Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Gwen and I am an artist, living and working in Los Angeles with my lovely husband, Chris. I am originally from New York and never thought I would like LA but so far, I am really enjoying it.
As far as affiliations go, I studied art at New York University, worked as merchandiser/display artist at Bergdorf Goodman for some time and then went to the Rhode Island School of Design for my MFA in printmaking.
When I moved to LA, I knew I wanted to keep making my artwork but I also wanted to explore some more design-oriented projects. Nothing was really clicking though. Then, for my wedding last December, I planned on making a paper sculpture cake topper but just never got around to it. On the flight home from our honeymoon in Japan, I decided that I should make one anyway…
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Making things/thinking about making things dominate most of my time but I like to read, write, watch films, look at art, ride my bike, do yoga, travel, spend time with friends and family, watch Chris garden, watch Chris cook, eat and sleep. Life is good.
What first made you want to become an artist?
When I was very little, I discovered a Time-Life artist series in my parents’ book collection. My dad is an American history buff so most of my parents’ books seemed very daunting and serious to me but this little collection was accessible. (It included Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Michelangelo and Bernini.) After I discovered them, my mother and I would go through the books a lot together and she would explain how some of the art was made. At that point, I already knew I loved making things but that was really the first time I understood that art could be a vocation.
Please describe your creative process.
I tend to have a lot of ideas and get them at inconvenient times so I make many lists and thumbnail sketches in an attempt to organize my thoughts. I play around with materials a great deal. I also love to absorb as much visual information as possible via books and the Internet for sure but especially by visiting museums, picture collections and print rooms.
I also learned the hard way that organization is key. It always falls apart somewhere in the process but if I take the time to set myself up right in the beginning, things usually go pretty well. Usually.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have some beautiful artwork from a former teacher/mentor, a mosaic of a still from the Nintendo game Duck Hunter made by my brother Evan, a print from my RISD studio mate Amanda, a Christmas stocking made by my mother and last but certainly not least, a collection of cards from my husband when he was still my boyfriend that range from the intricately hand drawn to the Photoshop abusive.
Name your top five books, movies, musicians, and websites besides Etsy.
I have many favorites, particularly in the books and movies categories.
East of Eden – John Steinbeck
Out of Africa – Isak Dineson
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters – J. D. Salinger
Truman Capote Short Stories
Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
The White Album – Joan Didion
Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
Sense and Sensibility and Lust/Caution – Ang Lee
The Godfather – (for the life lessons) – Francis Ford Coppola
In the Mood for Love – Wong Kar Wai
Chinatown – Roman Polanski
The Big Lebowski – The Coen Brothers
L’Avventura – Michelangelo Antonioni
Casablanca – Michael Curtiz
I also like Michel Gondry and Jean-Pierre Jeunet films.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I am pretty new to Etsy myself but starting with a focused idea seems to be working for me. Inevitably, it will become more complicated than you may have anticipated. So, keeping things simple and manageable, at first anyway, seems like a good way to start.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I would love to be able to sort convos into folders and offer multiple shipping options.
How do you promote your work?
I haven’t even told a lot of my friends and acquaintances aboutConcarta so clearly promotion is not my forte! Some writers have featured Concarta on their blogs and I have had some very sweet and enthusiastic customers spread the word (thank you!).
In ten years, where would you like to be?
Work-wise, I would like to take Concarta a bit further, expand my art and design repertoire, show my work, collaborate on interesting projects, etc… I would also like to have a really nice studio. I once heard an NPR story about this incredibly clean and organized car factory run by a Korean company. They taped silhouettes around tools and machines – like a crime scene with tool victims. In ten years, I would like to be in a studio kind of like that, where everything has its place… though maybe with warm wood floors and tons of natural light.