Friday, July 15, 2011

Get to Know Fellow Fantasy Artist Maigan Lynn

Today, I am so excited to feature fellow fantasy fairy artist, Maigan Lynn! Maigan creates beautiful paintings of mermaids, fairies and more! I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce her to you if you haven't already heard of her work, because I know that you will adore her art just like I do. I'm so lucky to even have some of her prints in my own collection. If you are already familiar with her work, I'm hoping that you will learn something new about her after reading her interview! I know I did!

Maigan was so nice to take some time out of her busy day of running her own fantasy art business to answer some questions that I had for her. Her responses are below. Also, make sure to read down to the end to find out where you can see more of Maigan's work, how you can stay in contact with her and where to find her original paintings, prints and products for purchase!

How long have you been drawing and painting and how did you get started?

Well, like most other artists, being creative has been something that’s always come naturally to me. My favorite thing as a kid was making doll houses out of cardboard boxes! One year for Christmas (I think I was 11?) I made my sister Barbie furniture out of leftover wood pieces my dad no longer needed. I made her a sectional couch and a lounger loveseat – similar to our own living room furniture at the time. I was always looking for a new outlet for my creativity. 

The style that I currently have – the ladies with really long eyelashes, big eyes, and oversized heads – started to evolve when I was about 21. I had had a few rough years in dealing with some issues with anxiety and art was the one thing that kept me focused and at least half sane! It was the one thing that was always able to light a spark in me, without fail. I found, and fell in love with, Amy Brown's amazing creations. They were exquisite and magical and inspiring! It was the first time I really found myself wanting to learn how the painting was made. What materials did she use? How did she achieve that technique? Where, in her mind, did these paintings come from? And from that spark, it ignited another. I started doing research and pulling out my old high school art projects. I found the lessons we had done in watercolours and studied them again. I looked at all kinds of fantasy art online from so many different artists. There were so many styles that I was completely fascinated by! I learned to ask myself questions – what was it about the art I was looking at, collectively, that made me feel inspired? What did I love the most about the style I was looking at? My first answer was, and still is, the eyes. Especially eyes with overdramatic eyelashes it seemed. So I decided to try my hand at it. I knew I wanted to have my own style and developing it was interesting. Looking back on some of my older stuff is almost embarrassing now but I also know you have to start somewhere and all those lovelies helped me get to where I am today!

I had been waiting for the right time to share my art with the world – this may sound pompous but in all reality, I was scared out of my tree! So when I first attempted selling my artwork it was, in part, necessity because I needed a source of income, regardless how small it was at the time, and also, in part, curiousity about how other people – aside from my mother – might receive my creations. I will never forget the feeling I had when I sold my first art piece! The novelty has NEVER worn off, even after 7 years!

What medium do you use on your paintings?

Watercolour! And it has everything to do with my level of patience – also because I love the look of them but level of patience is #1! I will tell you why. Acrylics dry to quickly and are very unforgiving if you make a mistake, Oils take too long to dry and I don’t have the patience to wait HOURS for paint to dry, so watercolour was the perfect medium for me! It’s the one medium I’ve always felt complete satisfaction with instead of absolute frustration!

What were some jobs you had before you became a professional artist?

My first REAL job was when I was 17. I worked part time in a call centre while I was still a full time high school student. This job was TERRIBLE and probably the most high-stress of all the jobs I’ve ever had. I’ve also worked as a waitress/bartender, secretary, a floor associate in the Pet department at Wal Mart while I was attempting college, and a pet store associate in 2 different pet stores. Working in a pet store was definitely my favorite job!

What is your most favorite and least favorite thing about owning your own fantasy art business?

My absolute favorite thing is that I get to do what I love the most in the entire world every day! Or mostly every day I get to create artwork and interact with some fantastic people. I can work in my pj’s if I want! My least favorite thing is all the meticulous time consuming tasks that NEED to be done in order to make the business work as a business. Things like keeping track of inventory, keeping track of sales, and, at times, researching different options for products or tools or marketing avenues. It’s a necessary evil but I always feel like I’m taking time away from creating. 

What do you like to listen to or watch while you paint?

When I first started selling my artwork I was working from a board across my lap in the living room of my apartment so I would have the TV on and I would draw and paint while watching C.S.I. Now, I have the most fantastic setup in my art room. I have a mounted flat screen on a swivel mount that my husband gave to me as a gift. I can put in one of my fantastical Harry Potter dvd’s or Pirates of the Carribean or whatever fantasy movie I feel like watching and get to work. I also tend to watch a lot of Netflix on my computer now – mostly comedies or sappy romantic comedies…I’m a sucker for all the girly things in life! However, if the mood strikes and I feel like listening to music instead, Jewel is always the first artist I reach for. Especially her “Pieces of You” album!

Name three completely random things about yourself.

1. I HATE black socks…. I can’t stand them. I know everyone always fuss’s about wearing black socks with dress pants. To avoid this I either wear white socks ( I know, I know…moan moan, grumble grumble!), or pantyhose if I have to OR I wear really long pants or really tall boots!

2. I have a really hard time telling time on an analogue clock. Now, I’ve always done really well in school, I don’t have any learning disabilities, but for some reason analogue clocks KILL me. It takes me a painfully long time to tell the CORRECT time. My husband only discovered this after we had been married for a year!

3. If I were to have been a boy, my parents would have named me Andre. There is nothing wrong with this name for a boy….but even if I was a boy I would have made a terrible Andre!

