Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interview: Juliette Crane

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, present job, personal stuff.
I am a full time artist, living in Madison Wisconsin. I love to travel and paint outside in gardens around the world. I’m also an avid gardener and an enthusiastic cook and love to invite people over for brunch!

What inspired you to become an artist and how old were you then?
I’ve always been creative and doing something with my art, whether it was embellishing t-shirts, making jewelry, taking photos or doing floral design. But it wasn’t until I lost my job in Fall 2009 and my sister-in-law gifted me with a few lovely vintage wallpaper books that I realized creating mixed media paintings was something I wasn’t just drawn to, but something I absolutely had to do.

Please describe your materials and medium you use in your pieces.
I love mixing all sorts of materials in my paintings-acrylics, spray paint, charcoal, pencil, ink, pastels, origami paper, glitter, vintage sheet music and wallpaper. I usually create on canvas, but lately have been experimenting on large sheets of Bristol paper and wood triptychs.

Who are your favorite artists? Why?
There are three artists that have inspired me for ages:
Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin creates these amazing fabrics for home d├ęcor and clothing. Her stitching is gorgeous and she uses incredible color and lines! I just adore her product line. Everything is made by hand, using a combination of new, recycled and organic materials. In college, I met a good artist friend of mine, Ryan Spring Dooley whose paintings, graffiti, and animations always inspire me. And I always smile looking at Catalina Estrada’s super colorful and whimsical work. Her art has appeared on some beautiful clothing too, which I so admire.

What’s been your favorite project so far?
My favorite project is usually whatever I am currently working on. Right now I’m creating all of these videos for my How To Paint An Owl E-course. I’m recording lots and lots of paintings from start to finish and it’s been so much fun to edit the videos, put them to music, add animations and intros and know that I’m sharing a huge part of my work too. I’m also learning a lot about my own painting process as I go through the videos. It’s been a huge learning experience!
What is a constant challenge for you and most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
It’s really been challenging to find a balance between creating paintings and running my creative business. I have to be really careful not to let the business side carry too much weight and always make time to paint and allow for space for new creativity and ideas to enter my daily life.

It’s been incredible to inspire others as an artist. I never thought my paintings would matter to anyone, so I stopped painting after college and just stored all of my work in the basement. Now to hear that I’ve inspired someone to start painting again, to get out their camera, or to host an art night is seriously amazing!  It all keeps me having art shows, posting on my blog and sharing my art with the world.

What do you do when you are not working?
Right now, I’m really into Agatha Christie novels. I think I’ve now read twelve in a row! I also love seeing music, travelling, visiting outdoor markets and throwing dinner parties. We started a dinner party club where we meet every other week at someone’s house and bring food according to that night’s theme. So far we’ve done Spanish, Thai, pizza, and cheese nights! So much good food and good friends!

How do you use your blog for your art?
I post to my blog 3-4 times a week. To me, everything I post is all my “art,” whether it’s a new painting, photos I take on a walk or at dinner, or stories about things that make me smile. I especially love to post start to finish photos of my paintings and paintings in-progress. My paintings go through a big evolution as I create, and there’s usually a little story that comes out of it and becomes really important to the entire piece. I love keeping track of those stories and sharing them on my blog too.

I noticed that your pieces have owls in it, and was wanting to ask you about that.
When I first started painting, I created a lot of girls and loved to cut their outfits from the vintage wallpaper my sister-in-law gave me. But then I came back from a trip to Australia and painted a lion. And after that, the owls started coming out in my work…and now I can’t stop! The owls made me remember how much owls were a part of my life growing up and how much they represented my childhood and what they meant to me.
Growing up, we had this gorgeous carved wood owl that always seemed taller than me. It had these incredible golden eyes and I always remember feeling like it was a little protector around our home. There was also a wall hanging my mom had found (I have that in my home now) and the pattern is made up of lots of writing and symbols, but I always thought it was a giant owl!

Now I hear owls pretty much wherever I go. We have them in the trees behind our house and when I was out at an art retreat in California a few weeks ago, I had an owl hooting outside my window!

Describe your work on which you are currently working?

Tell us a little about your "How To Paint An Owl" e-course.
My e-course bloomed from an article I wrote about my owl paintings for Somerset Studio magazine. I realized that my owls are made up of simple shapes, which made it easy to paint new owls and make them their own unique characters by adding elements I loved- like long eyelashes, feathers around their neck, and crowns on their heads.
For the e-course I share my owl painting process layer by layer using videos, text and photos to show the steps for creating various backgrounds, owls, embellishments, and scenes! I share the drawing template I use to create my own owl characters, breaking them down into the simple shapes so anyone can easily create their own! There are 3-4 weekly posts on painting technique, inspiration and life as an artist. It’s a class for anyone who likes owls or wants to learn a bit more about my painting process.

What are your future plans and dreams?
My next big dream is to see my artwork on fabric! I saw an episode of Iconoclasts with Stella McCartney and Ed Ruscha and she was interested in using his artwork on fabric for her upcoming clothing line. That would be my dream to see my art on fabric for her clothing!  I’d love to wear that dress!


Juliette Crane said...

thank you so much for having me and my owls here on your beautiful blog, shivani!


Niki Jackson said...

Great to learn about your journey Juliette, I too love to paint owls, they are so cute. Thanks for sharing with us. Niki xxx