Once again, I gotta say this week’s Indie Artist Fixx is better late than never. I was busy working on some other stuff and almost forgot to post today’s interview with the wonderful collage artist, Claudine Hellmuth. Oops!!! I’m back on track now, so here it is.
Thanks to Claudine for allowing me to interview her and I do hope you guys enjoy reading it!
1. What’s the name of your business and what do create and sell?
I don’t have a separate name for my business, so what I create all falls under my name. My work goes into many categories but the main focuses of my business are: creating custom artworks for clients using their photos, I also create illustrations for companies and I have written 2 books with a 3rd due out this fall. You can visit my website to learn more.
2. When did you get started with your business and why did you decide to open your own indie biz?
I went to art school and graduated with my BFA in fine arts in 1997 and then after that to make a living I got a job in web and print design. I never really liked working for someone else all day so I knew I would want to be in my own business at some point. It didn’t take too long for that to happen!
I officially got started full-time in my own business in 2001 when I got layed off from my job in web design. Fortunately, I had started working in the evenings and on weekends slowly building my business in 1998 so when I got layed off I was just about ready to go full time anyway. It didn’t make it any less scary but at least I had my business ready to go!
3. What’s the creative process like for you?
Now that I am in my 7th year of working full time for myself, I am finally being a bit more gentle about the ebb and flow of my creative process. Some months I am able to get a lot of work done and others end up being taken over by more paperwork and businessey tasks. Slowly, I am coming to accept this and try to not force what is not happening.
4. Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share with newbie indie bizinesses?
The best advice I can give is to start slow. Try to do what you can while still working at your day job. Don’t feel that it has to be all or nothing in the beginning. You can work at your regular job and build your business on the side. This will give you a feeling of security as you figure out just how you want your business to work.
5. Tell us one funny/goofy/silly thing about yourself.
Hmm! that’s tricky! There are so many to choose from! One thing is that I love to read catalogs, I will read any catalog that comes in the mail even if it’s for products that I probably would never buy. I also like to watch scary TV shows like A Haunting. That show is one of my favorite ghosty shows!
6. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
The best thing about what I do is when I am able to be in the studio working and creating. When I have spent a whole day in the studio, it feels so good! The worst thing for me is some of the travel that is involved when i go and teach workshops. I hate travel, I am such a homebody that I have to force myself to go on these trips!
7. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
I am a bad shopper, I HATE going to the mall, so I like to shop online, I search ETSY for clothes and accessories. I love the shirts that Harrilu makes. I think I have almost every single one of her shirts! Also Amy Tangerine has super cute shirts, I am wearing one right now! I love reading blogs and I have a long list in my blog reader. Reading Decor8 always gets me inspired!
8. Were you an artsy craftsy kid? If so, what kinds of things did you do?
I was totally a crasfty kid! I started my own crafty group when I was 8 and would have neighborhood kids over to make stuff once a month. I loved making my own paper dolls too. I have made things for as long as I can remember!
9. What can’t you live without?
Creating!!! I can not live without making things. If I go too long, I get really grumpy.
10. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both. 😉
Indie means to me, something that is handmade whether it is clothes or accessories or art. To define an item as indie (in my opinion) it needs to be a little off the mainstream. When I think of the average Indie artist, I think of someone who is young and hip and wants unique items for their home, clothes etc.
11. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
Reading: I’d Rather Be In The Studio by Alyson Stanfield
Watching: Breaking Bad on AMC
Listening: old episodes of This American Life
12. What are your inspirations?
I get inspired by so many things! reading, movies etc etc. I love brainstorming and using words a jumping off point to create new art. Illustration Friday is a great way for me to get inspired if I am stuck.
13. What’s new for 2008? Any new plans or products that you want to share?
Oh, I have some new products coming out that I am not allowed to talk about yet and it’s killing me! I have a new line of cards out called Crafty Girls by TeNeues publishing. And my new book will be out in the Fall and I am also focusing more of my efforts on building my illustration business and also bringing in more custom work projects.