|Bellevue Original Map Painting|
It is such a pleasure for me to bring you this interview with artist Rachel Austin today. Rachel has always been an inspiration to me. Back when I was making the decision to open a shop myself, I was poking around on etsy and read her "Quit Your Day Job" article. I knew right then and there that I needed a shop of my own- so I opened one on the spot and haven't looked back since (well, except to Rachel's work). I even own a few of her prints.
|1. Oregon Original Map Painting 2. Mabel Original Map Painting|
1. Please tell us a little bit about what you do.
I mainly work in two series, my map paintings and my poppy and lantern oil series. The map paintings are created with found maps and layers of transparent acrylic, oil paint and ink on wood panels. Each one is named after a location on the map and framed with a handmade wood frame. My oil series is inspired by hanging lanterns and poppies and are somewhat abstract with bold, pretty colors. Much of my work is inspired by crisp moments of beauty, maps and color. I’m happy to be a full time and self taught artist who shows work across the country and have been featured on some awesome design blogs such as Design * Sponge and Apartment Therapy. When not painting, I can be found digging in the garden (my new obsession) or stomping in rain puddles with my two year old daughter, Adelaide and husband, Jon.
|1. Issaquah Original Map Painting 2. Marine Drive Original Map Painting|
2. Your map paintings are so interesting to me. Looking at each one, it seems that you lay the map a specific way in order to create land lines, or other areas of interest in the background of each piece. Please share a bit more about your process including how you compose the map within each piece.
The map series I start by picking out a part of a map that I would like to use and glue it down to a wood panel. I am looking for interesting lines, colors and shapes that will come through in the final piece. I like to use them to give a hint of a horizon line or clouds to compliment the painting.
When I started this series, I would have them going upside down and sideways – whatever way I thought looked best – but try not to place them upside down anymore. At shows, I found people were distracted by the map if it was upside down and some thought I made a mistake. Kind of funny to me that people thought that, but I want the viewer to enjoy the whole piece and not get caught up on that one issue, so sometimes you have to change a bit.
|1. Map Pendant 2. Four Poppies on Green|
3. Keeping our work fresh means constantly seeking new sources of inspiration. Where do you look to find it and/ or what kinds of sources most inspire you (photos, text, passages from books, song lyrics, other artists, specific colors and textures, etc).
Like many artists, I draw much of my inspiration from the natural world. You can see it in my poppy series and in the little plants and flowers in my map series. I love to simplify and abstract shapes of plants. I am also inspired by man-made objects intersecting with the natural world – roads and buildings next to rivers or a green space, a native plant growing in an urban environment. Color plays an important part in my work. I’m often inspired by all sorts of color combinations, landscapes to silly things like our toothbrushes in their cup holder, and try to memorize those colors for future paintings.
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