Welcome back fellow artists and art lovers!
I’m unbelievably excited to be sharing the first segment of my Artists from Around the World interview series with you today!
This is one of the many exciting projects I’ve been working on behind the curtain and I hope these interviews inspire aspiring artists out there to keep making time for their passions, as well as help get amazing new artwork in front of people looking to bring unique, handcrafted goods into their lives.
For me, one of the most amazing things about putting myself out here in the online world, is that I get to connect with others around the world with whom I share similar passions and interests. In the short amount time I’ve been working on this site, my YouTube channel, and sharing my work on social media, I’ve been able to get to know amazingly talented artists and creatives that I would have otherwise never met.
Chrissie Murphy is one of them. She's an Australian-based artist, calligrapher and blogger who’s artistic journey began after having taken up repetitive drawing therapy as a means to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her beautiful and unique artwork is full of personality and brings light through bold pattern, color and highly detailed line work. I absolutely love that she uses lots of different mediums to create her art!
Through her blog, Chrissie shares uplifting articles for other artists, resources and practical tips to help get your creativity in motion. Her spirituality, originality and the love she brings to everything she does, can be felt through her online presence.
Grab a cup of coffee, tea or your beverage of choice, and join me for this interview! :)
Interview with Artist, Blogger and Calligrapher Chrissie Murphy
1. You have a very appealing and unique art style! Can you share a bit about your influences and how you arrived at it?
What a great question! I stumbled into the art world by accident, really. I had been seeing a counsellor for treatment of symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and she suggested I look into being more “mindful”. I did some google searching and stumbled upon “zentangling”, also known as Repetitive Pattern Art, as a mindful relaxation technique. The act of creating the same movements with a pen, over and over and over, is very calming. It’s also a great way to be present as the strokes require your undivided attention. Needless to say, I was hooked. Repetitive Pattern Art turned on something inside me and from that day onwards (30 April 2013), I have been drawing.
Now that I’ve been drawing for a while, I have been influenced by many things. My greatest influence is the Creator Himself because His work is the best there is. I’m inspired so much by being in creation, out there amongst nature, and I’m fascinated at the patterns He uses, the shapes, varieties and colours perceived in nature. I’m also a big lover of ornamental design (particularly the Baroque period), the work of the scribes and illuminators from the 14th to 17th centuries, botanical art from the late 1800’s to 1920’s, as well as commercial product packaging from that same time period. I have a love for all things old and detailed, and I adore the work of the penman of yesteryear.
2. Can you tell us about when that moment was in your life, when you came to the conclusion that art was your passion?
Yes, I think it was about a year after I got into it. It was then that I truly realized that art was here to stay and it was all I wanted to do. I would be using every spare moment to create, and when I wasn’t, I was looking at other work or watching videos/tutorials on how to improve. It became all consuming for a while, and although it doesn’t consume me like it once did, I think that initial hunger has served me well. It was quite intense at the beginning, but after time it has settled into something that just “is”. Art IS part of me, it’s a major part of who I am.
3. When did you first start selling your work and what would you say has been the most challenging aspect when it comes to selling?
I’m going to be really honest here and say that I started selling my work too early. Looking back on things, if I could do things over, I would have held off selling for so much longer. My early work is really terrible and it’s not something that should have been in the marketplace.... period! If you’re someone who’s trying to establish a serious online art business, selling mediocre art does not help your cause. I can see that now, but back then, I couldn’t! I actually thought the work was ok.
Now though, I can see my work is at a much higher standard, and I rely on the feedback of other artists to back up this belief. Remember.... I thought my old work was ok back in the day, so I try to honestly survey my work. An honest survey includes getting feedback from other artists I value, and good artistic friends will tell you when your work stinks! The other aspect that I believe is important when selling art, is that’s it’s instantly recognizable as yours. These two things (work of a high standard, and instant recognizable art) are the things I believe you should have under your belt if you’re going to sell art online.
Having said that, I still believe the most challenging aspect when it comes to selling art, is what to charge for your work. Just try and do a google search on this and the advice out there is mind-blowing. There just isn’t a clear answer and in the long run it comes back to you the artist to make the decision. I don’t have any real advice on how to navigate this area as I find it to be complicated. There doesn’t seem to be a one solution fits all scenario, which is what I’d really love to discover.
4. I love how you incorporate the spiritual/mental/positivity aspects in your blog posts! Would you say developing these aspects is just as important for artists as developing cold artistic skills?
Oh yes!!! Most definitely. I believe knowing these things helps you truly understand who you are as an artist. We are made in the image of the Creator, therefore we are creator’s as well. Understanding these things (which can be a bit deep at times), helps you tap into your very core as a creative.
Art is an expression of what’s within us, and if you want to be good at what you create, you need to really KNOW yourself. You need to know all your good bits, all the bad bits, all the quirky bits and all the bits that are just downright weird. You need to know how you’re put together, how you’re wired, because when you do, it will ooze out of you as you create.
