Monday, February 8, 2010

jenifer altman : artists who blog

Jenifer's blog: Nectar & Light
Jenifer's website:
Jenifer's shop:

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I had been writing a blog some years ago called "Athena Says" that served as my digital inspiration board - clothing, jewelry, household goods, art - the pieces that moved me most all found their way to Athena Says. But at some point I started to feel that my blogging experience needed to become more personal - that I was losing myself at Athena Says. After a break, my friend Matt Armendariz told me to get back out there and do something that spoke to my soul - Nectar & Light was born.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

My first thought was Sweetness and Light - it is actually a term of endearment that I use with my girls. But the url was taken. So I started to play with the word sweetness - and Nectar seemed a perfect fit - it has so many meanings to me and the fact that it can be associated with food - and "light" with my photography seemed a perfect match.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

Not only have I loved simply being apart of the community of art and design bloggers - it has afforded me some opportunities that I otherwise may have missed. I discovered Flickr through the blog world and became an active member of the Polaroid community there - it was that experience that led to my first published book, For the Love of Light. And it was a highly respected design blog that ran a recipe and photographs of mine that led to my first job shooting a cookbook for Chronicle Books. I think that I have also learned so much from the community - to share, to be open about process and to support one another - SO important.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

My favorite is Pia's blog. Not only is it beautiful, fresh, full of inspiration - it is like nothing else right now - a true reflection of the artist.

I also adore Susan's for her personal aesthetic and flawless eye.

The Americana Film Project has captured my heart and soul.

and I am expecting spells laced with stardust from this newcomer.

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

I think the most valuable piece of advice I was given and that I continue to follow is to be true to your vision as an artist. Do not compromise yourself or the look and feel of your blog - or even what you blog about. Being unique and standing apart is what will grant you a devoted readership. There are so many design blogs out there right now I can imagine it would be overwhelming for someone new to this world. But remembering to create something that is a direct reflection of your heart and soul is imperative; you need to focus on the road ahead as well as the right-now and creating a branding and look that executes a professional image as well as your "self" as an artist.

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

The people. I have made so many friends through blogging - women and men alike who are good, honest, creative, amazing people - who inspire me everyday. I feel incredibly blessed in that respect.

What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?

Balance. It is something I struggle with daily and that I write about often. Balancing my life with my family with my creative life. I try to create intersections as often as possible - but there are moments every day when I must remind myself that responding to an email is less important than sitting with my daughter and reading a book or drawing. But as much of a challenge as it is - it is also rewarding in a way. It is a daily reminder about what the important things are - this leads to wonderful family experiences that I photograph and/or blog about. So balance is key.

Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?

Really - everything has come back to my blog. All the connections that I have made over the last several years are because of Nectar & Light and the way people have responded to my journey. Keeping those connections alive is important - supporting each other is important. Flickr was great for awhile - but I found my work being taken on a regular basis and reposted elsewhere without permission. So now I use it more of a social network - though I will post new work in my shop there as well. I have just started using Twitter as well - we shall see how that goes!

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Oh now that is the challenge - especially with three little ones. But I try and maintain a blogging schedule - this does not always work for me, but I know it does for others. I also do not allow myself to feel guilty when I need to take a break.

What would you like to accomplish this year?

More sleep. That is all the more I need in my life - truly. Just more sleep!

Thank you Jen! Your beautiful photographs and words inspired me today!

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