Speaker 1 (00:00):
We want to welcome our listeners and introduce you, Shandra. You are a bold color artist. But we have a lot of bold color artists on the show that are painters, but your work is a little different. You are a designer. You work in mixed media and in digital technology. And I want to hear more about you, Shandra, and your art. So, can you give us a glimpse inside of who you are?
Speaker 2 (00:28):
Okay. Thanks Marijanel. Nice to see you. Thanks for having me. Um, I'm Shandra, and I do colorful, bold art, just like Marijanelsaid. I live in Kelowna, and I usually work digitally. Uh, sometimes there's a bit of a mixed media component beforehand -- kind of photography-based -- and then I usually finish it off, um, with Photoshop on my computer. Um, I've been working in art licensing for about 10 years now, and I, it's kind of exciting because there's, like, loads of different areas in that, um, there's kind of surface design, textile design. So. It's basically putting your art and designs on a whole host of products. And yeah, that's me. And I'm, I'm a mom of two, and I'm married and loving life in the Okanagan.
Speaker 1 (01:21):
One of the reasons we were so excited to have you on the Bold Artist podcast, Chandra, is because of your use of bright, vivid, bold color. So, for our audio listener, those of you who are commuting, or on the treadmill, and Shanda's work is well... actually, Shandra, how about you describe your work for the listener.
Speaker 2 (01:41):
You bet. Sure. Um, it's kind of been described as beautifully bold, um, definitely vibrant, colorful, kind of in your face color. Um, the whole thing with that is I developed chronic pain in my early twenties, and I sort of used art to get me through the hard days. And, um, I found, well, I really wasn't very good at painting,, or a lot of other things, but I found that I could work digitally and in small bursts of time. And I just, I'm always drawn to lots of color. I think, especially if I was kinda having a bad day, uh, in pain and stuff, I would sort of use color to kind of get me out of it. And the bonus was that other people liked it too. So, that's what happened there.
Speaker 1 (02:37):
Yes. And in your work, I see a lot of geometric shapes and sort of bursts of kaleidoscope looking patterns. Would that be a good description?
Speaker 2 (02:47):
Yeah, I'd say so. Uh, lots of shape colors. Um, lots of color shades you wouldn't think would go together. Um, I do some patterns that, uh, there's always lots of wacky colors. Um, at first some people said, oh, they don't really go together, but actually over time it seems to work. Like, I sort of thought, oh, is this really a collection? Or is there a theme here? But somehow when you put them all together, it all seems to work.
Speaker 1 (03:21):
I love it. I love how my eyes can spend a long time dancing around your artwork, just looking at all the ways that you've used shape and line and, and form. And yet it's, it's abstract and kind of like, it might not be a flower, but yet it looks like a flower. And so, I love that about your art style and your use of color. We were particularly excited to have you on the show because of your use of color. And so I would love it if you could unwrap that a little bit for us here, and talk to us about how you approach color,
Speaker 2 (03:59):
It's pretty intuitive. Um, never gone to art school or anything. I just try it out, and if it works, then I go with it, basically. There's a lot of trial and error. Um, I think I first started sort of fooling around with art, when I became a mom about 16 years ago. And you know what it's like being a mom, you just need a little something for yourself. So, I just kind of started fooling around with it, um, playing with it. And I think a big thing is not, well for me anyway, is not to have an end goal in mind because I find that I work best when it's more just go with the flow and see what happens. And the work almost takes a life of its own. So, there's not really a lot of thought putting into, um, not really a thought going into the colors usually.
Speaker 1 (04:55):
So, you started with fooling around with colors. Did you ever come to a spot in your career where you needed to learn the color wheel, or learn how these colors might be complimenting each other? Or is it just all play?
Speaker 2 (05:10):
Sometimes when I was trying to sell really mainstream, I would try to get more complimentary colors. That's true. Like a blue and green together, or maybe an orange and red. So, I guess there was a little bit of that. Um, but I do find my most popular work seems to be a little bit random. Um, it's usually a bunch of layers and bunch of colors and I think, yeah, okay. That works.
Speaker 1 (05:34):
Yeah. What do you find yourself gravitating towards the most that your use of color or your use of lines and shapes? What's more inspirational for you?
Speaker 2 (05:45):
Um, I'd say the color. That seems more intuitive to me.
