Saturday, November 24, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 34

Today we head to New York to visit another amazingly talented artist..

Name: Lisa Zador
Age: 53
Occupation: Artist

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?

I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember, since my Father bought me my first oil paints as a child. I work freelance as an illustrator and textile designer here in NY. I opened my shop “Curious Portraits”on Etsy about 2 1/2 years ago.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?

I really struggled with my shop name. It was important to me that it convey the feeling of the work within. I have always loved the words “curious” and “curiosity” when used to mean something unusual and unexpected and I thought they described my work perfectly.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?

I would love to have my shop be a full time job but it isn’t there yet. I think it takes time to establish yourself and build a reputation. Maintaining a blog helps and allows me to share the story behind the work and what inspires me with my folllowers.

How would you describe your creative process?

Ideas come to me from the most unusual places and at odd times, often when I am walking my dog out by the river or sitting on the subway so I try to keep a small sketch book with me to jot down ideas and sketches in before I forget. Once I have something sketched out then I start building on that with color and composition in colored pencil and eventually move to the painting. I always paint in oil either on stretched canvas or on wood panels which I love. I also always begin on a toned ground and build up an underpainting in sepia tones then add in the color from there. I love that traditional process of seeing the painting evolve. It allows me to really get the light and shadow in early which is very important to me.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I am always inspired by vintage items, many of which I have in my own collection. Vintage toys, kitchen collectibles, vintage linens and clocks are a particular favorite of mine. I also love animals in clothing involved in human activities! It must come from children’s stories and books I loved as a child in which the animals were always so clever. Of course my dog Bingo is a constant source of wonder and I spend a lot of time observing his moods and personality.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows?

I haven’t yet been in a craft show but it is something I would very much like to do. I’ve applied to Brooklyn Flea several times but it is very competitive. I am hoping to participate in the new flea market in Williamsburg.

What is your most cherished handmade item?

That is a tough question to answer, rather like choosing one child over another! There are certain paintings that just seem to flow through you in a perfect way and when you get to the end of it you know it is exactly what you had in your mind from the very first moment it occurred to you. Those are probably my favorite pieces. My portrait of my dogs Toby and Bingo is one and my first Steiff animal painting of Pieps the mouse, Daisy the Squirrel and Mr Peanut are others.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

I love to knit and to do crosstitch needlepoint. I love designing my own patterns. I find it relaxing in the way jigwaw puzzles are (another of my passions but which I never get to do unless I am on vacation!). I also love to cook and especially to bake.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?

I love to read so much and to get totally absorbed in a great novel so I think being a writer would be a wonderful thing. I still dream of writing and illustrating children’s books so we’ll see.

Five years from now you will be…

Selling full time on Etsy and making my living entirely through my own artwork.

Describe yourself in five words:

curious, creative, moody, quick, compassionate

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your CD player/mp3 player, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

Ella Fitzgerald, Cesaria Evora, Bryan Ferry, Vivaldi, Pink Martini

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?

Just to do what you truly love because it takes an enormous amount of time and commitment to make it as an artist or craftsman. You will always go through setbacks and disappointments and only if you really believe in what you are doing will you be able to stick with it.