Few people we know sparkle and shine like Aurora Lady. We met up with this bundle of girl power and creative genius at the Craftcation conference and we had to make her our friend. What's lovely about her and her work is that she is all about promoting female awesomeness. So if you've got a secret crush on Anne Hathaway or feel like you are into the movie Heathers more than you should be, she will squeal with delight with you about all things lady. During her career as an artist she's gone through a few different iterations within music, illustration and writing. She gives us her thoughts on what it's like changing as an artist and expanding into new arenas. You also won't want to miss her DIY photo shoot workshop on Saturday, November 9 at The Hub in Downtown LA!
Q: What do you make?
A: I'm a Girl Pop Visionary-- I make artcentric dreams of all capacities come true!
Q: How did you start your journey to become an artist? And how did you know you were "an artist"?
A: I started in a rather un-notable way, just like other kids-- I felt comfortable sitting for hours drawing and painting and coloring from my imagination! I just never really stopped. And I didn't really embrace the title of "artist" til I could reconcile with all of my preconceived, negative ideas about what an artist is. So, that was about age 27.
Q: How do you define artist?
A: An artist is someone who creates. I don't get much more defined than that. Good business people are artists. Good chefs are artists. Good mathematicians are artists.
Q: Often artists stay in a particular medium, how did you transition? Or do you still see yourself involved in all of the media?
A: I tend to fall on the drawing end of art-- I can get lost in pen and ink work, especially when I'm working on really lovely paper. There's nothing like that feeling. But I try very much to move around, I'll spend time with gauche or photography or conte or some different type of pencil just to stay loose and experimental.
I would say my other medium is writing. I tend to do this publicly, on my blog (www.auroralady.com), and in my zines. Honestly, I don't think too much about moving back and forth between writing and drawing. Some ideas are just suited better for one or the other, and this naturally directs how the idea will move.
Really, I learn whatever I need to in order to deliver my message. After a year into my business, I realized that photography was going to be important to me-- I needed product shots, but I wanted things to be magical and fun, not just straight on product shots. I learned about styling, taking photos, fitting models, and conceptualizing shoots. It wasn't the intention when I started, but this skill has become imperative in my business, which is why I'm so excited to be teaching it as a workshop for the Academy of Handmade.
Q: What tensions arise between your different creative outlets and processes?
A: My tensions are all in my head. That's for real-- I get stressed when I'm trying to figure out the planning of the project, when a plan doesn't work exactly as it should, or when time is a factor. I generally don't get frustrated with my actual making. I'm pretty good at doing something as many times as it takes to get somewhere, or trying something completely new. It's the planning of it that makes me nervous!
Q: How has focusing on a specific medium enhanced your creativity?
A: There's an adage about perimeters giving you freedom, and I think to a certain extent, that's true. I don't fixate on my medium so much as the message or idea--that's really what directs everything I do, but there's no denying that drawing it out is the natural inclination. At one point I was very limited by the materials I could afford (and I use the term "afford" loosely-- I started out by raiding the garbage cans in the art department at my university with my best friend at the end of the semester). So my experiences as a student still play a role in what I'm prone to create with and how I create. I use these skills as a base and build upon them. What do I have around? What is necessary to explore what I need to communicate?
Q: Artists get reputations for being flaky, having "shiny syndrome", and being ADD about their work. Do you think this is true? Fair? How do you see this?
A: There's flaky people everywhere. Most of us are flakes at some point (and I mean everyone, not just artists), and hopefully we just move from that place. Or stay, and accept the consequences. I just know that I have high expectations for myself, and I'm probably attracting a client of a similar bent. I can only be responsible for my own behavior, and hope that it encourages the folks around me to step up, if they haven't already. It's that whole thing about you become the most like the five people you spend the most time around. As a teen, this would have sucked. Now, I know my power and exercise it-- I spend time with people who kick ass and inspire me. Those are my favorite types of people.
Q: What advice would you give to others who feel they are looking to jump into another medium?
A: Don't think, just do. And start small-- maybe just practice with your new medium for a little bit each day, and then gradually up your intensity of study. Keep a notebook around you all the time so you can write down all your brilliant ideas: everything from pieces you want to create, new ways to use that medium, and people to research and contact. Take yourself seriously.
Q: We are always hearing about "branding" consistency... can you talk about what happens to this when you change? How it does/doesn't matter?
A: It matters as much as you want it to matter. I know amazing artists that have awful branding-- but maybe their client isn't on the internet or privy to the artist's business cards, so it wouldn't matter for them. Maybe that artist's goal isn't necessarily to be palatable. It matters to me because the majority of my clients find me online. The first thing they see is my website/blog, and how clean/organized it is, for better or for worse-- from there, they really get the heavy lifting of my work, on my message. It's important for my brand to be consistent, because my goal is for my work to leave an impression with the viewer. The more people see something, the more apt they are to remember it. I work across multiple platforms, so I want my viewers experience to be both seamless and intriguing. I want to be a black hole you have no interest in escaping!
Q: Where can people find you and your stuff?
A: My website/blog is my homebase, and you can and should come visit me often at www.auroralady.com! You'll find everything your heart could possibly desire. And you can always email me. I love emails most of all.