Our second featured seller is Jo Askey, the lovely lady who is currently very busy matching everyone up with their secret swap partners!
Would you describe yourself as an artist? an illustrator? a graphic designer? or something else entirely?
I think of myself as an illustrator, at least I try to be. I know that as soon as type is added, my work actually becomes graphic design, but I usually begin with the illustration. I would be far too embarrassed to ever refer to myself as an artist. I just draw pictures of daft things like peoples feet.
What was the first thing you sold? Are you still proud of it?
I can't remember what the first thing I sold was! I think it may have been a commission for some artwork for a friend. I'm not sure I would say that I'm really "proud" of any of my work, I always pick fault with it and aspire to improve for my next piece.
How has your style changed over the years?
I think the change in my style has occurred more because of changing the medium in which i work rather than maturing in anyway. Using illustrator has allowed me to better control my creative energies and focus them more neatly and precisely. Back in my 'fine art' days at college, I worked mainly in print (e.g. lino) and sculpture usually giant wire creations. I seemed to be unable to make anything smaller than around ten foot square and I had a habit of working mainly at two o'clock in the morning, or whenever the creative urge hit me. I'd like to think I'm slightly more disciplined and controlled now.
You do quite a lot of custom work... how does your creative/working process differ with custom work than with your original drawings?
When I do an original illustration, and I can wait for inspiration, I have the freedom to change direction at any time and just let the process take me to it's natural conclusion. With custom work, I've always had a brief. Which means that there are always elements that must be included, this can make design solutions more limited but can also be a great challenge.
I love doing commissions and creating company logos, it's a great contrast to the freedom of creating my own artwork with no boundaries. It can be really useful for getting the creative juices flowing (probably the same reason us UK Etsy sellers love our monthly 'challenges') and with every job I feel like I've learned something new.
[Custom print for Gillyflower by Askey]
[Custom banner and logo for BlueMarmalade by Askey]
Do you have a favourite or most-hated colour?
My favourite colour changes weekly, and is more a favourite combination of colours rather one colour. Today it is dusty lavender with chocolate brown. At the moment I'm not really into brights - fuschia pink, electric blue etc. But there are no colours I hate, they are all beautiful in the right context.
Do you work from home? What is your workspace like?
I work from home, and the room I work from varies. At the moment I've set my workspace up in a corner of the living room, this allows me to keep an eye on the kids and have mooch on Etsy at the same time. My workspace consists of my mac and my printer on a white ikea table - very minimalist!
Do you ever suffer from creative block?
I don't suffer from creative block - I'm very easily excitable and have a long mental list of things that I want to draw when I get the chance. Whether my work is worth getting excited about is a matter of opinion though!
What is your favourite item in your Etsy shop at the moment? Why?
My favourite item from my shop at the moment is 'do you like my shoes?' But if you asked me again next week, I'd probably answer differently. Why? I just like the colours and how the girl is standing in that, slightly awkward but beautifully vulnerable way that children stand.
[Do You Like My Shoes?, limited edition print by Askey]
What five words would you use to describe Etsy?
Etsy is - addictive, inspiring, fun/funny, eclectic, sociable
What is your current favourite shop on Etsy? What was your last Etsy purchase?
My last purchases were some fabulous tags by Lupin and a retro cushion cover by ruthscrafts.
[Recycled Map Tags by lupin]
[Retro Flower Cushion Cover by ruthscrafts]
I really love Kinchi at the moment - - I haven't bought anything yet, but I'm loving these little belts![Vintage Ribbon Belts by Kinchi]
And finally, do you like your shoes?
Yes, I love my shoes! But because i don't drive my shoes get a lot of hammer. I walk miles and miles every week, so get through shoes quite quickly. My all time favourite shoes were a pair of light brown strappy high heels from Jones the bootmaker. But I wore them so much that eventually the heels were little more than stumps. I still miss them; they really were fabulous shoes...
More featured seller interviews coming soon!