Speaker 1 (05:50):
Speaker 2 (05:50):
Yeah. I feel like this is one of the only things that, um, works for me as an artist. And at first I thought, oh, I need to do more things like other artists, but then I realized I just have to go with it. And I think because I'm, self-taught, I didn't quite know what I was doing with Photoshop. But it ended up being a bit of an advantage because there was, like I said, a lot of trial and error and then figuring out things a different way.
Speaker 1 (06:19):
I love that you mentioned that because I think that there is a lot of freedom to be found in artists accepting who they are as an artist and what works for them. And so, I love it that you were able to identify, this is working for me, and I love this, even though it doesn't look like what all the other bold color artists are doing. Or, you know, you looked your, your work looked different, or your process looked different. You were able to embrace that, and just be yourself in it. And I love that. I would even love it if you were able to elaborate a little bit more on your process of coming to that, like, did you do a lot of comparing yourself to other artists, or did you always have your blinders on and just go forward and who you are?
Speaker 2 (07:09):
Um, oh, definitely comparing myself. I think, uh, maybe that's something we all do as women, anyway. I mean, I'm, I'm definitely getting better at not comparing myself. But say for something like on Instagram, you know, you kind of get caught up in, oh, this artist has more followers or like then you think, oh, maybe I should be doing something more like their stuff. But then to be honest, I'm really not very good at it. And it's that, that old quote, you know, about what's it like a Dr. Seuss or I don't know, some wise words, words of wisdom, you know, about the only one you're going to be good at is you. So, I think it's been a process, and I think, um, you know, as you get older, like I'm 47 now, and then you, you know, you grow more into your own game as a person, and then obviously that comes through in your art, as well.
Speaker 2 (08:01):
You just start to feel more comfortable and confident. And I think, okay, I'm not going to get into every magazine or, um, licensing show that I submit to, but that's okay. I think the big thing is to realize, okay, so maybe that wasn't a good fit, but the main thing is you just have to keep going and then try the next thing. 'Cause that's the only way you're going to make it. There's like so much rejection, and you do kind of feel like, is this good enough? But then you just have to, um, you know, get some balls and just keep on going. And you have to believe in it because otherwise it's not going to work.
Speaker 1 (08:44):
Yes. Yes. It's so true. And I love how you've just touched on the subject of rejection. And I know we're going to come back to bold color and bold moves, but this might actually tie into bold moves. In your, in your career Shandra, it appears to be very successful. Your licensed artwork is wall art in hotels, and you collaborate with large companies to sell your artwork, but has there been times where you were experiencing rejection? How was that process of getting through it?
Speaker 2 (09:19):
Well, I think I kind of had a lot of, uh, success, like 2016, 2017. That's been, um, there was shoes coming out, and I was in Hotel Z in Kelowna, in all of the guest rooms and, uh, and wall murals in their public spaces. And then that year, too, there was these four scratch art books by this, um, american publishing company. So, that was pretty cool. So. A lot of things were happening then, and then I was lucky enough to, um, win the Okanagan ARTSCO, uh, art and business award. So, that kind of gave me some more confidence. Uh, but then I injured my neck and shoulders, and I wasn't really able to work on my computer much, and I did feel a little bit lost. And, uh, and then I sort of thought, oh, maybe that was it. You know, like maybe I should just be happy with that success.
Speaker 2 (10:12):
Then, you know, all these things are like, um, peaks and troughs. And I always watched documentaries about artists and musicians or any kind of creative person, even writers. And, you know, a lot of them have the same thing, right. You kind of go through these waves of success or more work and less work. And, uh, I just had to sort of regroup. And then I, I did get some more different sort of office equipment. And I also started using this voice to text software, which means I can do some commands on Photoshop with my voice, which is very exciting. So over, especially during the pandemic, I've started, tried to get better and better. And, um, I feel like things are rolling now. I feel like I'm back to where I was. So, that's good.
Speaker 1 (11:03):
So, Shandra, in terms of bold moves, what do you feel that your boldest move as an artist has been?
Speaker 2 (11:12):
Um, yeah, I was thinking about this, and I would have to say, uh -- this would have been like 2015, so I'm kind of getting a little bit of success, but I, I feel like I want to get noticed. There's just so many artists out there. How am I going to get noticed? So, we actually live in this funky log house that we built, um, in West Kelowna. And anyway, it's like rugs on the outside and then half the interior is like bright colored walls and funky furniture. So anyway, I always read, um, I don't know if it's still there, but there's a globe and mail feature on a Saturday is called My Favorite Room. And it's basically a, um, designe feature about like somebody's room in their house, right? Anyway, so I thought, okay, well, we've got this sort of different house, so I'm just gonna send this day peg to this woman in Toronto and see if she notices. And, and right away she, she emailed back.
