Greetings Ester, thanks for joining us for an interview! Your work has a truly unique voice – it’s refreshing to stop by your blog each day to see your creations.
Thanks! I’m glad people are enjoying it.
First things first: could you tell us what originally got you started with the visual arts?
I’ve been drawing since age two, and have always felt the need to continue making images. I feel in my core that there is nothing more important than creating. I think that strong feeling has always been there with me, and so I decided to give it full attention and see how deep I can go with it; how much I can learn about myself through art. That was one of the reasons for going to the Atlanta College of Art, and from there the excitement and love for art grew, leading me to where I am now.
I understand that you create art for both business and pleasure. Tell us a little about the business side of your creations – how did you get started marketing your materials?
Yes, I work as a freelance illustrator, and have also sold original paintings in gallery settings too. I’m actually in the middle of getting together some large promotion material to target the publishing (book cover) market. During school I would create vector business logos, design websites and make some family portraiture pieces, but after graduating I narrowed down the particular fields I am aiming for. My brain jumps back and forth between design-oriented thinking, and loose painterly activities, so this has served me well when I need to put together websites and graphic design promo packs, then I can settle into my studio on the other days and concentrate on feelings and visuals to make the paintings and drawings.
To answer your question more directly, I think the first marketing device I employed was creating my website, and then my blog has also driven clients to call me. I’m part of a few portfolio showcase websites also, and plan to branch out from there with snail mail packages of promo goodies soon.
I see all kinds of sketches on your site – what are your favorite media? Do you enjoy other art forms besides the visual arts?
I really love using supplies that I’ve never tried before, but I always covet those things that allow me to draw, like rapidograph pens, pencils, and tiny brushes. I love oil paint on hard surfaces, and also watercolor with it’s watery splashes. I don’t know if I could choose…like if there were a fire and I had to decide (aaahhh, I don’t know if I could!)
I absolutely love other art forms too, especially music. I love painting to classical music, and drawing to ambient noise with beat. I’ve tried my hand at sculpting a bust of myself, which was strange and fun. It twisted my mind into places I’ve never felt before, which is always exciting! I love growing plants very much, and I really want to watch live Japanese theater. Just maybe, anything can be called an art form if you love it and pay attention to it. I also like to lose time and space in a good book.
Could you tell us a little about giclee? It’s just amazing!
Giclee prints are created using archival pigment inks, rather than dye based inks, so the color will match amazingly accurate to an original painting. Combined with archival papers, giclee prints will last a good long time, for those worried about the life of a print. The prints that I’ve had made truly made me gasp at how closely they resemble the original paintings.
I really do look forward to popping in at your blog each day to see what you’re up to. What inspired you to start the Daily Drawings blog and your artist website?
The website is pretty much a necessity for artists to showcase a portfolio. It helps when you can’t make it to New York on foot hauling your originals to show art directors. Just send a link, which is all anyone seems to have time for anyway. I first made my website just to show my family what I was up to in another state, and now it is my business portfolio site. But the blog I started just to keep myself dedicated to creating something everyday. And I named it a Daily Drawing blog so I had no excuse for not posting. I do it only for regimenting myself, but I’m happy that other people enjoy it too. I don’t link my blog from my website because I wanted to keep it kind of personal. But just the other day I got a call from Harper Collins Publishers who saw the art on my blog, so I guess it’s not really my own little secret space after all.
How has sharing your galleries, sketchbooks, and “daily drawings” with the online community affected your art and/or your business?
Actually, the response from my blog has been kind of eye-opening in the sense that people share their own unique view, which gives me a chance to see what I did through new eyes. I think it’s fun when people respond to the images, because it’s like an online art showing of sorts, but I don’t rely on any response to “keep me going”. I think sharing is what it’s all about, and when other people are positively affected by my images, I’m even more glad I put it out there. And sharing the images of course is the only way to bring in any art business too, so it’s all a positive experience so far.
What are some of your favorite pieces to date?
Probably my favorite thing is the ultimate cohesive work of a sketchbook when it’s all finished. I find it inspiring to look through old ones that I’ve done and remember what was fun about each drawing. I also got much enjoyment from learning how to oil paint for the first time, and many of those are still hanging on my walls. One of those first experiences with oils actually made a showing for the student competition show at the Society of Illustrators, so that has a good memory attached to it.
How long do you typically spend on a given piece of artwork, besides your sketches?
Well, the oil paintings usually take me about 12 hours, and are around 12″ by 15″. I don’t do so well when I have to stop a project midway, then return to it, so most of my work remains “do-able” within a 15 hours period. But typically on an illustration job, I could spend several days working out sketch after sketch for concepting, then nail down an idea to start working on, which will take me that 15 hour period (depending on what is needed).
From where do you most like to draw your inspiration?
I love looking at the details of how other people create their art, and also music and moods are a big source of inspiration. If I feel moody about something, it’s a good time to draw, and I think that’s why a lot of my work reflects an emotional state of some kind or other. when looking at other people’s artwork, I get excited by the way a brush was pulled through some wet paint here, or a splash was left there, and it makes me want to get creating too – not to copy, but to just put some colors down and start.
Are there any particular people or artists who have influenced your art?
There have been teachers who showed me what I do NOT want to be like, and there are other artists who I deeply respect and admire. I think to name them all would be a massive undertaking. Off the top, favorites would have to be Turner’s late work for the great use of color and vague imagery, and I absolutely love Mozart’s music. And right now I’m making my way through Edgar Allan Poe’s beautiful writing. To be perfectly honest though, everything in my life influences my art, so you have too, in ways I don’t even know yet 🙂
Do all your creations flow from natural abilities, or have you studied with other artists?
I’ve been drawing and working at making images for a long time, and studied with teachers and artist friends too. I’m sure that everyone has ability if they want to do something and put their mind to it, and that’s just what I’ve been working at. I try to learn from everything that I can in order to keep pushing my boundaries. A large painting influence has come from my dearest friend and partner, who knew how to push paint before I ever touched a brush, and brought me around to finding my own voice with oils.
What are some of your goals as an artist?
Definitely to learn more about myself and expand my borders to grow inside and out through art. I want to do the best that I can at all times, in life and in art, and it takes a lot of diligent work to do that. But the fact that it is ever evolving me makes it a worthy pursuit. I also hope to travel to several other countries and record my visual “awes” on paper soon.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Possible portfolio overhaul coming soon when my promo packages are ready, which I’ll probably post notice on my blog about that.
If you could visit any one museum in the world tomorrow, which would it be?
The Louvre in Paris, France. Because of the art that is there, and the beautiful city to explore!
What advice would you give to other independent artists?
Follow your heart, your own creative voice, and work hard. I once read a quote (I think from Francis Bacon??) that I felt was fitting for anyone out there: “Do More”.
Ester, thank you again for joining us. We wish you well in all your future endeavors!
All images used in this post are Copyright © 2006 Ester Wilson.