Wanna know a secret? I'm kind of actually a little bit legit excited about this.
Anddd... I'm also a tiny bit nervous, hence why my Etsy site has looked like this for the past month:
I've had an Etsy account forever. I get their emails every day. I look at their stuff all the time, and I often find myself thinking, "I could make that... and that... and that..."
Wanna know another secret? I've never considered myself an artist.
I HATED art in elementary school. With the exception of that abstract parrot that Mrs. Gilbert taught us how to draw in 2nd grade (Center Grove kids, check out my 15-second sketch version & tell me that you remember this...), I despised every Thursday afternoon art class for as long as I can remember. I hated being told exactly what to do and how to do it (not much has changed, eh Dad?) :) I hated the fact that at the end of class, there were supposed to be 24 mini-replicas of whatever the craft of the day happened to be. And above all else, I hated those stupid oil pastel fruits on black paper. (Please tell me that I wasn't the only child subjected to those & please tell me WHY there is a website that still promotes that as a lesson plan for children? I have no idea who decided it should be the standard elementary art project, but it for sure was at my school and I guarantee you that my mother has fifteen of them in a box somewhere at home.)
Then I finally got to middle school and we could choose our electives. Needless to say, that was the end of my art career (or so I thought). I signed up for band, newspaper, drama---anything to get me out of art class. I developed this mentality that artists were people who sketched realistic portraits with pencils and could draw exact replicas of fruit with oil pastels on black paper, and I had no desire to be associated with those things. Yes, I was a creative person. But art class gave me absolutely no freedom to "express myself," and it completely turned me away from the art world (#dearschoolsystem #youredoingitwrong).
Long story short, I had a change of heart and enrolled in ARTSVIS54 (Introduction to Visual Practice) during the second semester of my freshman year at Duke. I still hadn't taken an art class since my elementary school days and I still didn't overly love it, but there was no fruit involved, so I was okay. And even longer story short, I'm now a visual arts major. Go figure.
One of my favorite projects that I've done was during a visual studies course I took during the spring 2010 semester. The parameters were: do whatever you want. Seriously. There were no topics, no themes, no mediums, no guidelines, no dimensions. Do. Whatever. You. Want. Period. No exceptions. One girl originally planned to put scoops of ice cream onto a scanner and scan them as they melted (there are some very interesting people in the art department...) and while that's not what she ended up doing, she could have done it!
Let me tell you... free-spirited hippie Beffie was ALL over the whole "do whatever you want" project. This is what I ended up submitting:
and I loved it! (Pun intended). For the first time in school, I was making art that I wanted to make, not art that I had to make. I was doing a lot more than fulfilling requirements and getting grades. And I suppose that's about the time I decided that I wanted to be an artist. Not necessarily an artist who draws fruit with oil pastels or an artist who scans images of globs of ice cream (although those things are fine and well and undoubtedly have their place in the art world), but an artist nonetheless.
With some prodding from friends and family and a threatening email from a "YecakSnevets" (coincidence that it's my best friend's name spelled backwards?), I opened my own Etsy store about a month ago. I still didn't upload anything, simply because I didn't know what I wanted to do. Should I take orders for custom party invitations or design blog headers or make books like the one I gave my parents for their anniversary? Because I was capable of all of those things, but they didn't really go together and I needed to specialize in one thing in order to market myself effectively...
Do. Whatever. You. Want.
Simple as that. My little Etsy store isn't "Customized Invitations by Beffie" or "Really Awesome Anniversary Books by Beffie." It's simply... Beffie. It's an expression of myself and whatever creativity happens to flow out of me. And if that creativity happens to include graphic design or screen printing or book making or photography or some Ben & Jerry's on a scanner, then so be it :)
Without further ado, I am excited to present five silkscreen prints that I have done for the grand opening of Simply Beffie!
The first four will be sold as a set, & I find it fitting that it's the piece of work that inadvertently started all of this.
Each print measures 8'' x 10'' & is hand printed with black ink on white Stonehenge paper. The total price is $25 (shipping included, because nothing irritates me more than finally coming to terms with spending money on something only to have an additional $14 tacked on for shipping). 4 prints + free shipping for $25? Yeah, because the only thing that irritates me more than shipping costs is finding a piece of artwork that I really like and then seeing a $200 price tag on it. I think everyone should enjoy art; therefore, everybody should be able to afford art. Just my opinion :)
There are only six of these sets for sale & they should be ready to ship by the end of the week.
For my final print, I knew I wanted to create an original piece of artwork specifically for the occasion. I sat down on Friday night & sketched out a bunch of ideas, but nothing was working. I was too busy trying to create something to sell, not something that I loved. (You'd think I would learn after a while...)
I started fresh and just began to draw. I had no idea what the end product would look like. (I NEVER draw without knowing what the end product will look like. I always design the image completely in my head and then make it look exactly how I picture it).
And when I was finished, this was what was on the page in front of me:
"Peacefully Simply Together" is the abbreviated motto of the Church of the Brethren (of which I am a member).
Like the "LOVE Typography" prints, each of these are hand printed on white Stonehenge paper with black ink. They are 10'' x 10'', and there are 18 of these prints in the edition.
Plus they're signed by the artist, simply because that's what artists are supposed to do, right? :)
And as of, oh... two seconds ago, they are officially for sale on Etsy and are ready to ship immediately.
Oh my goodness. Is this real life? That looks so legit!
So, if you're the slightest bit interested, I encourage you to check out my Etsy site. I told Zach I would consider it a success if I had three sales by the end of the week. He hasn't even seen the prints since he's currently in the middle of the desert, but he's already planning my dinner celebration upon his return from Mojave Viper since he's decided I'm going to completely sell out. That boy's got a lot of faith in me. But then again, so do all of my friends and family who have encouraged and prodded (and threatened) to get me to this point. So, thank you. All of you :) I'm slowly learning that it's okay to draw without already having the final image in mind. Just like it's okay to set up an Etsy shop without an overall marketing strategy... and just like it's okay to simply be Beffie :)