I love the idea of therapy through art, as it really can do wonders in helping people express themselves and get their feelings out
How long have you been making art and what inspired you to get started?
From when I was very little, I have always enjoyed making and drawing. Even as a child, I loved the process of creating something from scratch, I used to make cards for people, little gifts and was drawing all the time. That passion has never left me over the years and has become a huge part of my life.
I love various pieces of your artwork including ‘elephants’, ‘watercolour bluetit’ and ‘white tiger’. Can you tell me a little more about these designs and what inspired them perhaps?
Different textures fascinate me and I love the natural movement in nature and the way animals streak across a blur of leaves, mountains or desert. I tend to start with the background and then hone in on the detail of the animal, I think it makes for good contrast and a nice composition.
What is your favourite medium of choice and why?
This is a tricky one, as I have phases of being obsessed with different medium! For a long time (and still my favourite for pet portraits), it was a mixture of smudgy chalk markers, and then working into it with pencils and pens of different types, usually with a bit of tippex or white gel pen for the highlights! Recently I’ve been doing a lot of watercolour as the flowing colour is such a pleasure to create with. I have also had a phase lately of painting with coffee, which is great fun! At the moment, I’m really enjoying playing with pen and wash techniques, and drawing places and buildings for a change rather than animals. I suppose I have different favourites for different subject matter, as some methods lend themselves better to representing certain subjects.
Your designs tend to feature mostly animals. I love the types of colouring you use as well. Do you have a particular style you like to work with all the time? If yes, why is this your favourite?
I love drawing animals, especially custom pet portraits, as there is something really special about capturing a personality and the sparkle in their eyes. Whichever medium I am using, my pictures always have layers. They start of as a mass of messy, splodgy colour, and slowly the animal (or whatever I am drawing) emerges from the chaos! I never draw an outline, the subject just seems to create itself during the process.
What other artists have inspired you?
It’s the lesser known artists out there that inspire me every day. It’s so easy now for people to share their art all over the world thanks to Instagram, Etsy and the like. Some of my favourites are Tianyin Wang, who does gorgeous charcoal birds amongst other things; Leonid Afremov, who does amazing palette knife paintings; and Dean Crouser, whose beautiful splashy watercolour animals are always an inspiration.
Which pieces are most dear to you and why?
I can’t choose! I feel like my art is improving all the time, I can look back on one that I loved two years ago and prefer more recent ones. My art is always evolving as I try new techniques and subject matter. Each piece is very different, so I can’t pick a favourite!
Has art always been your main outlet of creativity, or has there been anything else you have found that allows you to express yourself in an alternative way?
Art all the way with me! I’ve always enjoyed different crafts too, sometimes knitting or making things, but always something arty. There’s just something lovely about the process of creating!
What have you learnt whilst establishing yourself as an online artist, and further, can you offer any advice to others starting out?
It’s such a minefield out there! There are so many artists, each with something different to offer. Etsy has been brilliant for me, I love being part of something so special, and the advice and help they offer is really supportive. My advice would be not to change your art into what you think others want to see. There is always a customer out there who will want your pieces on their walls. Also, don’t under price – you are offering a one of a kind product, there is a lot of value in that.
Where do you see yourself as an artist in the future?
I am very excited to be about to embark on a Psychology degree which is the first step in my plan to become an Art Therapist. I love the idea of therapy through art, as it really can do wonders in helping people express themselves and get their feelings out. I hope to get to work one day with people with Mental Health issues to help them communicate through art where words fail. Of course, I will keep creating by myself along the way too!
How do you promote your art and what part has social media played in your self-promotion?
I’ve found Instagram excellent for showcasing art. I’ve gained a lot of loyal customers through Instagram, it’s a lovely community for artists. I also use Twitter and Facebook, it keeps me positive to see all the lovely comments people leave. It’s so important to use social media these days to connect with other artists and with your customers. It’s great to be able to run a promotion and make sure everyone gets to see it with the click of a button!
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And of course, please do take a look at my Etsy shop where you can request custom pieces too! www.etsy.com/shop/chewARTWORK