I have recently started to get to know a talented artist/photographer named Karen Casey Smith who lives in the Chicago area. She has joined a group that I belong to that provides advice, support and friendship to each of our artist members and is a wonderful addition to our lively and friendly discussions. I am happy to be able to share Karen's work and a bit about her life with my readers and hope that you will visit and bookmark her blog and shops.
1. Describe your product in 25 words +-.
I offer archival quality prints of my fine art photography, digital art and healing flower mandalas - images to add beauty and balance to your life.
2. Why do you produce this product, and not some other product?
I love each part of doing my artwork. Every image has a feeling quality to it; you might say an energy or vibration, which is uplifting and positive in nature. I love sharing both what I've seen and the beautiful energy of the images. Because of working with images, I find myself looking closely and seeing more. Doing this kind of work keeps me more present to the moment and beauty around me. It's a delight to see patterns, flowing lines, shifting light, the depth of color, and the variety of textures. There's joy in discovery. Then once the images are transferred into the computer I get to work with them there. What can done with a computer and the right software is magical. If I can "see" something in my mind's eye, I can make it visible and share it with other people. That's amazing to me.
3. How much of your day do you spend working on it?
I do some creative work very nearly every day. Switching back and forth between tasks and projects gives me greater clarity, and helps keep my perspective fresh. It also makes it hard to tell how much time I spend on my work. Some days I'm out shooting, other times editing, or seeing new connections and creating something new from combining my work. I love learning and trying out new techniques too. Time seems to stand still when I'm creating new work.
4. How much of what you produce in your product, did you learn in “school” (define this as you wish)? How much is self-taught? How do you self-teach ... books, trial and error, etc?
I have taken a few art classes; they can really help to make creating a priority. I consider myself mostly self-taught, learning through reading and direct experience. Reading points out a path, and trying what you've read about teaches you. I also like to look at things that I admire, and think how could that be achieved with what I know? This can lead to interesting discoveries.
5. When you aren’t working on producing, marketing, shipping, your product, what to you do? What are your other fascinations and passions?
It's so much fun to play the ukulele and sing. I also have a 16-inch djembe. As much as I love drumming, I don't seem to have a natural rhythm, but with practice I'll get better I'm sure. I'm learning Spanish right now. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I enjoy doing tai chi and reiki, and have an ongoing fascination with acupuncture, Chinese medicine and tonic herbs, and Chinese face reading [note: Google this, it’s fascinating!]. I've always loved pens, pencils, and papers too.
6. How do these other interests affect, or influence the choices you make in your product design?
It's a sensibility, style and feeling that I'm attracted to. I love beauty, balance, grace, and flow. My work is a kind of meditation. Everything I do or see becomes a part of me and contributes to my work. I work intuitively. The quieter my mind while I'm working, the better the result.
7. What kind of space do you work in? How big? Is it separate from your living space?
My studio is a six-foot by seven-foot space at one end of the bedroom. When I'm out shooting, the world is my studio; it's so very spacious! :) The computer feels quite roomy too.
8. What other kinds of marketing do you do for your product? What is your marketing approach? Are you “in person” at art fairs and shows, or are you a big online presence? Do you tweet or blog; are you on facebook; how about flickr? Do you have a website?
I'm developing a strong online presence. Here are some of the places you can find my work and me:
* Blog - Photo Energy - Art That Captures You
* 1000 Markets
* Twitter - karencaseysmith
9. How does the act of creating affect your view of life?
It fills the world with possibilities and potentials, with beauty and connection. Allowing yourself be creative makes life an interesting adventure.