5. Why do you think art is important in today's world?
At the moment, I believe the world is starving for beauty, only many of us don’t realize this. Buildings are a really good example of this principle. In any city, there are old heritage listed buildings, ones that were constructed at the turn of the century like Court Houses, Post Offices, Banks or Churches. These old buildings have ornamental design features like columns, acanthus leaf carvings and scrollwork. Polished wood is prominent, so are high ceilings and architraves, polished brass and there may even be wrought iron gates or heavy wooden carved doors. I think you can imagine the sorts of buildings I’m referring to.
Contrast this to the most recent government building constructed in your town. Construction in recent years has focused on energy efficiency, sustainable building products and overall construction costs. Although we’ve done a great job at delivering high outcomes in these areas, it’s come at a price - The loss of visual beauty.
Buildings are just one example, but I could rattle off a dozen more. Product packaging, print media, handwriting for example, all these things that have changed over the years. They have become more economical or mass produced and in doing so, a lot of visual beauty has been lost. And I think the world is grieving this, they are starving for real beauty. In today’s world, art is more important than ever before, because it can play a vital role in closing the gap that mass production and cost cutting opened. We have a world starving for beauty. As artists in today’s society, we have been given a unique opportunity to feed the world some of the beauty it’s been desperately craving.
6. Do you have any exciting new projects coming up or special ideas you want to make happen in the near future?
Next month I kick off on one of my most favorite times of the year – Inktober. I’ve participated in Inktober for 5 years now and I’m as keen as for Inktober 2018. If you’re not aware of what Inktober is, it’s where you create something with ink every day, for the entire month of October, and you post your work online using the hashtag #Inktober. I will be closing the blog for the month of October to ensure I have plenty of time for drawing each day, and I will also be sharing my work to my social media accounts daily. Inktober is intense, but so worth it. At the moment, it’s where my focus is as I begin preparations.
7. If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists who want to make a living from their creative talents, what would you tell them?
Take your time and don’t rush things. Spend some time really getting to know yourself as an artist and when you do, make sure you put yourself out there. I’m not talking about your art here, but you! I mean you in a selfie or a head shot, a portrait – an image of you. When you show your work online, don’t forget to show yourself as well. More than anything people want to connect with you, to feel like they can relate to you, and they can only do this if they can put a face to you. So don’t be shy friend, get out there and smile. And you know what? When you do, the world will smile with you.
8. Lastly, could you share with us where we can find more of your work online?
I’m online just about everywhere!
My Etsy Shop:
I also tweet and tumble, just search for Chrissie Murphy Designs and you’ll find me.
Thanks so much Chrissie, for answering my questions and everything you do!
I'm looking forward to seeing all the amazing artwork I'm sure you'll be putting out there for us and to connecting with you in the future!
There are a couple of things Chrissie mentioned throughout the interview that I feel are incredibly important for aspiring artists to understand, which I would like to go over.
Firstly, Chrissie indicates how important it is to be open to receiving feedback from other artists so that we can use it to improve our work. She mentioned how listening to other knowledgable creatives around her was fundamental in her artistic development, as this allowed her to improve her skills significantly and be able to offer quality artwork for her audience/customers.
We can all really learn from Chrissie's ability to remain open and not take things personally!
As I mentioned in my blog post titled Why Criticism is an Essential Part of an Artist’s Life and How to Handle Criticism Like a Pro, it’s absolutely essential to understand that receiving both positive and negative feedback is going to be a recurrent element in an artist’s life, no matter how talented you are or how long you've been in the field.
If we want to become respectable artists and arrive at a point at which we're actually making a livable income from our skills, we have to not only get used to taking criticism, but learn to use people's feedback (whether positive or negative) as fuel to keep going and not as a reason to stop us from pursuing our passions. It's also essential to know when we're receiving feedback that could actually be beneficial for us and when it's not. *Hint: Listen to people who know about art and know what they're talking about.
One other HUGE thing Chrissie mentioned is the importance of introspection and getting to know oneself as an artist so that we can truly be able to share ourselves and the ideas we feel strongly about through our work. Isn't that what art is supposed to be all about, anyway? It's okay to be inspired by other artists, but it's also incredibly important to make sure that we are putting our own personal message and style out into the world.
I talk about this in my blog post titled 5 Fatal Habits and Practical Advice, which I highly recommend you check out! In it, I talk about how it's just as essential to work on ourselves mentally as it is to work on developing our cold artistic skills in order to become successful as artists.
I’m a huge believer in making time for introspection and acknowledging both our strengths and our weaknesses. This will not only enable us to work on becoming better versions of ourselves, but also to become better artists.
That’s it for today, everyone! Thanks so much for popping by and talk to you soon!
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