Fine Art Painter, Freelance Illustrator, Photographer, and Graphic Designer
What is your professional background?
I'm a full time freelance visual artist specializing in illustration, painting, graphic design and photographic art. I was graduated with a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers) in 1988 with a focus on drawing and painting, and went on to work in art galleries, then sales, marketing and fundraising. I finally made a reality of my dream of being a full time artist about 10 years ago. My sales & marketing background really helped me organize and promote my own business and balance the skills needed to pursue a creative career in the arts. Since college I have been regularly participating in art exhibitions and events across the US and I have sold work, both fine art to collectors and commercial art to businesses and publishers, to people throughout the US & abroad. It's exciting to have the flexibility of being my own boss as well as the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients globally!
What sparked your interest in the arts?
As a child I always loved to draw and create, and my father, who was a talented nature artist, was my first teacher. My parents often took me to art and history museums which further sparked my interest in the arts and I was also lucky enough to have some amazing and supportive art teachers both in junior high and high school, as well as lessons I took outside of school, both private lessons and at an art academy.
What do you like most about being a freelance artist?
As I mentioned above, the freedom of being my own boss and making my own schedule is worth the difficult nature of "making it" as a full time freelancer. And, with the internet, being able to work with so many types of people across the world is really amazing and inspiring and opens up so many more doors to new clients and collectors than ever before. I also LOVE doing what I love for a living! This does not feel like "work" because I enjoy it and am getting the opportunity to create every day, even when it's not work for myself but for a client, I am still able to create art and get paid to do it. I have also made some great friends and connections with my clients as well, so it's been rewarding on both a personal and professional level.
How do you, “get in the zone” with your works? What is the most common mistake you have seen others make when it comes to artistry?
For me, I sketch out ideas for paintings first and then just wait for the inspiration to "hit me" and I know it's time to paint...it's like the light bulb comes on in my brain and I can envision the painting. Sometimes I do several different sketches at a time for various ideas and let them percolate until the idea comes clear to me as to how I want them to look as paintings. It's different for photographic work as it's much more immediate. I am inspired when I am out somewhere, often in nature or traveling, and I see an image or location that I need to capture through photography. Sometimes I print the photo as a straight up photographic image and other times I am inspired to utilize collage and/or Photoshop to turn it into something else.
When it comes to my commissioned work, that's different as I have to portray the ideas of my clients and work with their reference materials, ideas and timelines. My goal there is to create work they will be happy with and that properly promotes their business or represents and portrays their project or story.
I think one of the biggest hurtles many artists face is dealing with the business end of their art....not marketing or promoting it properly, being disorganized and not having all your materials prepared and ready to go. My marketing and sales background helped me enormously with this but I can relate to those without this training as these tasks can be daunting and time consuming but they must be done if you want to make a career from your creativity.
If anyone wants to view my work or contact me about it, here are my main websites:
http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com (Fine art, photography, updates)
http://laurencurtis.wordpress.com (my Blog)
http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt (Facebook Art Page)
http://www.LaurenCurtisArt.com (commercial & fine art)
http://nabaroo.com/laurencurtis (illustration & fine art)
https://www.behance.net/LaurenCurtisArt (Graphic design & fine art)
https://twitter.com/LaurenCurtisArt (Follow me on Twitter)