Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mind Body Spirit Artist Series: Steelgoddess

When I recently showcased the enchanting artwork of the Steelgoddess as the daily feature on our Mind Body Spirit Marketplace Facebook page, the reaction to her work was so overwhelming , I knew I had to interview her for our Artist Series. This is one busy lady, but I'm very happy she was able to spend some time with MBS to tell us a little bit about her magical world of imagination!    
                                                                                                                  ~ diane fergurson 

Midnight Magic
MBS:  Tell us a little bit about your background.  How did you get started in art?

Steelgoddess:  From a very early age I discovered I had a gift. It’s no wonder my favorite subject through school was art. What started out as a fun thing to do at my leisure became a full blown passion in high school. At the age of 16 my parents decided to move from the city to a rural farm town. I went from a class size of hundreds of students to around 20 kids. I never felt like I fit in and so in my attempt to cope, I turned to art to fill my loneliness. That’s when I really blossomed as an artist and considered making my passion into a career. It wasn’t until I was 25 that I made the decision to focus on my art as a full time job while being at home with my children.

I initially taught myself how to paint with acrylics, but after a few years with this medium, I bought a Wacom tablet and migrated to digital art. It was one of the best decisions I ever made! I searched the internet for tutorials and little by little I gained the confidence to experiment with different techniques and created the style I have today.

Wicked Nursery Tales

MBS: Your work really does have a unique look to it.  How would you describe your style?

Steelgoddess:  That is always a surprise to me because I don't think I have a unique style. I have heard that compliment enough times now though, I suspect it must be true! I enjoy capturing certain moods and expressions that are easily relatable to the viewer. My favorite subjects to illustrate are ones that tell a story and engage the viewer to experience a positive emotion. My ultimate inspiration belongs to Norman Rockwell who was a master at taking a snapshot of people’s ordinary lives and finding the humor and joy in that moment. With this in mind, my goal is to create similar moments in my character’s lives. For instance, my latest creation - "Wicked Nursery Tales" - focuses on the Wicked Witch sharing a tender moment with her beloved flying monkeys. She has such a horrid reputation, I wanted to portray her in a more upbeat light. I like to think viewers can relate as there are mornings we start off our day with a bit of Wicked Witch and are reminded to take stock of simple things that can turn our day completely around."  

MBS:  You mentioned above that you use a Wacom Tablet.  I was surprised to read that your artwork is digital -it looks so painterly to me.  Are the illustrations all digital?  Or is it a mix?  What is your process?

Steelgoddess:  My illustrations are created entirely on a Wacom Tablet. It's a bit of trickery I use in Photoshop with textures. My rule is to never make it look like you are using a texture but rather as a means to add depth to your illustration. My favorite images are speckled cement jpgs. By changing the layer style of an "overlay" and reducing the opacity, it will give your layers a distressed watercolor look. This is a lot of fun! Sometimes I will end up using 2 different textures to create the look I want. I typically keep the textures as black and white so as to not interfere with my color palette.    

Hoodwinked Fairy
MBS:  How long does it normally take you to complete a piece?  Do you work on more then one piece at once?

Steelgoddess:  I typically only work one piece at a time. Depending on the complexity and depth of the illustration, it can take between 9 to 50 hours to finish a painting. For instance, "The Crow of Crescent Hill" was 15 hours of work while "Wicked Nursery Tales" was close to the 50 hour mark.  

MBS: One thing that drew me to your work is that you explore metaphysical or spiritual themes in such a positive, lighthearted way.  The imagery is very warm and inviting.  It draws the viewer in.
Do you have a favorite theme or character that you like to explore, or that you find yourself repeating and coming back to?

Steelgoddess:  I enjoy exploring upbeat subject matters that invite the viewer to smile, bask and experience positive emotions while engaging their imagination to add to the story that is already laid out for them.. The themes I paint are either humorous metaphors of events I have experienced in my life or are directly influenced by my Spirit Guides, nature, animals and the Devic Kingdom. I am often guided as I illustrate and have learned to listen to my intuition and hunches as they are direct messages from guides and our invisible friends. There are a few characters I wish to revisit such as the Hobbit, Miss. Tittles (rabbit), mischievous mice and the Wicked Witch. They have taken up real estate in my imagination and are deserving of more storylines! As far as the spiritual aspect, this naturally flows from the characters and are not necessarily planned out. It is more of a byproduct and essence of who they are.    

MBS:  What is a typical work day like for you?

Steelgoddess:  My day starts at 5:30 with a stout cup of coffee. It is a challenge to find time to illustrate between filling orders and running a business. I like to start my mornings off fairly early. After a 10 hour work day, I usually call it quits around dinner time. I am an early riser so it's not too difficult for me to sacrifice a bit of sleep in the name of art!  

Pumpkin Prosperity Spell
MBS:  Any current projects or shows in the works?  What are you currently working on?

Steelgoddess:  I will be attending Faeriecon East between November 9-11 in Baltimore, Maryland. I am super excited to have been invited to attend such an awesome show with tons of super talented artists and performers! I am working on a few special pieces to bring with me such as hand painted Mortar and Pestles and bowls. To learn more about the show and ticket info, please visit their website: 

The Mystic of Darkwind
MBS:  I've notice that you sell quite a bit of work online, through Etsy.
What prompted you to sell online, and how has social networking worked as a tool towards your increased visibility and sales?

Steelgoddess:  I wanted to find a way to stay at home with my children and work. I stumbled across a few amazing artists through Ebay who were able to make a descent living while following their passion. This got me thinking and I decided to give it a try. I initially worked part time at the Girls and Boys Club and squeezed in painting in my free time. When my sales starting reaching a consistent fair price, I felt confident to transition to a full time artist. I have found word of mouth has been a tremendous help in networking. Facebook is a wonderful tool as well. I enjoy selling on Etsy and have to commend them for helping artisans connect with larger audiences. The ability to add shops to favorites and circles has broadened my footprint in fans and sales.      

MBS:  Any advice you have for those who wish to (seriously) pursue an artistic path?

Steelgoddess:  Paint what you love and follow your intuition. This will naturally create your own unique niche. Personally, I believe majority of fans and collectors gravitate towards artists who evoke positive emotions. This is my only rule I follow in choosing what subjects to paint. As long as it is fun and uplifting to me, that is my gift I am giving to the universe. Spend time studying artists work who you admire. Get a feel for their color schemes and techniques. Practice, practice, practice! Perseverance and patience pays off. Always remember to have fun!    

~ thank you!

For more information about the Steelgoddess and her artwork, you can visit her shop The Magic and Mischief of Steelgoddess

      Follow the daily updates of the Mind Body Spirit Marketplace on Facebook and Tumblr.

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Artist,Writer, Jewelry Design