This is a new series of "chats" I am starting to help feature other creatives. I couldn't wait to chat with Amy Abshier-Reyes, Owner/Artist of The Brilliant Magpie on Etsy. Please enjoy and be sure to check out her shop and other work on her website/blog and Flicker - it's fantastic!!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in rural Texas, on the gulf coast, surrounded by rice fields and cow pastures. Came to Kansas city to go to the Kansas City Art Institute, graduated, moved to California with my guy, got married, had a baby, moved back to Kansas City where the rent's WAY cheaper, had another baby. I never stopped creating, never stopped painting, it's a necessity in my life.
How/what are you inspired by, what sparks your creativity most?
I have these incredibly vivid dreams full of bizarre, colorful imagery. I wish someone would invent a brain/thought camera to capture these images. They'd blow your mind! So I get a lot of ideas from dreams, and books, and odd conversations. Sometimes I'll see a great painting or photograph, and I just get the itch to go paint. Seeing good stuff is like a virus; it infects me and it'll haunt me until I can go draw or paint something cool of my own.
Have you always known that were a "creative"? And by a creative I mean anything such as - artist, designer; re-designer; seamstress - you get the picture..Always. Since I could hold a crayon, and even when I was too young to write, I'd tell my mom my stories and she'd write them down. Then I'd illustrate them. I was always in trouble in grade school for drawing in class.
Is this your only line of work?
I wish! Nope, I work days at an auction house, which is a fascinating line of work. And it pays most of my share of the bills, so...
What is a typical day for you?
Up at 6 to get my oldest ready for school, get everyone breakfast, pack lunches, take her to school, come back home and get myself and the baby ready for work, work til mid afternoon, go pick up the oldest from school, come home and get dinner started, then baths and bedtimes, then maybe a bit of television with my husband (I keep a sketchbook by the couch) or I try to work on painting for a bit.. I'm usually in bed by 10. I do usually get a few hours to paint on the weekends though, when my husband's home to watch the kids. He works two jobs, so he doesn't have much time off.
Your favorite medium?
Oil paints by far, then watercolor paints next.
Where can we find your work?
My larger oil paintings are at the Blue Gallery in Kansas City: www.bluegalleryonline.com
My watercolor pieces and prints are on Etsy: www.thebrilliantmagpie.etsy.com
I nearly always post photos of my paintings and progress (and other stuff) on Flickr:
And my blog:
Your favorite shops/blogs:
I'm pretty bad at following blogs, I just don't have the time. I don't even keep up with my own! But I do love Regretsy (they say the mean things that I'm thinking!), Miss Moss (she has a great eye), Shorpy (wonderful collection of vintage and antique photos), and Design Sponge (it makes me jealous of cool people and their cool homes).
What has been the best form of promotion/marketing tip you can give to aspiring "creatives"?
I'm the worst at marketing! All the gigs I've gotten have practically fallen into my lap. I'm just too lazy to stay on top of things.
Here's a few for fun:
Vices? I eat too much, I'm super-lazy, and I procrastinate way, way too much. Shame on me.
Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello? Elvis Costello!
Ice cream or French fries? Ice cream, YEAH!
Cotton or spandex? Definitely cotton.
Modern or Mid-century? Mid century, although there's a lot of modern things I like as well. Good design is good design, no matter what era it's from!
The Rat Pack or the Brat Pack? Ooooh, that's kinda tough. I guess Rat Pack, though I watched my fair share of Brat Pack movies back in the day.
Thank you Amy!