2012 Twenty Questions Interviews : Laura Thykeson
20 Questions Interview
with Laura Thykeson
Mixed Media Artist, Writer and Poet
1. What's your name?
2. Where are you from?
3. Who are you today?
A fifty+ year old mother, wife and grandmother, among other things.
4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)
A freelance mixed media artist, writer and poet.
5. What's your story (how did you get here)?
I always wanted to be an artist, so in my 20's I just started on my own, no classes, using books and photographs for inspiration. I created traditional oil paintings for years, doing commissions for many people, then branched off into decorative art, painted clothing and handbags, and anything else a client wanted me to paint for them (a lot of metal items of all kinds). I have always been self-taught, and no one ever told me "You can't paint on that" so I have painted on all kinds of odd things. Iron skillets, old cow bells, large, antique milk cans, pieces of old boards from old barns and home places, fabric, wood, glass and more.
6. Why is art and writing important to you?
Art and writing are both very important to me because I am such an introvert, I would never be able to express myself to others without them. I love making my art be a reflection of my words and the other way around. Both my writing and my art are like my life's blood to me, as I create every day, nearly all day long. When I am not actually creating with my hands, my mind is planning new creative ideas at all times.
7. When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I always knew from the time I was a small child, but it really hit me with a driving force in my early 20's. I had been writing poems and songs since the age of 9, but the art and painting came a bit later, in my late teens and mid-twenties. I sold the first piece of art I ever created in earnest and that gave me the confidence to continue.
8. How did you embrace it?
I jumped in with both feet, and haven't looked back. It so happened that I sold the first thing I created, and I also had a poem chosen to be published in a collection of poetry for a book, and those two things gave me the confidence to really pursue my creative endeavors from that point on.
9. How did that feel?
Knowing that others wanted something I had created and were willing to pay their hard earned money to have it was a thrill I had never experienced before.
10. Where has your journey taken you?
I have sold my work to two wholesalers for distribution, one in Texas, and one in Colorado. I have owned both a brick and mortar gift and commission art store, as well as working from home doing commission pieces and selling some of my items on the internet in the past. Now I create more for myself and just for the joy it brings me.
11. What challenges have you faced?
I became really ill with heart problems and a bout of depression for around 10 years, where I didn't create at all during that time. I was having multiple surgeries, including open heart surgery, and it was hard getting back to the habit of creating every day, or at least often. I lost my confidence for quite a while. My style and interests in art changed quite a bit during this time also. I moved away from traditional art and oils, and went more for mixed media, with a more colorful, freeform style in acrylics and watercolors among other artistic media.
12. What worked for you?
Not pushing myself, and I quit saying "Could have…" "Would have…" and "Should have…". These words had just been holding me hostage for years and keeping me from creating
in the manner I really wanted to try.
13. What didn't work for you?
Putting pressure on myself to have things done by a certain time, and not allowing enough time for me! It really stressed me out and made the work not as enjoyable as it should have been. Now, I allow myself more time and as a result, I am much happier and the project suits me much better when it is finished. I don't do many commission pieces anymore, especially if there is a short timeline involved. I don't like to rush.
14. What three tips can you share with those starting on a similar path?
Be sure you really have the ability needed to do a particular piece for a commission work. Maybe do a practice piece before doing the real thing to get a feel for it. If you are doing a
commission work for someone, I say get maybe 25% of the total price up front to really lock in the customer maybe even draw up a simple contract before you start the project. You don't want to work on a piece day and night, then have the customer decide to back out when it is time to finish paying for the piece!
15. What are you working on now?
Right now, I am working on several altered books, some mixed media collages, a couple of workshops put on by other artists I admire, and writing more poetry to go along with some new artwork, as well as writing regular letters to my oldest granddaughter (9 years old) and exchanging small artworks with her. I love encouraging her to be artistic and creative! I also have a 10-year-old nephew that I am teaching and encouraging him to be more artistically and verbally expressive.
16. What's coming up for you in the next year?
I would say more writing as well as more art in the mixed media area. I have been accepted to write articles for "Mixed Media Art.net, as well as "artinstructionblog.com", as well as including my art along with the articles. I also write for "Hubpages.com" and have 3 blogs I write. They are Taz's Corner, The Uncommon Artist, and Creativity Madness, all on Blogger.com. I also have built a website called "The Altered Book Nook", a kind of educational site with quite a bit of information and "eye candy" especially for beginners.
17. What else do you desire/dream to do?
I would love to get
back into teaching classes. Mine are a combination of not only techniques, but enouragement of personal style and developing self confidence in your own capabilities in all areas of your life.
18. How will you make that happen?
I am hoping to start with a simple Art Journaling class for beginners to this wonderful way of expressing yourself with words and simple artwork. Once that gets them comfortable with the expressive part, then we can move into more complicated and involved areas if they choose.
19. What question would you like to be asked (or are just itching to answer) that's not on this list?
With all of the vintaged themed art we see out there, how would
you describe the art that you create for your own enjoyment?
I prefer to create with a more colorful, edgy feel to my art, unless it is for someone else, and then I of course, will go with the style that they prefer.
20. What's your blog addresses?