Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with Laurie from Art By L J Grove

Today we bring you a fabulous interview from
from Art By L J Grove  (Laurie J Grove).  Not only is Hillary a huge fan of Laurie's work, but she has purchased several items from Laurie as christmas presents over the last few years.

First, Tell us how you got started with art.

I've been dabbling in arts all my life. I can remember being pretty serious about charcoals and pastels when I was around 9 years old, and I've had a growing selection of art supplies ever since. The art store is one of my favorite places to go and I'd probably camp out there if they'd let me.

Have you ever tried different mediums or art forms and if so, how did you settle on your current art form?

I've tried a lot of different mediums of art, from sculpting, wood carving, and bronze works to pencil drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings. I can't really say that I've settled on one, or even have a favorite. Currently, I'm working mostly in 2D, and I often switch between pencil drawings, ink paintings, watercolors, and oils.

What draws you to the particlar type of art you create: your style, the subjects of your drawings/paintings, etc.?
While I've explored various styles of art, I find that it is hard to change what comes natural to me. Most of my art probably falls into the "realism" category, even though I often struggle to break out and loosen up and attempt something more stylized, whimsical, or abstract. Over the years, I've also covered a lot of different subject matter in my works, but animals have been my main focus. The animal kingdom holds such joy and fascination for me. I love everything from inchworms to elephants, so I have a feeling that animals will continue to find their way into most of my creations.

How did your love of art develop into a business and how did you arrive at selling shirts, mouse pads, etc. instead of just selling paintings and sketches?
When I first started setting up an online presence, I was still only producing and selling original paintings and drawings. Many of my customers and collectors would tell me that they were running out of wall space, so I started thinking of other ways to bring my art to the public. My first idea was wearable art, so I printed my artwork onto some t-shirts, and my art merchandising business was born. Things grew from there and now I'm printing my artwork onto other types of clothing and accessories: sweatshirts, tank tops, tote bags, and mousepads. Recently, I purchased a direct to garment printer which has allowed me to expand into dark colored clothing as well. The dark colored clothing poses all new design challenges which has once again pushed me to grow further as an artist.

Do you find that competing with retail establishments is a problem for your business?

Being the artist, designer, and printer of my products, I don't worry much over having to compete with large retail stores because there are so many people out there who prefer wearing something off the beaten path... something more unique and artistic than what you can find on the shelves of Walmart and Target. 
Tell everyone out there why, as consumers, we should buy your (or an artist's) wolf shirt or your dog shirt or your eagle shirt instead of the dog, wolf and eagle shirts we can get from wal-mart for less money.

Whether my customers are looking for something cute and fun, or quirky, geeky, and just plain weird, they know they can find something that strikes their fancy in one of my online shops. They can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that their t-shirt, sweatshirt or tote bag was totally created by the hand of the artist, and that I truly care about every item I sell.

What would you tell aspiring young artists who are trying to turn their passion into a business?
For anyone with a dream of running their own business, I encourage them to never give up on those dreams. Create small goals and hurdles and measure your success each day. I believe that passion, perseverance, and the willingness to grow or change when needed, will always bring success no matter what type of business you are in. Never forget that success is not a measure of money. Success is a state of mind.

And, last but not least, where can we find you and your art?
Currently, I have 3 online Stores where my fun art merchandise (and occasionally original artworks) can be purchased:

at Etsy

at eBay

at Amazon

I also have a website which I use as more of a "home base"
And a Business Page on Facebook

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