This week's featured Etsy artist is Sketch Away, a relatively new member to SF Etsy. I had such fun exploring this shop, which is full of delightfully fresh works of art! Each sketch is uniquely wonderful, but I was particularly taken with this one of the Stanford Memorial Church -- I am always interested to see depictions of local places, and I love the casual nature of this composition, with the foreground full of the bustle of people and the grand lines of architecture in the background.
Enjoy the interview!
1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
My shop has prints of my original watercolor sketches. I occasionally sell originals and create custom artwork.
My body of work varies widely in subject, but it all ties back to a single, underlying aim: to view and to capture the world around me as a traveller would; to see both the everyday and the exotic with wonder, and to look deeply at both the old and the new. I work maddeningly quickly, and I sketch anywhere. My whole “studio setup” is always on my shoulder: my bag with a couple of sketchbooks, pen and ink, a tiny watercolor kit and some brushes. I work almost exclusively on location because I believe it brings an immediacy to my work. I like my work to be accessible and not too precious, something almost anyone can relate to. I also like the fact that my medium challenges the notion that a sketchbook is just a repository of ideas that go on to become artworks: in my world, that first-person experience, captured on location IS the final piece itself.
2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?
3. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.
I grew up in India, and have lived in the Bay Area and in New York for the last 12 years. I believe my sense of color and love of capturing the chaos of urban settings comes from my India background. But I only got back to drawing after I moved here. (I am a graphic designer by profession and drew incessantly as a kid but somewhere along the way, I moved on to working on a computer and totally lost touch with what brought me to the field of design.)
I juggle a graphic design job, freelance, an Etsy store and am a mom to a 3 and 6 year old.
4. What inspires your creations?
Everyday life. Travel. And the confluence of the two: viewing the everyday with fresh eyes.
5. How did you get involved with Etsy?
I have been a buyer on Etsy (under a different name) for ages, and decided to sell my sketches after a couple of years of obsessive sketching, and lots of requests for prints.
6. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
Marketing. It's hard as an artist to put aside the scarce time that I have for creation and devote it to marketing and promotion, but it's something I hope to learn from!
7. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
That changes all the time!
Currently I'm enjoying sketching stuff that looks pretty abstract, like this sketch of coral and giant clams, seaweed and fish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
8. What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
I'm too new to have any real advice for pros on Etsy. But as an artist, I think one should make the art one loves, and if it's any good, it will develop a market and a following!
9. If you had a gift certificate to Etsy for any one item you wanted, what would you buy?
This bag, but I'd want it adapted to carry my sketchbooks and sketch stuff.
10. What crafting skill(s) do you wish you had or hope to learn someday?
I'd love to go back to silkscreen printing. And learn some other fine art printing techniques: lithography, making linocuts, woodcuts...
If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!