I’m Bret Pendlebury, and I create portraits for my shop inspired by vintage photographs that I’ve collected through the years. I live in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I do most of my work at my studio in the Italian market.
I’ve always enjoyed making art. Painting and illustrating always came naturally to me, so I decided to pursue art for a living. It’s a meditative process. When I’m working on a piece, I can focus my mind. I also enjoy creating something that could potentially inspire somebody else. That’s always exciting for me.
My creative process begins when I find a photograph that inspires me. I try to bring the portrait to life through my own interpretation. I start by sketching the outline of the portrait, and then add layer after layer of detail and color using mixed medias. I like to create movement through hatching and brushstrokes. I try to bring my portraits to life with the vibration of texture and color.
I think my style is unique to me – it’s something I’ve been developing for a long time. I believe that if you’re true to yourself and unique in what you’re creating, there’s no such thing as competition. I don’t think of my business as being competitive. I’m just doing what I love to do.
Etsy allows me to show my work to the world. It helps me network with other artists and run a business from home. It allows me to be my own boss and to get closer to my dream of creating and selling art for a living. I love being part of the Etsy community because it helps promote and nurture independent artists. It also allows for a personal relationship between the artist and the consumer, so the consumer always knows what they’re buying, who made it, and how it was made. This helps people to be conscious consumers.
I am not naturally a business person. However, through the years I’ve spent developing and experimenting with my Etsy shop, I’ve learned how to successfully run a small art business. I’ve learned how to photograph and edit my work, how to use social networking, and how to present my work in a professional way. Running my Etsy shop has allowed me to personally get in touch with people who appreciate my work.
All photographs by Bret Pendlebury.