I am very excited to share today's Q&A with you. I've been a big fan of Jess's work for a long time and this year I've gotten to know her work pretty well through her calendar. (You can pre-order one for 2010 here!) I love her use of bright, bold patterns and colors and that everything she makes seems to have a positivity about it. Here's more from Jess:
Name: Jessica Gonacha Swift
Location: Just outside of Atlanta, GA, in the suburbs
Website/Blog: www.jessgonacha.com, www.jessgonacha.blogspot.com, jessgonacha.etsy.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jessgonacha
Twitter: twitter.com/jessgonacha (@jessgonacha)
Tell me a little bit about what you make and how you started making it? I make a variety of things-- paintings, illustrations, prints of paintings and illustrations, calendars, coasters, necklaces, repeating patterns... Basically I've just been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, and I'm always looking for new surfaces to cover with my designs!
For someone who hasn't seen your work, how would you describe your style? My style is colorful, quirky, uplifting, a little bit whimsical, and happy, I think.
Did you have any teachers who became mentors along the way? Ummm, not really. When I was in art school I had a teacher who I loved, and we've sort-of kept in touch, but my education was very traditional for the most part, and my work has changed a lot since then. My main teacher these days is the blog world, I think. So I guess I have a whole bunch of mentors if I think about it that way!
How has your creative process changed as you've been able to increase your interaction with customers online? Or, if it hasn't changed, what does being on twitter and having an active etsy profile add to your creative process? I've started thinking more about products, I think, since I started selling work online. I try to make things that I would personally want to buy. I like interacting with people online and getting feedback about what I'm doing. Sometimes my customers will suggest things for me to make, which is great! I love getting input from other people, and knowing that people are out there looking at my work is very motivating.
Where do you find your inspiration? I find inspiration everywhere-- out walking in my neighborhood is when I get my best ideas, but I can also easily be inspired by books, movies, an interesting color combination somewhere (on a sign or a website,) interesting looking people, a pattern on a piece of clothing in a store, conversations.... it's endless!
Is this your full time work? Yes! I'm so grateful to say that it is.
What's the best part of your day? I really love breakfast time first thing in the morning. I make a smoothie and drink some coffee while checking my email, reading through my favorite blogs, and posting on my own blogs. I love the feeling of a fresh new day in front of me.
What's a favorite item that you've made or that you're working on? I'm pretty crazy about the necklaces I've been making the last few months, featuring my repeating patterns. They're all different, and I love looking at them hanging all together!
What do you hope customers experience when they purchase your work? I hope my work makes people happy. I think most of my work has an air of positivity and hope in it, so I hope people take that away when viewing it. Mostly I just want to make people smile and feel like they made the right choice in purchasing something from me.