I am thrilled to announce the December Artist Highlight is Fannie Narte.
Fannie is a multi-talented artist that I met through blogging who continues to impress me with her creative energy - spanning many different mediums, Below she shares with us all a bit of what makes her such a unique talent, besides being a working artist who makes the time to assist several charities that are close to her heart.
" Most of us produce art that we enjoy creating rather than produce art that is saleable. And if you’re blessed, you do both--produce art that is creatively satisfying and saleable. I think that’s a dream goal of every artist." - Fannie Narte
How would you describe your creative process? My creative process varies and changes from day to day and project to project. But generally, it involves three steps: research, writing and creating the piece. With your fiber art, do you begin with a sketch, or just work through to your finished piece? When creating a realistic piece, I usually work from a sketch. When I create an abstract piece, sometimes I work from a sketch, but most of the time my ideas drive my creative process. During this phase, I continuously audition different elements and consider different techniques and colors until a pleasing design develops. The machine quilting or hand stitching is the last thing I do before binding the finished piece. If I’m creating a piece for an exhibit with a specific theme, I will gather all the information I can about that theme by doing extensive research online and reading books, making visits to a location if applicable, and conduct interviews by phone or e-mail. When I think I’ve gathered enough information, then I’ll journal my thoughts and ideas. It’s a way for me to understand the theme on a personal level. During this writing process, questions surface, which means I need to do more research.
This writing/research process may repeat itself until I “feel” that I’m ready to begin creating the piece. In the busy-ness of meeting project deadlines, sometimes the fun in creating gets lost in the business of our work. When this happens, I create challenge pieces. I challenge myself by imposing limits such as time, technique, tools, and materials. As an example, if I decide to create a postcard which is 4” x 6”, I will give myself one hour to complete it and choose a number, say, “three,” for example. I will only use three techniques such as thread quilting, appliqué and painting; three tools such as a sewing machine, paint brush, and credit card; and three materials such as pellon, fabric paper and crystals. One of the many benefits of this activity is that it helps me see things with fresh eyes and it takes me out of “my norm.” It’s also quick, fun and creatively satisfying.
For those of us who have never tried fiber art, how would you recommend starting? I guess the same process that I use to create a piece would apply here: Research, Write, Create. You might begin by studying the world of fiber art on the internet, by visiting your local library or bookstore, local galleries, etc., to learn what kind of fiber art makes you excited. The studio of a fiber artist may contain supplies found in a painter's studio, a weaver's studio, a jewelry, beader, stamper, scrapbooker or knitter's studio, etc. A good place to begin your online research is Studio Art Quilt Associates <http://www.saqa.com/> (SAQA) and Surface Design Association<http://dev.surfacedesign.org/about.php>(SDA). Next write down your thoughts. How did you feel when you saw certain pieces? Were you drawn to them because of its color, its texture or maybe it connected you to a childhood memory? Do you like realism art, abstract, impressionism, etc.? In this writing process, you’ll discover a place to begin creating your unique fiber art. Next comes the fun part—shopping!
Then comes the messy part—create!
You are active in different charity organizations/groups, using your artwork to gain awareness. How can other artists become involved? Yes, I am very active in donating my art quilts to benefit Alzheimer’s research through the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative <http://www.alzquilts.org/index.html>(AAQI) founded by world renowned quilter Ami Simms. My quilts are sold in the monthly AAQI online auction<http://www.alzquilts.org/quiltauction.html>or they can be purchased each year in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. I joined the AAQI organization in 2007 with a promise of raising $1,000 from the sale of my pieces. To date, I am grateful to report that my art quilts<http://www.alzquilts.org/narte.html>have raised over $4,000. After three years, I met Ami in person for the first time at the Houston International Quilt Festival last month. It was a memorable meeting. My family and I serenaded Ami, the AAQI volunteers and customers with a song. I also donate my art to organizations that support cancer research in memory of my father who passed from lung cancer. Finding a non-profit organization to support is easy because of the internet. Through your search, you may find an organization that needs your illustration skills for a fund raising program they already have in place. If you find an organization that doesn’t have a program in place, but which appeals to your heart, you may offer your services to illustrate their logo or event posters, etc. Connecting with a non-profit is a great marketing tool and will broaden your customer base. What is the one piece of advice that you would share with aspiring creatives in a challenging economy. “One” piece of advice . . . hmmm. “One” gold piece. I guess the answer to that would have something to do with how you market your art and yourself. It seems that people either buy art that they visually love or people buy art created by artists they love. If your work isn’t being seen by the right people, you won’t sell your art no matter how great your work is or what the state of the economy is. There are usual avenues that artists take to market their work such as web presence, art fairs, challenge groups, etc. Think “unusual.” Discover what makes you different from other illustrators and target your marketing efforts. For example, as an illustrator, what makes your work unique in that world? Are you a musician and an illustrator? Could you merge the two in your marketing efforts? Could you write a silly jingle, add illustrations to the song, record it on a CD and use it to market yourself? Are you a history professor and an illustrator? Maybe you could write an academic article, include your illustrations and send it to targeted publications. You could also present your project to students in your community and/or at local libraries. Are you a homemaker and illustrator? Could you write a humorous short story or poem based on a personal experience as a homemaker and add illustrations and send it to Woman’s Day magazine or other publications? You get the idea, right? Keep thinking creatively and you’ll find your own unique way to market your art. Regardless of the state of the economy, most of us produce art that we enjoy creating rather than produce art that is saleable. And if you’re blessed, you do both--produce art that is creatively satisfying and saleable. I think that’s a dream goal of every artist. You are awarded a shopping spree in a local art store and have only 3 minutes to grab as many supplies as possible... what would you grab? This was my first answer: What would I grab? I would grab my two daughters, who are with me, arm them with a shopping cart each and let them go. Here’s my second real answer: I probably would grab sets of my favorite art supply Neocolor II wax crayons paints, paint brushes, paint accessories and canvases.
Check out Fannie's artwork at her blog or in her Etsy online store.
Thanks again for taking the time to share your words of encouragement
Fannie! Have a good weekend everyone - thanks for popping by! :)