October 10, 2009
Letha's blog: www.lethacolleen.blogspot.com
Letha's shop: www.lethacolleen.etsy.com
Why did you decide to start a blog?
A year or so ago I injured myself in a spectacular manner. I didn't take well to crutches and I was basically immobile for months. During that time, I escaped into a lot of in-the-head activities: reading, writing and poking around the Internet. All of which led to a massive period of discovering art, artists and designers that amazed me. It really re-kindled my creative energy. I got fired up and engaged. I wanted to share the wonder I was experiencing with others --- or at the very least, if no one was interested, find a way to document, archive and muse about what I was finding. So I toyed with starting a blog. It turned out to be quite a natural and effective venue.
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
When I was young I was really drawn to the bit of the Preamble that declares we are all entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Being ‘happy’ was my ultimate goal when I was a kid. Not to say I wasn’t a happy child; but I believed 'happy' meant a grownup sense of arrival and fulfillment. I didn’t know how to achieve it exactly, but I saw ‘happiness’ as a pursuit, for sure. Now I see the "pursuit of happiness" to be a lifelong struggle for independence, balance and personal creative freedom. So, it’s both the name of my blog and also my little art business, which is my current …pursuit of happiness!
How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?
Part of my continued drive to blog is that I spend far too much of my time everyday as an art & design explorer... and I find so much! I feel like I am only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Knowing that I am a part of this massive swelling of expression---instead of it making me feel small, only one of many---it makes me feel huge. Just enormous. I'm filled with the sense that art is a momentum that drives us all and has the capacity to beautify and explain and condemn and embrace. In other words, blogging---including all the art and creativity, ideas and new friends it provides---fills me with a great confidence, sends me along my artistic way with a re-doubled sense of purpose and willingness to share my own small creative path in a common journey we are all sharing.
What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?
"High up in the Trees" is a beautiful and intriguing blog. I really, really love Gracia and Louise’s art but I particularly love the collaborative nature of what they do, and how it extends to their blog. I also admire Kariann Burleson’s blog "Daily Poetics". Kariann is one of my favorite collage and mixed media artists---she's a hero of mine---and her blog is so wonderfully atmospheric, purposely a bit obscure so as to provoke thoughtfulness. I love it.
Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?
Know that it takes time, just in a general sense, to publish a blog. Perhaps even think of it like publishing, but don’t let it daunt you! There's the researching, writing posts, getting photos formatted... it’s all very time consuming. And then know that it takes time to develop a good consistent aesthetic and for others to begin to follow along with you wherever it is that your blog is going. And personally I think your blog should be going somewhere, decide where that is and be aware of the journey! For me the journey is a continual discovery process of the art and craft of others carried out in a perpetual state of amazement (I can’t help it). For someone else it’s a documentation of life overseas or in a new city, the growth of their child or the process of their own art. Whatever it is, the blog should be authentic, real and heartfelt. And whatever it is, show us lots and lots of pictures!
What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?
I’m so inspired by the work of the artists and designers I write about, it infuses me with such large amount of hyper creative energy that if I wasn’t already an artist I’d become one though sheer force of their influence on me.
What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
The most difficult part is balance. I’m a full time interior designer and I work for a architecture firm designing hospitals. Architecture is a very demanding job and far less creative than most people think. Thus I often have too little time or energy to put towards making art and being involved in all the activities related to the business of being an artist. But the best part is balance too. Architecture teaches you limits, how to design to a set of expectations and parameters. Being an artist as well as a designer I get to know both the satisfaction of designing the best solution within the boundaries I’m given as well as the total freedom of artistic endeavors which are completely under my own control, limited only by my imagination (and skill!). Experiencing the contrast between the two really makes me value both.
Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?
Getting my work out into the world physically--- in galleries and the like--- is by far the most effective way to promote my particular art. A few 3d elements, shadows, paper imperfections... I find many people still really like to connect to art in person. But I also appreciate several online venues for exposure as well, Flickr in particular (which I am addicted to). Flickr has connected me to so many talented new pals, shown me so many inspiring things and has been an amazing tool in helping me build a following.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I draw strong boundaries with my day job, I don’t work much over time and I leave work at work. I have an art studio and I work hard and love it when I am there, but when I leave, it stays there too. Just like the day job. I have a very supportive partner who is a creative as well; a graphic designer, illustrator and musician who often helps me with artistic composition and gives me amazing critiques and feedback. And I walk and run and play a lot of soccer! Physical activity definitely helps with maintaining a consistent and realistic perspective on life.
What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2009?
You know, that is a difficult question. I carry around a lot of ideas and thoughts about what I would like to see happen, what I would like to accomplish. But in this way I am a bit of a superstitious person; I feel like if I don’t put too many expectations out there, especially things that might involve the cooperation or attention of others, then I will be pleasantly surprised by positive results. But I do have several avenues that I am exploring and/or want to pursue in the next several months. I am working on developing a series of different variations on my original art --- ACEO’s, pendants, magnets, etc. And I’d like to be offering prints of selected art work by the end of the year as well… all very do-able, I think!
Thanks Letha and good luck with all of your new projects!