I really wanted to take control of the things that were in my power.  I wanted to ensure that I was mentally strong and art has helped me cope with life’s stressors and obstacles.  Through building my business, I feel more empowered and encouraged for my future and excited to see where it takes me.  It is never too late to go after your dreams!  I have always dreamed of art being a major component of my life and excited to see where the venture takes me!

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

 

What are some of your favourite art supplies and art media you use?

Adobe Illustrator, acrylic paint and watercolor paint are my top 3 favorite medias.  Illustrator allows for such amazing shapes, lines, textures, and possibilities.  Acrylic paint is great for blending and abstract and watercolor is a beautiful challenge and sharpens my skills.

An Artistic Vision by Ashley

Could you share three tips that make a good, satisfactory piece of art (which the artist feels happy about the end result)?

Art is so subjective and I can be a little perfectionistic!  My three tips would be:

1- Do what feels right to you.  Part of the beauty is feeling the artist through the piece.  Being yourself and creating art that is unique to you and your vision is the most important.

2- Choose your media wisely- do what works for you!  I would love to work with wood but I have no idea how to use a saw properly.  It is important to have goals and try to better yourself artistically.  But, in the meantime, do what you know and do it well.

3- Accept feedback- use the feedback you are given to drive your work.  Trends change so often and you have to change with it.  This does not mean you only do what is popular, this means listening to your audience and allowing outsiders help inspire you!

Thanks Ashley, for a little glimpse into your art at Rock, Paint, Scissors! Wishing you all the best ahead!

You can find more of Ashley’s work on Etsy and Instagram.

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An Artist’s Perspective: Emily Henney

An Artist's Perspective: Emily HenneyLet’s talk about art. Art means different things to different people. Some people like to paint as a hobby and everyone has their own style and their own pace. However, there are some great prolific artists out there, and Emily is definitely one of them. She paints and paints- just look at her amazing feed!

She’s truly inspiring and I love her bright, positive style with which she paints. There’s so much floral goodness and colourful thoughts in her work, and I’m happy to have her on Opinion9, giving some more insight into her creative process.

Read on to get her perspective on art, life and creativity.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m Emily Henney, the name behind HelloHenney. I am a self taught artist, going on two years of trying to give this business a go, learning every day more and more! I create unique, quirky wall art, and I love to work with customers on a personal level to create something beautiful for them.

Artistic Insight from Emily Henney

What are some of your favourite art supplies and art media you use?

I love using Folk Art brand of acrylic paint, it covers well, and is just a good reputable brand. But honestly, I’m not picky about the paint or brushes I use, as long as I can paint with it!

 

What sparked your interest in painting and just art in general? How long have you been practicing?

I got married almost two years ago, and moved to a new city. I’ve always dabbled in painting, doing small pieces for friends and family on the side. Suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands, and with the encouragement of my older sister, I began selling my work.

An Artist's Perspective: Emily Henney

Art is so powerful and can make a large impact in anyone’s life. How do you interpret the presence and significance of art in your lifestyle?

Art encompasses so many aspects of my life. I incorporate them into every piece I do. Music is a huge part of my life as well, and many of my pieces show that. I get little bits and pieces from lyrics, from books, and just little stories in my life as well. Life is beautiful, everyone has a story to remember.

Artistic Insight from Emily Henney

(This art wall is just..wow! Such a motivating place to work in. It’s like a gallery wall and moodboard rolled into one.)

What is your general process while creating an art piece?

I usually have a list of ideas I want to get done in a day, or the week. I start with the words first, if there are letters involved. What do you enjoy the most in your creative process? I love sitting down at my desk, and seeing that blank canvas. The possibilities of what can be done with that blank space, that is the best part. I’m a huge fan of every color of the rainbow, so sometimes it can be hard to choose the color scheme, but it’s fun to see the end result.

 

How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?

Anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

An Artist's Perspective: Emily Henney

Just out of interest, what was the first piece of art you remember creating?

