Today's interview is with Michele Maule. Her shop is filled with original mixed media collages, prints, and oil paintings. Her subject matter consists of lots of my favorite things: bees, water towers, landscapes, typewriters, deer, and birds. I was very excited when she agreed to this interview. So, let's get to know her better, shall we?
1. Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?
Yes. I've always loved art. We had art once a week when I was in grade school and it was always my favorite day of the week. I didn't take art again until I was in high school, and once I started the class I didn't realize how much I had loved it and had missed it.
2. What style of art is your favorite and why?
I can't say I have a favorite. I truly love it all. There are aspects to all styles that I enjoy. Mixed media modern art has to be one of my all time favorites. I love the idea of making something collected, or found, into a piece of art. Robert Rauchenberg is one of the artists that I admire most, who works in this style.
3. What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?
I kinda like to search my house, or books, for ideas. I also love watching movies. Sophia Coppola's films are particularly inspirational to me. The cinematography and soundtracks in her movies are so lovely.
|"Sometimes I Still Need You"|
4. Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.
I normally don't have an idea when I first start working. If I'm working on a collage/painting I start with the collage. I have numerous boxes of collected paper and fabric. I pull those out along with gesso or my rubber cement. I start tearing and gluing various shapes and sizes of paper. Sometimes I cover things up and sometimes I plan out every size and shape. Once my collage is done, I gesso over parts or all of it. I then search out images either using books/magazines/my own photographs. Many times I think I have an image, and I start drawing, but for one reason or another it doesn't work right. So, I start again until I find an image that works for me and works for the collage.
I'm afraid I am not very exact when it comes to my work. I just kind of like to play with it and try things out until something resonates with my brain and my mood.
|"Winter and Red"|
5. What is a typical day in your life?
I wake up around 6:30 or 7 am everyday. I usually go running. It helps clear my head and it makes me feel calm. I come home, drink coffee, and spend way too much time on the internet. I pack Etsy orders, answer e-mails, and take my dog for a walk. Some days I head to my day job, some days I stay at home working on art. If I don't have to be at my day job, I paint or I draw. I take photos of my work. I list on Etsy. I work on my blog. I play with my dog, and hang out with my boyfriend. Not a terribly exciting life, but I like it.
6. What do you think draws you to other people's work?
Color and line work. I like art that tells stories about an artist's life, or other people's lives. I'm drawn to people's histories and who they are.
|"Heart New York"|
7. What are your interests/hobbies?
I love running. I recently got into running races. I'm training for a half marathon in January and I'm really excited about it. I'm planning on running the Portland Marathon next year.
8. Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?
I work part time at a local grocery store, in the housewares department.
9. What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?
My favorite piece has to be a painting of water towers I did my last quarter of college. That piece really opened me up to painting. It allowed me to let go of treating a painting as a precious thing. It allowed me to explore different medias and it helped me let go of working tightly and precisely.
|"Write to Me"|
10. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?
Develop a tough skin. Don't expect to make lots of money. Work hard. Never give up.
11. Describe your work space.
I recently re-vamped my little work space. It's mostly white. I have two desks. One desk for messy stuff, the other desk for packing orders and folding cards. I have a couple of shelves for keeping my cards organized and two small shelves for storing paintings and for my little pieces of inspiration. I try to keep things tidy and organized. It's a challenge, but I feel like I am more productive when things are neat and I know where everything is.
12. Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?
When I first started out I did really well selling online. So well, that I did it full time. Things changed and slowed down for me quite a bit a couple of years in. So, I started my part time work. It was really hard for me to change from working for myself to working for someone else. I still struggle with it. However, it is a good job and I am grateful for it.
13. What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?
Right now my goal is to be able to quit my day job. I'm not sure I'll ever have lots of money, but I would like to be able to make enough to pay my bills, have insurance and have a little money to buy things like music and books and fancy coffee, now and then.
Michele, thanks so much for letting us get to know you better. If you'd like to learn more about her, and keep up to date with what is going on in her life, she has a Blog here, and a Facebook Page here.