Speaker 2 (12:16):
She said, yeah, we can definitely feature you. Oh, I know what part of it. We finally got this huge Coke sign that used to hang in a, it used to hang outside a store in Kelowna's north end. And anyway, my husband got it at the auction, it's been sitting on the porch for probably five years. Anyway, we finally got it hung up in the living room, and we've got this big, we, we're lucky we got like quite a big high ceiling. Anyway, the, the woman that writes called and she said, yeah, we'll definitely feature you. So, that was exciting. And then, um, started getting ready for that, but then didn't hear anything for awhile. And it turned out that was, that was an election year. That must have been 2015. I think she had other things to do. I'm kind of rambling, but she did, she did feature me.
Speaker 1 (13:00):
No, that's good.
Speaker 2 (13:03):
We kind of staged the living room.
Speaker 1 (13:04):
Speaker 2 (13:05):
Staged everything. And then we, I thought, okay, I'm going to get all my products in here. So, I'm going to kind of get noticed. So, I've got like my pillows, and I've got a bit of wall art, and I think I had a purse, and a bunch of other stuff. Anyway. Um, the photographer came and then the, the, um, it featured on a Saturday in November, and it was all very exciting. But the cool thing was is that, um, the following year my husband said, oh, there's this new hotel coming to Kelowna. They're called Hotel Zed. And I'd actually read about them in a different magazine because they're bright and colorful. And I'd read about the one in Victoria. Um, anyway, so it was something about the city council didn't like their purple wall, or... I can't remember the details, but, um, anyway, I, I was trying to get into wall murals, and I was selling a few through these UK, this UK company.
Speaker 2 (14:01):
So I thought, well, I'll phone the, the, um, CEO in Victoria, and see if she'll feature one of my wall murals in the hotel. Maybe they'll want like a local person. Anyways, this is Mandy Farmer. She, she actually, um, it's part of the Accent Inns group. Anyway, I happened to get her on the phone at her, um, office in Victoria. And she said, oh, why don't you send me a few JPEGs and this kind of thing. So, so I sent her a couple of JPEGs and then over the course of the next day or two, there was all these emails back and forth. And she said, oh my goodness, this, this, this is so great. And do you do wall murals? And what about wall art for the, all the rooms? We're, like, this is perfect timing. We're looking for, like, this whole aesthetic. And then she said, she said that, oh my God, I saw you in the globe and mail. So, right away, she kind of had confidence in me. She said, oh, that's the girl with the kind of funky living room in the log house. And right away we clicked. And anyway, then the hotel featured me all over the hotel, which was, of course, a big thrill. So, that's the story that I said it got back to.
Speaker 1 (15:11):
Yes. And that is not only a bold move or a bold, big thing that happened for you, but it, to me, as I listened to that story, I was like that bold move started with little steps. Like you were just intrigued by whatever you were seeing in the paper, in the my favorite room section. And then you took a little but bold step and then another little but bold step. And then it turned into this big thing. And I think that is how a lot of bold moves get started, is just taking that first step. Wouldn't you agree with that?
Speaker 2 (15:50):
Definitely. Absolutely. I think sometimes we get a bit overwhelmed, you know, if we have a dream and we think, well, how am I ever going to get to that, right? It's like this big, huge thing, but I think that's the only way to do it is little steps. And I think because I do have chronic pain, I, everything in my life is small steps. Like, I only do a little bit at a time, and I mean, that's why my house has a bit of a mess, but I just do... I pace myself and do a little burst of energy. So, in terms of working it, it makes sense to me to do things in small chunks anyway, so...
Speaker 1 (16:27):
Yeah. Yes. You know, uh, our listeners might not know that you and I, we have actually lived in the same area before and known each other through the art circle. So, I have gotten to know you too, you know, in different different functions and actually arts awards that you mentioned, we were both attended that event. And over the time of knowing you, and even in the time of, um, booking and setting the date for this interview, I have been reminded of how much I appreciate, Shandra, how you... You are so business-like, and you run your art business with such great standard and intention. And yet you are always managing your chronic pain. Even when we picked the time for this interview, we booked it at a time that works for you and your life. And I think you're a great example to artists that they can do this no matter what the circumstances of their life.
