Our own Bee Brown answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.
Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Did you strive to get your art on the refrigerator as a child? Describe your earliest artwork.
A. I can still remember my parents sketching things, and as a small child, always being entranced by what they drew. It was like watching them make magic on paper right before my eyes. That must have been the spark that lit the fuse. I can also clearly remember being in Kindergarten and just loving making big, messy painterly marks on the A3 paper that was clipped to our easels. My teacher remarked to my parents that I had a very strong sense of colour, even at that small age! Painting and drawing was very much encouraged in our household so it was never a struggle to get pictures “on the refrigerator.” Our artwork was always displayed on the walls at home. It was a very natural part of growing up. As I got older, friends would come over and we would sit making pictures. I have strong memories of at one time loving to draw people and making one particular picture of people dancing at a disco! I wonder if I still have it somewhere?
Q. Being an artist is so different from having a day job like most people. Do friends and family envy your career? Do they criticize your choice? How do you respond?
A. As mentioned previously, being creative and thinking for oneself was greatly encouraged in my home, so for me to go to Art School was accepted without question. I never thought that I was doing something that could be perceived as unusual or risky, especially as I was choosing a more commercial path in taking design-related subjects. As I became an adult it was an eye-opener to discover that some friends/acquaintances considered my path to be a brave choice, especially when I made the decision to go freelance. Some see my career path as bold and fearless because of the perceived uncertainty whereas others wish they’d had the support that I was lucky enough to receive to be able to go out into the world doing what you want and love. Now I am a mum to two brilliant boys, so if I ever need to defend my choice it’s always that I am fortunate enough to be able to combine both motherhood and working from home in a mostly happy balance.
Q. The computer has changed so many things in today’s world. Do you like to work digitally? Do you prefer to roll up your sleeves and use ink and paint?
A. I used to work all the time with paper, pen, brushes and ink/watercolour. Now I have to be honest and say that personally, I tired of working this way. About 4 years ago I decided to make a complete about-turn and embrace the digital world full-on! Everything I learned prior to working digitally very much informs my digital practice now. Traditional art media has definitely shaped the way I use the computer to evolve my working style today. From a practical way of working, it’s also easier and much more of a time-saver to ping a digital file off to a client and to make colour/design changes as a project progresses than when everything was done by hand. I’m sure there will come a time when I’ll need/want to shift my process again, but for the moment it’s a good way to make work.