Monday, May 11, 2009

Twenty Questions with Vivienne Strauss!

Today I'm chatting with the very talented Vivienne Strauss who has TWO shops on Etsy- one for her collage and one for her painting. She tells us about her favorite haunts in Portland, what it's like to be married to another artist and her all time favorite item of vintage clothing! Click on the images to go right to her listings and, as always, Enjoy!

The Fab Miss B: First off, tell us a little about you! What is the best thing about life in Portland?

Vivienne: We've been in Portland just over a year now and there are
so many great things about it, it is hard to choose what is best.
Choosing just one, I would say just the natural beauty of the entire
Northwest. Being a great lover of coffee and books, we have a great
selection of both. We love our trips to Powell's for books and
Stumptown coffee over by the Ace Hotel is the best!

The Fab Miss B:Your profile says you studied philosophy. How did you get interested in making art? Do you find that the two intersect?

Vivienne:I loved studying philosophy but I also love poking some fun at it. I think the more
humans try to take themselves seriously, the more silly they become and I like to try and illustrate that sometimes in both my paintings and in my collages.

The Fab Miss B:You obviously have a love of all things vintage. Does your love of
vintage fashion and interior design inspire your art making?

Vivienne:It does! Honestly, there is really nothing in the contemporary world that
inspires me like vintage fashion, interior design or photography does. I think my preferred time periods are mainly 1920s through the early1960s.

The Fab Miss B:What is your favorite article of vintage clothing?

Vivienne:I would have to say my faux leopard coat. It took YEARS of searching for the perfect
one and I've had it for more than 10 years now. I'll never get rid of it.

The Fab Miss B:What is it like to be married to another artist? It’s awfully fun to
imagine the two of you painting side by side!

Vivienne:Matte and I keep our work completely separate from one another but he has helped me tremendously with encouragement and advice. I recently made the switch to watercolors because of him, he knew my paintings would translate much better in that medium than what I was trying to do with gouache. I couldn't be doing this without him!

The Fab Miss B:What is your favorite part of the creative process?

Vivienne: I would have to say finding inspiration and coming up with ideas. Usually just
getting the painting started is the hard part. No matter what, I always erase the first line drawn.

The Fab Miss B:The playful, rather naïve nature of your work really appeals to me.
Where do you draw inspiration?

Vivienne:I seem to find inspiration every where I look (unless I'm going through a blocked period). I get a lot of ideas from old movies, old photos, sometimes just a phrase I hear or a
name will get me started. I have been collecting old yearbooks and just the interesting faces and names can evolve into a pretty involved painting.

The Fab Miss B:The titles of each of your pieces give me the sense that each painting
has an intricate story that goes along with it. Do you make them up while you are working?

Vivienne:Each piece is different. Sometimes I come up with a title beforehand just from every day personal experience or something from a book or movie. Other times the characters and story evolve as they are painted.

The Fab Miss B:What do you wish you had known before you opened your Etsy shops?

Vivienne:I wish I had spent more time choosing more creative names for my etsy
shops or I wish etsy allowed the name of the shop to be changed.

The Fab Miss B:What advice do you have to people starting their own creative small

Vivienne:While it is important to create things that others will want to buy, I think it is just as important to create what you love. If your heart isn't in it, it will show in your work and it just won't be as appealing to others.

Thank you Vivienne! It's been so much fun to learn about you and your work!

1 comment:

holly aka golly said...

I just adore vivienne's work. Reminiscent of Edward Gorey, but in color! Love the names of her characters and her sense of humor!

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