Voyage Magazine Interview
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up a shy kid and art was the perfect way to express myself. I had trouble with school and had hearing issues that made it hard to understand words and communicate. Art was always a connection I couldn’t find anywhere else. I moved around a lot when I was younger because my parents were separated and my mom had a hippie way of life, but that allowed me to see a lot of cool art styles that inspired me. I was completely fascinated with the textures and shapes and wildlife that surrounded me. I spent the summers playing with the livestock in Texas and the rest of the year with the alligators, snakes and frogs in Florida. Later, we moved to Virginia where my aunt and uncle helped give me a more stable environment and got me more focused on school.
I was told by my 9th grade art teacher that if I could perfect the human face, I could draw anything. So, I literally spent 10 years obsessed with this until my college teacher told me my drawings were perfect. So, I branched out and tried different things. The same college teacher was trying to teach me acrylic and I just couldn’t wrap my head around how he wanted me to blend with only a few basic colors. I saw hundreds of different undertones that made the color of skin. So, I used as many colors as I could on my painting. He said it was the wrong way to do it, but it was good and not to stop doing it. Coming from a professor, I took “good” as amazing. So, I ran with it and made my paintings with as many vibrant colors and as poppy as possible.
However, art wasn’t always at the forefront of my life. After moving constantly when I was younger, I was so far behind in school. I struggled in high school and knew that I had to go to college just to finish learning the basics. I majored in Forensic Science but always made sure to take as many art classes as I could and even sold artwork online. After college I started a career in Law Enforcement, but it just didn’t feel right. I knew in the back of my mind that I was missing something and that I was denying myself the art career I was supposed to have. I met the man of my dreams and he confirmed these feelings. We married and had kids and everything came together. Since I was already at home, it felt like the right time to start my dreams. I started my business four years ago and have been growing and learning ever since.
Please tell us about your art...
I am a watercolor and furniture artist and sign maker. I mainly make watercolor paintings that I sell as prints. I also refurbish furniture with boho textures and paint my illustrations on them. I make handmade signs with my illustrations on them as well.I paint because it makes me feel good. I feel like it’s what I’m meant to do. I have no questions or doubts, I just sit and paint. Most of the time I don’t even know what I’m going to paint when I start. It allows me to live completely in the moment, one inch of paper or piece of furniture at a time.
I want to make things that are blank or ugly into things that are gorgeous. I want to inspire my kids to complete something by failing a lot, but then continuing to try until they succeed. I want everyone to know that even if they have hard lives with many challenges, they can still succeed and live their dreams. I hope that even if someone’s day or life is crazy, a piece of my artwork can make it brighter.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
Connecting with people is hard when you’re a creator and all you want is to create all day. Building real relationships with your followers and genuinely putting your honest self out there for others is so much harder than picking up a paintbrush. When running a business, you also can’t just be pushing your product. You have to be a real person that people can relate to and connect with.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
All of my artwork can be found on HippieHoppy.com, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy. My paintings are purchasable on my website and on my Etsy page. I also sell furniture locally and, in the future, I will be selling furniture on my website as well. I sold to Atlantic Metro Studios for the production of Jumanji in 2017. I was featured on Domino.com’s list of The Best Affordable Art Finds on Etsy and Better Homes and Gardens.
My art can be seen in many places in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, including:
PV Donuts in Providence,
Rhode Island Slow North in Austin, TX
Elk Island National Park in Fort Saskatchewan, Canada
The Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, PA
Email: HippieHoppyArt [!at] gmail.com
br />Facebook: www.facebook.com/HippieHoppyIllustrations<