Name one painting that you’ve done that you’re the most proud of. Can you tell us why?

This is actually a really tough question for me! I can’t think of just one that comes to mind because there are different aspects of a lot of different paintings that I feel proud about. Charlotte Metalwin, the gothic burlesque blond with the stone lion, is the one painting I have kept for myself. When I made her, I was absolutely in LOVE with how she turned out. The marble pillar being one of my favorite parts of that piece.

Charlotte Metalwin by Maigan Lynn

I’ve also been working on a zodiac series and there’s a very distinct difference between the first piece and where I am now in the series– it’s only been over the span of one year but there is definitely a difference in skill set. 

Leo from Maigan's Zodiac Series

And most recently, my Maddy Couture set. They look so simple but it was definitely a crazy task trying to draw the front, and then flip 2 of the girls around and draw the back of them. They turned out really well and I was definitely proud of the outcome. 
Valerie from Maigan's Maddy Couture Collection

I think the times I feel most proud are when I set out to create a piece in a way I’ve never done before, whether it’s a new technique, or a new pose, or the way the shading turns out. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I can paint something the way I see it in my mind – this is a lot more difficult than it seems sometimes!

You have really expanded your product selection lately. Can you tell us about some of your new favorite products?

My ABSOLUTE new favorite ‘product’ would be my mosaic foam tile mirrors. These were actually an accident to begin with and they turned out to be the best kind of accident. Unfortunately I don’t yet have the ability to print my own prints myself so I have to order them in. Well, one of the last orders I placed came to me in poor form. The prints were cropped very badly and not of much use to me at the time. So the company fixed the issue, sent me new prints, but then I had all these other prints that I didn’t know what to do with. So I came up with the idea of making them into foam tiles and using them to create really unique mosaic mirror pieces. Each tile is hand cut, some of the frames are hand painted, and every mirror is unique and completely assembled by me. They’ve gone over really well so far!

Maigan's Mosaic Foam Tile Mirror
Two of my other new products are my bottle cap necklaces and magnets. The necklaces are a LOT of fun and they’re SO cute to wear. The pieces are all ordered separately and then assembled by me, choosing coordinating colours for the ‘chain’ and, when applicable, the dangle charms as well. 

Maigan's Bottle Cap Necklaces

The magnets aren’t necessarily something new for me but the way I create them is new. I have a few different styles. I have the bottlecap magnets that I sell in packs of 4 and then I have rectangular foam tile magnets that I sell individually. Both of which were a huge hit at the event I did most recently. Their debut was successful and I completely sold out of the bottlecap magnet packs.

You recently started a very unique series of artwork where you feature the front and back view of your adorable fantasy girls. Can you tell us a little bit about how this series came about? Do you have many more pieces planned?

This series was a commissioned set of 4 paintings and was actually done for my cousin’s bedroom. My aunt came to me and wanted to surprise her with them and of course I agreed. My cousin, Madison, is 10 years old and wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. So my aunt had asked me to make some vampire style fairies with very couture type gowns. As an artist of fairy and mermaid illustrations you’re not only a painter but a hairstylist, fashion director, and makeup artist – this is a normal part of my job. But when you throw the word “couture” in there it starts to become a little more scary! I was a little nervous about starting the job but once I did I just went with it. My aunt had asked to make some of them like fashion models – similar to a fashion sketch but more of a painting and in my own style, of course. 

Maigan's Complete Maddy Couture Series - Claire, Valerie, Cathryn, and Izabelle

Flipping the girls was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve ever been asked to do so far. And the HANDS! Hands are hard to do normally but when you have to flip them and create the back and underside of them it gets a little complicated. This was one of the most rewarding projects I’ve worked on so far. It was so well received when it was complete and I’m so glad I am able to offer prints and other things using these lovelies. As for future projects, I’ve already done another commission piece based on the Maddy Couture set, but I also plan to create more sets that will be available to the general public. They are on my list of things to do!

How can we learn more about you and your artwork? Do you have a Facebook Fan Page we can join?

There’s a few places you can check out my work and I DO have a Fan Page you can join! Here is some information:

My website has all the information you need to get in touch with me as well as a gallery and a link to all of my licensors and online shops!

Do you have any words of advice for an aspiring fantasy artist wanting to begin selling their artwork?

I would say be patient, first and foremost. This kind of work isn’t always easy to get out there – especially in a slowly recovering economy. If it’s something you really want to do and you’re serious about doing it you have to find a way to push through the tough times. It’s not easy and at times like this, it’s not very glamorous either! 

Also, the idea you have when you first start running your own art business will quickly change when it sets in that it’s not just about making art all of the time. As far as business aspects go, the things you don’t want to do are equally as important as all of the art you want to create. You need to put time and effort into both ends. Also, every once in a while – especially when things are tough – make sure to step back and remember what the big picture looks like. Remember why you started on this path and what your goals are in the future. Perspective is important!

And finally, be kind. No one wants to buy art from someone who is grouchy, rude, or bitter. It’s important to maintain balance between respecting and protecting your artwork, and being someone other people enjoy interacting with. When people buy your work, it’s not just the art piece that will leave a lasting impression!

He Loves Me...He Loves me Not by Maigan Lynn

1 comment:

  1. wow! this is an awesome interview! I love Maigan's work and always will. Thanks for sharing this info with us Nikki!!