Today I have Carla Rey Lankford from Nashville, Tennessee of Wednesday Wandered. She sells prints of her original artwork and is planning to add other items soon, like note cards featuring her images. Her work is a very ethereal feel and a glow that draws you in. Carla is new to Etsy and I am sure she will be a huge success!
Describe what you sell
So far, I sell prints of my original artwork. I am planning to add other items soon, like note cards featuring my images, and perhaps some of the experimental stages that happen before an image reaches it's "finished" state. My images continue to evolve, if you bought one that was printed last week, and compared it to one that was printed last year, the two wouldn't be identical. I'd have added something, subtracted something, changed it in some way. It might not even be evident unless I pointed it out. Sometimes I use an existing piece and it becomes the base for a whole new image.
What is your "real" life like?
I'd have to say my "real" life is awfully darn nice. I am married and have an eight year old son. We live in a neighborhood where you can't see most of the houses from the street, and deer and foxes and owls roam around taking little notice of us.
My work is pretty much producing my style of photographic illustration for the publishing and marketing fields, and a few interior designers. I've been very lucky to develop relationships with clients who want me to use my particular style for their products. I get to spend all day, every day doing this.
I love to travel, which you can see from my work. It was the traveling and taking photos that led directly to what I do now. I was an art director for an ad agency, and as clients would see my own images on the walls of my office, they began to ask me to do that sort of thing for them. Finally there were enough requests that I left the agency and struck out on my own.
What is your process?
My photographs, to begin with, and watercolors that I paint. I keep trying different ways of combining the two to create something that is more interesting than either would be on it's own. I guess a plane ticket and my camera are my two most reliable tools.
When I was studying photography in school, I loved the test sheets from the darkroom. I was always picking them up off the floor and saving them. I was fascinated by the accidental beauty that sometimes happened there. The same with printer's test sheets. I used to come back from press checks with the sheets they ran through to clean the presses and the mistakes. Sometimes the colors would get printed in the wrong order, and it changed everything, the way the unrelated layers built up to make something so different from what was intended. I began experimenting to find a way to create those accidents. I'm still finding new ways.
What are your goals and vision for your business?
I just want to have a way to reach people who value individuality, who see something in my images that speaks to them. With etsy I don't have to convince a marketing director that my work appeals to a certain type of person who has X amount of disposable income, or that they could move 500,000 units for the holidays. I like the idea of making a comfortable little living without having to compromise.
How and where do you market your business?
I only joined etsy a couple of months ago, so I am still sorting out those details. I think we are only beginning to recognize the power of this personal form of marketing, through blogs and allowing customers to get to know the person behind the product. Never before have artists been able to get their work in front of so many eyes without going through some kind of middle man, an agent, a gallery owner or a publisher. It's wide open.
Do you subscribe to any business related blogs, zines or magazines?
I read etsy's articles in the Storque, but not a lot of others.The best information comes from other artists going about things the same way.
What inspires you?
History and travel are my biggest inspirations. I am mad for old books, photographs. When I was a kid, I covered the walls of my room with National Geographic maps. Besides buildings and statues, I photograph any interesting texture I see, tree bark, stones, leaves, cracks in the sidewalk, shadows. Before I started shooting with a digital camera, I used to get really funny looks from the guys at the photo lab when I would go to pick up my 200 prints of tree bark and rocks and concrete. I use it all. I am inspired by anyplace with a long history of civilization. I love the crumbly and the crooked and the weathered, and the smell of damp autumn days, and scent of black walnut hulls on my hands.
Who is your favorite musical artist? (click on the artist name to see a video)
My hands down personal favorite is Me'shell N'degeocello
Depending on what I need to produce, these artists I can always count on for inspiration,
If I need to produce something dark and gloomy, there's an endless supply of goth anthems.
What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
Wow, it's hard to choose a favorite. The things that are in the shop have never been used for a commercial project, they are all images I created purely for their own sake. They all have really fond memories attached to them. I suppose The Guardian (below), because he reminds me of the books I read as a child, and Cesare. (above) Catching the bird in flight in that image was purely accidental. And it was on film, so I had no idea whether or not I had caught it until I got home and processed the film. One of those happy surprises.
I am a fan of....
I have a list of bookmarks you wouldn't believe, all organized into folders with names like Inspiration, Social Responsibility, People I Know, People I Wish I Knew, The Byzantine Empire. Looking at the list of folders is like a catalog of what I have worked on, what I have found interesting, or where I am planning a trip.
Here are a few that I check out all the time.
http://www.moleskinerie.com/ - always something here to set you thinking about art
http://www.hillbillyplease.com/%7Ehillbill/blog/ - Her photographs are amazing, she reads the most interesting things and posts excerpts, and she has an etsy store. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5154453
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page - my daily shot of "Hmmm, I had no idea..." I always scroll down to the image of the day.
Where can we find you on the web