A painting of an owl on a branch in the night sky.

 

Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?

I always start with iced coffee after breakfast 🙂 That really gets the brain going, haha! I check my Etsy account to see what orders have come in, or if someone has contacted me for a custom order. I have an ongoing list of ideas, so if I have time, I can knock a few of those out!

An Artist's Perspective: Emily Henney

How do you balance your natural creative thought process while maintaining a business approach when it comes to selling your art?

Well, not everyone shares the same humor and taste, as I do. But that’s kind of the risk you take. You’re going to lose some people, and gain some people, no matter what you do.

An Artist's Perspective: Emily Henney

Just for fun: what’s your favourite animal and flower and why?

I love cats, and dogs. We’ve always had both of those animals growing up, and they’re just the typical fun homey animals 🙂 My favorite flower is the peony. They’re so lush and full.

 

You have a very colourful and pretty Etsy shop! What motivated you to start a creative business?

I want people to have an option for colorful walls, without the hassle of painting. I love the idea of someone coming to me to create something quirky, and custom. Something they cannot find anywhere else, something that means a lot to them.

An Artist's Perspective: Emily Henney

What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays to pick up the brush?

Oh, floral blooms. I have been obsessed with them for a while now, and can’t seem to stop painting them. I’m really loving cactus art too, they’re so surprising, but add just a little “oomph” to a wall collage.

An Artist's Perspective: Emily Henney

Could you share three tips that make a good, satisfactory piece of art (which the artist feels happy about the end result)?

I always feel really good when I have made good, clean lines. Colors that mesh well, bold or more subdued, make sure they blend, and go with the whole feeling of the piece. If you have any misgivings, or something that is bugging you about the painting, it’s better just to go ahead and redo it. Picture the piece in your own home, would anything about it continue to bug you if you passed it everyday? Just think about the person who is spending money at YOUR shop! It’s worth it.

Thanks, Emily, for a glimpse into your world of HelloHenney. It was great to get to know an artist’s perspective; especially one who creates in such a colourful and vibrant way!

Wishing you all the best ahead!

Aaria

Find more of Emily and her work at HelloHenney on Instagram and maybe get a customized piece of art for your walls from her Etsy? 🙂

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Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

When it comes to jewellery, you can usually find a lot of predictable stuff in shops. Generic, cliched, pretty, but not with much thought behind it.

Which brings me to this feature in the O9 Inspiration series.

I came across Charlotte Filshie’s website one day, where she sells these really cute and amazing accessories- with different themes like dinosaurs and geometric shapes. Plenty of colour, too. And what’s really distinctive about her creations are- (more distinctive than a Brontosaurus brooch) she makes all of them with materials like vinyl, wall coverings, cork and more; which definitely fall in the unconventional category. I love that she basically changes the purpose of each material, and crafts with an alternative approach! Originality is key, always. I’m loving the cheerful vibes and creative thought behind Charlotte’s work.

Read on to hear what Charlotte has to say.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi! My name is Charlotte; I am from Australia and have lived in London for 2 years. I studied an Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology (Jewellery) in Melbourne, and since then, I have made all kinds of jewellery from all kinds of materials. When I was studying I did a subject called Hunter Gatherer where we had to use alternative materials to create jewellery. I loved the subject and began using old interior design samples to make my jewellery, I found the materials to often have very tactile qualities. I now use vinyl wall-covering and vinyl floor tiles to make my jewellery. I have recently started expanding my designs into coasters, tote bags, gift tags, postcards and bunting.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

I love your colourful and dinosaur themed jewellery! Do you plan themes or is the process more spontaneous?

