Owner and Artist
What inspired you to become involved with fine arts jewelry?
I have always been into the arts and creative field. Starting from when I was a small child, always painting, coloring and making things with found objects; anything to utilize my imagination. When I got older and decided what to do with my life, I knew I wanted to do something with the arts.
I attended Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers for my undergrad, bachelor of fine arts in Sculpture and Ceramics. Afterward, I attended Montclair State University my Teaching. I had the pleasure of having some of the best Art Teachers in the world when I was in school and they inspired me to follow in the footsteps. I spent a few years teaching when unfortunately my path went in a different direction. I took the time to teach myself new techniques and mediums; chainmail jewelry, water colors, portrait work.
After much prodding from my friends and family, I decided to finally take the jump and put myself out there. I create works on my own or take commissions in Painting, Drawing and Jewelry. And furthermore my latest venture is my coloring book I have self published.
What do you make?
I currently make chainmail bracelets and necklaces, or chains of any length. I also create portraits and abstracts in multiple media. Many portraits involve pastels, pencils and water colors. For portrait work, I use photographic materials as my influences.
What has been your favorite piece?
My favorite piece of jewelry would be a necklace I made myself of small rings, which I have hung two purchased cast raven skull replicas.
If I had to pick a favorite painting I have done that would be my portrait “Penny for your thoughts”. Painted of someone very special to me and how was a very big influence on my putting my work out there. It allowed me to be part of a large juried show in Morristown NJ.
What has driven growth behind your business?
The biggest influence or drive behind my growth is that I have a very large supportive network of friends and family. They are there to push me forward when I am struggling to find the guts to do so. Art is very personal, a little piece of me goes into everything, whether it is a chain or a painting. Sometimes it is intimidating to put your work out there. At the same time, the arts are meant to be shared. While I am no longer teaching, art is part of my every day life, and to be able to have that as a business for myself means I get to do something I love as a branch of my career.
What challenges do you face?
The biggest hurdle in the art industry for me is myself; I often end up wondering if a work is finished. It is a little less difficult when it comes to Jewelry as a piece normally has specifications, but portraits I am always finding little things to fix. I am also a hurdle in convincing myself to apply to art shows, always wondering if it is good enough. Getting your work out there is important though, it allows for a dialogue to occur with the viewer. Art and criticism go hand in hand, and being able to accept that someone just doesn’t like the work takes a lot of practice.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
For someone looking to follow into the field of art as a career or personal business, I advise you to go for it. Do not let yourself get in your way. The only way you will know if you can do it is to try. There will be bumps and rejections along the way, but it’s about finding the right market/venue.
Keep your eyes open for craft and art fairs as an avenue to sell your work. Scour the internet for exhibition calls in your area and apply. You may not get into everyone, but one is always a great start. Post your work, build a website, get your work out there. There will be people who rave about it, there will be people who bash it, there will be peers in the art field who will gladly discuss and give constructive criticism. Always keep in mind that there was a reason you created it, you enjoyed the process, you enjoy the finished piece, that’s what matters first.
Most importantly: Never give up. If I had I wouldn’t have a self published coloring book, I wouldn’t have my art work in other people’s homes, I would have a room full of artwork.
Check out Wednesday’s art collection!