Speaker 2 (17:22):
Oh, that's so sweet. Yeah. Oh, that means a lot., Um, yeah, I think it's just the only way to live. Isn't it? I mean, I think life is short and probably 'cause my mum died right when I was starting to become an artist, my mum died suddenly, and she was only 65 and I thought, wow, geez. You know, like, maybe I don't have as long of life as I thought. And yeah. I mean, I just want my life to have value. I, like I said, I'm a mom, I got a great marriage. Everybody usually wants a little bit more. And it's funny that you talk about the business because I, I mean, I really wasn't that interested in high school. I, I did a sort of mini business course at college, but I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life. And in some areas, I, I, in some areas of my life, I am more of a typical artist than I seem -- a bit disorganized and you know, all of the stereotypes -- but for some reason in my business, I just, um, I just go with it, and it all just makes sense.
Speaker 2 (18:28):
And I think you get better at it too, right? Because a lot of people think, oh, I'm not that kind of person. How am I going to approach this? But you just learn as you go and just try to be professional. And I think just keep showing up. I mean, physically, obviously, but intentionally. There's, there's loads of courses online or different books you can read that will help you pursue this further. And if you don't have the business skills, you can, you can learn them.
Speaker 1 (18:59):
Coming back to the topic of color and how you approach it, what would you say to the artist who's just starting out who would really like and love to create like you do? How, how would you encourage them to approach their color?
Speaker 2 (19:17):
I find it fascinating how you put one color down, and then you put another color down, and it changes the whole dynamic. And then you put a third one. I, I love how they play off each other. Like, especially contrasting colors, you think, well, you wouldn't think that worked, but somehow it does. Um, I think just play with it and experiment really. And I think there's no wrong... I think there's no bad work. I mean, maybe some people would say, oh, it's not as good. But I think the whole way that you develop your style is to create a whole bunch of work. And some of it's not all that great, but you have to create that to get to the good stuff. So, you know, I mean, I probably delete like at least 50% of my stuff, maybe more, but then you go with the good ones, right? It's like a writer or a musician not everyone's going to be good, but you have to kind of create all the sort of crap if you will, to get the good stuff. Just experiments, I think,
Speaker 1 (20:19):
Yes. Visual artists go through the process of editing, as well. You know, how writers will write a lot, and edit this, edit a lot out -- well visual artists, we do the same. We have to create it and then edit parts of it out, and just use it as learning and growing. And so, I love that approach of just play, play, play, and experiment. So, Shandra, let's talk about community for a moment -- about being part of a community and how it might feed or encourage you to be so bold in your art. Have you found a community around you that encourages the bold steps that you've taken as an artist?
Speaker 2 (21:03):
For sure. Um, I find in Kelowna and all of the Okanagan, everyone seems to be pretty supportive. And, uh, I've been part of different artists group and sort of collectives, and yeah, I think everyone's encouraging. And I think most artists realize that there's room for all of us. Uh, and yeah. And th then Instagram community as a whole, I mean, I find that a pretty supportive place, too, and you can find like-minded people on there. And it always amazes me how many artists are willing to share their information. You know, you might be having it, be having a chat with them and then ask, oh, can you share with me how you did that? I just find artists are usually so giving and, uh, share their information. And, and I try to pass that on too. If somebody contacts me, I like to help if I can. And yeah...
Speaker 1 (22:02):
There is for sure. And we have even found that, uh, within the Bold School community, uh, the community within the school and the courses where you build a trust and are able to help each other through troubleshooting and critiquing work, and yeah, just building the confidence within each other and... Shandra, if someone was listening today and their ears kind of perked up a little, when you were talking about how you license your art, and they think to themselves, I've always wanted to license my art, or I've always been interested in how to do that. What would you share as a tip for someone as the very first place that they should start?
Speaker 2 (22:48):
Um, I say a lot of artists like to just as a starting point, they like to get on some of these print on demand sites because they're curious to see, oh, how would my work translate onto a pillow or a face mask or something like that. So, that's how I started. And, um, it's not a bad idea. There's like, Society 6, or Red Bubble, these kinds of things. Nice to sort of get a few samples of how your work would look. And then, um, you could either take photos of those. If you're happy with how they look, take photos of those, maybe create some mock up that you can easily get online. Then you could just start contacting some companies. Um, that's one way of doing it. Some others, um, also have an art agent. I have one now. She's really good. Um, or again, um, a lot of people get a whole bunch of product printed, and then they go to some of these art licensing shows themselves. Uh, that does take a lot of time and money.