It’s pretty spontaneous. I usually get an idea and just start designing and drawing in Illustrator, and then it all goes from there. I use Illustrator so I can resize and re-colour everything easily.
My new postcards and gift tags actually came from a joke between a friend and I. She ordered some coasters on my Etsy store and made some pretty funny requests for the dinosaurs, toilet trained, proficient in martial arts, cookie making and fetching slippers. She also requested a book about their family history. Naturally, I decided to make little books for each dinosaur and draw them doing all the things she requested. I ended up using some of the drawings and drew some new ones that now feature on the postcards and gift tags.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

I started my business a long time ago in Australia, but it was always a part-time thing. In the beginning the hardest thing was finding the time as I was juggling full-time work. Now I am in London, the hardest part has been finding stockists and getting my name out. Being in a completely new place is tricky, but, the longer I am in London, the easier it’s getting.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What makes you the happiest in your creative process?

I love when I finish a design. Seeing the final product is always so gratifying. It’s so great to see the hard work and hours that go into making all the decisions that go into each piece.
Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day at work?

I usually get up and go for a 3 mile walk, then get home and begin my work day.
I always make sure I get any orders packed first, this gives me time to make anything that I don’t have stock of. I also make extra stock for shops and markets if I have some coming up.
My afternoons are spent doing new designs, uploading new product to online stores, answering emails and doing research. I also go to the Post Office in the afternoon. At 6 I watch the news and sit on my laptop looking things up, checking social media, and watching TV.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?

You need to love what you do. If you don’t love it, it will be boring and become like a chore.
You need to be adventurous. Trying new things can be scary, but you need to keep trying new things so it’s still fun and exciting (not only for you, but for your customers as well!).

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I imagine I will still be in London, making jewellery, accessories and homewares, but I will be much, much more successful! Haha! I would also love to have a store of my own, but that’s a long way off!

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What motivates/inspires you the most?

Seeing how people react to my work is such a great motivator. I get to meet people at markets and hearing their feedback is so great. It can be a bit crazy when someone says they recognize my work from a store or I see someone wearing one of my pieces on the street. The feeling is so great to see people who love something you love.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Can you list five things at the top of your head that interest you nowadays when it comes to design?
Geometric shapes & patterns
Dinosaurs
Art Deco
Bright vibrant colours
Spots

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What tools do you work with to create/ design your products?

To make my jewellery I use scissors and scalpels to cut all the wall covering and vinyl. I don’t use any laser cutters, it’s all hand cut. I file the edges of each piece with a Dremel so they are nice and smooth. I have also attached a tiny drill bit to the handle of a scalpel so I can drill holes in some of the tiny pieces, using an electric drill was dangerous so I had to improvise.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Just for fun: What are your favourite flower, animal and book/movie?

My favorite flower is a snapdragon, animal is giraffe and movie is Dirty Dancing….I think. Ugh there are just too many!

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What do you do in your free time?

I love to go to markets, have brunch, explore, travel, and generally just relax.

Could you share three tips for people starting a creative business like yours?

Be original, don’t give up and have fun!

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Thank you, Charlotte, for a little glimpse into your creative process! Wishing you the very best ahead!

-Aaria

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Find Charlotte and shop her colourful creations here:

Website: charlottefilshie.com

Instagram: @charlottefilshie_jewellery

Twitter: @charlottefil

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Hand Drawn Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via www.opinion9.com

Hello! I recently discovered Zuer Designs on Instagram, and I absolutely loved the clean lettering and simplicity with which Jo creates! I contacted her to get some more insight on her work, and here’s what she had to say.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Jo, I’m 21 years old and I’m the creative designer behind Zuer Designs. I’m currently a student here in New Zealand, in my last year of my undergraduate studies. Handwriting related arts have been a passion of mine ever since I was 8 or 9. I’m also a huge stationery junkie and love collecting pens (especially fountain pens) which helped to fuel my handwriting passion.

I remember from when I was younger that for every friends’ birthday I would buy them an art or crayon set. Looking back now, I should have considered the appropriate toy, but obviously, stationery was, and is, more important! Apart from lettering and writing related things, I am known to be a bit of a Minecraft fan. I was that one girl who spent her whole summer stuck glued to her computer playing Minecraft. I’m actually a bit embarrassed to admit that, but we all have embarrassing moments, right? In the next few years I aim to pursue postgraduate studies while growing Zuer Designs on the side.

