Friday, July 24, 2009
victoria smith : artists who blog
Victoria's blog: www.sfgirlbybay.com
Victoria's shop: www.sfgirlbybay.etsy.com
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I started sfgirlbybay as a fluke back in June of 2006. I had taken a bunch of photographs of my interiors and needed a place to store them online (this was prior to my introduction and current addiction to flickr), so I experimented with blogspot.com. I enjoyed it so much, it evolved into a daily practice. Blogging encapsulates my three loves - design, photography and writing, so I find it the perfect creative niche for me. The fact that people wanted to read it was a shock and thrill to me. I enjoy trying to inspire readers to decorate to reflect their own style, and focus on affordability.
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Again, it was really just an accident - I had previously been using 'girlbybay' for email and I think for some reason I decided to put the 'sf' in front of it. I never intended to start a daily blog, or hopefully I would have come up with something a bit more witty!
How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?
Well, my artwork, or photography really came afterwards, too. I'd always loved photography but I never really did anything with it professionally. I started shooting more and more for the blog and eventually started Sunday in the City - the series I run every Monday which documents my weekends living and exploring in San Francisco. Lauren and Derek of the Curiosity Shoppe invited me to do a show in their gallery and honestly, I was shocked. That was my first show since maybe high school. Since the show, I have been selling my Sunday in the City images in my etsy shop. So, the blog really had a huge impact on my art - it basically brought out the repressed artist in me. Ha! I need to have at least one camera with me at all times. I take shots of even the most mundane subject matter ever, much to the chagrin of my companions.
What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?
My first love is for interior design, but photography is creeping up! I love the work of Wary-Meyers - it's so eclectic and they are the masters of re-purposing home furnishings and accessories. Very hippie chic! I also love stylist Pia Jane Bijkerk's blog - I find her photographs so inspiring. Amy Butler, too - she has a wonderful inspiration page on on her website. I go there often to soak in her beautiful photographs.
Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?
I'd say just write from your heart. Try to share your own, unique personality, and talk to readers like you would to a friend. Share what's meaningful to you, and you will find your own following.
What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?
The blog has kind of taken over my life - in a good way. I have met countless wonderful new friends, and I've been able to to quit my job in advertising to focus entirely on the blog. I never would have thought that possible. My life is now filled with artistic people who inspire me everyday and everything I do kind of blends into the blog. If I go out to a gallery or shoot photos all day, eventually they tend to end up on the blog. Life imitates art, as they say.
What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
Well, the positives are also sometimes the most difficult. I'm not sure sometimes how to just relax and have fun, without thinking about what I'm going to write about next. It can be challenging to write 2-4 posts a day, to keep things fresh and interesting to the readers. But the rewards are when the readers really like a post I've written and really relate to it. I love the positive feedback they share with me, and with the other blog readers. It's pretty awe-inspiring sometimes. I've been moved to tears sometimes. It's very moving for me.
Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?
I have been fortunate enough to have has the show at the Curiosity Shoppe, and a few magazine articles, in Better Homes & Gardens DIY, Australia's Real Living and Sunset magazines, as well as a mention in Domino and most recently The New York Times...so all of that keeps me pretty busy. Other than that - word of mouth through other kind bloggers, like design*sponge, Poppytalk, decor8, Design for Mankind and so many others. I have found the blog world is one full of really generous friends.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
This is where I burst out laughing. I don't. I work all the time! But it doesn't feel like work, so it balances out all right. I'm not very good at time management at all! Good thing I love what I do, and all the research and work I do for the blog is mostly just something I'd want to be doing anyway!
What are your main goals for 2009?
To balance my life! No, really I'd love to add more and more interesting interviews to the blog, and travel more and share some of those experiences with the readers. I've also recently written one article for Uppercase Magazine and am about to do another, so I'd like to write more for outside sources other than my own blog. And I am always working on improving my photography.
Thanks Victoria! I'm honored to have you as a guest :)