For today's guest interview, I'd like to introduce you to Shelley Kommers, a Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator. After studying Advertising at Art Center College of Design, Shelley worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, designed clothing, and owned a small handmade greeting card company. Her latest passion is mixed media collage. She currently lives in a cottage in the woods with her husband and two children. Enjoy!
Shelley's blog: www.oiseaux.typepad.com
Shelley's website: www.shelleykommers.com
Shelley's shop: www.oiseauxnoir.etsy.com
Why did you decide to become an artist and could you imagine doing anything else? If so, what?
I've been an artist since I was a very small person, and honestly, I don't remember there ever being a decision about it. I can't imagine doing anything else.
Do you still believe "do what you love and the money will come?"
Yes! Because it's true.
How has the Internet influenced your work as an artist?
I tip my hat to the Internet for helping me blossom as an artist. Years ago when I was pursuing illustration, there wasn't a way to share your work with the world unless you had a website (which I didn't) so my work was seen solely by my friends and family, and the handful of publishers it was sent to. I didn't have a real sense of myself as an artist and I was pretty insecure about my abilities.
When I discovered the world of art blogs in 2007, my head just about exploded. I was an exhausted new mom, and I wasn't creating at all, but I was so excited about how much talent there was out there, and most importantly: that all of it was unique and valuable in its own way.
It was posting my fledgling collage works to Flickr in 2008 that got me hooked on sharing my work. The feedback that I received gave me the confidence and excitement to continue. I began to see value in my work, and creating was a joy again. When I began my blog and opened my etsy shop, my work expanded even more, and I was lucky enough to be discovered by several great design blogs. Because of the Internet, I have a support group of artist friends from around the world... and for that I am very thankful.
Please name 3 of your favorite blogs and tell us why these blogs are special.
Out of my long list of favorite art and design blogs, my favorites lately are these three, which aren't so much focused on "art" but the "art of living":
Ill Seen Ill Said: http://seenandsaid.blogspot.com
Simple Lovely: http://www.simplelovelyblog.com
What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it?
That I'm not good enough/don't know enough/am not ready. This shows up in my life disguised as ennui, procrastination, indecision, and overwhelm. I have to overcome it every single day, by doing the work regardless of how I feel. Recently I challenged myself to a month of daily creativity on my blog, and what an experience! Talk about having to show up regardless. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Who would you like to trade places with for one day? Why?
I'd love to trade with the Loch Ness Monster. Swimming about in the cool, sparkling water... teasing the tourists... for a day, it would be heaven.
What are your secrets for managing your time wisely?
I work when my little one is at school or asleep (I'm a night owl, so that's helpful) and I rely on many, many, detailed lists.
If you could live anywhere in the world – all expenses paid – for one year, where would that be? Why?
I keep imagining myself in the italian countryside with my family, making art and picking olives. That is a life that seems simple and beautiful. I like simple and beautiful things.
How do you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and private life?
I say no to a lot of stuff; not in a limiting way, I just know that I require a lot of quiet and space in my days. Spending time with my family and creating are both things that feed me immensely; most of maintaining a balance comes from managing outside things like invitations, duties, etc. and choosing wisely where I want to put my extra energy.
What are your top 5 goals that you’d like to accomplish within the next 5 years?
1. Have my second child (due September 30th!) Note: Callum Corby Luna arrived on Sept. 26th! Congratulations Shelley!
2. Expand my artwork in scale and diversity
3. Publish a "how to" art book
4. Publish a young children's picture book
5. Learn to cook
What is your advice for someone who would like to turn his or her creative dreams into reality?
Choose to do it. Look at how others did it. Surround yourself with support. If you're scared (and most of us artists are) get this book and read it: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and then do it. The funny thing is: no one is out there waiting for our creative dreams to materialize. But the world deserves our creative dreams!
Thank you Shelley! Your words and beautiful collages are a joy!