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What is your creative process like?

My current creative process begins with finding a source of inspiration which is often times based on my emotions and the mood at that moment. If anything significant is going on in my life, it reflects through my lettering pieces. Same goes for any inspirational pieces that I find. It sticks with me until my next piece of work. I’m an avid journal writer as well, so all my thoughts and ideas are noted down. I constantly flip through my journals when I’m stuck for ideas. I also like to take lots of breaks to make sure I actually like what I created two days later. Kind of like self reflection. Enjoying what I do is ultimately the most important part of my creative process.

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via www.opinion9.com

What are the things that inspire you the most?

Definitely the works I see on Instagram. I love following different creative individuals and getting inspiration from their pieces. Alongside drawing inspiration from my emotions, I’m also inspired by the lovely atmosphere and environment in New Zealand. So when I do use colour, I draw from the colours I see around me.

How did you get started with lettering/calligraphy? What keeps you motivated?

I got interested in handwriting thanks to the penmanship lessons we used to have in primary school (pen licenses, anyone?), which eventually evolved into a love of hand lettering over time. I actually discovered lettering through the explore feature of Instagram. I thought it was really neat and wanted to give it a go of my own. Believe me when I say that I was absolutely horrible in the beginning! I did give up at one point but the encouragement from my friends kept me going. Every time I bump into a friend that I haven’t seen in a while, they always talk about the lettering that they see me post on social media, which really makes me smile and keeps me going.

What would your ideal day be like?

My idea of a perfect day would definitely consist of lettering and playing Minecraft while sipping coffee. If I’m with friends, I quite like relaxing at the beach or getting together to have a good meal. I’m always down for exploring new and interesting eateries.

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In the midst of creativity and life, how do you keep yourself focused?

It’s almost as if lettering is part of my life. It sounds so cheesy but I always spend an hour or more of my day sitting down and writing something down. Whether it be in my journal or lettering, I always have to do it. I don’t have to set aside time for it, it kind of just happens. It’s never a chore.

What’s the part in your creative process that makes you the happiest?

Seeing the final product makes me really happy. I know that for a lot of other people, seeing others happy with their work makes them happy, but for me, I feel like I have to be happy with the final product myself before I share it with others.

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How do you juggle a business along with maintaining your creativity at the same time?

I’m not exactly an expert since I only just started my small biz less than a month ago, but I think that being creative part of starting or owning your own business. If you’re not creative with your ideas, you won’t stand out from the crowd, so having a business means that you’re always challenging yourself and coming up with new, creative ideas. You’re becoming more creative as your business grows. It’s kind of a cycle, you see.

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What is the hardest (and easiest) part about starting a creative business?

The hardest part for me was actually taking the plunge and opening my Etsy store. I toyed with the idea of starting up Zuer Designs for almost a year before I made an account on Etsy. It then took me another month to actually decide to open up a store and set everything up.  After I made the commitment, everything because a little easier, although nothing is really that easy in the beginning! The easiest part for me was deciding what I wanted to be involved with, which was hand lettering.

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via www.opinion9.com

Just for fun: What’s your favourite colour and outfit staple?

My favourite colour is a dark purple. Clothing wise, I’m pretty much always seen in head to toe black which I would like to get out of but it’s such a comforting clothing colour! My staple would be either a plain black tee or my black Dr. Marten boots – I can’t decide since I always wear them together!

How did you come up with the name for your brand?

Zuer is actually my Chinese first name phoneticised, and the Design part is self explanatory, haha. I wanted to bring in a bit of myself into the brand so I thought that my name would be interesting.

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Find Jo and her work here:

instagram@zuerdesigns

etsyzuerdesigns.etsy.com

pinterestpinterest.com/zuerdesigns

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Thank you Jo,  for giving us an insight on your creative process! It was lovely talking to you!
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