Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Informal Interview : Marisha Simons

1. Tell us a little about your brand and the products you create 

I create cheerful and colorful hand printed home goods: kitchen linens, tea towels, napkins. I like making a useful thing that can brighten the users day.

2. When did you discover your love for art? 

I don't know if I remember; creativity has been a staple since I was a tiny kid. My mom is incredibly creative, always making something, a real Jane-Of-All-Trades. My grandma taught me how to crochet when I was 7, and I have these really funny little books my mom saved for me that I wrote an illustrated when I was five. It took me  a really long time to appreciate my own talent and skills because I grew up a crafter. But when I discovered that Printmaking was magic in undergrad, I was hooked!

3. Who inspires you?

Nature inspires me, and people who make art that references nature. Sometimes I see things that are growing and I just get a little shiver, its so beautiful, or complex and interesting. I have about a thousand pictures that I take when I go hiking of plants and trees. When someone can capture some of that complexity in their work, it really gets me going.

4. What have you discovered about yourself through your creative process?

When I am really inspired and the project is moving along, I cannot be stopped. I could work on it until I drop. But when I am stuck, I am not the hard-core gritty person that I would like to believe I am, and I get easily derailed. Getting back on track can be so hard, but when I eventually do it, I feel like I can do anything and all the obstacles no longer exist.

5. Why did you choose Uarts?

I was really enamored of enhancing my skills in the Book Arts, but when I as immersed in the program, I realized that I really was a printmaker and that I wanted to make large scale art that many people could appreciate and experience in a more architectural setting. I have set that work aside for  the moment, as large scale installation work is difficult to make financially sustainable.

6. When did you discover your love of printmaking and why?

I took my first college painting class my first semester in college and had a horrible teacher who would make emphatic qualitative remarks about the students' work without any actual clear directives on how to improve the work. In retrospect,  I have realized that he was a horrible teacher and that many of my insecurities about my image making skills for the following few years came from that class. It wasn't until I took a printmaking class in the beginning of senior year that I really felt comfortable and excited in a medium.It just felt really natural: I loved the fact that there is a little bit of chance in making prints and that sometimes those errant marks add a level of interest that lacks, for me, in other mediums.

7. What advice would you give to the aspiring printmaker or designer looking for opportunities to grow in the art world?

Explore numerous options and endeavors that are both close to what you think you want to do and ones that are different. Exposure to a number of different things will give you a clearer sense of the path you want to follow.

8. What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

Stick with it! Whatever you are doing, see it through for at least 6 years, doing it with the greatest commitment that you can. It takes time for creative endeavors to bear fruit. Many of the small business ideas I tried failed only because I didn't keep at them long enough. 

 MARKETING, NETWORKING, BUSINESS! Sustaining oneself creatively is more than just making cool, interesting objects, it is imperative that a young artist know how the money part of life works. Taking accounting classes for artists (maybe learn it so well, you can do it for others!), any classes that will give you knowledge about how to handle your financial life. Look for programs that help young artists: grants ( good strong grant writing is a must), grad programs that pay your tuition, rather than you paying them.

Be wary of "opportunities"; make sure that they are a true benefit to your career, and not just someone else's. It is OK , to say "let me think that over", before you accept so that you have a quiet moment to evaluate if this will help you. Just the idea that people will see your work is not enough. Yes, people will see your work, decorating, for free, someone else's business. Often people do not know or understand that work that is on the wall at a cafe or bar is available for purchase. they will often think it is work that has been purchased by the proprietor as decoration. Even if there is a small sign and business cards, that means that your potential patron has to follow up later, which can be unreliable. Do craft shows with a proven reputations for bringing in  crowds who are ready to shop. Remember that craft show organizers (though, yes, it is hard work), make money from your booth fee whether you do well at the sale or not, unless it is a sale where the organizer takes a commission.

9. What is most important to you, as an artist?

Creating work that makes me feel happy, but also, as I have grown older, I realize that  I want my audience to appreciate the art as work and are willing to support that. I am passionate about what I do, but I want it to be more than just my "expensive hobby". Being a "professional artist" means I should be able to make a life and a living from the work I do.


  1. Her interview with you is truly inspiring. Especially when she states to stick with your ideas. It's such a hard thing to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Her also pointing out the importance of knowing how money works in the business was fantastic. Awesome job

  2. Her interview with you is truly inspiring. Especially when she states to stick with your ideas. It's such a hard thing to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Her also pointing out the importance of knowing how money works in the business was fantastic. Awesome job