Speaker 2 (23:55):
Um, so there's a few ways. I think maybe get some products printed and then, um, there's loads of information online about art licensing. Um, it's basically just allowing a company to use your work on their whole range of products. There's so many things now. I mean, if you go into a store, and you look at greeting cards or pillows, or even tableware and dishes, like, somebody designed that. And this is all part of surface design, so there's so many different items that your work could go on. I think it's important to just find, um, find the industry, you think it would work. And there's, um, I feel like I'm rambling a bit. There's lots of different companies out there.
Speaker 1 (24:45):
No, this is excellent.
Speaker 2 (24:45):
Oh, and you can go on LinkedIn, too. I find LinkedIn like, Instagram's good, but I find LinkedIn is a bit more jobs based.
Speaker 2 (24:55):
So, a lot of artists are moving over there too. So you, you know, you keep posting your work, you could put some hashtags on there about art licensing. Or you could stay in the post, okay, this new flower design -- or whatever design -- is available for licensing. And if you start to kind of get kind of a collection of ones that sort of go together, then you could, um, check out different companies. Like, for example, I thought after the kids go back to school, I thought, oh, you know, like Hallmark is, um, they've got a whole category for freelancers. And I thought, oh, well now I've got more of a bunch of flowers that go together, I'll look on the w uh, the company's website. There's usually a submission page. And they usually say, okay, send us a bunch of JPEGs. And, um, then they usually have a team, and then hopefully they like your work. And they say, we want to put your stuff on all these different things. That's the goal.
Speaker 1 (25:55):
Well, thank you for sharing that little tidbit of information of that, just getting started in licensing, if that perked up the ears of one of our listeners. And so, um, is there anything else, Shandra, that would be burning on your heart today to maybe share with others? Is there a current project you're excited about, or a thought you've had as an artist that you just kinda need to vent and get it out there?
Speaker 2 (26:20):
I think just keep creating, really. Uh, I had quite a busy summer with my kids. And, uh, we took a few trips, which was really nice, 'cause, you know, we can actually go places. Um, I think just keep creating. I think I'm missing accessing that part of my brain. And I think for a lot of us, it's kind of essential to our well-being. You know, we obviously we need to be physically healthy and emotionally healthy, but I feel like we just have to keep doing it, keep it as a practice and keep showing up. Um, yeah, I'm, I'm excited about new licensing deals, and I I've been in contact with, um, the more kind of online art group and sort of home decor groups. So, waiting to hear back from them, but it's looking good. And like I said, I've got this new fabric collection coming out next June, so that's pretty cool. 'Cause I wasn't a hundred percent convinced about my pattern design. But um, they like them and there's this whole collection coming out, so that's cool. And I got some more Wall Mural companies that I've recently collaborated with since now, during the pandemic, uh, a lot of people are thinking about redoing their home, and how they want to enjoy their own face more. So, wall murals are really popular right now. So, yeah.
Speaker 1 (27:46):
Yes. When you mentioned there about creativity being so important for our wellbeing and just showing up, just coming back to the basic of showing up to be creative, I love that. And it resonates with me because I think in the business of life, like how you mentioned you had a really busy summer and you might be missing that part of your practice right now, and things will hopefully settle down again in the, in the autumn. But, uh, I know when we all get busy, sometimes we put creativity to the side, or our art practice to the side thinking, okay, I'll get to it. And yet, if we're very intentional bringing it to the front burner, rather than the back burner, we are more satisfied. And um, like our, our creativity is more at peace. And, and so I've just always found, it's just so important to make it a priority.
Speaker 2 (28:43):
I'd say so., I mean, I just feel like I'm less, I dunno if I could say, less crabby with my family or just the day-to-day stuff. Like, you know, if you're, if you're, even if you only have 15 minutes a day... I mean, everyone can fit that in, right? Even if you have a sketchbook or something, just, I think it's the whole process of accessing that part of your brain, and you're not in kind of decision-making mode, and how am I going to deal with the pandemic, and what about my kids, and what do we need to do today? It's just that sort of, um, it's more of a being way in the world instead of doing, right? You're just relaxing in a different way. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (29:26):
Yes, yes. Shandra, thank you so much for being on the Bold Artist podcast. It has been such a pleasure to get a glimpse inside of your, not only mixed media, but your digital aspect of your creations and your art licensing, and just to get a picture of who you are, and how you create, has been such a pleasure. And, um, yeah, I can't thank you enough for being here.
Speaker 2 (29:51):
Thank you so much, Mary, Marijanel. It has been so nice to talk to you.