Today's guest is the lovely Zee Longenecker, a photographer born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil who now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her husband, two sons, and three cats. I love Zee's honesty as well as her gorgeous, nostalgic photographs. Enjoy.
Zee's blog: http://pixieblossoms.com
Zee's website: http://zeelongenecker.com
Why did you decide to become an artist and could you imagine doing anything else? If so, what?
I did not decide on becoming an artist, I just follow my heart. I don’t know if I am an artist. If someone calls me an artist I will blush. I love to learn, to observe things around me. I think I am a very visual person. I rememember being a little kid, drawing on the living room rug forever. I was always quiet, introverted and drawing was a way to express myself. I got interested in photography when I was a teen and attended school in Rio de Janeiro. At that time, it was a very expensive medium for me and digital cameras did not exist. Soon, money became a huge issue and it was not possible to keep up with my photography endeavors. I had to work to pay the bills and help my parents. After marrying and having my children, my husband gifted me with a new camera and I restarted as a hobby.
I also enjoy sewing, working with textiles and drawing once in a while. I see myself doing many things. It’s hard, because I have two small children and my husband is often away from home.
Do you still believe "do what you love and the money will come?"
Yes and no. I can’t just create photos, sit and wait. Money won’t fall from sky. I understand that I must be very organized, I need to set up goals, do some marketing, contact people, do my homework, improve my skills. I am not making a lot of money yet. Hopefully one day!
How has blogging and the Internet affected your work as an artist?
I started to blog in 2003 only to talk about my personal life and feelings, but only in 2006 I started to focus on my photography and sewing. There were women like me, blogging about their passions, dreams and work. It was a wonderful discovery! Because I have only a basic photography training, I’ve learned a lot reading blogs and online tutorials. I’ve learned about aesthetics and how to have a cohesive presentation. I find a lot of useful information online. I can easily share whatever I do and connect with other people that share the same passions.The Internet is amazing. It opens doors for many talented people.
Please name 3 of your favorite blogs and tell us why these blogs are special.
Lately I’ve enjoyed decor8 because Holly always brings a lot of inspiration to her readers. I like Pia’s blog - her photography and her posts are so interesting, different. I also like Gennine’s blog her work is also truly inspiring, they make me smile.
What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it?
Oh, it would be ending up sick, old and alone in a nursing home. Aging like that would be bad. I want my family always together. I don’t want our family being scattered, here and there.
Who would you like to trade places with for one day? Why?
I would like to trade place with my son, be a kid once again and feel like him, to be able to understand him better and perhaps become a better mom.
What are your secrets for managing your time wisely?
I don’t. I still don’t manage wisely. Last week I was able to manage my time for 4 days. Suddenly I felt lethargic and again all came into a mess. I have a battle with mood swings. Nothing serious, but it affects the way I see myself and the world around me.
If you could live anywhere in the world – all expenses paid – for one year, where would that be? Why?
Fiji, Samoa, Polynesia, Hawaii or maybe somewhere in the Mediterranean. A gorgeous island for sure. Lots of sun, beautiful beaches and nature. Pure bliss!
How do you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and private life?
I am still crawling as a business, so far I’ve only sold my photographs on Etsy and I am closing contracts with two different companies (licensing) which is wonderful after only one year of work.
Everything related to my photographs or sewing I do when kids are at school. Sometimes they join me in the studio and they can participate on something (crafts or drawing). So far, it’s been all right. I have a blog, Facebook and Twitter but I am not an avid user of social networks and yes, I don’t bring much family and personal life to the web.
What are your top 5 goals that you’d like to accomplish within the next 5 years?
I would love to work with magazines and advertisement (editorial and commercial photography) and I must to work harder to improve my skills and have more photos to show on my portfolio. I wish to meet people in the industry.
I would like to take more classes at college.
I wish I could travel with my family to Portugal, Spain and Italy.
Learn more about textiles and pattern construction.
Have a stable handmade business for handbags created by me and home decor items.
What is your advice for someone who would like to turn his or her creative dreams into reality?
I don’t have much experience, because as I said, I don’t have a big business. It’s still very small! But I think you must set up your goals, know what you really love, work hard, be organized, get skills, learn as much as you can, get good connections and have a cohesive, consistent work.
Thank you Zee for your kind, open, honest answers. I wish you all the best in realizing your dreams!